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BAMF
BAMF Reader
11/17/09 7:05 p.m.
Dr. Hess wrote:
BAMF wrote:
DrBoost wrote: Yeah, I tried not to be to un-PC with my "new family" comment but I can't hide the truth. That was the beginning of the end for that neighborhood.
I don't know about Detroit, but I'll bet the same thing happened there that happened in many other cities. The new family was "different", so the existing families moved away. White flight is one of the major causes of urban decay that often doesn't get talked about. I guess it's easier to blame junkies, their dealers, and other folks for urban decay than the folks who abandoned their own neighborhoods to prevent their kids from going to integrated schools. That said, Detroit's biggest mistake was putting all of their eggs in one basket.
I think we should all kick in $10 and buy Boost's old house (should be more than enough) and move BAMF into it. Then he can put his family where his mouth is.

My comments about white flight to the suburbs weren't directed at Dr. Boost. Nor am I suggesting that he stay in Detroit. The white flight and folks scared of integration had its heyday decades ago, but it set the stage for the decaying urban cores in a number of American cities. Detroit, by all accounts, is a really extreme version of what happened in a lot of places.

In Kansas City, where I live, the problem was particularly compounded by the metro area being spread across 4 counties in 2 different states. Just a few years ago, our downtown was a ghost town. The midtown areas were pretty sketchy, and even the few neighborhoods that maintained their property values over the years were still hurting to some degree. One of the formerly wealthiest parts of town with a huge number of historic mansions was pretty much abandoned. You can buy a 10,000 sqft. Victorian for a song.

From a safety perspective, my neighborhood in the city has a pretty equivalent level of crime to the one where I grew up in the suburbs of KC.

As far as putting my family where my mouth is, that's a call I'll have to make if I ever have school age children. The Kansas City, MO school district hasn't had its accreditation in well over a decade. So if I want my hypothetical kids to go to an accredited school my options are:

1) keep the house where I live and send them to one of the many charter schools (some are excellent, others just ok).

2) move to one of the 'burbs in Missouri.

3) move less than a 10 minute walk from my house to a home just across the border in Kansas.

If my fiance announced a pregnancy tomorrow (not likely), we would have a minimum of 5 years to figure out our course of action.

Schmidlap
Schmidlap Reader
11/17/09 7:29 p.m.
DrBoost wrote: Eric speaks the truth. I hope the changes that are happening (while small) will make some significant changes.

I agree. The latest round of voting for city council actually seemed like an election by informed, intelligent public, not an American Idol-type spectacle. The incompetent Motown singer got the boot, the corrupt ex-council president (who actually got in an argument with a 9 year girl on TV about acting "grown up and respecting others" - the kid was telling her to) is going to jail, and many of the other divisive, uncooperative egomaniacs have been replaced. The only newly elected council member that I'm a little concerned about is also the new council president, Charles Pugh. A few days before the election, it came out that he was going to lose his house due to foreclosure. I'd feel sorry for the guy, and he tried to make people feel sorry for him by claiming that he was a victim of the economy just like so many in Detroit, except he did it to himself. He used to be a news anchorman, making $200-300K a year, and left that to run for council. With no way to support himself, how did he expect to pay for his house? He obviously felt there was no problem with just walking away from his personal financial responsibilities, I'm worried what he'll do with the city's financial responsibilities. Also, he had foreclosure proceedings against him seven other times while working as an anchor and always waited until the last minute to pay, even though he apparently had plenty of money.

Anyways, as someone else mentioned, real estate in the Detroit area is pretty cheap. As another example, a company just bought the Pontiac Silverdome (the arena where the Detroit Lions used to play, seating 80,000 people) for $583,000. That's 1% of the original cost to build it in 1976 ($55 Million). http://www.freep.com/article/20091116/NEWS03/91116065/?imw=Y

There are spots in Detroit that people are attempting to turn around, and I hope it spreads to the rest of the city, but it's going to take a very long time before it returns to it's former glory as the "Paris of the West".

Bob

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/18/09 7:33 a.m.

They way I see it, the downtown mile will be back first. It's almost all the way back, once they finally decide how to position the new Joe Louis in between Foxtown and the MGM. That will clear out the final large area of abandon buildings in the immediate area.

Next up will be a consolodation of the Museum district/ Wayne State with the downtown mile. And probably an extention up to the New Center area.

After that, I don't know.

But.

If they don't address the many problems in the neighborhoods, beyond the square mile, I don't know how that's going to happen. There are a lot of neighborhoods where a lot of the houses are still in great shape, but the handful of blight and street problems won't do them any good.

One of the more interesting "independant" solutions was displayed a few years ago in MOCAD (Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit), where neighbors bough up the land surrounding their homes, leveled the damaged buildings and created "blots"- block lots. What was featured in Time were some of these blots where the owners are setting up mini-farmland- to support the local food community. And I group that I "belong" to actually raises money to help build hoop houses, which are simplified green houses so that people can grow produce in the winter- both to support local restaurants with local produce, and to sell to the rest of the community.

It's a SMALL baby step, but IMHO, steps taken by the residents over the city council are darned significant.

I'm torn with Charles. He is saying the right things, as is Dave Bing. But the real work is with the charter group, not the council, right now. The will define how the city council is elected. Don't be surprised if you see a shift in the race some- between Mexican Town, Cork Town, and Indian Village, there are a lot of minorities (reltative to Detroit) that are not represented by the current system which may get more of a say in their tax dollars.

Paris of the West? I would be stunned if I saw that in my lifetime. I would take Cleveland of the Detroit River at this point, and go from there. Thankfully, that seems to be happening. Or at least I sure hope so. I really love Detroit- or at least my personal ideal of what it can be.

Eric

NYG95GA
NYG95GA SuperDork
11/18/09 7:47 a.m.
alfadriver wrote: One of the more interesting "independant" solutions was displayed a few years ago in MOCAD (Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit), where neighbors bough up the land surrounding their homes, leveled the damaged buildings and created "blots"- block lots. What was featured in Time were some of these blots where the owners are setting up mini-farmland- to support the local food community. And I group that I "belong" to actually raises money to help build hoop houses, which are simplified green houses so that people can grow produce in the winter- both to support local restaurants with local produce, and to sell to the rest of the community. Eric

That sounds like a brilliant idea! Just how much support are y'all getting for it?

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/18/09 8:09 a.m.
NYG95GA wrote: That sounds like a brilliant idea! Just how much support are y'all getting for it?

Quite a bit- the group I "belong" to is a breakfast club who meet every friday, where the proceeds go toward these hoop houses. It's kind of a combination of a few groups- my group is part of the "Slow Foods USA" organization, trying to get more local grown foods into our food stream. Others are part of the revitalizing efforts of Detroit.

And I'm not sure who did the show at MOCAD.

It's almost all Grassroots- so it's pretty approriate to talk about here.

Ironically, the demise of Detroit may be the re-start of a small, local, farms group. One can hope- it's a darned good use of the greenspace, and can be good money for those who manage their property properly. With the "green" movement, there's a lot of local desire to buy locally.

We will see.

Eric

DrBoost
DrBoost HalfDork
11/18/09 8:13 a.m.
NYG95GA wrote:
alfadriver wrote: One of the more interesting "independant" solutions was displayed a few years ago in MOCAD (Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit), where neighbors bough up the land surrounding their homes, leveled the damaged buildings and created "blots"- block lots. What was featured in Time were some of these blots where the owners are setting up mini-farmland- to support the local food community. And I group that I "belong" to actually raises money to help build hoop houses, which are simplified green houses so that people can grow produce in the winter- both to support local restaurants with local produce, and to sell to the rest of the community. Eric
That sounds like a brilliant idea! Just how much support are y'all getting for it?

Correct me if I'm wrong Eric, but I don't think you'd call is "support" as much as you'd call it "that's interesting" at least from the gubment. The media has covered it and I think it has (small) legs but I would like to see the government really get behind this thing.
Years ago the "Blight Busters" popped on the scene in my neighborhood. They started pushing the city government to demo abandoned buildings and let us clear vacant lots of garbage and stripped vehicles (saw a Countach and a Lotus once, stripped and sad). They didn't stand in our way by any stretch, but didn't help a stitch either.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/18/09 8:54 a.m.

Boost- you are right, the govenment does not support it.

But I must say, it's kind of surprising that you are looking toward the govenment to suppor this. They can't solve everything- they need to focus on what they have control of- and putting money into farming isn't part of that. All they really can do is allow people to farm for profit on their lands.

Let the local community come around and support the actual efforts.

The government IS allowing Blots to form, letting one home owner buy up entire blocks if they are by themselves. And sometimes, helping bring down buildings. As long as they don't stand in the way, to me, that's govenment support.

If you want the neighbor house to be taken down, buy it, and do it. Prices are so low even relatively poor people are able to do that. Everyone seems to pretend its someone elses problem, when a neighborhood can get together, and donate the time to tear down a house. Considering that it's easier to tear down a house than build one, that should be pretty easy. Get donations to haul away the garbage. Then, all the city is left with is the yes/no permission to do the work.

It's in the best interest of the neighbors to do it.

Eric

Wally
Wally GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/18/09 9:06 a.m.

Maybe next time you come up with the next Kid Rock or Eminem you can keep it to yourselves and avoid the wrath of an angry God.

John Brown
John Brown GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/18/09 9:09 a.m.
Wally wrote: Maybe next time you come up with the next Kid Rock or Eminem you can keep it to yourselves and avoid the wrath of an angry God.

Shoot, we blame Hollywierd for those douches.

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury Dork
11/18/09 9:23 a.m.
alfadriver wrote: Let the local community come around and support the actual efforts.

It would be great if this happened, but seems to me they have proven time and time again that they dont care enough to try. Perhaps though, at this point, the ones that are left are the actual ones that do care enough to put some effort into their city. The flaky ones have already hit the road.

alfadriver wrote: It's in the best interest of the neighbors to do it.

Theres a lot of things thats in the best interest of a neighborhood, but for whatever reason people are too apathetic to get off their cans. Like I said tho, perhaps the residency cross section has boiled down to the hardcore and the mix is a group ready to take action. I certainly hope so. This kind of rebirth and renewal is what made this country great during the WWs and hopefully the instant gratification society we've become still has enough backbone to stand up and do something for ourselves. I guess time will tell. Im keeping my fingers crossed. My kids generation will definitely be the measuring stick of this efforts success or failure.

DrBoost
DrBoost HalfDork
11/18/09 9:44 a.m.
Wally wrote: Maybe next time you come up with the next Kid Rock or Eminem you can keep it to yourselves and avoid the wrath of an angry God.

Amen to that! I don't have much of a problem with Eminem (maybe because I can relate to him on many levels?) but I hate KId Rock. He tries to make it out like he's some kinda rock and roll god and that's all he is is another wannabe white rapper. He does things for the city, but always makes sure it hits the press.
Eminem actually lived a life that he spouts crap about, not that I like his music or anything but I think he represents himself for real, not for glam.
But that's off topic.

There's a few pics I"m trying to find right now that just shows the difference between Detroit back "then" and how it is now. I'll post if I can find it.

Schmidlap
Schmidlap Reader
11/18/09 9:59 a.m.

I really like the idea of 'blots', and turning them into small farms. Here's a pic I found of an existing urban farm in Detroit.

Bob

DrBoost
DrBoost HalfDork
11/18/09 10:02 a.m.
alfadriver wrote: Boost- you are right, the govenment does not support it. But I must say, it's kind of surprising that you are looking toward the govenment to suppor this. They can't solve everything- they need to focus on what they have control of- and putting money into farming isn't part of that. All they really can do is allow people to farm for profit on their lands. Eric

The extent that I'd like to see the government support it is just to allow us to do their job. They shouldn't expect US to buy 3 or 4 houses at a time (even if it's just 5K each, that's alot), then tear it down ourselves, and haul it away ourselves when that's actually part of their job. They are supposed to keep the streets safe and clean and having 7 houses on a block of 12 being left vacant attracts rats, homeless, druggies, gangs and all other sorts of less than desirable things. I mean, when you are making meager wages while paying high city taxes you shouldn't be expected to spend copious amounts of money to clean up your own neighborhoods. I mean, growing up anytime we had a snowfall of more than 8" we'd have to hire our own snow removal service to clear our own streets even though the city has a huge fleet to do the same.
I'm tired of the city expecting US to get them in shape while they keep squandering our tax dollars. They ask us to turn out porch lights on and do patrols on devils night while they turned off our freakin' street lights???
That's why I got the heck out. I would be willing to bend over backwards to help my government if they would do anything to help me help them.

Sorry guys, I got worked up.

Schmidlap
Schmidlap Reader
11/18/09 10:24 a.m.

For those who haven't been to Detroit lately, it's probably difficult to realize just how much empty space there is in the city, so I found some pics.

Here's a Detroit neighbourhood in 1949:

and the same neighbourhood in 2003:

This is fairly typical of many of the neighbourhoods in Detroit.

Bob

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/18/09 10:38 a.m.
DrBoost wrote: The extent that I'd like to see the government support it is just to allow us to do their job. They shouldn't expect US to buy 3 or 4 houses at a time (even if it's just 5K each, that's alot), then tear it down ourselves, and haul it away ourselves when that's actually part of their job. They are supposed to keep the streets safe and clean and having 7 houses on a block of 12 being left vacant attracts rats, homeless, druggies, gangs and all other sorts of less than desirable things. I mean, when you are making meager wages while paying high city taxes you shouldn't be expected to spend copious amounts of money to clean up your own neighborhoods. I mean, growing up anytime we had a snowfall of more than 8" we'd have to hire our own snow removal service to clear our own streets even though the city has a huge fleet to do the same. I'm tired of the city expecting US to get them in shape while they keep squandering our tax dollars. They ask us to turn out porch lights on and do patrols on devils night while they turned off our freakin' street lights??? That's why I got the heck out. I would be willing to bend over backwards to help my government if they would do anything to help me help them. Sorry guys, I got worked up.

I see your point, and do agree that there is a lot of tax dollars that are going to waste. But look at the picture Bob posted, I'd say based on the houses, even WITH honest tax spending, there's 30% of the revenue vs. a couple of decades ago to even play with. They are corrupt, the problem is that they are corrupt with a whole lot less money.

The hardest thing for detroit to really do is finally realize that they are honestly a 750k resident community, and EVERYTHING has to be sized as such. The more rual various areas become, the more carefully the system has to be managed- must get down to core business- roads, lights, utilities, and police- and little else. Once that is stable, then you can re-define what the city can do.

In the mean time, that's where the blots come in. And the urban farming on said blots.

Eric

jrw1621
jrw1621 Dork
11/18/09 10:57 a.m.

Some googling brought more photos to compliment the areal shots given above. http://www.forgottendetroit.com/stcyrils/photos.html

Here is the same area, more recent via google maps
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Marcus+%26+St.+Cyril+Street+detroit&sll=42.393932,-83.02719&sspn=0.008494,0.019248&gl=us&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Marcus+Ave+%26+St+Cyril,+Detroit,+Wayne,+Michigan+48213&ll=42.396333,-83.02484&spn=0.017114,0.038495&t=h&z=15

If you saw the Clint Eastwood movie, Gran Torino, (filmed entirely in Detroit) some of the sceens were shot on Charlevoix street. The street sign can be seen in the background in a few of the sceens where he is in or near his pickup truck.

Map to that street:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Marcus+Ave+%26+St+Cyril,+Detroit,+Wayne,+Michigan+48213&daddr=charlevoix+st+detroit,+mi&geocode=FaTphgIdrRwN-yn_XlC9t9MkiDG8GEjGlcbSKw%3BFZh9hgIdHrIN-ylvtOWKX9QkiDHVLKvCy2JpVQ&gl=us&hl=en&mra=pe&mrcr=0&sll=42.368408,-82.988514&sspn=0.13596,0.307961&ie=UTF8&ll=42.378266,-82.999992&spn=0.067969,0.15398&t=h&z=13

carguy123
carguy123 Dork
11/18/09 11:13 a.m.

DrBoost but if you keep wanting THEM to do all that work for you then you'll never get rid of the high taxes. They more you do yourself and the less you ask of the govt. the less power they have over you.

John Brown
John Brown GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/18/09 12:01 p.m.
DrBoost wrote: ... but I hate KId Rock. He tries to make it out like he's some kinda rock and roll god and that's all he is is another wannabe white rapper. He does things for the city, but always makes sure it hits the press....

If you ever get a chance to see him do his "small band gigs" where he is playing the instruments you might actually believe he is a rock and roll god. I don't like how he started, and the fact that he whored his way to the top... but the little cooter can play.

DrBoost
DrBoost HalfDork
11/18/09 1:33 p.m.
carguy123 wrote: DrBoost but if you keep wanting THEM to do all that work for you then you'll never get rid of the high taxes. They more you do yourself and the less you ask of the govt. the less power they have over you.

It's the whole "chicken and the egg" here. How can you expect over-taxed folks to be able to afford to do your job as long as they have to pay the taxes for the job that isn't being done?
to simplify matters, where I live we do not have curb-side leaf pick up, you know, where they come by and vacuum them up for you. If next year they said they were going to start that service, and they'd be raising taxes XX amount, cool. But if I'm currently paying to have my leaves picked up and they decide to stop collecting them but don't drop my taxes, that's a source of irritation. Now imagine if you will that they never announced the stoppage of leaf pick up and just stopped picking them up. Now we have leaves all over the freaking place and were rightfully expecting them picked up. Now we have to hire another company to pick them up at our own expense, that kinda rubs many the wrong way. Now imagine you just spend considerable amounts of time and money getting these leaves picked up because the city won't, you come in the house after a long day of hauling leaves and see a story on the news about how the mayor paid 25K for a 1 year lease on a Lincoln Navigator and lied about it, while he (and his cronies) squander that leaf money day in and day out.

I guess I could have said all of that like this:
If I'm paying high taxes (and don't have the option of not paying said taxes) then I want what I'm paying for. I don't want the city asking me to help them provide these services in any way while I'm paying those taxes.

carguy123
carguy123 Dork
11/18/09 2:18 p.m.

At some point you have to break the cycle and you'll never break it by taking handouts. Using everyone's taxes to pay for your needs is a handout no matter what you call it.

It appears that Detroit has a unique opportunity to change things. I'm sure this type of thing is exactly the type of change Obam had in mind when he was making change his rallying cry.

Sometimes you have to break things to fix them. Detroit is broken so FIX it, don't just apply a band aid

DrBoost
DrBoost HalfDork
11/18/09 4:09 p.m.

Carguy, I might not understand where you are coming from so please excuse me if I'm getting WAAAY off the tangent here.
I don't see how expecting your tax dollars to actually do what they are slated to do is taking handouts. If I live in one of those houses pictured above in the 2003 photo you can assume I'm not making much money or I'd be living somewhere else. So, how am I supposed to get enough money together to buy a few lots, raze them and clean them up? And even if I could, how much difference would that make? There would have to be a whole bunch of us that were able to get enough money to buy lots, raze them and clean them up to make any appreciable difference. I counted about 11 houses out of 36 lots in the most poplulated block in that pic above. So, each homeowner will have to make his/her mortgage/rent AND purchase almost 4 lots, raze them and clean them up, and then you have one nice block in that he!! hole.
I agree, the cycle needs to be broken but with these circumstances the cycle has to be broken from the top. There does appear to be a glimmer of hope that that might just be happening.
It just seems to me you are pointing the finger at the people that expect their tax dollars to be working for them.
Either way, I'm glad I got out, and I'll never go back. I've been tempted to buy a whole block or two of Detroit real estate, build a house and be the king of my domain......until some gang comes in and kills me. The best part of that is that if a gang came in and killed me and took my stuff, they wouldn't know how to drive a RHD car so my mini would be safe, oh and you can't fit dubs on them, 12's is a stretch even.

Jensenman
Jensenman SuperDork
11/18/09 4:29 p.m.

About leaf money and Navigators: as long as corrupt politicians rule the city y'all will be screwed.

neon4891
neon4891 SuperDork
11/18/09 5:35 p.m.
Schmidlap wrote: I really like the idea of 'blots', and turning them into small farms. Here's a pic I found of an existing urban farm in Detroit. Bob

+111,000,000,000

John Brown
John Brown GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/19/09 6:11 a.m.
DrBoost wrote: Carguy, I might not understand where you are coming from so please excuse me if I'm getting WAAAY off the tangent here. I don't see how expecting your tax dollars to actually do what they are slated to do is taking handouts. If I live in one of those houses pictured above in the 2003 photo you can assume I'm not making much money or I'd be living somewhere else. So, how am I supposed to get enough money together to buy a few lots, raze them and clean them up? And even if I could, how much difference would that make? There would have to be a whole bunch of us that were able to get enough money to buy lots, raze them and clean them up to make any appreciable difference. I counted about 11 houses out of 36 lots in the most poplulated block in that pic above. So, each homeowner will have to make his/her mortgage/rent AND purchase almost 4 lots, raze them and clean them up, and then you have one nice block in that he!! hole. I agree, the cycle needs to be broken but with these circumstances the cycle has to be broken from the top. There does appear to be a glimmer of hope that that might just be happening. It just seems to me you are pointing the finger at the people that expect their tax dollars to be working for them. Either way, I'm glad I got out, and I'll never go back. I've been tempted to buy a whole block or two of Detroit real estate, build a house and be the king of my domain......until some gang comes in and kills me. The best part of that is that if a gang came in and killed me and took my stuff, they wouldn't know how to drive a RHD car so my mini would be safe, oh and you can't fit dubs on them, 12's is a stretch even.

... I can drive right handed...

DrBoost
DrBoost HalfDork
11/19/09 6:52 a.m.

Well, when do do the above plan, I'll put you in my will.

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