Is Coleman Young to blame for Detroit's decline into bankruptcy? Or Ronald Reagan? Or LBJ? A recent Detroit News special report on the topic has the region talking. )
We all share blame
Re: Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson and Louis Aguilar’s Oct. 4 Special Report, “Six decades in Detroit”: It doesn’t matter how you lay the story out. The naysayers on both sides already have their minds made up and won’t change. They have their specific boogeyman and that person is the cause for all of the city’s ills. Folks will forget there was a riot in 1943. They will claim the Big Four and STRESS policing tactics were a godsend. They will blame liberals and their progressive policies, never thinking that liberals took hold because of the restrictive policies of their predecessors. We have people who believe that as long as there is a black person running the business it has to be good. They believe we have to guarantee contracts to black-owned businesses, never thinking that maybe there isn’t a black-owned business with the resources to fill the contract.
James Foster, Mesquite, Texas
'Ruin of a great nation'
So what’s the point of all the finger pointing? What happens now? How does this vital and dynamic place resurrect itself? Any ideas? Has anyone got anything positive or creative to add? Point and be partisan all you want, this gets nothing done, which many here seem to be OK with. Partisanship on both sides is the ruin of a great nation and Detroit is the canary in the mine shaft.
Don Dawkins, Sarasota, Fla.
What can be done? You have to convince people to move back to the city, or get people to move completely out of it and shut it down completely. You won’t get the former to happen unless there is a huge financial incentive, and people would have to feel safe. I don’t see this happening. As for the latter, maybe that makes the most sense. At least shrink the city down to the point that city services can match the people’s needs.
Tony Vandeliner, Chesterfield Township
The road map to rebuilding
Kudos to The Detroit News team that put together the special supplement Six Decades which chronicled those years of Detroit’s decline. As a former resident who was born, raised and educated in the city, I can totally identify with those times. Sadly, no matter how many buildings Dan Gilbert buys downtown or how many sports arenas the Ford and Ilitch families pack in, or how many casinos encircle the city, the decline will continue by not being able to provide basic services for the residents, such as safe and clean neighborhoods, good schools, and a responsive, non-corrupt, competent city governance.
Andy Herman, Madison Heights
The best of times
Good article, thank you. I lived on Chalmers during the ’60s. It was a beautiful neighborhood with large families, many of whom went to St. Martin’s church. Four of my children were raised there and have great memories of the neighborhood. One kid from the neighborhood, Theresa Abed, is now a state of Michigan Representative from the 71st District. We all love Detroit as it was and defend it to all the critics. It was a set of circumstances that led to Detroit’s demise, not the least of which was the Detroit-Only busing plan, which caused many of us whites to move away.
Bob Dickerson, Clinton Twp.
The free market won
Abandonment? People have the freedom to move and live where they choose. I don’t think it’s fair to call those choices “abandonment.” As Detroit continues to improve it’s “product” (as I believe it is), more people will buy their “product” by moving back into the city (as we’re seeing downtown). That is how free markets work and how good communities are formed and develop, through freedom of choice.
Richard Scott Champine, Detroit
How is it we have a several-page analysis of Detroit’s failure and the root cause, liberalism, is never even mentioned? Answer: Because liberals are doing the “analysis” and liberalism is never at fault.
Jon Etnyre, Sterling Heights
Get past the past
When I read these bitter, closed-minded comments on The News’ website, I stop and thank my lucky stars that I left Detroit in my rearview mirror in 1976. The city could be a great place. It will never be, though, until the stench of racism is washed down the drain. And I don’t see that happening.
Mark Proulx, Des Moines, Wash.
Another satisfied reader
This is a fantastic series. My hat is off. Thank you. I’m jealous. This material is the opposite of what Nolan Finley and Daniel Howes stand for. So I’m impressed, but confused about The Detroit News.
Chris McCarus, Lansing
Troubled race relations
This city has a hell of a history. Race relations it seems has always been a problem in this area. I just wonder what will the future bring? Keep hope alive.
Al Porter, Detroit
Detroit voters have always been stupid, whether they were voting for Louis Miriani or Coleman Young or Kwame Kilpatrick. But then, American voters re-elected Reagan, who assured us big government projects at home were failures, while pumping billions of our tax dollars into big government support of Islamofascists in Afghanistan and real fascists in Central America ... Do you really believe the airplanes that shipped arms to thugs in Central America came back empty? If you lived in Detroit in the ’80s, you know where that crack came from.
Allan Barnes, Los Angeles