The legacy continues! Congrats Dan! Is there a smarter guy outta Flint? Perhaps not!
In his political pictures, he's always clean-shaven and smiling. Every other time I've seen him, including in person, he's had a beard and a scowl. I've always perceived the latter to be an indication that he doesn't suffer fools or foolishness gladly, and perceives much of each in the social conditions he'd like to fix and the actions of the involved populace and their governments.It'll be interesting to see if he re-grows the beard now that he's in Congress for as long as he wants to stay. A somewhat-more-bushy beard served Phil Hart well,
Hey Gordie....when I first moved to Bassett Place, Dan was a neighbor of mine...not for long but he did live there.
Dave, I think that was Mike Kildee, Dan's younger brother. He lived next door to us on Bassett in the Procuniers old house.
I consider this to be a political thread, which Gordon has said he tries to avoid. I cannot support a candidate who does not have a commitment to restoring Flint the way that Detroit politicians want to restore Detroit, regardless of whether the goal is attainable. The Land Bank ideas just about guarantee that Flint and the surrounding areas will never have value added goods and services produced again. Green and Sustainable are euphemisms for negative growth.
Anonymous, I guess I'm trying to steer away from the broad political attacks that have nothing to do with policy and are not fact based. I know I'm probably not being consistent, but your comment raises some valid concerns about land use and urban planning. I'm all for discussing urban planning issues.You raise some of the concerns many have with land banks and the shrinking city concept. Even if you agree with the approach intellectually — and many don't — it's tough to embrace it emotionally, as I wrote in my profile of Dan Kildee in Slate. During the research for my book, I talked to dozens of urban planners and citizens about the concept. There's certainly not universal agreement on it in Flint or elsewhere.A few thoughts based on my research:1. Dave Bing's approach to removing the blight in Detroit is more or less Dan Kildee's in Flint. Bing is using the land bank legislation created by Kildee and passed in the Michigan legislature. In other words, although the shrinking city concept emerged in Germany following reunification, Kildee basically invented it in Michigan. Kildee has worked with the city of Detroit on implementing the plan. So I don't think it's accurate to say that Bings approach is dramatically different from what Kildee implemented in Flint.2. I'd say that if a goal is obviously unattainable, then it doesn't make a lot of sense to spend large sums of money to attain it. Flint has been losing jobs and population since about 1968. (In fact, Flint was losing population long before the jobs started disappearing. The city had an abandonment problem when there was peak employment.) That's a long time of trying to rebuild the local economy to what it was with no success. I'm not sure local leaders accepting that Flint will not be a city with 250,000 jobs and an industrial job base anytime soon is such a bad thing.3. Kildee is very vocal about maintaining that his approach was NOT an economic model. He has never indicated that urban gardens or green space created after blight is removed would create jobs. He describes the plan as battlefield surgery. It's the first step toward making the city stable enough to attract jobs.I hate to see Flint's houses disappearing, but I also had to see abandoned houses turning into dope cribs and targets for arson. They are dangerous and make conditions worse for the good neighbors sticking it out. There's no money to preserve them, and no people to live in them. If you don't tear them down, what exactly do you do with them?
The Detroit Area as a whole, but perhaps not the City of Detroit, saw a slowing of the decline of the auto industry in the late 1980s and beyond at Flint's expense. Plants were consolidated, and there were few commuting options from the Flint area except the Orion Plant, some Pontiac facilities and perhaps the limited extension of Oldsmobile in Lansing. Oldsmobile and Pontiac are gone now. But the political clout of Detroit and Lansing compared to Flint was the reason. I used to hear people say the the people in Flint were stupid and that's why GM had to move out. Michael Moore, while most disagree with his political solutions, was right about GM targeting Flint. Now the repeated phrase is that the people of America are stupid. No one saw "Roger and Me" as prophetic for America. Just for Flint. That may have been a mistake.
Thanks for commenting. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at www.teardownbook.com.