Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Flint and the Generation Gap


Aaron M. Renn has a fascinating post on The Urbanophile blog about the way different generations view cities. You can see these generational divides played out in the comment section of Flint Expatriates and on Facebook. Baby Boomers tend to have very different opinions about the past, present and future of Flint than Gen-X'ers. The Millennials, who have only experienced the Vehicle City during its socioeconomic death spiral often seem bemused by all the old timers' talk of Flint's glory days. These contrasting viewpoints can lead to real conflict as residents and local leaders try to map out the path to a better Flint in the future.

Renn writes:
Gen-X and the Millennials have a much more optimistic and positive views of urban areas than baby boomers and previous generations. I think this results from the rupture that those earlier generations experienced when our urban cores declined. If you read a newspaper interview of someone in that age bracket, you always here the stories about the wonderful things they did in the city when they were younger. It was the land of good factory jobs, the downtown department store where their mothers took them in white gloves for tea, of the tidy neighborhoods, the long standing institutions and rituals – now all lost, virtually all of it. Unsurprisingly, this has turned a lot of people bitter. Many people saw everything they held dear in their communities destroyed, and they were powerless to stop it. These people are never going to be able to enter the Promised Land.

For people about my age or younger, it’s a very different story. None of us knew any of those things. Our experience is totally different. We’ve basically never known a city that wasn’t lost. Gen-X, which Jim Russell views as the heartland of Rust Belt Chic, is a generation defined by alienation, so the alienated urban core suits our temperament perfectly. The Millennials of course have a very different attitude towards cities.

I don’t see any signs of the older generations getting through the grieving process and moving on. This makes me think that for us to fully embrace a true urban policy, even in city government itself, it is going to take generational turnover. The baby boomers are already starting to age, but they’ll be with us a lot longer. Alas, they have historically been the most suburban generation, and not shy about imposing their values, so I suspect we’ll be dealing with that legacy for a while. Still, as time goes on, we’ll have more and more people seeing the city with fresh eyes, and only knowing it when there’s reason for hope and optimism. That by itself will be a building force for change and new directions over time, until the true changing of the guard arrives.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Jim Abbott Tells His "Imperfect" Story


 If you haven't already, check out Flint Expatriate and Central High grad Jim Abbott's excellent book, Imperfect: An Improbable Life. You don't have to love baseball to enjoy this book about Flint, fatherhood, and living a meaningful life. (Although the baseball sections are really great, as well.)
"The lives of many of the breadwinners in the cul-de-sacs and verdant streets near Burroughs Park would change in the 1980s, just as they would all over Flint, when General Motors began boarding up its manufacturing plants. For decades a man in Flint could chart his course from the playground to high school to an assembly line or management job at GM, the path their fathers and grandfathers had taken to middle-class stability. When the jobs disappeared, so too did Flint's hope, and the street corners that had been edgy in my father's youth became strictly off-limits in mine."

Friday, November 23, 2012

Lions Lose...Creatively!

If the purpose of instant replay, which destroys the rhythm of the games and drains all excitement out of the matchups, is to get the calls right, why would you ever negate automatic review because a coach throws the challenge flag? I guess the review isn't "automatic" after all. This one just may be more ridiculous than the tuck rule. How idiotic do NFL rules have to get before people stop watching?

Flint Artifacts: Genesee County American Cancer Society Bike-A-Thon

We could all use a little exercise today.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Color Coordinating in San Francisco


Think your truck is big and impressive? I bet it's not as big and impressive as this Chevrolet Apache I spotted parked in San Francisco's West Portal neighborhood today. And I bet your truck isn't color-coordinated with your house.




Thursday, November 15, 2012

Flint Photos: Livin' Large


You may remember this Buick Century wagon from an earlier post in mid August. At one time, it seemed like half the families in Flint owned this impressive ride. Now it appears to be following me around the streets of San Francisco. Or I'm following it, and its two owners, who just might be living in the car.

Flint Expatriate Robert "Bobby" Stanzler, the man who created Made in Detroit, is having a holiday event at Detroit Mercantile, his emporium of all-things-Michigan located in Detroit's Eastern Market.
Metro Times and Detroit Mercantile invite you to attend the Merry Market on December 15th and 16th.

HOLIDAY SHOPPING featuring 20 Detroit and Michigan art, design, vintage, and antique vendors + Detroit Mercantile Company's assortment of new and vintage USA/MI-made items.

FESTIVE BEVERAGES will be available for purchase both days, including Cider, Nog, beer, and liquor libations.

ON-SITE food trucks will be on hand serving lunch and dinner fare for purchase.

A portion of proceeds will benefit a local charity.

FREE admission. Please join us! You're sure to find something for EVERYONE on your list!

Flint School District Debt

The Flint School District is officially facing a $4 million deficit. Sounds bad, but it's actually much worse than that. Blake Thorne of mlive reports that an audit recently revealed that the district is really $11 million in the red.
The budget for the Genesee Area Skill Center is, and has for years, concealed a larger deficit in the district's K-12 general fund, said several board members and Mike Frawley of Yeo & Yeo, the accounting firm which conducted the audit.

The GASC is a vocational program operated by the district but serving students throughout the county and operating as a separate school. 

However, Frawley said, the state considers the deficit to be $4 million and the GASC budget has been allowed to be included in the general fund for more than 30 years.

"We're lying to ourselves," said board member Vera Perry. "We have to stop lying to ourselves and face it head on."
Board member Isiah Oliver agreed, saying the district has to face the deeper structural problems of an $11 million shortfall.

"I'm bothered, not as much at the $11 million, but by the fact that I'm digging to get someone to say that's the reality," Oliver said. "If that's the case, let's just deal with it."


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dan Kildee Wins

A Kildee will still be representing the Flint area in Congress. This time it's Dan instead of Dale.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Calling Woody Woods

If Woody Woods of Touch Boutique fame is out there, shoot me an email. I have some old friends from Mexico who want to get in touch.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Happy Birthday, Big Mama!


It's time to wish Pat Young — our most loyal reader and contributor — a happy birthday. She was born at Hurley Hospital in 1930 and graduated from Flint Central in 1947. She stays in great shape by restraining her highly trained attack dog, Rob Roy, and writing about old Flint, the Sill Building, and etiquette lessons. Happy birthday, Mom!



Thursday, November 1, 2012

2012 World Series: Just Walk Away

Many readers have mentioned that they would like an original painting to commemorate the 2012 World Series. Well, I may have found just the thing, courtesy of artists Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber.