Showing posts from December, 2013

Detroit: Update On Emergency Manager

I don't consider myself a big fan of Emergency Managers. I try to focus on the problem and to solve it and right now I have not seen a better solution. Some say it is Democracy. The "democracy" that you speak of got the city in the trouble that it presently confronts. The Governor had to do something. There are 700,000 citizens of the state that he has a fiduciary responsibility to. He gave the city council the opportunity to enter into a consent agreement and they didn't. Mayor Bing seems to be a good, honest guy but he lacked the leadership skills to take the appropriate action. The City Council was busy fighting among themselves, the Mayor and the state. Snyder had to do something. Yes, he went about overturning the voters wishes in an inappropriate manner. (His initial mistake was to take for granted that the Emergency Manager law, as it was written, would be passed by the voters.) Yes he lined up Orr in the shadows and in my opinion made a mistake giving Orr

Detroit's Pensions

There is an excellent editorial in the Detroit Free Press regarding the emergency manager law and pensions that for the most part is correct. Here are some observations warranting consideration. It would be interesting to do the same analysis for the remainder of the state, especially in the Grand Rapids area. My guess is the problems are not as acute. 1. No way should the state offer backing for unfunded liabilities. All that would do is make it easier for local officials to enact laws that create unfunded liabilities with a possible result of putting the state's finances in peril. 2. Local pension funds should not be allowed to invest in local real estate or real estate backed loans. It is too tempting to rationalize such an investment will spur the economy. This puts the local pension manager in a conflict between doing his job of protesting the interests of the pensioners and trying to help the local economy. 3. All pensions need to switch to a defined contribution plan

Legacy Of Obama

I am disappointed not only with Obama, but also Krugman. Both talk about the need to implement programs like an increase in minimum wage to help the 99% but neither, especially the President, take action regarding free markets and capitalism that would make our economy more productive and rewarding for workers. Obama needs to make Teddy Roosevelt, the President who took on oil and railroad cartels at the beginning of the 20th century, one of his role models. Today our industries are not free. They are controlled by oligopolies, monopolies and huge multinational companies. These same company's and their leaders control our government through huge campaign contributions which are really legalized bribes. Obama not only did nothing about these bribes, he took part in them. The President still has the opportunity to be labeled great but he must do three things. 1. Do what it takes to get health care right. 2. Revive free markets and capitalism by start breaking up companies tha

What bankruptcy means to Detroit - NYTimes Video

Detroit Housing Population And Income

Everyone's focus in Detroit presently is on the bankruptcy. Someone needs to start planning for a city that has turned around and is growing. This will not happen without a plan and its time to develop and implement one. A turnaround will not happen without an increase in the city's population and average incomes. Blight needs removing, crime needs to be reduced and street lights turned on.  The bull dog, Dan Gilbert, is focused on blight removal and I am confident it will happen. The new police chief is making strides in crime reduction and there is focus, in no small part due to the laser beam attention of the Detroit Free Press, to get the street lights back on. Detroit has one advantage over other municipalities in the region, an available existing housing stock. It is not too early to draft plans on how best to utilize it to attract new residents and increase the average income of the city's population. This will require effort and creativity. The city and it

Detroit Where Was The Press

"...and how we’ll clear the clouded judgment — at every level of government — that tolerated a progressive failure, over six decades, of the state’s largest municipality....from the new mayor to the emergency manager, the governor, Legislature and City Council — has to commit to this as a beginning of hard work and cooperation, not an end.." Bankruptcy or not make Detroit Better, Detroit Free Press, December 3, 2013 There is another group needing to be held accountable, the press and mostly the two major newspapers of the city. Where were they during these six decades of mismanagement and corruption? The first amendment of the Constitution provides for the freedom of speech including freedom of the press. Over the centuries the citizens of this great country has looked to the press as the beacon of truth and justice. Where has the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News been in these sixty years of the city's mismanagement and corruption? Sure they can point to individual

Politics: Vocation or Advocation

The problem today is politics has become an advocation instead of a vocation. Republicans and many Democrats made the decision to place their political and personal desires and tactics ahead of governing the nation. Once a bill they oppose is passed they look for ways to sabotage it. The voters should be outraged. These tactics cost the country time, money and in many cases opportunity. Radicals have taken over my party. The GOP has gone from one with conservative principles seeking to do what is best for the nation to a party that is focused on winning elections at all cost, even if the cost is borne by the country and its citizens. They look at themselves as the ruling class. Their tactics extend beyond the issue they oppose. They oppose health care reform and in order to impose their will they block Presidential appointments for cabinet and judgeship positions. They also implement strategies to stall other unrelated legislation. I am a Republican and voted for the Republican

Common Core and College Acceptance

There is fear that the federal government could adjust how they measure  test results under Common Core but that does not mean a college must adjust how they determine who to accept. Today, your child already must meet certain standards not decided by parents. I agree the acceptance into college should not be decided by the government but rather the school should decide. Common Core is a recommended curriculum fostered by the federal government and surely it will evolve into one measure of a child's acceptability to get into college. I don't see what is wrong with this. We live in a competitive world and common core helps us understand how we are doing. I find burying ones head in the sand does not solve problems. There is a major flaw in comparing our nations results relative to most other nations. In our country the primary source of funding primary and secondary education is property taxes. In most other nations the primary source for funding education is some form of