Less than a year ago, Detroit extended the hours of downtown parking enforcement till 10 pm. Making parking onerous and expensive is a great way to send people looking for a free, open space off where they know they can find one.
The key for all of us in Michigan is that the auto industry not only survived the Great Recession, but today is leading our economic recovery. Jobs are being added and new products are being introduced.
If Detroit wants to stabilize and grow its economy, buses, rapid buses, and light rail must all be included in Detroit's regional transportation system. If Detroit only supports a basic bus system, we will remain a third-class city.
Now that City Council approved the consent agreement, the real work begins. We must put meat on the bones to create a restructuring plan.
We need to encourage the mayor and the council to insist on their authority to make decisions. If the state is unwilling to protect the elected officials, we encourage the city to declare bankruptcy.
Even with the February 29 delivery of over 226,000 signatures to a petition to overturn Public Act 4, there has been another brave and bold attempt to overthrow the law.
Is democracy a luxury good in America, discarded when the going gets rough? Apparently Michigan's Gov. Rick Snyder thinks so.
Folks, it's time to just shut up and focus on what's coming at us across that metaphorical Dardanelles Strait. If the walls are breached, it really won't matter whose fault it is or how it happened. We'll all be in a bad way.
The concept of emergency management, as pushed forward by Gov. Snyder, is deeply flawed. It is a draconian attempt at a solution to a problem caused in large part by policies and circumstances not promulgated at the local level.
If the proper mix of solutions work in Detroit, there will be a recipe for success that will help to guide other major cities with problems very similar to ours.
Emergency managers have the ability to make policy changes that are not necessarily politically popular, but are considered to be in the best interest of the city and its residents.
To abort Public Act 4, before it has been allowed an opportunity to be assessed, would be unfortunate, not only for the communities it is specifically designed to help, but for other communities that would benefit indirectly.
I believe that as emergency manager, I can be most effective if I communicate frankly with all District stakeholders. I have a controlled "open door" policy.
I have been an emergency manager under both Public Act 4 and its predecessor Act. The major drawback I had operating under Act 72 was that the process of restoring fiscal stability took too much time.
While there are notable exceptions, for the most part both local Michigan units of government and schools have done whatever was necessary to remain fiscally sound under very difficult circumstances.
What was lacking in the State of the City speech was not so much the specifics, but the inability of the mayor to follow through on the recognition that we need to think very differently about where we are and what we need to do.