Monday, September 1, 2008

Wasn't this supposed to be a day off?

You tune back in after a few days of silence and look what you get: Way too much. I must have my calendar wrong; no way this is a national holiday. Do over.

Let's see: GOP campaign in teen pregnancy shock, Louisiana in hurricane shock, anarchists in downtown St. Paul, Obama in downtown Detroit, and wait - is that guy still the Mayor?

We need a holiday from our holiday. Though, the Obama campaign certainly had itself a pleasant Labor Day, getting the candidate in and out of Detroit without the media noticing.

Not only that, and they did it without having him actually make a speech (must credit Gustav!) that would have no doubt been rather disappointing anyway, seeing as Democrats trying to win national elections tend to try to downplay things like Detroit, party scandals and party scandals involving Detroit. It leads to a bad place. A place where people start asking questions, such as, "Didn't There Used To Be A City There," " Didn't This Happen On Their Watch?" and finally, "Wait, Is That Guy Still The Mayor?"

Beyond the drama, though, the city appears to be squeezing some fun out of the holiday. One resents this.

Labor Day is one of those weekends where all the things you love most about Downtown Detroit - convenient parking, light traffic - are nowhere to be found. Jazz, baseball, parades, and, 'round the way, that little race thing they paved over Belle Isle for....these things bring crowds. Which makes Detroit like other places. It is all so normal and stifling.

Speaking of downtowns (and also, normal and stifling), in all the business both national and local, political and unimportant, a Friday story caught my eye: Troy may not be getting a downtown after all. This downtown would have featured shopping. Shopping that retail-starved Troy so desperately needs.

Not so fast, said the state -- no more tax breaks. (It's too busy giving them to Hollywood, you see.) The Virginia-based developer is threatening to walk. Bye.

Leads one to wonder: If Troy needs a downtown to feel good about itself (having a road called Big Beaver isn't enough?) then it really is true -- low crime rates do not necessarily buy you happiness. Someone should embroider that on pillows and start selling them door to door in Detroit. Where there is already a downtown.

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