Thursday, January 29, 2009

Another banner week, I see

Where to start, really, with the week or so that was. Forget the snow, or the fact that you had to go to the suburbs to see what a salted road looks like. Forget the fact that the FBI is crawling all over Detroit. (MaryheartofJesusqueenofScotspleaselet thembecomingforMissMonicanext.)

So too, forget the kid who got sexually assaulted in some godforsaken east side s--- hole after trying to get into his apartment on Kirby Street the other night. Never mind that another old person died after being beaten during yet another home invasion over near Henry Ford Hospital and nobody really talked about it at all, kind of like the last time this happened a couple of months ago.

No - this one. This one is the one. The one that just makes you want to tear your hair out. Really, Detroit. Fuck.

(Interestingly, C LeD doesn't seem to be feeling so charitable towards Matty Maroun all of a sudden. Guess seeing a dead body sticking out of the ice in an abandoned building will ruin a guy's day like that.)


LN said...

I've been reading about Matty Maroun after reading this column, and I admit I had not previously heard of the guy. Wow.

Having lived most of my life in 'low-income' urban areas, I think, personally, there is more to city decay than poverty and lack of work; big ingredients are absentee landlords and 'real estate investors'. One of the failed factory burgs I used to live in had its central area strangled by a collection of mob-aligned dirtbags sitting on almost every important and useful piece of land in the city.

These guys lived in wealthy towns miles away, and simply sat on a huge collection of empty buildings they did nothing to maintain, effectively holding the city hostage for decades. They refused to sell, refused to improve, and the cost of suing them would have bankrupted the city.

So their crumbling and polluted buildings sat, blocking valuable and critical arteries, until the very possibility of turnaround had long vanished.

David said...

You're right - there's much more to the story than poverty and lack of jobs, particularly here. Matty Maroun is actually local, for all intents and purposes; many of the "investors" in the city have never actually been to see their property. Detroit isn't alone in this scenario - Downtown Niagara Falls, NY for example, is part owned by Canadian investors whose only interest is keeping it from becoming competitive with the crap they own across the river.

I think everyone knows what needs to be done - strict enforcement to make sure empty and abandoned buildings either remain secure or come down. But frankly, in a town where we can't really afford to salt the roads, enforce the law or respond in a timely fashion to 911 calls, this is a bit of a luxurious topic of discussion.