Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Hard to believe this is America, but it is"

Ms. Marabel Cannon of 461 Robinwood, Detroit is dead. Her body has been lying in the county morgue for nearly five months now, waiting to be claimed. She was 81.

One of the last residents on her block just south of the Chaldean Town strip on 7 Mile, Cannon was the subject of a Fox Problem Solvers segment last summer.

Even though there are nearly-dead blocks like hers all over the city, a little old white lady on her front stoop talking about the same-old, same-old (shootings, drugs, lawlessness, no response from the city, dying neighborhood) made for great television. A guy from some Initiative Community Partnership Organization Foundation thingy even came out to be interviewed about how dope houses make him sad, also.

Of course, the video went up on You Tube. Lots of people saw it. Who didn't see it: Anybody Ms. Marabel belonged to, because nothing ever happened and she died as she ended up living: Alone. At Christmas.

Charlie LeDuff mentions Cannon's death in his column today, which goes deeper into the Robinwood story and restates that can't-be-stated-enough awful truth, that nobody knows exactly how many abandoned structures there are in the city, because "nobody has ever bothered to count." Apparently, also, council managed to magically re-appropriate $9 million of a $32 mil start-tearing-shit-down grant that came from Washington. The money went, quel surprise, to a bunch of ministers who will help get these council members re-elected, because we all know that this ain't just a ghost town, this is a Holy Ghost town.

Anyhow. The remaining residents of Robinwood between Woodward and John R told LeDuff that just five years ago, things were relatively okay, and, just like that, everything goes to hell. This seems a little extreme. Then again, he did get the city ombudsman on record saying that the whole affair was "insanity." That and a cop referring to the area as "Vietnam," his partner at the same time musing that while it was hard to believe this was America, indeed it was.

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