Video: A night to remember in Detroit

politics | Aug 21, 2016 | By Martin Barillas

Once one of the most prosperous and populated cities in the world, which draw immigrants from around the world who sought good-paying jobs in the automotive and defense industries, Detroit has become the global by-word for political dysfunction and urban decay. The city is bankrupt and depending on influxes of cash from the State of Michigan, while the public schools are bankrupt too. Detroit Public Schools are turning out defective products: 96 percent of eighth graders are not proficient in mathematics and 93 percent are not proficient in reading. According to Gov. Rick Snyder, teachers' unions, and Democrats, this can only be resolved by pumping in $715 million in state tax dollars. Critics note that corruption has been rampant, not only in city government but also the schools, thus questioning the appropriateness of such an allocation of funds.

Crime is an issue, too. In 2014, the FBI determined that Detroit has the highest murder and violent crime rate of any major city in the United States. An FBI Uniform Crime Reporting statistics released in May of that year showed, that Detroit had 316 murders and non-negligent manslaughters in 2013: a rate of 45 per 100,000 people. The pace has hardly abated. 

Detroit's 2013 Chapter 9 bankruptcy is the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in American history. The amount of the bankruptcy is estimated to be between 18 to 20 billion, dollars, surpassing the filing for Jefferson County, Alabama, of $4-billion in 2011.

The city's population was approximately 1.6 million in 1960, thus making it the fifth largest city in country, not including its extensive suburbs. The population in 2010 was 711,000, representing a considerable drop from 1 million in 1990.

It has been noted for corruption and political intransigence. A former mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, remains in prison on corruption charges. The city was under state management, while its school system remains under state tutelage.

Here below is a brief video that provides perspective on the state of the city, which struggles to emerge decades of decay. The mayor and the city council are Democrat, and have been for decades. Federal funds continue flowing in for projects such as a street car system, while city infrastructure is breaking down, as evidenced by a disastrous flood of 2014 that highlighted an antiquated drainage and sewer system.



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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