Mayor Dave Bing is wasting precious time trying to reconstitute his staff after the latest administrative meltdown. Bringing in a new cadre of managers into a government so deeply tangled in a self-destructive web of mismanagement and misdirection would be like recruiting new clowns for a three-ring circus.

Only state-sponsored intervention can stop the madness.

For the record, Mayor Bing is not to blame for Detroit’s becoming the worst run city in America. He inherited a city that had already crossed over into a social and economic abyss from which it is impossible to recover under the current structure. Recycling appointees only re-circulates failed ideas.

Anyone who still believes Bing has the answers to the city’s problems need only look at the history and the prevailing trends. There for all to see is a city neither politically stable nor economically viable.

Detroit has a tradition of poorly conceived, budget-busting projects, a transportation system that can’t even keep pace with the city’s mushrooming $150 million deficit, and not enough revenue coming in to feed the voracious appetite of government.

The legislative branch does not efficiently monitor departments and programs to determine if they are needed or well managed. Yet nothing seems to be able to shake the council out of its general lack of effectiveness, personal misconduct and general intellectual rigor mortis.

Just when you thought the budget submitted by Mayor Bing couldn’t get worse, the one council approved proved everyone wrong. Indeed, the council cut police and fire budgets when the city is a leader in murder and other violent crimes. Arsons are epidemic.

The breathtaking scale of job loss and its painful consequences for Detroit paint a picture of blight that isn’t erased by the bulldozer. The consequences of abandonment are a quality of life that working families with children have found unacceptable.

Detroit faces a bleak future in terms of having an educated work force sufficient to attract business, ease unemployment and elevate Detroit from the ranks of the poorest cities in America. As schools wither and perish from neglect and indifference, the proliferation of unskilled workers intensifies Detroit’s free-fall into Third World abyss.

Paternalistic social spending imposes considerable costs on government to meet the needs of the unemployed or unemployable. Drug use, illiteracy, health problems, including infant mortality are among the highest in the nation. Detroit’s recovery, though, cannot solely be viewed in terms of improvement in social conditions.

The most conspicuous of Detroit’s staggering disabilities are its disincentives for investment, whether suffocating taxes or onerous regulations heaped on potential and existing businesses. Add a disappearing tax base and a bond rating that is “junk” status, and the picture becomes clear that the “hope and change” strategy of Detroit leaders has failed to be a working formula for generating investment.

The adoption of free market, investor-friendly policies that liberate businesses might begin the reversal of capital flight. This government has no interest in that.

Outsourcing some city services would quell fears of an expropriating government and improve business confidence. But this government’s philosophy historically has been to “wait until the national economy improves” or the next handout from Lansing or Washington.

To be clear: Detroit’s poor performance and image isn’t a function of the “malevolent” media. The city simply provides too few of the things that give order and meaning to people. Hiring someone to hype the few successes in isolation from what’s happening in the rest of the city is an exercise in self-deception.

Gov. Rick Snyder must face the fact that political solutions are beyond the reach of this mayor and the council. They are the pallbearers of a dying city. The question is not whether an emergency financial manager should be appointed — but how soon can he or she get here to put a merciful end to the madness.

Also see: http://detnews.com/section/miview

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7 COMMENTS

  1. I agree that Detroit is in need of a Emergency Financial Manager, however the politics should be taken out of the selection process. In NO way should Mayor Bing or any other elected official be considered for the job nor anyone who is considered a political operative. The only way this process would work is if a national search was done and the interview process was open and transparent. Detroit’s survival depends on an untainted process for the EFM.

  2. Interesting to have someone who leans right suggesting government should remove elected officials. Confused. Thought you advocated for less government.

    I don’t think a state takeover is the answer. I totally agreed that recycling appointees is the definition of insanity in Detroit government. However, I would rather open the gate to more skilled talent from the outside. I would, perhaps, seek to attract some of the grads of Harvard Kennedy School. This would be done by approaching corporations, where they may be employed, to see if they would be willing to loan some of their talent to help Detroit work its way out of the abyss you described. The idea already is being floated with the suggestion that the DMC’s Emery King be “loaned” to the city.

    State takeovers doom democracy. One vote. One person. I voted in the last election and would like for my participation to be meaningful.

    Interesting to have someone who leans right suggesting government should remove elected officials. Confused. Thought you advocated for less government.

    I don’t think a state takeover is the answer. I totally agreed that recycling appointees is the definition of insanity in Detroit government. However, I would rather open the gate to more skilled talent from the outside. I would, perhaps, seek to attract some of the grads of Harvard Kennedy School. This would be done by approaching corporations, where they may be employed, to see if they would be willing to loan some of their talent to help Detroit work its way out of the abyss you described. The idea already is being floated with the suggestion that the DMC’s Emery King be “loaned” to the city.

    State takeovers doom democracy. One vote. One person. I voted in the last election and would like for my participation to be meaningful.

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