Detroit, Water Bills, and Patterns of Decline
Maude Barlow is going to sic the UN on the USA if delinquent Detroit Water and Sewage Customers keep getting their water cut off. Never mind that, according to Curtrise Garner a Water Department spokeswoman, there are programs in place for those truly in need and that many customers come in the very next day after being cut off, and pay their bills. No, this all part of a fiendish “neoliberal” plan to hollow out Detroit. Say what? Neoliberal? The phrase is a transliteration of a Spanish (and European) expression that is equivalent to neocon. Maude Barlow has been hanging with too many Latin American leftist it seems. Understandable for the Chairperson of the very-left-of-center Council of Canadians who have offices in Ottawa, which would be in Ontario. Which would be in Canada. What was Maude doing in Detroit? She was there as part of a program to protect the Great Lakes as a bioregion worthy of preservation, presumably invited by local groups. While there, she heard of the horrible plight of delinquent customers who couldn’t quite find the time to pay their water bills. Detroit, Michigan, and the USA must be held accountable for this “travesty” according to Maude. A coalition of activist groups have filed a plea with the United Nations. If America does not respond to a UN intervention, it could affect the UN Universal Periodic Review of America. Just what Detroit needs to work its way out of bankruptcy and decades of decline; a review by UN bureaucrats.
Posted by AllardK at June 26, 2014 5:05 PM
Ok, so it's a publicity stunt by radical groups. But it's also indicative of the narrative firmly entrenched in some people's minds over what exactly has gone wrong in Detroit over the last 40 to 50 years. One would like to ask them if hollowing out includes billions and billions of taxpayer money handed to the Big Three. Whether it was money well spent can be debated, but the fact that the money was handed over cannot. People who resent free enterprise are naturally drawn to the narrative of a city betrayed by multinational corporate interests and big finance. In fact, it has been the taxpayer, grudgingly or willingly, handing over cash to troubled corporations and union workers. Perhaps economist Thomas Sowell could send Maude Barlow and her fellow Detroit activists a brief on his views on the city's long decline. The Detroit Pattern is his expression and refers to the city's habit of "raising taxes, harassing businesses, and pandering to unions." Scott Beyer's article in New Geography is a fascinating look at the problem and he traces a pattern of old fashioned top down politics in the post-war period that literally steamrolled neighborhoods and splintered a once relatively prosperous african american community and herded people into public housing projects converting what was once a high rate of home ownership into a resentful cauldron of renters. Yes, prejudice was part of it, but that other prejudice of those politicians that monolithic municipal policy was the cure for a once healthy city was as fatal if not more so for Detroit's future. Thomas Sowell started out radical and angry, and his path to libertarian views and the body of work he has built up over the years would serve well as a guide to those local activists in Detroit. For the UN bureaucrats, it's probably too late, but does that even matter to Detroit?