I read your article on the recent census number for the city of Detroit ("What the Numbers Mean," March 30), and I couldn't agree more with the premise that the city has failed to do what's necessary to retain and attract middle-class families. In 2007, a local daily newspaper ran a front page story featuring my family, titled "Detroit Can't Afford to Lose This Family." Well, now, roughly four years later, as my wife and I contemplate purchasing a new home, we have begun giving increasing consideration to the idea of leaving Detroit, if not Michigan altogether.
Make no mistake about it: As someone who was raised by a judge who had the honor of being elected to the Recorders Court bench several times, Detroit pride is part of my DNA, and it's why after graduating from Howard University — and against the advice of others — I chose to come back to Detroit to be part of the rebirth occurring under Dennis Archer. In 2000, I married my college sweetheart (a Chicago native) and convinced her to move to Detroit. I promised her that — despite the lack of a regional mass transit system or a bustling downtown complete with top-notch eateries, a movie theatre, grocery store or retail outlets — Detroit was a city on the precipice of a major comeback. I also promised her that if Detroit hadn't turned around in five years, we would move. In 2005, we purchased our first home in Detroit, and at the time I made another promise to my wife: If the schools weren't in better shape by the time our daughter was school-age, we would leave Detroit. My daughter was born in 2006, and, in the years since then, we have experienced several attempted car thefts, an attempted home invasion, and increased insurance rates and declining property values. The straw that broke the camel's back, however, was our realization that if our daughter was going to get a top-notch education in a safe and well-resourced school, DPS was out of the question. Ultimately, we decided to enroll our daughter in a Cornerstone school on Nevada ( a very inconvenient drive from our house). Currently, the cost for a student to attend Cornerstone is close to $5,000 a year, not including extracurricular activities or latch-key programs. Assuming the tuition stays the same for the next eight years (unlikely), we will have paid close to $45,000 for our daughter's elementary education. That's $45,000 that could have been invested in an IRA for our retirement or a college savings plan for our daughter's college education.
In closing, it is next to impossible to make a case for a married couple with children to live in Detroit unless you are arguing from a purely emotional position, but when you take the emotion out of the equation and consider what's in the best economic interest of your family, the only conclusion you can arrive at is to leave Detroit. —Dalton Roberson Jr., Detroit
In defense of Hash Bashes
Re: Jan Kruszewski's letter to the editor ("Because I got high," April 13), whoa, there! Crawl down off your "high" horse for a minute, Jan.
I was at the 40th anniversary of the Ann Arbor Hash Bash.
I reject the war on American citizens and the families it has broken, the lives it has ruined, and the cities it has destroyed.
I hadn't been to the "bash" in 20 years, but this one seemed to be the one to attend, given it was a major anniversary, and the recent changes in Michigan toward compassionate Medical Marijuana use.
I've been an active union member for more than 20 years.
I attend rallies when I can.
I write to my representatives, sign petitions, call my Senators.
I even got a Christmas card from the White House with President Obama and his family (and dog) in front of the fireplace.
Ahhh, good memories, those!
If you are one of those who have been in the fight for awhile, thank you.
If you are just joining us, well, thank you too.
The 40th Anniversary of the Hash Bash only comes around once.
It was the first time I'd been out of the house for something other than a doctor's visit all winter.
My friends pushed me around in a wheelchair and we all had a great time.
Six thousand people and not a single fight. People helping me get over curbs, clearing the way ahead for me too.
I saw a world that was possible, with an industry and opportunities that would burst wide open; from farmers, to textiles, to a viable, renewable, clean energy source, and a cottage industry to serve them all.
There are a lot of good causes to stand up for. Don't pick just one.
I've got a feeling the worker's rallies and pickets are just getting started and will crescendo till summer — at which time I hope the good people of this great country will have become tired of the B.S. and take back our country from the banks and corporations, and the crooked politicians who are in their pockets.
Hope to see you on the line. —Jamie Walker, Garden City
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