40 ways Metro Times changed Detroit (and beyond) over the past 40 years 

Page 3 of 41

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Pressure on Poletown

MT made a big splash just weeks after its debut with "Push comes to shove," a 1980 story about General Motors' takeover of the Poletown neighborhood to evict thousands and build what would become Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly. The move was championed by the Coleman Young administration and many in the mainstream media as a jobs creator that could help Detroit right its dire finances, but writer Michael Betzold questioned why a viable neighborhood had to be destroyed — with tax abatements. It was an issue that MT followed passionately throughout the years as a legal battle made it all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court, which eventually ruled in favor of GM. After all that, it stung last year when GM announced that it planned on shuttering the facility as part of a global cost-saving effort. Backlash ensued, and GM eventually changed course after discussions with the United Auto Workers union; now it plans to transform it into "Factory Zero," a state-of-the-art facility that will make electric and self-driving cars. It's likely that without the hell that MT and other outlets raised over the issue through the years, GM might have gotten away with it, too.



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