It can't happen here
I read with some interest "Can it work here?" (Metro Times, June 4) by Larry Gabriel. Minneapolis' success at sustaining its neighborhoods and attracting businesses in minority areas didn't happen overnight, as the article pointed out. But the key to the whole program is investment. Minneapolis, a much more racially diverse city than Detroit, accepted suburban generosity and money rather than telling them to go away.
Detroit used to have top-notch schools. Now, we have the worst big-city public school system in America and maybe the world. We used to have a fantastic parks and recreation system (Detroit was the American bid city for the 1968 Olympics). We used to be the fourth largest city in America and in the top 50 in the world. Now, we are 12th and not even in the top 100. In the past 35 years we have had two mayors who drove the divisions between city and suburbs even further into the point of no return. Our current mayor is of the mindset of entitlement and has played the race card in his ongoing fight to keep his "mission from God."
Mr. Gabriel's brother says he feels safe in Minneapolis. He should. It is a wonderful city with a lot to offer and a government that realizes the importance of "that which is good for the goose is good for the gander." In the meantime, Detroit is turning into a vast wasteland, where opportunists and their minons prey on the downtrodden and view outsiders with distrust and paranoia. So, the answer to the question posed by Mr. Gabriel, "Can it work here?" In the short term, no. In the long term, highly unlikely. There are too many obstacles to overcome in either case. But the biggest one is attitude and a willingness to accept that we all have a stake in this city. —Kent Anderson, Sterling Heights
A recent letter ("Losing all hope," Letters to the Editor, Metro Times, June 4) laments that while 97 million Americans voted in American Idol, not nearly as many will participate in the next presidential election. Actually, 122 million votes were cast in the 2004 election. This amounted to about 60 percent of those eligible.
Much ado is made about low voter turnout, but that focuses attention on the wrong problem. If someone doesn't have the motivation to spend a few minutes casting a vote on Election Day, they certainly don't have the motivation to educate themselves on the candidates. If everything you know about a candidate comes from a handful of television ads, stay home. In addition, a voter's responsibility doesn't end with knowing a candidate's positions on the issues. Understanding the Constitution and the proper, limited role of government in society should be prerequisites. Of course if that were the case, McCain, Obama and Clinton would never have made it past the auditions. —Steve Sutton, Farmington Hills
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