Notes on Charlie LeDuff, the Cass Corridor, Detroit's water war, and more


Reader Jack Poma sent us this letter, complimenting Lee DeVito's recent cover story on Fox reporter Charlie LeDuff.

I was impressed by Lee DeVito's piece on Fox's Charlie LeDuff. DeVito articulately paints the picture of a "reporter/journalist" whose various personalities are often in complete conflict with each other. He totally nailed my own thoughts about LeDuff — is this guy an edgy, intuitive journalist who's willing to go places and tackle subjects the mainstream shies away from? Or is he a self-promoting street performer whose contrived antics overpower the story he is trying to tell?

In many ways, LeDuff reminds me of Norman Mailer — a great journalist and brilliant writer who, no matter how big or important the story, always had to be at the center of it, and whose outsized, narcissistic personality often overshadowed his subject matter. Only time will tell if LeDuff's one, the other or both. Thanks, Lee.

Cass Corridor vs. Midtown

Last week Lee DeVito wrote a blog post about Jack White's conscious decision to call the neighborhood that's been recently recently referred to as Midtown by its original name, Cass Corridor.

User "Jocelyne JMoney Ninneman" says: "We never called it Midtown. Lived there for 10 years, went to college there, and it was never Midtown, at least not from 1996 to 2005, when I was there steady. If people need to call it Midtown to feel better about their new, cosmopolitan place — cool, whatever. Just stop referring to the Cass Corridor as the neighborhood's tarnished name. The term Cass Corridor evokes nothing but serendipitous nostalgia of a place where I met and knew tons of great people, participated in countless creative things, and made something out of nothing.

I am so sick of this conversation. The Cass Corridor is only tarnished because new developers were not a part of, and do not know or understand, the incomparable gems that were borne in the Cass Corridor, and the way of life that existed among those that never gave up. I personally think it's a short-sighted and rootless marketing strategy to try to rename historic neighborhoods ... when clearly, if anyone wants to tell a great story about where they live, work, bought property, or are about to open a business, a place "with no story" because it's a made-up name for a place that already exists ain't gonna do the job. But whatever, to each his own.

In my honest opinion, the staunch Midtowners are simply missing out on what a grand cadre of Detroiters that have been lucky enough to have called Cass Corridor home have gained from and contributed to. This happens in every city as its "seedy" neighborhoods get gentrified. Can we please bury this conversation? Though I fully expect to have to endure at least 11 more articles about Springwells Village or Springwells Gardens or whatever lame name newbies will need in order to feel better about living in Southwest Detroit.

User Dave Gifford says: "Midtown, a moniker contrived by a foundation-funded nonprofit, is a name that erases not just the sordid history of Governor Cass, but the remembrance of poor and black, Chinese, and Indian people's business and street life. It is a name better suited to the stops of a rail line connecting downtown to the New Center area. —The Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann"

Water world

Last week Curt Guyette's story on Detroit's water shut-offs touched a lot of our readers' nerves. Here's what a few of them had to say:

User "WilliH20" says: "Far too many folks took water for granted, thought it would never be shut off. Crunch time, repercussions, consequences, the day of reckoning has arrived for those that used water without paying for it. Reprioritize those household budgets, because people will pay for water in Detroit. Civic duty, responsibility to pay for service is necessary in a community — the cancer of nonpayment will be eliminated. Don't like it, get a rain barrel, shlep water in a pail for laundry, fill tub, flush toilets."

User "nobsartist" says: "So, the Ilitch welfare queen family can run up water bills of millions and nothing happens? In fact the city gave them a couple of hundred acres of land and $650 million. Now when a regular person owes — 'Shut the moochers off now!' How about shutting off the mooching Ilitches? Kick the welfare queens out of Wayne County.

By the way, federal taxes built the Detroit water and sewerage system, so explain to me how the state has the right to shut off anyone's water since they didn't pay for it to begin with. Since federal taxes paid for that plant, the people of the United States own it. The state doesn't own anything. The state is simply a welfare mechanism for corporations, and water is owned by everyone, not the fucking government. Since the state didn't pay for the DWSD plant, they shouldn't have shit to say about how the water is paid for, same with the scumbags who run the city.

Fuck 'state's rights.'"

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