August 2, 2013
Battered by the auto industry’s decline and led for many years by either incompetent or corrupt mayors, Detroit has been reeling along the edge of a fiscal cliff for a long time.
Few, then, were surprised earlier this month when the city became the largest municipality in the United States to plunge into bankruptcy.
There was no choice, wrote Michigan Gov. Richard Snyder, in approving the sobering bankruptcy filing….
Detroit’s ills ought to sound quite familiar to any poverty-stricken city or cash-strapped homeowner: too much property — 139 square miles — and too few resources to pay the bills. Snyder noted in the bankruptcy filing that city services are so anemic that 40 percent of the streetlights don’t work and that the average wait for the police is 58 minutes….
Detroit’s bankruptcy must be a wake-up call to all those older cities — including Cleveland — that continue to lose population to the suburbs. The urban core will recover only when that trend is reversed.
Meanwhile, Detroit faces months, if not years, in court — although Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, whom Snyder hired in March to oversee the city’s finances and negotiate with creditors, hopes that the process will go a lot faster…
However the bankruptcy filing ends up, it will fall to Orr to steer the city into calmer fiscal waters. Those who still call Detroit home must be ready for some short-term pain in quest of the long-term gain.
— The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer