— Definition of blighted areas and conservation areas according to the Illinois Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act
It came to light in 2001 that Edgewater Medical Center had been defrauding Medicare. Among the procedures the hospital was performing were unnecessary angioplasties, and two patients died from the unneeded procedures. Eventually, the fraud came to light and Medicare decided to stop reimbursing Edgewater Medical Center. The hospital closed in December 2001 after a string of financial problems, left in a state that seems as if everyone up and left.
Twelve years later, Edgewater Medical Center still sits empty, a dangerous eyesore."
I wrote another lengthy piece about a hospital building.
-Being accepted into colleges I had no expectations of getting accepted to
-Getting jobs/positions I had no expectations of getting
-My mother sending me cookies and milk
All other surprises I do not enjoy and saying, “We have a surprise for you!” fills me with anxiety.
After visiting Detroit and doing research on the city, I decided to finally watch the documentary “Detropia.” If you don’t know much about Detroit other than that it’s in a heavy decline and currently going through bankruptcy proceedings, it’s a good introduction to the city. At times it does feel a bit like “Pictures of Detroit on Flickr: The Movie,” but that’s possibly because I’m tired of all the pictures of abandoned buildings.
I didn’t get much from the film because of what I know about Detroit from classes I’ve taken at Michigan State University, reading I’ve done, visiting Detroit and also reading the Detroit Free Press regularly. So if you know what has been going on in Detroit, you’re not going to get much from the film.
I did appreciate the film showing how completely bonkers auto show press conferences are.
I do have a few caveats with the film.
The film really didn’t touch on race and from my perspective that has a lot to do with how Detroit got to where it is. It brings up the riots in the ’60s, but it didn’t discuss the massive white flight.
When Detroit was at its peak population in the 1950s—1.8 million people—83.59 percent of the people living in Detroit were white. Today, 10.61 percent of people living in Detroit are white.
I go to college with people who are genuinely proud of the fact their parents and other family members moved out of Detroit and into the suburbs because they didn’t want to live in a city where they had to acknowledge the existence of people of color. Think about how messed up that is.
As a result of the massive white flight that occurred in Detroit, a tax base declined and buildings were left empty. If you drive around the suburbs you see businesses that have offices out there and I wouldn’t be surprised if it had to do with the white flight. (More on this later.)
From what I know, racism has a lot to do with how Detroit got to be the way it is.
The film does take a bit of a Chicken Little approach to the auto industry in Detroit, particularly with GM. It’s mostly because foreign companies are producing cars that seem cheaper and people are buying them. (Although I sat in cars at the NAIAS last week and I would much rather drive a Ford or Chevy compact car because those don’t trigger my claustrophobia.) But there are also fingers pointed at GM for closing plants.
Something worth noting: General Motors is the only motor company in the Big Three that still has headquarters in Detroit. Ford? Dearborn. Chrysler? Auburn Hills, which is in Oakland County rather than Wayne County.
It kind of feels like General Motors is trying. They’ve screwed up, but all of the Big Three have screwed up at some point. (I recommend reading “An American Icon” if you want an idea as to the challenges Alan Mulally faced when he turned around Ford.)
I did love the scenes with UAW Local 22 president George McGregor
Why the hell did this film feature them? It’s basically a bunch of idiot kids going, “Oh, this city allows me to use old buildings and has a lot of space. And everything’s so cheap!”
Meanwhile, there are people who are struggling to get by because of cuts to city services and loss of jobs. But hey, it’s cheap for you to live here and make your little art about how the one percent sucks while people are losing their homes.
Police Wait Time
Okay, now the more I think about it, this movie made me angry. Still, if you know very little about Detroit, it could be a good introduction for you. If you want a more in depth look at the problems facing Detroit, I recommend reading the Free Press or Detroit News' website.
- Guy: Woah, is that a BlackBerry?
- Me: (sheepishly) Yes.
- Guy: And it still works?
- Me: Yes.
- Guy: And you're not from across the river?
- Me: Correct.
- Guy: That is awesome! Keep with it. More people should rock a BlackBerry.
THAT WOULD BE AMAZING.