Posts Tagged: Detroit

Meanwhile, progress in cutting auto pollution

In the midst of the ruckus over the debt ceiling, Barack Obama announced strong new fuel efficiency standards for automobiles. This is something of a “man bites dog” story at a time of major cuts for the Environmental Protection Agency and Congress’s apparent inability to avoid a federal default. TIME’s Michael Grunwald writes that the standards represent “a big victory in the fight to reduce our foreign oil addiction, our carbon emissions, and our gasoline costs.” The success in writing such an ambitious law — that cars must go 55 miles per gallon by 2025 – seems largely due to the fact that Detroit automakers are literally indebted to the Obama administration, not to mention efforts by California to up tailpipe emission standards.


The Greening of Detroit

Most news out of Detroit is either bad or really bad, so it’s refreshing to see this report from Paul Egan of the Detroit News that the Motor City has planted more than 600 trees via $200,000 in the stimulus bill. The project will be winding down soon, but the city has a goal of 40 percent canopy cover by 2035.

Panic in Detroit: The Motor City and flaws in the U.S. Census

According to the most recent U.S. Census, Detroit lost a staggering 25 percent of its population between 2000 and 2010, dropping from 951,000 residents to 713,000. Detroit Mayor Dave Bing responded by saying Detroit will challenge the results. “Personally, I don’t believe that the number is accurate,” Bing said when the figures were released in March. “The Census has a history of undercounting residents in urban areas like Detroit.”

Detroit can begin checking the Census Bureau’s results on June 1st.  The effort is not a recount, but, according to former Detroit demographer Patricia Becker, “an extremely technical and painstaking process” done by city (not federal) workers to find uncounted residents. Moreover, no challenge can reverse the new reality Detroit faces:  rather than a major city in decline, Detroit is no longer a major city. (more…)

Wayne County goes to Washington

Nathan Hurst of the Detroit News has a nice piece about Wayne County, home to Detroit, spending $320,000 a year to lobby Congress.  There is something unseemly about a local government spending taxpayer money to hire lobbyists — in essence they are competing against other local governments who have also hired lobbyists for special favors, like more federally funded projects. That said, a robust lobbying budget usually is a good investment for local government. For example, Wayne County lobbying led to federal money for a planned industrial area near Detroit Metro airport.

The Census and Detroit

Dave Bing

The ten-year census confirms what the eyes can see — Detroit is being deserted. Yet instead of using the new numbers as a moment for further civic reassessment, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing demanded a recount. Is there merit to Bing’s criticisms of the U.S. Census Bureau?

According to the census, the city lost 25 percent of its residents between 2000 and 2010. That is the single greatest ten-year exodus in American history by any city with more than 100,000 people, excepting New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. (more…)

Chicago Blogging: Unemployment’s Worst of the Worst

The Chicago Reporter’s Alden Loury compiles data from the 2008 American Community Survey (a less thorough yearly version of the U.S. Census) and finds this: the collective unemployment rate for the Chicago South Side neighborhoods of Auburn Gresham, Englewood, Washington Heights and West Englewood is 23.2 percent. These four neighborhoods — defined as one community area by ACS — has the 2nd highest unemployment rate of any community in the country. The highest is a northeast corner of Detroit, which has an unemployment rate of a stunning 28.5 percent. In fact, Detroit has four of the ten community areas with the highest unemployment rates in the country.

What the ACS data shows (other than that Detroit could use the civilian surge we’re deploying in Afghanistan) is that the new economic crisis has made more severe an old problem: concentrated inner-city poverty.  All ten community areas with the largest unemployment are in inner-city communities (besides two neighborhoods in Chicago and four in Detroit there are neighborhoods from Cleveland, Toledo, St. Louis and Atlanta). These are neighborhoods that are not only getting killed by this recession – they still haven’t recovered from the last one.


The Wall Street Journal’s Neil King looks at all the “czars” in the Barack Obama White House, after green jobs czar Van Jones was pressured to resign earlier this week. Some Republicans have been real critical of the czars and they have a point if someone like, say, Energy Czar Carol Browner is performing bureaucratic duties normally done by the head of the Environmental Protection Agency and/or Energy Department. Browner, after all, didn’t have to go through the Senate confirmation process.

But: Browner’s role is not to run the EPA or Energy Dept. It’s to push for Obama policies like cap-and-trade legislation and tougher fuel standards. Given that EPA, particularly, had a bunch of a pre-existing problems before the Obama administration, it seems wise to separate out the roles of cheerleading for new Obama policies and cleaning up the old EPA structure.

Where arguments from Republicans like California Rep. Darrell Issa do resonate are czars like auto czar Ron Bloom who run an Obama administration program (here, the TARP auto bailout) that relies on money appropriated from Congress. In making Bloom a czar, Obama conveyed the message that the auto bailout is too important to leave to the politics and deliberative sluggishness of the Senate. This made some practical sense. But it was also kind of unconstitutional.-MB