Drove all over southeastern Michigan yesterday and can’t quite shake the sight of the burned-out and boarded up homes that line the freeways in Detroit. Supposedly the city wants to demolish them, but doesn’t have the money. These are shovel-ready projects. Detroit is making a comeback, which I know from Eminem and Clint Eastwood, but the first order of business has to be tearing down these billboards of blight. Of course, where they’ve demolished homes in certain parts of town there aren’t new homes springing up to replace them, and so you have an eerie landscape of isolated houses amid empty lots. People have started urban agriculture in the vacant areas — farming in Detroit. I’m told that at the farmer’s market they advertise that vegetables have been grown in Detroit.
Question: Do the Republicans running for president address the needs of cities, the urban poor, the dwindling tax bases of hollowed out and once-majestic places like Detroit and Grand Rapids and Flint and Cleveland and Toledo and Akron (which are in Michigan and Ohio, states holding primaries in the next two weeks)? Do they have a plan for cities on hard times?
Or are they still talking about contraception? (Confession: Didn’t see the Arizona debate last night but will dig up a transcript.)
I went to Mitt Romney’s old stomping ground, Bloomfield Hills. He used to live next to the country club there. (And did he consistently play from the blue tees or did he used to play from the white tees or even the red tees sometimes? A reporter should get on it.)
Was in downtown Detroit last night, it wasn’t exactly hoppin’, but there are lots of bars and restaurants down around Greektown, and the whole place should be fired up tonight for the Red Wings game at Joe Louis Arena. They’ve won something like 23 games at home in a row.
I may have to cover that. I know a lot about hockey. The ball is flat and slides across the ice, whacked at by stick-wielding brutes who then get in fistfights and are punished by exile to a Penalty Box where they have to write I Will Not Be Such A Thug 500 times before they’re allowed to return to the ice to fight some more. It looks like a very frustrating sport.