Letters to the Editor
Readers on bankruptcy and Detroit's glory days
Published: August 15, 2012
'B' for the D
Re: Curt Guyette's story, "Underwater" (Aug. 8), I also do not understand why Gov. Snyder and Mayor Bing took bankruptcy off the table. Muni bond makers and lenders appear to have successfully frightened them (and L. Brooks Patterson, as well). I would be interested in what those discussions actually identified as a concrete threat to the entire state. I am curious because, even assuming that the threat was perceived as real, the governor and Legislature were, and appear to remain, unwilling to commit any material funding to the distressed cities and school districts. Act 4 almost gleefully states that all its expenses — the EM and his costs — are only to be paid by the distressed city or district. This strikes me as basically unfair for the two obvious reasons: 1) the "hit' of bankruptcy is suffered by the state and surrounding communities as even they all acknowledge; 2) as pointed out by attorney Kenneth M. Schnieder in the article, the cause of the decline has many fathers and occurred over many decades and the burbs were the biggest beneficiary of the flight.
Finally, when a banker says to its borrower you risk "doom" if you file bankruptcy, it is understandable because he is worried about his loan. But that needs to be taken in the context of the idea that bankruptcy provides a "fresh start" to the debtor, so that the debtor can become productive again. Here in Detroit, of all places, we should recognize the value of that: GM and Chrysler, to say nothing of the several separate bankruptcies filed by the original Henry Ford. —Drew Paterson, Bloomfield Hills
Thank you so much for your story on Joel Landy's Detroit. It reminded me of people from my father's Detroit, the 1950s city beaming with pride and promise. Through his stories, I saw a city offering the world to all those not afraid to get their clothes dirty.
When he came home from service in the Army, Detroit was offering a wage only dreamed of by his friends and family. The stories he told of conversations he would have at little pubs around the city, elbow to elbow with famous union leaders, sports heroes of the day, business leaders, news talents and the like were magical; everyone having one common conversation about the rise of a mighty city and their role in it. I still get goose bumps remembering the look in his eyes as he spoke of those times.
My dad used a phrase when referring to all those who made their way to Detroit back in those days as being "cut from the same cloth" — those who were ready for anything, unafraid of hard work and believing the work they did affected the city as a whole. Detroit resonates with that spirit still; however faint, it is always there. Joel Landy has that spirit, he is "cut from the same cloth," absolutely. —Susan Adams, Birmingham
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