Maybe the tag “fire sale” is a bit insensitive to characterize what is happening in Detroit, but how else could you capture a potential Mike Duggan administration? The current representative of corporate interests in Detroit, the Emergency Manager Mr. Orr, is busy cutting deals to “save Detroit” and Mr. Duggan promises total salvation. What is the “saved Detroit” looking like?
Mr. Orr is angling to auction off the water works, privatize city services, breaking the unions and defund pensions. He has a busy agenda and must be working hard in his corporate-funded housing. However, the reality of Detroit is that it has been so bad for so long that real estate is available at fire sale prices, and primed for exploitation. Enter the duo of downtown Detroit. Gilbert and Ilitch are dividing up the city center with the Gilbert empire stretching in an east-west direction along the river, and the Ilitch empire stretching North-South from the river. When I say empires, I mean it. They own tremendous stretches of real estate, much of which was acquired for a song. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer private investment in Detroit rather than forced divestment, and the downtown duo may be good in the short run but I get concerned with any monopoly, be it real estate or other. Keep in mind that Gilbert and Ilitch are developing real estate to make a profit, not as an investment in the community.
On the other hand, if you look at the history of Mr. Duggan and the money being poured into his campaign (from the very people who are buying up the real estate), you have to be concerned about what would happen to a city just getting on its feet. Wayne County, the Metro Expansion, the DMC… there is a long list of missing millions and the patronage of big money contributors to his campaign is his legacy. He clearly represents corporate interests. Kwame put Detroit up for sale to his childhood crony. He is a piker compared to how Duggan will do it.