Something about this article jumped out: THE HEADLINE. The article is even better. The Detroit Free Press reports that “Although it’s difficult to quantify delivery of services across a 137-square-mile city, anecdotal evidence suggests the city is struggling more than ever before to do things that are most important to residents and businesses.” Wow. I have been following the story of the Detroit council and its dismal mayor Kwame Kilpatrick for several weeks, and this one finally put the nail in the coffin. The police: “Last month, a west-side resident couldn’t get cops to show up after intruders had broken into his house until he phoned Councilwoman JoAnn Watson, who called the chief of police. Kilpatrick admits the city has a ‘manpower issue’ in the Police Department and that its hiring of recruits is, in his word, ‘horrible.’” The Fire Department: “Each day, the Detroit Fire Department idles up to 10 working rigs because it doesn’t have the staffing to keep them all running.” EMS: “Last month, when an off-duty cop suffered a heart attack while shoveling snow, it took EMS so long to arrive that the man’s friends took him to the hospital.” Deputy Mayor Anthony Adams sums it up, “No one says the city is where it needs to be.”
I cannot believe that an American city in the 21st century could be in such disarray. New Orleans was more functional after a hurricane. There are no exaggerations here. Elected officials have to take accountability for their actions, but citizens need to take accountability for the people they elect in some capacity. This is a major problem, if the state does not step in, the federal government should.
Houston congressman indicted on deadly conduct charges
The Dallas Morning News reports “The charges stem from two incidents Dec. 15 in which Mr. Miles is accused of waving a gun at people.” Once again, accountability. This guy makes Kilpatrick, Spitzer. and Craig look like angels. So what do the responsible voters of Texas do? They get him out one and done, “Mr. Miles, who has served only one term, lost his primary bid for re-election in March.” Good citizens need to be recognized more than the bad ones that get most of the press: Good job Texas.
Traffic fix? Atlanta needs a plan before any tax levy
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports on its traffic problems, “the ‘do something’ may actually preclude efforts later to do something statewide that involves the same penny of taxing capacity.” Less congestion will increase productivity. And generate revenue. And cut down pollution. But “the proposed amendment never got perfected” and “was so vague and inviting that it could have been written for a traveling medicine show.”
Good policy can only help the situation that plagues Atlanta and many other cities. “Metro Atlantans desperately need congestion relief —- and the state desperately needs to come up with a comprehensive plan to deliver it.”
Brown Shoe: A win for St. Louis
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has been reporting a lot of good news lately. Missouri’s economy is performing remarkably better than the nation as a whole, as “The [Brown Shoe company] hopes to hire another 230 to 430 workers over the next few years.” It is always pleasant to see a company make it work in its hometown famously described: “‘St. Louis first in booze, first in shoes and last in the American League.’” This illustrates a concluding point made in the article, “local officials try hard to lure businesses here from elsewhere. But much opportunity is homegrown; it comes from companies that start small in St. Louis and grow bigger.” This comes on the heels of Kansas City being chosen as the spot for instances of Canadian outsourcing. A strong homegrown infrastructure supplemented by a few final additions is always a good strategy.
New York Manufacturing Stabilizes In April After Recent Contraction
A report by RTT News, shows some promising numerical data for New York’s manufacturing sector. The numbers are hard to interpret but “A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed that its general business conditions index rose to a level of positive 0.6 in April. Any reading above zero indicates expansion in New York’s manufacturing sector.” The report had a few other positive indicators such as “The turnaround by the sector reflects a rebound in new orders and shipments” and “The New York Fed also said that the percentage of respondents reporting worsening conditions declined markedly to 26 percent in April from 41 percent in March. The percentage reporting improved conditions rose to 27 percent from 19 percent.” For much of the Rustbelt, any of this news is good news.
Chicago firefighters get limits on Internet use
The Chicago Tribune reports “while officials said the prohibition had been in the works for months, it was just issued after an investigation was launched into the firefighter’s allegedly inappropriate use of a personal computer.” But “firefighters can work on their computers during evening down times as long as they do not access the Internet.” All well and good, but the bigger issue here is how new technology compromises on the job performance. Millions of dollars down the drain due to the NCAA tournament being available online, accident prone drivers with bluetooth headsets, iPods at the check out. There is no way to calculate exactly how these things affect on the job performance, other than that it can only diminish.
Scientists: Big Quake Likely in Calif.
The Associated Press “reports” that a huge earthquake will hit Southern California by 2037. Didn’t we already know that? “But Scientists still cannot predict exactly where in the state such a quake will occur or when. But they say the analysis should be a wake-up call for residents to prepare for a natural disaster in earthquake country.” Didn’t we already know that? People will always build in dangerous areas, see the most recent copy of Next American City, “Building Under Peril”. However, as the risk piles up, no one can ever say they didn’t know. We definitely knew that.