Thursday, April 05, 2012

CONSENT DISCONTENT


Regarding the recently accepted consent agreement between the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan, I want results. No more well-meaning but empty rhetoric from any of the principals involved: Mayor Bing, Governor Snyder, or the City Council. I want working streetlights: many neighborhoods have no working streetlights. On major thoroughfares it's bad enough, but in the broader neighborhoods, sometimes streetlights are the only ambient illumination (no businesses keeping lights on after dusk) and when they are gone, entire blocks are shunt into 'complete' darkness.


I want a regular police presence: I mean police cars patrolling the neighborhoods, officers on bicycles, and even beat-walking officers. Currently, people can wait for hours and longer after calling for police help-- and of course, sometimes police don't show up at all.


I want a responsive fire department, ambulances and emergency medical service: seconds literally count in emergency medical circumstances, and the current status-quo of frequently broken-down emergency vehicles and overall diminished number of vehicles is untenable.


I want reliable mass transit: currently, that means bus service, which in the past year has regressed from passable to maddeningly inefficient. Commuters are frequently stranded for hours waiting on an assortment of buses, and even if a bus shows up, it may be so packed that the rider deliberately passes by riders for lack of space. Bus drivers face a hostile, frustrated public, some of whom fall into the maniac category and have taken to physical assaults on drivers and even armed assault on buses.


I want blight removal to be taken seriously. Too many structures throughout the city: houses, apartments, storefronts, factory grounds, warehouses and more, lay empty and devastated. Many exist in half-demolished states that are not only eyesores but dangerous for the unwary passerby. Scrappers and urban-ruins explorers put their lives at risk entering and lurking in these buildings, whether for personal profit or a guerrilla-photography muse.


If city planners want to get a proper assessment on what residential and commercial developments are appropriate for the future, they need to be actively getting rid of blighted buildings. Almost no one wants to move in next door to a house that could double as a haunted house. Almost no one is willing to open a business where the adjacent property resembles a burned-out tomb. Records databases have to be drastically improved to see just who owns these properties to begin with. If absentee owners are heavily fined in the process, so much the better.


I want a non-obstructive, functional city bureaucracy. People shouldn't have to travel downtown to the Coleman A. Young Municipal Building to address every single civic issue. Parking is scarce downtown, and by default costs money that poorer folk and working-class folk have little of to spare. Many people take time off from work or school to address business at the CAY building. Time is precious. Most if not all city-business documents should be made available online, with a functioning, user-friendly website for people to navigate and download what they need. This would enable many forms to be filled out before people arrive in-person at city offices. Forms should be able to be filled out online as well (as well as a component to facilitate online payment.) This would help to streamline city government and reduce all the back-and-forth scenarios that frequently happen when a person is directed from one office to the next, and often with a limited time-window to achieve their goal.


I don't want this to last forever. I want Detroit's fiscal stability restored. Detroit's citizens deserves better. They deserve to not live as second-or-third-class citizens.

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