Trumping a Post-Bankrupt City?


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eBlog, 8/30/16

In this morning’s eBlog, we consider the imminent visit of candidate Donald Trump to Detroit—a city which he has harshly criticized, and the reaction of Daniel Howes, a fine columnist who has chronicled the fall and rise of the once and future Motor City. Then we return to the awkward un-mating efforts by near-insolvent East Cleveland—the small Ohio municipality still awaiting authority to file for chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy—with neighboring Cleveland.

Daniel Howes, the perceptive writer of editorials for the Detroit News, this morning writes—in response to GOP candidate Trump’s criticism and visit to the City:

“It is a city cleansed by the kind of Chapter 9 procedure a serial bankrupt like Trump should love, it is on a narrow path to financial sustainability. The private sector, unofficially led by mortgage mogul Dan Gilbert, is investing billions to redevelop downtown and Midtown. Political leadership in City Hall is more aligned than any time in decades, and its posture toward business and developers generally is less adversarial than most anyone can remember.

“Perfect? No. Free of violent crime? No. Able to supply a solid public education for its children? Often not. But Detroit’s reimagination (not a comeback, because there is no going back to the Old Detroit) is a process. It’s not a destination, and it’s not a guarantee.

“The Detroit that Trump is scheduled to visit this weekend is less the place of lazy coastal caricature and more a place of reinvention and renewal. It’s a city where the Democratic mayor is more willing to work with Republicans in Lansing than any Detroit mayor in the past 40 years; where a Republican governor has assembled a record of assistance and advocacy not seen since Millikin was governor and Coleman Young was mayor.”

Unmergering. At an emergency City Council meeting in East Cleveland last night, after Council President Thomas Wheeler said requests made in a memorandum of understanding with regard to the municipality’s efforts to be annexed into Cleveland, and that the way the Mayor and Council had proposed its memorandum of understanding had been misconstrued and blown out of proportion, Councilmember Wheeler stated East Cleveland is moving forward with an ordinance toward annexation with Cleveland, but without the list of recommendations that had elicited such consternation. Councilman Wheeler then added, however, that he did not fully support the proposed consolidation—notwithstanding its unanimous passage by the Council; nevertheless, he noted: “When you make a mistake, you realize you make a mistake and you try to correct it. I think that’s big of us and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton, who did not attend last night’s emergency meeting, sent the following statement:

“Tonight East Cleveland City Council reconsidered and passed an ordinance appointing three members to the Cleveland/East Cleveland merger commission. East Cleveland City Council removed the list of discussion items that last week garnered much public attention. The new ordinance will be forwarded to Cleveland City Council.

“I commend the members of our city council for accepting public input and doing what is right. Council president Tom Wheeler acted quickly to call a special meeting and urge the Council to change course. This type of action is not an easy thing for a city council. It is my hope that the merger discussions will move forward with a renewed spirit of cooperation between the two cities.”

There will be a public meeting tomorrow afternoon at the East Cleveland Library for residents to weigh in before a new memorandum of understanding is drafted. Three commissioners that have been appointed as part of annexation negotiations will be present.

Unsurprisingly, Cleveland has not appointed anyone to negotiate.


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