Will the last one to leave Detroit please turn off the lights. Maybe it’s not a joke. Mayor and one-time NBA star Dave Bing, whose basketball card I think I still have somewhere, is proposing to turn off half the street lights leaving huge swaths of that depopulated urban wasteland in the dark.
The city which once built the world’s cars and had a population of 1,849,568 in 1950 is down to 713,777, most of whom are on some kind of government assistance. It is the only American city to fall below 1 million in population after reaching that benchmark.
Actually, more apt than Snake Plissken is Ayn Rand whose book Atlas Shrugged featured a place called Starnesville, a Wisconsin city that was once a thriving, modern automotive center and that had devolved to a pre-industrial state.
Yes, Detroit can be called Starnesville.
Here is the solution: break off the sections that Bing wants to abandon and incorporate them as boroughs of three square miles unencumbered by the city’s existing union contracts and liabilities. Let the residents elect their own sheriffs for law enforcement, organize volunteer fire and ambulance companies for emergency services and handle education through a straight state-funded voucher system of $5,000 per child.
Things can’t get worse there hence is a perfect opportunity for some experimentation.
For a lark name one of the borough’s Starnesville.