I haven’t been shy about pointing out the failings of any politicians, including those running the financial mess that is Detroit.
I am so far from being a mindless civic booster that I was singled out as being part of the “media lynch mob” by the mayor’s re-election campaign. But as far as I can see, the city has done a fine job getting ready for the Super Bowl.
So let’s give Motown and Kwame Kilpatrick a break. The fact is, Detroit would be at a disadvantage in hosting the Super Bowl even if the city still had two million people, and all of them were rich. That’s because this is Michigan in February, baby.
There are no water sports and the sun only comes out this time of year when Democrats stop a Supreme Court nominee. This year, there is no snow, so we don’t even have ice sports, except indoors.
But the metropolitan Detroit area is pretty incredible from at least May through October. Oakland County is full of scenic lakes and shopping. Detroit has a nice theater and ethnic restaurant district and three major league sports palaces.
Best of all, there is a foreign county with wonderful shopping opportunities, great restaurants, a Las-Vegas style casino, and a faintly exotic tinge right across the river.
The tragedy is that the big three – Canada, the city of Detroit, and the suburbs, especially Oakland County, don’t properly capitalize on this. They should form a consortium and aggressively market the region like mad. They should look ahead, do some planning.
The big three – Kwame Kilpatrick, Brooks Patterson, and Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis – should get together and figure it out. They should jointly decide where to build the additional hotel rooms they would need, say, to attract a national political convention.
Everybody should share in the cost of a new or expanded convention facility, put where it make the most sense for everybody. They could sell the state as a newly discovered international wonderland destination; offer packages that include gambling opportunities, theater and concert tickets, cruises on the Detroit River, and major-league sports events.
Right now, too many think of Detroit as a place where armed men shoot each other from behind frozen piles of rubble, Dr. Kevorkian scuttles to and fro to dispatch the wounded, and the few survivors grimly search for the corpse of Jimmy Hoffa. They should be thinking of Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum, of the Concours d’Elegance at Meadowbrook, and the city’s yacht clubs. And a lot of out-of-towners might just do that if we worked on them a bit. But we haven’t done so.
So fellows – Brooks, Kwame -- I know it’s fun for blacks and white, city and suburb to beat on each other. But we’ve been doing it for more than thirty years, and it hasn’t worked out very well.
Do you suppose we could try something new?