IBD editorials ^ | May 31, 2012
Lost Cities: "Will the last one to leave please turn off the lights?" goes the old joke. In the socialist worker's paradise that was the Motor City, nearly half the streetlights are broken and the city can't afford to fix them.
Detroit, the buckle on the Rust Belt that as recently as the 1970s had 1.8 million people, now has only 713,000 in an area of 139 square miles.
It fell victim to one-party Democratic rule and labor unions that made its key industry — auto manufacturing — uncompetitive and financially unstable. Before there was Greece, there was General Motors.
Now Detroit has announced plans to reorganize that could have come right out of Pyongyang.
As Bloomberg reports, some 40% of the city's 88,000 streetlights are broken, and the city will try to "nudge" people into moving into a smaller, more compact area that can be better maintained.
Mayor Dave Bing proposes to decommission nearly half the city's lights, including all those in alleys, two-thirds of those in declining neighborhoods and a third of those in more stable neighborhoods.
"You have to identify those neighborhoods where you want to concentrate your population," said Chris Brown, Detroit's chief operating officer. "We're not going to light distressed areas like we light other areas."
So Detroit residents can continue to reside in sparsely populated unlit areas — or move where the government wants them to move.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.investors.com ...