Detroit Hockey Arena More Important Than Residents’ Safety

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the financial problems facing Detroit and their attempt to file bankruptcy, only to have it blocked by a misguided judge.  After facing over 50 years of Democratic leadership, Detroit is facing a debt of $18 – $20 billion.  Their situation is so bad that:

  • 40% of the streetlights don’t work
  • 210 of the 317 public parks have been permanently closed
  • Nearly 1/3 of buildings are abandoned
  • It takes police nearly an hour to respond to a 9-1-1 call
  • Some homes listed for $1 and realtors still can’t sell them
  • Population dropped from 2 million to 714,000
  • Unemployment rate in July 2009 hit 27.8%
  • Current unemployment is 16.0%, more than double the national average
  • 98% of other cities have lower crime rates and are safer than Detroit.
  • 51 years of Democratic mayors

In typical Democratic fashion, a new ice hockey arena complex has been approved for downtown Detroit.  Total cost of the project is reported to be about $650 million.  About $283 million of that will be paid for using taxpayer dollars and the other $367 million will come from private funding.

The reason given for the expenditure is that it will help revitalize the downtown area, bringing more people and business to the depressed area.  George Jackson, President  and CEO of Detroit Economic Growth Corp. said:

“It will redefine Detroit’s downtown.  We will have incorporated all three of our major league sports venues into an exciting, walkable sports and entertainment district.”

Christopher Ilitch, President and CEO of Ilitch Holdings stated:

“Today, this public-private partnership took a significant step forward in laying the groundwork for a major catalyst development which will create approximately 8,300 jobs, stimulate economic activity and have a positive and lasting impact on our community.”

Have you ever noticed that the typical response by Democrats to any problem is to spend more money, regardless if it makes sense or not?  What about Obama’s Stimulus 1 and 2?  Each one was supposed to turn the economy around and create jobs but they didn’t.  Instead, most of the money ended up going to special interest groups and friends of top ranking Democrats including Biden’s friend who started a luxury car dealership in the Ukraine using $20 million of stimulus money.

Detroit is no different.  They believe that spending money they don’t have and which is vitally needed elsewhere to build a sports complex in downtown will turn around the city’s economic woes.  But let me ask you this?  Would you venture into an area that has a high crime rate, questionable street lights, and blocks of vacant buildings just to watch hockey game?  I know I wouldn’t and I wouldn’t expect many others to do so either.

Perhaps my concerns and questions about the sanity and irresponsibility of Detroit’s decision is best expressed by Bill Whittle and company: