What’s the Real State of the City?

Marissa Gawel/WDET

Tonight Mayor Mike Duggan will deliver his annual State of the City speech. Duggan has taken on big and long-standing issues since he took office, including blight removal, water and utility shutoffs, street lighting, and emergency response times. Some people have been impressed with Duggan so far as mayor, but some say there is still much left to be desired out of city government.

Some things are undeniable — the mayor and city council appear to have a functioning relationship, and the city is slowly working back from controversial bankruptcy proceedings. But how does this city look from your perspective? We want to hear from you if you live here, work here, or just come to Detroit on the weekend or for a baseball game. 

Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson speaks with three guests to get their take on the state of Detroit. Here are a few highlights from those conversations:

  • State Senator Bert Johnson: Sen. Johnson says a major lingering issue the city must contend with is the availability of jobs and qualified employees. ”That question is a single thesis…” says Johnson. “That issue of under-certification for certain jobs is probably the single most important issue that prevents Detroiters from getting that job at a competitive wage rate.” Johnson also says he has been told by officials the city needs 1,100 more police officers to aggressively tackle crime.
  • Darrell Dawsey, Communications Director for ACLU-Michigan: Dawsey says the issue of water shutoffs continues to haunt Detroiters. ”There seems to be, when it comes to water here, much more willingness to punish poor customers rather than commercial customers,” says Dawsey ”We think water is a human right. We think in a place like the Great Lakes state… we don’t think it makes sense for the city not to be able to find a way to work with indigent customers.”
  • Steve Neavling, publisher of Motor City Muckraker: Neavling recently wrote about a den of iniquity in Midtown Detroit, a neighborhood city leaders have worked to bill as a thriving section of the city. Midtown used to be known as the Cass Corridor during years of rampant crime. ”I don’t like the re-branding, it seems disingenuous to me,” says Neavling, who adds city officials have a lot of work ahead of them to make Detroit an attractive place to live and work, even for young professionals. ”Most people say they’re going to have to move when they have children who are school-aged… There’s an infant mortality rate in Detroit that rivals Mexico.”

Image credit: Marissa Gawel/WDET

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