Detroit River Fishing

The Great Detroit Flood of 2014 resulted from the second largest downpour in Detroit history. It closed several expressways and poured into thousands of Metro Detroit basements. The 4.72 inches of rain was the highest daily recorded rainfall since July 31, 1925, when 4.74 inches of rain fell. What went wrong? Could it have been prevented?

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  1. #1
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    Default Why can't Detroit annex neighbouring cities to regain its population?

    If the problem with Detroit's declining population is people moving to the burbs, then why can't the City of Detroit start annexing neighbouring cities to regain its population and tax base? Detroit has only 138 square miles of land, while Chicago has 228 square miles, Toronto has 243 square miles and New York City has 305 square miles.

    In 1996, the Provincial Government amalgamated the City of Toronto with the surrounding municipalities of East York, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough and York to create a new City of Toronto. Streamlining also saved $138 million a year.

    Why can't the same thing be done with the City of Detroit?

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    The Michigan annexation laws were changed to prevent Detroit from gobbling up any more land. Look at the dates of annexation for the outer parts of the city. The annexation suddenly stopped. It's not by coincidence.

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    Michigan law requires that a majority of residents in the affected area(s) of the suburban community, as well as the city of Detroit must vote in favor of such an annexation.

    There's absolutely no way that the residents of a single suburb would vote for such an annexation. Even in Highland Park or Royal Oak TWP (two places that have similar demographics to Detroit and might possibly see improved city services) the chances are remote that a majority of residents would vote to be absorbed by Detroit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hudkina View Post
    Michigan law requires that a majority of residents in the affected area(s) of the suburban community, as well as the city of Detroit must vote in favor of such an annexation.

    There's absolutely no way that the residents of a single suburb would vote for such an annexation. Even in Highland Park or Royal Oak TWP (two places that have similar demographics to Detroit and might possibly see improved city services) the chances are remote that a majority of residents would vote to be absorbed by Detroit.
    Well, in the case of the City of Toronto, the residents voted against amalgamation 3 to 1 in citywide referendums, yet the Province of Ontario said tough luck and went ahead with it anyway to streamline costs. Why couldn't the Governor of Michigan change the laws and do the same thing as the Province of Ontario did with Toronto?

  5. #5

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    "The October 1925 vote was the last major annexation measure to succeed in Detroit. The
    late 1920s saw a significant slowing of real estate speculation and the 1930s are renowned for
    bankruptcies in real estate – cities’ physical growth was rarely an issue as residents and
    developers fought to maintain financial solvency. However, by the time growth in the city was robust once again, annexation laws and attitudes toward central cities had changed, making the
    prospect unlikely, as June Manning Thomas demonstrates in her book on post-war planning in
    Detroit.29 In addition, the Detroit Water Board’s ability to sell water outside the corporate limits
    had unbound urban services from the city proper, meaning that as urbanites moved outside the
    city, they could still access city services.30
    In this decade [1915-25] in Detroit’s history, real estate developers did more than influence or
    support annexation of outlying townships. Developers drove the process for economic gain in
    this period of expansionism and boosterism, tripling the size of the city in 10 years’ time, maxing
    the debt limit of the city and creating a physical legacy that Detroit struggles to revitalize today.


    29
    See June Manning Thomas. Redevelopment and Race: Planning a Finer City in Postwar Detroit.
    (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997)."


  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by davewindsor View Post
    Why couldn't the Governor of Michigan change the laws and do the same thing as the Province of Ontario did with Toronto?
    Are you serious? First, the legislature makes the laws. Secondly, I guess you're just now realizing the cultural difference between our two nations. To mess with an areas home rule, particularly incorporated cities and charter townships (limited home rule) which now surround most of our major cities, is to declare war.

    Lastly, Detroit's problems have long since gone past the point where annexation would be anymore than a temporary bandaid. Annexation only truly releases its full benefits, and is only really worthwhile, when started early before the areas around an urban area are developed.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by davewindsor View Post
    Well, in the case of the City of Toronto, the residents voted against amalgamation 3 to 1 in citywide referendums, yet the Province of Ontario said tough luck and went ahead with it anyway to streamline costs. Why couldn't the Governor of Michigan change the laws and do the same thing as the Province of Ontario did with Toronto?
    Because it wouldn't pass in the State Legislature. The Governor doesn't change laws by fiat.

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    While there is zero chance of annexation ever occuring (deannexation would be much more likely), let's assume your scenario could be implemented.

    Any city annexed into the City of Detroit would, within 5-7 years, resemble adjacent neighborhoods in the City. Annexation would just accelerate the already creeping decline into the surrounding neighborhoods.

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    Here is one page about Michigan annexation laws:
    http://law.onecle.com/michigan/42-ch...mcl-42-34.html

    It would seem if Royal Oak Township or Redford Township voted to be annexed, they could. However, I imagine that would be very unlikely given Detroit's problems currently. It does happen. Jacksonville and Indianapolis, and most of their suburbs have consolidated. Houston and Phoenix have annexed land in recent years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crawford View Post
    While there is zero chance of annexation ever occuring (deannexation would be much more likely), let's assume your scenario could be implemented.

    Any city annexed into the City of Detroit would, within 5-7 years, resemble adjacent neighborhoods in the City. Annexation would just accelerate the already creeping decline into the surrounding neighborhoods.
    This might be the case if Detroit only annexed a few miles out in every direction, but an annexation on the scale of the Toronto annexation davewindsor mentioned would essentially result in a metropolitan government. Most of the annexed areas would not be "adjacent" (or even close) to current city neighborhoods, and the political structure of the city would be fundamentally different.

    I agree that there is no chance of such an annexation happening, however.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by ljbad89 View Post
    It would seem if Royal Oak Township or Redford Township voted to be annexed, they could. However, I imagine that would be very unlikely given Detroit's problems currently. It does happen. Jacksonville and Indianapolis, and most of their suburbs have consolidated. Houston and Phoenix have annexed land in recent years.
    I assume the government in those places is at least lucid, which is not the case here. As I said in the thread that spawned this one - Who would be lining up to be represented by tiara-wearing Council members?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quonset Hut View Post
    I assume the government in those places is at least lucid, which is not the case here. As I said in the thread that spawned this one - Who would be lining up to be represented by tiara-wearing Council members?
    Toronto's annexation took it from 37 square miles to 243. If Detroit increased its physical area in a similar proportion, "new" residents would outvote "old" ones by a huge margin. L. Brooks Patterson might even be elected mayor.

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    Interesting discussion, but irrelevant. The laws have changed since the late 19th and early 20th century. There is no place, so far as I can tell, where Detroit would have a ghost of a chance of annexing any additional land area, the way the laws now stand.

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    Big reason, this is America (for now) and Toronto is Canada. America has citizens and Canada has subjects of the Crown. All this is subject to change as our government tries to find new ways to take our freedoms, while the uncaring population is pacified by American idle.

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    Well, UncleFrank, it's nice to have a point of view. I'll put you down as a "no", ok?

    The flip-side of the annexation, and co-mingled with the idea of "right-sizing" Detroit, what would be the obstacles to de-annexing parts of the city?

    In part, return Old Redford to Redford Township. Warrendale to Dearborn. Chunks of the eastside to GPP or Harper Woods.

    What does the brain-trust think of that? If Detroit has to right-size, like Youngstown, that means locking down huge swaths of the City. Those areas, I feel, would become an urbanized version of Sherwood Forrest of Robin Hood fame. Essentially, lawless no-man-lands where the Robbing Hoods would retreat to hide from the Sheriff. Therefore, instead of letting them go fallow, what if they were de-annexed?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gnome View Post
    Well, UncleFrank, it's nice to have a point of view. I'll put you down as a "no", ok?

    The flip-side of the annexation, and co-mingled with the idea of "right-sizing" Detroit, what would be the obstacles to de-annexing parts of the city?

    In part, return Old Redford to Redford Township. Warrendale to Dearborn. Chunks of the eastside to GPP or Harper Woods.

    What does the brain-trust think of that? If Detroit has to right-size, like Youngstown, that means locking down huge swaths of the City. Those areas, I feel, would become an urbanized version of Sherwood Forrest of Robin Hood fame. Essentially, lawless no-man-lands where the Robbing Hoods would retreat to hide from the Sheriff. Therefore, instead of letting them go fallow, what if they were de-annexed?
    The problem with that is that the outer neighborhoods also happens to be where much of the city's population currently lives. Deannexing those areas doesn't help the city by relieving it of areas that it has to service; instead it would more rapidly erodes the city's tax base.

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    Wow, that was a real knee slapper. You made my day!!
    I can just see white people rioting at their city hall in protest over that scenario. NEVER happen.

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    You are demonstrating the trait that most clearly illustrates the reasons for Detroit's failures. I am speaking of Detroit the city, and "Detroit" the mythological seat of the automotive gods. Detroit is the automobile's Mount Olympus, and you are allowing it to be over run by the vengeful Titans. Much like the Tennessee Titans do to the Lions. That needs to stop.

    Detroiters need to think BIG picture, grandiose daring dreams of a great metropolis! Detroit was once known as the Paris of the Midwest? Screw that. Detroit must be come the Istanbul of North America! Standing astride the Straits of Detroit as if they were a New World Bosporous. God damn it, annex Windsor! It is already a part of the international metropolis!

    In one fell swoop Detroit could:
    eliminate the onerous need for cumbersome "passports" across the immoral "Maple SyrupCurtain";
    Right size Detroit's population and increase the tax base;
    Control all gambling in the area;
    Destroy the powerbase of Matty Moroun;
    Save the Lafayette building;
    Gain health care for all citizens;
    Redevelop the Packard plant;
    End the wrangling over same sex marriage;
    Improve abortion access;
    End the application of "Chem-trails" overhead;
    Increase contact with our UFO visitors;
    Increase the customer base at Eph's, Good Girls, and MCB;
    Save the United Auto Workers from extinction;
    Create super demand for high fidelity stereo publications.

    Perhaps an excellent way to begin this rapproachment would be an exchange of Lego brick sculptures, a la US- China ping-pong matches under Nixon. I would like to know if there is an online petition that we can sign to let the mayor and city council know how we feel about this initiative.

    By the way, what are the taxes like in Windsor compared to Detroit?

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    Quote Originally Posted by detmich View Post
    God damn it, annex Windsor! ...

    By the way, what are the taxes like in Windsor compared to Detroit?
    The US should annex all of Canada, for all I care. We're probably the second highest taxed people in the world right behind the Swedes. I'll take your tax structure any day.

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    The only way that could ever happen would be if Detroit seceded from the United States and became part of Canada.

    Not too many Canadians are big on the idea of annexing new territory. Many of them feel it represents hegemony, as outlined in the writings of Pierre Trudeau. Trudeau was a genius, but I think he was wrong in this case. It's only hegemony if the annexation is forced upon the weaker party by the more powerful party.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davewindsor View Post
    If the problem with Detroit's declining population is people moving to the burbs, then why can't the City of Detroit start annexing neighbouring cities to regain its population and tax base? Detroit has only 138 square miles of land, while Chicago has 228 square miles, Toronto has 243 square miles and New York City has 305 square miles.

    In 1996, the Provincial Government amalgamated the City of Toronto with the surrounding municipalities of East York, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough and York to create a new City of Toronto. Streamlining also saved $138 million a year.

    Why can't the same thing be done with the City of Detroit?
    Sounds great on paper. In reality, if I was a resident of a bordering community there is no way I would support this. Detroit and it's citizens need to clean up and improve our 138 sq miles until we could even mention this with a straight face.

    I think the bigger question is why we allow the city of Detroit to be stuck with the lion's share of the regions homeless, mentally ill, impoverished. Until we address the social ills in a regional manner Detroit will be stuck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jt1 View Post
    Sounds great on paper. In reality, if I was a resident of a bordering community there is no way I would support this. Detroit and it's citizens need to clean up and improve our 138 sq miles until we could even mention this with a straight face.

    I think the bigger question is why we allow the city of Detroit to be stuck with the lion's share of the regions homeless, mentally ill, impoverished. Until we address the social ills in a regional manner Detroit will be stuck.
    Certain townships actually wanted to and voted for annexation to Detroit after 1928, but were voted down by Detroiters. You had your chance.

    How does having all these homeless, mentally ill and poor people influence the bottom line for Detroit? Sounds like a state problem to me.
    Last edited by Stosh; August-28-09 at 09:12 AM.

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    Read Rusk's "Cities without Suburbs" for an overview of cities that can annex (usually white, Republican cities like Phoenix and Anchorage) and cities that can't (usually cities with significant minorities like Detroit).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stosh View Post
    Certain townships actually wanted to and voted for annexation to Detroit after 1928, but were voted down by Detroiters. You had your chance.

    How does having all these homeless, mentally ill and poor people influence the bottom line for Detroit? Sounds like a state problem to me.
    I and the vast majority of Detroiters weren't around in 1928 so your statment is pointless and a pretty feeble attempt at humor.

    As for Detroit taking on the bulk of the region's homeless, menatlly ill and impoverished impacts the bottom line for the city. It hurts neighborhoods, property values, safety and puts a large strain on city resources. The fact that we live in a region that is comfortable sticking the bulk of the mentally ill, and homeless in Detroit is an issue both socially and financially to the city. I agree it is an issue that needs to be addressed at the state level but the SE Michigan region is and has been very happy with pushing those problems into Detroit and turning a bling eye that they exist. Out of sight, out of mind works for most of the region which is a big issue.

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    A couple of years ago, the small, unattached piece of Royal Oak Township located near the 696 and Greenfield intersection was annexed to Oak Park. A little bit of ta do, but no bad issues that I am aware of.

    I would vote no to allowing Detroit to annex additional space. This is a Detroit problem and cannot be solved by swallowing up other cities.

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