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 Who were the best and worst Mayors in Detroit History/

    Once again I'm not from Detroit but was always an admirer of Frank Murphy as a US Supreme Court Justice. He was one of few who voted against the internment of Japanese Citizens during WWII. I just wonder where he ranks among Detroit Mayors.

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    Best would be Hazen Pingree. Murphy was a good guy too.

    Worst might be Richard Reading, elected in 1937.

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    Frank Murphy was definitely one of the best, although his reign was too short (I think 3 years). Al Cobo was one of the worst and his reign was too long. Obviously we don't need to mention Kwame in this discussion...that's a given.

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    Kwame essentially did what Reading did for almost 4 times as long.

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    A book that was published by a history prof outside of Detroit about 10 years ago put Pingee as the fourth best mayor in American history since 1820 (!) The placement was the result of recommendations from other academic experts.
    The book is titled "The American Mayor," and its editor is Melvin Holli, who is Pingree's biographer.

    Check it out:
    http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/h/holli-mayor.html

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 65memories View Post
    Frank Murphy was definitely one of the best, although his reign was too short (I think 3 years). Al Cobo was one of the worst and his reign was too long. Obviously we don't need to mention Kwame in this discussion...that's a given.
    If I remember right, Cobo loved seeing the streetcars disappear under his watch, and poured money into building expressways, which residents called "Cobo canals." And, just seven months after he killed the Woodward car, he died of a heart attack. Nice.

    Jeffries Jr. could have been a good mayor. He may have been the best-educated mayor Detroit ever had, but he wasn't a great leader. The 1943 riot killed his political career, and he was dead seven years later.

    Now, his father, the great Edward Jeffries Sr. was probably the greatest judge ever in Detroit!

  7. #7
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    I've never heard anyone call the xways cobo canals 'cept you.

    Cobo was a money guy loaned to the city from Burroughs. He was only mayor for 7 yrs. The longest serving mayor, CAY, deserves a seperate category. Beyond bad, beyond good ...bood,or gad or just the old hmfic

    one of the bet has to be John Lodge

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    Quote Originally Posted by gnome View Post
    I've never heard anyone call the xways cobo canals 'cept you.
    I heard it from an old-timer and I just love repeating it. Were you there in the 1950s?

    Yeah, Al Cobo's great achievements in business for himself were running a few candy stores. Then he worked as a bean counter. He may have understood many things, but never seemed to understand what we have come to call "urban design." Seriously. Cobo made Orville Hubbard look like Jane Jacobs.

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    what was the mayor like who immediately preceded Young? What happened positive/negative during his tenure..

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    My personal thinking is that Coleman Young was the worst. Nothing much seemed to go right in Detroit during his time in office. He seemed to cover up for a lack of competence by inflammatory rhetoric. He created enemies in city council, the county, neighboring counties, at the state level, the federal level, etc. We just watched Detroit continue to deteriorate without any noticeable concern on his part.

    In some ways I did admire him, but not as a leader with a vision and the skill to accomplish parts of the vision. Kwame at least seemed to be able to get along well with suburban leaders and state and federal government. It was sad to see his demise by his own doing. But Young never seemed to show any political skill other than getting himself re-elected.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by kryptonite View Post
    My personal thinking is that Coleman Young was the worst. Nothing much seemed to go right in Detroit during his time in office. He seemed to cover up for a lack of competence by inflammatory rhetoric. He created enemies in city council, the county, neighboring counties, at the state level, the federal level, etc. We just watched Detroit continue to deteriorate without any noticeable concern on his part.
    That's the consensus of a younger cohort. The oldsters remember STRESS and how FINALLY a mayor reformed the police. Young would have been a great two-term mayor, if he'd decided to just ... let go.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hypestyles View Post
    what was the mayor like who immediately preceded Young? What happened positive/negative during his tenure..
    That would be Roman S. Gribbs... who's still alive. The major thing of his 1973-77 tenure... was the announcement and building of the Renaissance Center. By the time it opened, Young was in office to cut the ribbon with Henry Ford II.

    Gribbs later became a State Court of Appeals judge, and is currently retired in a Detroit suburb at the age of 85.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gistok View Post
    That would be Roman S. Gribbs... who's still alive. The major thing of his 1973-77 tenure... was the announcement and building of the Renaissance Center. By the time it opened, Young was in office to cut the ribbon with Henry Ford II.

    Gribbs later became a State Court of Appeals judge, and is currently retired in a Detroit suburb at the age of 85.
    I was in front of a panel that included Roman Gribbs in a Case Evaluation in Oakland County two years ago (which is something a retired attorney can do for a few bucks). Couldn't believe it.

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    My vote for worst, at least in the modern era: Louis Miriani, who succeeded Cobo after Cobo died in office.
    Not only was Miriani heavy-handed and went against the people's wishes (especially in his push to tear down Old City Hall: Only 21% of Detroiters wanted it razed, according to a poll at the time), he also was a crook. No text messages, but the IRS caught up to him anyway. He went to prison.

  15. #15
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    Bowles and Reading were probably the worst, besides Kilpatrick. Miriani was slightly below average as a mayor... we don't understand his (and Cobo's) view of "progress" these days, but building freeways and razing obsolete buildings were considered "looking to the future" in the '50s. The crooked stuff for Miriani came later, when he was back to being a council member. Still, a drop in the bucket compared to what Kilpatrick did. I'd rate Murphy and Pingree the best. Maybury was above average, as were James Couzens and John W. Smith. And I think Jerry Cavanagh gets a bad rap... he was way above average but was swept aside with the tide, post-1967.
    Last edited by Fury13; November-17-10 at 04:48 PM.

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    Coleman Young and Kwame are a tie as worst. Coleman started a lot of the bloated city departments with do nothing fat asses. Ok, I know a lot of politicians do this. But the tenure of these bastards did a ton of damage to Detroit. I credit Archer with at least improving our image a little. Archer was savvy enough to avoid a lot of controversy, had a Mr Clean image. I don't recall much accomplisment by him though. I remember Roman Gribbs a little. He was a straight forward guy. Again, don't remember much there. As for the others before my time, just don't know except what I read.

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    Where does Jerry Cavanaugh fit into the list? I know he forced through the city income tax in the wake of Con Con and was mayor during the riots, but overall what do you think? I've always felt a little sorry for the guy, a decent mayor with a sad city history.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gistok View Post
    That would be Roman S. Gribbs... who's still alive. The major thing of his 1973-77 tenure... was the announcement and building of the Renaissance Center. By the time it opened, Young was in office to cut the ribbon with Henry Ford II.

    Gribbs later became a State Court of Appeals judge, and is currently retired in a Detroit suburb at the age of 85.
    Gribbs was mayor from 70-74 and my dad's tennis partner from 80-92. I don't think he had much of an impact, except for setting the stage for CAY's reign of blame (everything bad was caused by those people north of 8 mile!)

    Archer is the best mayor in MY memory, which essentially stretches from Roman to now

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by rb336 View Post
    Gribbs was mayor from 70-74 and my dad's tennis partner from 80-92. I don't think he had much of an impact, except for setting the stage for CAY's reign of blame (everything bad was caused by those people north of 8 mile!)

    Archer is the best mayor in MY memory, which essentially stretches from Roman to now
    You're right... that's what happens when you depend on your memory ... but CAY was mayor for 20 years (74-94). But the RenCen was announced under Gribbs tenure...

  20. #20
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    Yeah, I mentioned him in a earlier post. Miriani was a racist too. As crooked as any Mayor we've had. But Kwame was the worst by far.
    Last edited by Cincinnati_Kid; November-17-10 at 05:42 PM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by douglasm View Post
    Where does Jerry Cavanaugh fit into the list? I know he forced through the city income tax in the wake of Con Con and was mayor during the riots, but overall what do you think? I've always felt a little sorry for the guy, a decent mayor with a sad city history.
    As I remember there were rumors of a booze problem and he was cozy with some undesirables. He died before he could defend those rumors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rb336 View Post
    CAY's reign of being blamed (everything bad was caused by those people south of 8 mile!)
    Fixed to reflect the view from this side of 8 Mile.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Detroitnerd View Post
    That's the consensus of a younger cohort. The oldsters remember STRESS and how FINALLY a mayor reformed the police. Young would have been a great two-term mayor, if he'd decided to just ... let go.
    Um...no.

    Coleman Young's so-called "reform" meant criminals could now get away with murder - literally. He "fixed" STRESS by rendering the police department worthless and impotent. (And the corruption which followed within the department under Young's tenure is legendary).

    Young's term was the turning point beween the days when Detroit was actually a good livable city and when it became what it is today.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by rb336 View Post
    Archer is the best mayor in MY memory, which essentially stretches from Roman to now
    Agreed. And the difference between Archer and Young was that Archer wasn't a racist who went around blaming everything wrong with the world on the white man.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnome View Post
    one of the best has to be John Lodge
    Thanks gnome, you're OK too.

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