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  1. #1

    Default Renaming Cobo Hall

    Amid the stir over the removal of statues of flawed political and military characters, a move is on to replace the name of Cobo Hall. Named after Albert Cobo, Detroit mayor in the 1950s whose administration was scarred by a racially-charged agenda to restrict where African Americans could live in the city, Mayor Mike Duggan is supporting the name change.

    The deeper reasons, as usual, are fiscal. The site is barely breaking even with a $6 mil a year state subsidy that drops off to $5 mil next year and disappears in 2023. Selling naming rights could bring in up to $500K a year based on what Huntington Bank paid for the naming rights to Cleveland's convention center as cited in the article from Crain's.

    In spite of all the new hotel space created in downtown Detroit, the article also notes that the 3500 rooms now available are still inadequate to attract many conventions.

    Name change therefore appears a certainty as it is a win-win. A political win for Duggan in an election year, expunging a past racist issue, and a win for the convention center's bottom line.

    By the way does any one have any interesting replacement name?

  2. #2

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    It's very convenient timing for Duggan and the city to replace the Cobo name, which few people have any deep attachment to, and sell naming rights which is the prudent move these days. They are just lucky Cobo wasn't named Joe Louis or even Coleman Young Convention Center. No sense guessing a new name as it will be whatever corporation shells out the cash.
    I do agree with the thought that this renaming thing is quickly becoming a slippery slope. Here in Canada the teacher's union wants Sir John A. MacDonald, our 1st prime minister, name removed from public schools because of his treatment of aboriginals. MacDonald was the single most important founder of our country. It would be the same as removing Thomas Jefferson statues everywhere in the U.S.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by 401don View Post
    It's very convenient timing for Duggan and the city to replace the Cobo name, which few people have any deep attachment to, and sell naming rights which is the prudent move these days. They are just lucky Cobo wasn't named Joe Louis or even Coleman Young Convention Center. No sense guessing a new name as it will be whatever corporation shells out the cash.
    I do agree with the thought that this renaming thing is quickly becoming a slippery slope. Here in Canada the teacher's union wants Sir John A. MacDonald, our 1st prime minister, name removed from public schools because of his treatment of aboriginals. MacDonald was the single most important founder of our country. It would be the same as removing Thomas Jefferson statues everywhere in the U.S.
    Can of worms being opened everywhere. "I heard that such and such hit his wife in 1875. We need to rip that statue down now because I'm offended." But hey, whatever.

    Regarding COBO, I don't think anyone really cares about the name. Nobody is gonna throw up a fight like they did for Comerica, LCA, etc. So why not let them rename and make a half mil a year off it? It won't effect anyone (for the most part, I'm sure someone will sound off on how badly it hurts them) and helps the governing authority increase it's chances of staying solvent. Shop COBO and find a naming sponsor now.

  4. #4

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    I wonder why it took people so long to think of this? I like this idea.

    Along with the substantial reasons for changing the name--

    "Cobo Hall" just sounds funny. I've had people ask me what the acronym COBO stands for.
    And naming a building for a still-living politician so soon out of office was just tacky.

  5. #5

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    Speaking of still living politicians so soon out of office, how about Levin Hall?

  6. #6

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    Somebody mentioned the city of Detroit is also a current topic of discussion to be renamed.......yep, you knew this was coming.

  7. #7

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    [QUOTE=Sandhouse;532089]I wonder why it took people so long to think of this? I like this idea.

    Along with the substantial reasons for changing the name--

    "Cobo Hall" just sounds funny. I've had people ask me what the acronym COBO stands for.
    And naming a building for a still-living politician so soon out of office was just tacky.[/QUOTE]

    Al Cobo died in 1957 while still in office as mayor, and Cobo Hall opened in 1960.

  8. #8

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    ally Financial Hall.

    Auto related but not a manufacturer. Make the call, get it done. Some things don't have to be hard.

  9. #9

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    Name it Illitch Center, place a 30-ft Stalin-esque statue of Mike Illitch outside and watch DYes explode.

  10. #10

    Default

    Many years ago, Detroit was on the rocks financially and about to go broke. The city hired a finance guy from Burroughs Adding Machine Co and named him city treasurer. Al Cobo served as Detroit treasurer for many years and got the city put on sound financial footing without intervention from the state. He then went on to serve on the city council and then as mayor. Probably the last time an honest and trustworthy guy was in that office.

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermod View Post
    Many years ago, Detroit was on the rocks financially and about to go broke. The city hired a finance guy from Burroughs Adding Machine Co and named him city treasurer. Al Cobo served as Detroit treasurer for many years and got the city put on sound financial footing without intervention from the state. He then went on to serve on the city council and then as mayor. Probably the last time an honest and trustworthy guy was in that office.
    And he also sided with and championed white community associations to keep out the "invasion of the Negroes". See how the entire story works? Can African-Americans at the time call him honest and trustworthy?

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by dtowncitylover View Post
    And he also sided with and championed white community associations to keep out the "invasion of the Negroes". See how the entire story works? Can African-Americans at the time call him honest and trustworthy?
    In that era, 98% of white Detroiters agreed with him. Different times today, fortunately.

  13. #13

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    Here's a thought: how about we call Cobo Hall the "Detroit Convention Center." We can call city hall "Detroit City Hall" or "Detroit City / Wayne County Building"

    Let's start naming things what they are instead of naming them after people nobody will care about at best, or actively hate at worst.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by JBMcB View Post
    Let's start naming things what they are instead of naming them after people nobody will care about at best, or actively hate at worst.
    I largely agree with this statement. I especially abhor naming things after politicians. I am for the occasional exception, but honestly, since every person has said and done things in life that are controversial to downright contemptible, it is unwise to name things after government officials. If I were in charge of renaming Cobo*, I would call it The Joe Louis Convention Center. But the Detroit Convention Center would be fine, too.

    *As a kid I didn't know anything about Mayor Cobo, and assumed that Cobo Hall was a shortened version of Convention & Boxing Hall.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by JBMcB View Post
    Here's a thought: how about we call Cobo Hall the "Detroit Convention Center." We can call city hall "Detroit City Hall" or "Detroit City / Wayne County Building"

    Let's start naming things what they are instead of naming them after people nobody will care about at best, or actively hate at worst.
    That is a damn good idea for future names.

    People have flaws and they are only being recorded more completely making further scrutiny that much easier.

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 401don View Post
    Here in Canada the teacher's union wants Sir John A. MacDonald, our 1st prime minister, name removed from public schools because of his treatment of aboriginals. MacDonald was the single most important founder of our country. It would be the same as removing Thomas Jefferson statues everywhere in the U.S.
    Now that's personal! Sir John A is my great-great-great-grand-uncle (or something like that). He may have been an old Scottish racist drunk bastard, but dammit, that just means he was like a bunch of other folks in my family, and I don't see anyone taking their names off of anything...
    Last edited by EastsideAl; August-29-17 at 01:55 AM.

  17. #17

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    From now on if you want a Confederate Monument you just need to lay it on its side and call it something else. Just like the black power fist on the foot of Jefferson the call Joe Lewis!

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheels View Post
    From now on if you want a Confederate Monument you just need to lay it on its side and call it something else. Just like the black power fist on the foot of Jefferson the call Joe Lewis!
    Except it is the Joe Louis Fist. It was a gift from Sports Illustrated in honor of him and our sports culture here...soooo...

  19. #19

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    Each living generation has the advantage of mounting a high horse and looking down those of the past, whose flaws now lay bare, and claiming righteous moral superiority.

    But how will we be looked upon? Will we be seen as callously owning cars, boats, summer houses, eating out and hoarding money while children in Somalia, or inner city and rural America, and elsewhere, starved or died from lack medical care?

    As the old saying goes, "Whenever one points a finger, there are three finger pointing back at themselves."

  20. #20

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    I like the name Cobo and I'm going to stick with it.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowell View Post
    But how will we be looked upon?

    The way History is constantly being rewritten, it really doesn't matter.

  22. #22

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Wheels View Post
    From now on if you want a Confederate Monument you just need to lay it on its side and call it something else. Just like the black power fist on the foot of Jefferson the call Joe Lewis!
    The degree of racial paranoia that remains in this area is sometimes ridiculously disheartening.

    Yes, I'm sure those horrible racists at Sports Illustrated aimed that black fist right at your white face. All to memorialize that horrendous racist Joe Louis. Why just look at the thuggery he used to beat down that nice innocent white fellow Max Schmeling.

  23. #23

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray1936 View Post
    In that era, 98% of white Detroiters agreed with him. Different times today, fortunately.
    Not quite 98%, or Jerry Cavanagh wouldn't have won a few years later.

  24. #24

    Default

    Statues can have more than one meaning, especially among different audiences.

    The Joe Louis fist honors a boxer, just as it mirrors the Black Power salute common in the years before it was erected.

    Confederate statues are both symbols of slavery and oppression, and of southern pride and heritage.

    If one is racist, the other is racist; If one is not racist, the other is not racist. Its all open for interpretation. Hopefully, we can remember they are inanimate objects, and we can treat one another with respect and dignity no matter how they are interpreted.

    1953

  25. #25

    Default

    Rename it Joe Louis Convention Center or Detroit Convention Center.

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