Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pontiac, Detroit fates compared

In case you missed it, the plights of Pontiac and Detroit were compared in a New York Times story.

Blair McGowan of the Crofoot Ballroom in downtown Pontiac called our attention to it.

A few choice excerpts follow:

• “As speculation grows about what Detroit, just 30 minutes south of here, will look like when it is expected to emerge from bankruptcy proceedings and state control a year from now, Pontiac’s experience offers a glimpse at the myriad complications that accompany a transition back to elected leadership after an emergency manager departs.”

• “‘They didn’t work with me or have anything to do with me for two years,’  Louis H. Schimmel, the most recent emergency manger in Pontiac, said about the City Council. ‘They have no idea how to run this city.’”

• “Mr. Schimmel, whose budget will be locked in for two years after his departure, is one of four members of a state advisory board that will monitor financial decisions made in Pontiac until the transition is complete.”

• “‘ I just want to make sure my policies don’t go down the drain,’” he said, adding that the handoff would take at least a couple of years. State officials will determine when the transition is over.”

• “Though far smaller than Detroit, Pontiac followed a similar descent into fiscal disarray. Home of General Motors’ namesake brand, the city and its coffers were crippled by the downturn of the auto industry. It has lost more than one-quarter of its taxpayers over the past four decades; today, its population is roughly 60,000.”

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