Who’s Running the Show

We all know that last night the Detroit Red Wings retired Stevie Yzermans #19 last night at Joe Louis Arena before a packed and emotional crowd. What you probably don’t know is that the parking was limited to Joe Louis Parking structure. That’s right, the city owned Millennium Garage at 432 W. Congress was closed! What’s wrong with this picture? The city owns eleven parking structures and during any given event, less than half are open for business.

The Millennium Garage has a long history of being closed during events. I can tell you from personal history that they even close early. The garage has a sign at the entrance that says open till’ 11 p.m. and sometimes even midnight but I have seen them lock the gates before those announced times. I even have a picture somewhere that I took last year that shows two signs next to each other. One says the gates close at eleven and the other says closed at eight.

I have witnessed out of towners walking up Congress and seeing the gates down hours before closing time and they get this strange thousand mile stare in their eyes. On a Friday night, they won’t be able to access their cars untill Monday morning. Do you think they are ever coming back to Detroit? Do you think they will return home and say, my oh my what a wonderful ciity the D’ is?

During the Autorama show in 05′, on a Saturday night, the garage closed early. After the show was over, about 10:30 p.m., some of the owners of all those beautiful muscle cars walked across the street from Cobo Center and found the Millennium closed. Locked up tight! Do you know what they did? They tore down the gates and retrieved all their automobiles! That entrance was closed for six weeks while they repaired it. I applauded them for doing it. What really gauls me no end is that it isn’t like the city doesn’t need the money, right? I mean with a $146 million deficit, what are they thinking? Who the heck is running the show anyway?

In March of 06′ Mayor Kilpatrick suggested he would seriously consider spinning off services to other providers. Now he says that privatization would not generate enough savings. What the. . .? Have you ever heard of Philidelphia? They privatized 49 city services and saved $275 million including parking garages.

Indianapolis solicited competitive bids and saved the taxpayers millions. The city saved $15 million alone by privatizing trash collection and another $68 million by doing the same thing with their sewer plant. Chicago and Cleveland have initiated similar programs and the results were the same.

The City lost the Zoo, they will lose the Convention Center and who knows what else because they just don’t get it. It’s not about losing what you have, it’s about being able to afford to keep it. One of the biggest advantages of privatization is that it generates new ideas. New ideas for getting the job done. Competition breeds these new ideas and with the millions and millions of dollars the City of Detroit would save, it seems to me to be the road we should be on.

3 Comments so far

  1. SD (unregistered) on January 3rd, 2007 @ 12:00 pm

    I wonder if the closure has anything to do with Ford’s death.

  2. max (unregistered) on January 3rd, 2007 @ 12:37 pm

    it probably has more to do with Detroit’s lack of knowledge when it comes to running a city.

  3. Tom (unregistered) on January 3rd, 2007 @ 1:35 pm

    The problem with privatizing city services here in Detroit is that the assets will probably end up in the hands of people far less functional than even the city government (if that’s possible).

    The current city council and mayor’s office have a reputation for giving out no-bid contracts to construction firms owned by friends of the mayor (like our Pistol whipping friend, Bobby Ferguson)


    Privatization is great and I’m all for it, however it would just make the problems here in Detroit even worse than they already are by turning over these assets to firms and individuals that care less about making things function than the mayor and the council. The last thing we need are looters and criminals like Bobby Ferguson putting their hands even further in the public pot.

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