Friday, June 12, 2009

Obama: Bulldoze Neighborhoods To Save Cities

Reminiscent of scenes aired by nightly news against the Troops in Viet Nam, GI’s setting thatched huts on fire, the Obama administration is considering bulldozing entire neighborhoods in a “shrink to survive” scheme to combat economic decline.

Originally the brainchild of Dan Kildee, treasurer of Genesee County in Michigan, the Obama administration and charities have approached Kildee to apply this “radical experiment” in other areas of the country. Kildee had earlier outlined this proposal to candidate Obama during the 2008 campaign.

Kilde says he will concentrate on some 50 cities around in the “rust belt,” declining former industrial cities, of America's Mid-West and North East, including Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Memphis.

Flint, Michigan has already began with this experiment, purchasing homes in more affluent areas to offer to remaining residents in neighborhoods they have targeted for destruction and to be given back to nature.

Targeted neighborhoods currently house mostly lower income minorities and abandoned homes.

Flint has been gradually demolishing older homes for a couple years now, once they have sat vacant for a predetermined length of time and condemned. Tax foreclosed properties have been sold to neighbors for a dollar or churches paid to maintain them.

Left unsaid is how displaced homeowners receive these new homes in “more affluent neighborhoods” or how property owners that may own those homes displaced minorities may live in are compensated, if at all.

Currently, abandoned homes are foreclosed on by tax delinquency and given to county land banks to dispose of. A change in state law a few years ago gave counties this method of rapid disposal of run down homes, instead of letting them sit idle and decaying due to lack of care over legal restraints.

Jobless families abandoned homes over time as jobs in these cities dried up. No effort is being made to create new jobs or encourage industries that abandoned communities for various reasons, government regulations, union demands and increased taxes included.

Instead, decaying homes have been being bulldozed and now it is proposed to remove existing residents and completely raze entire neighborhoods around the country, returning home plots and complete neighborhoods to nature.

Some developers have bought some properties at foreclosure auctions and will undoubtedly hang on to them awaiting values to increase in the future.

As the Obama “shrink to survive” policy spreads to cities, we can expect billions of taxpayer dollars to go into paying destruction crews to raze these neighborhoods. Displaced families moved into other neighborhoods may end up eventually having to be moved again as jobs are shipped overseas by corporations seeking to remain profitable and population centers in large cities will undoubtedly increase, possibly creating the very crime ridden projects of people cramped together in low income housing.

Will those too end up being demolished and returned to nature as well in a few years?

It wasn’t all that long ago many were condemning Israel for bulldozing homes where missile attacks were launched from or where terrorists planned and carried out attacks against them.

Now, many of those same people applaud an American plan to bulldoze entire neighborhoods and simply “return them to nature.”

Democrat Rep. Laura Richardson of California seems to have abandoned her Sacramento home, angering neighbors there as it decays and is neglected. Will her property also be bulldozed and allowed returned to nature or sold off to neighbors for a dollar?

Think back to New Orleans after the flooding of Hurricane Katrina. Whole neighborhoods there sit idle as recovery efforts slowly grind away still. Perhaps this would be a prime target for Obama’s bulldozers instead.

After all, potential future bulldozer czar Dan Kildee said,

“The real question is not whether these cities shrink – we’re all shrinking – but whether we let it happen in a destructive or sustainable way. Decline is a fact of life in Flint. Resisting it is like resisting gravity.”

Couldn’t that also apply to a city with as much destruction as New Orleans? Could Hurricane Katrina have been nature’s way ot taking that below sea level city back to itself?

Then again, there is a small concentrated and highly populated area along the north bank of the Potomac River Basin where much of America’s real problems seem to stem from. Perhaps more bulldozing within Washington D.C. and returning that River Basin to nature would allow our nation a more dignified “shrink to survive” plan with less government breathing down our necks.


r0dman said...

Thanks for that Lew. A good read. While a little bit of a different situation, they are trying similar things in Australia too. I question their motives and it genuinely concerns me as to what is the reasoning for it.

If you are interested, check out my blog entry on it..
Government Funded Housing Bubble

I like your writing style. Keep it up!


LewWaters said...

Thank you, Jase and welcome to my blog.

I'll look at yours and see how we compare.

I'd also like to say that in 1970, I had the pleasure of visiting your country for a week and hold it as one of the most memorable weeks I have ever had.

Beautiful country and fantastic people.