Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Saturday, October 29, 2011

What's On My Mind Come Election Day

Alright so Election Day is coming up. The main elections that are going to affect me are local. There isn't any vote I can participate in for the U.S. House of Representatives this go round. The main election I'm looking at is city council. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is that for the past few months I've sat in most of the meetings and know most of the incumbents styles. Secondly because of Councilwoman Garrison's not running for re-election, no matter what there is going to be a new face in a week or so. If I were doing what I was suppose to I would have a decent amount of interviews for you guys but up until recently I've been a cheapskate who didn't want to shell out a few bucks for skype recoding software.

Anyway, here are some issues I think are going to be important when people go to the ballot box
1. The Obvious Stuff: Jobs, Crime, and Roads
While the crime and unemployment rates are better in Southfield than they are in Detroit, people are still not happy with them. In a lot of the meetings I sat in there seemed to be this defensiveness, a feeling that the problems of Southfield were beginning to mirror the problems of Detroit. Over the last few months there has been a lot of discussion over a declining tax base, lower property values and home foreclosures.

2. Planning Innovation
I've tried to keep my mouth shut about it, but honestly I don't like Southfield's aesthetic. There are large seas of concrete parking lots and green space everywhere and the city isn't very walkable. I'm just a guy. I know it's not as large a priority as the other stuff, I don't know if anybody agrees with me and even if they did, I don't really know what can be done about it, but it's on my mind.

3. Reaching Out to Other Communities
I think one of the largest problems facing municipalities in Metrodetroit is that nobody realizes how closely they are related. In Southeastern Michigan it's not uncommon for somebody to live in one city, work in another, and do their grocery shopping in another one. Every municipality wants to protect its tax payer's dollars not realizing that the quality of life in one city affects everybody. Several people who live in Southfield work in Detroit and vice versa.

4. Reaching Out to other government agencies.
One of the reasons why infrastructure, roads, water mains, etc. often take a while to fix is because sometimes it isn't exactly clear who should be doing the fixing. But residents don't and in all honesty shouldn't care about who has jurisdiction over road maintenance. As long as the people pay taxes the roads should work. There has to be a way of getting down to business and bridging who does what on these types of things.

5. Changing
This is really a subtopic of planning innovation but well... The nature of the city is changing. Both the residents and the leadership have to realize that. Just because the city was envisioned a certain way 20 years ago doesn't mean that that's how the city should or even can remain. The entire southern portion of Michigan is dealing with population loss. If we are going to survive we have to look at adjusting to and halting that population loss. That of course needs to be balanced with the current resident's expectations of the city but as I said it can't stay the same forever.

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