Don’t let Detroit be our future

Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:

● Incoming Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed — he takes office Monday — has been handed a 300-page binder identifying problems the outgoing mayor leaves behind. Reed’s designated chief operating officer Peter Aman says, “The shortage of funds is a theme that runs through every department.” That’s a surprise. The binder should have included a Wall Street Journal interview with Mayor Dave Bing titled “Can Detroit Be Saved?” Clue: Yes, but downsized and with payroll costs brought under control. There, union employee benefit costs run 68 percent of base salaries. Keys to Mayor Kasim Reed’s success will be payroll costs. Unless he can gain control of future pension liabilities, he’ll simply be another in that long line of politicians who roll over exploding personnel costs to the next guy. The solution is to immediately close existing pension plans to new employees and start over with defined-contribution, as opposed to defined-benefit, plans. That’s the solution, too, for the state and other local governments. Otherwise, Detroit’s the future.

● The gap between public- and private-sector compensation grows. In 2008, the average pay for federal civilian employees was $79,197. For those in the private sector, it was $50,028. With benefits, the federal compensation is $119,982, compared to $59,909 for those in the private sector. This administration will create good new jobs. In Washington. Directing health care decisions.

● As an Atlanta cop, I’d be wary of the Citizen Review Board, too. Accountability and discipline are chain-of-command responsibilities. The board was created in 2007 after the police raid that resulted in the death of 92-year-old Katherine Johnston. Review boards, like blue-ribbon commissions, should be temporary and task-specific. Power shouldn’t be left lying around for the unelected.

● On second thought … The immediate spin from the Copenhagen climate conference was that the U.S., China, India, South Africa and Brazil had achieved, in the words of President Barack Obama, an “unprecedented breakthrough” on greenhouse gas emissions. The “unprecedented breakthrough” was said to include “a mechanism to verify compliance.” Bunk. It’s empty words. The disconnect between the president’s rhetoric and reality is often expansive.

● Senate passage of the government takeover of health care is a reminder that Blue Dog Democrats in the House and Senate — U.S. Sens. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Ben Nelson of Nebraska among them — are always there for conservativism. Until their votes are actually needed. Then they choose the course that got former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland defeated. Red-state politicians in competitive districts cannot follow Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

● State and Local Government Goal for 2010: Govern without drama. I’m about OD’d on Clayton’s. Quiet competence. Go for it. State Rep. David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge), who’s certain to be the next speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, is the quietly competent type. Without drama, he puts a stop to suggestions that higher taxes are the solution. “People are hurting,” he said. “They’re wondering about how they’re going to buy their kids presents [for Christmas], how they’re going to pay their bills. They’re worried about what happens if they have a health care crisis in their family. The last thing they need is for government to take more of their money.” Music to our ears. A conservative who is reliably conservative.

● Political correctness makes it probable that the only domestic terrorism that can be prevented is that posed by Ku Klux Klanners and other white supremacists. Any threat more complex or modern simply baffles Homeland Security.

113 comments Add your comment

Black and red

December 31st, 2009
11:17 pm

May the new year bring happiness, prosperity and good health. At least before new taxes, fees and the impending health care debacle.

A True Patriot

January 1st, 2010
8:33 am

It would serve the citizens of Atlanta right to go the way of Detroit for electing another mayor who’s not gonna do anything to change the status quo…..he’s gonna hire the same kind of imcompetent boobs that mayors of Atlanta have been hiring for the last thirty five years. Save the best part, Buckhead and form your own city…..it’s the only way you’re going to survive. Happy New Year everyone :)

Diogen

January 1st, 2010
8:53 am

Reed will be no different from the previous black mayors. It ain’t too PC to
utter, but who cares…blacks only think of short-time gains (usually gains
for themselves), which of course explains the big problem with Detroit and
Atlanta, the Black Mecca.

Road Scholar

January 1st, 2010
8:58 am

Government employees make more than the private sector: Maybe at the federal or local level, but not at the state level!

” As an Atlanta cop, I’d be wary of the Citizen Review Board”
Not if the CRB is allowed to review managements follow up with any investigation. Yes Jim I agree that the Managemnt people should be in charge, but they need some checks and balances to ensure their job is done. Remeber dekalb County and the problems they had had for years with upper police management corruption?

Road Scholar

January 1st, 2010
9:00 am

Diogen: “blacks only think of short-time gains …”

What a racist statement! Unlike you, at least they think!

wow.

January 1st, 2010
9:26 am

Actually honey, it’s a Rhode Scholar, not Road. wow.

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

January 1st, 2010
9:37 am

It’s Rhoads Scholar, as in Cecil, and he’s smart enough to use a play on words. You?

The Anti-Wooten

January 1st, 2010
9:38 am

Jim, did you imbibe too much last night? Your Friday screed seems more angry than usual.

Citizen Review Boards are an absolute necessity due to the War on Drugs started by your heroes Nixon and Reagan. They’ve now handed so much open ended power to the police and taken rights from Americans in order to protect profits of drug and chemical companies.

Rep. Ralston is correct about the fact that people are worried about a health care crisis in their families, people are so accustomed to the idea that health care coverage will evaporate at the whim of some corporate bully if something happens. Thank goodness that we may finally be close to some relief from that situation.

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

January 1st, 2010
9:38 am

Whoops, you were right: Rhodes.

Rhode my bike down the skreet

January 1st, 2010
9:39 am

Big bloated Atlanta government has to end, but won’t. Any serious attempt to downsize will be met with lawsuits etc. Kasim is not only in da house, but has the keys. It’ll be an interesting watch.

This is Mrs. Norman Maine

January 1st, 2010
9:48 am

“Then they choose the course that got former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland defeated.”

Do you mean they intend to run against draft dodgers who will run their pictures along side of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden and imply that they are not committed to the safety of America? Are there other politicians who are that hypocritical and unethical other than Silly Saxby? Are there any Americans outside of Georgia who are stupid enough to fall for that? If so, then I suppose their defeat is imminent.

rr

January 1st, 2010
9:48 am

For those of you who live in the burbs go for walk in midtown and head south towards downtown. Take a ride on Marta while you’re at it and see how many bums you encounter. Watch how tourists (if you see any) will get bombarded by black men for money. Look how out of control five points is. Blacks stop making excuses for your own people. Then tell me this place isn’t starting to look like Detroit to you.

Ted Striker

January 1st, 2010
9:52 am

I wish Jim Wooten were in office. He wouldn’t get anything done but it would at least give him a needed dose of humility since he is far better at criticism and talk than actually bringing about a solution.

cliff zeider

January 1st, 2010
10:01 am

Hey, It’s to late, Atlanta and Detroit are just alike, rats nest. cz

city of atlanta is doomed

January 1st, 2010
10:16 am

Atlanta is and has been doomed. Those that live and vote in the city limits have consistently, for the last 30 years, voted for regression. That is why clear thinking and visionary people choose to live in the suburbs…Atlanta is a hopeless case.

Glad-to-be-out-of Atl

January 1st, 2010
10:20 am

Can Atlanta avoid becoming another “Detroit”?? Only if it’s citizens are intelligent enough to vote for leaders on the basis of qualifications and integrity, and not the color of their skin – no sign of this so far.

todd

January 1st, 2010
10:26 am

When is America going to face the facts. Liberals – most of who were black – have destroyed every single great city they have ever been in charge of. I defy you to give me an example of a city that the liberal blacks are running or have run that is successful. Now we have handed over our federal government to them and we are in BIG trouble already. They are trying their best to turn DC into Detroit.

Andre

January 1st, 2010
10:26 am

Jim, I’m not shocked that you would start the year off comparing Atlanta to Detroit. You know by writing this column a firestorm would start in the Atlanta community, it will continue to divide Atlanta. Just like **Glenn Beck** all he does is TRY to divide the country. But we as Americans are strong enough to let that fool divide us. So does Atlanta have factories failing all around the city, that supported the city? No, but Detroit did. They never recovered from that. What a way to stick to a city while they’re down. Truthfully it seems like you’re **HOPING** for Atlanta to do bad. Because if Atlanta does bad, you’ll still have a **J-O-B**. But if Atlanta does good and starts to climb, I’m sure the AJC would hand you your walking papers, because you won’t have anything to say. Just sit there at your computer and look like a dummy.

bubbaroy

January 1st, 2010
10:28 am

Jim – Every now and then you have a thought or two that I can actually agree with. Too bad that you quickly move to your right wing blather.

waiting moderation

January 1st, 2010
10:32 am

We are not headin toward Detroit we are heading toward Flint Michigan. Our city is a Joke and the new mayor will do nothing. he is only part of the same machine. Atlanta is Truly Gone With the Wind, or would that by Gas. Were Screwed.

waiting moderation

January 1st, 2010
10:34 am

Jim awesome way to start the year. we need more people with the balls to say something. unlike your buddy Jay.

DD

January 1st, 2010
10:51 am

I’m from the MOTORCITY and now I’m in the MOFOCITY.

Mr Attitude

January 1st, 2010
11:06 am

Diogen and Todd,
I see that your white supremacy pride is shining very brightly. Let’s not forget that many of the ills that America faces today did not come from the black community, but the blue eyed grand wizards who have gambled America’s currency by cheating and creating vehicles that have led this country into ruin. Need a memory refresher – who created derivatives? Let’s look at the nuts in the Senate!! Pretty much snow white, espiecally with the two idiots from Georgia. Look at the fat cats on Wall Street. Yep, pretty much all white. I could take up some space if I really wanted to, but even with your slanted views, you should get the picture.

Hmm, it’s getting pretty quiet now.

Mr Attitude

January 1st, 2010
11:15 am

Ted Striker,
I agree with you on wishing Jim Wooten was in office. It’s easy to sit back and critique others, but how about taking that “wisdom” and become a councilman or a county commissioner?

Allyana Ziolko

January 1st, 2010
11:17 am

This is all such a crock…..there’s a shortage on the books, then there is an surplus on the books. With Reed’s election came all hope of someone sitting down and looking at what’s happened to ANY money in the city coffers over the years. Atlanta has already gone the way of Detroit…a grey and dirty, violent city. It’s not that I don’t want to give Kasim Reed a chance. He seized the opportunity to prove he is different. Let’s see him DO it.

Marion Barry

January 1st, 2010
11:21 am

Don’t worrry about what those white fokes says about you all we brothers has to do is put our picture up their and our brothers and sisters will vote for us. Smoke crack, no problim they stills elect you.

Kasim Reed

January 1st, 2010
11:22 am

Just look at my time in the state legislature to see how good I am and what a wonderful job I did.

Justine

January 1st, 2010
11:38 am

There is no comparison between city employees in Detroit and Atlanta. As a retired city of ATlanta worker I can tell you the pay for the rank and file is well below that of the private sector. The only thing the city had to offer was security and a pension. In fact, when I went to work for the city I actually lost $200 per month. The problem with Atlanta is it is like a small child with no direction and reaching out to anything that shines. Lets take a look. Despite the fact Underground had failed several times, the city invested millions into it. As of today, there is still no visible impact on the lives of average citizens with the millions of Enterprise Zone money that was spent. Although Atlantic STation now sits on land which was previously occupied by a steel plant, the city claims it has not made a profit. Atlanta has grown by leaps and brounds with tall builds and an abundance of high end housing within the city limits. Yet it remains in worse condition than it was 20 years ago.

Stop blaming city workers and pensioners for the problems of this city. We worked hard and were always underpaid. It was those at the top who took and kept the money.

I beleive there must be a major investigation into how the money was spent. I wish Mayor Reed well but I also hope he is a true change and not just a new face.

todd

January 1st, 2010
11:40 am

Mr. Attitude – I am still waiting for the example of a successful liberal black run city. You are right – it sure is quiet.

97degreeyogurt

January 1st, 2010
11:44 am

From Wooten: “The gap between public- and private-sector compensation grows. In 2008, the average pay for federal civilian employees was $79,197. For those in the private sector, it was $50,028. With benefits, the federal compensation is $119,982, compared to $59,909 for those in the private sector. This administration will create good new jobs. In Washington. Directing health care decisions”.

It would be nice if Wooten would give us the source of this data so we could decide if this number is really as astonishing as it appears to be. I am guessing the cleavage between the two is actually smaller:

1) Are they counting full or part time workers?

2) Most federal positions are located in large metropolitan areas where the locality pay is substantially higher due to a higher cost of living, where there are plenty of private sector jobs in rural areas of the country with lower costs of living and hence lower wages which would lower the average.

3) Using the average wage is a poor measure of central tendency—for example I doubt there are many federal jobs that pay minimum wage, where as I am sure there are a plethora of private sector jobs that do, bringing down the average for the private sector. Looking at the median wage would likely prove to be a better indicator.

So Wooten–show us the data that backs your statement

Ray

January 1st, 2010
11:53 am

Detroit is the future of OUR COUNTRY. Please name me any city (or country) that does NOT decompose when run by generations of liberal democrats?

Dave

January 1st, 2010
12:02 pm

I’m running for Governor, Speaker of the House in Georgia, U.S. Senate, and President. I should be able to start and keep up with my lies, fornication, and spending, but I’m going to have a problem with the hanging out in airport bathroom stalls.

MrLiberty

January 1st, 2010
12:24 pm

Isn’t Atlanta already the Detroit of the south??

MonroeDrive

January 1st, 2010
12:24 pm

In regards to your supposition regarding the Atlanta Citizens Review Board, it’s exactly what the City of Atlanta needs…an independent audit system trained to apply a keen eye on the blue line. Appointed boards with real teeth, as in subpoena power, is what well appointed boards need to do a good job. The question is: why wouldn’t the police want checks and balances?

Law enforcement oversight is nothing new. Atlanta is long overdue. Unfortunately the APD failure to perform ongoing house cleaning has in effect, turned a blind eye to the big bully tactics and corruption that gives the ranks a bad name. Couple that with ABPO rhetoric and it’s no wonder their lawyers are providing advice that hoodwinks the rank and file into breaking the law requiring them to cooperate. And get this…City attorneys waste time and tax payer money advising Pennington to break the law by not disciplining the officers who ignore the law!

Very few elected officials will wade into this dangerous water. They have endorsements to remember. The diversely appointed volunteers from the city are doing what the elected bureaucracy is unable or will not do. I say full steam ahead!

Dave O

January 1st, 2010
12:27 pm

Happy New Year my friend. I hope you and yours had a great Christmas. We sure miss you around here.

Diogen

January 1st, 2010
12:29 pm

Mr. Attitude wrote:

“even with your slanted views, you should get the picture”

Yes, we get the picture quite well. You are either black or a Zero Bar.
Yes, crooks come in all races, it’s just that blacks have the market
cornered. Yes, Congress is rotten and mostly white. They are rotten
because most except Ron Paul are completely spineless and are nothing
but hookers for Israel. If you are referring to the likes of Madoff as white,
many feel that’s debatable. But back to the issue. You don’t like the facts.
Unpleasant yes, but nonetheless true. Examples are myriad. Blacks
think primarily of themselves, not others. They are known poor/no tippers,
and no life insurance company ever made much from that market. Acts such
as suicide is rare amongst blacks..common knowledge. They prefer to strike
at and harm others instead of themselves……There was big news lately about
the Publix that decided to shut down in West Atlanta black area. The place probably
suffered more from inventory shrinkage, i.e. theft, than anything else. I got the hell
out of Fulton 10 years ago, and sing songs of joy every day now. The fat, stupid,
lazy chair warmers that made the City offices third world are now drawing fat
pensions. Funny. Good luck.

Dave O

January 1st, 2010
12:29 pm

97degreeyogurt – it out there you go look it up. But you really don’t care if it is or not, you probably think the Government is the answer not the problem.

scott

January 1st, 2010
12:37 pm

i dont agree with jim wooten on too much but he hit it on the nose!!i often say that atlanta and detroit are sister cities..back in the 70,s detroit was a thriving city much like Atlanta ..went up thier(detroit) for a business trip i was shocked and astonished at the ugliness ,the blight ,the downtrotten,hopeless looking black americans,detroit looks like its been through 6 wars not a store in the city not a decent place to shop,crime running rampant i have a feelin in detroit they will kill you and leave your body in the streets and step over you for days until it rots to non existence..please dont ATLANTA become detroit but it is slowly becoming just that..kaseem reed i dont think he will do to much he wants just the office and the power..Atlanta..lookk to how great SEATTLE IS AND COPY THE RESULTS..PLEASE!!!

scott

January 1st, 2010
1:02 pm

ATLANTA..PLEASE GO TO SEATTLE…AND QUICKLY COPY THE RESULTS THE CITY OF SEATTLE IS WELL RAN BEAUTIFUL, AND ITS DOWNTOWN IS ENERGETIC,AND VIBRANT!!IF NOT THEN ATLANTA IS AND WILL DETROIT WHICH IS AMERICA,S MOST HORRIBLE CITY!!

Settle Down Kittens

January 1st, 2010
1:04 pm

Can any of you idiots give concrete examples of how Atlanta is going the way of Detroit? Our metro area has runaway growth because of the city of Atlanta, not because of the countless suburban pitstops ringing the city. Detroit was all about cars and music… Atlanta’s economy is robust because of it diversity (in businesses). When the Dotcom business went bust, Atlanta keep on ticket. We have it all here (except for waterfront property). You stupid kittens need to drink your milk and take a nap because you’re not grown enough to climb out of your suburban hell holes for a trip to the city – to do all the things you can’t do in biscuitville…

BravesFan79

January 1st, 2010
1:06 pm

Screw the PC crowd, i was a 5 time survivor of black violent crime in early 2000’s … ill never be PC! And Jim is right, if they focused on the actual problems (mexican and black gangs), and not old white men in white hats standing up for their culture/ heritage thats under constant attack from the race mixing liberal media, then maybe something would actually get done and our streets would be safer!!

97degreeyogurt

January 1st, 2010
1:07 pm

I did look it up Dave O here is the link:

http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2009/08/24/federal-pay-continues-rapid-ascent/

Try to digest the numbers if you can, also note that the large increases that occurred under the Bush Administration (2000-2008). Funny how Wooten didn’t mention this in his mini-diatribe.

97degreeyogurt

January 1st, 2010
1:14 pm

Dave O–Your assumptions are incorrect about my motive for questioning Wooten, I wanted to have the facts straight before becoming overly concerned as a taxpayer that more than likely pays more in taxes than you do.

My assumptions about you have to do with being an sparsely educated white male, nothing more nothing less

mitzymy

January 1st, 2010
1:27 pm

I hope the comparison of Atlanta and Detroit are just a way to get bloggers. I visited Detroit last March, and we went downtown. You could park anywhere, because there were no cars except at the casinos. It was terrible,and a lot different from what it was 10 years ago. Last year I visited Seattle and wish that I didn’t have to leave. It is a beautiful city on the water with many tourist attractions that will thrill you. The difference might be that Seattle is an 80% college grad city. The majority of its citizens have graduated from college. Atlanta, is beautiful but the mismanagement has caused the much needed areas to be overlooked.

BravesFan79 i will NEVER be PC!

January 1st, 2010
1:33 pm

It makes a BIG difference when you can live in a city/town without the constant worry of your wife/ kids being the victim of a home invasion, or being shot/ stabbed while just walking down the street. Just compare Decatur/ Clayton to Douglasville/ Fayetville.. and U tell me the difference!! As someone that worked over 50% of the apt complexes throught Atlanta, i know. I think im 2 REAL for this blog. I might offend some overly sensitive PC pzzy…. better edit what i say. Hey… im just “keepin it real” which unfortunatly is not allowed, because im not the right skin color to be able 2 speak my mind.

Buckhead Fred

January 1st, 2010
2:00 pm

To all you Cyber Racist out there, would you be willing to meet at a coffe shop on the Good Side of Town and talk with Educated Black People face to face or hide behind a computer in the safety of Pickens County in a run down single wide. You people are so typical even in 2010. Why don’t you idiots get elected Mayor and fix the problems. You have all the answers. Oh, I’m sorry, a redneck is too stupid to ge elected, even in rual Georgia. That is the reason you sit in a dirty trailer and bash other races on a computer. The smart educated whites have left you behind. P.S, if you worked in over 50% Apartment Complexes in Atlanta, you need to follow the American Dream and pull youself up with your overall straps.

BigBaldwin

January 1st, 2010
2:22 pm

About the Civilian Review Board, don’t be wary of IT, just be wary of how it is constructed. A CRB is the only way to reel in cop’s bad behavior and restore the PD to what it was when the citizens created it. Any city must run the board without payroll, volunteer only, and be dedicated to sculpting the PD the people really want, not what the PD says is best or the police union says is OK according to their policy. The only policy that matters is the people’s policy. The concept of a police department has long ago lost its way and will never come back on its own. Cops must be re-trained according to what today’s people want them to be. Only a CRB can do that. The “intricate police work” myth needs to be exposed for the lie behind the smoke screen that it has always been. bigbaldwin.blogspot.com

NOBama 2012

January 1st, 2010
2:30 pm

Hey Buckhead Fred, you spelled coffee and rural wrong you Educated Black Person and the majority of Educated Black People see right through Atlanta’s Government. It’s only the ignorant ones like you that make statements like this. Another thought, you wouldn’t know what to do if a white person stood up to you! Even better, you wouldn’t know what to do if a white person said let’s meet at the Church’s Chicken on Bankhead Hwy., would ya????? Just admit it, you want all white folk run out of Atlanta!!

Buckhead Fred

January 1st, 2010
2:34 pm

So what Nobama So what Nobama So what!!!

Buckhead Fred

January 1st, 2010
2:36 pm

Meet me at Churches on Bankhead Nobama, Meet me at Churches on Bankhead Nobama!!!