Last One Out Of Highland Park, Shut Off The Lights Please

Michigan under GOP rule continues to be a model for the rest of the country, and by “model” I mean “this is how we plan to make your hometown a miserable cesspool through the power of never ever raising revenues ever.”

As the sun dips below the rooftops each evening, parts of this Detroit enclave turn to pitch black, the only illumination coming from a few streetlights at the end of the block or from glowing yellow yard globes.

It wasn’t always this way. But when the debt-ridden community could no longer afford its monthly electric bill, elected officials not only turned off 1,000 streetlights. They had them ripped out — bulbs, poles and all. Now nightfall cloaks most neighborhoods in inky darkness.

“How can you darken any city?” asked Victoria Dowdell, standing in the halo of a light in her front yard. “I think that was a disgrace. She said the decision endangers everyone, especially people who have to walk around at night or catch the bus.

Highland Park’s decision is one of the nation’s most extreme austerity measures, even among the scores of communities that can no longer afford to provide basic services.

Other towns have postponed roadwork, cut back on trash collection and closed libraries, for example. But to people left in the dark night after night, removing streetlights seems more drastic. And unlike many other cutbacks that can easily be reversed, this one appears to be permanent.

Pretty sure Highland Park has closed libraries, cut trash collection and scrapped fixing streets to reach this point.  Once again, the fact the GOP vision of government includes abdication of its most basic functions to the whims of the “free market” is a planned feature, not a bug.  Those communities who are deserving will be able to afford luxuries like streetlights, those who can’t, it’s your gorram fault for being poor in the first place.  If you parasites want to see at night, send your welfare checks in to the city so they can pay the electric bill or do what our Founding Fathers did and make your own candles out of whatever you have on-hand.

Besides, it’s car country up there.  Just stack several tires or empty 55 gallon drums on each street corner, fill them with handily flammable urban detritus and light the sunzabitches up.  Better we work out what we’ll need in this laboratory of libertarianism now rather than make costly mistakes with limited resources in the future when the rest of us have to go through this, so let us know what works when we have to go all Vault-Tec on everyone.

Meanwhile, what would cause people to move into Highland Park and create thousands of jobs would be tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.  The GOP will get right on that!

80 replies
  1. 1
    kindness says:

    But to rip out the streetlights? I have to assume that cost more money than just plain turning the lights off.

    Saving money, the Republican way.

  2. 2
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    @kindness:

    But don’t you see that you need manpower to rip up those street lights! See, it creates jobs!

  3. 3
    Svensker says:

    I’m not sure raising taxes would have done anything. The town has lost half its population and has no jobs.

    Keeping jobs in America might have helped. Raising taxes there now, prolly not.

    I just wonder if this is what half of the States is going to like in the next few years.

  4. 4
    lacp says:

    Sorta like Escape from New York, but with more Republicans.

  5. 5
    The Other Chuck says:

    Anyone up for a ballot initiative to rename the town “Norquistville”?

  6. 6
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    There is talk across the country of allowing paved streets to revert to gravel.

    Never mind that the overall cost to everyone will go up if this happens, it’s what’s seen in the municipality’s annual budget that counts.

    This is penny wise pound foolish taken to new heights of stupid.

    Your modern GOP, people.

  7. 7
    drkrick says:

    Isn’t this the town where they suspect the governor’s master plan is to move everybody out and redevelop as some kind of gated community for white people? This has the feel of a landlord pressuring tenants out in order to go co-op.

  8. 8
    The Spy Who Loved Me says:

    How is this the GOP’s fault? Is the city council of this town, which voted to remove the street lights, Republican? Doubtful. As much as you want to blame every bad thing that ever happens anywhere on the GOP, sometimes crap happens that is not it’s fault. The only thing that could have saved the street lights was a property tax increase, and I somehow doubt the few remaining residents there could afford it or want to pay increased property taxes.

  9. 9
    Studly Pantload, Boy King of Ubekibekibekistanstan says:

    Gloriously O/T, but this quote today from Cain deserves some meta-lovin’: “I Am The Koch Bros. Brother From Another Mother”

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo......?ref=fpblg

  10. 10
    boss bitch says:

    Herman Cain. “I am the Koch brothers’ brother from another mother,” Cain said Friday.

  11. 11
    West of the Cascades says:

    According to Wikipedia, Highland Park’s demographic makeup is over 93% African-American. No wonder the GOP at the federal and state level have been starving this particular local community — not their kinda people …

  12. 12
    Catsy says:

    gorram

    Vault-Tec

    That is a twofer of awesome references. I tip my hat to thee.

  13. 13
    matryoshka says:

    I wonder if the few people who still live there will continue to vote Republican, to protect themselves from the gays or the devil or whatever.

    @Svensker: Yes, I think Highland Park is our most likely future–and not just in half the states.

  14. 14
    Zandar says:

    @The Spy Who Loved Me:

    How is this the GOP’s fault? Let’s start with the fact Gov. Snyder’s budget indeed slashed state aid to local governments in half.

    Doesn’t get much more obvious than that.

  15. 15
    gbear says:

    @boss bitch: I bet the Koch brothers don’t see it that way…

  16. 16
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    As I have mentioned before here in NC rather than raise taxes the legislature has raised court costs. They have for all intents and purposes put civil court out of reach of anyone but the wealthy and have put a simple speeding ticket out of reach of your average minimum wage worker’s ability to take care of it. When it comes to court costs of $200+ or your rent what choice do you have?

    Inevitably these people are not going to show up for court (evidenced by my one day in court last week while I was waiting to get some of our cases continued, fully half of the defendants with infractions did not answer up to the calendar) which will result in a Failure to Appear adding on an additional $200.00 fee. So now they need TWO weeks wages to take care of it. Then after 20 days their license gets revoked resulting in a $100.00 reinstatement fee. They still drive (they have to to get to work) and if they get pulled again they end up with a DWLR. They are now looking at upwards of $1,000 to take care of it. Never going to happen. So eventually a simple speeding ticket ends up with jail time. However to make sure the State doesn’t have to come up with the money for that the sneaky legislature added an additional fee into an “Improper Equipment” plea of $50.00 to go into the “misdemeanor incarceration fund”. They know what the results of their idiocy is going to be, so they create a sneaky fund so that they can lock all those minimum wage earners up. They are just evil.

  17. 17
    boss bitch says:

    Any Michael Moore fans here? Is he making noise about what’s happening in his home state?

  18. 18
    oscura says:

    Streetlights are a blight upon the cityscape and a waste of energy, and I’m glad to see some being removed. Of course, the Republican reason for removing them is completely crackers.

  19. 19
    boss bitch says:

    @gbear: I bet you’re right. Cain is no more than a useful idiot to them.

  20. 20
    Zandar says:

    By the way, Michigan Republicans figure if they just got rid of as many local governments as possible through attrition, everything will be fine (and all the “undesirables” will leave.)

    Worked for Louisiana.

  21. 21
    PeakVT says:

    I don’t think the GOP is particularly at fault wrt. Highland Park. They aren’t doing enough to help, but the problems started a while ago. The balkanization of American municipal governments looks to be the biggest structural factor. The city probably did very well when it had a major factory within its borders. Now that it’s gone, Highland Park can’t draw on the tax base of a wider area.

    @drkrick: That town is over on the other side of the state.

  22. 22

    Meanwhile, the wetsuit factory purrs on.

  23. 23
    BH in MA says:

    The New Deal, among other things, built schools and libraries, paved roads, built bridges and installed street lighting. Now we are ripping out the street lights, converting roads to gravel, firing teachers, closing schools, closing libraries and closing bridges deemed unsafe rather than repairing them. We should just accept what our betters have been telling us: the past 80 years or so have been a failed experiment: 21st century America, the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth simply can’t afford a 20th century infrastructure.

    One question: Why tear out the street lights entirely rather than simply opening the panel at the base and removing the fuse? We’re the street lights sold? To whom? If the richest country in the world can’t afford municipal lighting what other country could?

  24. 24
    David in NY says:

    @PeakVT: Highland Park is also in the peculiar position of being entirely surrounded by the City of Detroit. I suspect that this does not help.

  25. 25
    Violet says:

    @boss bitch:
    Don’t know, but he’s appearing at a book signing tonight in Houston. Maybe a Houstonian attending the event could ask him.

    Rumor is, he might also show up at the Occupy Houston site.

  26. 26
    Martin says:

    Besides, it’s car country up there. Just stack several tires or empty 55 gallon drums on each street corner, fill them with handily flammable urban detritus Republicans and light the sunzabitches up.

  27. 27
    TooManyJens says:

    @matryoshka:

    I wonder if the few people who still live there will continue to vote Republican, to protect themselves from the gays or the devil or whatever.

    I doubt there are a lot of Republican voters in Highland Park.

    @BH in MA:

    One question: Why tear out the street lights entirely rather than simply opening the panel at the base and removing the fuse?

    Some of them were replaced with LEDs, which are much more efficient. I guess if they ever come up with money (which seems doubtful), they’ll put up more LEDs.

  28. 28
    boss bitch says:

    @Violet:

    Rumor is, he might also show up at the Occupy Houston site.

    groan.

  29. 29
    Violet says:

    @boss bitch:
    It’s a rumor. No idea if it’s going to happen or who started it.

  30. 30
    boss bitch says:

    Why am I not shocked?

    CNBC Debate Ad Asks “How” GOP Candidates Will End “War On Wealth”

    In a promo for the upcoming “Your Money, Your Vote” Republican debate on CNBC that aired on today’s edition of Squawk On The Street, a voiceover asks, “How will candidates end the war on wealth?” During the voiceover the ad shows images of the Occupy Wall Street protests:

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201111030011

  31. 31
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I keep thinking about that Infiniti car commercial where it spouts off that it costs American’s $68Billion a year for car repairs due to the shitty roads we have these days. If we were to actually spend half of that, we probably would save the other half. The problem is, that’s liberal, government is the solution type thinking.

  32. 32
    TooManyJens says:

    @boss bitch: If what we’re experiencing in this country is a war on wealth, I’d like to call for wars on prosperity, common sense, and chocolate.

  33. 33
    Violet says:

    @boss bitch:
    That must mean that the Occupy Wall Street folks are doing something right.

  34. 34
    cleek says:

    speaking of OWS, those Guy Fawkes masks? the press finally noticed that the symbolism sucks, and they are not happy.

    While Fawkes’ image has been romanticized over the past 400 years, he was a criminal who tried to blow up a government building. It would be hard to imagine Americans one day wearing Timothy McVeigh masks to protest the government or corporate greed.

    yow

  35. 35
    Martin says:

    @BH in MA:

    One question: Why tear out the street lights entirely rather than simply opening the panel at the base and removing the fuse? We’re the street lights sold? To whom? If the richest country in the world can’t afford municipal lighting what other country could?

    Because the street lights are being stolen and sold for scrap. Even if the city hasn’t resorted to selling the lights themselves, they’re probably better off removing them and storing them (not like Detroit has a shortage of vacant space) in order to reinstall them later, or choosing to sell them if need be. Either option benefits the city rather than the folks that steal the lights.

    And once a city has decided it can’t pay for keeping streets lit, thieves can reasonably conclude that the city can’t pay for regular police patrols. Further, the lack of continuous lighting is a HUGE benefit to criminals.

  36. 36
    Violet says:

    @cleek:

    the press is not happy.

    LOL. If the press isn’t happy, someone is doing something right.

  37. 37
    RossinDetroit says:

    My best friend grew up in Highland Park when it was Chrysler’s home town. Chrysler leaving was a fatal blow. He used to see Chrysler engineers driving prototype turbine cars. Now you see more junk cars on the street than those that run. It’s a grim scene.

  38. 38
    Snark Based Reality says:

    I would imagine the power company would bill the government for light poles and such even with the lightbulbs removed as it’s still a fixture being provided service. Removing the poles guarantees to all parties involved that there is no service to be billed for.

    And now for the snark:

    This community should be praised for it’s forward thinking environmental program. Light pollution is a serious problem and tons of carbon are released into the atmosphere every year to power such inefficient lighting. This will be a boon for attracting both astronomers and environmentally conscious to the local real estate market. It’s a free market win win.

  39. 39
    eemom says:

    @Violet:

    I think he already did. I saw a blurb somewhere a while ago that he yelled at some reporter there for asking him how much he’s worth.

    This is after telling some New York kids earlier this week that the reason they didn’t vote in 2010 was because they didn’t buy “Obama’s BS.”

    IMO he should shut the fuck up and not “help” us.

  40. 40
    Martin says:

    @Violet: Indeed. It’s working.

  41. 41
    matryoshka says:

    @TooManyJens: OK, point taken. But the Google tells me that Republican votes surged upward (from 4% to 25%) in Wayne Co., MI, between 2004 and 2008. WTF?
    http://www.city-data.com/city/.....higan.html

  42. 42
    John Weiss says:

    @cleek: Guy Fawkes was an asshole. Who knows why the ‘holiday’ is so popular in Britain? It certainly isn’t appropriate for Americans to be wearing the masks.

    Ignorance is a plague.

  43. 43
    RossinDetroit says:

    @drkrick:

    Isn’t this the town where they suspect the governor’s master plan is to move everybody out and redevelop as some kind of gated community for white people?

    That would be the Benton Harbor/St. Joseph area, where a poor area with valuable lakefront is being basically left to wither so it can be bought up cheap and redeveloped.
    The Gov can now appoint a financial manager and dismiss the elected government anywhere, at will. That scares a lot of us.

  44. 44
    John Weiss says:

    @eemom: I like MM just fine, but it would be good if he grew up. Politics is a nasty business and one is never going to get everything that one wants. MM seems to thing that if one doesn’t get a unicorn, that one should pick up the ball and go home.

  45. 45
    Roger Moore says:

    @John Weiss:

    Guy Fawkes was an asshole. Who knows why the ‘holiday’ is so popular in Britain?

    The holiday is celebrating his failure and involves burning him in effigy, so it’s not as though the British are doing it wrong. The reason the masks are popular is because of the V for Vendetta movie, where they were misinterpreted into being a sign of mass protest against the government.

  46. 46
    MikeJ says:

    @John Weiss:

    Who knows why the ‘holiday’ is so popular in Britain?

    It’s an excuse to drink and shoot fireworks. It’s fun. Its existence doesn’t mean people want to restore a Catholic to the throne.

  47. 47
    Rafer Janders says:

    @matryoshka:

    I wonder if the few people who still live there will continue to vote Republican, to protect themselves from the gays or the devil or whatever.

    Considering the town is 93% African-American, I doubt that few if any of them were voting Republican in the first place.

  48. 48
    John Weiss says:

    @Roger Moore: You’re right. It was the ‘V’ movie that got that going here.

    @MikeJ: you’re right as well.

    I’m wrong. What a unique experience!

  49. 49
    Rafer Janders says:

    @cleek:

    While Fawkes’ image has been romanticized over the past 400 years, he was a criminal who tried to blow up a government building.

    Well, one man’s criminal is another man’s freedom fighter. He tried to blow up a government building because Catholicism was being violently repressed by the ruling Protestant establishment. Had he succeeded, he’d be remembered as a glorious hero. If we look at it this way, then George Washington, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams etc. were also criminals who attacked government soldiers and forts.

    It would be hard to imagine Americans one day wearing Timothy McVeigh masks to protest the government or corporate greed.

    Well, come on, it’s not that hard to imagine. If there’s a weir or fucked-up thing to do, Americans will find a way to do it….

  50. 50
    geg6 says:

    @cleek:

    Well, can’t say I disagree with the sentiment. Anyone who thinks Guy Fawkes was some sort of hero watches too many shitty movies and needs a fucking history lesson.

    Of course, it’s probably the asshole anarchists wearing them, so they don’t give a shit about anything or anyone, so a history lesson won’t make a dent in their thick skulls.

  51. 51
    boss bitch says:

    @TooManyJens: @Violet:

    I knew it was going to be like this when I heard Maria bartimoro was going to be one of the moderators.

  52. 52
    matryoshka says:

    @Rafer Janders: You don’t think churches have any influence in the black community? Or that people don’t vote against their own economic interests in the urban North as much as they do in the rural South? Since we are just past the first election of a black man to the office of president, I think I’ll wait a while longer to see if it’s safe to assume that if you’re black, you’re a Democrat.

  53. 53
    geg6 says:

    @Violet:

    To be honest, I support OWS but don’t find the Guy Fawkes shit funny or cute or even remotely relevant to the causes OWS purports to be fighting for.

    Unless religious terrorist wars are what they want.

    It’s stupid shit like the Guy Fawkes masks that make people like me, who want desperately to think these people are serious and have something serious to say, to question what they hell they are doing.

  54. 54
    Chris T. says:

    @TooManyJens: Well, given the results of the Wars on Poverty and Drugs, perhaps those would be very good wars too, yes. :-)

  55. 55
    geg6 says:

    @MikeJ:

    It celebrates the foiling of the bombing plot, not Guy Fawkes or the Catholic plot to overthrow the British government.

    And anyone who celebrates Guy Fawkes himself by wearing that stupid mask from that idiotic film is not someone with whom I wish to be allied. On anything.

  56. 56
    Calouste says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Had he succeeded, he’d be remembered as a glorious hero.

    Nope. Balthasar Gérard succeeded in assassinating William the Silent, and he ended up as a footnote.

  57. 57
    Lysana says:

    @Roger Moore:

    The reason the masks are popular is because of the V for Vendetta movie, where they were misinterpreted into being presented as a sign of mass protest against the government.

    Fixed. The character of V adopted Guy Fawkes as a symbol of someone who tried to do the right thing but could be improved upon.

  58. 58
    Rafer Janders says:

    @John Weiss:

    Guy Fawkes was an asshole. Who knows why the ‘holiday’ is so popular in Britain?

    It’s not a celebration OF him, rather, the British are celebrating the failure of Guy Fawkes’ plot:

    The tradition of Guy Fawkes-related bonfires actually began the very same year as the failed coup. The Plot was foiled in the night between the 4th and 5th of November 1605. Already on the 5th, agitated Londoners who knew little more than that their King had been saved, joyfully lit bonfires in thanksgiving. As years progressed, however, the ritual became more elaborate. Soon, people began placing effigies onto bonfires, and fireworks were added to the celebrations. Effigies of Guy Fawkes, and sometimes those of the Pope, graced the pyres. Still today, some communities throw dummies of both Guy Fawkes and the Pope on the bonfire (and even those of a contemporary politician or two), although the gesture is seen by most as a quirky tradition, rather than an expression of hostility towards the Pope. Preparations for Bonfire Night celebrations include making a dummy of Guy Fawkes, which is called “the Guy”. Some children even keep up an old tradition of walking in the streets, carrying “the Guy” they have just made, and beg passersby for “a penny for the Guy.” The kids use the money to buy fireworks for the evening festivities. On the night itself, Guy is placed on top of the bonfire, which is then set alight; and fireworks displays fill the sky.

    http://www.bonfirenight.net/bonfire.php

  59. 59
    Redshift says:

    @geg6:

    Unless religious terrorist wars are what they want.

    Get a fucking grip. It’s a symbol from a graphic novel and a movie about an anonymous hero backed up by common people fighting an oppressive system. And its use for a hero was based on the long-standing romanticization of a historical figure (gee, that’s never happened before!) If we’re going to require that everyone trace the entire history of the derivation of their symbols to guarantee there’s not anything offensive or contrary to their intended purposes, there’d be nothing but blank signs.

    If there are people hiding behind masks to engage in destructive acts that undermine the purpose of the protests, then disagree with those acts, but assuming they are and disagreeing with the masks on that basis is just stupid.

    This reminds me of nothing so much as the initial tut-tutting (from our fucking side) about how no one was going to take this seriously because they were dressed like hippies and stoners, and they really should dress better to get the point across. Well, they didn’t and people are taking them seriously, and I hope they pay exactly as much attention to this criticism of how they look wrong as that one.

  60. 60
    RossinDetroit says:

    IIRC, Fawkes is also indirectly responsible for the term ‘guy’ in English referring to a man. Formerly it meant an unattractive or dilapidated individual, like an effigy or scarecrow.

  61. 61
    Bago says:

    When you are wearing a mask, you become anonymous.

    Noh way!

  62. 62
    El Cid says:

    Like we need to be like Europe, with all these fancy “lights” everywhere, like we’re afraid of the dark.

    What you don’t know can’t hurt you, and that includes what or who may be in front of you.

  63. 63
    Linnaeus says:

    This canary’s been in the coal mine for 40 years, if not more, and no one. seems. to. give. a. shit.

  64. 64
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    @Redshift:

    If we’re going to require that everyone trace the entire history of the derivation of their symbols to guarantee there’s not anything offensive or contrary to their intended purposes, there’d be nothing but blank signs.

    Case in point — The Founders: slaveholders and white supremacists who did a miserable job of living up to their ideals.

  65. 65
    dr. luba says:

    @matryoshka:

    OK, point taken. But the Google tells me that Republican votes surged upward (from 4% to 25%) in Wayne Co., MI, between 2004 and 2008. WTF?
    http://www.city-data.com/city/…..higan.html

    Your link doesn’t work for me, so I’m not sure what figures you’re referring to. Do keep in mind, though, that Wayne county is not just Detroit, but the lily-white western suburbs as well, including Livonia, the whitest big town in America. It has an AA population of less than 1%, which is amazing as it borders Detroit. (My township, which lies 40 miles from downtown, has a 5% AA population, for comparison.)

  66. 66
    Rafer Janders says:

    @matryoshka:

    Blacks are among the most reliably Democratic voters. Of the 32 districts in which blacks are a majority or plurality of the population, 31 are represented by Democrats (the outlier is Louisiana’s second district, held by Anh Cao, the only Republican to vote for health-care reform, a vote he later reversed). The last time a Republican took more than 15% of the black vote in a presidential election was in 1960, when 32% of black voters supported Richard Nixon. In 2008 Mr Obama captured 95% of the black vote, and black Americans are still the president’s strongest supporters. A Gallup poll taken earlier this month put his approval rating at 91% among blacks and 36% among whites.

    http://www.economist.com/node/17364986

  67. 67
    Berial says:

    @geg6: HEY! V for Vendetta was a decent movie! I quite enjoyed the comic graphic novel as well!

  68. 68
    Ken J. says:

    Highland Park, Michigan, from a web news story:

    “The city, $58 million in debt, has never recovered from Chrysler’s decision in the 1990s to relocate its world headquarters out of Highland Park.”

    Governor Rick Michigan’s plan for the cities is to appoint dictators to run them. (He calls them Emergency Financial Managers, but their powers are dictatorial.) In the case of Highland Park, it’s hard to see any solution other than dissolution, as there is no economic base left. But then you are rolling Highland Park in with Detroit, another city being prepped for dictatorial takeover by the Governor.

    Highland Park is the logical outcome of years of American thought which says, “We are the suburbs, and over there is the City, and we have no responsibility for the city but we expect to be able to utilize its resources.”

    What would make the most sense would be to roll Detroit and the 3 surrounding counties together into one metropolitan government, but fat chance of that ever happening.

  69. 69
    Mike in NC says:

    Highland Park’s decision is one of the nation’s most extreme austerity measures, even among the scores of communities that can no longer afford to provide basic services.

    So they’re adapting the North Korean model?

  70. 70
    harlana says:

    @boss bitch:

    Why am I not shocked?

    ” CNBC Debate Ad Asks “How” GOP Candidates Will End “War On Wealth”

    In a promo for the upcoming “Your Money, Your Vote” Republican debate on CNBC that aired on today’s edition of Squawk On The Street, a voiceover asks, “How will candidates end the war on wealth?” During the voiceover the ad shows images of the Occupy Wall Street protests:

    In a way, I think it’s a good thing. The question cuts right to the chase. Current sentiment being what it is, their responses could be very illuminating for the American public.

  71. 71
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    I’ve seen reports of counties depaving roads to save maintenance money, bridges falling down, and the very basic function of delivering clean water has been stuffed up. And now cities are left to go black?

    Dear Americans – you’re in a decline. Your country is crumbling around you. Why, to God, are you not screaming about this from the rooftops?

    (Well, apart from OWS)

  72. 72
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @BH in MA:

    We should just accept what our betters have been telling us: the past 80 years or so have been a failed experiment: 21st century America, the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth simply can’t afford a 20th century infrastructure.

    Pardon me, but 21st century America CAN afford a 20th century infrastructure.

    What you mean to say is that it WON’T.

  73. 73
    RossinDetroit says:

    The automotive columnist Peter Egan observed the crumbling road infrastructure 20+ years ago and wondered if his would be the first generation that would fail to maintain what it inherited. That stuck with me and I’ve seen it coming true all around SE MI.

  74. 74
    Rome Again says:

    Somebody find me a Stargate. I’m on the wrong freaking planet!

  75. 75
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    elected officials not only turned off 1,000 streetlights. They had them ripped out — bulbs, poles and all. Now nightfall cloaks most neighborhoods in inky darkness.

    I haven’t read through all the comments yet, so maybe others have addresses this — but what an awful, pessimistic view of the world this represents. There’s a stretch of road I travel each evening, maybe a mile or a little more. The lights have been turned off for years, but the fixtures are still in place and the subliminal message is, “Well, things are rough right now and the city can’t afford to pay the power bills, but when they can, then these street lights will come back on.” But Highland Park, really? You’re ripping out the poles and everything? That sends such a sour message: “Things will never get better, don’t even think there will once again be abundant light here someday, it’s all dark and drear from here on out.”

  76. 76
    Linnaeus says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    But Highland Park, really? You’re ripping out the poles and everything? That sends such a sour message: “Things will never get better, don’t even think there will once again be abundant light here someday, it’s all dark and drear from here on out.”

    I think there is that sentiment operating on some level, or at the least a good deal of uncertainty as to when, if ever, Highland Park will be able to turn the streetlights back on. But also pointed out upthread, if the lights aren’t taken out entirely, they’ll be stripped of whatever they can be to be sold for scrap. That’s how bad it’s gotten there.

  77. 77
    TenguPhule says:

    How” GOP Candidates Will End “War On Wealth”

    It will end when every last GOP candidate is strung up by their guts from shining lamp post to lamp post.

    This will end badly.

  78. 78
    TenguPhule says:

    Somebody find me a Stargate. I’m on the wrong freaking planet!

    Don’t forget your towel.

    And watch out for the Grue.

  79. 79
    delosgatos says:

    Not with a bang, but with a wimper.

  80. 80
    Z says:

    “That sends such a sour message: ‘Things will never get better, don’t even think there will once again be abundant light here someday, it’s all dark and drear from here on out.'”

    Unfortunately, this is a sour message that is actually correct for the foreseeable future. The town had an infrastructure based on taxation of people making $40k per year. Now people make $18k per year. The city budget is probably around 1/3 of its prior state. Then, instead of working to address that difference, they let their electric bill pile up for years.

    The city has let itself slip into a hole too big to get out of. Had they acted much earlier, it wouldn’t be like this. I sympathize with the people of the city for having a crappy government- looks like there’s a lot of that going around.

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