Insight News

Feb 07th

Saved in Detroit

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It seems a lifetime ago that Detroit was home to the American dream: jobs in the auto industry lifted families into the middle class and musicians found profitable outlets for their talents. Back then, the city was booming, a place where dreams could come true.  That was then, this now. Today, Detroit has the highest unemployment rate in the country. Jobs are scarce and elected officials are continuously met with scandal.  But don’t be mislead…thought Detroit may have fallen on hard times in recent years, the city is far from dead.

The spirit of Detroit still lives on. You hear it in the voices of the people who call it home; they believe the city will rise again. You saw it action recently, when quick thinking airlines passengers, many of whom were from the city, were able to subdue a man attempting to blow up the plane as it was preparing to land.  And you feel it as you travel through the city, picking up vibes from its unique and rich history, a good part of which is uniquely African-American.

The future of the auto industry may be in question, with GM and Chrysler filing bankruptcy and requiring a bailout loan from the federal government. But we cannot forget that long before the foreign auto makers started selling here in the U.S., Detroit was Motor City. The economic boom there was felt throughout the nation.   Detroit’s influence on the music industry cannot be forgotten. The legendary Motown Records gave us, among others, the Temptations, the Supremes, the Jackson Five and Boys to Men. In its early years, Motown played a huge role in integrating the airwaves and, in effect, the country.

The government officially lists Detroit’s unemployment rate at 27-percent, higher than any other city. But that number doesn’t include people who work part-time but want to work more. It also doesn’t include those who looked for work for so long that they simply gave up their job search. Knowing this, we can safely say the number of unemployed is much higher than estimated. 

But Detroit is a tough town, filled with resourceful people. The ingenuity that brought forth that past success will do so again. Detroit is a smart choice for large companies looking to relocate or start new branches. The cost of doing business there is much cheaper than in, say, Chicago. It will only take one company to make that leap; once it does, others will follow.

As I look toward 2010, I want to show love to my hometown. It has given so much to me and to this country. I know that it will once again be a thriving city.

Judge Greg Mathis became the youngest judge in Michigan’s history and was elected a Superior Court Judge for Michigan’s 36th District. He has been called upon as a regular contributor to national television programs, including “Larry King Live,” “Politically Incorrect,” CNN's "Talk Back Live,” “Showbiz Tonight” and “Extra” to discuss his opinions on complex issues of the day, such as national security, unique sentencing, affirmative action and celebrity scandals. He also offers his take on high-profile legal cases.

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