There are two sides to the story of Detroit.
One is the political and civic story of how the mayor and city council will manage the multi-year process of shrinking the city government to fit a population of 700,000. At its peak in 1950, Detroit had about 1.8 million citizens. The Motor City has undergone a 60 year contraction in population, and now the city’s geographic and infrastructure footprints need to shrink to survive.
The Detroit News transcribed Mayor Dave Bing’s interview with CNN (embedded above):
Bing said he took the job to “make the hard decisions so this city would have a future.” But the toughest part of the job is “managing expectations,” the mayor said.
“We are in an environment I think, of entitlement,” Bing said. “We’ve got a lot of people who are city workers who for years and years, 20, 30 years, think they are entitled to a job and all that comes with it.
“Nobody wants to go backwards, but in order for us to move the city forward, we are going to have to take a step or two backwards and then, I think, all of us have to participate in the pain that’s upon us right now.”