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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Link: http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080530/OPINION03/805300347/1363/AUTO04

Daniel Howes: Mackinac Policy Conference

Time running out on Michigan, auto show


MACKINAC ISLAND -- A hot topic up here isn't on the agenda: It's behind-the-scenes talk of exit strategies from Michigan because bolting the Big Mitten apparently is the only way business leaders can shake politicians from their lethargy.

Among the frustrated are organizers of the North American International Auto Show, weary from a decade of petty politicking and failed schemes to expand Detroit's Cobo Center. They said Thursday they plan to circumvent local officials and "within 30 days" push legislation that would help fund a 120,000-square-foot expansion of the downtown convention center.

Should that fail -- as it well could considering Lansing's toxic stew of hyper-partisanship and do-nothing machinations -- the auto show's co-chairmen told me they would consider two options neither would prefer to contemplate: Sell Chicago the rights to the North American International Auto Show name, essentially conceding defeat, or take the show's brand on the road to rival cities like New York, Miami, Los Angeles and Chicago and downgrade Detroit to the regional show it is in danger of becoming.

"We want to keep it here, but time has run out," says Joe Serra, senior co-chairman of the auto show and president of Serra Automotive in Grand Blanc. "It's also time to do the right thing for the show, which means we have to look at alternatives. I do know I have to get 'em off dead center."


Added Doug Fox, owner of the five-store Ann Arbor Automotive: "We're at the point where we have to explore all remedies."

Such dire scenarios, delivered as Gov. Jennifer Granholm and the "Big Four" regional leaders of Metro Detroit are scheduled today to address the Detroit Regional Chamber's Mackinac Policy Conference, are calculated gamesmanship.

They're also a public manifestation of frustration boiling over in a business community beset by a new business tax and its surcharge, a structural reform agenda that has been ignored by Lansing and confirmation that the state's top political leaders seldom talk about anything but the crisis du jour -- if that.

It's all ample evidence that many policy makers simply don't have a clue of the economic reckoning bearing down harder on the state as the Detroit-based auto industry copes with imploding sales by cutting more jobs, idling more production lines and squeezing suppliers. The net effect: Fewer jobs produce less state revenue, sparking a vicious cycle that becomes a downward spiral.
Seeking the business heavies

"Time is running out," says a frustrated Detroit-based CEO, among the under-represented cadre of business leaders at what purports to be the state's premier gathering of business leaders. It isn't, unless you count the scores of government staffers, former bureaucrats and non-profit brass (quietly) chumming for cash.

The auto industry is in another swoon, taking thousands of more jobs down with it, and $4-a-gallon gas means more are likely to disappear. Where are the industry's prominent players or their surrogates? Conspicuously absent, especially after Chrysler LLC Chairman Bob Nardelli canceled because he injured his back last weekend.

Where is the testimonial from a CEO who chose to locate a new operation in Indiana or the Carolinas instead of Michigan -- and why? How can leaders talk about recruiting talent and retaining young college graduates when jobs are disappearing and most thinking people know people follow jobs, not the other way around?
Where does it all end?

I swung by a Q&A with the top two Democrats and the top two Republicans in the Legislature. They spent 10 minutes or so trying to answer why they couldn't pass a total ban on smoking in Michigan, made passing mention of structural reform (mostly by arguing over prison spending) and couldn't agree that the state should vote to accept -- accept! -- $165 million in federal funds to improve airport infrastructure around the state.

All this after the First Gentleman, Dan Mulhern, urged me to "be positive" after I said hello to him in the lower level of the Grand Hotel. About what, exactly? Michigan's bid to be the Hollywood of the Midwest?

Or that prominent CEOs spent part of their day Thursday commiserating about the political instability of Detroit -- thanks to Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's text-message scandal and gridlock with City Council -- and its effect on investment in Detroit? Or that inattention from public officials and a lack of urgency in Lansing has some prominent CEOs preparing exit strategies -- just like the auto show organizers?

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I'm very saddened by this and I hope there is a collective effort by everyone to keep the NAIAS in Detroit at Cobo and for Cobo to GROW to a comparable size of Chicago and get totally upgraded (like it should be!) so it would not look out of place next to Ford Field, Comerica, or The Palace nor the Book-Cadillac Hotel or the RenCen or the Compuware building...

your thoughts?

Respectfully,

CobaltSS
 

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They could move the show to Auburn Hills and the Palace where the Pistons play...
LOTS of parking, hotels, space, etc...
 

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One thing has become painfully evident over the last 20 or so years. Whatever the question, whoever the leader, no matter how profound the proposal - you can count on Detroit to do the wrong thing.

The basic problem is that the people who have the requisite requirements to be elected in Detroit do not have the skills to accomplish the goal. Unfortunately, with rare exception - this extrapolates to national politics as well.
 

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One thing has become painfully evident over the last 20 or so years. Whatever the question, whoever the leader, no matter how profound the proposal - you can count on Detroit to do the wrong thing.

The basic problem is that the people who have the requisite requirements to be elected in Detroit do not have the skills to accomplish the goal. Unfortunately, with rare exception - this extrapolates to national politics as well.
Concisely and sadly stated, goblue.

I will repeat my lament and diagnosis for the nation and for many states and cities: The greatest, most dangerous shortage we face in America today is intelligent, principled, courageous, rational leadership.

Governator Grantsmanship and Mayor Kwazimoto:

"It's all ample evidence that many policy makers simply don't have a clue of the economic reckoning bearing down harder on the state as the Detroit-based auto industry copes with imploding sales by cutting more jobs, idling more production lines and squeezing suppliers." (From the article.)

It's hard to believe that so many people can be so consistently stupid. Yet the class of people who run for and achieve high office today has to be among the least qualified in the history of US-America.
It's as if they are all graduates of Miss Teen America contests, with all the blonde, deer-in-the-headlights cluelessness that implies.

Yet people keep electing them.

I get regular commo from the RNC and the DNC, and they suffer the same blindness. I am about to return a survey with a letter, but when people achieve a certain level of stupidity it's pointless to tell them they're stupid.
When people are bought and paid for, telling them they're corrupt seems pointless.
They are too stupid to understand that they are the problem. Stupidity is not correctible. Ignorance is.

When you are stupid, corrupt, for sale/sold, don't care about the people you supposedly "serve," and have no more perceptive a view of the future than a milk cow does...well, it's the best damn job you'll ever be incompetent at, no matter how many thousands you take down with you.
 

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Are Michigan and Rhode Island starting to inbreed? The same horrible combination of bad politics is ruining business in Rhode Island as well.

1. Raise taxes to drive out business.
2. Make promises you won't keep to prospective business.
3. Obtain such a terrible reputation nationally that no business would consider basing operations in your state.

Welcom to the death spiral.
 

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Concisely and sadly stated, goblue.

I will repeat my lament and diagnosis for the nation and for many states and cities: The greatest, most dangerous shortage we face in America today is intelligent, principled, courageous, rational leadership.

Governator Grantsmanship and Mayor Kwazimoto:

"It's all ample evidence that many policy makers simply don't have a clue of the economic reckoning bearing down harder on the state as the Detroit-based auto industry copes with imploding sales by cutting more jobs, idling more production lines and squeezing suppliers." (From the article.)

It's hard to believe that so many people can be so consistently stupid. Yet the class of people who run for and achieve high office today has to be among the least qualified in the history of US-America.
It's as if they are all graduates of Miss Teen America contests, with all the blonde, deer-in-the-headlights cluelessness that implies.

Yet people keep electing them.

I get regular commo from the RNC and the DNC, and they suffer the same blindness. I am about to return a survey with a letter, but when people achieve a certain level of stupidity it's pointless to tell them they're stupid.
When people are bought and paid for, telling them they're corrupt seems pointless.
They are too stupid to understand that they are the problem. Stupidity is not correctible. Ignorance is.

When you are stupid, corrupt, for sale/sold, don't care about the people you supposedly "serve," and have no more perceptive a view of the future than a milk cow does...well, it's the best damn job you'll ever be incompetent at, no matter how many thousands you take down with you.
Well stated. If only we had a workable solution that could be implemented. I can think of many solutions, as can many, but no conceivable way to get them passed, as the key problem is any real solution would harm the current situation of those who would need to vote for it.
 

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If Dee-troit/Michigan loses the NAIAS, they will not get it back.

Chicago--whose corrupt politicians are at least smart--will take it and run, MoTown will continue its downward death spiral.

Eventually they will film RoboCop IV, V, VI etc. in the Former Motor City, and it won't be make-believe. It'll be a documentary, perhaps with Chris Wallace narrating.
 

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Motown records went to LA...this sucks. we are losing evrything.
OK, if we're going to complain we should offer solutions. I have one:

In order to form a More Perfect union, move the congress, the president, and the supremes (not MoTown Records, the Other supremes) out of that den of iniquity known as Worshington DC.

Visit select cities or counties, on a 2-year (one congressional term) basis.

First Host City: Dee-Troit. Since Cobo could quite possibly be very lightly scheduled, just book them for the 2-3 days per week, 20 weeks per year that congress works. Make sure there's some time available between 11:45 PM and 2:00 AM, to pass pay raises, major giveaways, and other important Midnight Agendas.

Hire a city manager and maybe a state manager who know their arse from a hole in the ground.
Propose a state constitutional amendment and a city charter amendment requiring a minimum IQ of 85 to run for office. That should take care of the gov and mr mayor for now.

Demand MoTown Records return from LA, or Detroit will declare war. Or at least they will call LA a poopie town.

Next!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Monday, June 2, 2008
Daniel Howes

State needs wakeup call for economic revival

MACKINAC ISLAND -- In the time it took southeast Michigan's hopers and dreamers to while away three days last week on a rocky hamlet locked in another century, this happened:
Ford Motor Co. essentially confirmed it is planning to cut another 12 percent of its salaried work force, General Motors Corp. said 19,000 hourly workers would be leaving the company and more restructuring would follow, Greektown Casino declared bankruptcy and American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. said it would cut more jobs.
It also became obvious that $4-a-gallon gas is the gravest threat to Detroit's auto industry and Michigan's slumping economy since the oil shocks of the 1970s. Not that you heard as much during sessions sounding more like Barack Obama rallies than cold-eyed assessments of how off-track the state and its largest region are or what to do about it.
All this in the time it takes the Detroit Regional Chamber to lure 1,700 fee-paying folks to another Mackinac Policy Conference. What's it going to take -- a bankruptcy of GM, Ford or Chrysler, the default of Detroit or the state, the push for one more massive tax increase -- to enrage, to enlighten, to coalesce leaders and voters around an agenda for economic change auguring the arrival of a new Michigan?
Advertisement

Economic facts trump spin

I can tell you what won't do it: Emotional "Pure Michigan" ad campaigns or warmed over PowerPoint presentations delivered, with empathy, by Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Or nonprofit agencies and special interest groups that downplay economic reality and embrace timid fiscal policies because doing so means their organizations are more likely to win shreds of public funding or political protection.
Nor will soaring visions of well-educated, next-generation employees thinking big thoughts in an ever-expanding landscape of Swedish-style alternative energy companies even as the existing Michigan companies that provide jobs and investment prepare to bolt. Why? Because they feel ignored, because structural reforms move at glacial speed while business tax "reform" slams growth sectors and rewards shrinking manufacturers.
"We've got to have a sense of urgency on this region," says Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano, accurately. "This isn't going to correct itself."
Look, folks, in historic shakeouts like the one roiling Michigan now -- likely to get worse before it gets better -- economics and tough, unpopular policy-making trump spin and upbeat marketing every time. Michigan isn't the only auto-heavy state being rocked by this reckoning, but it is the one flailing the most.
What's it gonna take?
Could the final business days of May become what May, 5, 1959, did in the history of Michigan -- a payless payday for the state of Michigan that, former state Treasurer Mark Murray tells me, galvanized political, business and civic leaders behind a wholesale sea-change culminating in a new state constitution?
I doubt it.
Wanted: A wakeup call

What about the day in May 2005 when Standard & Poor's downgraded the debt of GM and Ford to junk bond status, signaling that an independent ratings agency concluded the bonds of two American corporate titans were no longer investment grade?
Or in March last year when two University of Michigan researchers, Donald Grimes and George Fulton, concluded in a study known as "Turbulence and Transition" that the state's population would not regain its 2005 levels until 2016 and that that it would not regain its peak job level of 2.8 million -- reached in 2000 -- until 2022, a generation later?
"I don't see a coalescing event that ensures we do better than what just happened," says Murray, now president of Meijer Inc., based outside Grand Rapids. "We haven't seen an equal level of urgency applied. I don't believe (it's) the responsibility of government" to solve all the state's economic problems.
"It's the responsibility of nonprofits, private business and government. We're going to have to do this ourselves. This is a structural change that will be as profound and dramatic as anything in my professional life."
Daniel Howes' column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. He can be reached at (313) 222-2106, [email protected] or detnews.com/howes.
 

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So wait, people here think Detroit is being stupid because they don't want to build a multi-million dollar convention palace that will only get used 1 week a year? As if that money wouldn't be better spent on schools or rehabing abandoned buildings?

Also changing the font sizes just makes you look crazy, it doesn't emphasize whatever point you're trying to make.
 

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Hopefully it'll stay at least in Michigan. You'd think the people in charge there would have some sense of pride and urgency to fix the problems.

But....if they can't, the show is more than welcome in Houston. Heck, we have the big ol' Astrodome sitting there going to waste right now. We are the 4th largest city in the nation not to mention truck capital of the world and on some days I think we have more cars than people (and we're pushing close to 4 million people lol) :)
 

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New York is clearly the best city to host an international show. Sure Detroit is the emotional epicenter of the U.S. Auto Industry, but times have changed. The premier American auto show needs a more cosmopolitan venue. Besides, nobody wants to be in Detroit in the Winter, and New York in the Spring is quite nice.
 

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state/governement and non-automotive Union employees need to take huge paycuts just like the UAW has. Public business/govn't needs to be overhauled like private business HAS BEEN AND IS going through now, people need to pay for their health benefits/healthcare...the business tax needs to be cut, credibility in Lansing and other major said city centers within the state of michigan needs to be restored and we need a governor that says instead of raising taxes because we have a 500million dollar shortfall...we need those government employees (whether city, teachers, etc.) need to PAY FOR THEIR BENEFITS...period! They need to take paycuts, services need to be CUT and public schools that are failing need to be taken over by the state/national governments whether rural or city-esque....period.

Until those things happen, our great water wonderland, motown, and motor city state of michigan will fail....sprial down


CobaltSS
FIRST OFF YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!
Teacher's are NOT employed by the state! they are employed by their district's. they DON'T work for the government.
SECOND, if you want state employee's to take a pay cut, ask everyone to take a pay cut, even your mom and dad. Just because it is the STATE it doesn't mean they shouldn't pay their employee's good money to do a job.
the state agencies are like a business, if you don't pay them well enough, all the good people WILL, LEAVE CREATING A CLUSTER F**K of an all the agencies. Also, there have been MASSIVE cuts within the state, they only get a 401K now. No pension- JUST A 401K AFTER THEY RETIRE. just so you know, the governor is doing the best she can with the horrible economy in michigan, which she is trying to bring new jobs too.
 

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So wait, people here think Detroit is being stupid because they don't want to build a multi-million dollar convention palace that will only get used 1 week a year? As if that money wouldn't be better spent on schools or rehabing abandoned buildings?

Also changing the font sizes just makes you look crazy, it doesn't emphasize whatever point you're trying to make.
you are awesome. :lmao:
 

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FIRST OFF YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!
Teacher's are NOT employed by the state! they are employed by their district's.
Dude, it's called public education. That means you and I pay for it with our taxes. Public education is a function of state and federal government. What exactly are you talking about?

Lamronh, your posts are magnificent!
 
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I agree, pardner.

They need to find a way to keep it there. Detroit is motown for God's Sake. It is still the biggest show of the year, and the industry knows it. All the big introductions occur there.

And having gone to the 2006 NAIAS to see the Camaro. Detroit needs to keep it. Detroit is a rough town. Detroit needs to bring in money, not have it go elsewhere.
 

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Dude, it's called public education. That means you and I pay for it with our taxes. Public education is a function of state and federal government. What exactly are you talking about?

Lamronh, your posts are magnificent!
There is a clear line between government and education. the government provided funding for education. it isn't a state agency. it isn't apart of the government. i.e. the state of MI gives money to all the public universities in the state ( U of M, State, CMU, EMU, GVSU, ect..) but they do not have to report directly to the state. such as an agency as the DNR, MDOT have to report to the state. I should have made this more clear, my apologize.
 
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