OpinionMeister

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

How Not to Plan a City

Ralph R. Reiland, a Professor of Free Enterprise at Robert Morris University and a weekly columnist with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, tells a scary story of what the Detroit City Council it trying to do. Link.
"The idea is to build an 'AfricaTown,' similar to Little Italy and Chinatown," explained Charles Oliver in a recent issue of Reason magazine, referring to a vote by Detroit City Council to spend $30 million a year in public money to develop a blacks-only, race-based district of entrepreneurship in downtown Detroit. (...)

As for blame, the "Powernomics" report contends that the city's "under-served majority population" is being passed up economically by a mixed bag of nonblack newcomers. More specifically, the complaint is that entrepreneurial immigrants from Latin America and the Middle East are opening up too many stores and selling too much of everything to blacks. In doing so, it's alleged that these money-grubbing greenhorns are stealing jobs and business opportunities from the black "under-served majority."

The solution, according to the politicians on council, is more welfare and more central planning, the creation of a black Little Italy, dubbed "AfricaTown," funded in large part by taxpayers' dollars and made up of black-owned businesses catering to a black clientele. "By a 7-2 vote," reported Oliver, "the council has decreed that only black businessmen and investors can qualify for the money."

Forget for the moment the "big lie" that Chinatown and Little Italy started anything like this. Both reflected the natural desire of newcomers far from the land where they grew up to live among "their own" and to start small businesses that reflected the culture and desires of the common land they left.

Where did these City Councilmen think they found in our Constitution the power to hand out money, collected from taxpayers of all ethnic backgrounds, with a big sign up stating "For Blacks Only. Hispanics, Arabs and dogs need not apply."? Blacks make up a large majority of the population of Detroit, but that does not allow them to discriminate against the minorities there. It is a basic tenant of American belief that true democracy is more than elections determining the will of the majority. It also must include protections of the rights of the minority. Here we have a case of the old saying, "it is not a democracy for two wolves and one sheep to vote on what to have for lunch."

1 Comments:

  • football teams and business people depend on great football. Jeff Perrin your How Not to Plan a City certainly was a great read and I simply had to post to you. I do have a similar passion as can be read at http://serendipitysuccess.blogspot.com/2005/11/update-to-steelers-climb-to-top-of-afc.html although its theme is slanted to one or more of my passions, football is the important thing. Keep up your great thoughts and writings. Other passions inlcude football

    By Blogger Elizabeth, at 3:52 PM  

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