Hello, Detroit! We’re Greenville, Michigan, and we have a few things in common.
We’re both cities in Michigan, although you’re quite a bit larger than we are. History shows that for both of us employment has been dependent on factory jobs. Until a few years ago, we boasted the world’s largest refrigerator plant, along with several strong automotive suppliers. But with globalization and factories moving away, we lost a lot of jobs.
When the jobs leave, so do people. The loss of people also adds to the challenges of keeping the community vital; and you certainly understand that. The ability of a city to provide vital services to its citizens depends on the tax dollars available.
After losing our big Electrolux plant here, we scored two state-of-the art solar products plants with United Solar Ovonic, but European economic problems and world competition took them down. Two new beautiful plants stand empty as a sign of the times. The people who worked there were quite vocal, however, about the modern and forward-looking policies of the company, and how much they appreciated the time they spent there. Also, they spoke of how much they learned in the new environment. We have a terrific work force here, and we’re looking forward to new opportunities.
Through it all we’ve been extremely fortunate. Our budget is balanced. Our community leaders have been equally or more dedicated to neighborhood and community than they have been toward personal and political gain. Of course, we are not in the same league as you; and high stakes attract high rollers.
Nevertheless, we’re in this together, Detroit. We certainly need you more than you need us. But things obviously are not going well for you. You’re running out of money, and many of your leaders choose to just keep running. That may well be a strategy for special interests, but you can’t keep running forever. The piper must ultimately be paid.
We’re cheering for you Detroit. We want you to regroup, rebound, and strive to be that “shining city on the hill” for Michigan and the rest of the country. Hunker down and make it happen. You’ve been there before, and you can do it again. You’re the big brother to all of Michigan, and your success is critical to this great state.
Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.