As amazing as it sounds, democracy may have overstayed its welcome in this country. I know, really radical thinking, huh?
Such, however, appears to be the thinking in Pontiac Michigan where a crisis manager was solely responsible for selling off the Silver Dome, which cost the residents of the city $50 million to build. He picked the poorest time imaginable to unload this property and received a paltry half million from a single bidder in a no reserve auction.
This same crisis manager is now back in the saddle working for the guy who bought the dome. In his new capacity he is currently engaged in an effort to lobby City Hall into providing the permits necessary for converting the property into a casino. This project could be worth who knows how many millions. But no matter how bad this transaction smells, it may turn out to be the best thing for Pontiac Michigan.
(The details for this blog are from the Rachel Maddow show, MSNBC, 5/11/2012)
Now back to our democracy, or the loss of it. The people of the good city of Pontiac Michigan are now screaming “wait a minute, that was our dome. We reject your sale and want the dome back!” So the citizens of Pontiac raised over 100,000 signatures on a petition to repeal the emergency measures law. This is the law which allowed the crisis manager such incredibly draconian and extraordinary powers over the duly elected city Council members.
Guess what happened? The crisis manager, in effect, tossed out the petition. The council had granted him the power to do that! So the moral of the story is, grant unto Caesar what he wants and he will take everything. It worked for Julius Caesar 2000 years ago, and it works in Pontiac Michigan today. But here is the thing. Council members argued for years about what to do with the dome. In the meantime it sat unused, decaying, and producing no revenue for the city of Pontiac.
In other words, the city Council was so polarized on the subject of the dome that absolutely nothing was likely to ever be accomplished to replace the revenue the city counted on from the stadium. Finally one guy with enough authority and the intestinal fortitude to act may have put Pontiac on the fast track to being the next boom town in Michigan.
Perhaps the little town of Pontiac should become a model for the nation. Perhaps a monarchy or dictatorship is the only form of government able to avoid terminal legislative constipation. Heck, we can even give turnaround Romney credit for his crisis management philosophy which should eventually lead to a complete turnaround in this town. But as for taking credit for Detroit’s turnaround in the automotive industry, Romney had better walk away.
Nobody in Michigan is likely to buy that story.