Detroit Goin' Dark?

The implosion of Detroit continues, with the city taking more actions to cut its costs even as revenues decline and more people leave the city seeking greener pastures. Their latest action: shutting off and/or removing half the street lights in the city. That ought to help the crime rate in the city...go up.

Detroit, whose 139 square miles contain 60 percent fewer residents than in 1950, will try to nudge them into a smaller living space by eliminating almost half its streetlights.

As it is, 40 percent of the 88,000 streetlights are broken and the city, whose finances are to be overseen by an appointed board, can’t afford to fix them. Mayor Dave Bing’s plan would create an authority to borrow $160 million to upgrade and reduce the number of streetlights to 46,000. Maintenance would be contracted out, saving the city $10 million a year.

When you have block after block of abandoned commercial buildings and homes, it makes no sense to waste money lighting streets where no one (except squatters) live. Of course many of those buildings and homes wouldn't be abandoned if decades of Progressive leadership hadn't driven the city into these dire straits. The city is a perfect example of the Thatcher Axiom: “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money.” That certainly fits Detroit to a 'T'.

Detroit’s dwindling income and property-tax revenue have required residents to endure unreliable buses and strained police services throughout the city. Because streetlights are basic to urban life, deciding what areas to illuminate will reshape the city, said Kirk Cheyfitz, co-founder of a project called Detroit143 -- named for the 139 square miles of land, plus water -- that publicizes neighborhood issues.


Meantime, [Detroit Chief Operating Officer Chris] Brown said, the city will fix broken streetlights in certain places even as it discontinues such services as street and sidewalk repairs in “distressed” areas -- those with a high degree of blight and little or no commercial activity.

As Glenn Reynolds stated in his link to the story, it's like something right out of Atlas Shrugged or I Will Fear No Evil.