One Detroit recently convened its first town hall for Election 2020 in Warren.
A group of nearly 40 from the community gathered over cups of coffee at the Dovetail Café on 12 and Hoover to talk face to face with our One Detroit team about the issues that are most important to them in next year’s local and national elections.
The hourlong discussion, moderated by One Detroit Managing Editor Christy McDonald, One Detroit contributor and Detroit New Editorial Page Editor Nolan Finley and WDET News Director Jerome Vaughn, a wide range of issues, including: confronting media misconceptions about Macomb County, the lack of regional transit, the difficulty in retaining young people, the state of the middle class, failing infrastructure and whether this has improved for residents in the past decade.
Said one resident, “What’s being done here today is what the candidates need to do when they come here to Macomb County: listen to what we have to say—and then act on it.”
One Detroit will visit many locations in Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties in the coming months to hear directly from voters about what their top election 2020 issues are.
You can see highlights from this conversation on the December 5 episode of “One Detroit” at 7:30 PM and on www.onedetroitpbs.org/2020
November 20, 2019
Community Conversation at The Dovetail in Warren, MI
Christy McDonald [00:00:00] So we really appreciate you being here tonight, being a part of this and showing people at home who don’t live in Macomb County, telling them a little bit about what it’s like here.
Christy McDonald [00:00:10] So I am. That’s how I kind of wanted to kick it off here tonight. Thanks for being here. So Nolan Finley and Jerome Vaughn and I are going to help facilitate this. So let’s go. Nolan Finley, I’m going to let you start talking.
Nolan Finley [00:00:23] Yeah, it’s good to be here. I want to thank again everybody for turning out and just add to what Christy McDonald’s saying. I mean, obviously, the reason we’re here is because it’s Macomb county and everybody comes to make Macomb County during an election year. If you live here over the next 12 months, get used to having camera crews and journalists, you know, putting microphones in your front of your face and and notepads and asking you how you feel about politics. This is the place in America that the pundits have decided is the bellwether county or a bellwether county.
Christy McDonald [00:01:01] You believe that?
Nolan Finley [00:01:02] Well, it’s proven true in recent years. But I want to know what these folks think. I mean, as you read what’s written about your county, what’s said about your county–
Nolan Finley [00:01:13] do you recognize yourselves in the narrative, in the stories that are being told? What do we miss? What do you want people to know about Macomb County and the folks who live here?
Christy McDonald [00:01:28] Anybody? Raise your hand.[00:01:29] Anybody. What are the perceptions about Macomb County, what do you think? Yeah.
Woman [00:01:35] Blue collar.
Christy McDonald [00:01:36] OK.
Christy McDonald [00:01:38] What else? What else are people saying? Yes.[00:01:40] Socially conservative. Socially conservative.
Christy McDonald [00:01:44] OK. Those are some of the things being thrown out. Blue collar, socially conservative. What else? What are what are they maybe getting wrong about Macomb County? What you want people to know about Macomb County?
Christy McDonald [00:01:54] Yeah.
Rhonda Powell [00:01:55] How diverse Macomb County is. OK.
Christy McDonald [00:01:58] All right. And how have you had. How have you seen diversity change in this county from your perspective? How long have you lived in Macomb County?
Rhonda Powell [00:02:04] Well, I was born and raised here. It was my mother and her siblings and my grandparents also graduated from Mt. Clemens High School. And so I’ve seen a lot of change over the years. But there’s always been places around Macomb County that I think for historically black communities or that have been here for a long time. And there’s a lot of it centered around a lot of the congregations that historical congregations. But I mean, I value growing up in Macomb County because I have a much more diverse perspective. My family is extremely diverse because of it. So I think that that perception of Macomb County being very homogenous is is not accurate.
Nolan Finley [00:02:51] So what do what do you think makes Macomb County a telltale county in terms of the election? Are you just smarter than everybody else? I mean, how do you seem to be the predictor?
Christy McDonald [00:03:03] We got a yes over there. Yes. Yes, we are.
Nolan Finley [00:03:06] How do you think you came to this place? Thoughts?
Jeremy Fisher [00:03:12] I think when you look at Macomb County, what a lot of people don’t realize is that it really kind of is a piece of America because of the diversity that we have from from 8 mile all the way up to the top of Macomb.
Jeremy Fisher [00:03:25] We’ve got farms, we’ve got factory workers, we’ve got urban areas, we’ve got rural areas. Really anything that you see anywhere in America, you’ll find somewhere some something similar right here in Macomb. And I think that’s part of the reason that we become a microcosm of of the entire country because we’ve got farms.
Nolan Finley [00:03:48] So when the lady over here said blue collar, that’s not a complete picture now of the county.
Jeremy Fisher [00:03:54] I think that what she was saying is that that’s the perception of Macomb County. But I think the reality of Macomb County is we’re a little bit of everything. We’ve got aspects from people that have moved here from the south. We’ve got farmers. We’ve got factory workers. We’ve got attorneys. We’ve got a little bit of everything. And because of that, the races tend to mirror the country because we mirror the country.
Nolan Finley [00:04:21] Why are you so much different than your neighbors? Macomb County, Wayne County, St. Clair County. I mean, how did you come to this place?
Terry Gibb [00:04:35] I think that’s partially because we have a more diverse thing, we have the lake right here, which makes a big difference as to economic issues along the waterfront. But we have a different attitude about things than being the city. But we’re close enough to the city to think like city dwellers sometime. Whereas if you go further up the northern parts of St. Clair and Livingston, Oakland, the attitude is somewhat different. They see themselves as maybe at odds some time and we’re like the middle.
Nolan Finley [00:05:13] But for a long time, you are a reliably Democratic county here. And then that changed. And now sometimes you vote in a presidential election, at least sometimes for Republicans, some–sometimes for Democrats, even at your county level. You have both Republican and Democratic office holders. When did that change happen and why?
Christy McDonald [00:05:39] Anyone care to take a stab at that? If they remembered all the questions that Nolan Finley asked in that question. These’s going to be a quiz after that.
Terry Gibb [00:05:46] I’m trying to think in terms of when that would change. And it’s like I’ve lived here for 60 some years and it’s just I guess you really don’t see a change until you realize things are really different. I mean, I used to go to programs for Michigan State and grade schools and over the years it’s like, holy cow. At first, they were all just white kids and now you got kids, every background and every ethnic thing in the schools. So it’s a whole there’s a big change right there.
Christy McDonald [00:06:19] You know, ma’am, I saw you kind of nodding like you want to add on. Yeah.
Nancy Duemling [00:06:23] Well, when you schedule this, the comment was this is for South Macomb residents.
Nancy Duemling [00:06:31] Like if you lived up north of Hall Road, you need not apply. And really get down. But I don’t live up there anymore. I have in the past. But there is a difference because when you get north of Hall Road, it is much more solidly Republican than the south part of the county. So we kind of I think one of the things people look at is there is a divide or perceived divide within the county in that respect, that in the north end you’ve got some pockets that are the wealthiest parts of Macomb County, up around Shelby and Romeo. And down here, you have some of the poorest pockets of Macomb County. And so and they’re solidly Republican. When we lived up in Romeo, nobody even ran as a Democrat because it was just unheard of. And down here, there’s always been. I grew up in St. Clair Shores, and there’s always been people from both Republican and Democratic parties running for office. And up there, it’s almost scarily homogenous in the respect of political.
Jerome Vaughn [00:07:53] Yeah, I have a question.
Jerome Vaughn [00:07:54] So we’re here. We’re filming your coffee and you’re drinking your coffee and you’re tasting your coffee and we’re listening to you. You’ve noticed that over the past, let’s say, 20 years, more and more national media have come to Macomb County to do stories because of how you vote.
Jerome Vaughn [00:08:18] Does that bother you getting all that attention from the national media, A and B, do you feel like they’re getting it right?
Carmi Finn [00:08:27] It doesn’t bother me, I think scrutiny is usually a good thing. But what does bother me is that they seem to place undue importance on what goes on here, as if as if there was some magical answer that’s going to happen here in Macomb County. It’s kind of a lot of pressure to be in that under that microscope that way. But if you’re taking it simply, as the gentleman over here said, that we are a pretty good microcosm of the United States, then it is understandable. We want to put our best foot forward. And sometimes that doesn’t always happen. So I think the perception can be a little skewed about what we’re like here, Macomb County, because of all that scrutiny.
Lauren Schandevel [00:09:13] It bothers me. I mean.
Lauren Schandevel [00:09:16] All right. We’re going to get to you, too. I mean, these these media outlets come and interview like three white people in a diner, and they think that that encapsulates the entire county. And that’s not the case. I would say like 50/50 we voted for Trump, but because of our county’s history. Right. Like Reagan Democrats in 1980. We’ve been sort of wishy washy, and a lot of that has to do with like economic inequality getting worse and people feeling like they need to change either way. But I wish when the national media would come here that they would actually interview us with the intent of understanding and not just patronizing us, because it’s really annoying.
Christy McDonald [00:09:57] And I think you really getting to the heart of why people vote the way they do. What are some of the economic issues and the social issues surrounding that are spurring you to vote the way that you are? And we will get to some of the really critical things that are impacting your everyday life here and one of the most important things. But go ahead. I want you to be able to chime in and say, what do you want to add?[00:10:14] It bothers me because when I hear the national media reporting from here, it’s usually union. It’s it doesn’t seem to represent the people that I feel associated with. I mean, I’m that that came out wrong. But the concerns that I have maybe aren’t represented in and the questions they’re asking of people in Macomb County.
Nolan Finley [00:10:38] So so they call you Reagan Democrats out here. That’s why you get all the attention. Is that a real thing? What is a Reagan Democrat? And are there any in the room?
Christy McDonald [00:10:51] When I asked what is. Okay. We’re not gonna card anyone here.
Christy McDonald [00:10:54] But do you think that label applies anymore? Would you wish that they would stop using that label or someone wants to say something? I see waving. We okay with that?
Christy McDonald [00:11:06] Yeah, go ahead.
Jeremy Fisher [00:11:08] I think Reagan Democrats have become Trump Republicans at this point. They have fully switched over to the Republican Party. But what we’ve seen is that.
Nolan Finley [00:11:17] Even in local elections?
Jeremy Fisher [00:11:18] I think so. I think that’s why you saw in 2016 some of these seats flipped. Right. We had a treasurer candidate who won, who didn’t campaign, who went on TV and said, I’m running because why not? I might when we had a clerk candidate who wears tinfoil bodysuits who won because those Reagan Democrats who in that election, I believe, voted for Reagan and then voted for Democrats down the ticket, they flipped. They’re Trump Republicans, they voted straight Republican. And that’s why we lost those seats to people that didn’t campaign.
Nolan Finley [00:11:58] So twice you voted for Barack Obama in Macomb County, once for Trump in the last three elections. A lot of people look at that and try to figure out what it means. What’s your explanation for those vastly different election results?
Joel Rutherford [00:12:15] I think one of the biggest reasons in Macomb County why that happened is fear. When Barack Obama was elected, there’s generational racism in Macomb County. And that’s something that a lot of people and I’m sorry, because I know there’s a lot of Kumbaya stuff going on here. But the fact of it is, is generational racism in Macomb County. The power structure has been in place for so long. When Barack Obama was elected, you know, you can call them Reagan Democrats, you can call them Trumpers or whatever you want to call them. Fear, then, suddenly said in even more so, because what they saw was the fact there’s change that’s happening in this country. Macomb County has been resistant to that change. I’m not originally from here. I was stationed here in the Air Force from 1974 to ’77. I came back in 2002 as federal employee. I saw the change as far as you know. You can see with the structures and infrastructure and all that. But the attitudes to me were still in the 1970s because there’s still that fear of change.
Nolan Finley [00:13:15] And yet Macomb helped elect Barack Obama twice. Great. Not just the first time, the second time they helped reelect him. And then suddenly they voted for Trump.[00:13:25] We didn’t get the vote out. [00:13:27] Right. We’ll ask you the last presidential election. I didn’t feel Macomb got the vote like they did for Barack Obama. [00:13:35] I think that made a big difference on Democrats and because. Yes, yes.
Christy McDonald [00:13:40] Got a hand up over here. Yes, ma’am.[00:13:41] When you ask why do why does our particular county flip flop for this? My thought is, is that its people want change and they’ll go to the change candidate. But then when they realize that change really means ‘they’ have to change. They’re like, oh, no, I don’t want to change. I want everyone else around me to change. I want to stay the same. And I and I kind of feel that here in Macomb, I grew up in Romeo and the North part, but then left the state for a while and then back here. And I kind of feel that the people can be a little bit rigid. They want everyone else to change. I wanna stay the same.
Nolan Finley [00:14:14] So really something where what happens in 2020?[00:14:18] Can I add a question about 2020? Because here, you know, we talk about us being this bellwether in the media attention, but yet we don’t get really any attention from the presidential candidates. And I’m always curious if we’re such the county in the whole country is out to win. Why aren’t they here, as you know, even a little bit like they are in Iowa and Nebraska or New Hampshire and a place like that.
Christy McDonald [00:14:40] Just wait until February.[00:14:41] I know that. [00:14:42] I rarely ever see them here. Go ahead. We’ll go to a little bar and then we’re exempt.
Don Siefkes [00:14:49] The reason I don’t want to go back and redo the 2016 election. But let’s face it, the Democrats nominated a weak candidate in 2016, Hillary Clinton.
Don Siefkes [00:15:01] If we nominated Bernie Sanders, it would have been a full different story, in my opinion.
Nolan Finley [00:15:06] You think Bernie Sanders could’ve won Macomb?
Don Siefkes [00:15:07] Oh, yeah. Easy, easy.
Don Siefkes [00:15:10] What happened was, in my opinion. OK. Is that people were uncomfortable with the status quo. They knew something wasn’t quite right. Obama tried hard and didn’t quite get the thing with health care down. There was a lot of other issues that didn’t get done. And a vote for Hillary Clinton was a continuation of what happened in the previous eight years. But they sensed that things weren’t quite right. Economic inequality was getting worse. Unemployment was starting to go down, but not really super hard. So Trump comes in, and says vote for me and I’ll correct everything. And people basically voted for that change and rolled the dice.[00:15:47] I think we all regret it now, but I think that’s why I think he won in Macomb County.
Nolan Finley [00:15:51] Do you think Trump–Macomb County regrets it? What will Macomb County do in 2020, in your opinion?[00:15:56] Well, in my opinion, it depends on who the Democrats nominate. Again, it’s just got to be really careful. And the problem is, this guy kind–I don’t like Trump, but man, he is smart on getting TV time, OK? And he’s totally wiped the Democrats off the face of the earth on TV with his impeachment. So I can’t answer the question. I don’t have an opinion.
Jerome Vaughn [00:16:15] So so let me ask just you and everyone else. How many of you tonight, after you leave this place, are going to go home and watch the Democratic debates tonight? How many of you want to shout out who? How many of you already have a favorite? How many of you are very undecided so far?
Christy McDonald [00:16:41] You want to pick on something?
Lauren Schandevel [00:16:42] Yeah. The woman who made the point about the presidential candidates not coming here. I think that speaks to how people in Macomb County feel like not just by presidential candidates, but in general, they feel very left behind. Like we have the GM plant that just closed over at 9 and Mound. We have wages that have been stagnant since the 1970s. Like people feel like the country is leaving them behind. And when you have like such a scarcity of resources, it’s really easy to stoke fear in the traditional southern strategy way where you’re pitting working class white people against working class people of color. And it works really well here, unfortunately. And so I think that was part of the reason that Trump got elected is because when billionaires and corporations are stealing from you, it’s really easy to tell you that it’s people of color or immigrants that are doing it when they’re not.
Christy McDonald [00:17:31] Go ahead.
Mike Anton [00:17:32] Well, my time might have passed when you moved on, but for, you’re Nolan Finley, right?
Nolan Finley [00:17:36] Yeah.
Mike Anton [00:17:36] That your question earlier about 2016, how did Barack Obama win twice and then Trump wins here? How how do we flip, in other words, as a county? I can tell you what people have told me from behind the counter. What I heard in general around here was there was a huge backlash to Hillary Clinton. There’s been a lot of hatred for Hillary Clinton for a long time. I personally don’t think she ever should have ran OK. And I personally think that her and her whatever her power, people probably hijacked that election in the first place so that the 2016 election, in my opinion, was a very unique election is very polarizing. And I think there was a backlash and that’s why Trump won in this county. That was just a simple answer. And I think that has to do with probably all hatred of Hillary Clinton. Probably. There’s probably some underlying misogyny going on as a country. We can’t handle having a woman president and it’s impossible for us to get over that hump. And of all the people, Hillary Clinton probably shouldn’t have tried. She was already secretary of state. She was already the first lady. She’s got all that baggage from Bill Clinton. I mean, of all people, that to me would be a bad choice, even if I personally have nothing against her. You look at, you know, from the aggregate of the whole country, that’s probably not a good idea. I thought handled her name.
Pamela Leidlein [00:19:01] But even then you said, I agree with what you just said. A lot of people that I talked to have no legal action. It wasn’t that they to vote for Trump. They just didn’t want to vote for Hillary. And some people, even in my family, just didn’t vote for either one.
Pamela Leidlein [00:19:19] So that took away the Democratic vote and gave more power to the Republican candidate.
Pamela Leidlein [00:19:28] So I agree with what he said.
Christy McDonald [00:19:30] Go ahead.
Steve Finn [00:19:31] Why? I can’t speak of what he has been told behind the counter. But Hillary Clinton did get the popular vote. And I feel that, you know, she kind of gets robbed of the election because she didn’t get the popular vote by quite a bit. It’s just our electoral college isn’t working the way it should.
Christy McDonald [00:19:52] Let’s talk a little bit about what why we make the decisions that we make. And I think it comes down to how we live. What are the issues that affect us? And kind of goes back to that question of in the last 10 years ago. Where are you better off now than you were five years ago or four years ago? And when it talks about when we talk about the economy and we talk about how much money we’re making now compared to what we were how we’re living now with the condition that our street is in our neighborhoods and that sort of thing. Can anyone share with me, like, how are you doing now as opposed to the last ten years, how the last 10 years changed for you living in Macomb County?
Kathy Lohr [00:20:27] I just returned back to work after working full time most of my life. I went part time because at my age I just wanted to. My husband works full time for automotive. At this age, making this kind of money. We are not rich, but we are solidly middle class. Medical bills smothered us, smothered us. He had a bout with cancer and a few other things happened and we are smothered. This shouldn’t be happening. This isn’t right. We work our tails off. That shouldn’t bankrupt us. We didn’t bankrupt, but you know what I mean?
Christy McDonald [00:21:02] But it hasn’t counting everything every month.
Kathy Lohr [00:21:05] We are in debt because of medical bills.
Christy McDonald [00:21:10] Anybody else? How was life changed?
Laurie Artz [00:21:12] Yeah, I for one, think that life in Macomb County has gotten much worse in the last 10 years. Stores are closed. Strut down our streets and see all the empty strip malls, see all the empty buildings. Kmart’s closing. We just had a major GM factory close. We would restaurants pop up and pop out of existence in less than a year, one right after another. I think life is getting really bad and getting really tough here in the south end. Warren, for example, has the third highest eviction rate in the country, with 3.2 houses are evicted every day in the city of Warren. That’s how bad it is right now. People. Yeah. Third in the country. You can go look it up. It’s on all the different charts and our city managers are not doing anything about it. Now. Life is tough. And Warren, all of our stores are going out of business. And it’s really, really sad. And every time any elected officials come here, they go talk to the unions. Nobody comes and talks to the real people. Nobody comes and talks to us.
Jerome Vaughn [00:22:19] Let let me ask you then, who is it that you think is responsible for that, for things being worse than 10 years ago? Who do you hold responsible?
Laurie Artz [00:22:31] All of our elected officials starting at mayor, our county executive just two years ago killed rapid transit in Macomb County. It’s all bad. Our roads are a mess. Our county commission does absolutely, positively nothing. But every single level of government has failed us. Our senators never come to Warren. Gary Peters has never showed up here. Debbie Stabenow has never showed up to do the town hall here in all the years she’s been here. The president–Trump came–and he was the only one they came. None of the Democratic candidates came to Macomb County. So I think it starts at the very lowest and goes all the way at the top. Then nobody–everybody talks a good game until they get the vote.
Carmi Finn [00:23:14] Correction Hillary did come back and participate in a factory in the South end.
Laurie Artz [00:23:17] She came through that closed door behind closed door factory by invitation only. That’s not the same as a public event where the real people, the real people.
Carmi Finn [00:23:27] I was there. I was real.
Laurie Artz [00:23:29] I stood up. I couldn’t go because I wasn’t real to her. I’m not real.
Christy McDonald [00:23:35] Well, who else wants to talk about how life has changed.
Joel Rutherford [00:23:39] Yeah. I think one thing is, is that sense we’re a reflection of the rest of the country. We’re becoming more of a have and have nots society. You know, I mean, you’ll talk to people that are, of course, doing fine here in Macomb County and life is good. But then if you also talk to people, they’re working three and four jobs, because the fact of it is, is that just look.
Christy McDonald [00:23:57] To be at where same level they were at 10 years ago.
Joel Rutherford [00:23:59] And even then, they’re not at that level because everything else continues to go up. You know, the the wages don’t increase the way that they need to to keep people. The middle class is disappearing. I mean, and that’s something that whether, you know, for some people, it’ll be there, you know, and they’ll be fortunate. I feel, you know, I tell my wife we’re fortunate people. You know, we’re solidly middle class. We’re in a position that we’re able to do that. But what happens is so many people are forgotten, you know, because what happens? They look at it is who has the money is who basically controls the votes around here and who keeps people elected. And as long as that continues to happen, that gap is going to get bigger and bigger, because I don’t see anything where salaries are going up. I don’t see where anything with benefits and other things, if anything, people are losing ground. So where are we going to end up at? And, you know, and that’s my fear because, you know, we can’t continue on the road that we’re on because, you know, it’s just going to things will collapse in a way, you know, economically. I can’t see how the county, in a sense, you know, is really going to to benefit and to prosper over the next 10 years. Because if the last 10 years is any indication, you know, the automobile industry, let’s face it, they put all their eggs in that basket so to speak. They said they’ve diversified. But where they’ve gone to, they’ve gone to the military industrial complex. And people like myself that are retired military and others know that’s a cyclical industry as well. So what happens is you’re going to constantly have that roller coaster going on. I don’t see where, again, I don’t see where the elected officials are doing anything. I think that, you know, when someone mentioned rap, the RTA, you know, basically Macomb County just turned its back on it and said, we don’t care. Well, of course, because the people that are fine, they can afford automobiles, the insurance that it costs here and everything else, they’re good. But what about the person that’s trying to travel around the county to get from one job to the second to the third? It takes them hours. And it’s easy for someone to say, oh, we’re good because it doesn’t affect them.
Nolan Finley [00:26:07] So are economic issues top of mind or are there other issues that you think people that will drive people to the polls in Macomb County?
Christy McDonald [00:26:18] What else? I mean, health care, obviously, you talked about that as well.
Terry Gibb [00:26:21] Student loan debt.
Terry Gibb [00:26:26] I thought about when I thought I should have put on my card because he said there is no middle class. Yes, there is the middle class. And as far as student loan debt, they’re getting the shaft big time. If you’ve got a lot of money, you can afford to go to college. If you’re on on the low end. There was all sorts of grants and loans that you can get. I mean, Wayne State just worked out a thing with the city of Detroit that if the kids qualify, they get free four years. My granddaughter has already racked up over ten thousand dollars in student loan and she’s not a student and she’s only a sophomore, you know, because she’s in that middle class and she’s got four more years ahead of her to get where she wants.
Christy McDonald [00:27:02] What is she studying?
Terry Gibb [00:27:03] She wants to go into physical therapy. So she’s got six years and she’s not even through two. And so student debt is something that we really need to look at. And it’s not a new issue. I talked to Congressman Sander Levin back during the foreclosure and we told him that the next big economic crisis is going to be around student debt and all these people just defaulting on this debt.
Nolan Finley [00:27:27] Just looking at these cards, a number of you talked about roads and you mentioned the roads not being so great out here, but you have a lot of other infrastructure issues or concerns out here, given that you’re on the lake and paying a lot more attention, perhaps to sewers and water lines than others in the region do. Do you feel like your infrastructure is just being ignored, your infrastructure needs?
Christy McDonald [00:27:53] Now, I might have run back. Something we all can agree on.
Kathy Lohr [00:27:56] And they want us to foot the bill in the sense locally. We’re paying an assessment to have our road paved. It’s like it’s technically the county’s responsibility. But in all truthfulness, they told us, ‘Yere at the bottom of the food chain. They’re gonna go put the money on the major roads before they’re gonna do this road. So you either deal with it or you pay for it.’ And that’s what’s going to start happening with more and more and more areas. And pretty soon it’s gonna be the sewers and everything else. You know, put it on us.
Nolan Finley [00:28:32] How much are you willing to pay? I mean, to fix your roads. Did you support the governor’s gas tax proposal?
Kathy Lohr [00:28:38] I did.
Kathy Lohr [00:28:41] You get what you pay for.
Christy McDonald [00:28:43] Who didn’t though? Who didn’t want a forty five cent gas tax? Yeah?
Jeremy Fisher [00:28:47] I support the idea of paying for our roads. And I support the idea of raising taxes to pay for our roads. I don’t support the idea of increasing the gas tax and taxing people who need to get to work the most. I think it’s one of the most aggressive taxes out there. And to do that large of a tax on something that’s going to hit the poor much more than it’s going to hit anybody else. I didn’t support. I appreciated what she was doing. I understood why she was doing it. But I didn’t support the idea of slapping that on the poorest amongst us, because there are people out there who are already spending 15, 20 percent of their income on gas and the rich, they’re not spending 15 to 20 percent of their income on gas. So we need to find a way that allows burden sharing that doesn’t just hit the poor.
Jeremy Fisher [00:29:44] And that’s why I couldn’t support that tax.
Lauren Schandevel [00:29:46] What Michigan needs is a graduated income tax. We’re like one of 12 states that have a flat statewide tax. And it’s like 4.25%. We’re missing out on billions in revenue.
Kathy Lohr [00:29:56] And mass transit because no one can afford cars and insurance. It’s ludicrous. We have 41 percent since the law passed. Forty 41 percent majority. And maybe we need a part time legislature like most of the time.
Lori McPhee [00:30:15] I’m also interested in raising taxes perhaps for the rapid transit system. I know we voted on that a few times in the past and Macomb County has shot it down overwhelmingly in comparison to Wayne and Oakland. I heard news earlier this week that Wayne County, Oakland County and Washtenaw County will be moving forward in a new coalition to do mass transit in this area. And as a longtime Macomb resident, I’m very disappointed that we wouldn’t be a part of that.
Christy McDonald [00:30:47] Can you tell me your specific story? I mean, how would you use transit in a different way if you had more options?
Lori McPhee [00:30:54] I was a Wayne State student, so I would’ve takien the train down to midtown or use rapid transit if it were actually rapid. I mean, I’ve waited 20 minutes for a bus before, so it’s just something that I don’t even consider using in this area.
Nolan Finley [00:31:11] Does anybody ride a bus?
Christy McDonald [00:31:13] One person does, used to sometimes used to help.
Jerome Vaughn [00:31:18] How much do you think that’s hurting Macomb County, that you don’t have a transit system?
Christy McDonald [00:31:25] Someone give me something. Anybody?
Lori McPhee [00:31:29] It’s a regional issue because it’s harder for our region to attract mass employers. If we don’t have a way for people to get to work. I know in the Amazon bid, that was one of the big feedback that we got was that we don’t even have regional transit system, so how would they expect workers to come to and from their jobs,.
Diane Young [00:31:50] You go to any other any other city in the world. I was in Berlin and Barcelona. I didn’t speak the language or anything. And I could get around the entire city without knowing any language or anything. And I compare it to trying to even figure out the map here for the bus system in Michigan. And it’s just a joke. It’s a joke. And my daughter will never drive. And so her job, her choices when she graduates from college and she’s going to college in Detroit is some city that has mass transportation and it’s not going to be around here.
Katherine Labuhn [00:32:25] So I lived out outside Washington, D.C. for 13 years, and I never drove into the district ever. I always took the metro. And I feel like it’s a great equalizer. I mean, you get on any random metro car. The guy, the attorney in the suit is sitting next to the janitor that cleaned his office. I mean, everyone takes mass transit there. And it’s I I love that that aspect of living outside D.C., you could you could get to three different airports, all via mass transit. You it all around the city. I lived near bus stops. I lived near the metro. And it was just a fantastic thing. And I think anyone that you talk to that lives in that area. I mean, yeah, okay. Everyone is going to complain about track work and construction, but yeah, you get that everywhere. But I think nine people out of 10 in the D.C. area are gonna be like, yeah. That’s fantastic. I love it. I love that about living in this area. And I think we’re really selling ourselves short if we don’t try to do something like that.
Christy McDonald [00:33:31] Did you have a hand, ma’am? And then we’ll go here and then we’ll get there.
Carmi Finn [00:33:34] But I was just thinking how many problems that would solve that one solution of mass transit, it would solve a lot of our infrastructure road problems because you’d have less traffic on those roads. It would solve a lot of people’s car insurance rate problems because they wouldn’t have to drive their cars. It would be an economic boon to people if they had cheap transit instead of all the costs that are involved with owning and operating a vehicle.
Christy McDonald [00:33:56] Yes, go ahead, sir.
Dan Snyder [00:33:57] As I say, I spent four and a half years working in the Philadelphia area, and I even had a company car and I didn’t even use it half the time because it was easier for me to use the mass transit to get from where I live just outside of Philadelphia. Jump on a train, go downtown and work for the day. And the other opportunities that it allowed was individuals that lived outside of major metropolitan areas to find good jobs in the city and then be able to go back home again and vice versa. So it did not only just help with the transportation, but it gave you economic opportunities from, you know, jobs and even for the employers to find some of the best employees because they are able to get to and from where they needed to be. So there’s a lot of positives that could go into building a better mass transit system. And Detroit’s one of the only major cities, if you call it that, that doesn’t have one. I mean, any any city that thrives has a massive transit system.
Nolan Finley [00:34:51] How connected do you feel to Detroit out here?
Christy McDonald [00:34:55] Please stand by, they’re making a latte for me right now. Just for me.
Christy McDonald [00:34:59] And you can think about that for a second. How connected to my backup? Question.
Don Siefkes [00:35:08] I’m embarrassed. I don’t know where Macomb County gets its money.
Don Siefkes [00:35:12] Does anybody here know the major source of the budget for Macomb County?
Don Siefkes [00:35:20] Great question. I don’t know, it was a property tax, is it income tax rebate from the state sales tax? I don’t know. I don’t know what that is. You know, no one I know you’re in that paper. I see.
Nolan Finley [00:35:31] Was property taxes, property. That’s really what’s causing the figures.
Gerald DeMaire [00:35:37] Yeah, I was gonna ask a question. We’re talking about the transit thing recently. San Francisco, you go by ferry boat, bus, cable car, Denver, you can get anywhere you want. Once you get in the Denver: train, little trolleys, the whole shot. But appealing to Nolan Finley’s more conservative bent. Who pays for it? Homeless. How does that work? You mean. Yeah. I mean, eventually.
Nolan Finley [00:36:04] How bad do you want it? But I want to go back to that question. How connected do you feel to Detroit out here?[00:36:11] Thank you.
Julianne Cusumano [00:36:13] I go to church downtown Detroit every Sunday with my family and we’ve been going for 30 years and it takes us almost an hour to get down there. We go to mass for an hour and then come back home to eat around here. Now, it would be so wonderful to get on mass transit and go. I have a daughter who’s at in dental school in Boston. And when we went to go visit her. I mean, we enjoyed her. But my husband, I had so much fun going around town up on mass transit. You know, you can go by the boat. You can go by. It was just so much fun. And we are missing out on that because, you know, you’re going out to eat, you’re spending money. We’re not doing any of that down there unless we drive. Park the car, you know, make sure that we’re going at, you know, a good time. So we’re gonna be safe. In there, you literally the town is awake all night long. And we. We just don’t have that.
Nolan Finley [00:37:07] But I mean, beyond the roads, beyond the lack of trains and what have you. What’s your what’s the connection out here that you all feel to Detroit or don’t feel to Detroit?
Joel Rutherford [00:37:18] I would say that the connection that I see the most there are the sports teams. That’s what people run into Detroit for. And then when those games are over, they all run back out here. You know, there’s that connection, but that’s not really a connection to the city. That was the one thing I noticed, the differences. I lived in Chesterfield Township. When I first moved back here and, you know, it was farther out. People didn’t go into Detroit hardly for anything other than, you know, the Lions or the Pistons or the Tigers. Now moving into Warren, I notice that people are a lot more connected because of not only proximity, but the fact of it is they don’t have. I hate to use this again, but the fear they don’t mind going in there to do things other than that. So it seems, at least from my perspective, that, you know, the people that are closer to Detroit are more connected in more than just an entertainment way. The farther north you go that the sports or the entertainment tends to be it.
Jocelyn Howard [00:38:18] I was going to say that I actually my office is actually in downtown Detroit. And I came from Oakland County into Macomb County to live here in Warren. And I’m very intrigued by people are almost repulsed that I work in Detroit as if there was something wrong with it. It’s like, why are you still working in Detroit? What is the issue behind that? Not understanding that Detroit is actually developing. And most people who are in Warren actually originally lived in Detroit and then they migrated here. So it’s almost as if Detroit is the stepchild to everyone else. And so but so we don’t have any tentacles that connect Detroit, maybe Hazel Park, any of the other surrounding cities, especially in Warren, that we can actually build something together and have some type of unified conversation like we do.
Matt Beaudry [00:39:10] That connection isn’t in this room, to be honest with you, if you think about it.
Matt Beaudry [00:39:16] We’ve lost our youth. They’ve moved away. They’re the ones that want the vibrant downtown and they’re the ones that were ignored by previous generations. And by the way, they’re the ones that are starting to move back into the city. It’s not the older generations. So if you focus on what tomorrow– the youth want–you’ll see the connection.
Jocelyn Howard [00:39:38] And I believe that to your point, that point becomes a part of the problem, because a lot of the decisions that are being made are being made for a generation that may have antiquated thinking versus a generation that may be up and coming.
Jocelyn Howard [00:39:52] And so that’s the generation that’s actually going to move the conversation forward. And we don’t have those type of dialogs, especially even in education. Why is Warren the third largest city and does not have a four year institution besides an extension center?
Jocelyn Howard [00:40:09] Wayne State. Doesn’t me seem, you know, well, likely to me.
Nolan Finley [00:40:14] Upper Peninsula has got three universities. Macomb County, third largest county in the state, has none. What do you think that says about the way the state looks at Macomb County?
Laurie Artz [00:40:27] It says a lot. And I have to disagree with Jeremy back here. We don’t have a cultural center here. There’s no place I can go to see plays. And we don’t have a restaurant district care. We don’t have anything. We don’t have a vibrant downtown. When the kids are coming back, they’re not moving to Warren, they’re going to Ferndale. They’re going to Royal Oak because Warren is boring. And we don’t have even we don’t really don’t have a lot of good restaurants in Macomb County, you know, except up and down, strip down, up and down Hall road.
Christy McDonald [00:41:02] Jerome Vaughn, did you have any do you have a question?
Jerome Vaughn [00:41:04] Oh, I have thousands.
Christy McDonald [00:41:08] You’ve been quiet for a minute. Yes.
Jerome Vaughn [00:41:10] I’m just curious, you mentioned Ferndale and Royal Oak? What do you thina Macomb County needs to do to rise to that level where everyone in the region kind of goes, oh, going.
Jerome Vaughn [00:41:24] Out to dinner. I want to go to Warren.
Matt Beaudry [00:41:26] What’s it gonna take to do that? Well, then it gets back to what I was saying. It’s a vibrant downtown. You have communities built around rail that are population centers. They’re not built around the car. So when you have a rail system in a town built around that rail, you’re going to have a denser population, higher property value and the youth moving into the vibrant downtown.
Christy McDonald [00:41:52] Well, just go. It’s like me, me. Go ahead, man. Right here. Go ahead. I’ll get.
Nancy Duemling [00:41:57] When you’re talking about downtowns, too. Most of Macomb County, you have a lot of bedroom communities, whereas Ferndale, Royal Oak had a core area that was commercial. Sterling Heights. Where’s the downtown at Sterling Heights. The downtown and Clinton Township where.
Nancy Duemling [00:42:21] No, that doesn’t count. That’s a strip.
Nancy Duemling [00:42:24] That’s not a downtown. And Mt. Clemens is really the only downtown and poor Mount Clemens. At five o’clock, you lock the door and throw away the key. And it’s a shame because it really is the one true downtown city center we’ve got and it’s dying.
Nolan Finley [00:42:48] When you look at your political leadership, who’s doing a good job for you in Macomb County? Is it your mayor? Is it your county executive, your state representative, your congressperson? Who do you look at and say, man? They’re doing a good job for me?
Joel Rutherford [00:43:02] Lori Stone, I would say, yeah, let’s say State Rep. Lori Stone is doing an outstanding job. I mean, because she stayed connected to the constituents. And I think that’s what makes the big difference. She’s a she listens. And I think she’s done. She’s done. I think the best job out of anybody else.
Nolan Finley [00:43:20] Mean, you put these people in office. Who is doing a good job for you?
Steve Finn [00:43:25] I think Gary Peters is. He’s just gotten a lot of money for for the waterways around Michigan, which we desperately need to conserve our lakes.
Nolan Finley [00:43:38] So you’re gonna have a whole bunch of candidates who you presume coming into Macomb County over the next seven, eight, nine months, 12 months. What message will move you all? What message do you want to hear from these candidates?
Nolan Finley [00:43:54] What’s the what’s the pitch that works here.[00:43:56] The local or national?
Nolan Finley [00:43:58] National. Presidential candidates.
Don Siefkes [00:44:01] Well, I guess to a different issue,.
Maria Rivera [00:44:03] I would like to hear that you’re not taking money from the corporations since.
Jeremy Fisher [00:44:10] I think that goes to what was something that was said a little earlier in the lack of them actually showing up. You said you presume you’re going to see a lot of candidates here. That’s a good presumption, but it’s not something that often comes to fruition. One of the reasons Trump won Macomb County is because he showed up. Democrats didn’t show up. Not enough. And what he did is he listened. Now, he listened. And then he didn’t do anything that he heard. But he listened. I think to answer that question, what do I want to hear from candidates if they decide to show up? I want to hear them say, I’m going to listen to you and I want to hear what you have to say. What’s being done here today, listening to the people is what the candidates need to do a little bit more before they start running their mouth about what they’re going to do for Macomb County. They need to find out what Macomb County needs. And that’s what we don’t get often from Democrats that are coming into the county.
Christy McDonald [00:45:10] What does Macomb County need? What are the top five concerns you have here? And a lot of you wrote things up here on the cards. Is it crime? Is it blight? Is it jobs? What are we talking about here, what could you could we, could we get a list together that we would give candidates? What are some of the top top five issues? I would start here, then go in here.
Rhonda Powell [00:45:30] I really think that to move so many of these things forward, we have to deal with our issues around race just like much of the country. We have seen such a demographic shift.
Rhonda Powell [00:45:43] And you know, I’m old enough to know that, you know, people still view 8 mile as a border. You know, there are people who. That’s why there’s that disconnect is because they’re still that age old perception. People in Detroit don’t want to come across eight miles this way. And many Macomb County residents view it as a border, a gate. So I think that the fact that I think that’s what prevented regional transit, some of the underlying issues, and we have to deal with that because diversity, it already exists. It doesn’t need our permission. It always has been. You know, the only thing that matters about it is how we feel about it and how we react to it. So until we deal with that and have honest conversations, that’s why we don’t see the type of industry. And people around the state? They’re not going to. There are other options. So younger folks, our kids, they they’re moving to other places that embrace diversity. You don’t even really see a huge LGBTQ population in Macomb County that’s due to a certain culture. And young people move, they flee away from that like the plague, because they’re not interested in debating it with you. They’re just not going to accept it and they’re going to keep it moving. Corporations know they can’t function like that anymore. So they’re not going to set up in a place that has that same old culture.
Matt Beaudry [00:47:13] We have a mile road mentality.
Matt Beaudry [00:47:15] So it’s know I’m not from originally from around here. When I moved to this region, I couldn’t believe the division. I’d hear about how terrible Detroit was. I’d go downtown, have a great time, come back out here and hear about how terrible Detroit is. But it’s more than that. It’s a mile road mentality. It’s like we draw a line. Oh, don’t go that side 8 mile. Oh, don’t go that side of 696. Oh, don’t go that side of 59. And they keep doing it out, out and then east and west. I’ve heard somebody in Rochester say everything east of Dequindre and south of 59 is less than desirable. And I’m like whoa what about Birmingham. And he’s like–too few people to matter. So I mean it’s it’s prolific. It’s crazy out here. I’ve never experienced that before.
Tomicka Robinson [00:48:02] As somebody who has roots in the city.
Tomicka Robinson [00:48:04] I work in cities, and therefore, for pay city taxes. I grew up on 7 Mile and Livernois. Detroit is more than just downtown. Like it’s the, the residents.
Tomicka Robinson [00:48:12] It’s the community members. It’s the block clubs. And I feel like that’s what’s lacking in Macomb. There is no real sense of community. And as someone who is a part of the LGBTQ community, I don’t feel that connection here at all. And I have children who now go to school here. And I wish that I had more of that feeling of acceptance. Recently in East Point, got shut down to even the notion of having a pride parade. What is the big deal about having a pride parade. We’re in 2019 going into 2020, why are we still fighting something that should include everyone else and make everyone feel like they are included? Then you’re going to keep seeing people fleeing away from the disconnection and the lack of community, the lack of acceptance and the lack of inclusivity. If you’re not going to offer that, then we can’t complain about why we’re not getting downtowns and cultural centers. You need the people to make that happen.
Pamela Leidlein [00:49:20] I just as a former educator and there is definitely racism is alive and well in Macomb. And we have school of choice. We have charter schools who are draining our public schools. Eastpointe is almost going to close their doors because there was this exodus out of there, up into Macomb.
Pamela Leidlein [00:49:43] Ah, well, they’re part of Macomb , but up further north because we have better schools. But the school district I was in and people would say we don’t want the school of choice kids here because and that meant ‘those people from down there’. That’s what they meant. And they would talk about it at parent meetings. You know, we don’t. The School of Choice kids are ruining, even though the statistic the school choice kids were doing much better than the kids in our own district that were born and raised there. And you’d look around the table and they talk and they didn’t even realize who the school of choice people were. They weren’t who they thought they were. And I just. Education in the whole country, but also in Macomb, we rely on state funding. Every child has a price tag on their head. They come in. So School of Choice was read recruit more kids to get more money, which drained the money out of the other schools. And I that just has affected. So we don’t have equal education, whether it’s because of color or charter school or public school or parochial school. It’s not equal.
Christy McDonald [00:50:51] Race; education.
Christy McDonald [00:50:55] Right. Go ahead, sir.
Joel Rutherford [00:50:56] Again, it comes back to what I said earlier about generational racism. It’s something that this county does not want to deal with. And I mean, people in here will. But overall, you know, how is it that you have Warren as the third largest city in the state, but you have no black elected officials here? How can that be?
Christy McDonald [00:51:13] Do you think that Macomb County’s alone or do you think Oakland County has this issue? Do you think Wayne County has this issue?
Joel Rutherford [00:51:18] I think what happens is, is that they’re looked at in a way differently than Macomb is. I think that, you know, you’re going to have that resistance, but I think that that change is happening. You know, I think Oakland County, a perfect example, is the passing of L. Brooks Patterson. I remember him from way back in the day when he was against busing. OK. He kept those attitudes. He passed away. Now, look at the change that you have. But you had people there. Macomb County, that’s been entrenched for so long. And I think you still have those same attitudes that are from way back and they haven’t changed. Now, that’s also part of the fault that people have to vote. And if they’re not voting, they’re not going to change. So if you have the same people voting, you’re going to keep the same people in power. And that’s something that that has to that attitude has to change. But when people have been disenfranchised for so long, it’s a little bit hard to get motivated.
Jerome Vaughn [00:52:12] But can I just ask a quick follow up question to that, which is would you–do you expect then the voters to set the example or do you want leaders who are in the lead and set the example?
Joel Rutherford [00:52:27] Well, both. I think that, first of all, voters have to understand, especially for people that have felt disenfranchised, when you have the income inequality that you have, the one power that they the people have that are poor is the vote. They have to understand the importance of that. But leaders also have to, you know, make that known and do the outreach, because I think one thing that that I’m looking for, as far as you talk about presidential candidates, one of the things is what are you going to do for the African-American community? Because that’s the one thing so often that I’ve heard from all these other communities and even from elected officials here in the county, you know, and things like that. That’s something that’s not talked about. I don’t know if they’re afraid to talk about it or whatever it is. But you know, it far as especially on the Democratic side of things, you know, if you don’t bring out the black vote, you’re not going to get elected and we will get four more years of trial. So they have to face that fact other hand.
Christy McDonald [00:53:21] There were other there were a couple of other hands, ma’am.
Lori Harris [00:53:24] Am I able to redirect this back to answer? I appreciate your. OK. So what are people looking for in the election? What will speak to them? I think we have so many issues that go beyond color and race. And and I, for example, right now there’s there’s no retirement. There’s no pensions. There’s we have a large immigrant population in our county, especially the south part of Macomb of, you know, south of Hall Road. I don’t know in terms of that community voting, how if. If there are statistics. But we have people who are trying to survive. Doesn’t matter where they’re from or who they are. And I don’t know that you can look at a candidate for president who comes in and tells you their platform really speaks to the fact that you don’t know if you’re going to have money to retire, if you’re going to be able to pay your health care bills, if you can drive your car, if you can afford insurance, if you can pay your taxes. You know, this constant taxation for everything that happens is very hard. And we have an aging population in South Macomb. So there’s people on fixed incomes that are are not able to assimilate and pay for all the things all the young people want.
Christy McDonald [00:54:45] We’re going to start to wrap this up in about 10 minutes, but I want to make sure that we get all of the last comments and the people that have been raising their hand.[00:54:53] Hi, ma’am. Go ahead.
Dez Squire [00:54:56] So I want to respectfully disagree with what you said. I think everything does go back to race in this country because our foundation is literally built in with racism, looking at the general, with the genocide of our indigenous communities and the deculturization that we did to them. It also is on the backs of our African-American communities who have been here to build our country. When we look at all these policies and those practices and the. When we think about social security, we think about health care. These are all issues and areas of entitlements that white people have looked at. This is something that black people have not been entitled to. They were intentionally designed actually to keep African-Americans out of these privileges. I think when we talk about issues and some of these things about survival are becoming relevant because white people are now becoming the poor people. They’re the low income. White people have cared enough, but it’s been the low income and poor folks who are within proximity of our black and brown communities and that. And I think as our elected officials, we have to acknowledge that. And as a Warren resident, I want to see my elected officials looking at these policies that have colorblind approaches, because that is white supremacy, that is coded language that continues to benefit white people. And we need to be able to have inclusion, which means we have to have policies that help promote and protect all of our people, but especially our black, indigenous, and people of color.[00:56:27] I have a question for you.
Yolanda DeFazio [00:56:30] If we’re all equal, why do we have to especially help the black community, not white? Why can’t we help everybody equally? Why do we have to put a focus on one type of group to especially help?
Dez Squire [00:56:42] So I’m not saying that we’re not all equal. Well, yes, I am. We are not all equal and that everybody matters. I definitely agree with that. However, when we look at policies and our practices, there have been communities that have not had access to resources or to the same opportunities that white people have. And when we look at whiteness in that there is a cost to that because we’ve lost our cultural identities to that we have lost practices to that. So, when I talk about whiteness, I talk about it as a cultural practice, not just as white folks. I’m not looking to pin because this is a systemic issue. And that’s so what we need to be able to lift up those who have been impacted directly because of these policies. I work in Detroit. I have worked with our exhibit. And there are records of Detroit commissioners like designing the highway system so that white people didn’t see the black people as they drove in to their jobs in downtown Detroit and that they did it to hide African-Americans. They didn’t provide that access to resources, like to be able to have communities to having basic household services like electricity and water. We look we think about 8 mile. We think about there’s an 8 mile wall that still exists. There’s a legacy of that discrimination. Macomb, the metro Detroit area continues to be one of the top three most segregated areas in this country.
Christy McDonald [00:58:12] And I appreciate this conversation. And because we talked about the thing. You brought it up saying we’re not talking about this because these are hard conversations to have. And I appreciate you saying, why did you say, why did you say that and what? Where is that coming from? Because this is where we start to find some understanding. And it’s uncomfortable, isn’t it? It’s uncomfortable. But I appreciate you both having that conversation, letting us be a part of it and starting it here and continuing it through this room. I hate to I hate to bring it back from this, but I’m going to ask again as we finish everything up here. I’m just talking about some of the major issues on our mind as as we wrap up and if we wanted to get some final voices in and then go over there.[00:58:53] Yes, go ahead.
Carmi Finn [00:58:54] I don’t disagree at all. Inequity and inequality, social justice, major issues for me. But another one you can tell by my shirt is gun violence. So anybody who’s coming here to campaign better have a good plan and be willing to pass some laws that are going to save lives and curb the epidemic of gun violence. That is a public health crisis in this country. And in this area. None of us are immune to that. And we need help with that. We need some laws passed that are going to help change that.
Christy McDonald [00:59:23] OK, go ahead. Yes.
Gerald DeMaire [00:59:27] By now you get the feeling of frustration and a little bit of anger or both. But this is everywhere where every time you go to, you’re going to find this. And part of it is a lot bigger than us. We’re looking at these things locally, but these are national issues. When I live in a district that I know, no matter how I vote, that other party is going to win because of the way they got it rigged, and then when I watch some of the actions of people in politics who are basically pandering to their base or are courting their party line. No one ever breaks party line anymore. So who represents the rest of us who’ve got an ‘I’ behind our name? You know, where were we? Because no one’s representing us, even listen to us. If you look at the tax break, the 2017, a whole share of it went to business because they were going to create jobs and they were going to increase economy, and that’s a good reason. I liked that idea. Except what happened. It’s not hurting me because I got a lot of shares of stock and the buybacks pushed my values up, you know. But the bottom line is, that’s me. There’s a lot of other people here don’t have a piece of that pie. And I think if you go back to the housing crash, there’s a guy in Detroit this week talking about a book, how a couple of guys made millions and millions of dollars on the housing crash because we never come up with a program. This was under Obama’s administration that helped people like we did back in Roosevelt’s day when you helped the people when they were losing their homes.
Gerald DeMaire [01:01:03] Instead, they just let them fall into bankruptcy.
Matt Beaudry [01:01:06] The bigger problem with this dovetail on what you were saying and actually segue on to what you were saying as well. The white flight, we all know what we can. That’s an old school story. But there’s a there’s more of a hidden costs here beyond the youth leaving. It’s the sprawl. If the youth are leaving and you’re building more and more infrastructure, where’s your tax base to pay for it? So that gets back to the roads and everything else. So the cost of leaving Detroit is no budget. You’re building roads out near 36 Mile Road. I mean.
Christy McDonald [01:01:43] All right. Anyone who hasn’t had a chance to say anything. Who all of a sudden feels the need that they want to say something right now. Our intention is we want to hear from you.
Christy McDonald [01:01:52] Anyone? Wow.
Christy McDonald [01:01:55] Can I say thank you so much for being here, for being honest with us, for being respectful to each other. Please go tell your neighbors about this.