Tuesday, June 07, 2005


It isn't every day you rolled a wagon on the DSR bus. But this was a special occasion.
We were kids going to our first fireworks downtown and we thought about the red, blue and purple explosions all day. Well we assumed the fireworks formerly known as the J.L Hudson fire works were in technicolor.
I'd never actually see fire works before. I was five years old and the only fireworks I saw were in the newspaper and on television. But our set was black and white and so were the newspapers.
Me and my cousins Billy, David, Reggie and buddy Big Mac climbed aboard the Grand River bus along with our Aunt Gerry. The bus was packed and we could not wait to see the explosions. We talked the whole ride downtown about fireworks as if we were experts. But truth be known none of us had actually seen any live.
We found a spot on Woodward and the show was one of biggest thrills of my life. The color and noise and people made it an exciting evening.
We thought the fire works would be with us forever. But then you grow into adulthood and start reading the newspapers and all of a sudden reality hits. Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick in a battle with City Council threatened to cancel the 2005 fire works on the Detroit River because he said there would not be enough police protection for the thousands who show up every year.
It is doubtful the Mayor can cancel the fireworks. There is too much at stake and too much money to be lost.
It is ridiculous that cancellation of the fire works was even discussed. They are part of Detroit tradition that must never go away.
Millions have enjoyed this evening of festivities, music and fire works.
I've seen them from the Riverfront printing plant, in Hart Plaza, near Comerica Park and on Belle Isle.
I don't go every year. But it is comforting to know they are a part of our community.
We've lost too much over the years. Does anyone remember the Vernors bottling plant? Or the train station? Or Kerns, Crowley's and Kern's department stores?
They are all institutions we've lost over the years. And every time a part of our past disappears we are a little less of a city. These institutions are our identity.
Each evening my daughter Celine asks me to tell her a little about my childhood. I bring up buildings that no longer exists and she looks at me in amazement. I hope she does not have to tell her children about fire works that no longer exist.
I am certain the fire works will continue. But just the mention of them possibly not being with us sent another shiver down my spine.


Blogger Steve-oh said...

Terry - Would you care to post about your feelings about the job the mayor is doing/has done?

As an outstate person, I'd love to see a Detroit rebirth, as it's a major part of Michigan - it would be cool to see it have a rebirth like Baltimore or some of the other cities that have experienced a renaissance.

Personally, I've been disappointed in the mayor as I thought he had a lot of promise, but has kind of let it piss away on ego.

10:21 PM

Blogger Kent Herriman said...

Kwame is a thug plain and simple. He is running Detroit into the ground and enjoying every minute of it. These elections can't come soon enought to get him the hell out of office.

11:32 PM

Blogger Tom said...

I might give a damn about the fireworks if they held them on the actual 4th of July, not some imaginary day that Canada picks. Independence Day is July 4th, and any firework celebrations should at least be within the month of July.

11:52 PM

Blogger T Foster said...

I thought Detroit needed new and fresh blood. But perhap the blood they put in office was too young and too inexperienced. I think the mayor is a closer. He closes deals and people who deal with him love him. He has an outgoing personality and knows how to sell.
Yet there are too many blemishes. They are embarrassing and they are going to bring him down. He has to understand being mayor is more than parties and hanging out and trying to run a government.
I expected more and am disappointed.

3:49 AM

Blogger T Foster said...

I have spoken to the mayor several times and I do not believe he enjoys running the city into the ground. He has good intentions. He just has not executed.
And in his mind he is doing a good job.

3:50 AM

Blogger T Foster said...

A lot of big city fire works are not on the fourth of July. They want to get maximum exposure and more people can make it down before they head up north or to grand moms for the fourth of July. I have no problem with the date.

3:51 AM

Blogger h bomb said...

Did you hear the commercial where a guy is telling about growing up and everytime he names a place in his memory, like a library, school, where his dad worked - a voice over says "parking lot" or something. That's what's happening to Detroit.

It's pretty simple - If we want a community we have to get out and make it, go there, be part of it. We vote with our time, attention and dollars. And government will dismantle what we enjoy about community if we stop paying attention.

Terry maybe your radio station can do its show from the riverfront during the fireworks? maybe a Piston party or two downtown? maybe a fundraiser that day that ends with going to the fireworks?

But that would all depend on a safe environment. Is Kwame saying he can't guarantee that?

6:31 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kwame is korrupt. Worst mayor ever. There is no argument.

9:24 AM

Blogger billionaire said...

First and foremost I acknowledge that I am a Freeman Hendrix supporter so if you want to vote him I say go ahead. As for the mayor I thought it was a huge a mistake to even try and bring up the fireworks which is backfiring. In fairness to the mayor at the time he ran let';s face it folks it appeared he was the best of the worst lot. Gill Hill or Kwame. Terry you say the mayor is a closer whatever happened to the casino and hotels that he promised when he took office. What about the book cadillac deal he was braggging about. what about his slogan right here right now. What i fear or it may be a fact the ball that archer continiued to roll upwards from Coleman has dropped under the Right here And right now mayor.

10:26 AM

Blogger billionaire said...

One more thing Kwame is not a thug and I do think he does have a genuine interest in detroit succeeding unfortunatly his inexperience has made him fall into many traps and I hope it keeps him there

10:29 AM

Anonymous The_REAL_Right_way said...

From an economic standpoint, Detroit itself is a microcosm of the US. With out jobs and a growing tax base, a free market economy will crumble. Sadly, Kwame...JOE Mayor... or anyone else can't turn this ship around overnight when jobs and the subsequent tax base have abandon the city.

While I think Kwame was not ready and has not performed as necessary. The mere notion and categorization of Kwame as a thug is part of the problem.

With regard to the fireworks. While there are many pressing issues, Detroit needs these events to create an environment that attracts business and that tax base back. Eliminating it only increases the problem.

11:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Terry the piece that you wrote about our lost landmarks really hit the target. "CT in the house"! Remember Sam's Cutrate Drugs, Kresge and the waffle ice cream sandwiches, the mezzaline at Hudsons, Hughes and Hatcher, Otto's popcorn, the Palms and Adams theatres, bookstands downtown, etc.?

I too don't believe that the Mayor is deliberately making an attempt to destroy the city. He is just in over his head. Given the opportunity to manage a major corporation, most of us would not hire our friends in key management positions and expect the company to function. And now he is in the business of being re-elected as opposed to making the best decisions for the city. We need new leadership and copying a phrase I heard another candidate say "we need a Mayor that can appear on the cover of Fortune as opposed to one content with Ebony." Nothing against Ebony, but....

12:51 PM

Anonymous The_REAL_Right_Way said...


I listen to the Sports Inferno today. I got to ask, do people in the Detroit area watch any other teams in the NBA?

I don't profess to know everything about every team in the NBA, but caller after caller had no clue about San Antonio and or other teams in the NBA.

The notion that this San Antonio team is the same as last years team is crazy.

There is alot of focus on Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker. I happen to think Mohammed is the x-factor in this series. He won't score alot but he will create havoc and challenge Ben on controlling the board.

1:01 PM

Blogger Steve-oh said...

Terry - Thanks for the interesting response. I'd never heard that about Kwame being a closer - the Freep columnists don't seem to write about him a lot from that angle, and the News editorial page, well, you know.

8:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Terry, I've been a lifelong suburbanite, never lived in detroit, but I have very stong feeling for it, and pains me to see what poor condition it is.

It is my belief that the basis for ANY city is it's educational system. The education system alone has the power to bring people into a city and keep them there for 12 years. Detroit, right now, has a broke educational system. When kwame decided earlier this year to close a bunch of schools, as sad as it was to see, it HAD to be done- Quality over quantity. That will also help prevent the city from wasting money in an inefficient school system.

Most of Kwame mis-handlings have been more "cosmetic" ones that make the city look bad, but I have a bigger problem:

The Detroit City Council is bogging down the city. There is a lack of respect from both sides and the Mayor's office, and its counter-productive.

Now I think kwame is making a mistake by say no fireworks if council gets its way, but wasn't it city council members who were caught on tape fighting each other last year?

And how come city council doesn't have to live in the precinct/ward that they represent?

But, back to kwame, he has made some MAJOR mistakes, and he seems to just gloss over them as "no big deal." This hold cobo thing with L Brokks Patterson is getting old, and I agree with PAtterson--> cobo SHOULD be privately funded, metro detroit alone can't fund it, and kwame needs to stop being so hard headed. After the fireworks shootings, he needed 6 or 7 bodyguards to come say detroit is safe? are you kidding me? And he never learned from that fiasco, and messed up big with the Red Navitgor, and now the whole Credit Card Mess. How many times oes detroit need to violate the "public records" thing, channel 7 and the free press have so many violations filed against the city for that, why don't they just allow the taxpayers to see their city's records, like they're supposed to?

So, it may be time for new leadership, but we (non-detroiters) have to make sure it doesn't seem to the detroiters that we're attacking them, or else they might keep kwame just to piss us off.

10:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Terry, I don't know if you've read any of the other bloggers in your virtual neighborhood, but here's a place where the old Detroit landmarks evoke feelings both nostalgic and sad.


10:38 PM

Blogger Tom said...

Fireworks celebrating Independence Day should be in July, at the very least. Not June, to celebrate Canada's rip off day.

And King Kwame did just about everything in his power to undo the good that Dennis Archer did.

11:49 PM


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