Monday, March 12, 2007
Merge Highland Park and Hamtramck With Detroit by Akindele Akinyemi
Urban conservatives must have solutions to the crisis that affects our community. Especially in the urban communities.
In this case, urban conservatives need to first take a look at Highland Park.
This community once was a jewel in the State of Michigan. Today, just like Detroit and any other city, it has its fair share of problems. My solution to the problem?
Consolidate Highland Park with Detroit.
The reason? Cost cutting and better services.
Highland Park is 98% African American. It's school system is failing. Even though Highland Park is coming out of rough times we should look into consolidating HP with the "D".
It makes fiscal sense for one. Already the Wayne County Sheriff Department is policing Highland Park. Why not merge HP into Detroit and incorporate their city government into a larger regional government. That way they can still have representation at the table.
The same goes for Hamtramck. Merge Hamtramck with Detroit. It would increase the tax base and increase diversity in the city. Dissolve and regionalize the school districts or merge the school districts with Detroit's. The only problem I would have with both Highland Park and Hamtramck Schools merging with Detroit schools is that all three districts are failing districts. We correct this problem by establishing public-private partnerships in the school district. The schools can be controlled by either Detroit or Wayne RESA (I like the idea of Wayne RESA better) and the curriculum and day to day operation would be contracted to an educational management company that is based here in Detroit. We should also seek into designing a educational empowerment zone for this area.
Going back to Highland Park. The homes are still intact and beautiful. Give tax breaks for those who set up businesses and corporations in this district. The water system in Highland Park should be sold to Wayne County. Turn cable services over to Comcast.
The district should be called the Highland Park district. The same goes for a Hamtramck district. Both areas attract foreigners from other countries that want to participate in free market enterprises. Also, as we consolidate into Detroit there are some zoning issues we need to discuss. I would like to see an area of the Highland Park District set up shop for a real Africa Town. Nothing like what Dr. Claude Anderson talks about in his pseudo-economic plan called Powernomics. I am talking about brothers and sisters from the continent who are going to move in and set up shop.
I would welcome this idea 100%. The reason? Most Nigerians who come here become Republicans. Not because they like Bush but they acknowledge free market capitalism. They know it is the best system in the world. Therefore the political landscape would drastically change. We would have achieved political balance and Nigerians would be able to set up lobbying firms similar to AIPAC for the Jews in Washington DC. Ours would be based right here in this district. The objective? To lobby tax dollars for Nigeria. The goal? To increase trade with Nigeria within this district. It's time to form NPAC (Nigerian Political Affairs Committee) to lobby for economic development for both Nigeria and the newly constructed Highland Park District in Detroit.
Nigerians would be able to transform Hamilton Ave from Webb Street to McNichols in the Highland Park district. We would then have to open up three charter schools in the district (K-5, 6-8, 9-12) to accommodate the number of people moving back into the district (I hope every State Representative or Senator is paying attention to this because this is HOW you re-populate Detroit, not making asanine promises that you cannot keep).
The Hamtramck District would be revamped to increase the number of Indians, Arabs, Polish and Bengali people already living in the area. Most Indians and Arabs who come over are more conservative and are considered independent voters that lean Republican. Again, we would be changing the landscape if we would incorporate both Highland Park and Hamtramck with Detroit to become part of a larger regional system.
Furthermore, state lawmakers, community people and urban conservatives should begin having these types of discussions in their focus groups.