What happens when you strike flint and steel? Fire.
In this case, lots and lots of fire.
Back on March 25, the City of Flint, Michigan made the decision to lay off 23 of 88 firefighters and 46 of 150 police officers. Almost immediately, the fires started. Several fires, every night. Sometimes, 8 or 9 fires. Mostly, they were among the 3000 vacant structures in need of demolition. Two were apartment buildings. A couple have been occupied homes. All have been called “suspicious.” In fact, the Mayor calls them a series of “coordinated criminal attacks.”
The remaining firefighters are understandably exhausted, and this makes them prone to making mistakes that can maim or kill themselves or their co-workers. Citizens are not happy at all, because there is always the fear that their homes could be next — either as a primary fire or as fire spreads from the vacant houses that dot their neighborhoods. One interesting detail is that only 6 of the structures are specifically known to be bank-owned.
Not surprisingly, many are blaming the Mayor, who had to do whatever it took to close an estimated $8,000,000 to $10,000,000 budget shortfall. A recall effort is underway to get him out of office, but that won’t change the fact that the city needs millions more dollars than it has. The Mayor has proposed a $13,000,000 bond sale to both cover the shortfall and help the city get its financial house in order. Some say that just won’t be enough to do the job, but the Mayor’s budget for the next fiscal year projects a surplus.
The surprising thing — shocking in fact — is how little attention the mainstream media is paying to this. When Colorado Springs turned off the streetlights to save money, CNN and all the rest were there to make sure we all knew about it. But when a city in Michigan starts slowly burning to the ground, block by block, because they can’t afford enough firefighters? Only a bit of coverage from the local paper, a couple of firefighter groups, and the local ABC affiliate. It isn’t even a story in the newspapers down in Detroit, a mere 66 miles away.
Cross-Posted at The Moderate Voice
In Closing: unemployed workers per job opening (and remember, that’s the narrow, Department of Labor definition of unemployed); hell has a special place for people whose job is to find reasons not to pay unemployment benefits; relationship red flags (if I had limitless time and energy I’d add to this list); Should the Vatican have adopted the sorts of reforms already in place in the United States? Does the CSM really need to ask this question?; on school lunches; on “too big to fail” (um, yeah); So you call the cops to report a crime, do you really want his first question to be whether you can prove you’re a citizen?; if only there weren’t some truth in this letter from the Baby Boomers to their children; and one doctor tells us how she thinks Health Insurance Reform may cost everyone more money.