Leid Stories Stories and news that affect us all

February 3, 2015  

With No Bus Service, A Detroit Factory Worker Walks 21 Miles Daily to Work;

Billions in Bankruptcy Bounty: The Sanctioned Looting of Detroit

Since 2005, when his 1988 Honda Accord gave out, James Robertson, a 56-year-old factory worker from Detroit, has been walking 21 miles to and from his $10.55-an-hour job. Most of his off-job time is consumed by his grueling commute. There is no bus service where he lives.

A Detroit Free Press story about Robertson on Sunday went viral. It inspired Wayne State University computer science major Evan Leedy to start a crowdfunding campaign that has raised more than enough money to buy Robertson a car and cover related expenses.

The story pointed to the nobility and tenacity of Robertson, who has never missed a day or been late for work despite his challenges. But as Leid Stories discusses today, Robertson’s story really is about the level of suffering Detroiters have been coping with in recent years.

Tom Barrow, an expert in municipal finance, businessman and former chairman of Michigan’s Board of Accountancy, discusses the relationship between Robertson’s decade-long plight and the orchestrated decline of the City of Detroit that culminated in its historic bankruptcy—at $20 billion, the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history—in 2013, was placed under draconian emergency management by Gov. Rick Snyder, and, under federal court supervision, saw the transfer of billions of dollars in public and private assets to well-connected banks and corporate interests.

Barrow, president of Citizens for Detroit’s Future, has maintained that Detroit’s bankruptcy was unnecessary and illegal, and a “ruthless” conspiracy to rid the city of its mostly African American population. Kevyn Orr, the emergency manager appointed by Snyder, has been touting a “reimagined” Detroit. 

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