The Edmond Sun


July 16, 2013

Abandoned areas of Detroit improving

EDMOND — Edward McClelland is a journalist based in Chicago who is originally from Lansing, Mich.

He had previously written a book that chronicled the rise of Barack Obama that was titled “Young Mr. Obama, Chicago and the Making of a Black President.”

 In his most recent work, “’Nothin’ but Blue Skies,’ ‘The Heyday,’ ‘Hard Times,’ and ‘Hopes of America’s Industrial Heartland,’” McClelland takes his readers on a tour of the upper midwest and  great lakes area of the United States that was at one time the manufacturing center of the nation for automobiles, steel and other industrial products.

 He reminds us that the factories and foundries located there provided employment for millions of Americans and allowed them to live a middle-class life in the post-war era.  

But in recent decades those places have closed and many of the commodities formerly made there are now produced in foreign nations. The loss of those jobs have been devastating for that region and McClelland writes of men who have been out of work for years and have had to take  jobs in the service sector that do not provide them with benefits such as health insurance.  

He also tells of how some of those who lost their jobs have turned to drug dealing as a means of livelihood. We are told of how McClelland’s first published work of journalism was a story about a young man who had prospered as a crack dealer in Detroit but fell on hard times when he began to use the drug himself.

Thousands of people have fled that region and the author details how many of the Congressional seats that formerly provided representation to them in the U.S. House of Representatives are now  representing citizens in states such as Florida, Texas and Arizona that have experienced population growth in recent decades.  

The author visits the site in upstate New York where air conditioners were first manufactured and points out that air conditioning was responsible for transforming those states into places where people could live and work in comfortable temperatures throughout the year.

Those who have remained in the upper midwest and great lakes area have adjusted in a variety of ways.

McClelland writes of how the terms “rust bowl chic” and “ruin porn” have been embraced by some residents of an artistic bent who see beauty and art in abandoned buildings. A coffee table book of photos of some of the abandoned car plants in Detroit that is titled “Detroit Dissasembled” has sold thousands of copies and also inspired a traveling exhibit that was shown at museums.

Some people have begun urban farms in the abandoned areas of Detroit and Cleveland and other cities in the region. They sell their crops to their neighbors.

There are also citizens who have come to those cities and acquired homes and offices by paying the back taxes owed on them and opened small businesses and art studios.  

One of the few resources that the area has in abundance is water and some communities there  such as Buffalo, N.Y. and Cleveland, Ohio are now beginning to develop their waterways for recreational purposes as a way to attract tourists. McClelland writes of how leaders in the great lakes area reacted with indignation when New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson proposed several years ago that the waters of the great lakes should be shared with sunbelt states such as New Mexico and California. One of them is quoted by the author as saying that the sunbelt had taken many of the regions’ citizens and now wanted its water as well.

Chicago is where many young people from Michigan and neighboring states have relocated to and McClelland concludes that his new home is now a “world class city” that has attracted  entrepreneurs and artists from around the world.”

William F. O’Brien is an Oklahoma City attorney.

Text Only
  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

    On July12, the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans were filled with thousands of young men who were seeking to avoid being hit with plastic bats wielded by women on roller skates as part of the annual “Running of the Bulls” that takes place in New Orleans.
    The event is based on the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs in Pamplona, Spain, that is  part of an annual occurrence in which a group of bulls rampage through the streets of Pamplona while men run from them to avoid being gored by their sharp horns. That event was introduced to the English-speaking world by Ernest Hemingway, who included scenes from it in his critically acclaimed 1926 novel “The Sun also Rises.”

    July 22, 2014

  • OTHER VIEW: Newsday: Lapses on deadly diseases demand explanation

    When we heard that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had created a potentially lethal safety risk by improperly sending deadly pathogens — like anthrax — to other laboratories around the country, our first reaction was disbelief.

    July 22, 2014

  • Holding government accountable for open meeting violations

    A few weeks ago I wrote about the recent success of three important government transparency proposals which will go into law this year.

    July 21, 2014

  • GUEST OPINION — Oklahoma GOP voters want educational choices

    A Braun Research survey released in January showed that Oklahoma voters — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike — favor parental choice in education.

    July 21, 2014

  • HEY HINK: IRS interferes with citizens’ rights of free speech

    The patient is gravely ill. We have detected traces of a deadly venom in the bloodstream. We don’t know how widespread the poison is, but we know, if not counteracted, toxins of this kind can rot the patient’s vital organs and could ultimately prove fatal.

    July 19, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • RedBlueAmerica: What should the U.S. do about illegal immigrant children?

    The crisis along the southern U.S. border has politicians and immigration officials scrambling. More than 52,000 children, mostly from Central American nations, have arrived so far this year. The Department of Homeland Security is running out of space to hold them all.
    President Barack Obama is asking Congress for $3.7 billion in borrowed money from taxpayers to cover the growing “care, feeding and transportation costs of unaccompanied children and family groups” when our own veterans are not taken care of. Texas Gov. Rick Perry criticized the president’s plan, saying more money should go toward securing the border.

    July 17, 2014

  • VA scandal highlights the need to change Pentagon spending priorities

    The ongoing Department of Veterans Affairs scandal raises an important question: When our veterans are being denied access to basic health care, why is the Pentagon squandering billions of dollars on programs that do not benefit our military forces? Is there a link in organization attitudes?

    July 16, 2014

  • For better politics, it’s time for some raging moderates

    Like more than 20 percent of my fellow Californians, I am now classified as a no-party-preference voter, registered to vote but with no affiliation to any of the state’s political parties.
    I am for lower taxes and for marriage equality. I am tough on crime and I am anti-abortion. I believe that a pathway to citizenship is a necessary part of immigration reform and that student test scores should be a critical component of teacher evaluations.

    July 15, 2014

  • Father on mission to stop gun violence

    Since his son died six weeks ago as collateral damage to a troubled young man’s wish for vengeance, Richard Martinez has been asked whom he holds responsible.
    “I’m responsible,” the California lawyer answers, referring to most Americans’ failure to push harder to change gun laws after earlier mass shootings. “All those kids died and none of us did anything.”

    July 14, 2014


If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
     View Results