Google showcases Detroit

Posted on July 15, 2013

Amid Detroit’s massive financial crisis and other problems, some good public relations events are happening for the city.

Google is giving Detroit positive publicity in a global ad campaign it launched touting the availability of a new maps app for Android smartphones, tablets, iPhones and iPads. An upbeat, promotional video pinpoints local sites of interest in Detroit utilizing the theme of a gritty city determined to make a comeback.

Also focusing a bright light on Metro Detroit is the online travel website It lists “Five Reasons to Go to Detroit Right Now” and praises Detroit’s “grassroots spirit.” Among other attractions, it promotes the Detroit Institute of Art and the Henry Ford Museum.

Local politicians don’t trust federal leaders

It’s no surprise that a recent survey finds local government officials have little faith in Washington, D.C. The University of Michigan’s Center for Local, State and Urban Policy found that just 6 percent trust the federal government to “do what is right.”

The state didn’t fair much better. Only 19 percent of Michigan’s local leaders trust the state government “nearly always or most of the time.”

Congress seems light years away from local communities and the disconnect is widening. Our national leaders have lost the art of compromise and respond only in dire emergencies. Partisan politics in Lansing also stalemates action.

It’s understandable that local leaders trust other local governments the most. That’s because they are closest to the voters and have to be responsive to citizens. Dishonest local politicians will quickly lose their jobs.

We need tighter reigns on our state and federal leaders. A little fear of the voter would be good for them.

County earns its rewards

Good fiscal management and some creative budgeting continue to payoff for Oakland County.

The Board of Commissioners is expected to review Wednesday a 2014 fiscal year budget that not only is balanced but includes raises for employees in each of the next three years, something that workers in most governmental entities haven’t seen recently.

The down economy over the past few years has forced municipalities to at least freeze and often cut wages.

But Oakland County, noted for establishing budgets two and three years in advance, plans 2 percent hikes in fiscal year 2014, which begins Oct. 1, and 1 percent pay increases in each of the next two fiscal years, 2015 and 2016.

Also, the budget calls for keeping the tax rate at 4.19-mills.

Officials have demonstrated that a little patience and prudent belt tightening in tough times can yield positive results for everyone, from staff to taxpayers.