Two former NBAers are vying for the mayoralties of two of America’s largest cities. In Detroit, former Piston Dave Bing just picked up the endorsement of the Free Press, and in Seattle former Sonic and Washington State Cougar James Donaldson announced his candidacy.
Obviously, it’s Bing who, if victorious, has the toughest, most impossible job ahead:
Detroit’s problem is rooted in the transformation that the US economy is undergoing.
Old manufacturing regions such as this have been declining for some time.
There is a budget crisis. Rising unemployment and population loss have reduced the amount of tax revenue coming in. Vehicle sales are falling in an area whose economy is dominated by the so-called “Big Three” car manufacturers. House prices have been tumbling.
In Detroit, the population too has been falling for years. In the middle of the last century almost two million people lived in the city. Today it is less than a million, as people have moved out to the suburbs.
Detroit’s challenge is to manage the loss of people, jobs and revenue, without allowing the city to fall further into despair. It is a tough job.