A few months ago I witnessed a group of protestors who marched around Little Caesars Arena.
The march began as a protest against Kid Rock who opened up the arena and used to include the Confederate flag in his act. But it finished as a march against “corporate greed” and “corporate welfare” because every rich businessman that opens a building in mid town and downtown gets huge tax benefits.
The other issue is many people from Detroit are shut out from jobs in downtown.
The marchers are right. This is corporate welfare, but I must also point out the alternative. This was a desolate spot where pimps and hookers used to hang with the occasional drug dealer. I once sat at a stop sign where the arena stands today and was startled by a toothless hag who approached my car offering a blow job for $20.
I could smell the stench of her body as I put my foot on the gas and quickly took off.
“How about $10,” she called as I drove toward Woodward.
This was an area that hosted sting operations called STRESS (Stop the Robberies Enjoy Safe Streets) where undercover cops used to mow down black males that attempted to rob them in the dead of night.
It came at a time in the 1970s when Detroit was called The Murder capital of the World. During STRESS Detroit had the highest rate of civilian killings by the police in the United States.
After STRESS this area became a playground for escaped hens, rosters and other animals from the Eastern Market across I-75. There were crumbling buildings and once thriving China Town was long gone. Yes, Detroit once had a China Town.
Yes, there is corporate welfare, but what you rather have? A toothless hag turning tricks or a Red Wing trying to turn a hat trick?
Would you rather see an arena full of people doing the chicken dance or watch live chickens dance in the streets?
Would you rather see black males get shot by the police or shooting free throws for Stan Van Gundy?
Corporate welfare is not fair but it is a necessary evil for a place that was down for the count. Now the next step is to give tax incentives to The Property Brothers so they can fix Detroit’s neighborhoods and give citizens safe and comfortable places to live.
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