No Robocop for Detroit

robocopPerhaps due in part to that Chrysler ad that captured everyone’s imagination during the Super Bowl , the city of Detroit is, once again, attracting national media attention. Today, there’s a feature in the Washington Post entitled, “With Detroit in dire straits, mayor invites big thinking.” Here’s a clip.

…With no salvation in sight, Bing, 67, has embarked on a mission few in his position have ever had to take on: dramatically shrinking a major American metropolis. To do so, Bing has issued an open invitation: anyone with a proposal, plan, theory – a notion, even – is welcome to try to save his crumbling city.

Numerous outfits have responded, turning Detroit into the new New Orleans – a giant testing ground for urban planners and developers.

There is an urban farming proposal, which would turn over whole sections of the city to corporate farming operations. Many of the country’s leading foundations, including Kresge, Ford, Rockefeller, Kellogg, Skillman and Knight, are funding arts, education and development projects.

The Urban Land Institute is helping to revitalize a downtown corridor. The federal government has spent hundreds of millions, and Bing is seeking millions more.

“It’s open season,” said Chazz Miller, an artist and entrepreneur in Detroit who was handed a $15,000 grant from the Knight Foundation last year after speaking on a panel about urban renewal. He’s now applying for a $40,000 grant for a beautification project in the Brightmoor neighborhood. “There’s over a million dollars a year now for public art in Detroit.”

Bing announced a plan on Monday to encourage city police officers and firefighters to live in Detroit as a way of bolstering neighborhoods. Using federal dollars and deals with local banks, the city would offer homes for as little as $1,000.

The mayor is not just trying to save Detroit for its residents, but create the kind of city that others will want to return to, said Robin Boyle, a professor of urban planning at Wayne State University. “Bing, since he came on board, has consistently held the position publicly that this is a time that requires decisive and directional changing intervention,” he said….

Some ideas, however, are apparently less welcome than others. Mayor Bing, for instance, had the following to say this afternoon on Twitter about one specific idea that had been submitted to his office.


But, you’ll be happy to know, the people of Detroit aren’t taking this lying down. No, like the people of Tunisia and Egypt, they’re rising up and fighting back. Of course, they haven’t taken to the streets yet… but they are on Facebook.

I don’t know if it would be appreciated, but I’d be happy to step in and broker a deal, if Bing and others would let me. I have an idea for a compromise already. It involves a giant RoboCop statue, with the head of Martha Reeves. I think it could be incredible. [If someone could photoshop it for me, I’d appreciate it.]

update: For what it’s worth, I really like the idea of offering downtown homes dirt cheap to Detroit police officers and firefighters. It’s something that we’ve discussed here in the past, and I think it could have an incredible impact. I just hope that people take him up on the offer. I’d also encourage the Mayor to extend the offer to those outside of the Police and Fire departments who have relevant skills and experience. For a start, I’d suggest making the offer to professors at Wayne State.

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  1. Posted February 8, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    Maybe Bing misunderstood… It’s not a statue “to” RoboCop, but a statue “of” RoboCop that people are demanding.

  2. Posted February 9, 2011 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    Worst. Fucking. Idea. Ever.

    The people in Detroit who want this have clearly never seen Robocop.

    Plus it should totally be Diana Ross. In Mahogany.

  3. Aaron
    Posted February 9, 2011 at 2:34 am | Permalink

    It would fit in well near the CCS, the Manoogian mansion, or the Renaissance Center.

  4. Knox
    Posted February 9, 2011 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    This is why we need to re-elect Kwame. He’d do it.

  5. Edward
    Posted February 9, 2011 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    What about the MC5 standing triumphantly on the defeated body of Robocop?

  6. Edward
    Posted February 9, 2011 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Someone has mocked up what the RoboCop statue might look like.

  7. T Timmons
    Posted February 9, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    It’s got to be Alice Cooper’s head.

  8. Art
    Posted February 9, 2011 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I hated Kwame, but if he came back to town dressed as Robocop, I would vote for him.

  9. Metro Marv
    Posted February 9, 2011 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Maybe Bing would reconsider if the RoboCop statue included subduing and arresting a statue of Kwame Kilpatrick?

    Or what if it just included stocks that a live Kilpatrick could be placed in under RobCop’s stern gaze (you could rotate other corrupt officials thru for a sort of corruption du jour display)?

  10. Steve Swan
    Posted February 9, 2011 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I love RoboCop, but it’s old. We need something new, and cutting edge. I’m suggesting to the mayor that we have a three-times-life-sized statue of Martha Reeves, Kid Rock, Aretha Franklin and Eminem is a classic “human caterpillar” pose. (If people really want RoboCop, we can add him to the end.) It would really put Detroit on the map.

  11. K2
    Posted February 9, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    I don’t get why his designers left his chin exposed, and why his enemies never shot at it. Everything else about the movie rings true.

  12. Robert
    Posted February 9, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Dallas should erect a statue of RoboCop. That’s where it was actually filmed.

  13. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted February 9, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    If they’re going to build a statue to a Detroit cop movie, this one gets my vote. It was even filmed in Detroit.

  14. TR%
    Posted February 10, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    The fundraising has begun. Almost $2,500 has already been pledged.

  15. Posted February 10, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    As of right now, they’re at about $4,900. It looks like their goal is $50k. I’m curious as to how they arrived at that number, but there’s no information on the site. When I was looking into having an Iggy Pop statue made for Riverside Park, I think the number I came up with was considerably higher. Maybe they’re making theirs out of scavenged materials, though, which would be cool.

  16. Posted February 10, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    If Dallas makes one, the should put it on the grassy knoll, aiming at the spot where Kennedy was shot.

  17. Lonson Swanson
    Posted February 16, 2011 at 3:04 am | Permalink

    What about a statue of Dan O’Herlihy?
    Yeah, I know. He is Irish. But WTF? Let’s go for it.

One Trackback

  1. By Bing’s RoboCop downfall on February 15, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    […] few days ago, I mentioned that Detroit’s mayor, Dave Bing, had come out against the idea of erecting a Robocop statue downtown. We’ve discussed his tweets on the subject, but now there’s apparently video. The […]

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