Ann Arbor’s plans to take on Art Prize with Pop-X, Ypsi’s rising fame as a singles city, and empowering the poor …on this weekend’s Saturday Six Pack


[Last weekend the specter of Pa Ingalls loomed large over the Saturday Six Pack. Grass Lake homesteader Joe Trumpey and I talked about Pa’s fiddle playing in the Big Woods, his reliance on spanking, and the homes he built with his family as they made their way across the American frontier. [Trumpey said he would often ask himself, when building his own straw bale house, “WWPID?”] And it would appear from the poster promoting tomorrow’s show, the father of Laura Ingalls Wilder may not be done with us yet. At least, if I’m not mistaken, that’s Michael Landon, who played Charles “Pa” Ingalls on television, sitting alongside the great Gene Rayburn and me on the set of Match Game. I’m not sure what it means, if anything, but I always like trying to make sense of the posters when they’re sent to me by the AM 1700 design department in advance of each show.]

A lot will be accomplished on Saturday’s show, which will be our 30th.

First, we’ll be joined by Omari Rush, the man charged with launching what is essentially Ann Arbor’s response to the Art Prize. The ambitious public art event, called Pop-X, is scheduled to begin on October 15 with the construction of several pop-up exhibition spaces in Ann Arbor’s Liberty Plaza Park that will house art shows, demonstrations of various kinds, performances, lectures, and participatory art making. We’ll ask Rush, who works for the Ann Arbor Art Center, how it all came together, and how he’s handling the stress of launching a high profile downtown event that people would like to see grow into something of national importance.

Second, we’ll be talking with folks at about their most recent list, which names Ypsilanti as the 6th best city in the entire nation for singles. Here, for those of you who have yet read the piece, is how they justified their decision to place our little town of 20,000 two slots above Miami Beach on the list of “The 10 Best Cities for Singles.”

Ypsilanti, Michigan, is experiencing a surge of young, creative types, making it one of the best cities for singles, especially those who dig an artsy, small-town vibe. The city’s expanding dating pool is partly due to rising costs of living in nearby Ann Arbor, which have caused many young residents to head to Ypsi (as it’s commonly called). This growth, and some progressive planning by community leaders have helped Ypsilanti become a more vibrant, sought-after hamlet between Detroit and Chicago during the last 10 years.

So, if you have questions about their methodology, be sure to tune in.

And, third, we’ll be talking with Russ Olwell, the director of Eastern Michigan University’s Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Communities about the recent news that, based on the success of their programs to help families at Ypsilanti’s Hamilton Crossing, they’ve been chosen to run a national pilot study under the auspices of the recently launched Strong Families Fund. [The Strong Families Fund is a $70 million initiative launched by The Kresge Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and several banks in order to, among other things, bring increased social services into affordable housing communities to support low-income families as they work to climb out of poverty.] This initiative, which has put four full-time social workers, roughly the same number of interns, and several EMU social work students on the ground in Ypsi’s Deborah Strong Housing complex, just launched, and we’ll be talking with Russ about how things are going… Following, by way of background, is a clip from a press release about the program, which explains the objectives, etc.

…The Strong Families Fund is expected to finance construction or renovation of 600 to 700 affordable-housing units in the next three years. It will also support on-site access to high quality social services coordination over the next decade.

The first funded project is Deborah Strong Housing, located in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The complex, named in memory of a longtime housing advocate in Ypsilanti, is moving forward with the rehabilitation of 112 units of affordable, family housing.

The Fund combines federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits for capital development with a pay-for-performance model to provide access to up to 10 years of incentive payments to housing developments.

In return, developments must provide on-site, social service coordination targeted to improving resident and property outcome measures in five areas including health and wellness, housing stability and education. Multiple studies speak to the improved outcomes for families and children from high-quality affordable housing with well-defined links to services. Such settings, the research shows, also may ultimately lead to reduction in other public sector costs.

“This fund is a great example of the bold, innovative approaches that philanthropy and the private sector can use to create positive change,” said Kresge Foundation President and CEO Rip Rapson. “Bringing together so many strong partners allows us to marshal shared resources around a common agenda, and achieve a greater impact than any of us can have by going it alone.”

…Russ Olwell, director of Eastern Michigan University’s Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Communities, which is providing social service support, calls the Strong Families Fund an opportunity to test both the intense service delivery and pay-for-performance models.

“[The Strong Families Fund] is based on the best evidence we have of what will make families stronger and keep people healthy,” Olwell said. “The Fund’s structure gives us a timeframe beyond the typical grant making timeline of one or two years to understand which approaches are the most effective.”

…Avana Johnson, resident of the complex for the past two years, says the comprehensive approach is exactly what she and her family needed. “They go way beyond the norm with helping people in the community,” Johnson says. Since moving into affordable housing with access to services, the single mother of four has nearly completed an Associate’s Degree, with plans to earn more advanced degrees and enter social work.

The Strong Families Fund is part of a growing trend in philanthropy to use grants plus other forms of investment capital in response to complex social problems. More than a dozen states are currently pursuing Social Impact Bonds – a funding mechanism to pay for social services where there is evidence that the intervention is effective in improving outcomes and results in savings for the public sector…

Also, and completely unrelated, according to the sign outside of Deja Vu, they’re going to be having an all-nude comic book party while we’re on the air. I have no idea what this will mean as far as our show goes, but I suspect we may benefit from this in some way… Actually, if you were planning to attend anyway, I’d appreciate it if, after you go the party, you’d drop by our studio and let us know what it’s like to be at an all-nude comic book party.

And, here, thanks to AM 1700 senior graphic designer Kate de Fuccio, is this week’s poster, in case any of you want to print copies and distribute them at the U-M homecoming game tomorrow.



Unless you live inside the AM 1700 studio, chances are you won’t be able to pick the show up on your radio. As that’s the case, I’d recommend streaming the show online, which you can do either on the AM1700 website or by way of

And for those of you who aren’t yet familiar with the show, and need to get caught up, you can listen to the entire archive on iTunes. If you start right now, you’ll have to stay up all night and listen to everything at double speed in order to get caught up by tomorrow evening, but you can do it.

One last thing… If you’d like to tell your friends and neighbors about the program, feel free to share the Facebook event listing.

And do call us if you have a chance. We love phone calls. So please scratch this number into the cinder block wall of the recreation room of whichever facility you’ve been assigned to… 734.217.8624… and call us between 6:00 and 8:00 this Saturday evening. The show is nothing without you. Sure, sometimes it’s nothing even with you, that’s true, but usually you make it better.

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  1. Steven
    Posted October 10, 2015 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Maybe the ghost of Pa Ingalls will call in and play his fiddle for you, or let you listen in as he disciplines his children.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted October 10, 2015 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Goldman Sachs put a lot of money into the Strong Families Fund. Was that part of their settlement after they got busted for criminal activities leading up the foreclosure crisis?

  3. Posted October 11, 2015 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    The ghost of Pa Ingalls never called. It was a good show anyway, though.

  4. Jean Henry
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Was in Ypsi this AM having a fine breakfast at Beezy’s and noticed the sign on Deja Vu says simply ‘comic book party.’ No ‘naked.’ So queries about how a stripper might be naked and evoke comic book characters were maybe a bit off base and short on the concept of stripping. Perhaps Deja Vu was confused with the local zine asking for volunteers to pose naked… For free. Although zines rank far higher than strip clubs in the MM cultural hierarchy– Not sure why. Perhaps the idea is that commerce corrupts. At any rate, it would be an interesting and telling exercise to ask all your radio show guests similar questions. Let’s stop our conversation about X progressive iniritiative or Y political folly to imagine the naked women next door. <>

  5. site admin
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    A formal invitation was extended to the Showgirl of the Year, Jean. There was no reply.

  6. Jean Henry
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Not sure how that relates, but, if you want one of the dancers to come in as a guest, you probably will need to just go in and ask. Honestly, why would one of them feel compelled to tell her story, given your approach to the venue? It looks like a set up– which I know it isn’t. If you find one with a grievance to air, maybe you have a shot… Otherwise, you would need to be ok in their space for them to feel ok in yours.

  7. Posted October 11, 2015 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    I’ve interviewed dancers before, Jean. On my previous show, I had a woman on who worked at both Deja Vu and what was then called Legs. We had a good discussion about the business and how it worked. And, I did extend an offer to have the Deja Vu Showgirl of the Year on some time ago, shortly after she was crowned. As I don’t know her personally, the request went through management. And, for whatever reason, nothing came of it. If she had come on, I would have been respectful.

    As for “my approach to the venue,” we’ve had discussions here in the past about Deja Vu, but I don’t recall ever saying that they should be forced out of business. (I have, however, quoted people who feel that way. And I’ve posed the question to my audience.) With that said, I do, on occasion, share things that I find distasteful. For instance, a little while ago, as part of their Mellonfest event, they made materials that said “Eat the Pink.” I thought it was stupid and crude, and I said so. I didn’t, however, get bent out of shape about it.

    With all of this said, I’d rather our strip clubs were owned by women than by Larry Flynt and his cronies. The last time I was in Portland, I was taken to a strip club owned and operated by women and it was really awesome. I’d like to see more of that in the industry.

  8. Posted October 11, 2015 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    As for my mentioning Deja Vu on the radio show, it’s kind of hard to ignore it, as we’re essentially in a corner of the strip club, right above the room (I’m told) where the women get dressed. I suppose I could try harder not to mention it, but it would be like doing a show from a desk outside of a KFC and not mentioning KFC. Deja Vu is the landlord of the radio station. And you can smell the perfume coming up through the floorboards. I’m sorry that you didn’t like the fact I wondered outloud about their comic book party, but that’s what I was thinking about. And a big guy in superhero costume walked by the window.

  9. Peter Larson
    Posted October 12, 2015 at 4:22 am | Permalink

    I like how this site is filled with people who either like to 1) speculate on what happens in Deja Vu without ever having been there or 2) are convinced they know everything there is to know about Deja Vu without having been there.

    I have not been there, but don’t really give the place much thought.

  10. Bob
    Posted October 12, 2015 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Peter Larson never thinks about nude women

  11. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 12, 2015 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    We all get naked and dressed in rooms everyday. Some of those rooms share walls, floors and ceilings with strangers on the other side–like apartment buildings, condos, locker rooms… Most people do not think about the naked strangers on the other side of the wall or talk about the perfume scents of people seeping through the floorboards….The talk and jokes about Dejavu sometimes come across as conservative, uptight, and unintentionally a little disrespectful. I mean Jesus, if you think about it, a strip club is not such a big deal. On the other hand,isn’t it much more interesting that people turn the fact that there is a strip club into such a big deal and those same people find a strip club to be worthy of being a constant source of attention…

  12. Jean Henry
    Posted October 12, 2015 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps I’m mistaken Mark but I feel like I have often heard you mention the problem of Deja Vu and the possibility of turning it back into a small movie theater- even just last week. It certainly seems that establishment gets more jabs than most in Ypsi. Pete and FF are right. It’s really not worth talking about. Except it’s already been spoken about. If I speculated about the Deja Vu stripper experience, it was derived from my experience as a woman and the stories of a couple friends who worked there in the 90’s. Long tim ago now. They were fascinating stories actually. It would maybe be a good idea to interview more dancers or not mention it at all. But it am starting to sound like an ethicist here and that is terribly dull and a pretty inherently problematic approach. Woman ownership might be cool at Deja Vu– depending on the woman. worker Co-op would be even better. So would alcohol. None are likely.

  13. Lynne
    Posted October 12, 2015 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I have known people who have worked at Deja Vu and they had no complaints other than about certain customers. I also agree with many people that I would prefer a movie theater there. I say that as someone who is not in any way a regular customer of Deja Vu. That is why I would rather it were a movie theater. I would go there if it were a movie theater. Especially if it were a movie theater that was also a bar and sold alcohol!

  14. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 12, 2015 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    John Smith is my neighbor. I don’t care for John Smith. I like McDonald’s. I wish John Smith’s home would be torn down and replaced with a McDonald’s. I talk to people about my wish that John Smith’s home was replaced with a McDonald’s. I give space to the idea that a McDonald’s would be preferred….If a campaign to tear John Smith’s house down occurs, then that is outside of my control…If the campaign results in me having easy access to a Big Mac value meal, well, then, I guess that is John Smith’s problem isn’t it?

  15. Peter Larson
    Posted October 12, 2015 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    “I also agree with many people that I would prefer a movie theater there.”

    People don’t seem to get that it is a private business. The public doesn’t get much of a a say in what kind of business operates there.

    I also would love to see a movie theater in Ypsi, but wouldn’t it make more sense to open one up in one of the vacant properties in downtown, rather than displace a functioning, tax paying business?

  16. Lynne
    Posted October 12, 2015 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Re: “People don’t seem to get that it is a private business.”

    What about my statement leads you to make the conclusion that I somehow don’t get that Deja Vu is a private business?

    Um, so now people are not allowed to have opinions about private businesses? The level of white man entitlement is such here apparently, that even suggesting that you don’t like something is somehow akin to trying to close it or to shut it down. Sorry guys, I agree that they have every right to be there but I feel that everyone is also entitled to express an opinion about it. Another way to look at it is that such musings from the community are that we are merely sharing some information about the Vu’s opportunity costs. FWIW, I think the marquee and it’s former use as a theater may make it more ideal of a spot than in one of Ypsi’s vacant buildings except of course for the fact that it is already occupied.

    With that said, I am cool with local ordinances that help shape a city. So if Mr Smith from FF’s example is running a business that the neighbor’s don’t like, they have every right to craft an ordinance that would make the business move in order to make room for a business that they would like better. I don’t have a problem with limiting space to industrial uses, commercial uses or residential uses either. As someone who lives across the street from a factory and who has had to deal with things like chemical spills and trouble from the employees of the plant, I can see the value of separation between industrial and residential uses. In other words, I feel that as a community, we have the right to craft ordinances which might encourage Deja Vu to leave although that isn’t what I was suggesting when I voiced my opinion about what sort of business I would rather see in that space.

  17. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 12, 2015 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    The neighbors of Dejavu do not have the legal right, as you suggest, to re-zone and push Dejavu out. The area has already been rezoned against new strip clubs…You must be thinking of some other utopia where the politically connected enforce their exclusionary preferences on legally operating businesses.

    You are right. Surrounding this issue, there is entitlement on display here. Hypocrisy too.

  18. Posted October 12, 2015 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    “Perhaps I’m mistaken Mark but I feel like I have often heard you mention the problem of Deja Vu and the possibility of turning it back into a small movie theater- even just last week.”

    Yes, I probably have mentioned from time to time that I’d like a downtown movie theater. I think it would be a good thing for the community, and there’s really not a better place for it than the old Martha Washington Theater building, where Deja Vu is now. Imagining a theater in that space, however, is not the same as leading a campaign against Deja Vu. And, yes, on last weeks’s show, I asked Frank Allison, who runs the Clinton Theater, if he thought a movie house in that spot would be viable. (He said that it would.) But, again, I’m not trying to get rid of Deja Vu. If I were, you’d know it… And I don’t believe I’ve ever referred to Deja Vu as a “problem.”

    For what it’s worth, I also have ideas for what we could do with City Hall and several other buildings in town, should they become available. (I’ve written here before how I think that the Family Dollar on Michigan Ave, for instance, would be a great location for the Food Co-op. It’s something that I do. I blame the OCD.)

    With all of that said, I suspect that a time will come when Deja Vu chooses to relocate, not because of local protests, but for business reasons. My guess is that, between the closing of the local factories and the opening of places like Beezy’s across the street, that their business isn’t a fraction of what it used to be. And I suspect, at some point, especially if their property becomes more valuable, they’ll sell and move either closer to the highway or to another city that’s a little further back on the gentrification curve.

    But, really, it doesn’t matter to me. I did’t mind the porn shops that we used to have, and I don’t mind Deja Vu. Yes, I would probably frequent a movie theater more often than I would an all-nude strip club that doesn’t sell anything stronger than a Capri Sun, but it’s not something that keeps me up at night.

  19. Lynne
    Posted October 12, 2015 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    I was only speaking in general terms about zoning. I have no idea what zoning laws may or may not apply to Deja Vu because I have never explored trying to push them out. All I’ve done is to express an opinion that I would prefer another type of business there. They may be entitled to be there but they aren’t entitled to have everyone like it. And they certainly aren’t entitled to not have people publicly state that the space could be used in a better way, although, of course they are entitled to do is disagree.

    Don’t call me a hypocrite because you cant create a sane analogy.

  20. Peter Larson
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    If people would like to see a movie theater there or anywhere else in downtown Ypsi, raise the capital and open one.

    That there isn’t one in downtown Ypsi already (and that the old ones closed) is telling, however.

    It is obvious, however, that people are only suggesting a movie theater replace the Vu out of some desire to get people they don’t like out of Ypsilanti and create a gentrified utopia based on an imagined past version of Ann Arbor.

  21. Peter Larson
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    In the real past version of Ann Arbor, there was a porn store on Fourth. I remember when it got closed down finally, and how the residents of Ann Arbor applauded.

    If you want to sanitize your city, go ahead, but understand what kind of road that puts your city on. All of the things that people complain about on this site regarding Ann Arbor started with the closing of the porn store on Fourth, the opening of cafe’s on State, and the pushing out of black people on Ann Arbor’s West Side. All of these things are connected.

  22. Peter Larson
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    “I feel that as a community, we have the right to craft ordinances which might encourage Deja Vu to leave.”

    No, in this case, you do not have that right.

    Who is the community? White, college educated readers of Mark Maynard’s site? I feel that this continually comes around in the comments here, and while the people who throw around the the word “community” or refer to Ypsi as “our city” are quick to point out that they have black/latino/native/poor friends, the clear subtext here is one of privilege and control.

    That people don’t recognize this for what it is and are incapable of individually reflecting on their own complicity in the very problems that have plagued the US for much of its history is the most disturbing part of these conversations.

    The Vu may seem like an odd choice of businesses or industries to protect, but when you start legislating sexual behavior, either directly or by proxy, you invite control of a host of other behaviors, not the least of which would be the assembly or presence of minorities or poor undesirables.

    But, go ahead, weakly allow the “community” to control the behavior of those not in the “community” because that’s exactly what we are talking about here.

  23. Jean Henry
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 7:43 am | Permalink


  24. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Very well said, Peter.

    Lynne, I am glad Peter responded to you. I don’t have the energy right now to respond to your lame accusations and putdowns.

    The analogy is not the problem.

    Connect a few dots.

  25. Jean Henry
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Zoning rules meant to make ‘better’ communities have historically caused a whole lot of damage to existing (but marginalized) communities. The history of Harriet street in Ypsi as I understand it was that it was loaded with Black owned businesses catering to that community. They tore it down to build public housing in the 70’s. And now that street has rows of cocial service agencies. It would be really cool if you all talked as much about supporting minority owned businesses as you do art galleries and co-ops. Everything you are talking about is exactly what happened to Ann Arbor. Everyone had good intentions. I really miss the old 4th ave. It was it’s own place. I sold all my records and comic books one at a time for open face turkey sandwiches at House of Sandwich. You never felt bad about being broke on that block. Talk of displacing existing businesses is super creepy. Glad Mark understands that.

  26. Lynne
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    When I speak of the community, I mean every resident of the city. I find it interesting that there is an assumption that I do not.

    And yes, I still feel that communities are entitled to craft zoning regulations which shape cities in the way that the residents of the city want.Are you guys suggesting that you take a more libertarian view and are against such regulations entirely? I can’t agree with that. I think there are often good reasons for zoning regulations in general although, of course, there is always room for disagreement among individual members of the community (which means ALL the residents in a community, not just the white ones)

    If you are, on the other hand, arguing that no one should craft zoning laws specifically to run Deja Vu out of town, then congratulations on your Straw Man argument as I have suggested no such thing!

  27. Lynne
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Jean Henry, that is true. Zoning laws and just about every other kind of law has done damage to marginalized groups. Is that a reason to throw out laws entirely? Or perhaps we could decide to have laws which protect such groups?

  28. XXX
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    More Downtown Slaughterhouses!

  29. Peter Larson
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    “Is that a reason to throw out laws entirely? ”

    No, just zoning laws which are mostly misguided attempts to keep poor people away from rich people or misguided ways of selling cars.

    In Japanese cities, there are mostly no zoning laws at all, which makes them far more liveable places.

    Lynne is like the blue version of EOS.

  30. Peter Larson
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    “When I speak of the community, I mean every resident of the city. I find it interesting that there is an assumption that I do not.”

    Fully inclusive communities don’t exist. They can’t exist since communities are bands of people with common interests, which often center on excluding or controlling people they don’t like for the sake of protecting themselves. They often achieve this through violence, be it overt or structural.

  31. Lynne
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Peter, that is as wonderfully ironic as FF first calling me a hypocrite and then criticizing me for my “lame accusations and putdowns” as if he has no idea what the word “hypocrite” means. I kept thinking of that whole Inigo Montoya bit from The Princess Bride. You know…”You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means” LOL. Man, that bit is funny!

    I may be like EOS in many ways but one way that you are like that character for sure is with the insane bullshit rants. Really? There can be no inclusive community? Yes, I suppose so when the definition is limited to “a band of people with common interests” but fortunately, it is not. The word can also, just as properly, refer to everyone living in a certain place, a definition more inclusive than your narrow one to be sure but still a valid one. And that is how I was using the word. I would have thought the context of zoning laws and city government would have been a hint about how I was using the word but I can see I was wrong about that.

    I guess I am like EOS in that I find your BS and bad arguments entertaining. What crazy assumption is Peter going to pull out of ass next? What strawman will he build? Find out on the next episode of!!! :)

  32. Jean Henry
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Lynn– did I suggest throwing out laws entirely? No I did not. I suggested using zoning laws to exclude businesses that serve a population more marginalized than oneself is icky… or something like that. I have no idea where you got that other idea from. Pete’s analysis of communities is a bit harsh but largely on point. It in no way is coming from left field or his ass. The truth usm whether Pete likes it or not, people have always formed communities and crave community and always will. The work to make inclusive communities goes against the grain of group identity in the US and elsewhere, but it’s not impossible. I’ve lived in geographically isolated communities that were inclusive. I’ve been in communities after a tragedy that become cohesive– for a while. Community happens. They offer a lot to their members. They do not inherently need to victimize others, but often do. If Ypsi wants to be inclusive, it will need to become conscious of and competent in inclusivity. I think it has it in it. To do so, Ypsi will need to question every action, asking who it serves and who it excludes. And then fix it. Not so hard, but it’s a practice.

  33. Lynne
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    What is coming out of his ass and apparently yours is the notion that I have ever made an argument that using zoning laws to kick out marginalized people is ok. I have not. His analysis on communities may be accurate in some sense of the word but his assumption that I was using a definition other than geographic location was totally something he made up. Furthermore, I have never even once suggested that I didn’t want Ypsilanti to be inclusive.

    I am sure I have my blind spots as we all do but Peter is constantly making false assumptions about me, about my arguments, even about my values and frankly, I dont think that kind of intellectual dishonesty reflects well on him (or you for that matter)

  34. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    Great movie Lynne, you might take even more pleasure knowing that every time I read and re-read one of your retorts I found myself screaming: “Inconceivable!”

    But seriously, i don’t want to fan the flames of animosity. Could you do us a favor and re-read some of your own comments in this thread. Because you clearly seem to have said the things people find objectionable. I mean, Jesus, I just re-read things you said you never said but damnit you said the things you say you never said. Frustrating! Maybe there is some misunderstanding going on? Maybe you misspoke?

    The problem I have is that even if I go through and retract your most disagreeable statements for you, I still think your stance, and the expression of your opinion regarding your preferences, *given the political context*,makes you, and others like you, at least somewhat passively complicit in, as Jean puts it, some creepy stuff. Go back and re-read the comments made last year in Mark’s post titled : “Is it time for Dejavu to go?” I think the political context is more clearly evident there both in the comments and in Mark’s comments…(Read between the lines where the creepy intentions are not outright explicit.)

    Anyway, I think Peter and Jean are making perfect sense on this issue for what it is worth.

    One other thing to keep in mind. I think Jean and Peter are at times speaking to the context and you are somewhat caught in the middle. I know when I said “you are right. Surrounding this issue, there is entitlement on display here, hypocrysy too”, you mistook me as directly calling you a hypocrite without explanation. I was speaking more generally to what I perceive to be a real political context. Perhaps my wording is awkward. Hopefully you know what I mean. Must go to sleep. Goodnight.

  35. Peter Larson
    Posted October 13, 2015 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    Assuming that the word “community” represents a geographic space, then Deja Vu would be a part of that community. Laws seeking to displace the business in that case would have the result of excluding it from the “community” entirely, so that your definition of “community” can be called into question. It is not a geographic space, but rather a collection people within a geographic space who wield considerable amounts of power over people they don’t like or don’t feel kinship with.

    What Ms. Lynne does not see is how zoning laws are slippery slopes. The closing of the porn store on 4th in an attempt to “clean up the city” (as to say that purchasing magazines with naked women somehow makes the city dirty) led to further actions to exclude. The porn store on 4th, despite being located within the geographic space of Ann Arbor, was NOT a part of the community.

    Following that, the City of Ann Arbor through the Ann Arbor Police, ran African Americans out of the West Side because the area was perceived as dangerous and developers wished to cater to a more affluent clientele. I personally missed the African American cookouts in Burns Park and the clouds of weed that came with them. Despite living within the geographic space of Ann Arbor, black people were NOT members of the community.

    The city changed rapidly within the space of only a couple of years and most members of the Ann Arbor “community” (those with power) rejoiced.

    From her writings here, my guess is the Lynne would have supported both actions (even if weakly), which is exactly why they were able to occur. There are more Lynnes out there.

  36. Peter Larson
    Posted October 14, 2015 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    I just read this post:

    And am feeling a bit of deja vu.

  37. Jean Henry
    Posted October 14, 2015 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Holy cow, you all need to find something else to talk about. that track back is essentially the same conversation but better– or worse. More detailed. I would like to point out, just for the heck of it, that any concern about protecting daughters from the reality of being a woman in this culture (and strip clubs are NOT the problem) is folly and inherently, literally paternalistic. My daughter by the age of 12 had a line of defense against ‘creepers,’ older men who behaved inappropriately. (she would say her age. If they didn’t back off, she would point over their shoulder, say ‘oh my God!” and run the other direction.) Your daughter will too. That’s the culture we live in and creepers come in all stripes. I queried on FB about when other women (of all ages) developed a strategy against creepy men. Many answered as early as 6. None said they had never had to develop a strategy. 12 and 13 was the upper limit. We have a big old problem in America and getting rid of strip clubs will not solve it. My personal view is that the problem lies mostly in being uptight about sex. If sex is taboo, then more taboo is more hot. From my perspective, tittering about Deja Vu and its ads and costumes is more of a problem than the existence of Deja Vu.

  38. maryd
    Posted October 14, 2015 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Wow…Just read the above posts and am wondering if I wnadered into the twighlight zone. What a bunch of crap here. As if all of you above attacking Lynn go to the Vu eh? Regulars of the business and supporters? Yeah right. Legislating sexual behavior…LOL
    Me? I don’t much care one way or another. I am used to their existence and it is pretty much invisible to me. But it was once a fucking movie theater. Suggesting that as a better use is hardly gentrifying or pushing people out.
    But most of the successful smaller towns in Michigan have brought back or maintained a movie theater either for theater or movies. You are all crazy as shit with your talk about Lynn being a blue EOS…I had to laugh my ass off.

  39. Peter Larson
    Posted October 14, 2015 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    It should be far more painful to explain to children why there is homelessness in America than what the marquee at Deja Vu means.

  40. Peter Larson
    Posted October 14, 2015 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    As for “better uses” of the space that Deja Vu legally occupies, even the mighty Michigan theater has to rely on tax exempt status and donations to stay open. It is doubtful that a theater would last long in downtown Ypsi as a fully private entity, leaving the space empty at a later date. A tax exemption would mean that Ypsi would have to forego income which it can’t afford to, and donations to a nameless theater in downtown Ypsi would be hard to come by.

    Regardless, if you guys want a theater, open one! There is plenty of space. Even if the Vu vacated there would be considerable work and monetary investment to be done to get it going.

  41. kjc
    Posted October 14, 2015 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    “From her writings here, my guess is the Lynne would have supported both actions (even if weakly), which is exactly why they were able to occur. There are more Lynnes out there.”

    maryd is right. lay off Lynne. it is becoming a matter of intellectual dishonesty because you’re setting her up to portray everything you despise. and obviously you have no idea how many Peters are out there (the blog readers for whom you have such contempt are kind enough not to point out all the times your whitemanness comes shining through). i’m always amazed that you never notice your own privilege or question your desire to lecture to everyone like a big fucking know-it-all. so stop picking fights around your pet issues so you can preach again about those who are left out. it’s obvious the only Ypsi person you know is Mark. with whom you have issues.

    “Holy cow, you all need to find something else to talk about.”

    every time you take this tone i feel like your own paternalism is stinking up the room. from your particular perch, you aren’t best positioned to lecture people in Ypsi on how not to become Ann Arbor. even though you’re sure of it.

  42. Peter Larson
    Posted October 14, 2015 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I am under no illusions as to my privilege or my white-manness. Living where I do, I’m reminded of it every single day.

    As for who I do or don’t know in Ypsi, does it matter?

    People say a lot of fucked up shit on this blog. A lot of it is well meant, but equally fucked up.

    Is Lynne that thin skinned? Seems not.

  43. maryd
    Posted October 14, 2015 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Yeah if only…If I were to suddenly gain riches, I probably would invest instead in Water Street, as it is a bigger priority for Ypsi’s survival. And yes Peter, most of the towns in Michigan that I referred to do have a sugar daddy that spearheaded their renewals and fundraise tirelessly. Most venues are like that. A good example is Riverside Arts Center. And Lynn is perfectly able to defend herself, I just thought there was an awful lot of piling on for nothing.

  44. EOS
    Posted October 14, 2015 at 9:46 am | Permalink


    I know EOS. You are no EOS. But I do sympathize with your frustration of trying to have a rational discussion with Peter. He lies about what may have been said in the past and then attacks the paper tiger he constructs. People on this site are well aware of his tactics. I haven’t posted in a while and it looks like you are his new target. My condolences.

  45. Jean Henry
    Posted October 14, 2015 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    [“Holy cow, you all need to find something else to talk about.”
    every time you take this tone i feel like your own paternalism is stinking up the room. from your particular perch, you aren’t best positioned to lecture people in Ypsi on how not to become Ann Arbor. even though you’re sure of it.]
    KJC– Just pointing out that I, a woman, said the “Holy Cow you all need something else to talk about” line, not Pete. I guess I was being paternalistic… I was responding to what are basically duplicate threads. I’m not sure how that line constitutes a lecture– any more than anyone else’s lines. This would be a pretty boring blog if no one ventured an opinion. As 30 year plus resident of AnnArbor with abundant A2 and Ypsi social and civic involvement, I feel totally qualified to speak to how Ypsi is traveling the same path A2 did years ago. Citizens of A2 still believe they are still fighting ‘the man,’ blissfully unaware that they now ARE the man. Ypsi looks headed in the same direction. Back to Pete, I’m really interested to hear about where he was speaking from white male privilege. I dont agree with everything he says. He takes a very very dark view, but I don’t know that I’ve ever heard him speak paternalistically or with blinders of privilege. He’s just an ass sometimes, but I’m ok with that. Better than harming others while wearing a do-gooder cloak.

  46. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 14, 2015 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    EOS, after being a long time reader of this blog I specifically decided to start posting because I thought Peter was giving you and your arguments unfair treatment. That was a few years ago.If you read the argument here, closely, then I think you will find that he is being generous with Lynne. Lynne is the one who is creating strawmen, making assumptions,making inappropriate accusations, and dropping subtle and not so subtle insults. I think it is funny that people would interpret the above argument as “ganging up on Lynne”.I think Lynne is being intellectually stubborn and/ or naive about the political context–which by itself is forgivable–if not for all of her attempts at insulting the people she is arguing with.

    kjc, if you want to come to Lynne’s rescue, then why don’t you formulate an actual argument that, you know, addresses the actual issue a little. I mean we are grateful that you reminded us that Peter is a white male who makes a room smell like paternalism (useful stuff!)but how about a little substance beyond calling Peter a “know-it-all”. You can do it!

  47. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 14, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink


    Speaking for myself. You are right. I have never been to Dejavu and it is highly unlikely I will go there anytime soon. Your doubts that any of us financially support Dejavu by being Dejavu customers has me confused! Why should I feel less inclined to *recognize* a legal businesses right to operate merely because I do not care for the business? Am I misunderstanding what you said?

  48. Lynne
    Posted October 14, 2015 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Before I go on, I want to make my actual position about Deja Vu in Ypsilanti:

    ***My position is that I don’t particularly like Deja Vu but don’t think any formal effort to remove them should be undertaken.***

    I have given this topic a lot of thought and I guess I do think it is OK for communities to zone businesses out of town entirely if the business in question is either directly or indirectly affecting the quality of life in that community.

    Let me explain my own experience with this. Unlike many here, I didnt grow up in Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti. I grew up in Detroit where there wasn’t just one strip club but several, along with X-rated movie houses, peep shows, and street prostitution. What those businesses did was bring in a clientele who often harassed the children of the neighborhood but especially the young girls just hitting puberty. If I had a dollar for every time I had to tell some creep that I was not actually a hooker but was actually just a kid waiting for the bus to school, I could have paid for college!!! All I was doing was waiting for a bus to take me to school! It was so bad that my sister and her friend were picked up by the cops after they decided to take a walk in the neighborhood after playing dress-up because the cops mistook them for prostitutes.

    These men who were drawn into this mostly African-American community (in the geographic sense) were mostly white men from the suburbs. When one of them grabbed and then raped a young girl from that same bus stop where I often would catch the bus to school, people in the neighborhood mobilized and while I dont remember their exact strategy, I remember it involved pressing for more police involvement, possibly some zoning changes, and things like taking photos of the patrons of the legal strip clubs.

    Maybe it was wrong for this Black community (in the shared characteristic sense) to drive out those poor oppressed white guys but I, for one, think it made the neighborhood a nicer place. I certainly felt safer waiting for the bus at any rate.

    I guess where you see zoning laws and coordinated efforts to control things like zoning as a slippery slope that leads to oppression, I see them as tools people can use to prevent the further oppression of their community. In this case, yes, there is exclusion but I don’t think it was inappropriate. I can’t see myself ever supporting exclusion on the basis of things like race, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, etc. but excluding a group that is not part of the community in either the geographic or shared characteristic sense is ok if they are just coming into town to cause problems and leave.

    I am guessing that Peter has never experienced this sort of harassment on that level and that is where his privilege is coming through loud and clear. It is much easier to take the high road of complete inclusion when you have never experienced the kind of harassment marginalized people in our society face much more often than they ever should. Zoning laws can help people protect themselves too. Like any law, they can be good or bad depending on the situation. And if you think that preventing zoning laws will prevent the powerful from preying on the weak, you are sadly mistaken.

  49. Pete Larson
    Posted October 14, 2015 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    But there is no evidence that children are being harassed around Deja Vu in Ypsilanti.

    Zoning laws are acceptable within reason (industrial areas) but in this case, it makes little sense given that thdre is no evidence of a problem. People would like to see the Vu pushed out through the power of government, simply because they don’t like it.

  50. Pete Larson
    Posted October 14, 2015 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    And since when does having an opinion have anything to do with privilege?

  51. jcp2
    Posted October 15, 2015 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Pop-X will be an excellent event. I, like Lynne, think it will make the neighborhood around Liberty Plaza a nicer place, at least for the time that it is there. There have been numerous crimes attributed to the people who sleep there at night, who clearly are not from the community, as they do not have a home address in downtown Ann Arbor. Many of them are coming into town just to cause problems. The removal of the benches is an added plus.

  52. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 15, 2015 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    This is not directed to Lynne because she has made it clear that although she has sympathized with campaigns for the removal of strip clubs in other communities she does not support any future campaigns (as things stand now) for the removal of Dejavu in Ypsilanti. For the sake of argument let’s assume we can conflate/correlate prostitution with strip club activities. Further, for the sake of argument let’s ignore the fact that other industries/ activities function as magnets which draw in prostitution–including things like philosophy and science conventions. Then, I wonder where people think places like Dejavu would set up shop if they were forced out? Will the relocated Dejavu be heading to a wealthier and whiter community? Will the relocated Dejavu be hidden in an industrial area where all those bad things, we will assume happen for the sake of argument, are out of sight, out of mind? Will the new location offer the sort of protections that it’s current and very visible and in the open location provide? Do people care? Am I wrong to sense a nimby vibe?

  53. Lynne
    Posted October 15, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    “But there is no evidence that children are being harassed around Deja Vu in Ypsilanti.”

    I know. And that is why I have NEVER, not even once, advocated any kind of effort to remove them. That is your straw man that you built. All I’ve said is that zoning laws are an appropriate tool in some situations.

    “And since when does having an opinion have anything to do with privilege?”

    That depends on the opinion, doesn’t it? When a man presumes to tell a woman that using zoning laws against sex businesses is wrong without considering that such business can cause things like sexual harassment and an increased risk of rape, his opinion clearly reflects his position of privilege since he is very unlikely to ever experience these externalities related to the operation of a strip club.

    JCP2, I have never, not even once, expressed an opinion as abhorrent as that one. That might be YOUR opinion but it isn’t mine. I don’t know why you all can’t seem to address the things I actually say or why you keep presuming that I have opinions that I don’t have but as I said before in this thread, that kind of intellectual dishonesty does not reflect well on you.

    Frosted Flakes, I have never felt any kind of NIMBY vibe in Ypsilanti about Deja Vu. I haven’t even felt much of a NIMBY vibe about illegal prostitution. In fact, I love to tell a story about a HESNA meeting I went to years ago where the police came to talk to members of the community (as in residents of the historic east side neighborhood). It was two solid hours of bitching about loose cats, barking dogs, and people speeding on Prospect. Then, at the very end of the meeting this one guy pipes up, “But what about the hookers?” but since the meeting was over then, people just left and that issue was not addressed. That was the only time I’ve ever really heard anyone mention illegal prostitution in a context of ‘what are we going to do about it’ and it fizzled out before it got started.

    Here is the thing about Deja Vu. It may not be a viable business for much longer and that has nothing to do with anyone in Ypsilanti driving them out and everything to do with the internet, which has changed the sex business industry in ways I don’t think a lot of people saw coming. I can’t remember the last time I saw a prostitute picking up customers in Ypsilanti and I also have not had to clean up any used condoms from my front lawn recently either. That’s great. [Thanks craigslist! :) ]

    So *if* people were going to advocate forcing them out, they probably wouldn’t relocate. That isn’t going to happen though since no one is going to force them to relocate. Either they will limp along and go out of business for economic reasons or I am completely wrong about the state of their profits and they will continue to operate and make a decent profit for years to come, all the while paying taxes to our lovely city. As long as the clientele does not cause problems, and I can say that the clientele of Deja Vu has never caused me any problems, I am fine with either option.

    If you want to have a general conversation about the concept of externalities and why I feel it is perfectly appropriate to capture externalities through laws and regulations or to engage in prohibition when externalities cannot be captured, I will talk about that ALL DAY. ;)

  54. jcp2
    Posted October 15, 2015 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Lynne, you said that “…excluding a group that is not part of the community in either the geographic or shared characteristic sense is ok if they are just coming into town to cause problems and leave.” I’m just applying it to POP-X.

    The definitions of community are just so vague that although it sounds fine initially, other people with different definitions can take the same statement to different purposes. I think that’s why Peter and Jean are being hard on you. My satiric statement above is what they are concerned about.

  55. Lynne
    Posted October 15, 2015 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    jcp2, I have never seen people have such problems with the word “community”. Perhaps we all need to revue what it means

    noun: community; plural noun: communities

    a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
    “Rhode Island’s Japanese community”
    synonyms: group, body, set, circle, clique, faction; More
    informalgang, bunch
    “concerns in the immigrant community”
    a group of people living together in one place, especially one practicing common ownership.
    “a community of nuns”
    synonyms: brotherhood, sisterhood, fraternity, sorority, sodality; More
    order, congregation, abbey, convent
    “a monastic community”
    a particular area or place considered together with its inhabitants.
    “a rural community”
    synonyms: district, region, zone, area, locality, locale, neighborhood; More
    informalneck of the woods, hood
    “a suburban community”
    a body of nations or states unified by common interests.
    “the European Community”
    the people of a district or country considered collectively, especially in the context of social values and responsibilities; society.
    noun: the community
    “preparing prisoners for life back in the community”
    synonyms: public, general public, populace, people, citizenry, population, collective; More
    residents, inhabitants, citizens
    “work done for the community”
    denoting a worker or resource designed to serve the people of a particular area.
    modifier noun: community
    “community health services”
    a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
    “the sense of community that organized religion can provide”
    a similarity or identity.
    “writers who shared a community of interests”
    joint ownership or liability.
    “a commitment to the community of goods”

    So while it is true that I think it is ok for members of a community to use laws to exclude people who is not part of their community who are coming in and causing trouble, I find the idea of not considering the homeless to be a part of the community simply because they don’t have a mailing address to be repugnant. I don’t support removing the benches from that park.

    Also, fwiw, I know for a fact that many of the people who hang out in that park and are generally thought of as homeless are not actually homeless. They are just mentally ill people utilizing a public resource in the same way that I am when I sit there and talk to them. In some ways, with their Ann Arbor mailing addresses and with my Ypsilanti one, one could legitimately say that they are more a part of the Ann Arbor community than I am.

    When I say that it is ok for members of a community to use laws to protect their community from outsiders, I am thinking in general terms but I wasn’t saying that it always ok to use such tools. I don’t think it is ok for the powerful to use these sorts of laws to prey upon the weak but I do think it is ok for people to use such laws to protect themselves from outsiders who would push them away. e.g. I don’t support zoning laws which would prevent group homes for the mentally ill or homeless shelters from opening up but I would support zoning laws which required them.

    Why? Because while some people apparently can only see such laws as tools of oppression, I have seen how often such laws can be used in a protective way.

    Also, frankly, I am a little tired of people telling me what I think. Ask if you aren’t sure but to assume that because I think that zoning laws can be beneficial or that I think it is ok for people to use such laws to make their towns or communities safer, somehow translates to a hate for the mentally ill (as you suggested) or a hate of black people (as Peter suggested), is insulting and complete and utter bullshit to boot.

  56. Peter Larson
    Posted October 16, 2015 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    I never assumed you hate black people.

    I don’t know where that is coming from.

  57. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 16, 2015 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    It is like when someone supports a regressive income tax. When you point out to that person that such a tax will hurt poor people you are not accusing that person of hating poor people. sometimes you are accusing them of not understanding how regressive tax functions and its consequences. Sometimes you are accusing them of not fully taking into consideration those people, who fit into a poorer demographic, who the regressive tax will hurt. There are reasons people fail to connect the dots. Often it is because they assume their preferences trump the preferences of people in an-0thered group. One of the reasons Mark’s blog is great is there exists a comfort level amongst posters. You gets glimpse into where posters of a certain affiliation really stand. There is a group of Ypsilanti residents that should thank Peter. He has given you a mirror to look into. Sometimes a mirror is not fun to look into.

    This post was not necessarily directed at you, Lynne. If you want to predict that there will not be campaign to try to force Dejavu you should read and incorporate the post and comments titled “is it time for the Dejavu to go” for context

    Gentrifying communities get rid of things like strip clubs on their path to “sanitation”. Although, I do not think Ypsilanti has the immediate threat of gentrification I do think there is a tendency to unconsciously emulate “more successful” communities. From all that I have gathered from this site, I think Ypsilanti wants to be on its own path. I admire that! That is why I think, in this instance, in this moment, the talk of movie instead of strip clubs is dangerous. Mirrors are needed not movies.

  58. kjc
    Posted October 16, 2015 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    “It is like when someone supports a regressive income tax. When you point out to that person that such a tax will hurt poor people you are not accusing that person of hating poor people. sometimes you are accusing them of not understanding how regressive tax functions and its consequences.”

    so nuanced FF. remember when we were talking about youth violence and any time social factors were mentioned you squawked out “personal responsibility” like a parrot with tourette’s? then couldn’t bear discussion of any other factors, since that discussion was discounting the aforementioned “personal responsibility”? good times.

  59. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 16, 2015 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Yes, kjc. Good times.

    I also forgot, in this discussion, to mention: I really love movies!

  60. Lynne
    Posted October 16, 2015 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Peter, Feeling misunderstood? I was going to explain it to you but maybe it is just as well you are getting a taste of your own medicine.

  61. Jean Henry
    Posted October 16, 2015 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    FF very good points. Ann Arbor DDA SPARK etc repeatedly fall into the trap of comparing Ann Arbor to ‘more successful’ cities– successful defined on purely economic terms. This leads to a lot of boring initiatives and exclusionary practices and effects– which diminishes our city. The people who create local culture are less and less able to do so. There’s no cheap or free space or time in an expensive city. Absent a clear vision of who we are and what we want to become, getting richer seems to be the only objective. While we talk about other measures of community well being, we don’t actually implement much to improve them. We certainly seem unwilling to sacrifice economic growth to achieve them. The money is never sacrificed. In this way, Ann Arbor is like U-M with its relentless economic and physical growth strategy. I believe Ypsi is small enough, independent enough and strapped enough not to fall into this trap. Don’t compare yourselves to others. Be your own town. As for a private theater, it’s rarely a workable financial model. Most are very non profit. Frank Allison got a good deal and is making it work. A guy in my hometown opened a small theater. He had won the lottery. If you want it, find an already empty space and make it happen. Don’t hinge your business plan on the destruction of another business. That’s a very bad bet in many ways

  62. Jean Henry
    Posted October 16, 2015 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    On a side note, I’m fairly convinced that everyone’s political perspective begins with their personal perspective as formed by their individual experience. I guess that’s why people take political disagreement so seriously and personally. It is entirely possible to not be racist and care about the fate of the poor and still have the impact of one’s actions and choices exacerbate racial and class divides. It’s almost impossible to avoid in the current system. So many smart and well informed people on this site. It would be cool if it could be less defensive, more civil and still dynamic in the exchange of ideas. I think that may begin with not taking things personally, rather condemning positions deemed personal. Most of the time on this site, as far as I can tell, they’re not.

  63. Lynne
    Posted October 16, 2015 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Re: ” It is entirely possible to not be racist and care about the fate of the poor and still have the impact of one’s actions and choices exacerbate racial and class divides. It’s almost impossible to avoid in the current system.”

    I would say this is probably the case most of the time. I certainly have seen this regarding most of the gentrification in Ann Arbor. You have a situation in Ann Arbor where there are a lot of really good paying jobs which, of course, brings in richer people. Then, other rich people decide to move in too because it is a good investment, the schools are ranked high, the people around them have similar values, etc. Then, they go about trying to improve the city in ways that fit their preferences and when they do that, often it makes the area more attractive to people who are like them so more move in. But it all starts with people who are just trying to make the area where they live fit more closely with their preferences.

    To me the best long term answer is to work to improve things like income equality. People are going to mold their communities in the way that they like no matter what but poorer people have fewer options and that isn’t particularly fair either. I don’t think that certain types of businesses such as strip joints are more likely to be found in poorer communities because the poorer people necessarily want them there either. They just don’t have the same amount of political and economic power and ultimately that is what is causing all of the issues.

    The thing is that community involvement really does make places nicer places to live. That is true in poorer communities as well as richer ones. Part of the problem is that often when people do the hard work to have vibrant places to live that suit their tastes, it attracts people who can simply move in to enjoy the benefits simply by buying in and if you have enough of such people, property values rise and people get priced out. It isn’t that the people who are moving in are doing so with any kind of intention to displace people, they are simply choosing to live in places which suit them.

    In the meantime, I know people in Detroit who are doing everything they can do to shape the city in ways that fit their preferences. They go and clean up parks, they work to help get the homeless into homes so they aren’t on the street anymore, they open businesses like coffee shops and art galleries, etc. Then, suddenly the neighborhood starts to look nice and people want to tear it down to build things like hockey stadiums (something they tried to fight with zoning laws but alas, when one is fighting that fight against the super rich, one tends to lose, especially if one happens to be black, even in Detroit). An elimination of zoning laws would not have saved them and in fact was the only hope. Had they won, though, the truth is that the neighborhood was going to change just because the tastes of richer and whiter people have turned to more urban living. But how would things be different if the poorer people in that community had more money and actually owned the buildings where they live? I don’t know. In that case, at least when they get disgusted by the newcomers and decide to move, they can sell at a profit. I have a friend considering selling her house in SW Detroit for that reason. She says that things have gotten too stuck up for her in the neighborhood.

    On a side note: I never said that I wasn’t racist either. I said that I don’t hate black people. However, I suspect that like 70% of white people and 40% of black people (!), I probably have negative implicit associations regarding black people. Those implicit associations matter too but it is difficult to know, even in oneself, how much they affect one’s choices.

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