HIP MICHIGAN: Let's chat about cool cities, hot coffee
- Imagine Michigan cities full of young people, living in loft apartments, socializing in cyber-cafes and drinking Starbucks coffee. And wearing sunglasses.
That's Gov. Jennifer Granholm's idea of cool and hip, and she shared it with the Detroit Regional Chamber's conference-goers Friday afternoon, donning shades herself to emphasize the point.
Granholm said Michigan cannot prosper if its cities, especially Detroit, fail. And the key to success is making those cities places where young people want to live, not leave.
Young people are moving out of Michigan at a higher rate than all but three other states, she said. To reverse that trend, Michigan needs to get cool.
How? Granholm wants to name a commission to come up with ways to make Michigan cities cool.
The chamber crowd, an upscale rather than especially hip demographic, was warmly receptive to Granholm's message. She said Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, also known as the Hip-Hop Mayor, could serve as the state's Prime Minister of Cool. And then gave him a high five.
But not everyone was sold on the idea.
U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, said Granholm's notion of how to make Michigan more successful and prosperous was almost "content-free."
"It's fun to wear sunglasses. But before government starts trying to figure out how to make cities cool and hip, they've got to make them work," he said.
Urban centers are often unattractive to young people and almost anyone else who can afford to live elsewhere, he said, because of crime, poor schools and lousy public services.
Rogers, who is sometimes mentioned as a possible Granholm opponent in 2006 (he says he has no interest), said the governor should focus on solving problems rather than musing about urban atmospherics.
Contact DAWSON BELL at 313-222-6604 or dbell@....
This can and should happen! In fact, it's overdue! lol