Watch the video above: Detroit residents respond after Boston Mayor Tom Menino said he “would blow up the city” in response to the bankruptcy crisis and other problems in Detroit.
TORONTO – The mayor of Boston has apologized for what is being called a “regrettable” solution to Detroit’s economic crisis.
When asked in an Aug. 30 interview with the New York Times Magazine what he would do in Detroit, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said he would “blow up the place and start all over.”
“No, seriously, when it takes a police officer 90 minutes to answer a call, there’s something wrong with the system,” Menino added. “Forty per cent of the streetlights are out, most of the buildings are boarded up. Why? Inaction, that’s the problem – leadership.”
Menino later apologized during a media scrum, saying it was a poor choice of words, but defended his statement on the numbers he quoted to describe Detroit’s peril.
Detroit’s mayor, meanwhile, has insisted that Menino’s perception of the city is incorrect.
“It’s extremely regrettable that Boston Mayor Thomas Menino used such an unfortunate choice of words,” said Detroit Mayor Dave Bing in a statement posted on Twitter.
“I would think the mayor of a city that recently experienced a deadly bombing attack would be more sensitive and not use the phrase ‘blow up,’” added Bing.
On July 18, Detroit became the largest city in America to file for bankruptcy. In the days that followed, photographs and media reports of abandoned buildings and creditors eyeing up the city’s assets splashed the front pages.
On Wednesday, backhoes gouged a graffiti-covered housing complex in Detroit, once home to boxer Joe Louis and members of the Supremes.
Bing said the tear-down of several city blocks known as the Brewster projects – a persistent symbol of decay in the once-vital manufacturing city – will allow Detroit to hit reset on what could be a valuable piece of real estate.
For Bing, the demolition marks a major milestone in a goal he proposed years ago – to demolish 10,000 vacant buildings in the city. Bing said Detroit is on track to complete the four-year-long effort by the end of this year.
*With files from The Associated Press