We Got Slammed!

Detroit Skyline

I’m sure I wasn’t the only past or present Metro Detroiter who watched with disgust as they vilified our City on Dateline Sunday night. For those who missed it, click here  and here.  Or read these blogs for another view of our community:  Chasing the Vultures Away or FutureMidwest Happened, Now What? 

It’s hard to believe that the Dateline reporter was a former Detroiter himself.  Did Chris Hansen lose his compass when he was driving around Detroit and filming burnt out buildings, and interviewing the poor, the homeless, and the uneducated or undereducated?  He missed the active downtown area with state of the art stadiums, great restaurants, new office buildings.  He barely mentioned the growth industries such as the film industry, green technologies, and the innovation happening in Tech Town and throughout the State.  Of the one hour expose on the hopelessness of Detroit, oddly named “America Now: City of Heartbreak and Hope,” only about 2 and ½ minutes at the end of the segment actually dealt with how Detroit is working its way out of the recent economic downturn with the auto industry and nationwide financial and housing market collapse.

What big cities don’t have to reinvent themselves?  And isn’t America and much of the world in general trying to work its way out of an economic downturn?  There are many factors at work which caused the situation our Country is in.  This is not a DETROIT problem we’re facing, but a National Crisis.  However, I don’t wish to dwell on the negative.  What good will it do?  I accept the reality we as a Nation must overcome, while going on with my life and providing for my family and growing my business.  Much like others are doing.  In fact, the last twelve months have been among my best years to date business wise.  See recent article in the Legal News.

I’ve lived in Metro Detroit all my life, and have owned a business the past 20 years here.  Oddly enough, much of the narrow view of Detroit that Chris Hansen chose to display last night, has existed the last few decades in varying degrees.  Much of what was shown is not news, and the crime, poverty, and dilapidation depicted is only a glimpse of a segment of this community.   Instead of applauding Mayor Bing or Police Chief Evans, who were interviewed on the program and who are doing things right now to make the City a better place to work and live, those who watched the program might have wondered why they bother.  Or one might have thought that they caused these problems.  Those of us in this community know that the mayor and police chief inherited a broken situation, and are doing what they can to rectify it.   

Enough complaining!  I think you get the gist that Sunday night’s program was a one sided view of Detroit’s demise, rather than its rebirth.  Of course we aren’t there yet, but more needs to be discussed about the good things happening here, which make me proud to be a resident and business owner serving the greater Metro Detroit area.  There is much to celebrate as an entrepreneur in Detroit.  There are more networking groups than time or financial resources will allow you to take advantage of, which support entrepreneurship.  However, a few of my favorites include: Detroit Regional Chamber, InForum, National Association of Women Business Owners, National Association of Career Women, Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce, Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce (most of our cities have their own chamber), BNI, LBN, Motor City Connect, Connectech, various bar associations and other professional groups (I attend Women’s Bar Association), etc. 

Additionally, there are incubators in Wayne, Oakland, and Washtenaw County which help entrepreneurs take their concept from concept to marketplace and even help with funding/capital raising efforts.  Check out Tech Town, SCORE, GLEQ, SPARK, and Automation Alley, just to name a few. Read about startups and Second Stage Companies in Crain’s Detroit Business each week.  Or their annual tributes to 20 in the 20’s, 30 under 30, and 40 under 40.  The list of business resources is truly endless in this community, if you are an entrepreneur with a dream and a work ethic.

Many of my personal fond memories past and present include: concerts on the lawn at DTE Energy, sporting events at The Palace (proud to be a Pistons fan), Comerica Park (proud to be a Tiger Fan), Joe Louis Arena (proud to be a Redwing Fan), and Ford Field is pretty cool even though I’m not much of a Lion’s Fan (but my dad is and has been for 50 years), Michigan State College Hockey/basketball/football (proud to be a Spartan).  I remember great times up North in Traverse City vacationing most summers.  I’ve enjoyed ice sculptures in the winter and the International Auto Show at Joe Louis each year.  I’ve leased many a Chrysler Mini Van during my child rearing years, and switched to the Jeep Cherokee the last 5 years as a change of pace.  I even owned one Ford and one Toyota (shhh!) for one year each, earlier in my car buying days.

The people have been great in the Birmingham and Southfield Community where I’ve lived and worked the past 20 years, as well as back home in Trenton (downriver) where I grew up.  The sense of community has kept me here all these years and I can’t imagine leaving our State for more than a week or two for vacation.  And as for vacationing here, this is a BEAUTIFUL state to visit if you are a tourist with 5 Great Lakes, 4 Seasons and fun things to do in every one of them.   Check out Pure Michigan for more information and attractions.  Or visit www.michiganmall.com or www.buymichigan.com to discovery other gems in this State.  But don’t just listen to me in case you think I’m biased or clueless because I love it here! 

Here’s a few twitter conversations about the broadcast by Dateline: (Note: these are random tweets captured when I typed a search for #dateline Detroit.  These aren’t any follower of mine or people I’m following)

@princessofPage: Lets talk about the great things and Detroit #detroit #dateline

@BLRoose: Wish I would have watched the #Dateline special on #Detroit tonight. Gotta have faith in Bing to get things rolling. Always <3 Detroit!

@Morleybros: #dateline. not one solid piece about the non-profit sector in #Detroit investing millions into neighborhood and community programs!?! Goblow

@aquariusCold: #dateline We know there are good parts of Detroit, but that’s not the problem. We got to show how bad it has gotten in order to get help.

@wirty: #Dateline didn’t fly over the $500K & $1M homes in #Detroit. #Detroit has successful families, students, businesses, and culture. I’m angry.

@markcohen5: Detroit your problems are the same as most major cities in our country #dateline

@kimmieSp: Detroit will come back, the city may be down, but it is not out! #Detroit #Dateline

@justincalvert: Kid Rocks new beer will be the savior of Detroit. #dateline

I’d like to hear from you now.  Please share your thoughts on Detroit.  What view do you have of Detroit as someone who lives and/or works in the area?  Or if you are outside this community, what view do you have from the Dateline broadcast or another experience of Detroit?

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Lori T. Williams is an attorney based in Birmingham, MI, licensed in 1989.  As owner of a legal referral business called Your Legal Resource, PLLC, Lori personally assists individuals and small businesses in need of legal advice or representation in Metro Detroit by connecting them with the right legal specialist to meet their needs. Click here for a pdf of legal referral services. 

Through group training and events, Lori also focuses on referral marketing strategies for attorneys and other professionals. For more information about Lori or Your Legal Resource, visit www.bestlegalresource.com.  For networking events, training programs, and workshop information, visit: www.bestlegalresource.com/events.


5 responses to “We Got Slammed!”

  1. Jim Frac

    Hey Lori,

    What about a class action lawsuit against Hansen and NBC for slander? I don’t know how to measure it, but can there be any doubt we’ve been damaged?

  2. Beth Schensky

    I missed seeing Dateline, but certainly heard about it. Most frustrating was that one associate accompanied the group which filmed for Dateline. He suggested that they go to Greek Town or the many other areas that were bursting with life and people (Filming occurred on St Patrick’s Day). The answer was a consistent “no”. Thus their mission was defined and their objective met… a negative view of a once great city that is bringing itself back to life… one business at a time. Everyone interested in a wonderful perspective on all things Detroit… please go to our website and view the video from the Future Midwest conference in Royal Oak held in April. And OUTSTANDING review of all that this city has done for our country and a challenge to all of us to reach for the future and bring our city back to greatness.

  3. Lisa De Rubeis Allen

    Hi Lori,

    I really enjoyed your recent blog about the dateline report on Detroit! We sure need to stand up for Detroit, thank you Lori, great job.


    Lisa De Rubeis Allen

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