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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Proving my "Old Fogeys" argument...

The real problem with Janice Daniels and her little coterie of Old Fogeys on council (Fleming, Tietz and Henderson) is that they are making Troy less and less attractive to young people. Slam gay people and turn down the transit center... They really do want a town of yesteryear. And as communities realize they have to find ways to compete for young people who will save them by bringing in consumers and businesses and children for our schools, the Old Fogey's old-fashioned notions are holding us back.

From today's Detroit Free Press:
Ron Dzwonkowski: Michigan showing more gray, no future in that
The positive spin from the latest Census Bureau report on state populations is that Michigan has stabilized. We still lost people last year, but the outward flow is down to a drip -- not even 1% -- and while we may never see 10 million again, we're still No. 8 among the 50 states. For a few more years, anyway. 
But burrow into the data a little further and it shows a troubling trend. There's an ever growing share of people like me in Michigan -- over age 50, well over in my case -- and no matter how important we think we are, there's no future in us (unless you're in health care, non-pediatric.) 
Young ones not coming
According to demographer Kurt Metzger, director of Data Driven Detroit, 25% of the state population was over age 50 back in 1990. Twenty years later, it is more than 34% -- and nearly 14% of the state is 65 or older. That's a lot of "institutional knowledge," sure, but with few exceptions, not a lot of invention, innovation, entrepreneurial energy or eagerness to embrace change. While that's natural with aging, it also means that Michigan, in short, is growing more of what's holding us back. 
Who cares how many people are here? Who they are is what matters.
Among the 50 states, census data show Michigan ranks 42nd in births per 1,000 residents but 16th in deaths per thousand. So we're doing better at longevity than reproductivity, and thus turning into a place that's top heavy with older people. 
And compounding the slow birthrate, "we're just not attracting any young people," said Metzger.
Well, why would we when the dominant hair color young people see around here is Grecian Formula?
"The kinds of things Michigan is doing, things like reforming the business tax, that's not going to attract young people," Metzger said. "Manufacturing, the auto industry, those things are not the things that will be getting young people to come here."
Older ones can't leaveAnd in the meantime, older people aren't leaving the way they used to, in many cases because they can't -- can't sell the house, can't afford to quit working, can't count on the pension or can't fathom what's happened to the 401(k). Or how about can't leave unemployed adult children with no place to live or no one to count on? You can flip that script, too -- can't get too far from people we may need to count on as aging continues its relentless march.
 Or we can start getting serious about chasing the future. We're going to have to chase it because it's not coming here. We in the 34% are going to have to start a) listening to what younger people want and accommodating them and b) getting out of their way.
Read more here.


  1. Let me tell you, those of us over 50 aren't too happy with the way Troy and MI are going either. I never thought I would entertain leaving, but it is weighing heavily on my mind as retirement approaches. I may stay in MI, but will say bye bye to Troy if Janice an her ilk don't get recalled.

  2. I will second that. I am over 50 and waiting for my last child to go to college soon. When that happens, I will consider another community or leave the state. I hate to leave friends, but I see Troy becoming an ugly dinosaur. I spent some years living in Livonia and watched the exodus of families to Novi and Plymouth. That really did not help Livonia schools and property values. Now Novi is booming, growing, new library, shopping expansion, good schools. How will Troy compete with that?

  3. I have a lesbian friend (a talented engineer) who has lived in Somerset Park apartments for several years. She is moving out this month, before her lease is even up, because of Janice's anti-gay comments.

    A person leaves here, a business leaves there; pretty soon you're talking about a real exodus of dollars and talent.

  4. These same folks talking about running the city like it's a business. OK. I'll go along with that. Then do it. This means having a solid, well-researched strategic plan. It means looking forward to see what makes you competitive. It means investing in your "store front" to attract customers. It means listening to the customer. These same elected officials capriciously tossed out our Master Plan, disregarded customer input, laugh at re-investment opportunities and consider them folly, and view it's fund balance as a slush fund they are willing to spend down to a dangerous level. Meanwhile, their ability to recognize the importance of public relations and reputation management is nonexistent. Add to this the fact that they ask their business partners for input on a key decision and those business partners take time out to give it only to have it completely disregarded with an admission that they never intended to listen to what they had to say in the first place and you have partners who will, logically, seek to do business elsewhere. As a result, this stockholder is cutting her losses and bailing because the future outlook for this "business" is risky at best. Time to make a change in my portfolio while I can still come out ahead.

  5. My wife and I have lived/owned in Troy for 8 years. I have a 3 year old and one on the way. We moved to Troy because we thought it would be a great place to raise a family, not a time warp back to the 50's. If Janice D.(Not my mayor), Wade, Dougie or Dave is not recalled in the next 2 years my family and I are gone! PERIOD! If this community can not come together to remove any of these, I don't want to be a part of it any longer! I hope the majority of voters feels the same. INVEST IN TROY'S FUTURE, THROW THE BUMS OUT! RECALL! RECALL! RECALL! I for one am willing to go door to door.

  6. Duane- I feel your frustration and anger. What HAS to happen in Troy is that citizens MUST get engaged and interested enough to educate themselves on issues and elections. They must be mindful of signing or not signing petitions that they are uninformed about that could change our city charter and governance. They can not make voting decisions on signs and fraudulent literature. I know people are busy with their lives, but if folks don't get in the game, it could be game over for our city and our investments/homes/businesses/schools. Local politics mean more than national politics, as they effect us directly. Time for people to make a real effort for their future. "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

  7. Duane -- if you would like to write more, email us at