As executive director of the Congress of Communities, she recently attended a monthly gathering aimed at addressing education issues. During that meeting, she was part of a conversation about what’s changing in Detroit since Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr arrived and declared bankruptcy and Mayor Mike Duggan began focusing on blight removal, lighting installation and garbage collection.
“It seems like since Mayor Duggan has come in, a lot has been happening: garbage is being picked up, lights are being turned on,” Salinas says. “People have this perception that the man came in and all of sudden everything changed. It’s kind of a misperception.”
Salinas says the city’s bankruptcy isn’t something that residents necessarily experience or address in their daily lives beyond living in the conditions that reflect why it was declared. They don’t see how the court machinations, implications of the judge’s ruling or the landmark nature of the “grand bargain” really impact their lives in the city.
“I don’t know that residents really understand what bankruptcy is,” she says. “Their issues are bigger. They’re not thinking about the bankruptcy. Maybe they don’t know what it means, what happened.”
The Next Chapter Detroit meeting – from 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, June 25 at Urban Neighborhood Initiatives, 8300 Longworth – will help residents understand what’s possible in Detroit’s future and give them ideas about how they can be a part of designing it.
“The bankruptcy has a lot to do with wiping the slate clean and being able to start fresh and new and get new contracts and get rid of contracts or infrastructure in a broken system,” Salinas says. “We’re actually able to take a look and incorporate a new system because basically, through bankruptcy, you can start over.”