An open dinner invitation to Boston mayor Thomas Menino
|The Lingholm-Santiago family|
By now, your spokesperson has already done all the apologies necessary to the citizens of Detroit for your comments in the New York Times Magazine about blowing up Detroit. This Detroiter forgives you, even if my fellow denizens do not because I am confident your comment was about our ineffective city government.
However, your comment did show some insensitivity for people like me and my little family who call the city home. It will be used by people on the right of the political spectrum as proof that other mayors see Detroit as a lost cause, and by the left who see Detroit as an innocent victim of failed anti-labor policies.
Because I feel you deserve a deeper understanding of Detroit before you are pulled further into this morass of conversation, I invite you to have dinner with my family in Detroit. I promise a small dinner party with others who live, work, and play within the city limits to help deepen your understanding of our decisions call this city home.
This won't be a bare-knuckles brawl with you. Instead, I promise an honest conversation about what works and what doesn't work in this city. If you can give us a few days, we can extend this into a nice tour of the city where you can see the hope and despair first hand, not from second-hand accounts.
If you can commit a few days to us, I promise you will find people utterly disgusted with the city who can't wait to move out, as you would expect. I also promise you will find plenty of people who aren't letting the city government's struggles hold them back. You will find people that have found a way to work with the city to improve our parks, get people using alternative transportation, help our citizens find fresh food in their neighborhoods and build businesses that are putting Detroiters back to work.
You'll even find plenty of coffee shops. I'll bring the cranberry juice on the off-chance they don't have any for you.
There are people here. People with hopes and dreams, just like the Bostonians you serve. People who have an inexplicable need to see this city succeed. People who, like your father, work in factories to provide for his family. People who, like you, don't let barriers stand in their way. Fathers like you, who only want the best for his family.
We have a lot to talk about Mayor Menino, father to father, city lover to city lover. I hope you take me up on this dinner invitation soon.
Husband, Father, Son, Detroiter
PS. Here are a few publications you should be reading before your visit, so you get more out of your time with us:
Hell Yeah Detroit
The Craig Fahle Show
There are a ton of others you should read too, but this is at least a start. I'll give you and your staff more links to check out when you accept our dinner invitation!