Reporting Charlie Langton
WARREN (WWJ) – A new list from Forbes magazine ranks Detroit as the most miserable city in America. Warren was also ranked in the top 10 miserable places on that list — and the city’s outspoken mayor has a thing or two to say about that.
WWJ Legal Analyst Charlie Langton spoke with Warren Mayor Jim Fouts, who is “outraged” his city made the list for the second year in a row. Forbes ranked Warren as the seventh most miserable city in the nation.
“There’s no logic for including Warren as a miserable city. They’re using data from Detroit to try to paint Warren in an uncomplimentary way,” he said. “The only thing miserable is Forbes magazine because they don’t know how to analyze data.”
For the list, Forbes says they examined nine factors for the 200 largest metro areas in the U.S., including violent crime, unemployment, foreclosures, taxes (income and property) and home prices. They also included less weighty, but still important quality-of-life issues, like commute times and weather.
Fouts said the magazine makes a big mistake, however, by classifying Warren as a metro area, which includes cities like Troy and Farmington Hills.
“What they have done is they’ve looked at the data and said ‘Ah ha! Warren is the second largest city in the metro area and the third largest in the state, therefore we’re going to consider Warren a separate entity and we’re going to call this the Warren metro area,’” he said.
“Well, there’s no such thing as the Warren metro area. I mean, they’re completely out of it. They think we’re a big city with our own metro area. It’s completely wrong. They’re using Detroit data and including it in Warren, thinking that Warren is a separate big city. We are part of the Detroit metro area, there’s no such thing as the Warren metro area,” he continued.
Fouts said it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the numbers, just look at the population figures alone.
“When you actually look at it, they say the Warren metro area has some 300,000 people, when we only have 138,000. So, they’ve included data from cities that are neighboring suburbs and they just said to themselves ‘Warren is a large city, these are their suburbs,’” he said.
Fouts said writers for Forbes didn’t even set foot in Warren before publishing their list.
“I think what Forbes needs to do, and I sent them a letter, I invited them to come to Warren and see for themselves what Warren is like and to realize that this is the Detroit metro area and not the Warren metro area. They never even returned a call, didn’t return my letter,” he said.
Fouts points out that the city has passed three millages in the last three years, and they have new businesses — including General Motors investing nearly a half billion dollars in the city, and Chrysler adding a third shift which would create 1,500 jobs.
“We have one of the strongest fund balances in the state, and are a very successful, solvent city, unlike some other cities,” he said.
Despite his own objections to Warren being on the list, Fouts said he’s not going to worry about it too much.
“Forbes magazine is an eastern, elitist magazine that very few, if any, people read, and what they do is they collect data and come up with illogical, fuzzy math-type conclusions,” he said.
Here’s the complete rundown of Forbes’ 2013 List Of America’s Most Miserable Cities:
- Detroit, Mich.
- Flint, Mich
- Rockford, Ill.
- Chicago, Ill.
- Modesto, Calif.
- Vallejo, Calif.
- Warren, Mich.
- Stockton, Calif.
- Lake County, Ill.
- New York, N.Y.
- Toledo, Ohio
- St. Louis, Mo.
- Camden, N.J.
- Milwaukee, Wisc.
- Atlantic City, NJ
- Atlanta, Ga.
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
- Gary, Ind.
- Youngstown, Ohio