DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr is raising eyebrows across the country with an interview he gave to the Wall Street Journal where he said, “For a long time the city was dumb, lazy, happy and rich”.
In response, veteran journalist Micheline Maynard, a Forbes contributing writer and lecturer at the University of Michigan, wrote that, “While it’s true that many people valued a good job more than a high school or college degree, Detroiters can barely be accused of sitting on their hands.”
Responses also coming in on social media … drawing comments from both sides.
@Lewandorski tweeting that he “would very much like to know what Kevyn Orr wants to do with my grandpa’s pension.” @Gregg_Makuch, meanwhile, tweets “get these guys back to reality. You go dude!”
Orr’s spokesman, Bill Nowling tells Forbes the comment needs to be taken in the context Orr intended.
“I believe Kevyn Orr was speaking about the attitude of the body politic of the city of Detroit, not Detroiters themselves,” he said.
Orr, who was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to try to get the city’s financial house in order, is shepherding the city through a bankruptcy case, the likes of which have never been seen before.
Detroit reportedly owes creditors $18 billion, and has a $380 million budget deficit. The city only has enough money to pay its bills until December, Orr said.
The city’s unions and pensioners are waging a legal battle against the bankruptcy filing, saying the deficit is overestimated, and the city needs to honor its past pension agreements.
Detroit has been struggling, crushed under billions of dollars in debt following decades of mismanagement, population flight and loss of tax revenue. The city lost a quarter-million residents between 2000 and 2010. Detroit now has an estimated 700,000 residents; down from 1.8 million in the 1950s.