Detroit's bankruptcy


A year after filing for bankruptcy, Detroit is building momentum to get out, especially after workers and retirees voted in favor of major pension changes just a few weeks before a judge holds a crucial trial that could end the largest public filing in U.S. history.

Pension cuts were approved in a landslide, according to results filed shortly before midnight Monday. The tally from 60 days of voting gives the city a boost as Judge Steven Rhodes determines whether Detroit's overall strategy to eliminate or reduce $18 billion in long-term debt is fair and feasible to all creditors. (AP)

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Detroit city workers and supporters protest outside the federal courthouse in Detroit while awaiting the bankruptcy decision, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. A judge on Tuesday ruled that the city of Detroit can cut pensions as a way out of the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Retiree Cecily McClellan talks to the media outside the federal courthouse in Detroit, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013, after Judge Steven Rhodes ruled on the city's bankruptcy filing. Judge Rhodes turned down objections from unions, pension funds and retirees, which, like other creditors, could lose under any plan to solve $18 billion in long-term liabilities. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

A man rides his bike past graffiti in Detroit

A man rides his bike past graffiti that reads "Bankruptcy" in Detroit, Michigan, December 3, 2013. REUTERS/Joshua Lott

Protesters rally outside the Detroit Federal Court House as Detroit Police block Lafayette Avenue from traffic during a bankruptcy hearing declaring Detroit is eligible for the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history in Detroit,

Protesters rally outside the Detroit Federal Court House as Detroit Police block Lafayette Avenue from traffic during a bankruptcy hearing declaring Detroit is eligible for the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history in Detroit, Michigan December 3, 2013. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Protesters rally outside the Detroit Federal Court House

Protesters rally outside the Detroit Federal Court House during a bankruptcy hearing declaring Detroit is eligible for the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, in Detroit, Michigan December 3, 2013. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Detroit's bankruptcy

A homeless man takes a nap on the front porch of an abandoned home as members of the Detroit Fire Department fight a two-alarm fire that broke out in an abandoned building down the street on September 4, 2013 in the Six Mile Gratiot neighborhood of Detroit, Michigan. Detroit has an estimated 78,000 abandoned buildings across its 142 square miles. Last month the city declared bankruptcy, the largest municipality to ever do so in the United States. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Detroit's bankruptcy

A man sleeps in a wheelchair outside an abandoned home on September 4, 2013 in the Six Mile Gratiot neighborhood of Detroit, Michigan. Detroit has an estimated 78,000 abandoned buildings across its 142 square miles. Last month the city declared bankruptcy, the largest municipality to ever do so in the United States. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Detroit's bankruptcy

A mattress sits on a bookshelf in an abandoned home on September 4, 2013 in the Six Mile Gratiot neighborhood of Detroit, Michigan. Detroit has an estimated 78,000 abandoned buildings across its 142 square miles. Last month the city declared bankruptcy, the largest municipality to ever do so in the United States. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Detroit's bankruptcy

Lawrence Payne walks past two abandoned houses on September 4, 2013 in the Six Mile Gratiot neighborhood of Detroit, Michigan. Detroit has an estimated 78,000 abandoned buildings across its 142 square miles. Last month the city declared bankruptcy, the largest municipality to ever do so in the United States. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Detroit's bankruptcy

Remnants of Detroit's historic Eastown Theatre are seen on September 4, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The theatre operated as a movie theater, music venue and church off-and-on from 1931 until 2004; the building could seat 2,500 people. Since 2004 it has been abandoned and fallen into disrepair. Detroit has an astonishing 78,000 abandoned buildings across its 142 square miles. Last month the city declared bankruptcy, the largest municipality to ever do so in the United States. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Detroit's bankruptcy

Remnants of Detroit's historic Eastown Theatre are seen on September 4, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The theatre operated as a movie theater, music venue and church off-and-on from 1931 until 2004; the building could seat 2,500 people. Since 2004 it has been abandoned and fallen into disrepair. Detroit has an astonishing 78,000 abandoned buildings across its 142 square miles. Last month the city declared bankruptcy, the largest municipality to ever do so in the United States. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Detroit's bankruptcy

Remnants of Detroit's historic Eastown Theatre are seen on September 4, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The theatre operated as a movie theater, music venue and church off-and-on from 1931 until 2004; the building could seat 2,500 people. Since 2004 it has been abandoned and fallen into disrepair. Detroit has an astonishing 78,000 abandoned buildings across its 142 square miles. Last month the city declared bankruptcy, the largest municipality to ever do so in the United States. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Detroit's bankruptcy

Ruins at the abandoned Packard Automotive Plant are seen on September 4, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The Packard Plant was a 3.5 million square foot car manufacturing plant built completed in 1911. Major operations ceased in 1958, though the plant was used in a limited capacity until the 1990s, with outer buildings used through the mid 2000s. Since then the buildings have fallen into disrepair - they are now used mostly for graffitti artists and scavengers. Detroit has an astonishing 78,000 abandoned buildings across its 142 square miles. Last month the city declared bankruptcy, the largest municipality to ever do so in the United States. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Detroit’s Bankruptcy

Mike Zielinksi, left, leads protesters during a rally outside the federal courthouse in Detroit Monday, Aug. 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Detroit’s Bankruptcy

Protesters rally in downtown Detroit Monday, Aug. 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Detroit’s Bankruptcy

John Zettner holds a sign while protesting during a rally in Detroit Monday, Aug. 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Detroit’s Bankruptcy

îTony Brown, left, a Department of Transportation retiree, listens to union leaders talk about what Detroit's bankruptcy filing means to thousands of retirees during a meeting in Detroit, July 22, 2013. Monday, Aug. 19, 2013, is the deadline for a host of banks, bond insurers, two employee pension systems and others standing to lose big if a federal judge declares Detroit insolvent to legally file their objections to the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Detroit’s Bankruptcy

Protesters march outside the Theodore Levin United States Courthouse, in Detroit, Wednesday, July 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Detroit’s Bankruptcy

(Flickr photo © Emily Flores) From Linda Watson, who grew up in Detroit in the 1950s and witnessed the beginning of its fall with the riots in the '60s: “The announcement from Mayor Dave Bing regarding the decision to file Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection was expected by many of us who witnessed the decay over the past few decades of what once was a great city.”

Detroit’s Bankruptcy

(Flickr photo ©VasenkaPhotography) An empty Michigan Avenue. From Linda Watson: “While growing up in what is now considered the inner city, in a Polish neighborhood in the Michigan and Junction area, I always felt safe. I could walk home from a friend's house after dark or to church in the early morning light. The area was clean and well cared for. Even as a young adult, working downtown, I enjoyed being able to shop the major department stores, like the Hudson's on Woodward Avenue, during my lunch hour. But all that change in the late '60s with the riots.”

Detroit’s Bankruptcy

(Flickr photo © country_boy_shane) Rubble covers the floor of the 15th story of Michigan Central Station in 2000. From Linda Watson: “Soon after, I noticed a change both in the residents and the city government. Slowly it became apparent that Detroit was no longer the gem it once was. Within a few years, Detroit's title changed from Motor City to Murder Capital, and residents were afraid to cross the 8 Mile Road border to shop or live in the city.”

Detroit’s Bankruptcy

(Flickr photo © Bob Jagendorf) Tires line an abandoned alley in Detroit in 2007. From Linda Watson: “A mass exodus — or, as some called it, white flight — happened and entire neighborhoods turned to burned-out ghost towns. The loss of revenue from taxpayers and corporations that moved to the suburbs triggered the decline in the city's coffers. The corruption among its leaders and their inability to keep a balanced budget all contributed to the event that took place today.”

Detroit’s Bankruptcy

(Flickr photo © paul bica) Jefferson Avenue in Detroit. From Linda Watson: “I still enjoy going to events in the city and frequently attend concerts at Detroit Symphony Hall, but I fear that Detroit will never be able to restore itself to the flourishing city it once was.”

Detroit’s Bankruptcy

(Flickr photo © country_boy_shane) Light from the setting sun reveals the office floors of the abandoned Michigan Central Station in 2000. From Sandra Snow, who moved from Detroit in 1981 after she was mugged in front of her apartment building: “It was a great city once. That apartment building I lived in spoke to its former grandeur. It had marble floors and stairs in the lobby and hardwood floors in every apartment. All of that grandeur from the earlier part of the century is gone.”

Detroit’s Bankruptcy

(Flickr photo © pasa47) Detroit's old city hall and the Renaissance Center. From Sandra Snow: “Am I surprised that this bankruptcy is the result of years automotive decline, high unemployment, high crime, and some — of course not all — corrupt mayors and officials who were going to enrich themselves at the expense of the city's residents? I didn't need a psychic to predict this. When officials are corrupt, and everyone knows it and tolerates it, morals in general decline, and crime skyrockets. The attitude of everyone becomes, ‘I am going to get mine, let other people get theirs,’ so a great institution like Detroit was bound to fall.”

Detroit’s Bankruptcy

(Flickr photo © Dave Hogg) A polar bear greets a young visitor at the Detroit Zoo. From Sandra Snow: “I still visited the city after leaving and still will. It has one of the great art museums of the country. It has an equally impressive and beautiful public library. It has a botanical garden and aquarium on Belle Isle, and a great ball park in Comerica Park. The sculptures alone in downtown Detroit are impressive.”

Detroit’s Bankruptcy

(Flickr photo © memories_by_mike) Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers, opened in the city on April 11, 2000. From Sandra Snow: “So much is right about Detroit that the city is worth saving, and I hope it can somehow be restored to its former greatness. It needs the management of someone who not only sees what it was like, but also who sees what it could become.”

Detroit’s Bankruptcy

(Flickr photo © Rick Harris) This view of the Detroit skyline from a window in abandoned Lee Plaza illustrates how much of Detroit has decayed. From Detroit resident Quianna Jeffries: “I completely expected this to turn out this way. I have been a taxpaying resident of Detroit for 15 years, and I have never seen Detroit like it is now. The city is at its lowest low, and I agree that the only way for Detroit to bounce back is for bankruptcy to be filed and for the healing process to begin. We asked for bailouts, we asked for debt forgiveness, we begged for help, but to no avail. I think this just means that our city came in last, and there's just not enough cash to save us.”

Detroit’s Bankruptcy

(Flickr photo © russteaches) Street art in Detroit displays whimsy and hope. From Quianna Jeffries: “This will not define us, and we will come back stronger than ever. Detroit is a proud and strong city, and Detroiters find a way to make it, even in the roughest times. I believe we will survive this heavy blow and the elected officials will learn from their mistakes, re-group, revise, and surpass the expectations of the nation.”