From the start, bankruptcy expert Doug Bernstein did not view the creditors' bus tour of Detroit's most distressed neighborhoods as a game-changer in the negotiations to avoid Chapter 9.
"It was an unusual move to begin with by scheduling it," Bernstein said. "It's not a typical restructuring tactic."
Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr hit the brakes on the tour late Tuesday afternoon. About 25 bondholders, insurers and bank representatives were expected to join him on a bus on Wednesday. All but a few pulled out, saying they prefer to spend their time working on the books while in town.
That came as no surprise to Bernstein.
"If you are a creditor, you are not going to make your decision as to whether or not to accept the settlement proposal based on emotion. You're going to do what is in your best financial interest," he said.
One of the scheduled stops on the tour was the Brightmoor community in northwest Detroit. Those who live in the area say the creditors missed an opportunity to see life through their eyes.
"This place is torn up and other places around the city are torn up just as well," said Kerry Jackson, a Brightmoor resident.
Bus tour or not, Berinstein says the road forward stays the same. He says the city has just weeks to make a decision on bankruptcy. For many, the writing has been on the wall for some time.
"We need help. We definitely need help, most definitely," said Brandon Buchanan, of Brightmoor.