Detroit city service complaints: residents frustrated

Ruth to the Rescue receives complaints from residents

DETROIT – This edition of Ruth to the Rescue is for all the residents of Detroit who are frustrated with a lack of city services.

Residents tell the consumer unit there are certain safety issues that need to be fixed more quickly. However, the Mayor's Office insists, in spite of the city's bankruptcy, it is business as usual, but maybe that is the problem.

Ruth to the Rescue went to City Hall on behalf of residents like Joy Holliday.

"The city is functioning, but not at my house," said Holliday.

In June, Holliday and her husband showed Ruth to the Rescue the broken light pole outside their home. A replacement pole had been sitting on her lawn for 8 months, but the repairs were never finished.

"This is a dangerous corner without any light. It's pitch black here," said Holliday.

Holliday was stunned when the city removed the replacement pole, instead of using it to actually fix the problem. Six weeks later, there is still no light pole on the corner.

"What is the city doing? Or obviously, what are they not doing?" Holliday told Ruth to the Rescue when we went back to her home on Aug. 1.

Detroit City Hall Response

The Mayor's Office told Ruth to the Rescue general service issues would have to be referred to the Emergency Manager because of the bankruptcy and restructuring. But, when the spokesman for

Kevyn Orr was not available, Local 4's Consumer Expert Ruth Spencer spoke to Anthony Neely, the outgoing spokesman for Mayor Dave Bing.

Neely did not want to talk on camera, but he did speak with Ruth to the Rescue about some of these issues. On the light pole, he was not able to give a repair date, saying it is not a priority based on the other "real emergencies in the city."

That answer cannot give much comfort to Joy Holliday.

"Please get this fixed. We need this fixed for our safety, our children's safety, and the safety of this particular street," she begged city officials.

Sinkhole Progress

Ruth to the Rescue also brought a sinkhole to City Hall's attention on July 17, and it was still not repaired more than two weeks later.

The owner of George's Famous Coney Island says one car already got stuck in the sinkhole and the owner is worried someone will get hurt.

"I hear customers complain all the time. We don't want to come in the parking lot or come through here because we're afraid we might wreck our car," said Beverly Wallace, the owner of George's Famous Coney Island on Michigan Avenue.

"I don't think anybody's running the city, cause if somebody was running the city, this would have been fixed already," said Wallace.

Neely did promise to review the problem with the sinkhole, and he was trued to his word. Within an hour, a work crew put some barriers, caution tape, and a board over the whole. The Water Department promised the hole would be repaired Monday, Aug. 5.

Business As Usual?

Overall, Neely said residents should not over react because the city is in bankruptcy. He said problems are solved as quickly as possible, but it's a big city with an aging infrastructure. Those words may not provide much comfort for residents who are looking for the problems in their neighborhood to get fixed.

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