Tag Archives: Flint

Rust Belt Road Trip: Photographer David Zaitz


Los Angeles-based photographer David Zaitz took a six day road trip through the Rust Belt in July 2009.  Zaitz drove over 1,900 miles in seven days, visiting legendary Rust Belt cities such as Gary, South Bend, Elkhardt, Youngstown, Wheeling, Canton, Akron, Detroit and Flint.


Zaitz will be posting additional images and commentary from his trip in the coming weeks.

Intermission in Toledo, Ohio

Intermission in Toledo, Ohio

A selection of his photographic essay can be seen here.



Filed under Art, The Big Urban Photography Project

Dissecting Flint’s Mayoral Race

Slate is running an awesome, awesome, story about the mayoral race in Flint, Michigan, where a 35-year-old Rhodes Scholar is battling a 64-year-old grandmother/former state representative for the city’s highest office.

Flint’s former mayor, Don Williamson, was a convicted felon-turned-multimillionaire who resigned in February to avoid a recall election that was likely to remove him from office.

Why would anyone want to be mayor of a city with so many problems, Slate wonders.

“It’s my hometown, and no matter where I’ve lived I have a special place in my heart for this city,” says mayoral candidate Dayne Walling, a fifth-generation Flint family-man and former Rhodes Scholar. “It’s terrible to see this kind of suffering inflicted on a community. It’s wrong. It shouldn’t happen anywhere in this country. So I’m committed to being part of the solution.”

Dayne Walling, left, campaigning at a Church's Chicken.

Dayne Walling, left, campaigning at a Church's Chicken.

“It is the worst of times, but a leader leads in good times and in bad,” says  Brenda Clack, his opponent, a former state rep and current county commissioner. “I feel that people who have stayed in Flint, who have hung on, who have persevered deserve a leader of integrity.”

When I was working as a reporter, I once told Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams I would never want his job. Several years later, one thing is clear: political figures in hard-luck rust belt cities, at the very least, make for interesting political profiles.

But I wonder, could it be possible that these places somehow attract top leaders? Youngstrown’s Jay Williams and Braddock’s John Fetterman and even Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker, who had a very complimentary write-up in Next American City recently, certainly make a strong case for the theory.

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Filed under Featured, Politics

Fires and Foreclosures


This Associated Press story highlights the problem of fire – by arson or by accident – in vacant homes, increasing as does the foreclosure crisis.

It focuses on the sad story of one homeless man squatting in one vacant home in Flint.


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Filed under Crime, Featured, U.S. Auto Industry

Why One Man Wanted to Buy A House in Flint, Mich.


This Slate piece was written by a Flint native returning to his hometown in search of affordable housing, driven out of San Fransisco by obscenly high housing costs.

It’s an interesting and well-written story.

Thanks to Rust Wire reader Claudia Raleigh for bringing it to my attention.


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Filed under Featured, The Housing Crisis, U.S. Auto Industry

The Cuyahoga County Landbank: A Glimmer of Sunshine for Cleveland?

Since meeting with approval from the Ohio General Assembly in December, the new Cuyahoga County Landbank has spurred some creative rethinking for landuse in Cleveland.


Among the proposals: Continue reading

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Filed under Urban Planning

Welcome to the Forefront of the Housing Crisis, Cincinnati, Columbus and Indianapolis

It’s kinda nice to read a story about the housing crisis that isn’t set in my backyard (Cleveland) for once.

This time, my hometown of Columbus is front and center in the sad story of houses without owners. A neighborhood in west Columbus was found to have the highest vacancy rate in the country, according to an Associated Press analysis, based on Housing and Urban Development and Postal Service data.

This is kinda unusual because Columbus is generally regarded to be the golden child of Ohio in these parts.

I know the Columbus neighborhood well. Continue reading


Filed under Urban Planning

Flint Club: “We realize everybody’s not going to move back, but you can still give back”


Rust Wire was able to sit down last week with the very busy Rhoda Matthews, executive director of Flint Club, a Flint, Michigan-based group working to improve the city and reaching out to the large group of Flint natives who no longer call the Vehicle City home.

Continue reading

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Filed under Economic Development, U.S. Auto Industry