Land O Links

*Maybe this is a great idea for Atlanta, Ga., and maybe it isn’t. But just note the difference in ambition between this project and Michigan’s inability to figure out a reliable funding stream to fix the transport net it now has:

“His vision was to transform the mostly abandoned railroad lines that circle Atlanta into a new network of light rail transit, parks, and pedestrian and bike trails. While that vision would have died in other cities, it actually took root in Atlanta and is now becoming a reality. Seven years into the wildly ambitious Atlanta Beltline, a 25-year, $3 billion project, more than 640 acres of land have been acquired and tens of millions raised.”

By the way, the jobless rate for the Atlanta region is 7.6 percent. Georgia’s statewide jobless rate is 8.2 percent. Michigan’s statewide jobless rate is 8.4 percent.

*Michigan has the second-worst job market for law school grads, according to this analysis.

Frequent Land O readers may recall a previous entry that noted the high number of law school slots in the state and the potential problems that could result from it.

There’s been a great deal of chatter in political circles lately about the cost of higher education and the issuance of less-than-marketable degrees. In light of these stats, isn’t it reasonable to add “law” to that particular discussion?

*After nearly a century of business, Serman’s men’s store in downtown Detroit is closing.

land-o-FINALA Dan Gilbert firm has bought the building, but don’t blame the new titan of Detroit real estate:

“'Men don't dress the way they used to,' (Serman's owner Steve Ross) said. 'I used to sell about 1,000 suits for Easter, and now we only sell about 100 Easter suits' a year."

*Painkillers take the lives of more Americans than heroin and cocaine.

That’s not news to Bridge readers. Last fall, the magazine detailed the toll of opioid drug abuse in Michigan.

*What is an appropriate salary for a teacher? The increase reported here by the Mackinac Center is below the rate of inflation. CPI for 2011 was 3.2 percent; for 2012, it was 2.1 percent.

The statewide average for teachers in traditional publics was $63,094; in charters, it was $42,864. Teacher salaries almost always are pegged to seniority and we know the teacher corps is aging, so a rising average would not be a surprise, right?

*Michigan Radio reports on the 15 school districts now running the biggest budget deficits. Not all of them are in struggling urban centers, either.

And, it’s worth asking: How has the number of school districts in the state in deficit increased 400 percent in just a decade? School finance reform is a challenge that won’t go away at the State Capitol, or in local school board meetings.

*How do you pronounce it, “man-aze” or “may-uh-naze”?

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Andrew Paterson
Tue, 06/11/2013 - 9:52am
Having ridden the Grand Trunk commuter line from the 'burbs to downtown for many years I have never understood why that right of way -- that nearly perfectly parallels Woodward Ave -- was not considered a cheaper easier way to impose light rail in that corridor. Tearing up Woodward to put a limited distance light rail only a few hundred feet from an available right of way did not make sense to me. Is there some problem with using it that the RR has? Or is the RR use entirely incompatible with a light rail use? I've always wondered about this and have never heard the answer.