Articles about city managers or county treasurers raiding the till are a regular feature in news outlets around the country. Locally, the treasurer for the Village of Baraga was arrested on embezzlement charges last year, although her situation was a little different: she was charged with embezzling from a private employer and not from the Village, and, so far as I know, she is still the Treasurer. At any rate, her name is still up on the Village website. No one's run her out on a rail or called for her to resign although I do have a hunch that her next re-election campaign won't go quite as smoothly as the last one. Similarly, every unit of government, from rural townships to major metropolitan areas, can be rife with nepotism and cronyism. The rules may say don't hire relatives or do favors for friends, but somehow the mayor's kids, nieces, nephews, cousins, siblings, and good buddies always seem to have first dibs on any job openings or lucrative contracts. So it's not corruption that's been killing Detroit, at least not as a primary cause.
No, what's killing Detroit is the same problem most urban areas have. The jobs went away. They did not go away because the workforce was black or the city administration was incompetent. They went away because industry changed. The auto companies figured out they could build cars cheaper someplace else, first in the right-to-work-for-shit-wages non-unionized Southern states and then in countries like Mexico. All the Rust Belt cities have suffered similar problems: industry vanished, the tax base shrank, and pension and other fiscal obligations created major headaches.
This isn't a new phenomenon. Cities have been founded, grown, boomed, and then shrunk and vanished innumerable times in the course of human history. Resources are exhausted, a harbor silts in, the climate changes, or roads shift. This country is full of dying small towns that are like miniature Detroits: a dead downtown with shops and office buildings located along the periphery, empty lots where houses used to be, and vacant structures that look like they're due to collapse any time. When the jobs went away, so did most of the people. The ones who stayed behind were the folks who were too poor, too old, or too