Is this the crest of dawn in this thing we call a city? - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Is this the crest of dawn in this thing we call a city?

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A streetlight is repaired on Crusade Street in Detroit. A streetlight is repaired on Crusade Street in Detroit.
  • Is this the crest of dawn in this thing we call a city?More>>

  • LeDuff: Life below the dying of the light

    LeDuff: Life below the dying of the light

    Friday, August 3 2012 5:18 PM EDT2012-08-03 21:18:07 GMT
    Beyond his on-air reporting, Fox 2's Charlie LeDuff writes a weekly "Off the Chain" column where he uses his words to write it as he sees it. Sometimes words aren't enough.  Play the video to get yet another
    Beyond his on-air reporting, Fox 2's Charlie LeDuff writes a weekly "Off the Chain" column where he uses his words to write it as he sees it. Sometimes words aren't enough.  Play the video to get yet another

Off the Chain Opinion
By Charlie LeDuff

DETROIT – It is hard to believe -- when you stare cleanly at things -- that anybody really cares about the people of this city. Not when you see what their leaders have let happen here.

Something as basic as streetlights. Most of them having gone out long ago. The trees growing over those lights that do still work. Whole blocks held hostage by the darkness. Hundreds of millions of dollars in promised capital upgrades having landed in some undeserving pockets.

The young man without shoestrings. The old woman behind the iron door. The minister and his dog. Hostages to the night.

The people call upon this thing called The City.

Pleas are made to some faceless bureaucrat in a yellow-walled office somewhere who never picks up the phone.

A child is run over on his bicycle and killed on an unlit street. The phone goes unanswered.

A student's corpse looted in a gloomy field. The phone goes unanswered.

The darkness rules.

It is unfair. But the people get on with the business of surviving somehow without a thing called The City.

And then on a corner of a street called Crusade, a case of what should be considered normal becomes the extraordinary: a streetlight gets repaired. And the curtains get pulled back from the iron door.

The minister gets out of his car. The kid without shoelaces says thank you to the work crew. The old woman brings out hot coffee. Someone cares.

Odis Jones, the executive director of the newly created Public Lighting Authority, promises this extraordinary event will become the norm. This despite a legal objection by a Wall Street creditor who thinks the money should go into its pocket. 

Mike Moriarity, the contractor in charge of this neighborhood, promises his men will work through the howling months of winter to restore the lights.

"Thank you," the minister says.

"You're welcome," says Moriarity.

Who knows? Maybe it's dawn in Detroit.

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