Savannah/Detroit comparison is apt 


I usually read your column when I dine at Vincenzo's on the Southside. Your column "Bars in the crosshairs" in the Aug. 22 edition struck a nerve with me.

Your mention that Savannah, through excessive regulation and confiscatory taxing is chasing business out of town, rings true. You likened it to Detroit.

I'm afraid you article is the truth and in time Savannah will mimic Detroit with the corrupt politicians, the decaying infrastructure and the blight of a city that did not learn. It is senseless to overregulate businesses trying to make it with the excessive taxes demanded for the privilege of setting up shop in Savannah.

Having had a small business in Savannah and having struggled to make ends meet, it frosts me to see City officials take vacations on the taxpayer's nickel and then, with a straight face, tell the taxpayers that is for future business.

What benefit have the last three or four trips produced to put Savannah taxpayers to work with real jobs and real wages? This arrogance is appalling.

Have Mayor Johnson or Mayor Pro Tem Edna Jackson ever owned a small business? This ought to be an inquiry. I'm talking about a real small business that actually has to produce something in order to get paid. I'm not talking about a government-funded project.

Getting back to the Detroit moniker: Lest we forget, Detroit is a city with a government that missed the boat and raised taxes, and demanded more of small businesses and larger businesses. A lot of what was made in Motown is now made elsewhere.

Folks left, businesses left, and you had neighborhoods and industrial areas that were abandoned. Crime drugs and poverty moved into the abandoned areas. More was promised to the permanent underclass to appease, and soon there was nothing to tax and there were no businesses to tax.

I've talked for the last several years about Savannah becoming another Detroit. Many rolled their eyes as it sounded like hyperbole. Our elected officials are as out of touch with reality as those in Detroit. It's a matter of time before the same corruption, greed and chaos is visited upon us.

Most folks in Savannah are not seeing or accepting of this. When they do, it may well be too late.

Who in their right mind wants to start a business in the corporate limits of Savannah? Chatham County is not much better. It makes little sense to invest your nest egg into an enterprise where the government uses its regulatory powers to invade your bank account for fees, costs and/or taxes to fill its coffers so that the elected few can travel to faraway places and pick up tourist trinkets from their junkets.

Looking at the salaries of non-elected City government officials makes one cry. The City Manager should be paid but to pay her more than Michael Brown, the former manager who had years more experience, is just ludicrous.

Forget the fancy math, forget the formulas, and forget the canard that we need to pay people. Most folks in Savannah don't have those kinds of salaries. There's little sympathy from a guy trying to make ends meet on 20K a year for a non-elected City employee making nine or ten times as much.

The Mayor and City Council will, by arrogance and disdain for taxpayers, reduce a proud city to being a city known as Detroit East. It is headed that way and it won't be too long before small businesses and employees flee to other areas, and the corporate limits of Savannah will house a City government and its minions in a shell of a city with abandoned buildings, abandoned homes and abandoned dreams.

Kevin J. Street



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