Here we have a prime example of why Detroit is and will likely always be a third-world city. The taxpayers of the State of Michigan spent the money to build a nice pedestrian overpass, complete with sitting benches, in Detroit. On the first day that it was open, Detroiters rushed to...vandalize it!
Less than a day after it opened, the Mexicantown Bagley Avenue Pedestrian Bridge was vandalized, Michigan Department of Transportation officials said.Even more despicable was that one of the vandals--caught in the act giggling about it by an MDOT employee with a camera--is a copy editor and paid blogger for the Detroit Free Press named Oneida Jackson.
Numerous individuals have "tagged" the $5 million bridge with spray paint and used knives to carve into a wooden bench in the middle of the span. Others signed their names with pens and magic markers on the bench, officials said.
In fact, an MDOT employee's video camera caught one woman as she used a colored pen to scrawl on a bench in the middle of the 400-foot-long bridge.
And Jackson, when confronted, didn't even bother to deny it, or apologize. She apparently felt no remorse at all for her role in ruining a brand new piece of public property.
"Yes, it was me," said Oneida Jackson, a copy editor at the Detroit Free Press and author of that paper's "O Street" blog.She was excited so she vandalized someone else's property. Is it any wonder that the rest of the state--and the country--looks at Detroit as a cesspool and it's residents as uneducated savages? I wonder what Jackson would do if she got excited over something else? I can just hear her now: "My momma got a new Cadillac, and I was so excited that I took a bat and knocked it's mirror off!" Or: "My sister just had a new baby boy, and I was all excited so I kicked him down the steps!"
"I did it. If you see a person with a green pen ... dressed in black slacks and a red top, that's me. I was excited about the event and wanted to put my name on it."
Seriously, how ghetto do you have to be to vandalize new property just because you're excited to see it built in your city? And how dumb are the people of Michigan if they keep building new stuff in a city populated by the likes of Oneida Jackson?
The Rev. Tom Sepulveda, pastor of southwest Detroit's historic St. Anne de Detroit Church, said he was disappointed to hear of the vandalism to the span that reconnects the east and west sides of Mexicantown for the first time since Interstates 75 and 96 were constructed in 1968 when residents could drive Bagley, Lafayette and Porter straight across.To be fair though, Oneida Jackson wasn't the only thoughtless one. It seems that hordes of Detroiters flocked to this nice new bridge with spray paint, markers and carving tools to try to get their licks in.
"The bridge is of the people and to do something like that is certainly a sign of disrespect toward the people," Sepulveda said.
"Residents of this area have waited for 42 years for this reconnection. They've been through hard, hard times and something like this just shows so much thoughtlessness."
A bridge engineer also caught three young women in the act of vandalism early Thursday afternoon, said MDOT chief engineer Victor Judnic.Well there's a big part of the problem right there. The state, even when it catches these people, declares that it won't do anything to punish them. That's why they're so blatant and unashamed about doing it. And my bet is that the Detroit Free Press won't do anything about Jackson doing it and bringing that newspaper's name into the affair, either. After all, she's just doing her part to keep the Detroit brand out there, right?
"They were carving up the wooden bench," Judnic said.
"The bridge is made of high density wood which discourages carving, but that didn't seem to make a difference. Others used magic markers on the concrete."
The three ran as the MDOT engineer approached them, he said.
Judnic said MDOT had no intention to take legal action against the vandals.
"We don't do that," Judnic said.
UPDATE: It seems that the public outcry (or the Free Press editorial staff) has forced Jackson to issue a half-hearted apology--one that still sounds more like an excuse, but an apology nonetheless. That being the case, I'm not posting the e-mail addresses for the Free Press editors here and encouraging you all to write them as I'd initially planned to do. However I still think that Jackson needs to be made to spend a couple of days removing graffiti from other public places, and I think that the State of Michigan should think twice before spending any more public money on projects in that city, at least until Oneida Jackson and all of the other low-life thug and thugette wanna-be's in that city grow up and start respecting stuff that other, better people pay for.