We can't blame Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson one bit for thinking the North American International Auto Show might be better served by moving locations away from Detroit's troubled Cobo Center. The building itself has been in disrepair for years, with a leaky roof and a poor electrical system generally cited as its most urgent needs. When an agreement was finally reached that would have fixed most of Cobo's many woes and expanded it with an additional 166,000 square-feet of floorspace, we all let out a collective sigh of relief.
Unfortunately, in what our own John McElroy called "a stupefying move at the 11th hour," the Detroit City Council voted down the proposed plan by a five-to-three tally, saying that the $20 million the city would be paid to give up power over the dilapidated building wasn't enough. Naturally, this action drew ire from a number of important sources, not the least of which being the automakers who are growing increasingly fed up about the horrid state of affairs at the Detroit Auto Show.
Here's where Patterson comes into play: "If this thing goes down, I'm done," Patterson has told The Detroit News. "I'm not going to go back to Detroit to try to resurrect the deal. Five years is enough." Unfortunately, Patterson's plan to move the annual event to another location in the Detroit area has a few potential snags of its own. The next largest nearby venue is the Pontiac Silverdome, which is about two-thirds the size and has been empty since the Detroit Lions left the stadium in 2002.
And what does the embattled Detroit City Council have to say about Patterson's proclamations? "He's bullying us as usual... he just wants everything on his own terms" says councilwoman Barbara-Rose Collins.
This is one sordid affair that seems likely to drag on for years with no end in sight.
[Source: The Detroit News]