: Well, Almost! Essay, Research Paper
The History of Flint
The history of Flint is perhaps as long and complex as the federal bureaucracy. OK,
maybe not. The first white man to visit Flint was the famous fur trader Jacob Smith. He
was the first to settle in the area and established his lucrative trade here. His trading post
was the cornerstone of the city, that is until it was torn down to make room for a parking
The social life of this time was not great. In fact, the husky, rugged guy to girl ratio was
about 10-1. This does not include the women who could have been men. These numbers
are not good in anyone’s book. Then, out of the utter despair came a beacon of hope…the
first tavern in the Flint area was established. Contrary to popular belief this oasis in the
desert was not Paddy McGee’s, but Todd’s Tavern, founded in 1830’s. Although the
settlers still had no women, at least they now had a place to go where everyone knew their
Things ran pretty smoothly, but the city didn’t boom until the entrepreneur William
Durant came to town and established Flint as the vehicle city, with his production of
carriages. “Carriage town” as the area was termed still stands today. It is one of few
remaining historic areas left in the city. The others being Todd’s Tavern. Oops, that was
done away with when women came to town. But we still have “the hole” where the first sit
down strike in the nation occurred…Oh, wait, they just tore that down didn’t they? Well at
least there’ s still AutoWorld…I forgot, that’s going down, too, isn’t it? Thanks to the Irish
folk we still have one historic place left…Italia Gardens. (Just Kidding).
Around this time William Durant began to notice a new up and coming gizmo, known
as the automobile. Along with Charles Stewart Mott, Dallas Dort, who was himself very
fond of the Vu, Louis Chevrolet, David Buick, Charles Nash, Walter Chrysler, and Henry
Ford, William Durant turned the carriage town into the horseless carriage town.
When Flint boomed, the social life went right with it. Dort highway sprung up and
there were now “hussies” on every street corner, not silver bells, as the carol leads you to
believe. There were now a whopping three watering stations in the city, but nothing
prepare the townsfolk for what was to come next. A young desperado strolled into town,
some hotshot who just graduated from some Irish school in the midwest. He bought, and
converted an old, run down place into a location that was to be treasured and revered for
several generations to come. This was not your average Cheers. This was a full-fledged,
beer battered, deep-fried, big juicy hamburger, green beer drinking Irish pub. This was
Paddy McGees. This was the good life.
Today, the passion and the glory of Flint may have faded, but two landmarks still
remain, Dort Highway and Italia Gardens. And some other Irish place on Flushing Road.
The City Government
The City Council The Judicial Branch
Budget Office The Ombudsman Friend of the Court
Treasury Department City Clerk
Zoning Committee Internal Revenue Service
Public Works and Utilities
Water Supply and Pollution Controls
Building and Safety Inspection Committee
Waste Distribution Center
Parks and Recreation
Community Development Office
The Flint City Government has many parts and divisions, as you can see. Each has its
own set of goals and duties to perform. The Mayor, Woodrow Stanley, is the head of the
operation. He has a lot of power over the committees and departments in the city. He gets
to appoint several key figures.
The Ombudsman, Daryl Baker, acts as the mayor’s voice to the people and the
departments when the mayor can not be present. Along with these duties, the ombudsman
also conducts investigations to determine that city services are being delivered properly and
to make certain that the power or the rights of the city are not being abused by elected or
It is the job of the city clerk, Louis Hawkins to see that all the “busy-work” is done for
both the mayor and the ombudsman, as well as any other city official.
The City Council holds meetings which suggest and enact rules and zoning disputes, as
advised by the zoning boards. See the City Council Meeting Section. Each member
oversees his district and voices the complaints of the people of that area. The City Council
members are elected by the voters in each district. The councilmember from my district,
the 6th, is John W. Northrup.
The City Council Meetings, a.k.a., lash out at the City Government hour
I attended the city council meeting on the night of November 25th. The meeting began
as most meetings do, with the call to order. To get it out of the way, the meeting was re-
arranged so that the award for the soccer team would be first. We received a certificate of
recognition from the members of the council and were commended for our achievement.
After this was done, the meeting officially began.
My first observation was that there were not a lot of people in the room. I understand
that Flint is not the biggest of cities, but the room was virtually empty. Even some of the
people who had proposals were not there to speak on behalf of the proposal. A couple was
there to speak in favor of granting a liquor license to their “shop and rob”, as Winchester
says, but they must have gotten bored during the course of the meeting, because they left
before their proposal was called.
The meeting began with a review of all former proposals; those which the council had
already voted upon. The floor was open to discuss the proposals, but no one stood up.
After this was done, all new proposals, those which hadn’t been finalized, or those which
were previously postponed were called. Again the floor was open for anyone to speak.
This time a group from the outskirts of Dort Highway, a.k.a. the drag, spoke to get action
on a particular dump zone in the neighborhood. As much as the councilpeople tried to
convince these people that they were working on the problem, the people would have none
of it. Each and every one stood up and commented on the pile. Some proposed 24 hour
police patrols in the area. Others proposed that the city should install cameras to catch the
“dumpers”. Still others, thought that a nearby paint and chemical plant was the problem.
These people proposed re-zoning the building to get rid of the shop.
It seemed endless. In the vote on the issue, the council members exercised their right to
use bureaucratic red tape by deciding to postpone their vote until more information could
Each and every issue had to be voted upon, no matter how crazy the proposal. A few of
the more outlandish include: a liquor license for a private residence and granting a liquor
license to a business which had just lost its license. Coincidentally, the committee which
handled the matter recommend approval for the latter. Fortunately, Northrup brought out
the point that the city had fought hard to rid the store of its license and it would seem silly
to give it right back. The council then voted to postpone their vote until further
information was gathered.
After endless proposals the meeting was turned to future endeavors. This included a
proposal to mount cameras in various locations throughout the city, to deter and monitor
crime. After a debate on the legality of such a measure in accordance with civil rights, the
council,…you guessed it…postponed the debate until further information was gathered.
Another future proposal concerned forcing landlords to pay a lump sum for the removal of
trash, from the curb, after an eviction. I did not agree with this proposal, and it is
discussed in my interview with Councilman Minore.
Note: this interview was cut short due to a prior engagement of the councilman
Councilman Jack Minore did not plan on becoming a city councilman until late in life.
He was studying to become an architect, but then realized one day that he loved to design
homes, but he hated to measure and count parts. This is a very big problem if one is to
become an architect, so he figured he needed to find another career. He then decided that
he wanted to impact the community in some way, so he chose to run for office and won.
When asked about his major concern, Mr. Minore overwhelmingly believed that crime
was his overriding concern. He was a big proponent for the use of cameras. Financial
matters tie into crime because a main cause of major crime, such as selling drugs, is
despair. When people are desperate, they will do almost anything.
I then brought up the point that I believed that the way they were handling the landlord
issue was wrong and unjust. Councilman Minore backed his position stating that it may
not be right, it may not be fair, but it is the best way to go handle the issue. I asked him
why it was such a big problem, and he responded by stating that several landlords own
homes within the city and live outside the boundary. They only come to town to clean up
after an eviction and end up throwing the trash on the curb, no matter how large a pile, and
how large a mess it makes. I responded that my father owns a few homes within a three
block radius of our own, and he, too places the trash on the curb after an eviction. I
pointed out that most people are evicted because they are slobs or behind on rent. It is
often hard on the owner to evict this person in the first place, and event harder to clean up
For instance, we had a friend of the family living in one of our homes who fit
both criteria for eviction, but he had just gone through a divorce, so we were very lenient
and finally were forced to throw the man out. The house was a mess after this and we had
already lost several months rent in the process, and to h