Downsizing DetroitrnMotown’s Lamentrnby Greg KazarnDetroiters have a deeply ironic way of looking at theirrnbeloved city. The irony is evident in a once-popular Tshirtrnthat showed a muscular tough gripping a ferocious dogrnaround the neck while holding a loaded gun to the animal’srnhead. “Say Nice Things About Detroit,” the T-shirt read. ThernT-shirt is a commentary on Detroit’s international reputation asrna rough working-class industrial town where cars are built andrnmore than one dispute has been settled vith fisticuffs.rnDetroit came of age in the 20th centur’ as a city of struggle.rnTwo in particular have withstood history’s test. The Battle ofrnthe Overpass took place in 1937 in nearby LOearborn, pittingrnHenr}’ Ford’s securit’ chief Harn,’ Bennett and his goons againstrnWalter P. Reuther, Richard Frankensteen, and organizers fromrnthe nascent United Automobile Workers (UAW). The battlernended in bloodshed and a social contract, largely forgotten byrntoday’s yuppie journalists, that dramahcallv improved the economicrnlives of millions of working-class Americans for hvo generations.rnThe UAW agreed to supply the automobile companiesrnwith labor; in exchange, the auto companies proidedrnunion members with salaries decent enough to afford a middleclassrnexistence.rnThe Riot of 1967, an urban uprising of the poor, produced arnsadder ending. Forty-three people were killed in five days of thernmost costly riodng, at the time, in I I S . history. As Paige St.rnJohn wrote in a recent piece for the Sunday journal, a weeklyrnproduced by striking workers at Detroit’s two dailies, the FreernPress (Knight-Ridder) and News (Gannett), Detroit’s white liberalrnmavor, Jerome P. Cavanagh, “had told America that hernGreg Kaza is a retired Michigan state representative.rncoidd weave a net of social programs that would not just catchrnbut uplift the urban poor. The Kennedy administration financedrnit. America believed it. Cavanagh’s strong Irish facernshone on the inside pages oiNewsweek and on the cover of Lookrnmagazine.” As riots flared in other cities, Cavanagh thoughtrnDetroit would be spared. After all, Detroit was the town wherernBobbv Kennedy rode in an open-air convertible, shaking thernhands of the urban poor, an image caught in a memorable photornthat seemed to offer so much hope. Yet there it was, burningrnbefore the world for three days while crafty President LyndonrnBaines Johnson delayed Michigan Governor George Romney’srnrequest for federal troops. Cavanagh’s son Mark, today a judge,rnbelieves Johnson used the riots to puncture Romney’s hopes forrnthe Republican presidential nomination. He is not alone.rnBut there is a deeper irony at work in “Say Nice Thingsrn-About Detroit.” The slogan was coined by a local suburbanrnshopkeeper and civic booster, Emily Gail, who later moved tornHawaii. News columnist Pete Waldmeir, the closest thing Detroitrnhas to a Mike Royko-stle journalist, had a different suggestion:rn”I’m talking about settling on a new slogan for Detroit—rnsomething catchy that folks from around the country and thernworld will immediately identify with my hometown.” Waldmeirrnwrites:rnNew York is the Big Apple. Chicago is the Windy City.rnNew Orleans is the Big Easy and Philadelphia’s the Cityrnof Brotherly Love.. . . Even European cities have identifyingrnmonikers. Paris, for instance, is the City of Lights;rnRome is the Eternal City , . . Detroit, alas, has had manyrndifferent tags hung on it over the years. . . Motor Git)’.. .rn18/CHRONICLESrnrnrn