GUEST EDITORIAL – After all the turbulence and recent fiasco with Goodwill and the Dearborn City Planning Commission, I need to empty my brain on thoughts and impressions after living in Dearborn for a long time. Let me first say that I love Dearborn, its people, organizations, and businesses.
When Biggby opened, I switched from Starbucks, why should I send my money to Seattle, when I could support a local business? I believe that’s the best way to go.
Mike Guido was a real asset to the City, being the face of Dearborn, and also outside the community, and having Mark Guido, Chief of Staff, basically run the day to day operations of Dearborn.
Today our Mayor is micro managing everything, not being a good listener, talking a good talk, but doesn’t take suggestions or input from anyone. The result is visible with law suit after law suit, empty buildings and a City culture that makes businesses look twice before even thinking about coming to Dearborn.
The perception is that Dearborn is one of the most difficult cities in South East Michigan to do business with, open or start a business. (Remember: Perception is the truth, until you can show otherwise.) I have personally gone thru a situation where it took 7 months and a huge loss of revenues before getting a Certificate of Occupancy. Ask any business that opens up, if it was easy, and if the city was helpful moving in and starting up. Ask any contractor, ask any home owner, etc. I strongly believe that the City of Dearborn is its own biggest enemy.
I read comments after comments on blogs and opinions were people are “trashing” Dearborn leadership, both City Council and the Mayor, but very few suggestions on what and how it can be changed, so here are a few thoughts.
Where are we today?
- Why has our position in South East Michigan developed positively or negatively in recent years? (Define reasons for changes, directions, values, attitudes. etc)
- Who are our primary target groups today and how do we attempt to motivate and convince? (Attract business and new residents to come to Dearborn)
- Who are our competing cities, and how does our primary target group perceive them? (Their perception, not ours, regarding competing cities)
- How do we and our competing cities communicate with present target groups? (Analysis of communication strategies and messages used in order to understand the knowledge level, expectations and relationships with other cities.)
- What will it take for Dearborn to be the winner of the future?
How do we position ourselves?
- What are the real differences and features of Dearborn? (If we compare with other cities, Dearborn is the only one to offer…and the only one to offer more of…)
- What are the obvious advantages of coming to Dearborn? (If I compare our competing cities, I will get…)
- What are the emotional values that I have with this comparison? (If I choose Dearborn instead of competing cities, I will feel…)
- What are the human characteristics of Dearborn? (If Dearborn were a person, who would it be?)
Do we need an outside consulting firm to charge tens of thousands of dollars making a “feasibility study” of Camp Dearborn when we have all the knowledge and professionals inside Dearborn city limits?
Do we need a legal department with a number of lawyers when Dearborn Schools, who employees more people don’t have one?
Do we need to have a small number of citizens pay for the pools, when it can be done in other ways?
Do we need to keep working with a developer who does not fulfill his obligations?
These are a few thoughts for The City of Dearborn, its businesses and residents to consider going forward. But first, it is imperative to look inside City Hall and change the way it works. We need to focus on building relationships, and getting new businesses and people to move in, while keeping our present population in both West and East Dearborn. As it is today, Dearborn is its biggest enemy.