With the latest reports of several towns in California filing for bankruptcy, and the growing problem of cities in default nationwide, I was reminded of the last time such a wave occurred. The 1970’s were a particularly harrowing period for the American city. Most famously was the economic crisis that faced New York City. But there were others, maybe not as headline-grabbing, but still as, if not more, dire. Cleveland was one, Denver was another. San Francisco – and the list went on.
Here is a documentary, produced as part of National Public Radio’s Options series, from September 30, 1975. It’s an attempt to cover what was a growing problem at the time. One which, by all accounts, appears to have come back to haunt, as most things that get swept under the carpet and ignored for a while so often do.
I guess you could call it the “band-aid over the severed limb” analogy.
We never really got around to fixing the problem. And we probably won’t this time either.