Anna Clark

Anna Clark is a writer and journalist living in Detroit. She maintains the literary and social justice website, Isak.

Recent Articles

Will Economic Populism Win Back the Midwest for Democrats?

The decline of industrial unions and significant demographic changes portend challenging times for the region’s Democrats. 

AP Photo/Mesabi Daily News, Mark Sauer
It was just one more embarrassment for Healthcare.gov. When the White House unveiled a map of the country last November that detailed Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, something was missing: half the state of Michigan. The Upper Peninsula—the richly forested swath of land north of the “mitten”—was shorn clean off. Dan Benishek, the region’s Republican congressman, posted the faulty map on his Facebook page and wrote: “It makes you wonder if the president’s omission of the entire U.P. from his maps is reflective of his views of us Yoopers?” That’s the nickname for U.P. residents: Yoopers. An idiosyncratic name for an idiosyncratic place. While it contains nearly 30 percent of the state’s land, the U.P. has only 3 percent of the state’s population. Most residents are white descendants of Scandinavian, German, and Italian immigrants who came here to mine. In the mid-19th century, the U.P. produced more...

Racing to Run a City without a Motor

AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File
This piece is the second in a two-part series about the Detroit mayoral race. Read part one on Mayor Dave Bing's legacy here. Perhaps the most amazing story of the Detroit mayoral race is that the candidates are running like it matters. The city is in the throes of bankruptcy, with nearly $20 billion in debts and long-term liabilities. It’s too soon to tell what settlement or terms Detroit will have to abide by in the years to come. Meanwhile, emergency manager Kevyn Orr, a lawyer appointed by Governor Rick Snyder in March, has the authority of both mayor and council for at least another year. He’s using that authority, too, leaving Mayor Dave Bing ( who is not running for re-election ) with little decision-making power in his final months in office. Facing this new governance, several city councilmembers opted to resign, or to not run for re-election this year. The president pro tem left for a $225,000 a year job in Orr’s office. One couldn’t be blamed for...

Dave Bing’s Detroit

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
Cal Sport Media via AP Images This piece is the first in a two-part series about the Detroit mayoral race. Check in tomorrow for part two, about the Democratic candidates currently campaigning. You could say that Dave Bing is a celebrity politician. But Detroit’s mayor is so mild-mannered, it’s easy to forget that he’s a Hall of Fame basketball star who was drafted second overall in 1966, earned Rookie of the Year honors, and played in the NBA for 12 seasons—most of them, naturally, with the Detroit Pistons. The league chose him as one of its 50 greatest players in 1996, and the Pistons retired his number. But that’s all history. When Detroiters elected Dave Bing to the city’s top office four years ago, it wasn’t because of his fame. It was because he was boring. When the 65-year-old Bing declared his intention to run back in 2008, Detroit had become something of a spectacle. Kwame Kilpatrick, the city’s young and talented two-term mayor...

Red Wings Give You Bull

Why is a bankrupt city building a new $650 million “hockey arena district” to house the Detroit Red Wings?

*/ AP Photo While the state of Michigan appears to have no interest in “bailing out” Detroit, it is giving a substantial boost to the Red Wings, the city’s professional hockey team. Less than a week after Detroit filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy in history, a press conference revealed a deal that will transform 45 blocks of the city with a new hockey arena (or “events center,” as the jargon goes) and a mixed-use entertainment district meant to link two of the city’s healthiest neighborhoods—downtown and midtown. “This is a catalyst project,” Governor Rick Snyder said, according to Crain’s Detroit Business . “This is going to be where the Red Wings are. Who doesn't get fired up in Detroit about the Red Wings? Come on now, the people that are criticizing are people from outside of Michigan. This is something that is important to all of us.” The Red Wings are one of the city’s calling cards most...

All the World’s Eyes on the Globe’s Stage

flickr/dpstyles™
AP Photo/Charles Krupa The Boston Globe has been through a tough year, or ten. The New York Times Company announced in February that it is putting the Globe up for sale. By shedding the New England Media Group from its holdings—which includes the Globe ’s online presence and the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester, Massachusetts—the media giant is ridding itself of its last remaining venture into print publishing outside of The New York Times . This slow attrition of the Boston Globe’s life force began in 2009, when The New York Times Company announced that it would shutter the Boston newspaper within 60 days if unions didn’t agree to $20 million in cuts. The equivalent of 50 full-time jobs were eliminated through buy-outs and lay-offs. Union employees had their pay reduced by 5 percent, and pension contributions ended. Later that year, the company tried unsuccessfully to sell the Globe . This week, potential buyers have weighed in with their initial bids...

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