Debt, Salt Shortages, Protests: What's Ruining Our Cities This Week

Detroit outlines a plan to get itself out of debt, salt shortages are making a snowstorm near you even worse, and another week of violence is igniting in Kiev. It's this week's look at What's Ruining Our Cities.

Bankruptcy might not ruin Detroit

The largest bankruptcy filing in the country has a rosier future as Detroit released its proposal to repay its $18 billion debt to creditors. A document from the city called the "plan of adjustment" outlines financial strategy and more, reports the New York Times: "It will be accompanied by a disclosure statement that outlines the areas in which Detroit intends to reinvest in the city—like lowering police-response time, restoring streetlights and renewing blighted neighborhoods." The city might also make money by leasing out its water and sewer operations to a regional contractor. Less popular is an idea for reducing pensions for city workers. [New York Times]

A salt shortage is ruining the East

One of the reasons the latest polar vortex has felt so vortexy? A salt shortage has plagued weather-stricken cities throughout the U.S., leading some municipalities to turn to less effective alternatives as the latest blizzard sweeps through town. The plentiful standby sand doesn't work as well; beet juice (yes, beet juice!) is too expensive. Plus there's all sorts of bureaucratic issues as well: This week, 40,000 tons of salt were banned from the Port of Newark because the ship wasn't flying the American flag. The only thing that can solve this problem? Spring. [NPR, Gizmodo]

Fiery protests are ruining Kiev

We don't need to tell you about the deadly battle playing out between protesters and police in Kiev, Ukraine. Although the government declared a truce yesterday, fighting has continued, and at least 75 people have been killed. Most devastating is the fact that protesters are setting up fire blockades to keep police at bay—literally burning down the city to protect themselves. A shocking before-and-after image of the city's Independence Square illustrates the destruction. [CNN, Sploid]

Photo by Carlos Osorio/AP