Friday, July 25, 2008

Mayor Kilpatrick In Even More Trouble

Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick allegedly shoved a Wayne County sheriff's deputy yesterday afternoon while the deputy was attempting to serve a subpoena at his sister's home. The news media - and much of Detroit - has been abuzz about this ever since it happened.

Of course, in all of this hubbub, there is one important detail that I think has been largely ignored. This incident happened at 4 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon - a time when most Detroiters are still at work. This, of course, means that the entire incident could have been avoided if Mayor Kilpatrick was at his office doing his job instead of spending time at his sister's house.

But then again, I believe this is a good illustration of Mayor Kilpatrick's problems and their cause. If he had simply spent more time doing his job over the past year, and less time doing everything else, then both he and Detroit as a whole would be in a much better condition.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Welcome to the Club

When I started the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog, I was the only one doing anything like this. (Well, there was the Dearborn Blog - but he wimped out just because of school.)

Anyway, I'm proud to say that I've been joined in the vastness of cyberspace by the Joy-Southfield Blog. Check it out.

Mailbag: Bike Registration

In response to my post about registering bicycles at the Northwest District during National Night Out, CTTopflight wrote in to say:
Just to let you know that I called over to a precint today, because NW line was busy, to ask how much the licenses cost. Well I was informed that they were $1 and that there were also SOLD OUT, not a license is available in the city is what I was told. Frank did the NW district set aside permits for Aug 5th?
Thanks for letting me know. The community relations officers simply said that they would do the bike registration. They didn't say anything about setting aside permits.

I presume they will have enough permits for this event - especially since they know about it weeks ahead of time.

Mailbag: Political Candidates

In response to my post about the numerous mayoral candidates, CTTopflight wrote in to say:
If we have too, (that is listen) let's get these people to come to (1) one meeting and not to every meeting every month. I refuse to hear candidates that just pop-up without notice and expects us to hear their platform. Appointments, Appointments, Appointments, Please.
Actually, I was thinking of one opening meeting that is separate from our usual monthly meetings. It would just be the mayoral candidates. We'd start by allowing each of them to make a brief statement; after that there would be a series of questions for them.

I'd like to do a similar meet the candidates event for all of the City Council and City Clerk candidates as well.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Many Potential Mayors

The Detroit Free Press ran an article in Sunday's edition about the seven different individuals who may compete for Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's job next year. I'm probably biased in this, but my favorite part of the article was:

The possibility that so many major figures will run is exciting, but emphasis on personalities cannot be allowed to overwhelm the major issues facing the city, said Frank Nemecek, president of the Warrendale Community Organization on the city's west side.

"Hopefully, there will be a very candid discussion about police response time and core city services," he said.

Yes, my publicist earned his paycheck that day.

Or at least he would've if I was paying my publicist.

Or if I had a publicist to begin with.

But I digress.

Anyway, the next paragraph has me thinking that former police chief Benny Napoleon might be a very good candidate for mayor.

Napoleon, who ran against Kilpatrick in 2005 but didn't make it out of the primary, said Nemecek's concerns, particularly those about public safety, are foremost on his agenda. Napoleon said he has spent time listening to residents, community activists and business leaders who want concrete solutions to the city's crime issues.

"Making Detroit a safe city needs to be the No. 1 priority of the mayor," said Napoleon, an assistant Wayne County executive.

I talked with Mr. Napoleon on several occasions back when he was Detroit's police chief and I was vice president of the Warrendale Community Organization. I was always impressed with his candor, intelligence and professionalism.

I'm certainly not making an endorsement this early into the campaign. However, I think that Benny Napoleon is a candidate to watch very closely in the coming weeks and months.

In related news, when we as a community get closer to selecting our next mayor and city council, you can expect to see the Warrendale Community Organization and some of the other groups sponsoring a debate amongst the various candidates.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Bike Registration - August 5

The Warrendale Community Organization and Northwest District of the Detroit Police Department will hold a bike registration event during National Night Out, which is Tuesday, August 5th. Police officers will register bicycles at the Northwest District starting at 6 p.m. The District is located at 11450 Warwick in Detroit; a map to that location is available here.

Bicycle registration has been required under a City ordinance since 1964. However, the Detroit Police Department, in a controversial move, recently announced that they would begin ticketing those whose bicycles are not registered.

The main criticism of the licensing plan was always the fact that cyclists could only get this license between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Since most people work during those hours and could not reasonably get a bicycle license, many Detroiters argued that this was little more than an excuse for the City to collect the $55 for riding a bicycle that isn't licensed. Having this registration period during the evening is one way of combating this perception.

There are a few details that everyone should now about obtaining a bicycle license:
  • It is preferred that the bicycle in question be brought to the District in order to obtain this license;
  • If bringing the bicycle in isn't practical, cyclists may also obtain a license at this event as along as they can tell officers the make/model, color and serial number of their bicycle; and
  • Children must have a parent or guardian with them when they register their bicycles.
The Warrendale Community Organization invites all Detroiters to attend the National Night Out at the Northwest District and get their bicycles registered.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Embarrassed by AFSCME

Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick and the Greening of Detroit recently signed a deal to allow the Detroit-based non-profit to take over the abandoned W.I. Meyers Nursery, a 125-acre plot located inside Rouge Park that has been closed for more than three years. Unfortunately, Local 345 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees filed a lawsuit in the Wayne County Circuit Court to block this effort.

The union says their collective bargaining agreement applies to any deals to turn over control of city operations to a third party. My problem with their argument is that once the nursery stops operating, it is - by definition - no longer a city operation. This is especially true in cases like this where a tree nursery isn't a mandated function under the City of Detroit's Charter.

If AFSCME's argument is taken to its logical conclusion, no charity would be allowed to set up a soup kitchen or house the homeless because that is also something that the City of Detroit used to do.

If there were any city funds being used to re-open this for the Greening of Detroit then they would have a point. However, that simply isn't the case. Greening of Detroit is using private donations to support this effort.

The fact that AFSCME is blocking this deal is, in my opinion, an embarrassment to organized labor. Frivolous lawsuits like this are often used as example of why we shouldn't even have labor unions any longer and why Michigan should become a Right to Work state.

The whole thing is simply an embarrassment to Detroit and to the entire labor movement.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Archery - Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week

The Fred Bear Historical Tournament is an archery competion that will take place at the archery range in Rouge Park this coming Saturday, July 19, at 10 a.m. The archery range is located off of Spinoza, north of Joy Rd. This just down the road from the old horse barn.

I used to practice archery back in my Boy Scout days. I'm sad that I never really kept up with it.

For those who aren't familiar with Fred Bear and his contributions to archery, or his life in Detroit, please take a moment to read his brief biography. Before being immortalized in one of Ted Nugent's songs, Mr. Bear worked in Detroit's automotive industry and made archery products on the side.

With all of that, I am proud to proclaim the Fred Bear Historical Tournament the Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week.

Endorsing Gabe Leland

Long-time readers of the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog may well recall that two years ago, I endorsed the Republican challenger for the State House seat in our neighborhood. Today, however, I'm endorsing the incumbent Democrat, State Representative Gabe Leland, who is running for re-election this year.

Over the past two years, as president of the Warrendale Community Organization, I have seen a tremendous amount of growth and accomplishment in Representative Leland. In the past two years, he has taken some important and often unpopular stands:
  • Gabe Leland was one of the primary sponsors of House Joint Resolution BB, which would have amended Michigan's Constitution to provide for a part-time legislature and to cut their pay;
  • With home foreclosures on the rise, Gabe Leland voted for the Michigan Home Loan Protection Act that would put an end to the predatory lending that drove the current mortgage crisis;
  • In spite of overwhelming opposition from the insurance industry, Gabe Leland sponsored legislation that would have required insurance associations to comply with the Open Meetings Act to bring their deliberations into the public realm and make it harder for them to discriminate against inner city residents.
  • Gabe Leland also sponsored the Motor City Make Over in each of the past two years, helping the Warrendale Community Organization clean the southbound Southfield Freeway service drive from Joy Road to Ford Road.
All of this, of course, is in addition to hosting regular meetings with the community and his other duties in the Michigan Legislature, where he sits on four legislative committees.

In short, I believe that State Representative Gabe Leland has proven to be a tremendous asset to the Warrendale neighborhood, to Detroit as a whole and to the people of Michigan. I am proud to offer him my personal endorsement in the coming election.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Joy-Southfield Community Fair

The seventh annual Joy-Southfield Community Fair will happen this weekend on Saturday, July 19, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. This free event will be host to helpful information from local health and social service providers as well as a variety of entertainment, tasty food and games for the kids.

The community fair will happen at the Joy-Southfield Health & Education Center, which is located at 18917 Joy Road in Detroit.

Please click here for a flier with more details (Adobe Reader required).

Friends of Rouge Park Meet Tomorrow

The Friends of Rouge Park will meet tomorrow evening, July 16th, at 6:00pm in the Rouge Park Heritage Center. The Center, for those who aren't familiar with it, was formerly also known as the Buffalo Soldiers horse barn on Joy Road just west of Spinoza.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

More Stupidity from DPD

I've come to the conclusion that someone somewhere is offering a multi-million dollar prize to the person who makes the stupidest decision in 2008. That really is the only way I can think of to explain some of the blatant nonsense that has come out of the Detroit Police Department's leadership in recent days.

The most recent round of stupidity focuses on the Department's decision to levying $55 fines against anyone whose bicycle isn't licensed. The license in question has been on the books since 1964. However, it's rarely been enforced.

The decision to start enforcing this one - after 44 years of not doing so - is perplexing. It's made even worse by the fact that one can only get this license:
  • At a police station (the closest one to the Warrendale neighborhood is the Northwestern District at 11450 Warwick St.); and
  • Even then, one can only get this license between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The fact that one can only get this license during those hours means that most people will have to either take time off of work to go get it, take time off of work to fight the ticket in court or simply pay $55 every time they want to ride a bicycle in Detroit.

None of these options sounds all that appealing.