Tuesday, March 31, 2009

300

I posted, w-a-a-y back in January of this year, about the Warrendale, Detroit group that exists on Facebook. Back then, I was excited that the group had 97 members and was headed quickly for 100.

This, of course, was in January. A lot changes in a few short weeks.

This afternoon, the Warrendale group welcomed its 300th member to our little corner of cyber-space. It connects current Warrendale residents with other residents and business owners as well as folks who used to live here or who otherwise have an interest in the neighborhood.

The group has also organized or promoted 13 different events to date. This enables everyone can meet each other face-to-face.

When I started the group back in August, I never really thought it would even reach the 100 member mark. Now, with very little marketing effort behind it, Warrendale's Facebook group just continues to grow and grow.

I have to admit that I'm pleased with the way this group has grown. However, with it hitting the 300 member mark, I have to admit that I have this sudden desire to walk around the neighborhood; asking people what their profession is.



I love YouTube.

Good Bye, Harry's Department Store

The former Harry's Department Store (19420 W. Warren) has been vacant for years and was torched by an arsonist last August. For the past seven months, it has sat dormant and boarded up.

However, this past weekend, the building was demolished.

Pray for Warrendale

There's no denying that the Warrendale neighborhood, and indeed all of Michigan, has a variety of problems at the moment. There's new group on Facebook called the Warrendale Prayer Warriors that is doing what they can. As their name suggests, they are dedicated to pray collectively for the neighborhood.

Prayer requests can be sent to warrendaleprayerwarriors [at] yahoo [dot] com.

If you are currently on Facebook and have an interest in learning more, please check out the group.

Cobo Quandry to Continue

Judge Isidore Torres of the Third Circuit Court has postponed his ruling indefinitely as to whether or not Interim Mayor Kenneth V. Cockrel, Jr. has the legal authority to veto the Detroit City Council's rejection of a plan to expand and regionalize Cobo Hall (1 Washington Blvd.). Reportedly, talks are under way among the various parties to amend the Cobo plan in such a way as to resolve the various concerns.

Quite frankly, I'm thrilled by this news. I hope everyone is able to come to some sort of an agreement that will enable this deal to move forward.

Of course, I also hope that the Mayor and City Council will be able to show the same diligence and expedience about improving police response, particularly in Warrendale as well as in Detroit's other neighborhoods. Since this saga with Cobo began, it's estimated that 20,500 police emergency calls to Detroit's 9-1-1 system have gone unanswered.

In spite of this, neither Mr. Cockrel nor the City Council have done anything to address this problem.
  • No discussions about how police resources are allocated;
  • No action to improve the Detroit Police Department's staffing levels - either civilian or uniformed;
  • No action to improve compensation, training or retention among police officers;
  • No action to improve the Detroit Police Department's infrastructure needs other than a few mini-stations, which have already proven to be ineffective;
  • No action to replacing Detroit Police Department's troubled Crisnet police report system, even though an internal DPD memo from September 28, 2006 showed that "department's ability to maintain its core functions in an efficient and effective manner has been greatly challenged" because of this system; and
  • No progress towards implementing a verified response system, similar to what police departments in most major cities use, to deal with false alarms.
The debate over Cobo should resolve itself soon. Detroit will most likely retain ownership of the building while granting operational control to this new regional authority.

The question that I wonder is: once that is resolved, will the Mayor and City Council finally start to address some of the fundamental issues within the Detroit Police Department?

Editor's Note: For a detailed explanation as to how I derived at the estimated number of 9-1-1 calls that go unanswered, please click here.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour is This Evening

Earth Hour is this evening at 8:30 p.m. Folks from around the world will be turning off their lights for one hour to show their support for the environment and to campaign against global warming.

The whole thing really hasn't gotten much attention in the Detroit area. Every time I've mentioned this to anyone, I usually get a comment about how it seems silly or how going a single hour with using electricity won't change anything.

My rebuttal to that is always the same. Turning your lights off for that hour serves as a reminder to you and everyone else of that fact that you can live your life and be happy without constantly burning electricity. Once you do it for an hour, you start to realize how easy it to make some important changes.

Doing it in conjunction with everyone else on the planet makes you realize that we all really are connected to one another.

Besides, if Obama Girl thinks it's a good idea then you know it's cool.



voteearth Warrendale (Detroit)

I Feel Bad

Wow! The internet makes some strange connections sometimes.

I was just looking at my "Rainy Day in Warrendale" video (see post below) when I noticed one of the related videos that YouTube found for me. It was a music video by a band called Lost Avenue. Their video for "Get Back to You" is filled with clips from the Warrendale neighborhood.



I'm embarassed to admit that this video has been on-line for almost two years and I'm just seeing it now. If you'll excuse me, I must now hang my head in utter shame.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Good Plan Gets Ruined

It's always amazing how a really good plan can get messed up so quickly. Unfortunately, there isn't an exception to this when it comes to blogging and making web videos.

A couple of weeks ago, the streets of Warrendale were flooded with rain water that wasn't able to flow down the storm drains. Those aforementioned drains were clogged with assorted debris that no one ever bothered to clear away.

I had the novel idea of making a short video that I would stick on YouTube. I start by showing the flooded street then I would show how easy it was to solve the problem by clearing away the debris that was clogging these storm drains with a shovel.

Brilliant idea, right?

Yeah, I thought so, too.

Well, that idea got broadsided by Murphy's Law. I spent almost an hour in the rain trying to find the [explitive deleted] storm drain that was hiding under all that water. I eventually gave up and stormed away, convinced I could hear that Murphy guy laughing at me somewhere.

Anyway, I did record a few seconds of video. It's the before shot that never got it's after version. I wasn't sure what I should do with it. I finally decided to admit my defeat publicly by posting it here.



Cool, huh? You can clearly tell that I make videos like this for a living.

Anyway, just imagine how cool my short video would have been if you actually got to see a shovelful of muck being hauled up to the surface; followed immediately thereafter by the gushing water as it flowed down the newly freed storm drain. The end credits then would have rolled as we saw normal, healthy streetlife return to Warrendale.

I swear, I could have won a Webby if my plan had worked.

Oh, well. Maybe next time.

Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week: The Warrendale Slate

There are only 5 more days left of voting in the Metro Times "Best of Detroit" reader poll. Unfortunately, I've been a bad blogger. I haven't been pushing a Warrendale slate this year. Luckily, there's still time for me to make up for that.

We are lucky as a neighborhood to have some great businesses. In some cases, such as car washes, restaurants under $15 and others, there is more than one deserving business. Since we can only have one entry, I made a judgment call about what I thought was the most deserving business and where such a win would have the most impact.

Without further ado, I give you the Warrendale Slate for the 2009 "Best of Detroit" poll. The entire slate, of course, is also my Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week. (Yeah, I'm a day late with this, too. I suck. I know it.)

The Public Square
I know this doesn't happen in the Warrendale neighborhood, but it is one of my projects and it doesn't have a Warrendale equivalent (for now). Therefore, I'm including the Detroit Windsor International Film Festival as "Best Local Film Festival".

I recommend the Rouge Park Golf Course (11701 Burt Rd.) as "Best Golf Course". I also recommend Rouge Park itself as "Best Place to Picnic".

As for the "Best Local Web Site", it shouldn't come as any surprise that I'm campaigning for the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog.

The Real Deals
I recommend Warrendale Tobacco Shop (20030 W. Warren Ave.) as "Best Smoke Shop" and Movie Mania Metro (18251 W. Warren Ave.) as "Best Video Selection". I also recommend one of the neighborhood's oldest businesses, Metro Music on the Southfield Freeway service drive, as "Best Music Instrument Store".

Finally, I recommend Star Auto Wash (18401 W. Warren Ave.) as "Best Car Wash".

Nutritional Value
There are lots of very good bars and restaurants in the Warrendale neighborhood, as my waist line will attest. We don't have something for every category in the Metro Times' list, but here are my nominees for the ones that we do have.
Up All Night
I wasn't sure what category to put Chick's Bar (18550 W. Warren). Unfortunately, there isn't a category for "Place Most Like Cheers". However, after talking with the owner, I am nominating Chick's Bar for "Best Dive Bar".

My final suggestion is one that is bound to be somewhat controversial because there are some folks in the neighborhood who don't want to be reminded that Warrendale even has a strip club in our midst. However, the fact of the matter is that the staff at the Toy Chest (18728 Ford Rd.) make their place what such a place should be from an urban planning stand point.
  • They provide their customers with a quality - and legal - service;
  • They pay taxes to support many of the things we need as a community;
  • They provide jobs to area residents - including ones where you get to keep your clothes on;
  • They keep the exterior of their place extremely clean; and
  • The police never have to be called as a result of anything that happens inside or outside of their club.
Toy Chest is also one of the few such clubs that are owned by a woman. Before anyone starts using the fact that I know as a further proof that I'm a pervert, I learned this by watching a story about the place on channel 4 news awhile back.

The only complaint I've ever heard from anyone in the neighborhood is that, with the current economy making things tight for a lot of people, a certain number of their customers have taken to parking on neighboring side streets instead of paying a few dollars for valet parking in their lot. This is a legitimate complaint. However, after listening to the complaints that most other neighborhoods have about their strip clubs, I have to conclude that it's a fairly minor issue.

As a result, for the second year in a row, I nominate Toy Chest as "Best Strip Club". They won "Best Upscale Strip Club" last year, but the Metro Times has consolidated the categories this year.

I encourage everyone to visit the Metro Times web site and vote on-line.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Friends of Rouge Park Meeting

The Friends of Rouge Park will have their next general membership meeting tomorrow on Tuesday, March. 17. Their meeting begins at 6 p.m. at St. Suzanne School (19321 W. Chicago). Please enter through the back door, which is off the parking lot and ring the bell if the door is locked.

The Friends of Rouge Park Meeting Date has been changed to the Third TUESDAY of each month. Please mark your calendars.

More info is available at http://www.rougepark.org/

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Unanswered 9-1-1 Calls Explained

I received an email from a reporter recently, inquiring about my estimate of 500 police emergency calls to the 9-1-1 system that go unanswered every day. As I was typing my response, I realized that I should have already posted something on this blog to explain that number. With apologies for the delay, I present it now.

Before going into detail, I should mention that the Detroit Police Department has been unwilling to produce any official information about how many calls for police service go unresponded to (i.e., "drop off the board"). Therefore, relying on an estimate is the best that I or anyone else can could do.

Here's how I derived at the 500 calls per day figure.

A lieutenant from the Detroit Police Department attended a meeting of the Warrendale Community Organization a few months ago. During a question and answer period with its membership, he said that the Northwest District currently has an average of 40-45 9-1-1 calls go unresponded to each shift. I talked with other officers in the Northwest District who said that number is fairly accurate.

There are 3 shifts each day. 40-45 (number of unresponded calls) x 3 (number of shifts) = 120-135 calls that are presumably dropping off the board each day, just within the Northwest District.

The Northwest District is one of six police districts. 120 (lower end of that spectrum) x 6 (number of districts) = 720 calls that are presumably going without a proper response on a citywide basis each day.

Since I'm only using an estimate, as opposed to official results, I added a margin of error for sampling and assumed that the true number is only 70% of that number. 720 x 70% = 504

I, of course, rounded the 504 number down to an even 500 for the estimated average number of calls dropping off the board each day.

All of this, of course, is only an estimate that is based largely on deductive reasoning. It is possible that the true number of calls that go unresponded to is lower. However, because I was fairly conservative in my calculations, it is far more likely that the true number is actually higher.

If the Detroit Police Department ever releases any figures that put this number differently then I will post a correction. Until that happens, or until someone can show me a better estimate, I will continue using my 500 calls per day estimate.

As a related note, I should add that the Warrendale Community Organization called on the Detroit Police Department to report its 9-1-1 statistics last October. They asked the Department to report:
  • Number of police calls going into the 9-1-1 system;
  • Number of such calls that resulted in an officer showing up; and
  • Average response time for said calls.
Having that data not only enables bloggers like me to make arguments based on solid data instead of estimates, it enables everyone else to answer questions like: are things getting better or worse?

The Department, unfortunately, chose not to do so.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Cobo Question

The Detroit City Council voted yesterday to appoint a special counsel who will challenge Interim Mayor Kenneth V. Cockrel, Jr.'s veto of a resolution disapproving of the proposed Cobo deal. This court case will resolve - eventually - the fundamental question of whether or not Mr. Cockrel had the legal authority to veto such a resolution.

Some folks who don't live in Detroit, or who live inside of a gated community, are excited about Mr. Cockrel's veto.

The majority of attorneys that I've talked to have told me that - with the way the Michigan Legislature structured the Cobo deal - Mr. Cockrel did not have such an authority. Some of have even gone on to argue privately that he reasonably should have known that he didn't have said authority.

In that context, one could argue that his veto was really little more than a show to protect Mr. Cockrel's only accomplishment in advance of the May special election, which will determine whether or not he gets to keep his job.

However, it's also possible that I hang out with attorneys who are too cynical for their own good.

The Third Circuit Court will eventually make its ruling on this matter. Once they do, a prolonged series of challenges will likely ensue. This essentially guarantees that both the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court will have an opportunity to opine on this matter.

I'm confident that the courts will resolve this question. It will take some time, of course. However, I'm confident that they will weigh all sides of the argument and come to an appropriate decision.

In the meantime, I wonder about one thing: since the Cobo quandary started two weeks ago, it is estimated that more than 7,000 police emergency calls to Detroit's 9-1-1 system went without a response. This represents 7,000 instances in which the leadership of the Detroit Police Department failed its basic mission, which is to serve and protect.

Neither Mr. Cockrel nor the City Council have done anything to address this problem.
  • No discussions about how police resources are allocated;
  • No action to improve DPD staffing levels - either civilian or uniformed;
  • No action to improve compensation, training or retention among police officers; and
  • No action to improve DPD's infrastructure needs other than a few mini-stations, which have already proven to be ineffective.
And none of the media outlets have reported on this.

What court should those 7,000 Detroiters file their lawsuit in?

Former Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick filed a $100 million lawsuit against SkyTel for violating his right to privacy. Where do Detroiters file our $100 million lawsuit for violating our right to have a functioning government?

Monday, March 09, 2009

Bulk Purchases of Detroit Homes

The Associate Press is reporting on a growing trend for investors: to purchase large numbers of foreclosed properties in places like Detroit in hopes that they will make a dramatic profit once the housing market returns to levels that are at least close to normal. This trend has been going on for several months. However, now that the news media is reporting it, one can only presume that we will see more and more people from outside the Detroit area purchasing these properties.

Since the Warrendale neighborhood is the epicenter for the mortgage crisis in southeastern Michigan, and since the neighborhood's housing market was historically among the strongest in Detroit, it's safe to assume that we will receive more than our fair share of investors flocking to us.

On its surface, I believe that this trend the potential to be a very positive thing for the Warrendale neighborhood. Housing prices, like any other price after all, are a function of supply and demand. When these investors swoop in, they naturally create a demand for these properties that did not exist before; thereby increasing prices. Since bringing these prices closer to their historic norms is advantageous to current homeowners, there is a potential value to this trend for those of who live here.

However, and this is the important part, there is a huge difference between a potential for something to be positive and the actual positive effect.

All one has to do is look at the plethora of vacant properties elsewhere in Detroit to realize that, far too often, the "investors" who own these properties get too impatient in their desire for a profit. Once that happens, they stop maintaining the property the way that it should. Grass doesn't get cut. Vandals strip anything from a property that they can.

This is a condition that historic preservationists call demolition by neglect. The only way to combat this is through effective and active enforcement of the building codes. Unfortunately, the City of Detroit has not done a very good job of this in the past.

The other possible outcome from this lack of patience is that the "investors" simply torch the property for its insurance money. While this isn't as common as the demolition by neglect option, it is something that definitely happens within in the neighborhood. Worse yet, it's something that is on the rise.

And that, more than anything else, is what worries me.

It's a danger to the fire fighters who are called in to combat these blazes, such was the case in the arson that led to death of Senior Fire Fighter Walter Harris last November.

It's also a detriment to the homes that are left because very few people want to buy a home that is near a burned out hulk. These homes can be demolished at an estimated cost of $10 - $15,000 per structure. This, of course, strains the City's already limited budget. Demolition also leaves a hole in the urban fabric of our neighborhood; an empty spot where something should be standing.

Therefore, I believe that the best course of action is one of prevention: to encourage these investors to mothball their properties until the market begins to improve. I also believe that the City ought to enforce code violations aggressively.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Warrendale Gets Buzzed

It's true. The Warrendale neighborhood - and the rest of metro Detroit, for that matter - are going to get buzzed.

By the International Space Station.

(Okay. Okay. It's kind of a lame joke, but I can only make it so often. I may as well do so.)

Anyway, for the next few days, Detroiters have a rare chance to see the International Space Station for their own backyards. Between now and Monday morning, the ISS will be visible to the naked eye for a few short moments each day - usually in the early morning hours.

Between this and the launch of the Kepler mission, I am officially in geek heaven.

More of this, of course, is over on my personal blog.

Foreclosure Seminar

The New Hope Non-Profit Housing Development Corp. is hosting a foreclosure prevention seminar this coming Tuesday, March 10, at 6:30 p.m. This seminar will take place at the Bushnell Congregational Church (15000 Southfield Fwy. at Grand River).

The public is invited learn how they can fight predatory lending and avoid foreclosure in these challenging economic times. This event is free, but space is limited. Please call (313) 255-6275 to RSVP.

The seminar is sponsored by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Representatives from the Wayne County Treasurer's Office and the Fair Housing Alliance are expected to present.

A flyer for this event is available here.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week: Live Entertainment

It wasn't that long ago that live entertainment was something that was hard to find in the Warrendale neighborhood. I'm pleased to say this has changes, especially along Warrendale's southern border with Dearborn.

There are four bars or restaurants along Ford Road that each offer live entertainment, at least one night each week. It's my pleasure to recap them briefly here and proclaim them all to be the Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week.

Px Bar & Grill (18490 Ford Rd.) has been in operation for roughly 20 years now. Besides their great lunch and dinner specials, Px Bar & Grille also is currently featuring their own belly dancer three nights of the week. She performs Thursday through Saturday evenings, with shows at 9 and 10:30 p.m.

Px Bar & Grill also has a decent DJ who spins when she isn't performing.

Red Robin (18650 Ford Rd.) has a magician by the name of Ted Schave who performs table side for patrons on Wednesday evenings. He usually only stops by for a few minutes, in between when you place your order and when your food arrives. However, he manages to infuse those moments with a decent amount of entertainment; thereby making this Red Robin a worthwhile stop from anyone.

Toy Chest (18728 Ford Rd.) has long had its own kind of live entertainment. I should even point out that their entertainment won them inclusion on The Metro Times "Best of Detroit" List. Unfortunately, there are enough people in this town who think I'm a pervert already. As a result, I will refrain from making any additional comments about this place.

As a related side note, I don't know where this idea comes from. However, it's out there.

Last, but certainly not least, is relative new comer to Warrendale's restaurant scene - El Monterrey Mexican Restaurant (18950 Ford Rd.). Besides the good Mexican food and friendly service that they've become known for over the past several months, El Monterry also featues a live mariachi band every Thursday evening as well as Mexican singers on Saturday evenings.

At this point, all we need know is for the Chilli's and the Wendy's on Ford Road to start offering some kind of live entertainment to complete a sweep of every restaurant in that section of Warrendale.

All of this makes for an extensive Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week.

Breaking News: Cockrel Vetos Cobo Rejection

In a breaking news story that has been covered in Crain's Detroit Business, Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News - as well as a dozen or so other media outlets that I don't fee like linking to - Interim Mayor Ken Cockrel has vetoed the City Council's resolution to reject the proposed expansion of the Cobo Conference/Exhibition Center.

A court fight is expected over the question of whether or not Mr. Cockrel has the legal authority to veto this resolution. This litigation is likely to drag out for weeks, if not months. During this time, it's highly unlikely that any further progress will be made on the expansion of Cobo Hall.

In other breaking news, more than 500 Detroit residents are estimated to have called 9-1-1 within the past 24 hours alone to report a crime in progress only to not get any response from the Detroit Police Department. Unfortunately, this is a fairly typical day in Detroit's neighborhoods.

Neither Mr. Cockrel nor anyone of the City Council have done anything significant about this problem.
  • No discussions about how police resources are currently allocated;
  • No action to improve DPD staffing levels - either civilian or uniformed;
  • No action to improve compensation, training or retention among police officers; and
  • No action to improve DPD's infrastructure needs other than a few mini-stations, which have already proven to be ineffective.
And none of the media outlets have reported on this.

My response to these facts is contained here. I encourage everyone to read it very, very carefully.

MSHDA's Property Improvement Program

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority's (MSHDA) Property Improvement Program is once again offering low interest home improvement loans. This program is for single-family homeowners with low to moderate income. For purposes of this program, low to moderate income is defined as having an annual household income of no larger than $65,000.

Some of the home improvements that are eligible for this lending program include:
  • Furnaces and central air conditioning;
  • Garage or carport - either adding on or renovation;
  • Insulation;
  • Kitchen and bathroom remodeling;
  • Ramp installation;
  • Roofs - either repair or replacement;
  • Siding;
  • Solar water heating systems;
  • Wall to wall carpeting;
  • Windmills for home power;
  • Windows and other permanent improvements to homes.
These loans can be as low as $1,000 and up to $25,000 without using any equity in your home. With equity, homeowners can borrow up to $50,000. MSHDA can amortize loans up to 20 years to make payments affordable. Interest rates are 4%, 6%, or 8%, depending upon your income.

There is no application fee, no points or annual fees, and no penalty for early payoff. Automatic payment is available.

To get more details about the program, please check out their web site. You can also call 517-373-8017 (TTY: 1-800-382-4568).

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Mailbag: Endorsements (Part 1)

In response to my dual endorsement of Dave Bing and Freman Hendrix in the mayoral primary, David L. Malhalab wrote in to say:
frank frank
freman hendrix disqualified himself from the mayoral election by playing the - race card - concerning cobo hall.
his opposition is clearly a desperate attempt to appeal to the base instincts of many detroiters -that white suburbanites are trying to steal detroit assets.
cobo hall basement is a disgrace and its needs money desperately - just for maintenance and rehab, not expansion. detroit can no longer afford cobo hall.
cockrel failed to stand up and get the money ($4 - 12 million dollars) he told me mike ilitch (detroit tigers) owes the city, for failing to maintain and secure tiger stadium since 1999)
david bing is worth a try - sooner rather than later.
I will just say this in response: I made my dual endorsement days before Mr. Hendrix made his now infamous comments about the Cobo deal.

And then I was too busy at work to blog until well after the primary election.

Mailbag: Endorsements (Part 2)

Also, in response to my mayoral endorsements, Captain Tomorrow of the New Social Justice Team wrote in to say:
Change takes time, my friend, especially in our fair city. Any one of the myriad candidates will struggle to make any huge turnarounds in six months, some more than others. I don't think even the mighty Dave Bing can do much in such a short time. But hey, everyone's entitled to their own opinion.
First, I have to say that I love the handle "Captain Tomorrow".

Second, and more to the point of your comment, I agree with you completely that change will take time - especially in Detroit and especially within the context of our current economy. No one in their right mind would expect our Interim Mayor Ken Cockrel, or anyone else, to make huge turnaround within a six month time frame.

In fact, it's precisely because this change will take so long that I am profoundly disappointed in Mr. Cockrel. Since it will unquestionably take several years to bring about this transformation, we simply cannot afford to wait to get start. We have to start the process now or we will never get there.

And what has Ken Cockrel offered to start the process of bringing about Detroit's transformation?

Purely token gestures, such as the police mini-stations. In contemplating the importance of a mini-station, please consider this: officers within the Northwestern District tell me that they are seeing 30 - 40 calls to 9-1-1 that go unanswered on almost every shift. This is more calls for service than most police departments - entire departments; representing entire cities - have drop off the board in an entire year.

Really. How many 9-1-1 calls will a mini-station respond to?

In order to bring its performance up to par, the Detroit Police Department will need to hire a lot more police officers and shift many certified officers away from non-police duties such as manning a desk. We will also need to provide those officers with better training, better pay and better infrastructure and to hold them accountable for what they do on the job.

A mini-station doesn't do any of these things. It simply depletes resources that could be used elsewhere much more effectively. In a perfect world, I would love to have dozens of mini-stations across the city to supplement the larger stations. However, that's something that we can focus on once DPD's response times are at least close to par with national averages.

In addition, Mr. Cockrel hasn't done a lot of other things that will need to be done in our city. He hasn't completed the audit that's now almost a year overdue. He hasn't made any effort to consolidate the City of Detroit's bureaucracy.

He hasn't made any progress in dealing with vacant and foreclosed homes. This is important since the Warrendale neighborhood is essentially the epicenter of mortgage crisis in metro Detroit.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors collected the Best Practices of various cities across the nation to give other mayors guidance in how to respond to these challenges. However, none of that experience has been put to use in Detroit.

Of course, I don't expect Mr. Cockrel to solve all of Detroit's problems in only 6 months.

But I do expect him to get the process started.

Police Chase Ends (Badly) in Warrendale

One of the many stories that I wasn't able to post about last week involved a police chase that ended badly - at least for the suspect - along the southbound Southfield Freeway Service Drive, just north of Paul. It was shortly after 2:30 in the afternoon, a week ago Monday, when the black Pontiac Grand Am pictured below led Detroit police officers on a high-speed chase that ended when the officers bumped the suspect car causing it to crash into a light pole.

Thankfully there were no injuries in this matter. The suspect in question was immediately taken into custody by police. He did not appear to be injured when I saw him in the back of a police cruiser that afternoon.

The light pole that was hit in this crash was severely damaged. This, of course, is evidenced by the fact that the light is on the ground in the photo above. A week later, this pole still has not been repaired by the Detroit Public Lighting Department. It continues to lean at a 70 degree angle.

It's moments like these that cause me to remind everyone that it's really not a good idea to run away from the police. Just pull over and get a good lawyer, if you need one.