Wednesday, September 30, 2009

WWJ Newsradio 950 - Top Cop To Distribute Emergency Guides

Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans is reportedly going through Northwest Detroit today passing out the City of Detroit's new emergency guide.  I will let everyone know if he makes an appearance in Warrendale.

More details @
WWJ Newsradio 950 - Top Cop To Distribute Emergency Guides

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fine Way to Balance the Budget

I blogged before about the City of Detroit increasing the number of parking tickets that they write.  However, they seem to be increasing even more.

I stopped by PC Place (17051 W. Warren Ave.) last Thursday to pick up a new computer keyboard after I spilled Pepsi on my old one. I'm glad these guys are in the neighborhood and consistently cheap.

During the approximately ten minutes that I was in that store, the Municipal Parking Department swooped in.  They issued two parking tickets for offenses that I have never heard of them issuing a ticket for before:
  1. Parking within thirty feet of a stop sign; and
  2. Parking within twenty feet of a cross walk.
 Thankfully, my car wasn't one of those hit by these vultures.  I was able to escape this mandatory contribution to the municipal coffers.

Anyway, I just want to remind everyone that the City of Detroit is issuing parking tickets like they are going out of style.  I also want to remind everyone that spilling a can of Pepsi on your computer keyboard is a really bad idea.

5K Run to Benefit for Detroit College Promise

The Detroit College Promise 5K Run/Walk will be held on the Detroit Riverwalk (St. Antoine and Atwater) on Saturday, October 10. Participants can pre-register via Participants can also register on-site at 8 a.m. The race will start at 9 a.m.

Lunch and entertainment will be immediately following this run.  Awards will go to 3 deep per age group. Strollers and wheelchairs are welcome.

Proceeds from this run will benefit the Detroit College Promise, which provides scholarships to students at some of Detroit public high schools such as Cody High School (18445 Cathedral St.) in the Warrendale neighborhood.

Monday, September 28, 2009

City Council Candidate Forum Tonight

All eighteen of the candidates for the Detroit City Council will appear at a forum this evening, starting at 6 p.m. This event will happen at the Greater Grace Temple (23500 W. Seven Mile), which is approximately four miles north of the Warrendale neighborhood.

The moderators for this event are Huel Perkins from Fox 2, Angelo Henderson from WCHB and Stephanie Davis from WWJ.

This forum will be streamed live on

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tiger Stadium Is No More

Tiger Stadium died at 9:24 a.m. this morning when the last remaining piece of it finally fell.

Of course, now that Tiger Stadium is down, I'm sure George Jackson will announce his fully-funded plan to do something productive with the site; something that will contribute to the Corktown neighborhood and create jobs for Detroiters.

You know, the sort of thing that would've happened if he hadn't been allowed to block the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy from proceeding with their plan.

I'm sure he'll present it to us any day now.

10 Labor Unions Endorse Barrow

The Coalition of Organized Labor (COOL) today announced their endorsement of Detroit mayoral candidate Tom Barrow in the upcoming November 3 general election. This is the third major labor endorsement that Mr. Barrow has received in recent weeks. He has already received the nod from AFSCME and ATU, which is the bus drivers union.

COOL is comprised of 10 area labor organizations that represent several thousand members in Detroit.

“Mayor Dave Bing is not a leader we can support,” said Greg Murray, a COOL spokesperson and a district representative for the Senior Accountants, Analysts and Appraisers Association said in a prepared statement. “He has turned everything over to Charles Beckham and Norm White, the same retreads from Kilpatrick’s administration that got our city into the financial mess we are in now. Bing wants to privatize tax collections because he doesn’t have a clue how to do it the right way in the first place.”

“Bing turned our city’s finances over to Beckham and White, and they have turned it into a financial circus,” continued Murray. “Mr. Barrow has called for their resignations for months and he is right. Our city cries out for an organized and talented financial expert like Tom Barrow. He’ll get our audits in, initiate a financial review of the city’s records and structure the Detroit budget to serve people.”

“It is embarrassing that our city doesn’t even know who owes them money,” added Barrow. “They are laying people off without a good sense of their revenue and expenses. On day one of my administration, department heads will have to justify their budgets and not a single overrun will be approved. Every dime will be collected in my administration because we’ll implement accountable, online systems to process funds.”

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Grant Drawing for Senior Emergency Home Repair

Eligible low-income seniors in Warrendale can receive up to $12,000 for home repairs. The City of Detroit Planning and Development Department will hold its 3rd Annual Citywide Grant Drawing for the Senior Emergency Home Repair Program from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 26, in the Riverview Ballroom of the Cobo Conference/Exhibition Center (1 Washington Blvd.).

Low-income Detroit residents, ages 65 and older, or physically disabled persons 55 years or older may be eligible to receive grants up to $12,000 for emergency repairs to their home. This Annual Citywide Grant Drawing gives seniors a full day to enter their name in the random drawing, while various senior service providers are on hand to share information and resources, extend health-related services and engage seniors in activities to win prizes.

In order to be eligible, applicants must meet the following criteria:
  • Applicant must be at least 65 years of age or older. Physically disabled residents who are 55 years of age or older also qualify;
  • Applicant must be very low income;
  • Applicant must own and occupy the home; and
  • Applicant must not have received a prior rehab/repair grant from City Programs.
Examples of eligible emergency home repairs include furnaces, plumbing, roofs, electrical systems and structural repairs. The following items, however, are not eligible for funding:
  • All household appliances;
  • Carpeting;
  • Concrete-work, such as driveways;
  • Kitchen cabinets;
  • Plaster or drywall; and
  • Windows.
Also, any repair item that involves lead-based paint related is ineligible for this program. This would require a risk assessment and cannot be done as part of the drawing.

For more information, or to participate as a sponsor or vendor, call the Housing Services Division at (313) 224-3461. They are open between the hours of 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Monday, September 14, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Council By Districts to Go Before the City Council

According to an email that I received from Detroiters for Council by Districts, the ballot initiative to elect City Council members by district instead of at-large will go before the current City Council tomorrow (Tuesday, September 15) at 10 a.m. It's not clear at this point what the purpose is to this meeting tomorrow. However, it's rather unusual for any ballot initiative to have a hearing before the City Council.

More on this as the situation develops.

BREAKING NEWS: FBI Searches Old Lumberyard

Special agents from the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been searching an abandoned lumberyard at the southeast corner of Tireman and Colfax Streets. This is approximately three miles east of the Warrendale neighborhood.

According to news reports, this is part of a homicide investigation. This case has reportedly been on-going between the FBI and the Detroit Police Department for approximately eight months.

There is already much speculation that this may be part of yet another search for Jimmy Hoffa. The excavation and demolition crews that the FBI has contracted to assist them with this job is the same that they used when searched a farm in Holly several years ago.

This sounds incredibly macabre, but the idea that Jimmy Hoffa's may have been near the Warrendale neighborhood for the past 34 years is oddly cool. I actually remember my parents' reaction that day in July when Mr. Hoffa went missing. I didn't know who he was at the time, but I knew from how intently they watch the evening news that he was important.

Friday, September 11, 2009

World Trade Center Remembered

It was eight years ago today that the world changed. The internet is filled with images of the World Trade Center after it was attacked.

However, this is the image that I used to see from my living room window once upon a time. This is how I want to remember it.

Watson Shares Budget Ideas

Detroit City Council Member JoAnn Watson issued a statement in her newsletter to constituents. In it, she condemned the cuts in Detroit's bus services. She also offered a series of suggestions for dealing with the $350 million budget deficit that the City of Detroit currently faces.

Before I go into the details of Ms. Watson's proposals, I want to commend her for stepping up to the proverbial plate and offering specific suggestions.

Some of the suggestions that Ms. Watson offered are, in my opinion, very wise ones. This includes her suggestions to:
  • Freeze new hiring and prohibit any department from seeking contracts when the department has an operating deficit;
  • Reduce all salaries in excess of $100,000 (which she estimates will save $3 million annually);
  • Reduce all city-subsidized cell phones (which she estimates will save $1 million annually); and
  • Eliminate all City of Detroit Deputy Director positions.
However, Ms. Watson also proposed several items that I believe are quite foolish. She proposed, for example, to eliminate the City's General Services Department because it would actually cost us more to do so.

The General Services Department (65 Cadillac Square) is designed to achieve operational efficiencies by doing things across City departments. Instead of having a crew at Recreation Department cut the grass at all of the parks, for example, and another crew cutting grass at other city-owned properties, we have one group of people who cut the grass regardless of which department is responsible for a given property.

This same principle goes on for every aspect of property, vehicle and equipment maintenance that a large organization such as the City of Detroit faces as well as providing security and janitorial services and inventory management. If the General Services Department were eliminated, each of these duties is something that one of the other agencies would have to start doing without the economy of scale that this department provides.

Oh, and let's not forget that it was earlier this year when the Forestry Division of the General Services Department found itself suddenly tasked with removing more than 300 trees in under 72 hours after a major storm hit Detroit.

I also have a problem with Ms. Watson's suggestion that the City of Detroit "access at least $1 billion from the state and federal governments as a one-time fix in recognition of the city’s one-industry status." This is simply not going to happen. The State of Michigan is already wrestling with its own budget problems. They are already grabbing every federal dollar available to plug that hole and Washington isn't sending any more.

The complete list of each of Ms. Watson's suggestions is available here.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Happy Labor Day!

This is the Labor Day weekend. The traditional end of summer. (I'm not happy with summer ending, by the way.)

Regardless, I want to wish everyone in the Warrendale neighborhood - as well as our neighbors elsewhere - a safe and happy Labor Day weekend. No matter what you do this weekend, I hope you have a blast doing it.

There is much for us to talk about in the neighborhood. I'll be back on Tuesday to share it all with you.

Until then, happy Labor Day!

Friday, September 04, 2009

David Jonathan Cross

I endorsed David Jonathan Cross for the Detroit City Council during the primary. He wrote a note last night on his Facebook page, in which he talk about the challenges faces our city in broad but eloquent terms.

In my opinion, it is worth repeating for the benefit of anyone who doesn't use Facebook. Therefore, this note appears below in its entirety without any editing from me.
Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.
~ Jonathan Swift

The city of Detroit, its current leadership and would be leadership is in a crisis management state of mind and the best we are being told to hope for is that we will emerge from this crisis a solvent city; then what? Mere solvency should not be sufficient if Detroit is to be what we want it to be, what we know it can be.

The road to Detroit’s future must be paved with vision and strategic planning; solvency should be used as a tool to get us to where we want Detroit to be, and leadership must be able to help everyone understand where that is. Leadership must articulate not only a vision but a strategic plan for life after solvency that reflects the priorities of residents of this city and that leads the way to where Detroit wants to be and needs to be. A mere crisis management plan that seeks only to avoid bankruptcy will not get us there. We must demand more from leadership. We must see far and well beyond the horizon of what we think we know and have become comfortable with.

Like the prisoners from Plato’s cave allegory/analogy, we must be willing to look beyond the walls we have been facing all of our lives to see the entrance to the cave that leads us to this new vision of life beyond what we currently know/see. Detroit needs leaders willing to break free from the imaginary chains that limit how we think. Leadership must seek to see what may be invisible to others, share the vision and lead the way there.

On November 3, elect council members who have shared a vision for Detroit’s future beyond solvency.

I am a candidate for Detroit City Council and that is how I see things…

Thursday, September 03, 2009

So Who Owns This Dump?

Brad Edwards of Fox 2 News did an expose about a blighted property at 6701 Plainview in the Warrendale neighborhood. This vacant house is filled with trash, drugs, crime and dead animals. Of course, perhaps the most infuriating part of it all is that this particular house is owned by the City of Detroit.

Yes, the people who are supposed to enforce violations of the City's Property Maintenance Code are ignoring one of the most blighted homes in our neighborhood - which they themselves own.

The complete report is available below.

Update @ 10:25 p.m.
I got an email from Brad Edwards of Fox 2 News. Reportedly, this house will be demolished soon. I will continue to follow this story.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Parking at the Dog House

It looks like Mayor Dave Bing does have a plan for closing the rest of the City of Detroit's budget deficit after all. I've blogged about his layoffs only being able to close at most 15% of the gap and repeatedly chastised him for not having a plan to close the remaining 85% of this problem.

Well, it looks like his plan for dealing with the rest of Detroit's budget problems is with parking tickets in the Warrendale neighborhood. (Gee, thanks for targeting us, Mr. Mayor.)

Anyway, I've noticed a decent number of parking tickets being issued to people near the Dog House Coney Island (19344 W. Warren). The Dog House has some great food, but you've got to be careful that your coneys don't come with a side of parking fines.

My suggestion is to park in the nearby lot whenever possible.

Detroit Loses Another $11.3 Million

The City of Detroit will lose another $11.3 million in revenue sharing from the State of Michigan, according to the Detroit Free Press. The reason for this is that Mayor Dave Bing and his staff have not submitted the audit that is required by state law in order to receive these funds.

This is profoundly frustrating.

I would like to offer a simple suggestion to Mayor Bing. Let's pretend for a moment that this legally required audit is actually a historic building in downtown Detroit that George Jackson wants to tear down.

If Mayor Bing and his cohorts can put the same zeal into auditing the City's books that they've already shown for demolishing the Lafayette Building then we won't have any more of these problems.

Thank you, Livonia

Detroit residents often take a lot of flak from people around the country for at times electing people who are - let's be blunt - bat shit crazy. From the wrestling match that broke out during a Detroit City Council meeting to Monica Conyers' "Shrek episode" to, well, so many other things that in muddles my mind as to what to list next.

Luckily, our neighbors in Livonia have gone out of their way to help us feel better about ourselves. They recruited someone who is even crazier than Monica Conyers and Martha Reeves put together and convinced him to run for the Livonia City Council. I am referring, of course, to Glenn Moon who is a bat shit crazy candidate for City Council in nearby Livonia.

Granted, Mr. Moon has no realistic chance of getting elected. (Our neighbors in Livonia might be sympathetic but they're not stupid.) However, I believe that everyone in Detroit owes Livonians a debt of gratitude for find a politician who is this utterly crazy.

Glenn Moon even inspired a discussion thread on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart's forum.

If you're not familiar with Glenn Moon or his candidacy for the Livonia City Council then I invite you to check out the video below. Mr. Moon recorded it as part of the screening process for an endorsement from Livonia Chamber of Commerce.

Once you've seen that video, I also invite you to check out the techno remix of it - which is even funnier.

Thank you, Livonia. Thank you.

Thank you for having someone like Glenn Moon run for your City Council.