Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bing Warns of Dire Consequences. Again.

Mayor Dave Bing warned yesterday in his budget address that the City of Detroit's budget deficit could grow to $1.2 billion by 2015 unless drastic cuts are taken. I find this interesting because it was only last year that Mr. Bing argued that last year's drastic cuts were needed in oder to prevent Detroit from going into receivership and/or bankruptcy.

One presumes, of course, that there will likely be another round of cuts next year.

And the year after that.

And the year after that.

I have said it before and I will say it again. Every time a certain service is cut, it gives people less of a reason to stay in Detroit. Every time someone decides to leave Detroit, we have less tax revenue to work with for the following year, which prompts more people to leave, more cuts to be made, and more people to leave.

This is a viscous cycle with no signs of its abating simply by making a few more cuts. It is simply time for the City of Detroit and the Detroit Public Schools to go into bankruptcy and get it over with. We can either go into bankruptcy now and be done with it or we can be dragged into bankruptcy in a few years by our creditors on an involuntary basis.

Bankruptcy isn't fun. Involuntary bankruptcy is worse. Involuntary bankruptcy that drags many of our neighbors down with us, which is a growing possibility, is even worse still.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Detroit Works Project + Strip Clubs

The Detroit Works Project released a series of policy audits recently that chronicled both the advantages and limitations of Mayor Dave Bing's proposal to encourage Detroiters to relocate to more densely populated neighborhoods. If you haven't seen them already, they are available here.

Of course, there is one advantage to the Detroit Works Project that - quite frankly - I can't believe no one has commented on already.

For decades now, one politician or activist after another has talked about getting the various strip clubs throughout Detroit to move out of the neighborhoods and into a designated area that is away from families and churches. The Detroit Works Project has the potential to make this actually happen.

As people move out of largely depopulated areas, one of these vacant areas could be set aside as a special district for strip clubs and related establishments. Existing strip clubs in Detroit could be offered the opportunity to close their current location and move into this new area. They could be incentivized to make such a move by being allowed to stay open later, have their dancers go fully nude and still serve alcohol (such as Windsor currently does), or any number of other options.

The area could be constructed in a way that it is largely blocked off from the outside world, residents and businesses outside of the strip club zone would not have to see or hear anything that happens inside of it. Plus, the area would still be accessible to police, the fire marshal, and other government inspectors as needed.

Some of the incentives, such as anything involving the restrictions attached to liquor sales, would likely require approval from the Michigan Legislature. However, given the shear number of people who wished for a way to  move strip clubs out of neighborhoods over the years, I believe it would be quite possible to achieve such an approval.

Anyway, with all of this talk about the Detroit Works Project in the news media, I wanted to add this possibility to the discussion. As always, please feel free to add your thoughts to the comments section below.

LoveTax for Warrendale

There's a new idea as to how one can raise money for community projects that comes to us courtesy of my friends at Loveland. It's called the LoveTax.

If there is a cause, such as improving the Warrendale neighborhood, that you want to support then you could give them money once and walk away. A better way, though, is to use LoveTax to support it in a simple, sustainable, social way, and invite others to do the same. On the 15th of each month you'll be charged whatever amount you'd like (one dollar and up) and the money will go directly to the cause (minus PayPal's industry standard fee). If you'd like to take a month or more off you can pause your payments, and if you'd like to stop forever you can do that too, at any time.

$1 or $5 or $10 a month from one person isn't a lot, but when the number of people grows...well, you might be surprised.

More information on the LoveTax is available here.

The thing that I wonder, though, is that with all of the various needs that the Warrendale neighborhood has, which one is the best candidate for the LoveTax? What would inspire people to give a nominal amount on a voluntary basis and still have a noticeable impact on the neighborhood?

Your thoughts, as always, are greatly appreciated. Please feel free to drop me a line or send me an email.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Opening Day is Almost Here

After months of darkness, it's almost over. The Detroit Tigers will have their home opener this Friday against the Kansas City Royals. The game starts at 3:05 p.m. at Comerica Park. Regardless of whether or not you like baseball, Opening Day is virtually a religious event across Detroit.

It means that we have survived another winter and we have great things to look forward to. Even if you can't make it to the game, I hope you'll be able to share in the joy at any of the bars and restaurants throughout Warrendale that will be showing the game.

Opening Day, my friends, is your Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Understanding Your Credit Report

GreenPath Debt Solutions will be present a seminar tomorrow evening at the Edison Branch of the Detroit Public Library (18400 Joy Rd.) entitled "Understanding Your Credit Report". This event will run from 6 - 7 p.m. at the library.

The seminar is free and open to the public.

Featured Place to Live: 6717 Grandmont

6717 Grandmont Ave. is available for purchase as a bank-owned foreclosure from Fannie Mae Home Path. While this 1,440 square foot brick colonial is sold on an "as is" basis and will require some work, there is tremendous potential in it.

6717 Grandmont Ave.
This four bedroom, one bath home features a fire place and a two car garage. The property sold for $62,000 in 2007. However, it is currently available for only $3,180, which makes it a tremendous bargain for the right buyer. More information about this home is available here.

6717 Grandmont is your Featured Place to Live for this week.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Detroit Synergy Comes to Warrendale

Detroit Synergy will hold its next general membership meeting at Gracie See Pizzeria (6889 Greenfield Rd.). This meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 14 in the back room of the restaurant. The group will discuss their upcoming projects both in the Warrendale neighborhood as well as citywide.

Immediately after this meeting, Detroit Synergy - in partnership with Emerging Professionals Committee of AIA-Detroit and AIGA-Detroit - will present Pecha Kucha Night at the Arab American National Museum (13624 Michigan Ave. in Dearborn). This event allows architects, designers, and other creative professionals to showcase their work.

The general public is warmly invited to either of these events.

Detroit Synergy is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization.  Its mission is to generate positive perceptions and opinions about Detroit by bringing together a diverse community and building upon the City's strengths and resources to realize a common vision for a greater Detroit.  Please visit for more information about the group.

Tip of the Week: Getting Help with Your Taxes

The deadline for filing your income tax return is almost upon us. Michigan and federal returns are both due by Monday, April 18. City of Detroit income tax returns are due by April 30.

It can be challenging, at times, to understand all of the deductions and credits that one might be eligible for. Therefore, volunteers from the AARP will be at the Edison Branch of the Detroit Public Library (18400 Joy Rd.) to help seniors and low-income families with their income taxes.

These volunteers will be at the library from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5 and again on the 12. Their help is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Getting help with your tax return is your Warrendale Tip of the Week.