Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Walk Through Warrendale

This is another walk through the Warrendale neighborhood on Detroit's far westside. I discover the menu at a strip club, car dealers blocking the sidewalk, trash left out illegally, and some other vloggers.

Open House for Law Enforcement Explorer Opportunities

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Law Enforcement Explorer post #306 is actively recruiting students between the ages of 14 and 20 to participate in the Detroit CBP Explorer post.  The post is a year round mentoring program which offers opportunities in character building, good citizenship, and fitness for young men and women. CBP has Law Enforcement Explorer Posts both at ports of entry and at Border Patrol sectors, which provide Explorers with practical training and hands-on experience in Federal law enforcement-related activities.  

CBP will be holding their Open House on Tuesday, July 19 from 6 - 8 pm at the Dauch Scouting Center, which is located at 1776 W. Warren Avenue in Detroit. If you have any questions about the CBP Explorer Program, please contact the post at (313) 355-4227.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Coolest Backyard EVER

Sometimes I find the Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week. This time around, it found me.

While working on another project, I met Big Ken who has what has to be the coolest backyard garden EVER. He was kind enough to give me a tour and allow me to record it all for the blog. It is your Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week.

Talking Trash with Drug Dealers

In today's walk through Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood, I discuss the stupidity of people who dump trash, the garage of a vacant house that is FILLED with scrap tires, and abandoned shopping carts.

I also have a brief encounter with some (possible) drug dealers. They were either dealers or undercover cops. It's hard to tell.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Detroit's Budget Impasse

Mayor Dave Bing previously proposed a budget for the City of Detroit's upcoming fiscal year, which made a multitude of assumptions, such as including revenue that Detroit wasn't guaranteed to get. President Charles Pugh and the other members of the City Council, very wisely in my opinion, put forth their own budget - one that gave the Detroit Police Department one of the largest budgets in the nation on a per resident basis, but still made cuts to other departments.

For the record, I believe the City Council should have cut deeper and demanded more institutional reforms within the City of Detroit's bureaucracy. I also would not have made any cuts to the Detroit Fire Department. However, I will take my victories where I can get them.

Anyway, after weeks of maneuvering back and forth, Mayor Dave Bing announced that the City Council's budget will go into effect later this week. The Mayor has predicted that this budget, with cuts that amount to a 1.6% reduction in expenditures, will have implications akin to Armageddon.

Many people have posted on Facebook and elsewhere to vent their frustrations over these cuts. I would, however, would simply like to remind everyone of two important facts:
  1. Even with the proposed cuts, the Detroit Police Department will still have one of the largest budgets of any police department in the nation on a per resident basis. If the current leadership of the Department cannot deliver world-class results with this budget, it's likely time for them to be replaced by someone who can.
  2. Most importantly, I would like to remind everyone that Mayor Bing proposed a multitude of changes as part of his turnaround plan two years ago. This included things ranging from refinancing Detroit's debt to selling or closing the Coleman A. Young Municipal Airport. Unfortunately, very few of these things have been completed after two years. If they had been, there would not have been a need for these cuts.
The ball is in Mayor Bing's court. It is his turn to start getting things done in this city or step aside so someone else can.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bulk Trash Pick Up

Detroit's Department of Public Works was in the Warrendale neighborhood picking up bulk trash recently. Thank God! With all of the trash that was illegally on our streets, this place was starting to look really bad.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Trash, Trees, and the Southfield Freeway

In today's walk through the Warrendale neighborhood, I discuss trash that block the sidewalks of Detroit, tress that line one of my favorite streets, and construction on the Southfield Freeway (M-39). My language does get a bit strong when talking about illegal trash (because I'm really getting sick of it), which is why this post is rated TV-14.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cool Warrendale: Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Center

In this post, I take a brief tour of the Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Center in Rouge Park. These dedicated volunteers keep the legacy of the 19th century African American cavalry troops alive.

They also offer pony rides for children on Saturdays. This makes Detroit in general, and the Warrendale neighborhood in particular, one of the few major cities where such a thing is readily available in an urban area.

The Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Center in Rouge Park is your Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

John Conyers and His Lawn

U.S. Rep. John Conyers, Jr., who has represented the Warrendale neighborhood in Congress since 1965, was in the news again recently - and not for anything good. Mr. Conyers hasn't bothered to cut his grass or maintain his home in Detroit for so long that it was actually threatening Detroit's chances at landing a stop on the PGA tour.

His blighted house, after all, is immediately adjacent to the Detroit Golf Club and the PGA was reportedly concerned about the condition of several homes near the course, including Mr. Conyers's, since they would be clearly visible to television cameras. National television audiences, I'm afraid, don't like looking at blighted homes any more than most Detroit residents do.

Charlie LeDuff from Fox 2 Detroit has more on this story.
I'm glad that Mr. Conyers has cleaned up his home for now. However, the fact that it took television cameras on his front steps to get him to do what most Detroiters do anyway, is simply one more reason why I seriously hope that someone challenges him in the primary next year.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Things Karen Dumas Did Wrong

Karen Dumas, the controversial former staffer for Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, resigned her post as communications director on Friday. In this post, I chronicle the three biggest mistakes that Ms. Dumas made in those hopes that others who follow in her footsteps might avoid them.

Trash and Cars to Water the Sidewalk

During my walk through the Warrendale neighborhood today, I discuss trash that is illegally dumped in front of vacant houses, cars for sale with questionable legality, and the importance (or lack thereof) of watering one's sidewalk. It was another eventful day in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Southfield Freeway Closes This Weekend

The Michigan Department of Transportation announced the Southfield Freeway, which runs through the Warrendale neighborhood, will close completely over the weekend from Ford Rd. to Grand River. The posted northbound detour is to take westbound Ford Rd. to northbound Telegraph Rd. to eastbound I-696 to Southfield Rd. Southbound travelers are advised to take westbound W. Eight Mile Rd. to southbound Telegraph Rd. to eastbound Ford Rd. to the Southfield Freeway.

M-DOT also announced that there will be a similar closure next weekend. The detours will be the same for that closure as well.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Featured Place to Live: 6897 Ashton Ave.

6897 Ashton is a well-maintained ranch home with three bedrooms and one bathroom. This 962 square foot home was built in 1965 and is in move-in condition today.

This home features:

  • Beautiful oak kitchen cabinetry;
  • Detached two car garage with an opener and electricity;
  • Nice recreation room for entertaining; 
  • Central air; and
  • Finished basement.
This home is available for the low-asking price of only $29,900 and is offered by Fairlane Realty. More information about this home, as well as several photos of it, are available on-line here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Trees, Graffiti, and Trash

On this walk through Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood, I talk about trees that once lined our streets, trees that currently grow where they're not supposed, graffiti that protects vacant houses, and lots of trash.

Tip of the Week: Scam Letters In Your Email

Special Agent in Charge Andrew G. Arena announced last week that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has received multiple reports of a scam letter e-mailed to residents in Michigan and nationwide. The e-mailed letter uses a copy of the FBI seal as well as FBI Director Robert Mueller’s name. The e-mailed letter directs the recipient to contact the Department of Homeland Security and send $350 in order to obtain a Clearance Certificate or legal action will be taken against the recipient.

The social engineering technique of utilizing the FBI’s name is to intimidate and convince the recipient the e-mail is legitimate. The FBI does not send e-mails soliciting personal information or money from citizens.

Please be cautious of any unsolicited e-mail referencing the FBI, FBI Director Mueller, or any other FBI official endorsing any type of Internet activity. This is your Warrendale Tip of the Week.

To receive the latest information about cyber scams please go to the FBI website ( and sign up for e-mail alerts by clicking on one of the red envelopes. If you have received a scam e-mail please notify the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) by filing a complaint at

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

FBI Seeks Assistance in Identifying Individual

Special Agent in Charge Andrew G. Arena announced this afternoon that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying an individual involved in an assault/ alleged civil rights violation. This incident occurred at the BP gas station located at 18900 Greenfield, Detroit, Michigan, which is approximately four miles north of the Warrendale neighborhood, on March 7, 2011 at approximately 9:30 p.m.

The individual of interest is a black male, approximately 5’10” tall, 210 lbs, bald, with a goatee. Pictures of this individual are below. If you have any information related to the assault, or identity of the described individual, please contact the FBI Detroit Office at (313) 965-2323.

The FBI is the primary federal agency responsible for investigating all allegations regarding violations of federal civil rights statutes. These laws are designed to protect the civil rights of all persons, citizens and non-citizens alike, within United States territory.

To address these concerns effectively, the FBI civil rights program has been divided into four subprograms. In order of priority, these programs are:

  • Hate crimes
  • Color of law
  • Human trafficking
  • Freedom of access to clinic entrances

Hate crimes are the FBI’s number one civil rights priority due to the impact these matters have on an entire community. A hate crime is a criminal offense against a person or property, motivated in whole or in part by the offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnicity/national origin, or sexual orientation.

Color of law simply means that the person doing the act is using the power given to him or her by a governmental agency. Most of the FBI’s color of law investigations fall into five categories: excessive force, sexual assaults, false arrest, deprivation of property, and failure to keep from harm.

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery that includes the exploitation of individuals who work in labor industries such as agriculture and domestic service, and who are forced into prostitution and/or slave labor.

Freedom of access to clinic entrances involves the use of force, threat of force, or physical obstruction to intentionally injure, intimidate, and interfere with persons because they are seeking or providing reproductive health services. In addition, it is also unlawful to damage or destroy property because the facility provides reproductive health services.

If you believe you have been the victim of a civil rights violation or have direct knowledge of one, please contact your local FBI office.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Detroiters Rip Down Fence in Riverside Park

The Detroit International Bridge Company, which is owned by Matty Maroun, was ordered by the courts two years ago to remove a fence that they illegally installed in Riverside Park in Southwest Detroit. Unfortunately, they never did that. Over the weekend, a group of Detroit residents - including some from the Warrendale neighborhood - ripped this controversial fence down themselves.

Video from this event is available below.

BREAKING NEWS: Council Overrides Mayor Bing's Veto

The City Council voted previously to bring Detroit annual budget more in line with its revenue. Mayor Dave Bing vetoed it, calling the cuts totaling 1.6% of the City's budget "draconian." He went on to complain that this would necessitate the layoff of more than 200 police officers. This was in spite of the fact that, even the cuts, the Detroit Police Department will have an annual budget that is 61% above average on a per resident basis

Earlier this afternoon, the City Council voted 8 -1  to override Mayor Bing's veto.

I would like to commend the City Council for sticking to their guns and demanding that financial responsibility be returned to Detroit's budget. I believe their next step should be to demand more accountability and transparency in how the Bing Administration spends the $3.1 billion in its annual budget.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Mayor Bing Gets Lip Service

Mayor Dave Bing complained to the Detroit News today that he is only getting lip service from business leaders who talk about wanting to help turn Detroit around.

I guess Mayor Bing now knows how Detroit residents have been feeling for the past two years. He was, after all, elected on the promise of "change with a sense of urgency" but has delivered very little change and even less urgency. He repeatedly told everyone who would listen that his administration was trustworthy, even though it has been rocked by scandal after scandal since his inauguration.

Lip service, Mr. Mayor, is easy to dish out. It just sucks to be on the receiving end of it - especially when it lasts for two years.