Monday, July 29, 2013

Real cause of Detroit's bankruptcy

Since July 18, when Kevyn Orr filed for chapter nine bankruptcy protection on behalf of the City of Detroit and made the Motor City the largest municipality to do so, there has been a plethora of pundits who have offered their own theories about why our city went bust. According to a columnist at Forbes, for example, Detroit's bankruptcy is the result of former President Richard Nixon abolishing the gold standard in 1971. Steve Dibert at MFI-Miami, however, blames a large chunk of it on credit default swaps and the $5 billion that Detroit lost due to banks manipulating the LIBOR index.

Others targets for blame among the vastness of bankruptcy pundits include:
  • Corrupt politicians;
  • Racism;
  • Urban sprawl;
  • Poor management;
  • Collapse of American manufacturing;
  • General neglect from Lansing and/or Washington;
  • High taxes/socialism; and
  • Strawberry yogurt.

I, however, blame all of this on the Canadians.

Yes, you read that correctly. I place blame for the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history squarely on the maple syrup-loving shoulders of the Canadian people.

After all, Detroit is the only major American city that is north of Canada. This fact makes us especially vulnerable to their insidious manipulation.

I mean, just think of Canada's impact on our fair city. Hockey Night in Canada shows up on televisions throughout the Motor City. Labatt Beer or Molson Canadian are served in almost every bar in Detroit. Plus, there's the fact that almost every Detroiter has at least a few Canadian coins in their pocket, which undermines our economy.

Yes, I blame Canada for all of the problems that one of this nation's great cities is currently experiencing and I'm not the only one who feels this way. Academy Award winning actor, and Detroit Country Day alumnus, Robin Williams obviously agrees with me on this point.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Alexa Spierling Rises in the Country Music World

Alexa Spierling
Photo by G&L Collins Photography
There's an exciting new artist on the country music scene and her name is Alexa Spierling. She is from Michigan, but has performed concerts here, in Nashville at the Silver Dollar, and elsewhere. Her musical style is similar to that of Jewel or Taylor Swift.

I love her song "Playing Pretend." It's a smooth classic country ballad that's a lot of fun to listen to.

Of course, while she is a great country musician, one of the reasons why I'm so excited to highlight her here as part of my Friday Focus series is that her mother, Angela Adams Spierling, grew up in the Warrendale neighborhood in Detroit and graduated from Ss. Peter and Paul Grade School. While Alexa herself has grown up in South Lyon, I think it's cool that there's still that connection between Warrendale and her.

For more on Alexa Spierling, to hear some of her music, or to learn about her upcoming concerts, please check out her Facebook page, watch her YouTube channel, or follow her on Twitter. She is also on Reverb Nation. Each of these sites have links to her music.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Detroit Sends Cash to Dearborn

Earlier this afternoon, I saw a marked car from the Dearborn Police Department operating a speed trap along the Southfield Freeway, but within the Detroit city limits. For the record, it's been years since I've a car from the Detroit Police Department or anyone else issue speeding tickets along that stretch of road.

It's pretty clear that the City of Detroit believes they so much cash that they don't need to worry about the potential revenue from things like traffic tickets. Therefore, the Detroit Police aren't worrying about it.

I have to say, though, that it's nice that the Detroit Police are so neighborly as to let other police departments come into a city overflowing with cash like Detroit it and a little extra make money for themselves.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Detroit Library July Lecture Series to Feature Diva Groups

Diva - Photo by Juanita De Paola
The Detroit Public Library’s E. Azalia Hackley Collection will host a 70th Anniversary Lecture Series. The next lecture will highlight the three top female musical groups of all time, also knows as the Diva Groups. Those groups are The Supremes, TLC and Destiny’s Child. This lecture will happen tomorrow Wednesday, July 10 at 6 p.m. in the Detroit Public Library (5201 Woodward Ave.) in Midtown.
The E. Azalia Hackley Collection is part of the Detroit Public Library’s Special Collections Department. It is located on the third floor of the Main Library. For more information, please call (313) 481-1397 or visit

Friday, July 05, 2013

Breaking News: Detroit Emergency Dispatching Goes Down

Detroit Police Squad Car - Photo by Frank Nemecek
According to multiple sources within the Detroit Police and Fire Departments, the emergency dispatching system that is used to deploy police officers, fire fighters, and ambulances where they are needed has been inoperable since approximately 5:30 this morning. Ambulances in Detroit are being dispatched to treat medical emergencies via the personal cell phones that most paramedics carry with them. It's not clear how police emergencies are being dispatched.

To say that this is a troubling failure is an understatement.

More on this situation as it develops.

Update @ 12:26 p.m.
WDIV-TV is reporting that this is the result of a "hardware issue" that cause all of the radios used by the Detroit Police and Fire Departments to fail. They have reportedly had limited success by tapping into the radio system used by the Michigan State Police. In the meantime, the personal cell phones of police officers, fire fighters, and EMTs are being used to communicate with dispatchers.

Additional updates will happen as more information becomes available.

Update @ 3:17 p.m.
The Detroit Free Press is reporting that approximately 80% of the city's dispatch system has been restored. They are also reporting that the "hardware issue" previously reported was an equipment failure with emergency radios that, according to police officials they spoke with, had not been inspected in two years.

That's right: the equipment that Detroit uses to dispatch police, fire, and EMS had not been inspected in two years - and broke down this morning, forcing everyone to rely on their personal cell phones to get everything done. I'll let that thought rattle around in everyone's brain for a moment before you think about the summer property tax bills that are due next month.

Chief James Craig, the new chief of the Detroit Police Department who started work this past Monday, has pledged accountability in this incident. We will see for certain, in the coming days and weeks, if his promise holds any validity.