Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Revolutionary proposal for Detroit

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to propose a simply yet revolutionary idea; one that I believe will solve a great many problems for Detroit.

Steel cage match - Photo by Simon Q.
Imagine, if you will, a Steel Cage Death Match between the persistently controversial and rarely useful George Cushingberry, Jr. of the Detroit City Council and that relic from another time and space L. Brooks Patterson of Oakland County. I submit that no matter what the outcome of this hypothetical match-up might be, Detroit will win.

Cushingberry, of course, earlier this month claimed that he was racially profiled by police officers who were too far away to see whether or not he was using his turn signal. One could wonder how it might be possible for police officers who were that far away could even see the skin color of a driver. I, however, will not dwell on the idea for too long. I stopped trying to make sense of him decades ago.

As for Patterson, well, there are so many things that I could satirize him for that I'm not sure which one to go with first. Some conspiracy theorists, in fact, might even argue that he died years ago, but is simply being kept alive artificially so that local pundits have a go-to source of material.

As an added bonus, between ticket sales for the Cushingberry vs. Patterson Steel Cage Death Match and its pay-per-view rights, Detroit should be able to save her retirees' pensions and and still preserve all of the art at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

I simply cannot see a downside to this idea.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Leaning Tower of Pizza

CANstruction 2014 - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The monthly pizza party for readers of this blog was last night at Gracie See Pizzeria (6889 Greenfield Rd.). As always, it was a lot of fun to connect with current and former residents of the Warrendale neighborhood. Plus, our newly elected police commissioner, Ricardo Moore, was in attendance as well so people could ask him any questions that they wanted.

I also couldn't help but have a little fun with all of the pop cans that were at the table. When someone asked why I did this, I replied that the stacked cans, with the top one slightly off-kilter, was a commentary on mankind vis-a-vie our relationship with the natural world.

This, by the way, simply goes to show that can still B.S. with the best of them.

Anyway, there will be another one of these events on Monday, February 10 at 6:30 p.m. I hope to see even more people there.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pizza party this Monday

Friends and Pizza - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The next pizza party for this blog will be on Monday, January 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Gracie See Pizzeria (6889 Greenfield Rd.). This is always a great chance to meet up with  current and former residents of the Warrendale neighborhood, as well as some good people who just like good pizza. The staff at Gracie's will also have some great drink specials all night long.

As always, the first pizza will be on me. After that, we simply order from the menu and split the check when it arrives.

RSVPs are preferred, but not mandatory. Please confirm your attendance on either the Facebook or Google+ page for this blog. I look forward to seeing lots of new faces at this event.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Duggan looks for unplowed streets

Mayor Mike Duggan tweeted on Friday, asking Detroiters to fill out an on-line form if their residential side street has not been plowed. Since I haven't seen a single residential street in Northwest Detroit that has been plowed, I suspect there are going to be a lot of people clicking that form.

I, of course, entered my information to complain that my street, Ashton between Whitlock and Paul, has not been plowed. If I actually get a response, I'll be sure to post it here. If anyone else the same, please let me know what response you receive, if any.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Brenda Jones becomes President of the Detroit City Council

Councilwoman Brenda Jones at a WCO Meeting
Photo by Frank Nemecek
Earlier this week, Councilwoman Brenda Jones was elected President of the Detroit City Council in an internal election. She defeated Councilwoman Shanteel Jenkins, who previously served as President.

The internet and newspaper columns promptly exploded with criticism of Jones and the Council Members who voted for her. Included in that mix was Councilman Gabe Leland from the 7th District, which includes the Warrendale neighborhood, who backed Jones.

I love Councilwoman Shanteel Jenkins. I think she did a fine job as President and would have continued to do a fine job if the vote had gone in her favor.

I also love Councilwoman Jones and believe she will also do a fine job as President. When I was President of the Warrendale Community Organization, she attended our meeting more often than the other eight members combined. If we needed something, she not only helped us but asked if there was anything else that she could do.

Much of the criticism of Jones stems from the fact that she has opposed almost every change in Detroit that Governor Rick Snyder and Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr have proposed. Her opposition to those proposals, though, doesn't bother me.

The fact of the matter is that - more than a year after the consent decree and 10 months after Orr's appointment - these reforms have produced very little benefit to Detroit residents. One official after another has promised that results are right around the corner. I, however, am reminded of the old adage, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating," and, when it comes to the reforms pushed by Lansing, there simply hasn't been a lot to eat.

The question one then has to ask is: how upset should over someone objecting to reforms that never produced any real results for residents?

The answer, I'm afraid, is not very.

Councilwoman Shanteel Jenkins is an outstanding member of the Detroit City Council. However, let's stop pretending that everything is going to be horrible just because someone else is President.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Duggan asks for 6 months; won't get it

Mayor Mike Duggan - Press Photo
Mayor Mike Duggan held his public "Dedication to Detroit" investiture ceremony this morning. In his speech, he asked Detroiters for six months worth of patience making any judgments about him or his Administration.

"I say to you one thing: Just give us six months," he pleaded. "Give us six months to prove we can turn things around. Push the pause button and don’t leave that house yet. Give us six months and let us prove what we can do."

The mayor will not get the six month honeymoon that he asks Detroiters to give him. He will only have 100 days before people start passing judgement and that's if he's lucky. This is the same as every other elected official.

President Barack Obama inherited two wars, an opposition party determined to undermine anything that he tried to do, as well as the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression. In spite of that, he barely got 100 hours.

Governor Rick Snyder inherited a economic and political mess as well. While I disagree with much of what he did, he did show that a lot can be done in 100 days.

Mayor Duggan has 100 days to show Detroit what you can do. No one expects him to solve all of Detroit's problems in a few months. However, I do expect him to have some kind of progress to demonstrate within that time-frame. Hence, that is when he and every other political will be judged in earnest.

The first seven of those 100 days in office are up. Let's see what he can do with the remaining 93.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Snowzilla Comes to Detroit

As a massive snowstorm heads towards to Detroit, more than a few people around town are starting to freak out. One of my brothers is referring to this as the Snow Storm of Death, but I think Snowzilla is so much better. Regardless of what one prefers to call this weather, there is a couple of things that are abundantly clear.

It is going to snow in Detroit. There's going to be a lot of it and it's going to be cold. As for everyone who is freaking out, I would simply like to say that every part of the country has their own natural disasters to deal with.

I believe these things are simply God's way of reminding us who is in charge on this planet. Here, by the way, are a few examples of what people in other parts of the country have to deal with:
  • Southern coastal states have hurricanes;
  • Florida has that plus flying cockroaches;
  • The Plains have tornadoes on a regular basis;
  • Las Vegas has Britney Spears; and
  • California has earthquakes, mudslides, and wildfires.
In Michigan, all we have is snow. Sometimes, we have lots and lots of snow. It can be a pain the butt to deal with, but I'd rather deal with snow than any of the things listed above.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Detroiters are a special people

Hero - Illustration by Ben Smith
One of the things I love about living in Detroit is the people. We are a special breed. As a case in point, a few minutes ago I was out shoveling my snow and wondering why I haven't been down to visit any of my friends in Florida lately.

That was when I heard someone behind me call out, "Hey, Frank!"

I turned around to see my next door neighbor coming towards me with a snow blower. Without even being asked, he cleared away my sidewalk and driveway. As fast as I could say "thank you," he went on to take care of a 70 year-old widow how lives two doors down as well as the home of a firefighter who is on-duty for the next day or so. He also cleared the sidewalk in front of a couple of vacant homes.

Like I said, people like this make Detroit a place worth living in.