Balance must be achieved in order for Detroit to thrive.

Lets be truthful Detroit is out of balance. Much has been made of the growth of Downtown, Midtown and Corktown while growth in Detroit’s neighborhoods remains stagnant and in some cases has become worse. Mayor Duggan and the DEGC have begun positive initiatives such as Motor City Match to try to rebuild the neighborhoods but those programs alone will not help achieve balance. African American Detroiters  must be allowed to participate in the rebirth of Detroit.

As was done in Atlanta in the 80’s any deal that has any municipal involvement must have no less than 30% Detroit African American participation. This should come in many forms from capital investment to employment.  If job retraining is required to achieve this goal then so be it.  Failure to do so now will result in a greater economic divide than we have at present.

If we do not get the people in the neighborhoods working great programs like Motor City Match and others will fail because people will not be able to buy goods and services from the new companies that locate in the neighborhoods.

Detroit must achieve balance before its too late.

 

The Promise Of the New Detroit Lies At The Riverwalk

Let’s face it Detroit is a segregated community. The neighborhoods are occupied by a majority of African Americans or Hispanics and Downtown, Corktown and Midtown are occupied by a majority White population. This is not news. While millions of dollars are poured into the White populated areas of Detroit few dollars except for those used for demolition are directed into the Black and Hispanic majority neighborhoods. Even though there are no “Whites Only” signs in restaurants in Downtown, Midtown and Corktown there might as well be because most of the establishments have precious few African American and Hispanic patrons. Even parks are segregated. Mayor Duggan has done an amazing job opening and maintaining the neighborhood parks but they don’t have play equipment and are used mostly by African Americans and Hispanics. If Detroit is to survive and grow this segregation must end. We must go beyond the police protected bike tours and the Kayak tours that resemble African Safari tours we must learn from the success of the Riverwalk and embrace the diaspora that is Detroit.
On any given day three hundred sixty five days a year you can see people of all ages and races enjoying this jewel. It is the only place in Detroit where we are one people. The leadership of the Detroit Rivriverddays1erfront Conservancy has created a clean, safe environment for all of Detroit to enjoy. There is no draconian police force like the one on Belle Isle. Instead security director Mac McCracken has created a modern responsive team that remains invisible to all but the untrained eye. There is no lack of activates for all to enjoy at this wonderful space. From Yoga to Jimmie Buffett it’s all there. yoga1
If Detroit is to grow we must learn from the lessons of the Riverwalk. We must make all of Detroit accessible for all of its residents. We must invest beyond demolition in the neighborhoods and make them clean safe nurturing environments.   gabriel 2

The Two Detroits Must Stop Here

This past week Adolph Mongo characterized parts of Detroit being like Soweto on Detroit Wants 2 Know . Many Detroiters  feel that there are two cities Downtown, Midtown Corktown and the rest of the city.  I along with others are working hard to make us one city. Unlike the craziness of Chicago where parts are a battle zone and the downtown gleams we have an opportunity to be a great 21st Century City. Increasing the feeling  Detroit Police Chief Craig in a reaction to auto thefts in Corktown decided he would add a patrol car to Corktown to deter theft and if a car is stolen there a person can file a police report on the spot and not have to travel to the precinct like we citizens have to. This was in response to some suburbanites cars being stolen in Corktown. This action  is unfair to the rest of us who live here.

stolen edgeWhat do I say to the young lady on LaSalle who’s car was taken from her driveway and had to get a ride to the precinct before she could report it stolen to her insurance company when she claims injustice? This action further serves to divide our city. If you provide this type of service to Corktown you need to provide it to the rest of us.  Chief James Craig is good fair man ,and we hope he won’t  perpetuate this madness.

 

Financial Prudence Is Only One Piece of Detroit’s Revival

There are multiple safeguards in place to ensure that Detroit’s Mayor and City Council operate in a fiscally responsible manner. Financial prudence is only part of the picture of Detroit’s revival. The other part is legislative sobriety. There are many decisions made by the City Council that aindexre non-financial in nature but will shape the course of the city. One of the non-financial decisions for which they are responsible is the approval of zoning changes for various land parcels. Approving or denying a zoning change that will decide whether a liquor store can expand; a bar can be relocated or a Dollar Store added. may not seem earth shattering to the public at large. However, to the neighbors in close proximity these are very important decisions that must be acted upon by a focused and deliberate Detroit City Council.
The same holds true for the major projects that come before the Detroit City Council for zoning approval, they must be decided in a sober deliberate manner. This is not happening with the zoning approval for the Hockey Arena portion of Destinationnew-Red-Wings-stadium-jpgon Detroit. Council Member Scott Benson is acting reckless, irrational manner in holding up the zoning approval for the arena. He wants to see an old hotel that has been vacant for twelve years (long before being purchased as part of the Destination Detroit overall land acquisition) added to the Planned Development request by the Downtown Development Authority and converted into affordable housing. Proceeding in the manner that Benson proposes would further delay the project and the much needed jobs that go along with it. Councilman Benson needs to remember that he is an elected official and not a Real Estate Developer and end his quixotic mission to hold Destination Detroit back from starting construction until they realize his dreams. This behavior harkens back to a time when Detroit City Council members would “hold” contracts until their wishes were granted. We all know too well that this behavior contributed in part to the end result of an Emergency Manager being brought in as an overseer. Let’s not make the same mistake again.

You Didn’t Vote So Don’t Complain To Me

On Election Day November 4th 2014 only 166,247 people in City of Detroit chose to come out and vote. According to the Detroit City Clerk that is only 31.41 percent of the registered voters.  Only 152,096 voted for Democratic Candidate Mark Schauer.  This is abysmal in light of all that has transpired in the City of Detroit over the last four years. We watched our right to have our elected leaders run our City under the guise of the largest municipal bankruptcy in history. We watched the Republicans create the Educational Achievement Authority which took buildings our tax dollars paid for and then took students from the Detroit Public Schools to populate it only fail to educate. Researchers from Wayne State University proved that on the MEAP math exam last year, 78.3% of the EAA students showed either no progress toward proficiency or actual declines. On the reading portion , 58.5% of the EAA students showed either no progress toward proficiency or actual declines. Lets face it, the only thing the Republicans did by creating the EAA was to fail to educate our children and further gut DPS. In a town that where the middle class we even saw right to work legislation which will further gut the unions passed and signed into law by Governor Snyder. The Republicans even tool control of Belle Isle with a long term lease and tasked the Michigan State Police with its security. The draconian patrol tactics of the MSP and DNR on the island have forced many African American Detroit to stop coming to the island which their tax dollars paid for for years.

If these were not enough reasons to come out and vote I don’t  know what is. So when you get stopped on Belle Isle, don’t complain to me. When you see the EAA Chancellor making over 300 thousand per year and not educating our children, don’t complain to me. And when you finally figure out that the gas tax increase just passed is a regressive tax that will hit  Detroiter’s proportionately harder that the rest of the State, Don’t Complain to ME!

For the Good of Detroit Orr Not?

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Detroit’s Emergency Financial Manager Kevyn Orr has been given a chance to defended the Plan of Adjustment, share the current and future successes of Detroit, and give a human touch to all he has done. As some of you may remember, DPOA and Candidate Sherry Gay-Dagnogo joined Steve and urged the community to vote no on the Plan of Adjustment, well Kevyn Orr says voting no would bring “dire consequences” to the community. Mr. Orr says there is no upside to voting no on the Plan of Adjustment. He also says there is one thing all community members can agree on and that is that we want the city to do better, in order to do better we must take the different actions that come with the Plan of Adjustment. Mr. Orr says The Plan of Adjustment will keep cost from sky rocketing for all levels, from the working class to those who are retired. Another topic that has had Mr. Orr in the hot seat is the matter of Detroit’s water. It has been rumored that part of Mr. Orr’s agenda when he came to the city as the Emergency Financial Manager was to sell the Water Department. Mr. Orr says these accusations are not true but he is looking into having a contractor for the Department. However, with the contractor all of the Water Department will remain an asset of the city. The changes that will come to this department will keep it maintained, make it corruption free, and allow all prior issues to be addressed. It is not just the Water Department that Mr. Orr is set on saving, he says he wants to save all three of Detroit’s major asset, which are Bell Isle, the DIA, and the Water Department. The main focus of Mr. Orr with Bell Isle is to prevent the island from becoming a “sundown town”. Meaning he wants it to be a place where all community members can come and enjoy, rather then a place where patrons feel like they need to leave the island by sundown if they do not have written permission to be there. The art at the DIA is a major part of the cultural enrichment in the city of Detroit and not an asset that should be lost either according to Mr. Orr. Moving to a different topic, Steve begins to ask about officials including Gary Brown and James Craig. Mr. Orr says Gary Brown was an important component to him when it came to understanding the city in order to better help the city. His position currently is one that can be kept when Majo Duggan gets to select his own staff, but until then the major has been working closely with Mr. Brown and Mr. Brown has been doing good with making sure the city is maintained. Another decision that will one day be the majors is if James Craig keeps his position as Police Chief. Mr. Orr tells how Chief Craig has also been working close the major and highlights the work that Chief Craig has been doing; which includes getting needed work done in a short time frame such as a 20% drop in crime yearly, more police presence in the neighborhood, and the implement of open prescient’s. With all this work getting down, has Mr. Orr taking the time out to enjoy his improvements to the city? While Mr. Orr does recognize the beauty of the Detroit, he does not go out to enjoy it. This is because he fells his presence will be a distraction, also his job is not an easy one that includes appearances at social events, but one of great importance and seriousness. Although, Mr. Orr does feel the city has become more accepting of him since he has proven to be here in the interest of the citizens and not the bank. Mr. Orr admits his secret to keeping an eye on the work that needs to be done is visit to a different neighborhood each week to see what improvements have been made and what improvements can be made. Finally Steve raises the question to Mr. Orr of what is it about Detroit that should bring the youth back or make them want to stay. Mr. Orr says simply, cities that are emerging are cities full of opportunity. This is because the community is closer and more uplifting, and young people can use that to their advantage. Also when a city is rising it is easier for young people to meet people who hold major power and people who can help them build a business or find opportunities that will grow with the city. From super political to an optimistic future of the city it is easily said that Kevyn Orr gave a compelling interview and insight into his current and future vision for the city,

Summer Fun at Chene Park

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Chene Park, one of our beloved city Gem and a host of many concerts and events during the summer. Shahida Mausi joins Steve at his annual party hosted at Sindbad’s Restaurant and Marina to talk about the upcoming events at Chene Park and how to properly get your tickets. The summer season has already begun and Chene Park events started right with it. Beginning with a Wheel of Fortune audition that brought out a crowd of characters and their silly antics in the pursue for a spot on the Wheel of Fortune stage. While that is a event that has already past, the Park has several other events and concerts on its agenda including: Karmanos race for the cure, A Bollywood event, Will Downing, TI, Tony Braxton and Baby Face together, and many more. However, with every good thing there is someone trying to take advantage of it. While Chene Park has impressive prices for even more entertaining shows, there are some scamming websites claiming to sale official Chene Park tickets.  Ms. Mausi was there to let us know that these scammers are truly not a part of Chene Park. Not only are they over pricing customers for the tickets to make a profit of their own, it is no guarantee that the tickets are real, which can result in you not getting into the concerts and events at all. Ms. Mausi puts out an urge to customers to purchase their tickets from the real Chene Park box office or website which is www.cheneparkdetroit.com. So remember, enjoy your summer and it never hurts to have a little fun at the Park.

Summer Auctions to Save the City

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Wayne County Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski joins Steve to talk about the upcoming auctions in the city and current funds in the city. While there is usually a yearly auction of Wayne County properties in October, the Treasurer’s office decided to do things a little different this year by adding a summer auction that will take place in August and will have a few twist. Unlike the fall auction, the summer auction will be one quarter sealed bids meaning that some of the bids will allow the bidders to put what they think the best price for the property is, without seeing others bids. While all other properties starts at 500, it is up to the bidders to determine the value of the properties in a sealed bid. The purpose of these auctions is to make these unoccupied properties in Wayne County become a tax producing property and bring in money for the county. So now the logical question, how do I register? To register for the auction you have to visit www.waynecountytreasurermi.com from June 9-June 18. With your registration there is a fee of $2,025 if you are expecting to just bid on one property and $5,025 if you want to bid on more then one property. So where is this money going to? The money from the registration is going toward the property taxes of the property that you choose to bid on; however, if you are not successful in your biddings, that money will be returned. While the money made from the auction is expected to generate $9 million. To prevent any website crashes, the website has been through load testing in which is when another website is used to simulate heavy activity and make sure the website being tested can handle it. For more information about the auction you can email wctauction@waynecounty.com. Deputy Treasure Szymanski also talked about the current funds in Wayne County. He started by saying the Treasurer’s office just gave the county over $20 million; but, a major issue in the city is delinquent taxes, which is why a delinquent taxes revolving fund was made to collect delinquent taxes. However after many transactions bringing money into the county, we still have 0% reserves to the county. So in order to keep our city moving forward we must continue paying taxes, keeping the right people in positions, and work with the city on projects designed to bring funds into the city.

Ardelle Bradley a Real Women Tackling Real Issues

 IMG_8911There are a myriad of television shows targeted toward women but what’s missing is the true every day woman. Where are the women that can address the real issues that are faced by other women daily from an understanding and leveled position? Well Steve’s has found her and introduced her to the Ronin America Family with a show called Real Women Real Issues. And who is this woman you might ask? Her name is Ardelle Bradley a woman, single mother of three, DPS employee, part-time airport employee, and host of the new women’s talk show Real Women Real Issues. With a smile from ear to ear Ardelle began enthusiastically talking about her, the guest, and all the good topics that will help women maneuver through life. Ardelle uses her own life experiences with the help of guest to bring a relatable women’s talk show to the masses. These topics include chiropractic health and the impact of heels with Dr. Herman Glass, breast cancer prevention and treatment with Dr. Elyane Arterbery, divorce with Attorney Sabrina Cronin, real estate with Real Estate Agent Jim Saros, private investigating with Private Investigator Scott Lewis, and so many more topics and guest. Real Women Real Issues is on every Sunday at 11:30 am on Channel 20. Real Women Real Issues is the show society has been unknowingly waiting for, a show that will let women know they are not alone, they are strong, they are beautiful, and they must uplift one another in sisterhood. Ardelle Bradley will lead this movement to be a better woman and do so with style, grace, and poise uniting women in a way that can last for generations to come.

Bad Reputation of The Blackberry Bar and Grill Caused by the Media

Tracey Stallworth owner of the Blackberry Bar and Grill

Tracey Stallworth owner of the Blackberry Bar and Grill

Within the over 400 shootings that have acured last year, two of them took place inside the Blackberry Bar and Grill. Steve Hood sits down with the Bars proprietor Tracey Stallworth. The Blackberry Bar and Grill has been open for eight years and within those eight years two shootings have taken place, so why is the business taking a hit for a situation that was out of their control? Tracey says this is due to the media that links tragedies to certain businesses rather than the real issue being the perpetrators. Crime itself is an issue that the city of Detroit must face and open its eyes to the fact that criminals are around and crimes happen at our gas stations, bars, liquor stores, street corners, and anywhere else in the city. The media also linked the Blackberry Bar and Grill to the disappearance of two girls, when in actuality the girls were never at Blackberry that night. While Tracey does recognize them as once good customers, she still feels it unfair for media to link their tragic disappearances and deaths to her business. While originally she felt it was to give the community an idea of there last whereabouts, it then became negative framing her business as a bad place, which ends up being bad for business all around.  Also by being a business in the community, Tracey gets a chance to see Detroit and specifically the Rosedale neighborhood evolve and improve and she sees a real change for the better coming from the city; although, she would like everyone to be able to see this change, instead of it being over shadowed by the negative publicity that the city often gets. Being a community based business Tracey is already involved with the community and the business has made name for itself, however in upcoming years she plans on becoming more involved and find more ways to benefit the community that surrounds herself and her business. The business hours are Monday- Friday 1pm-2am, Saturday 3pm-2am, and Sunday 6pm-2am and there menu host a plethora or indulging foods and drinks. The final advice Tracey gave was rather then passing judgment and talking negative based off of what you have heard, come and experience places for yourself.