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Whose city?

“We, the city.” That is the phrase used by the Jones Day attorney in court to identify his client. The Jones Day attorney is wrong. He represents Gov. Rick Snyder and his appointee, Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. “We the city” better describes the hundreds of persons marching outside the courthouse in protest of the illegal proceedings inside. Appropriately, one of the chants city residents use while protesti ...

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Words do hurt

“I can cut somebody’s throat and leave them to bleed out in the gutter with the best of them,” so bragged Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr early in his reign. “For a long time the city was dumb, lazy, happy and rich,” he told the Wall Street Journal in August. “Can I kill someone in a hoodie?” asked Orr’s chief financial officer James Bonsall this month when invited to join city workers’ tradition of pat ...

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No end to corruption

This week, Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in prison. When Judge Nancy Edmunds issued her order she said: “We’re demanding transparency and accountability in our government … If there has been corruption in the past, there will be corruption no more.” On the steps of the courthouse, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said the Kilpatrick sentencing sent a “powerful” message to Detroit and those who wan ...

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Michigan gone mad

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” — Albert Einstein Gov. Rick Snyder and Treasurer Andy Dillon need to ponder Einstein’s definition of madness. For 13 years, the state of Michigan has controlled the spending in Highland Park in one way or another. The first EM appeared in 2001, left in 2004 as the second EM slipped in. In 2009, the second EM left under unf ...

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Shop in your community and watch it grow

A way out of the growing misery in Detroit and other urban centers is found in the report, Resilient, Receptive and Relevant: The African American Consumer 2013 Report, conducted by Nielsen and the Black press organization, the National Newspaper Publishers Association, and reported on in this paper. The buying power of African Americans would rank us number 16 on a list of nations if we were a separate cou ...

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Why does Orr ignore escape hatches?

There are potential legal problems swirling around the city’s pension swaps — those agreements the city signed in 2005 in order to borrow money to pay their liabilities to the pension fund. The legal problems represent an opportunity to get out of harmful and large debt incurred by the city. Since the city was already in great debt at the time, it needed to create two entitiesable to borrow. There is uncert ...

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Figures or folks?

Public policy makers have to juggle realities between what the budget allows and what the people need. Elected officials have to take into account the people’s needs and, if necessary, rob Peter to pay Paul, to make the budget balance to meet the needs of the public — or suffer the possible loss of an election. Under emergency management no juggling has to occur. Emergency managers can — at their own discre ...

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Economic justice

Gov. Rick Snyder must begin paying attention to diversity and inclusion — it must be a priority. If the only growing populations in the state are communities of color, the future of the state — literally — depends on it. We will not build a sustainable or viable economy if resources and dollars are organized by race and gender. We will continue to be racially and economically segregated, crippled by our ina ...

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Segregation persists

“Lee Daniel’s The Butler” has sparked conversation about the need for intergenerational dialogue. “The Butler,” the story of Cecil Gaines, who served eight consecutive presidents — from Dwight Eisenhower to Ronald Reagan — as butler at the White House, was masterful at exposing the complexities between generations. At its essence, “The Butler” is also the story of a Black family and the struggles each gener ...

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Scared

Have we reduced fear in the community? This will be an important question for Detroit citizens to consider after the tenure of Emergency Manager-appointed Detroit Police Chief James Craig, and after the overall public policy experiment of emergency management. The appointment of Craig represents an attempt to improve city services for Detroiters, one of Gov. Snyder and EM Orr’s promises. Streetlights and sa ...

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