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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The top two are:

With a reported 9% of registered voters going to the poles. The top two candidates for the next Mayor of Detroit are Dave Bing and Ken Cockrel Jr. These two gentlemen will face off in May for a brief six month term. The winner of this race has an excellent chance of winning in November. This is not set in stone, it puts the front runner in the driver's seat. I believe the Mayoral battle for the November election will be far more intense than the special elections of February and May.

The voter turn-out for yesterday's election was absolutely dismal. I was looking for maybe a 20% turn-out, but 9% is beyond poor. Anyway, this should be a proud day for both Dave Bing and Ken Cockrel Jr. The gloves will now come off, and the fight for Mayor should be a real battle. Hopefully not a conflict of interest of the people of Detroit. I am persuading all voters to weigh the issues and place your vote for the best candidate. (This goes for City Council also.)

This is going to be a very important election and should not be taken lightly. The poor voter turn-out is disappointing, and tells me that Detroiters are not taking the race for their next Mayor very seriously. Nothing could be further from the truth. This election, as all elections, are important to you. I can understand that it is only a primary, but if your person was Freman Hendrix or Warren Evans, Than you can't be too angry if your person didn't make the cut.

Here are the unofficial numbers as of this writing.

Dave Bing 29%

Ken Cockrel Jr. 27%

Freman Hendrix 23%

Warren Evans 10%

Coleman A. Young Jr. 4%

Sharon McPhail 3%

Nick Hood 2%

Jerroll Sanders 1%

All others not reported according to my resources.

Until next time, so long you good people. :-)

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Elections of 2009

On 24 Feb, 2009 Detroiters will go to the polls to vote for our new Mayor. The top two candidates will face off in May to be elected for a brief six months. May the best man/or woman win. good luck to all of the candidates. Please, do not forget to vote. Until next time.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Questions and answers for H. Jay Felton

How I stand on the issues:

I am running for Detroit City Council because I want Detroit to flourish. This city has a proud heritage and it should be protected. The people of this city need, and want, someone who will stand up for her, and not just take and steal from her. The Kilpatrick administration has shown that it could not be trusted, at least not fully. The next Mayor has to make some tough choices, and not all of them will be popular. So make sure you vote for someone who you think will not only make the best Mayor for Detroit, but who also has integrity. I myself will be voting for a Mayor not only with integrity, but also with honesty. Someone who does not just make campaign promises, but also tell you that it’s not all going to be a bed of roses. Cuts will have to be made, taxes maybe raised, and services will be cut. All of this may not be what Detroiters want to hear, but for Detroit’s economy to come back, cuts will have to be made, from the top down.
I am going to try to answer questions that are on the minds of most voters at this time. Issues like the Detroit/ Windsor tunnel, the $300 dollar bulk trash pickup fee, improving the neighborhoods, and home and automobile insurance redlining. Now most of the questions I will be answering pertain to the Mayor, but I will give you my two cents anyway. The questions come from a Mayoral form I attended earlier in the year at the Northwest Activity Center. (As a concerned citizen not as a candidate.) I wanted to answer some of the questions so people will know where I stand on some of the issues. So without further ado, here we go.

Which candidate is more likely to: All of the questions in the survey began with this statement. Therefore, I rearranged the statements into question form.

1: Are you likely to support retaining control of the Detroit/Windsor side of the tunnel?

Yes. I am not in favor of selling any of Detroit’s assets, not one. All of Detroit’s assets will be voted, by me, to stay in Detroit’s control. There are other ways to correct Detroit’s budget. The Mayor and members of City Council must work together to insure that Detroit is not depleted of its asset’s. Find other, more reasonable ways of balancing the budget.

2: Are you likely to support retaining ownership of the water department?

Yes. For the reasons I stated above. Water is very important to the city. This is one of Detroit’s most precious assets; it must not be sold under any circumstance.

3: Are you likely to support abolishing the $300 bulk trash fee?

Yes. I want to bring bulk pickup to six times a year instead of four times a year. Bulk pickup once a month maybe too much for the city to afford right now. The best solution for the city is to pick up bulk trash once every two months. The $300 dollar fee is just an added tax that the city doesn’t need right now.

4: Are you likely to support restoring bulk pickup?

Yes. However, to once every two months. (Six times a year.)

5: Are you likely to support re-establishing residency of city employees?

Yes. This must be done legally. As I understand it, this is a legal issue and may have to be dealt with in the governor’s office and/or in the courts.

6: Are you likely to lift the 10pm curfew on Belle Isle?

Yes and no. Yes for people over the age of 18. Not for those under the age of 18. This is a public place, and public places don’t close when the sun goes down. A greater police present maybe in order between the hours of 10p.m. to 7a.m.

7: Are you likely to support improving police protection in the neighborhoods?

Yes, yes and yes. Some neighborhoods in the city are just rapid with crime. Those neighborhoods should have a very strong police present, but some are in more need than others are.

8: Are you likely to support a water affordability program and stop massive water shut offs across the city?

I have to admit, I haven’t given this much thought, but now that it is on table, let’s talk. A water affordability program sounds like a good ideal. Pay what you can afford if you’re on a fixed income. In addition, if you pay a certain amount of money each month, you may use more than your share of water. You may not fix leaks, or turn the water off when you brush you teeth. I do like the ideal, but only if you use a certain amount of water each month. Anything over that and you must pay extra for what you use.
As for water shut offs, I think during the winter months, November – March, the water should not be shut off. After that a payment plan should be installed, and if you don’t pay then, a cut off may not be avoided.

9: Are you likely to support increasing job opportunities and training for youth and resident adult population?

Yes. Jobs are the corner stone to a good economy. The auto industry is not as strong as it once was. Therefore, training and retraining are very important for good strong job growth. I don’t think the city should go on a hiring spree, but we can open up training centers for hi-tech and medical opportunities. Also, Michigan is becoming a movie capital. The city should open a movie studio. This will attract other business to this area. Along with the casino and other business, Detroit could, and should, have more than one industry. I love the automakers, but having all your eggs in one basket doesn’t make good since to me.

10: Are you likely to support improving neighborhoods?

Yes, yes, and yes. To turn your back on neighborhoods is like turning your back on a pit bull. It will surely bite you in the butt. Without neighborhoods, there is no Detroit. Downtown is fine, and could be better, but the neighborhoods should be every candidate’s top priority.

11: Are you likely to support stopping tax breaks and land grants for corporations, which bring no jobs or other benefits to the people?

Yes and no. Stopping tax breaks no. Giving corporations tax breaks to bring their business into the city is a good ideal. Tax abatement is not a good ideal, a tax break is.
As for land grants, I’m going to assume you mean giving the land away for free. If you do, I am not in favor of giving anything away for free. Selling it cheap, really cheap, but never give anything away. NEVER!

12: Are you likely to support civilian control of police?

A civilian controls the U.S. Military. The President, and Commander in Chief, is a civilian. Whether he or she was in the military or not.
Our local police are not the military and should not be controlled by a civilian. A law enforcement officer should be in charged. The county Sheriff can be run by a civilian, if that person is voted into the office.

13: Are you likely to support reopening recreations centers?

Yes. The kids should have someplace to go to after school. Juvenile crimes will go down in the city. Closing the recreation centers was a big mistake, but if you can’t afford to have them open then you must close them. As soon as we have the money to reopen them, we should. We should do just that. The recreation centers were one of those tough choices a mayor has to make. This is sad but truth.

14: Are you likely to support rescinding and/ or stopping creation of “authorities” which are a way of bypassing Detroiters?

“Authorities”, such as the water broad authority is the job of the Mayor and City Council, and should stay that way.

15: Are you likely to support requiring the Mayor and City Council to file a lawsuit when residents of Detroit are negatively affected by decisions not voted on, such as takeover of our schools, residency, etc?

I would have to talk to a lawyer for the answer to this. On the surface this would be a yes answer, but legal is legal. A lawsuit could be a long and pricey process, and we would have to consider everything, like what if we lose the suit?

16: Are you likely to support improving customer service?

Yes. City customer service is poor. Have you ever tried talking to the Ombudsmen, or a City Council person? How long have you waited before someone says, “May I help you?” It can drive you nuts. It makes me nuts.

17: Are you likely to support restructuring blight court?

I will work with the Mayor to see what can be done about blight in the city. The blight fine is way too high. I suggest the fine should be $1000 dollars, this is a lot of money for many people in the city, but blight is also a problem. A clean city is a proud city. Citizens should take pride in where they live.

18: Are you likely to support protecting and improving Detroit Public Schools?

Absolutely, students are dying to get an education in the city. This is not a joke for the student who died at Henry Ford High School last fall this is no laughing matter. Getting an education should not be a life or death decision. Protecting the schools will be a top priority for me in City Council.

19: Are you likely to support improving the climate for residential entrepreneurs?

As I said earlier, jobs are the back bone of a good economy. How do we get jobs in the city, entrepreneurs who start a new business? I’m going to assume, you mean work at home entrepreneurs, if so, then the answer is still yes. Giving tax breaks to home based business is a good step. The federal government has tax breaks for home based business, combine these with local tax breaks and home based business could be popping up everywhere. As the business grows, they will hire employees and Detroit’s economy will grow with them.

20: Are you likely to support a specialty Detroit Business District?

Again, I’m going to assume here, a few years ago the ideal of as African town came into existence. It was voted down by City Council. I am not opposed to any specialty district, African or otherwise. A specialty business district now could be a very good ideal in today’s economy. The new district will bring jobs to the city, and this is what the city needs more anything. The economy and citizens safety are both top priority’s for me, and should be for every person running for office in 2009.

21: Are you likely to support self insurance for Detroiters to solve home and automobile insurance redlining?

Insurance redlining is discrimination. It always amazes me that business charge the most money to people with the lowest income. In this case it’s not only your income (which the insurance company’s do not use as a bases for coverage.), but your credit rating and your zip code. I believe Mayoral candidate Jerroll Sanders has the right ideal when she said “One state, one rate.” This could solve redlining, but will the insurance company’s go for such a plan that is not in their favor. Maybe, if packaged right.
Now I’m going to play devil’s advocate. If I were the insurance company’s I would fight any such legislation till my dying breath. I’ll have any civil suit in court for years and appeal any decision that doesn’t go my way. This could cost the city, any city, county, or state, millions. Prepare of a long dogfight. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight. You’re never know what could happen if you don’t try.
As for a self insurance, company for Detroiters. If we can do it legally, and what I mean by that is, can we really have an insurance company in Detroit for Detroiters without have a discrimination suit developed? If the answer to that question is yes, then I say go for it. If the answer to that question is no, then I still say yes. Cheaper home and auto insurance in the city could go along way for the city if insurance rates were cheaper. That, along with lower property taxes, and better schools, we should see an increase in population in the city.

22: Are you likely to support stopping privatization and outsourcing services that can be done by Detroit residents?

This question goes back to the economy. The more jobs we can produce the better off we will be. Outsourcing work to companies not in the city, and in some cases not in the state should be stopped. If a Detroit company can do the work, then I persuade all of those companies to put their bids in, for whatever reason. Then the best company with the cheapest bid wins the job. Therefore, the short answer to this question is yes, I support services that can be done by Detroiters.

23: Are you likely to support affordable housing for Detroiters relative to resident’s median income of $29000 per year?

I support housing regardless of its affordable. That is the American dream. To own a home, have a job with security, and to raise our families is a safe and clean neighborhood. I support affordable housing, and if you know anything about real estate, you can only buy a home you can afford. It’s the loan you have to watch out for, not the house.

24: Are you likely to support a moratorium on property tax and mortgage foreclosures?

Well at least one mayoral candidate has taken this question a step further. Sheriff Warren Evans has a moratorium in place for foreclosures in Wayne County. Ask yourself this, why didn’t the current Mayor Ken Cockrel do this? I support any moratorium that will save peoples homes. To be homeless and/ or jobless in this economy is a terrible thing. This shouldn’t happen to people, think of the children that are affected by joblessness and foreclosures.

25: Are you likely to support rapid transit?

Yes, again this could mean jobs not only for the city but also for the entire region. A system to connect such cities like Ann Arbor, Pontiac, Novi, and Port Huron to Detroit could have an economic wind fall like no other. Beside, every major city the size of Detroit or larger all have mass transit. Detroit seems to be a step behind the rest of the United States cities in almost every category.

26: Are you likely to support repopulation plans that include current residents?

People move from one city to other for three reasons, crime, education, and affordable housing. If you can’t afford to stay in the city, sooner or later, you will relocate. The first, and most important step, is to lower property axes. I believe that in the long run, you can make more money with lower taxes and more people than you can with less people and higher taxes. Lower property taxes bring people into your city, along with less crime and better schools. Not all of this can be done at once but we can start somewhere. I say we start with lower property taxes, and the rest will fall into place.

27: Are you likely to support no water or utility shut offs?

Yes. Only during the winter months of November - March. There should be no shut offs. In addition, a payment plan should be worked out with the utility companies. Only after all plans have been exhausted the utility companies have the right to seize all service to the home, in question. I understand the economy is not very strong right now, but they are in business to make, also they have to support their employees, and those employees have to support their families.

28: Are you likely to support a public works program for the employment challenged; those without skills?

There are programs out there for people without skills, but a lot of state and city sponsored programs are not largely advertised. People are going to have work hard to find these programs, just as I have. I find that people don’t know about the programs that are available to them and have to dig deeply to find them. All of the candidates weather their running for some type of worker retraining program. In the economy, we are in now this is a good ideal Also we have to work harder to make sure people know programs, such No Worker Left Behind, s the people who lost their jobs can train to get new jobs.

29: Are you likely to work in the interest of the people?

Any candidate who answers no to this question needs to be run out of town. Whether there running for Dogcatcher or President of the United States, they all should be working in the interest of the people who put them in office. Some of them seem to forget who put them into office. The problem is, once they are elected they seem to forget who put them in office. This will not happen with me. First of all, I want people to tell me what they want, and not the other way around. Let me explain.
When you go to the poles, you are voting for an employee, not a boss. You should be able to tell the candidates what you expect from them. Remember, you are paying our salaries and you are the boss. Yes, we have ideals on how the city should be run. How services should be managed. How monies should be allocated, what cuts to make, and how to make our city expend. The people of the city need to understand, we work for the people who voted for us, who voted against us, and for those who didn’t or can’t vote. The elected office holders work for you, the people, not the other way around.

30: Are you likely to work in the interest of corporations?

Only if it benefits the city of Detroit. Corporations provide jobs and economic stability to our city. Without G.M., Ford, and Chrysler and other major corporations, where will the city be?

31: Are you likely to work in interest of yourself?

Again, anyone who answers yes to this question should be ran out of town. Enough said.

The rest of the questions in the session was more or less for the Mayoral Candidates and aimed towards the office of Mayor. Therefore, I hope I have conveyed my message and you have a better understanding of me. If any of my answers are not clear to you, and you want a more detailed answer. Please feel free to contract me at this blog site.

I would like thank Agnes Hitchcock of the Call'em Out Coalition for provideing the questions I have answered here on this site.

Thank you and God bless you all.

Herbie Felton