Saturday, July 24, 2010
Bettie C. Scott
William Isaac Robinson
Wayne County Commissioner
Gary A. Roquemore
Keith D. Williams
Maureen L. Stapleton
Reggie Reg Davis
District 15 Precinct 22
Herbie Jay Felton
Vote Tuesday August 3, 2010
You get what you VOTE for, VOTE Detroit !
Friday, July 23, 2010
The way forward to local economic recovery, balance & thoughtfulness.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - @ 6:00 p.m. at Mayflower Congregational UCC Church, 7301 Curtis Avenue, in Northwest Detroit (48221)
Given the recent problems with government ranging from local incidents of corruption to state financial difficulty and federal gridlock, economic development is by far the most important governmental function that can put workers into jobs, and realign local economies to address local development issues. Cities, regions and states have and can make decisions on how they will deploy limited economic development resources to shape quality of life issues. Investments in job training, education, local infrastructure and the manner or fashion that government organizes itself to enhance economic development are all critical questions in moving ahead in Detroit.
The current Detroit Charter references economic development and/or planning in at least four sections including Section 4-401 City Planning Commission, 6-201 City Planning Department, 7-501 Economic Development Department and 8-601 Special Assessments. In as far back as the commentary associated with the 1974 Charter, it summarizes a precarious alignment between city and non-government development initiatives,
“The new Charter makes major changes in the conduct of City planning. A half century ago when the present Charter was written, planning was a function carried on haphazardly, often outside the formal structure of City government. The 1918 Charter placed the planning function under the control of a Commission, enjoying considerable independence from elected officials. Today, Detroit City government is a service institution whose annual budget exceeds 0.67 billion dollars. The demand made on scarce dollars is awesome and every expenditure must be planned carefully. Detroit can no longer afford the luxury of planning that is not responsive and responsible to the officers charged with raising, appropriating and spending the City’s tax dollars.” (p12, 1974 Charter with Commentary).
As for economic development, the same commentary indicates,
“In Detroit, both planning and urban renewal has been carried on semi-independently of each other and of the mayor. It is the intent of the subsection 7-501 (3) that the executive branch department responsible for community development be designed as the agency for the administration of renewal and development projects…” further, “It is the intent of” the department to ”analyze economic problems and development opportunities; recommend development projects; recommend the exercise of governmental authority in aid of development projects undertaken by commerce and industry…and prepare legislative proposals which will enhance the City’s capacity to alleviate economic problems.” (Ibid, p. 25)
To discuss the current and potential alignment of resources needed to address economic development and planning issues, the Detroit Charter Revision Commission
will host an informational panel discussion on the structure, mission and opportunities surrounding city planning and economic development. The meeting will be held Tuesday, July 27, 2010 @ 6:00 p.m. at Mayflower Congregational Church, 7301 Curtis Avenue, Detroit, Michigan in Northwest Detroit (48221).
The Commission has assembled a panel of subject experts including Dr. Karl Gregory, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Oakland University. Dr. Gregory is an expert in economics, macroeconomics, finance and management. Dr. Gregory helped inspire the development of the First Independence National Bank, Detroit’s only African American banking institution. Dr. Gregory has advocated for various economic policies at the federal, state and local levels of government. He is also a former Vice-President of the Detroit Economic Club, Chairman and founding board member of Greater Detroit BIDCO, Inc., and has provided pro bono consultation services to key not-for-profit, civic and civil rights organizations in Detroit and throughout the United States. Also joining Dr. Gregory is Marsha Bruhn, AICP. Ms. Bruhn is the former Director of the City of Detroit Planning Commission. She is currently retired but serves as the Chair of the Detroit Landbank Authority. Ms. Bruhn has direct experience with neighborhood and commercial development activities and has advised the Detroit City Council on development issues for in excess of 20 years. Rounding out the panel is Dr. Michael Belzer, professor of Economics at Wayne State University. Dr. Belzer is an expert in transportation planning and development and is the chair of the Transportation Research Board Committee on Trucking Industry Research. Dr. Belzer is currently working to create a strategic economic development plan to transform Southeastern Michigan into a global freight transportation hub.
The panel will explore the proper balance between economic development and planning as well as the roles of economic development and planning organizations within Detroit’s government. The discussion will also seek to understand the extension of traditional governmental powers for planning and development and how these powers and functions have morphed into the private sector with the creation of private agencies like the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation EDGC), Downtown Development Authority (DDA), Detroit Brownfield Authority, Economic Development Corporation (DBRA), Neighborhood Development Corporation (NDC), Local Development Finance Authority (LDFA) and the Tax Increment Finance Authority (TIFA). With this array of development agencies as well as other internal business support organizations operating within city government such as the targeted business office, the neighborhood commercial revitalization office, along with the Planning department, many have begun to wonder if the current city efforts in this area are haphazard, uncoordinated and duplicative. With the demands of the current economy, do we have the required focus and leadership to alleviate economic problems? Can the Charter address these issues of coordination, accountability and the exercise of traditional government encroachments into the property rights and taxation burdens of Detroit citizens?
Each panel member will have 15-20 minutes to present their ideas on the above. After presentations, the members of the Charter Commission will ask questions of the panel on their presentations or topics related to the Charter revision process. Following the exchange between Commissioners and panel members, the Commission will open the floor for public comments. If you have questions, please contact Gregory Hicks, Executive Director, 2009 Detroit Charter Revision Commission at 313-628-2516.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
BELL, Calif. (AP) — The City Council in this small, blue-collar suburb of Los Angeles intends to ask three administrators whose salaries total more than $1.6 million to resign Thursday or face possible firing.
The officials include Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo, who earns $787,637 a year — nearly twice the pay of President Barack Obama — for overseeing one of the poorest towns in Los Angeles County.
The others are Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia, who makes $376,288 a year, and Police Chief Randy Adams, whose annual salary of $457,000 is 50 percent more than that of Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.
Councilman Luis Artiga said the panel planned to request the resignations during a closed-door, afternoon meeting that was called to consider dismissing the officials. A public hearing is scheduled for Monday.
Rizzo was hired at an annual salary of $72,000 a year in 1993, and the council rapidly increased that amount over the years. His most recent raise boosted his salary more than $84,000 a year.
"All right, somebody wasn't paying attention to that," said Artiga, who joined the council a little more than a year ago. "But we are acting on that today."
Adams was recently hired at a relatively high salary, while Spaccia was paid $102,310 when she was hired in 2003 and received hefty raises since then, Artiga said.
All three officials under question have contracts that protect them from being fired without cause. If they refuse to quit, the city might have to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy out their contracts.
Revelations about the pay in Bell has sparked anger in the city of fewer than 40,000 residents. Census figures from 2008 show 17 percent of the population lives in poverty.
Enraged residents have staged protests demanding the firings and started a recall campaign against some council members.
"Woo-hoo, the salaries. Wow. What can I say? I think that's unbelievable," Christina Caldera, a 20-year resident of the city, said as she stood in line at a food bank.
Caldera, who is struggling after recently losing her job as a drug and alcohol counselor, said she generally was satisfied with the way the city was being run but felt high-paid officials should take a pay cut.
"What are they doing with all that money?" she asked. "Maybe they could put it into more jobs for other people."
Attempts to leave messages with city representatives seeking comment from Rizzo and Spaccia failed because their voicemails were full. A message left for Adams was not immediately returned.
The council members are paid well themselves — four of the five members, including Artiga, each make about $100,000 a year for the part-time work. The county district attorney's office is investigating to determine if the council's high salaries violate any state laws.
The City Council also intends to review city salaries, including those of its own members, according to Artiga and Mayor Oscar Hernandez.
"We are going to analyze all the city payrolls and possibly will revise all the salaries of the city," Artiga said.
However, both men said they considered the City Council pay to be justified.
"We work a lot. I work with my community every day," the mayor said, as he shook hands with and embraced people leaving the food bank Thursday.
Council members are on call around the clock, and it is not uncommon for them to take calls in the middle of the night from people reporting problems with city services, Artiga said.
Though many residents are poor, Hernandez said they live in a city they can be proud of, one with a $22.7 million budget surplus, clean streets, refurbished parks and numerous programs for people of all ages. He pointed proudly down a street to a park filled with new exercise equipment.
When Rizzo arrived 17 years ago, Hernandez said, the city was $13 million in debt and on the verge of bankruptcy. Rizzo obtained government grants to aid the city, the mayor said.
Rizzo was arrested near his home in Huntington Beach in March and charged with misdemeanor drunken driving. He pleaded not guilty and is due back in court for an Aug. 5 hearing, said Farrah Emami, a spokeswoman for the Orange County district attorney's office.
The Los Angeles Times reported the salaries last week, prompting a large protest Monday at City Hall in which residents shouted and demanded that Rizzo be fired.
If Rizzo leaves, he still would be entitled to a state pension of more than $650,000 a year for life, according to calculations made by the Times. That would make Rizzo, 56, the highest-paid retiree in the state pension system.
Adams could get more than $411,000.
Spaccia, 51, could be eligible for as much as $250,000 a year when she reaches 55, though the figure is less precise than for the other two officials, the Times said.
California Attorney General Jerry Brown said his office has launched an investigation in conjunction with the state's public employee retirement agency into pension and related benefits for Bell's civic leaders.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Snyder Campaign Raises Concerns About Coordination Between Michigan Business United And Cox Campaign On Negative Attack Ads
Ann Arbor, MI -- Yesterday, Rick for Michigan Campaign volunteers and young staff members attempted to lawfully and respectfully question Gust Ghanam, the registered agent of Michigan Business United, about potential coordination of false, negative attacks ads with the Mike Cox 2010 Committee. They were met hostilely and Mr. Ghanam aggressively approached a young volunteer attempting to ask legitimate questions. This incident seriously raises into question the issue of illegal coordination between Mr. Ghanam and the Cox Campaign.
For a video compilation of the incident, please click here.
To watch Michigan Business United's false, negative attack ad, click here.
"While the legal ramifications of this incident are still pending and cannot be discussed, it is obvious from Mr. Gahanam's aggressive behavior that he has something to hide from the citizens of Michigan," said campaign spokesman Jake Suski. "We urge the Macomb and Wayne County Prosecutors' office to fully investigate this matter and ensure that state laws are being abided by. Just yesterday Mike Cox was talking about transparency – he has a chance here to walk the walk. Yet it would be an 'urban legend' to expect the Attorney General to investigate this incident and the likely coordination between his campaign and Michigan Business United."
Mr. Ghanam is a public servant, serving as the Superintendent of Sanitation for Warren, Michigan. It appears that a large portion of his time has been spent in mud-slinging politics rather than service to the citizens of Warren.
Gust Ghanam filed Macomb Business United as an independent political action committee with the state on July 14, 2009. Macomb Business United lists its address as 2 Crocker Boulevard, Suite 202, Mount Clemens, Michigan (48043). As it happens, this is the exact same address used by the Michigan Civic Educational Fund on February 5, 2010, when it purchased advertising time on station WJR-AM. This advertising time was used to run attack ads against Rick Snyder from February 8 through 12, 2010.
According to the Macomb Daily (02/10/10): "A newly created nonprofit organization that has launched a campaign that's bashing two Republican candidates for governor is associated with notorious Macomb County political consultants and local political activists who are supporting GOP front-runner Mike Cox The MCEF was formed in November by attorney Cecil St. Pierre, attorney Mike Greiner and Warren Assistant City Attorney Jeff Schroder, according to state documents. They have hired political consultant Joe Munem." (http://www.macombdaily.com/articles/2010/02/10/news/srv0000007571908.txt)
On July 31, 2009, Macomb Business United was served notice that it had failed to file the necessary campaign disclosure reports as required by the Michigan Campaign Finance Act. On August 20, 2009, Macomb Business United was sent a notice for its failure to file, and on October 9, 2009, was sent another notice, but apparently, the group continued to laugh at the law.
Macomb Business United filed a financial disclosure report with Macomb County for the period ending December 31, 2009. It shows that the group raised $21,100.00 and spent $16,502.24. $9,500.00 of that amount went to "Mike Cox", who was listed as the candidate and committee contributed to.
Unfortunately, no address was listed, or office sought. The contribution was listed as an independent expenditure in support of "Mike Cox", but the type of expenditure wasn't given. This contribution to "Mike Cox" was made within 24 hours of a donation of $10,000 to Macomb Business United from the Commanders Majority Fund.
This disclosure was filed with Macomb County, but not with the Secretary of State's office (http://campaignfinance. macombcountymi.gov/ IndexedDocs/48306497.PDF).
For 2010, Macomb Business United changed its name to Michigan Business United. On January 13, 2010, the group received its final notice concerning its failure to file. On April 20, 2010, the group paid a fine for failing to file. As of that date, the group reported to the Secretary of State that it had no funds.
American's for Job Security (AJS) recently launched similar false, negative attack ads and Michigan Truth Squad suspected coordination then:
"AJS' address listed on its 2007 federal tax return is 66 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 555, Alexandria, VA 22314. That is the same address as WWP Strategies, a consultant for Mike Cox for Governor, according to the Hoekstra campaign, as confirmed by Cox spokesman Nick DeLeeuw and reported in a May 3, 2010, Gongwer story that lists WWP consultants Katie Packer, Fred Wszolek and Lori Wortz as advisers. However, WWP oddly does not list any contact information on its company website. The ads are produced by Crossroads Media, which also has the same address as AJS." ( Michigan Truth Squad story )
Michigan Business United also used Crossroads Media to purchase their ads.
"I am pleased to have "Joe the Plumber’s" endorsement in my race for governor," said Bouchard. "He was not afraid to ask President Obama the tough questions and he didn’t hold back when asking what my plans are for Michigan. I explained to him that under a Bouchard administration modeled after my Blueprint for Prosperity, Michigan will once again be prosperous."
"Joe the Plumber" gained national attention in 2008 when he asked then Senator Obama if his small business tax plan would hurt the "American Dream." After "Joe" asked the question heard around the world, the term "Joe the Plumber" became a household name. "Joe the Plumber" became the icon of the average middle class American who John McCain and Sarah Palin referred to on their quest for the presidency in 2008.
"After weighing the options in Michigan’s gubernatorial race, the only clear answer to getting Michigan back to work is Mike Bouchard," said Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher. "Mike Bouchard has a clear and decisive plan for rebuilding Michigan’s economy. He is a man of his word and a brave to fight for Right to Work in Michigan. Mike knows what is right and will champion issues which may be unpopular, but necessary to ensure Michigan’s hard working people can find a good paying job."
For information the endorsements received by Mike Bouchard’s campaign for governor visit, www.BouchardforGovernor.com.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Nugent: "My man, Mike Bouchard, is the kind of leader and hunting buddy Michigan needs"
Oakland County – Mike Bouchard, Republican candidate for governor, today joined with Ted Nugent to call for an amendment to Michigan’s constitution to create a legal “right to hunt and fish” protecting sportsman’s rights for generations to come.
"Michigan’s hunting traditions and our one-of-a-kind natural resources need to be preserved for future generations to enjoy," said Bouchard, an avid outdoorsman whose memberships include the National Rifle Association and Safari Club International. "I will strongly oppose anything infringing on the rights of hunters and fishermen. Michigan must join the other 22 states who have already amended their state’s constitution to protect hunting and fishing rights. As governor, I will ensure sportsmen’s rights become part of Michigan’s constitution protecting our ability to hunt and fish in Michigan for years to come."
"My man, Mike Bouchard, is the kind of leader and hunting buddy Michigan needs," said avid hunter and guitar legend, Ted Nugent. "We need a leader in truth who will continue to stand up for our guns, God and beliefs. Mike has done this as Oakland County Sheriff and will continue to do so as the next governor of Michigan."
In May, Bouchard offered his Sportsman’s Pledge to outdoors enthusiasts, pledging as governor he will preserve Michigan’s hunting and fishing traditions, and its incredible natural resources for future generations.
For more on Bouchard's Sportsman's Pledge visit, www.BouchardforGovernor.com.
Friday, July 9, 2010
By COREY WILLIAMS
Associated Press Writer
DETROIT (AP) -- Detroit officials say a company's admission in a civil lawsuit against a small art gallery to owning the long-abandoned Packard Motor Car plant could jump-start the process of getting the blighted structure torn down.
Bioresource Inc. earlier this week filed a lawsuit against the operators of the 555 Arts gallery for the return of an 8-foot section of wall featuring artwork and a message by elusive British graffiti artist Banksy.
In the suit, Bioresource claimed to be the property's owner and listed local land speculator Romel Casab as president.
"The City of Detroit has had a long history of litigation with Bioresource Inc. over the ownership of this land and the condition of the structures on the property," Detroit Buildings & Safety Engineering Director Karla Henderson told The Associated Press on Thursday. "Now that it is clear and publicly acknowledged who the responsible party is, we will pursue all applicable areas of enforcement to hold the property owner accountable for this unsightly and dangerous situation."
The city wants the east side plant torn down and likely will move it through Detroit's condemnation procedure, which entails a number of hearings and appearances before the City Council, Henderson said.
Bioresource officials, including Casab, also may be asked to come forward and give depositions.
Demolition and cleanup of the site could cost upward of $20 million, Henderson said.
The Associated Press left a message seeking comment from Bioresource lawyer Barry Steinway.
Operators of 555 Arts, using a masonry saw, helped cut the section of cinderblock wall from the building in May after learning Banksy had visited Detroit and stenciled a figure of a child holding a bucket of red paint and brush alongside the message: "I remember when all this was trees."
The wall and artwork was moved to their gallery in southwest Detroit where it is on display.
"We saved the piece," said Carl Goines, the gallery's executive director. "All evidence shows it was an abandoned and neglected building."
But the gallery was notified in June that the Packard plant's owners wanted the wall and artwork back. The subsequent lawsuit claims the section of wall could be worth $100,000 or more.
"If it's of monetary value, it's not surprising someone would step up and claim it," Goines said of the Banksy wall.
The Packard plant was built in the early 1900s on the 40-acre site and covered several city blocks. The last Packard automobile was built in the mid-1950s. When the car company shut down operations in the sprawling facility, other smaller industrial businesses set up shop.
Four decades later, few tenants were left and the plant increasingly became the target of thieves, metal scrappers, urban explorers and graffiti artists.
Now most exterior doors and loading docks are open to trespass. The site also has become a dumping ground for trash, tires and even thousands of shoes.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Oakland County – Mike Bouchard, Republican candidate for governor, today called on the Obama administration to start protecting our borders and stop the pursuit of a lawsuit against Arizona.
"The Obama administration is missing their core mission and that is why state’s like Arizona are forced to create their own laws," Bouchard said. "Now Arizona is being threatened with a lawsuit for protecting their state. One of government’s priorities is to keep its citizens safe. The administration has their priorities out of whack when it comes to protecting our country. If the feds would focus their efforts on securing our borders we wouldn’t be having this conversation in the first place."
Last week, President Obama held a press conference where he endorsed a proposal from Sen. Chuck Schumer that would require illegal immigrants to admit they broke the law, pay fines and back taxes and perform community service to eventually obtain legal status.
"Until the federal government acts proactively to secure our borders, Michigan needs to enact a similar law with modifications," Bouchard said. "When someone has a police contact today, he or she is routinely run against local, state and federal databases but NOT against illegal entry lists. That should happen simultaneously. We do not need to conduct sweeps but we do need to enforce the law.
"I have said it before and I will say it again, as governor, I will use the 10th Amendment to its fullest power to ensure a safe and prosperous Michigan. Washington will no longer issue blanket mandates to Michigan, which continue to erode our independent rights under a Bouchard Administration."