Sarah Cwiek

Sarah Cwiek - Detroit Reporter/Producer

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October, 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit. Before her arrival at Michigan Radio, Sarah worked at WDET-FM as a reporter and producer.

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via dugganfordetroit.com

The Detroit mayor’s race has been unofficially underway for months.

But former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan was the first to file the paperwork to get his name on the August primary ballot Tuesday.

Candidates need at least 500 petition signatures to get on the ballot.

via city of Romulus

Romulus Police Chief Robert Dickerson has resigned his job.

He did so in a scathing letter in which he also called on Romulus’s mayor, Alan Lambert, to resign.

via wikipedia

The Reverend Al Sharpton and his National Action Network are the latest activists to jump behind the fight to Michigan’s emergency manager law.

Sharpton was in Detroit as opponents filed a federal lawsuit today.

Critics maintain that Michigan’s emergency manager law violates both state and federal law by stripping local voting rights in cities and school districts with emergency managers.

And they also argue it’s a racial issue, with black voters disproportionately affected.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder says Detroit and Michigan can’t afford to “look in the rear view mirror” when it comes to tackling problems.

The Governor spoke in Detroit Thursday, just just as two controversial laws he signed take effect.

Speaking at the Detroit Athletic Club’s “Pancakes and Politics” breakfast, Snyder addressed a crowd that included much of Detroit’s business and political elite—including the city’s new emergency manager, Kevyn Orr.

The new state law that gives Orr sweeping powers kicks in today. So does Michigan's right to work law.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The US Department of Education is now investigating the state of Michigan over alleged civil rights violations.

The department’s civil rights office was already investigating two civil rights cases against the Detroit Public Schools.

steve carmody

DETROIT (AP) - A number businesses plan to donate $8 million to help Detroit get 23 EMS units and 100 police cars to boost public safety and reduce response times.

Mayor Dave Bing announced the effort Monday along with racing team owner Roger Penske, who leads Penske Automotive Group.

“As local business leaders, we appreciate this opportunity to work with the mayor, and police and fire departments, to help improve safety in the neighborhoods, and our downtown," said Penske.

“We can work together to provide and drive positive momentum in our city.”

Other donors involved include Quicken Loans Inc., General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group LLC and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Mayor Bing calls this an “unprecedented collaboration” with the city’s business community.

The money will actually go Detroit’s Downtown Development Partnership, which will lease the vehicles for the city and pay for maintenance.

But mayor Dave Bing says this isn’t about downtown.

“This is about the neighborhoods," Bing said. "So we can go out into our neighborhoods to let people know that we support them, and we have not forgotten about them.”

Violent crime in Detroit spiked last year. The city recorded 387 criminal homicides. And department cutbacks have slowed response times.

Detroiters should see the new police cars on patrol by early summer, but the EMS vehicles will take a little bit longer to arrive.

The announcement came on the same day bankruptcy attorney and turnaround specialist Kevyn Orr arrived at Detroit City Hall for his first day on the job as emergency manager. Orr takes over the finances of the largest city in the country to come under state oversight.

Bing said the timing of the announcement was a coincidence.

via marchedunainrouge.com

This past Sunday was the first after the vernal equinox.

That’s the day Detroiters gather to banish a little red imp that’s bedeviled the city for more than 300 years.

In other words, it was time for the fourth annual Marche du Nain Rouge—a Mardi Gras-like celebration that’s about welcoming spring, and battling Detroit’s demons.

A quick history lesson about the Marche du Nain Rouge

Opponents of Michigan’s emergency manager law are gearing up for a long, hard fight against it.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson joined Congressman John Conyers and others in Detroit Friday to outline some of their plans.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing joined federal, state and local law enforcement to unveil the “Detroit One” crime-fighting initiative Thursday.

The idea underpinning the effort is that a large portion of Detroit’s violent crime is committed by a relatively small number of people.

waynecounty.com

The war of words between Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and County Executive Robert Ficano is intensifying.

Worthy held a press conference Wednesday to blast Ficano. She spoke in front of a televised slideshow with media clips detailing the Ficano administration’s ongoing corruption issues.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

An Arab American civil rights group says it’s hearing from a surge of people in southeast Michigan whose bank accounts were closed down without explanation.

The Arab American Civil Rights League says it’s received about a dozen complaints in the past month.

In each case, the bank notified the client that their account would be shut down. But they refused to provide an explanation.

Governor Snyder was on hand in Detroit to wrap up his two-day Governor's Economic Summit Tuesday.

One of the summit's main goals was to start matching workforce talent and job skills with employers’ needs. There was a lot of talk about the need for better-trained employees in some sectors, particularly the skilled trades.

But Snyder says employers have to do their part, too—and treat potential employees like customers.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A Detroit-based technology firm says it has an elegant solution to the city's property tax-collection woes.

Loveland Technologies has been mapping the city’s tax-foreclosed properties online. And Loveland founder Jerry Paffendorf says they’ve come across some remarkable data along the way, like this: “The city of Detroit is nearly half a billion dollars behind on property tax collection, when you add in penalties and interest.”

Large piles of petroleum coke along the Detroit River have sparked concern from citizens and environmental groups.

The “petcoke” is a byproduct of the crude oil refinement process. This petcoke comes from the nearby Marathon oil refinery.

It’s really started piling up on two sites along the Detroit River only recently, as the nearby Marathon oil refinery has expanded to process more crude oil from the Alberta tar sands.

Kevyn Orr
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

It’s official: Detroit has an emergency manager.

His name is Kevyn Orr. And it’s fair to say that he charmed even some skeptical observers when he was introduced to Detroit Thursday.

Orr isn’t exactly a household name. He was—until he quit his job Friday—a partner at the Jones Day law firm in Washington, DC. He’s a bankruptcy lawyer and turnaround expert who helped Chrysler through a successful managed bankruptcy.

Governor Snyder will name an emergency financial manager for Detroit today and groups that oppose the move are gearing up.

Some Detroiters fiercely believe that an emergency manager would be an illegal action that deprives them of local control.

Tom Barrow is a former Detroit mayoral candidate with the group Citizens for Detroit’s Future.

He says some people have vowed what sounds like an insurrection.

In a weird twist of fate, two remarkable events in Detroit’s recent history are happening at virtually the same time.

Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted of multiple federal corruption charges Monday. And Governor Snyder is expected to appoint an emergency financial manager within days.

The timing is a coincidence, but there’s some connection between the two events—and a lot of symbolism.


The Detroit City Council will press a challenge to Governor Snyder’s decision appointing an emergency financial manager—but they’ll do so without Mayor Dave Bing’s support.

The Council voted to approve that challenge Wednesday afternoon. Bing then held a late afternoon press conference declaring his opposition to the Council's tactics.

“I tried to figure out a way to support the Council in their efforts to appeal the Governor’s decision and to challenge the Financial Review Team’s assertion that we did not have a plan in place to fiscally stabilize the City,” Bing told reporters.

City of Detroit

Detroit city officials are struggling to come up with a unified response to Governor Snyder’s decision to appoint an emergency financial manager.

They now have less than a week to decide if they want to challenge that. If they do, Governor Snyder has said a hearing will be held March 12.

Most members of the City Council want to at least pursue a public hearing challenging Snyder’s decision. But several say that’s difficult because Detroit mayor Dave Bing hasn’t publicly declared his position.

Governor Snyder announced last week that he’ll appoint an emergency manager for the city of Detroit.

That means an unelected person will have sweeping powers to try and stop Detroit’s financial hemorrhaging.

Of course, emergency managers are controversial. And though they don’t have a choice in the matter, Detroiters are very much divided about whether this is a good thing.

“Both are going to hurt, which will hurt the less?”

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