Detroit

Opinion
8:40 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Looking forward to the November election in Detroit

Lessenberry commentary for 8/7/2013

What happened yesterday in Detroit was truly astounding on a number of levels. More than half of the voters ignored the fourteen mayoral candidates on the ballot, and wrote in a name.

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Politics & Government
12:47 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Duggan makes history with winning write-in campaign; Napoleon rallies supporters

Benny Napoleon finished second in Tuesday's Detroit mayoral primary
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

 Write-in candidates claimed over half the vote in Detroit’s mayoral primary Tuesday.

And that means Mike Duggan’s write-in campaign has made Detroit history.

The former Detroit Medical Center CEO’s campaign was well-organized and well-funded. There was just one problem: a court challenge got him kicked off the ballot.

But apparently that wasn’t a big problem.

Though official results may take some time, Duggan appears to have defeated his next-closest rival, Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, by 20 points.

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Opinion
8:37 am
Tue August 6, 2013

The truth about Detroit pensioners

Lessenberry commentary for 8/6/2013

Detroiters are voting today in one of the strangest and yet most important primary elections the city’s ever had. Those they send to the November runoff will be fighting for jobs which at first will have no power. That’s because everything is now in the hands of Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, and U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Stephen Rhodes.

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Stateside
5:19 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Detroit could play a part in a metropolitan revolution

Detroit skyline seen from Windsor, Ontario, across the Detroit River.
Bernt Rostad creative commons

An interview with Bruce Katz, vice president at the Brookings Institution and founding director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.

Ever since the news broke that Detroit had filed for bankruptcy, there has been a tidal wave of stories about the Motor City sent to all corners of the world. A city in ruin. Street lights that don’t work. Police response times of nearly an hour. Broken fire rigs and no money for repairs. Abandoned buildings.

But the next guest believes that this historic bankruptcy provides not only new challenges, but new opportunities to hit the “reset” button and build a city core that can be vibrant and strong, hopefully strong enough to lift up other regions of the city.

Bruce Katz is a vice president at the Brookings Institution and founding director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.

Along with Jennifer Bradley, he is co-author of the new book “The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros are Fixing our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy.”

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Stateside
5:16 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

A preview of tomorrow's Detroit primary

Detroit's skyline.
Peter Martorano Flickr

An interview with Detroit Free Press editorial writer Nancy Kaffer.

Tomorrow is primary election day.

Detroit's primary is getting most of the attention, but there are local elections happening in many areas of the state on Tuesday.

In Flint, voters are choosing among two dozen candidates to fill largely powerless city council seats.

Flint has been under the control of an emergency manager since December of 2011. But while Flint city council members wield little power now, that may soon change.

Flint is taking steps to come out from under state oversight and that could happen late next year, so the Flint city council members elected from the field of Tuesday’s primary candidates may eventually have actual power to shape their city.

Voters are also casting primary ballots in parts of Lansing, Jackson, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor.

In all, voters in more than 50 Michigan counties will be casting ballots on Tuesday.

In Detroit, the stakes have never been higher because of the bankruptcy.

Detroit Free Press editorial writer Nancy Kaffer joined us today to give us a preview of the election.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:12 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Stateside for Monday, August 5th, 2013

When it comes to economic growth and finding an economic partner, it seems Michigan and China have a serious relationship. Last year, Michigan exported more than $3 billion worth of goods and services to China, only behind Canada and Mexico. We took a look at these economic ties and what they mean for the future.

And, we met a 17-year-old who is trying to keep her community clean, one trash bag at a time.

Also, we spoke with Bruce Katz, vice president of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and co-author of the new book “The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros are Fixing our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy,” about rebuilding Detroit.

First on the show, tomorrow is primary election day. Detroit's primary is getting most of the attention, but there are local elections happening in many areas of the state on Tuesday.

In Flint, voters are choosing among two dozen candidates to fill largely powerless city council seats.

Flint has been under the control of an emergency manager since December of 2011. But while Flint city council members wield little power now, that may soon change.

Flint is taking steps to come out from under state oversight and that could happen late next year, so the Flint city council members elected from the field of Tuesday’s primary candidates may eventually have actual power to shape their city.

Voters are also casting primary ballots in parts of Lansing, Jackson, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor.

In all, voters in more than 50 Michigan counties will be casting ballots on Tuesday.

In Detroit, the stakes have never been higher because of the bankruptcy.

Detroit Free Press editorial writer Nancy Kaffer joined us today to give us a preview of the election.

Law
4:35 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Michigan communities marking National Night Out this week

A clown makes balloon animals and flowers for two children at Flint's National Night Out event
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Communities across Michigan will be marking National Night Out this week.

National Night Out is intended to encourage people to get out of their homes and meet their neighbors.

Flint is holding a community party downtown today. 

Flint community leaders hope this week’s National Night Out will help them battle the city’s crime problem.   Flint has recorded three dozen homicides this year.  

Mayor Dayne Walling hopes events like National Night Out will help local police and neighborhood watch groups work more closely together.

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Opinion
8:44 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Who could buy the Detroit-Windsor tunnel?

Lessenberry commentary for 8/5/2013

For years, we’ve heard a lot about the Ambassador Bridge, and the battle to build a second span across the Detroit River. What didn’t ever seem to get in the news was the Detroit-Windsor tunnel.

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Politics & Government
12:48 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Detroit's mayoral primary isn't the only race on the ballot in Michigan on Tuesday

Voters in more than 50 Michigan counties will be casting ballots on Tuesday (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A lot of attention has been paid to Detroit’s mayoral primary on Tuesday. But that’s not the only election in which Michigan voters will be casting ballots this week.

Voters in more than 50 Michigan counties will be casting ballots on Tuesday.

There’s the usual mix of school and library millages.

There are also numerous local primary elections.

Voters in parts of Ann Arbor, Jackson, Grand Rapids, Lansing and other cities will be voting for local city council seats.

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Business
6:06 pm
Sun August 4, 2013

Step taken on possible Detroit airport-downtown shuttle

Detroit Metro Airport (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) - Operators of Detroit Metropolitan Airport have taken a small first step toward ending its status as one of the nation's worst major airports for passengers to reach or leave.

The Wayne County Airport Authority says it's issuing a request for information soon on possible providers of a shuttle service between the Romulus airfield and downtown Detroit.

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Economy
3:56 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Manufacturing a commuter bike in Detroit

Commuter bike by Detroit Bikes
Detroit Bikes Facebook

There are a couple of relatively new companies making bikes in Detroit.

Shinola makes them (along with watches, leather goods, and journals). Detroit Bicycle Company makes 'em.

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Politics & Government
3:18 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Kevyn Orr proposes new health care plan to save Detroit $12 million annually

Patricia Drury Flickr

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr proposed a new health care plan to the city’s 47 unions Friday morning, according to Reuters.

The plan will save the city $12 million a year by raising deductibles and trimming the number of plans available, but it will keep premiums the same.

Currently, there are 20 health care plans available to employees. Orr wants to reduce that number. Under his plan, single city workers will see their annual deductibles increase nearly fourfold -- from $200 to $750 -- and out-of-pocket expenses will be capped at $1,500. Married employees will see annual deductibles increase to $1,500, and out-of-pocket expense will be capped at $4,500.

Co-pays for doctor visits and prescription drugs will stay the same. The city will also continue to offer vision and dental plans. Preventive measures will still be free.

Orr said in a statement:

“We think this is the best plan we could propose given Detroit's financial crisis, but I look forward to hearing from union leadership on their ideas to lower healthcare costs. . . . The City’s plan holds the line on premium costs for employees while allowing Detroit to save enough money to put another 100 police officers or firefighters on the streets.”

The proposal is part of Detroit’s financial restructuring efforts to eliminate more than $18 billion in debt.

-Michelle Nelson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Politics & Culture
6:16 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

The FBI has just completed a nationwide sweep resulting in the arrest of 150 pimps and the rescue of 105 children who had been forced into prostitution. We took a closer look at human trafficking in our state.

And, we spoke with Leigh Ann Ulrey, one of 30 college graduates to be selected for the Challenge Detroit program.

And, a new House bill could eliminate state income tax. State Representative Bob Genetski joined us to talk about why he thinks income tax is unnecessary.

Also, self-driving cars could be available to consumers within the next 2-3 years, according to Google. We found out what the future of transportation might look like.

First on the show, there was an important handshake this afternoon in Lansing.

UAW President Bob King shook hands with state government officials to officially launch the start of contract talks.

UAW Local 6000's contract with the state expires at the end of 2014. But the state needs to finalize the next contract by the end of this year in order to get it funded in next year's budget. Local 6000 represents 17,000 state employees.

Let's look at what the big issues might be in the negotiations.

Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network's Lansing bureau chief, joined us today.

Stateside
6:06 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Challenge Detroit program combats Michigan 'brain drain'

Leigh Ann Ulrey speaks about her experiences at Compuware.
Facebook

An interview with Leigh Ann Ulrey, one the fellows from the 2012-2013 Challenge Detroit program.

There’s been a lot of attention paid to the problem of Michigan’s brain drain, how to keep college graduates in Michigan, applying their talents and energies to issues and challenges that are here at home instead of heading out of state.

We discovered an intriguing program offering a strategy to keep tomorrow’s leaders in the state. It’s called Challenge Detroit. It’s a leadership and professional development program that’s currently in its first year.

Leigh Ann Ulrey was one of the 30 graduates chosen out of hundreds of applicants to be part of the 2012-2013 Challenge Detroit program. She is a culture community and diversity specialist at Compuware in downtown Detroit. She joined us today from the Compuware headquarters.

Listen to the full interview above.

Investigative
3:10 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Human trafficking: Insight from those who represent victims after they're rescued

18 arrests were made in a national sweep recently.
user: The Ohio State University Flickr

The FBI recently completed a national sweep that led to the arrests of 150 pimps and the rescue of 105 children who were forced into sex slavery. The sweep was called the Innocence Lost National Initiative.

There were ten children (as young as 13-years-old) rescued in Detroit and 18 arrests were made, which put the city in the number two slot in the national sweep's ranking.

Elizabeth Campbell, a staff attorney for the Human Trafficking Clinic at the University of Michigan, wasn't surprised by those numbers, even though they were higher than many of the cities that were included. 

"Every American community has this problem, this is just the tip of the iceberg. I'd like to believe that [higher numbers in Michigan] are because we have great cooperation with law enforcement, but we also have certain factors that have made us susceptible to such operations."

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Opinion
8:45 am
Wed July 31, 2013

The U.P.'s view of Detroit

Lessenberry commentary for 7/31/2013

Michigan may be, in many ways, the most diverse state in the union. California and Texas are much larger. Alaska is out-of-the world vast, though fewer people live there than in Macomb County.

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Stateside
5:33 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Detroit and other Michigan municipalities are behind in pension and retiree health care obligations

A hospital wing
Clarita MorgueFile

An interview with Anthony Minghine, the chief operating officer of the Michigan Municipal League.

By now you’ve heard a bit about Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing. About half of Detroit’s nearly $20 billion in debt is due to shortfalls in the funds for retiree’s benefits. According to emergency manager Kevyn Orr’s estimates, the pension funds are behind by about $3.5 billion and behind in retiree health care funds by about $5.7 billion.

Detroit is not unique in its unfunded pension and retiree health care obligations. Other municipalities in the state are also behind.

Anthony Minghine is the chief operating officer of the Michigan Municipal League.  He joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:08 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Detroit native finds the silver lining in bankruptcy

Some people, like Matthew Naimi, see bankruptcy as an opportunity to address what's wrong with Detroit.
Sam Beebe Ecotrust

An interview with Matthew Naimi, the founder of the non-profit Recycle Here in Detroit.

An opinion piece caught our attention in the wake of the Detroit bankruptcy filing. The headline of the piece in the online magazine site Model D reads “Bankruptcy, the beginning of another opportunity.”

The author was Matthew Naimi, founder of the non-profit Recycle Here in Detroit. He describes bankruptcy as a chance to finally address the city’s dysfunction.

Naimi joined us today to discuss his piece.

Listen to the full interview above.

Business
5:00 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Detroit program employs off-duty cops to maintain safe neighborhood

Off-duty Detroit Police officers are hired by JEBA for extra security
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

The Jefferson Corridor in Detroit is home to the Clean and Safe program.

The program was created in part by the organization formerly known as the Jefferson East Business Association (JEBA). JEBA recently merged with the East Jefferson Corridor Collaboration to form the Jefferson East Inc.

The program is aimed at reducing crime in the Jefferson Corridor by taking advantage of a special program that allows off-duty Detroit police officers to be hired during their off-hours. The officers are armed, uniformed, and use DPD squad cars, at no extra cost to taxpayers. Cops who have seniority and a clean record are eligible. 

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Opinion
9:02 am
Tue July 30, 2013

Spending taxpayer dollars on sports stadiums will not help Detroit

Lessenberry commentary for 7/30/2013

Politicians are falling all over themselves in Washington and in Lansing to oppose spending any money to, as they put it, “bail out” Detroit.

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