3:13 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

The latest on a potential emergency manager for Detroit

The future of Detroit's Emergency Manager
Zoe Clark Michigan Radio

Last week, Governor Snyder  received the results of a state-appointed financial review of Detroit.

According to the review, Detroit is in a 'financial emergency' and that the city's current leaders "lack a plan."

This week, Michigan is waiting to see whether or not Gov. Snyder will appoint an emergency manager for the city. The Detroit City Council still seems unsure about how to respond to the review team's assessment. 

To discuss the options in front of Gov. Snyder and in front of the city, Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty spoke with Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes.

To hear the full interview, click on the listen link above.

Politics & Government
9:19 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Commentary: Detroit’s next mayor?

Lessenberry commentary for 2/27/13

Twelve years ago, I went to talk to Geoffrey Fieger, Michigan’s most flamboyant attorney. Fieger told me he was thinking about running for mayor of Detroit, and wanted to know what I thought.

I told him I thought it was an absolutely brilliant idea with only three fatal flaws. “What do you mean?” he said. “Well, first of all, you don’t live there,” I said. Fieger told me he could buy a house anywhere. I didn’t dispute that.

But there was a second problem. I told him, you aren’t going to get elected because you aren’t black. Detroiters aren’t ready to vote for a white mayor. “You’re wrong,” Fieger said. “They love me.”

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Politics & Government
4:55 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Stateside: Mike Duggan joins race for next Detroit mayor

Mike Duggan making an address at the Detroit Medical Center

He has been an assistant prosecutor, Wayne County Deputy Executive under Edward McNamara, and the CEO of the Detroit Medical Center.

Today, Mike Duggan is making his next move official. He wants to become Detroit's next Mayor.

With Duggan throwing his hat into the ring,  what is he going to bring to the table that other candidates do not?

And are black residents prepared to cast their vote for a white candidate?

1973 was the last year there was a white candidate in a Detroit Mayoral race. That's when John Nichols lost to Coleman Young.

Will Detroiters be ready to vote for Duggan? He recently moved to the city from Livonia.

We spoke with Detroit Free Press writer Rochelle Riley who gave us a closer look at Duggan's mayoral campaign.

To listen to the full interview click on the audio link above.

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11:38 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Detroit home sale prices continue to improve

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Detroit’s real estate market posted some of the strongest price gains in the nation in 2012.

The just released S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index charts home sale prices in the nation’s twenty largest cities.

Detroit home sale prices rose more than 13 percent last year, the third highest percentage increase in the survey.

Craig Lazzara is the head of Index Investment Strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices. He compiled the report. Lazzara says, despite the rise in prices, homes in Detroit are still selling for about what they did in 1997. 

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Politics & Government
5:05 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Stateside: Abandoned cities that bounce back

Detroit's future city plan to outline economic growth
Kate Sumbler Flickr

The Detroit Future City plan, released by Detroit Mayor David Bing's Detroit Works Project, offers both short term action and long term plans to rebuild the city.

The report, created over a two year period, intends to improve the quality of life and business in Detroit and also sets goals for the future.

What could cities facing similar situations learn from Detroit? And what has been done in cities outside of Michigan?

June Manning Thomas and Margaret Dewar are professors of urban and regional planning at the University of Michigan and are editors of the book "The City after Abandonment," a collection of essays from top urban planning experts.

Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty spoke with Thomas and Dewar about the next steps outlined in the plan for Detroit and what its future will hold.

You can listen to the full Stateside interview above.

Arts & Culture
2:48 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

The Oscar goes to "Sugar Man" for best documentary

Rodriguez performing at the Phoenix
Chris Lopez Facebook

In between Ben Affleck’s awkward statement about his marriage and Jennifer Lawrence tripping on the stairs, you may not have heard about the winner for best documentary “Searching for Sugar Man." 

It’s a film about a Detroit-area musician named Rodriguez who was virtually unheard of in the U.S., but a music giant in South Africa.

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Politics & Government
7:37 am
Mon February 25, 2013

In this morning's news: Budget cuts, Detroit bankruptcy, taxes

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Michigan could loose $140 million if federal budget cuts happen Friday

"The White House says Michigan faces about $140 million in losses if an automatic federal budget cut takes effect Friday, and U.S. Sen. Carl Levin says he's hopeful the deadline pressure will prompt Congress to raise money by closing some tax loopholes. The cuts include $67.7 million in gross pay to 10,000 civilian Defense Department employees in Michigan and $42.2 million to K-12 and disability education programs in the state," the Associated Press reports.

Bankruptcy planning for Detroit

"It appears that officials are laying the groundwork for a so-called 'managed bankruptcy' in Detroit—though they hope that won’t actually happen. A process for going through chapter nine municipal bankruptcy is laid out in the state’s new emergency manager law that kicks in next month. Governor Snyder acknowledges that bankruptcy might be the only way to reduce Detroit’s long-term debt—estimated at more than $14 billion," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Taxes impact low and moderate earners this year

"Changes to Michigan's tax structure are hitting low and moderate earners hard this year. Lawmakers approved changes in 20-11 that cut 1-point-6 billion dollars in business taxes, but raised taxes on individuals. Low-income families could be the hardest hit, with the elimination of the child tax deduction, and a reduction in the Earned Income Tax Credit," Vincent Duffy reports.

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Politics & Government
9:00 am
Sat February 23, 2013

The week in review

Kate Sumbler Flickr

Week in review interview

This week in review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the second attempt to overhaul Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the great potential of Detroit getting an emergency manager, and debates over what control the Detroit Public School board has when they are under the control of an emergency financial manager.

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1:13 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Forbes: Detroit and Flint are the top 2 most 'miserable cities' in the U.S.

Detroit from the air.
Aaron Headly Flickr

Every American city has its miserable parts.

Forbes Magazine says there are just more miserable parts to Detroit and Flint than other U.S. cities.

Complete with photos of burned out buildings and cop cars, Forbes Magazine put Detroit and Flint at the no. 1 & 2 spots on its "American's Most Miserable Cities 2013" list.

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Politics & Government
7:02 am
Fri February 22, 2013

In this morning's news: Blue Cross and abortion, alcohol regulations, Detroit's finances

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Blue Cross changes approved without abortion provision

"It looks unlikely state House Republicans will try to add controversial abortion language to a proposed overhaul of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Lawmakers passed the bill out of committee yesterday without a provision that would limit insurers’ ability to cover elective abortions," Jake Neher reports.

Bill would end some Michigan alcohol regulations

"Legislation in the Michigan Senate would overhaul regulation of the state's alcohol industry. The bill would eliminate outdated regulations and increase the size of the industry. One change would make it harder to prosecute those who sell alcohol to someone who is intoxicated," the Associated Press reports.

Governor Snyder says he won't decide on an EM for Detroit for at least another week

"Governor Snyder says he won’t decide whether to put an emergency manager in Detroit for 'at least another week.' But he warned Thursday that the city’s financial situation is 'dire.'", Sarah Cwiek reports.

Politics & Government
8:12 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Gov. Snyder: At least week from deciding Detroit's fate

DETROIT (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder says he's at least a week away from deciding if Detroit needs an emergency manager to confront its $327 million budget deficit and $14 billion long-term debt.

Snyder told reporters Thursday that the city's drastic population loss over six decades is the main reason for its financial woes.

Detroit had 1.8 million people in the 1950 U.S. Census and about 700,000 in 2010. Snyder says new growth holds the key to Detroit's recovery.

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Politics & Government
4:41 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Stateside: Insight into Synder's emergency manager appointment

Governor Snyder spoke about Detroit's state of emergency on Thursday
Photo courtesy of the Snyder administration

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

Governor Rick Snyder met with reporters in downtown Detroit on Thursday to discuss the report he received from a state financial review team earlier this week.

The report announced that Detroit is in a state of financial emergency and that the city's current leaders "lack a plan" to deal with it. Mayor Dave Bing's insisted that he did have a plan, but numerous obstacles made it difficult to put it in place.

Now, Detroit residents and those who have been following the crisis are merely waiting for Governor Snyder to appoint an emergency manager.

Karen Dumas, a native Detroiter, is the former Chief of Communications for Mayor Dave Bing and the City of Detroit. Dumas has worked at Detroit's City Hall over the past decade, and is closely following the process.

Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty spoke with Dumas about Detroit's state of financial emergency and the upcoming process the city will undergo.

Politics & Government
7:21 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Gov. Snyder to discuss Detroit finances Thursday

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is planning to discuss Detroit's financial situation on Thursday.

The governor is expected to hold an afternoon round table with the media in Detroit. Snyder's office says he isn't planning to announce if he'll appoint an emergency manager, but instead to provide an update on where things stand.

The Republican governor has less than a month to decide whether the state will take over the city's broken finances and send in someone to oversee a recovery.

Politics & Government
8:49 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Commentary: The agony of Detroit

Lessenberry commentary for 2/20/13

So now it is all but official: Detroit will be getting a financial manager, likely sooner rather than later. Yesterday, as everyone expected, the state’s review team announced that the city was in a financial emergency. Appointing a manager is the only logical next step.

It’s long been clear this day was inevitable. Indeed, it was probably a foregone conclusion when the city agreed to an unwieldy consent agreement with the state nearly a year ago.

The problems were too big and the huge financial liabilities too vast to ever be solved by any elected political leaders. It is true that those now running Detroit were mostly either ineffectual (the mayor) or pigheaded and irrational (the city council). But when you look at the scope of the problems, it is unlikely that a team of the greatest politicians in our history could have solved this mess.

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Politics & Government
7:15 am
Wed February 20, 2013

In this morning's news: Detroit's financial review, sex offender bill and medical marijuana

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Detroit closer to a state takeover

"A state takeover of Detroit has edged closer to reality, as a financial review team formally determined the city is in a fiscal crisis with no workable plan to dig out of it. State Treasurer Andy Dillon led the review. He says a 10-month-old consent agreement between the state and the city is not working," Rick Pluta reports.

State House approves bill to add more people to sex offender registry

"People convicted of crimes such as possessing child pornography and indecent exposure might soon be added to the state’s public sex offender registry. Lawmakers in the state House yesterday voted overwhelmingly in favor of the legislation," Jake Neher reports.

Bill would legalize medical marijuana distribution centers

A bill was introduced in the state House to legalize medical marijuana distribution centers in the State. This comes after the state Supreme Court recently ruled that the dispensaries violate the medical marijuana law and are illegal. As the Detroit Free Press reports,

House Bill 4271 -- titled the Medical Marijuana Provisioning Center Regulation Act -- would let communities decide whether to allow such centers and where they could be located.

Politics & Government
3:23 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Stateside: What the emergency review means for Detroit

A look into Detroit's finances may determine the cities financial troubles

Today is the day the State will released the results of its emergency review into Detroit's finances.

Since late last year, a six-member team has taken what's been called "a deep dive" into the city's records to determine just how massive Detroit's money troubles are.

Is getting this report card going to lead to any better cooperation between Mayor Bing and City Council members?

Does the review team offer suggestions for action, or does it just present "the facts" and let the Governor draw his own conclusions?

Michigan Public Radio Network's Lansing bureau chief Rick Pluta talked to us about what to expect from the report.

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Politics & Government
2:23 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Detroit financial review to be revealed at 4 p.m. today

Detroit from the air.
Aaron Headly Flickr

If you think you've heard this before, you have.

This is the second state review of Detroit's finances.

The first review in 2012 led to a "financial stability agreement" and the installation of a Detroit financial advisory board in the spring of 2012.

We're coming up on the one-year anniversary of that agreement, and the city's finances are anything but stable.

Many expect the review to be poor. More from Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek:

It’s widely expected that the report will depict a city on the brink of insolvency, a mayor and City Council unable to handle it—and suggest further state intervention.

Cwiek reports the Governor gave the review team extra time to delve deeper into the city's books - books that could show a long-term debt "estimated at more than $12 billion."

The financial review team will discuss its report to Governor Snyder during a press conference at 4:00 p.m. today on the 14th floor of Cadillac Place, 3044 W. Grand Blvd. in Detroit.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek will be there and give us a update later today.

Governor Snyder is not expected to attend, but an announcement on an emergency financial manager appointment is expected within the next week or two.

Politics & Government
7:06 am
Tue February 19, 2013

This morning's headlines: Detroit's finances, Flint State of the City, Sleeping Bear Dunes

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Report on Detroit's finances due today

"Governor Snyder is expected to receive a long-awaited report on Detroit’s financial situation today. It’s widely expected that the report will depict a city on the brink of insolvency—and suggest further state intervention," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Flint State of the City addresses violent crime

"Flint mayor Dayne Walling says his city must now make a transition to an era of "reconstruction" after a "generation of decline." Walling told the audience at his State of the City address yesterday that in order to begin that transition Flint must deal with its crime problem. Flint had the worst violent crime rate in the nation last year," Steve Carmody reports.

Sleeping Bear Dunes get $100,000

"The state Transportation Department has received $100,000 in federal funds to extend Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Heritage Trail by nearly five miles. The funding is part of $12.5 million for 29 projects in 20 states to improve access to national parks, forests and wildlife refuges," the Associated Press reports.

Arts & Culture
10:50 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Author Charlie LeDuff talks about returning to his hometown of Detroit

An image from "Detroit Disassembled," an exhibit on display at the National Building Museum that focuses on the decay of buildings in Detroit rather than the city's residents.
Andrew Moore, The Aurora, Brush Park neighborhood, 2008

Detroit native, Charlie LeDuff is an author, journalist, and filmmaker, as well as a reporter for Fox News Detroit and The Detroit News .

He is also a former journalist for the New York Times and a 2001 Pulitzer Prize for his work on the New York Times piece "How Race is Lived in America."

Currently LeDuff has been gaining press for his newly published autobiography titled Detroit: an American Autopsy.

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Politics & Government
7:29 am
Fri February 15, 2013

In this morning's headlines: Right to work ad, Viagra and Detroit gang squad

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Pure Michigan right to work ad cut

"The Michigan Economic Development Corporation has suspended use of the “Pure Michigan” brand to market the state’s new right-to-work status. Democrats and unions complained after the agency used the brand in a Wall Street Journal ad that mentioned the right-to-work law," Rick Pluta reports.

Whitmer asks to cut Viagra out of Senate medical plan

Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer has challenged State Senator Rick Jones to drop Viagra from the Senate's medical plan. This comes after a vote this week to exclude abortion coverage from the Senate's medical plan. Jones says he'd be happy to do so.

Detroiters protest against cut to gang squad

Dozens of Detroiters came out Thursday night to protest Mayor Dave Bing's proposal to get rid of the city's gang squad. Mayor Bing wants to cut the program in order to put more officers on regular beat patrol.