Flint

Politics
6:00 am
Tue February 7, 2012

U-M panel focuses on Michigan's Emergency Manager law

Several elected officials and about a hundred others packed into a small conference room on the University of Michigan campus Monday night to talk about the state’s controversial Emergency Manager Law.

The Emergency Manager panel consisted of three elected Democratic officials: Flint Mayor Dayne Walling, Ann Arbor Representative Jeff Irwin and Washtenaw County Commissioner Conan Smith.

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Flint
1:01 am
Thu February 2, 2012

Flint emergency manager sits down with city residents tonight

Flint emergency manager Michael Brown
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 Flint residents will have a chance tonight to hear directly from the man who’s been running their city for the past two months. 

 An emergency manager has been calling the shots at Flint city hall since the beginning of December.

During that time, Michael Brown has limited the power of the city’s elected leaders, fired some city employees and come up with a plan to lift Flint out of its financial crisis.

That 19 page plan talks about restructuring union contracts and combining some city departments.

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Sports
1:01 am
Fri January 27, 2012

A Puncher's Chance - Flint boxer hopes to qualify for U.S. Olympic team

 Women will compete for Olympic medals in boxing for the first time this summer.    One of the women training hard for a shot at Olympic boxing gold is a teenager from Flint.

Claressa Shields is 16 years old.  And she is scary good in the boxing ring.  

Shields has won 19 amateur fights. 14 times she’s stopped her opponent by knocking them out. 

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Flint
1:49 pm
Thu January 19, 2012

Flint emergency manager welcomes promised state help with violent crime problem

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Flint’s emergency manager is welcoming the governor’s pledge to help with the city’s violent crime problem.  

Governor Snyder promised in Wednesday’s State of the State address to work with Flint, Detroit, Saginaw and Pontiac to address their nationally ranked crime problems. The governor will lay out his plan in March.  

“I’ve asked my police chief and others in our community who are criminal justice professionals to be thinking about how we can best work with the state," says Mike Brown, Flint’s emergency manager.   

Flint’s crime rate has soared as budget deficits have forced city leaders to lay off police officers in recent years.   

Flint police have investigated five murders in the past week. The city set a record for murders in 2010. After peaking at 66 murders in 2010, Flint recorded 55 homicides in 2011, with a sharp decline in the number of murders in the second half of the year.

Flint
7:53 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Audit shows one bright spot in Flint's bleak financial picture

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 A new audit finds the city of Flint is still struggling with millions of dollars of debt.    But the report shows one bright spot for the troubled city.  

It´s hardly a surprise, but a new audit of Flint´s finances confirms the city ended its last fiscal year about 7 million dollars in debt.  The city´s crushing debt was one of the reasons Governor Snyder appointed an emergency manager to fix Flint´s `financial emergency´.  

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Flint
9:12 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Flint emergency manager gives city's elected leaders a little more to do

Flint Emergency Manager Michael Brown
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Flint’s emergency manager is giving back some responsibilities to the city’s mayor and city council.  

One of the first things Michael Brown did after the governor appointed him was to eliminate the pay and benefits for Mayor Dayne Walling and the entire Flint city council. He also canceled future city council meetings. 

This week, Brown reinstated 60 percent of the mayor’s salary, as well as his full benefits. Mayor Walling will also get some of his powers restored, including his role in economic development, master planning, intergovernmental affairs, and community engagement. Walling is also a member of an advisory panel for the emergency manager. 

In a written statement, Walling says "Manager Brown has followed through on his commitment to make this a collaborative process that involves elected leadership and engages residents." 

The emergency manager also is letting each member of the city council collect seven thousand dollars a year in pay, or about half of their former annual pay, but with no benefits.  

The Flint city council will have a little less to do than the mayor. The emergency manager will only permit the council members to attend public meetings in their respective wards, as directed by him. The Flint city council will meet once a month, but only to address items on the emergency manager’s agenda.  

The emergency manger was appointed to fix Flint’s ‘financial emergency’ that has the city mired in debt.

Education
11:45 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Flint school officials plead for public's help to prevent vandalism

Flint's Northwestern High School, like many schools in the district, has been hit by thieves looking for things to steal.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

People stealing metal, computers and other equipment have done more than a million dollars worth of damage to Flint school buildings in the past 18 months. 

Linda Thompson is the Flint Community Schools superintendent. She says the problem goes well beyond kids with spray paint.   

Thompson says in one case a school building was ransacked as part a sophisticated scheme.   

"These are not kids doing this," Thompson insists, "You can look at the fact that electricity was disconnected….we’re talking about people who are not amateurs about doing this either."  

Thompson is worried vandals might take advantage of the upcoming Christmas break to do more damage to Flint schools.    

She’s urging people to report any suspicious activity around Flint schools to the police.  

Thompson says Flint is not alone. Many urban school districts have seen a big increase in vandalism during the past few years. 

Crime
10:54 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Flint crime stats show a decrease

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

2010 was a record year for Flint. The city recorded 66 homicides.

But preliminary data from the FBI released today show a drop in crime rates.

More from Kristin Longley of the Flint Journal:

For the first six months of 2011, the city reported 909 instances of violent crime — a 19 percent decrease from the 1,123 instances reported by the same time last year.

There were 22 homicides, compared to 27 last year; 41 forcible rapes, compared to 51 last year; and 229 robberies, compared to 274 last year, according to the data.

Any decrease in crime is welcome news in a city that was recently dubbed "the Most Dangerous City in America."

Politics
4:44 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Talking about crime in Flint with Michigan Governor Snyder

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder held meetings in Flint today about public safety.

Flint has the worst violent crime rate in the nation, according to the FBI. As Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reported, gun violence is the main problem.

Kristin Longley of the Flint Journal reported on the Governor's meetings today.

The Governor held two roundtable discussions - one with local law enforcement and government officials and another with community leaders from local churches, foundations, schools, and the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Snyder said crime in Michigan has to be addressed. From the Flint Journal:

“If you look at the most violent crime list, or a number of the crime lists, four communities in Michigan are on that list,” Snyder said. “That’s not acceptable.”

The governor pledged to continue the boosted state police patrols in the city. Currently, four squads are doing directed patrols in the evening and early morning hours, seven days a week.

Since patrols were boosted in June, state police have made more than 3,200 traffic stops and arrested 533 fugitives, according to state police data. State police Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue said the agency’s helicopter patrols have been particularly helpful in the local crime-fighting effort.

Snyder said he's planning to deliver a special message on crime in Michigan's cities sometime next year.

Longley reported some people came to the meetings to voice their disapproval of the state's emergency manager laws.

Flint is currently being run by state-appointed emergency manager Michael Brown. The Mayor and Flint City Council members have been stripped of their power.

Flint NAACP President Frances Gilcreast said the recent takeover by an emergency manager was one topic that wasn't brought up:

“That was the elephant in the room,” she said of the meeting, which was by invitation only and was closed to the media. “How can people effect change if the voice of the people is not being honored?”

Flint
11:38 am
Wed December 14, 2011

Flint emergency manager hires his team to run the city

Flint emergency manager Michael Brown
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Flint’s emergency manager is filling out his team to run the city.   

Flint emergency manager Michael Brown announced today he’s hiring three experienced administrators to take over key positions.  

Jerry Ambrose has been the city of Lansing’s finance director for the past six years. He’ll oversee Flint’s Finance, Budget and Treasury Departments.   

Howard Croft is coming over from the private sector. The CEO of Mid-Michigan Solar will be Flint’s new Director of Infrastructure and Development. Croft will oversee Flint’s city parks, water and sewer, as well as Community and Economic Development.  

Gary Bates has previously worked as Flint’s Labor Relations director. He’s been hired to fill that job temporarily.   

Emergency manager Michael Brown has laid off about a dozen top city officials since taking office two weeks ago. He’s charged with solving Flint’s ‘financial emergency’…which includes closing a multi-million dollar budget deficit. 

Education
1:01 am
Mon December 12, 2011

Flint school board sending deficit elimination plan to state today

The Flint School District will deliver its deficit elimination plan to the state today. But a long-time critic doubts the district’s administration will be able to make the plan work.     

State law requires local units of government that finish their fiscal year with a deficit to send a ‘deficit elimination plan’ to the Treasury Department. 

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Flint
5:15 pm
Thu December 8, 2011

Flint's emergency manager tightens his grip on city finances

Flint emergency manager Michael Brown
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Flint’s emergency manager is taking further steps to bring the city’s finances under control.

Michael Brown’s been on the job as Flint’s emergency manager for a week. His first steps to lift Flint from its ‘financial emergency’ were to fire a half dozen top city employees and eliminate pay for the city’s elected officials. He says that alone should save the city a million dollars.

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Politics
5:02 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Flint city officials react 'positively' to emergency manager actions

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder last week appointed an emergency manager to the City of Flint.

Michael Brown got to work immediately, firing seven city staffers - four of whom were mayoral appointees. He also cut pay for the Mayor and City Council.

Here to talk about how city officials and citizens are reacting to the fast action is Bill Ballenger, Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics.

 

Flint
12:19 pm
Sat December 3, 2011

Flint's emergency manager fires seven city staffers, cuts pay for mayor, city council

Flint emergency manager Mike Brown (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Flint emergency manager Mike Brown started the job on Thursday. Friday, he dropped the hammer.  

The Flint Journal reports Brown fired seven total level city employees. He also cut the pay of the mayor and city council and canceled future city council meetings.   

Brown was appointed Flint's emergency manager earlier this week by Governor Snyder. A state review of Flint's finances determined that the city faced a 'financial emergency'.   

Flint is millions of dollars in debt.    

Late Friday, Flint mayor Dayne Walling issued a statement praising his four appointees removed by Brown: "It was an honor for them to choose to serve with me through very difficult times and, on behalf of the Flint community, I thank them for their service."

Politics
4:21 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

A conversation with Michael Brown, Flint's new emergency manager

Michael Brown was appointed as Flint's emergency manager.

Governor Rick Snyder yesterday named Michael Brown emergency manager for the city of Flint.

Brown is very familiar with Flint. He served as Flint’s temporary mayor when former mayor Don Williamson abruptly resigned. 

Michigan Radio's Jennifer White spoke with Mr. Brown about his new appointment.

 

Changing Gears
10:17 am
Wed November 30, 2011

Empty Series: New life for historic GM complex in Flint

The Fisher Body Plant No. 1 in Flint. Crowds gather in support of the sit-down strikers.
Courtesy of Walter P. Reuther Library Wayne State University

There may be no better example of how the industrial Midwest is changing than the site of the old Fisher Body Plant No. 1 in Flint, Michigan. It’s one of the factories sit-down strikers occupied in the 1930s. The plant made tanks during World War II. It was later closed, gutted and reborn as a GM design center. But GM abandoned the site after bankruptcy and the new occupants don’t make cars. They sell very expensive prescription drugs.

There’s one group of experts who can always tell you the history and significance of an old factory. They’re the guys at the bar across the street.

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Flint
8:16 am
Mon November 28, 2011

Naming of Flint Emergency Manager may be near

People opposed to placing Flint under the control of an emergency manager let their feelings known
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Governor Snyder this week may name an Emergency Manager for the city of Flint.   

 It’s been nearly three weeks since the governor agreed with a state review team’s finding that the city of Flint is in a fiscal crisis.    That finding opened the door to the governor appointing an emergency manager to oversee Flint city government.    

The city is struggling with millions of dollars of debt and a declining tax base.   The time for the city to file a court challenge to the finding expired over the weekend. 

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Crime
1:32 pm
Thu November 17, 2011

Flint to use high tech tool to target gun crime

SST inc.

The city of Flint is turning to a new high tech tool to crack down on gun crime in the city.    

The "Shot Spotter” system uses more than a dozen sonic sensors to pinpoint the location of where gun shots are fired in a square mile area. The SST system is already being used in more than 60 cities around the country, including Saginaw. 

Company president Ralph Clark said the Shot Spotter system should help Flint police officers respond to reports of gunfire in the city.  

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Politics
1:21 pm
Thu November 17, 2011

Day of Action for Occupy groups

A protester carries two signs during 'Day of Action' protest in Flint, Michigan
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

In cities across Michigan, Occupy groups are holding protests.

It's part of a national "Day of Action," called following clashes in some cities between Occupy protesters and police ordered to evict them from city parks. Occupy encampments in Michigan have either been allowed to continue or are breaking up for the winter with little or no police intervention.

In Flint, a small group of sign waving protesters stood outside city hall at noon.

A man who identified himself as Shadee said the movement is still coming together. 

"And that’s what we need is for people to come together…from all walks of life…from different factions…and make our voices heard," said Shadee. "Hopefully we can change the system around to one that benefits the people…and not just corporations, you know."  

The Occupy Wall Street movement started two months ago in New York.

Politics
4:57 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

A conversation with Flint Mayor Dayne Walling

Facebook

Dayne Walling was elected to a second term as Flint’s mayor last week, and since then was told his city is facing a financial emergency.

Michigan Radio's Jennifer White spoke with Walling about the situation.

Walling said he has a lot of questions about how things will unfold, and added, "the Governor and Treasurer have pledged for this to be a collaborative process, but I know that can mean a lot of different things to different individuals."

“I’m prepared to play any positive role that I can in this position," said Walling.

Mayor Walling also gave suggestions on how to work with city leaders and residents.

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