Kevyn Orr

Law
8:17 pm
Sat July 27, 2013

Michigan Attorney General to challenge changes to Detroit pensions

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette
AG's office

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says the state constitution protects Detroit pension benefits from being reduced or eliminated by the city’s bankruptcy.

Schuette says he will be in court Monday asking to join the case on behalf of pensioners.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes took control of lawsuits challenging the bankruptcy filing because it puts city pension benefits in jeopardy. But he has not ruled on the substance of the question, which is whether the benefits are shielded by protections in the Michigan Constitution.

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Stateside
5:42 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

What will Detroit look like after the bankruptcy?

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

An interview with Daniel Howes.

Eventually, Detroit’s bankruptcy filing will be over. Eventually, Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr will no longer be in charge of Detroit’s finances.

When those things happen, Detroit will go back to being run by its city government, by a mayor, and a city council.

Daniel Howes, columnist at The Detroit News, focused on this future in his column yesterday in the News. He joined us today to discuss whether Detroit can shed its bad governance habits in light of the bankruptcy.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
9:49 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Detroit union leaders: "Bankruptcy was the strategy all along"

Union leaders say Detroit is in bankruptcy court because “that was the strategy all along.”

They accuse Governor Snyder and Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr of “sham” negotiations, saying they were never able to actually sit down and bargain with Orr before he filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy last week.

“We were disheartened by the fact that we were told negotiations were going to take place, that never took place,” says Al Garrett, President of AFSCME Council 25.”Instead, they ran to a bankruptcy court.”

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Politics & Government
6:45 am
Mon July 22, 2013

In this morning's news: Detroit bankruptcy, Flint school district deficit, St. Petersburg, Russia

Morning News Roundup for Monday, July 22, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Detroit bankruptcy is topic of national conversation

Snyder, Detroit's emergency manager Kevyn Orr and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing appeared on Sunday morning talk shows yesterday to talk about filing bankruptcy for Detroit. Snyder said he will push to protect the retired city workers whose pensions are on the table. He said the bankruptcy filing included protections for retirees and urged them to remain calm. Orr said on "Fox News Sunday" that there are going to have to be "concessions." Bing on ABC's "This Week" said now that bankruptcy has been filed, leaders have to take a step back before making a decision on a federal bailout.

Flint school district faces more budget cuts

The Flint School Board will take up a Deficit Elimination Plan tomorrow night. The district is wrestling with a nearly 16 million dollar deficit. The Flint school district has made deep budget cuts but more cuts are likely if the district follows the plan to eliminate its deficit by June 2016. The Flint School Board has until July 31st to send its deficit elimination plan to the state.  

Lansing may end its relationship with St. Petersburg, Russia

The Lansing city council will be meeting tonight to discuss its sister city relationship with St. Petersburg, Russia. St. Petersburg recently passed an anti-gay ordinance and police there arrested people at an LGBT rally. Members say they want to send a message to St. Petersburg officials by canceling Lansing’s two decade sister cities relationship with the city.

It's Just Politics
4:04 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Snyder might not own Detroit, but he owns its bankruptcy

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

The Detroit bankruptcy filing is Michigan’s biggest news story of the year, with effects that will ripple out in all kinds of ways; many that are unpredictable.  It would be naïve to suggest that politics will not be a big part of how this plays out – if it hasn’t already.

So let’s run the bases on this, starting with Governor Rick Snyder. Snyder approved the bankruptcy filing, the largest in U.S. history, and it is now part of his legacy and his resume (whether he likes it or not) as he prepares to seek reelection next year. Every painful and controversial decision by a federal bankruptcy judge will be laid upon Rick Snyder by Democrats. Snyder may not own Detroit, but he sure owns its problems.

This is an awkward place for any leader to be, although not an unusual one. This is a governor being controlled by events, not controlling them. A couple years ago Snyder relentlessly, positively insisted that bankruptcy for Detroit was not an option; almost unthinkable. Now, he says there was really no other choice.   “This is a difficult situation – but the answer is, by not doing this path, where would we be? And, so, this is an opportunity to say ‘let’s get that fresh start’ and show the rest of the country why Detroit can be an exciting place that can grow into the future,” Snyder said yesterday evening, about two hours after the Chapter 9 filing.

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Politics & Government
4:02 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

What does bankruptcy mean for Detroiters?

70,000 vacant homes in Detroit are one of many aspects of the city that remain in limbo while the bankruptcy case goes through the courts.
Credit JasonParis / Flickr

Detroit's bankruptcy filing has raised a lot of questions, especially for people who live in the city. It's unlikely the day-to-day lives of Detroiters will change very much under a bankruptcy.

Lyke Thompson is the director of Wayne State University's Center for Urban Studies. He says Detroit's city services are already pretty bad, and that there will be few immediate differences for city residents, but things could get worse before they improve.

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Politics & Government
11:25 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Detroit pension funds sue city's emergency manager, governor in attempt to block bankruptcy

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr
State of Michigan Michigan.gov

Two Detroit pension funds have sued the city’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, and Governor Rick Snyder in an attempt to block the Motor City from filing for bankruptcy.

The General Retirement System and the Police and Fire Retirement System of the City of Detroit filed the lawsuit yesterday, Bloomberg’s Margaret Cronin Fisk reported. The state’s constitution offers protection of public retirees’ rights, and the petitioners of the lawsuit are claiming that a Detroit bankruptcy would violate those rights.

Orr’s office refused to comment on the lawsuit.

Orr hasn’t commented on which pension funds would be cut, and to what degree, but he has vowed to make “significant cuts” to pension payments.

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Economy
3:33 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Detroit's emergency manager, 'financial condition of Detroit continues to be dire'

Kevyn Orr talking with the press after a meeting with Detroit creditors.
Detroit Free Press video Detroit Free Press

Those were Kevyn Orr's words in his latest quarterly report.

The Detroit Free Press' John Gallagher drew "8 key points" from the report, one of them being:

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Stateside
5:50 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Creditors are not buying Orr's 'deadbeat defense' for Detroit

Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

An interview with Daniel Howes.

It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for our weekly check-in with Daniel Howes, Columnist at the Detroit News.

Today he took a look at Kevyn Orr and the meetings he had this week with Detroit’s creditors and bond holders. As he wrote in his column:

As Orr’s week of meeting with creditors and pension funds unspools and Detroit slouches closer to a history chapter nine bankruptcy filing, the gulf separating the financial imperatives of the city’s creditors and political realities of its predicament is unmistakable and probably unbridgeable.

Daniel Howes joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:42 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Stateside for Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Michigan's home foreclosure rate is falling and our state is certainly no longer number one in foreclosures in the country. We found out why on today's show.

And, Michigan Radio's Political Analyst Jack Lessenberry joined us to take a look at how your state lawmakers are spending their summer recess.

And, a Michigan videographer is heading to Greenland to document the effects of pollution on glaciers for a project called “Dark Snow.”

Also, we spoke with the father of a 12-year-old Ohio State fan who found a creative way to use the rivalry between OSU and U of M to help him beat brain cancer.

And, Scott DeRue, who teaches at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, joined us to talk about his recent climb to the summit of Mount Everest.

First on the show, it’s Thursday which means it’s the time we turn to Daniel Howes – Columnist at the Detroit News.

Today he took a look at Kevyn Orr and the meetings he had this week with Detroit’s creditors and bond holders.

Opinion
8:50 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Two plus two isn't five

Lessenberry commentary for 7/11/2013

I have nothing against the Theater of the Absurd. I was taught French years ago by an odd method based on the comedies of Eugene Ionesco, the master of irrational dialogue. But absurdity doesn’t work very well as a guide to life, unless, say, you are an infant, or have only months to live.

Two plus two is, after all four. If you want your children to be successful in life, they generally need to know reading, writing and arithmetic. However, we seem to have a set of leaders, both left and right, who have made careers out of denying reality.

Let’s take education, first of all. The non-partisan, respected Education Trust, Midwest released a report yesterday showing that Michigan students are performing below the national average in every category. That’s worse than thirty-five other states.

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Politics & Culture
5:07 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, July 10, 2013

During World War II, a plane crashed behind Nazi lines. Thirty nurses and medics, five of them from Michigan, survived. Their incredible story is finally being told.

And, we celebrated the 80th anniversary of the drive-in movie theater. Did you know Michigan once had more than 100 drive-ins? Today just a hand full are in operation. Also, Kevyn Orr canceled the bus tour he was supposed to take the Detroit's creditors on today. We spoke with Nancy Kaffer about why this happened. First on the show, this has certainly been a wet and muggy summer. Michigan farmers endured a hot and dry summer in 2012, so we wondered what the soggy summer of 2013 is doing to crops and to farmers. Is it better than the scorcher of 2012? 

Ken DeCock is a third-generation farmer in Macomb Township where his family owns Boyka's Farm Market. He joined us today to give us the farmer's-eye view of our weather.

Stateside
5:03 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Detroit's creditors will not be going on a bus tour of the city

No DDOT bus tour for creditors.

An interview with Nancy Kaffer, Columnist at the Detroit Free Press.

Detroit’s emergency manager has canceled a planned bus tour for city bondholders today.

The bus tour was meant to hammer home that Detroit is in dire shape and simply cannot afford to pay off all its debts.

The Wall Street creditors are in town to talk with Kevyn Orr. They’re trying to work out a deal outside bankruptcy court.

Nancy Kaffer, Columnist at the Detroit Free Press joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
9:43 am
Wed July 10, 2013

This week in Michigan politics: Consolidating schools, creditors' bus tour, Detroit City Council

Matthileo Flickr

Week in Michigan politics interview for 7/10/2013

This week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Emily Fox discuss the proposal to consolidate school districts into county-wide systems, the canceled bus tour for Detroit creditors, and the new changes on the Detroit City Council.

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Politics & Government
9:23 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Orr cancels Detroit bus tour as creditors pull out

Creditors were supposed to take a "real" tour of Detroit by city bus--but many pulled out, and Orr cancelled the event.
Credit Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

 Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr has cancelled a planned bus tour for the city’s Wall Street creditors.

Some of those creditors are in Detroit this week to meet with Orr, and to take a look at some of the city’s assets.

The planned tour would have put the creditors on a city bus, and taken them for some pretty grim sightseeing.

It was meant to convince them that the city’s condition is dire, and bondholders should big accept losses on their Detroit debt.

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Politics & Government
6:53 am
Wed July 10, 2013

In this morning's news: Jenkins replaces Pugh, income tax bill, Orr meets with creditors

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Saunteel Jenkins replaces Charles Pugh as Detroit City Council President

"Saunteel Jenkins is the new President of the Detroit City Council. The Council voted on new leadership after it lost its two former top officials. Jenkins replaces Charles Pugh, who has vanished from the public eye amidst allegations of a questionable relationship with a teenager," Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reports.

Proposed legislation would let voters eliminate income tax

Republican state Representative Bob Genetski is sponsoring legislation that would let voters decide whether to get rid of the state's income tax.

"He supports raising the state’s sale’s tax to make up for the lost revenue. Former director of the state House Fiscal Agency Mitch Bean says the plan would leave an $8.5 billion dollar hole in next year’s state budget," Jake Neher reports.

Orr cancels bus tour with creditors

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr has canceled a planned bus tour meant to convince Wall Street creditors that the city's condition is dire and they should accept big losses on its debt.

"Orr says the tour could be rescheduled. But it increasingly seems that his negotiations with creditors are hitting a wall. City Council member Ken Cockrel echoes what many think--that resistance from creditors is speeding up Detroit’s timeline for a possible bankruptcy filing," Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reports.

Politics & Government
10:47 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Battle heats up over funding, control of Detroit pension funds

Kevyn Orr
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

 The battle over control of Detroit’s two pension funds is heating up, with big consequences for city retirees and other creditors as the city creeps closer to possible bankruptcy.

Detroit has two pension funds: A general retirement system for most employees, and a separate system for the police and fire departments.

The dispute revolves around how well-funded both systems are. The exact number is key, because state law allows emergency managers to replace pension boards if a system is funded below 80%.

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Opinion
8:49 am
Tue July 9, 2013

It’s time to plan for what comes after bankruptcy in Detroit

Lessenberry commentary for 7/9/2013

During the last year of World War II, as millions died in history’s most sustained orgy of violence, other men quietly and secretly planned what to do after the war was over. They worked out the details of the division of Germany and the administration of Japan even before those countries had been occupied. Doing that in advance was essential.

Historians agree that was a precondition for Europe’s eventual recovery, and Japan’s rebirth as a prosperous democracy.  This advance planning also went a long way to prevent a new world war breaking out in the rubble of the old.

I mention this because I hope somebody is thinking about what to do when Detroit declares bankruptcy, and even more importantly, when that process is over. Planning how the city will begin the process back to some form of prosperity.

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Politics & Government
7:29 am
Tue July 9, 2013

In this morning's news: Detroit pension systems, consolidating school services, Detroit City Council

Morning News Roundup for Tuesday, July 9, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Detroit's pension systems vs. Kevyn Orr

Detroit has two pension systems and both have posted fairly strong funding levels. But emergency manager Kevyn Orr has questioned some of those numbers. Orr spokesman Bill Nowling says using more realistic projections changes the funding levels, but Detroit’s pension systems say their numbers are correct.

Michigan schools might consolidate services

Michigan schools could be forced to consolidate many of their services into county-wide systems if state lawmakers decide to go along with a plan released yesterday by state Superintendent Mike Flanagan. Flanagan wants services like transportation, food, and staff training to be handled at the county or regional level.

“And local districts, they can spend time on student achievement issues and not worry about all that other stuff,” Flanagan told Michigan Public Radio's Jake Neher.

Detroit City Council will select new leader

The Detroit City Council is expected to select a new president today. The board typically numbers nine but now has six members after two recently resigned and the former President Charles Pugh deserted his duties.

Economy
4:34 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

A new nonprofit aims to totally eliminate blight in Detroit

An abandoned Detroit home
Daniell Walquist Lynch Flickr

A new nonprofit is demolishing vacant homes (blight) in a northwest Detroit neighborhood.

The organization is called the Detroit Blight Authority, and is working on a project that encompasses all 14 blocks of the Brightmoor neighborhood.

According to a story in the Detroit Free Press, the Blight Authority already collected nearly 100,000 pounds of trash that had been illegally dumped in the neighborhood. Brightmoor encompasses an area of four square miles in Detroit.

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