Kevyn Orr

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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Politics & Government
1:17 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Detroit's emergency manager leading bus tour of city's dire conditions

Detroit's Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr
mich.gov Michigan Government

Detroit’s answer to the famous bus tours of New York City is emerging this week.

Well, kind of.

On Wednesday, Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr will lead creditors on a guided bus tour through the city. But the tour won’t be highlighting the city’s landmarks. Instead, the creditors will be checking out dire conditions in some of Detroit’s neighborhoods.

From the Associated Press:

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Politics & Government
11:31 am
Sat July 6, 2013

Detroit files lawsuit against one of its insurers

DETROIT (AP) - Detroit has filed a lawsuit against an insurance company the city says is improperly withholding $11 million a month in casino payments and taxes.

According to The Detroit News, the suit against Syncora Guarantee Inc. was filed on Friday.

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr says the casino revenue Syncora is holding up each month is enough to pay Detroit firefighters for two months.

A representative for Syncora declined to comment when contacted by the Detroit Free Press.

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Opinion
11:45 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Halfway through 2013, a new man in charge of Detroit, and a weakened governor

Lessenberry commentary for 6/29/2013

Well, we’ve just about made it halfway through the year.  In fact, for most businesses and most states, Monday is the start of a new fiscal year. Michigan, however, starts its fiscal year October 1.

Why?  Well, it has to do with an accounting trick to deal with a fiscal crisis back in the nineteen seventies. Yes, the more things change, the more some things stay the same.

But this has been a pretty momentous six months. On New Year’s Day, elected officials were still fully in charge in Detroit.  Today, the city is being run by an emergency manager. Six months ago, while everybody knew Detroit finances were bad, nobody dreamed the total debt might be near twenty billion dollars.

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Politics & Government
6:23 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Orr puts Detroit unions on notice

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr has reminded two of the city’s biggest unions that their contracts are expiring soon.

In letters sent this week, Orr emphasized that he’s not required to conduct collective bargaining sessions.

Under the state’s emergency manager law, he could impose new terms on the unions.

Mark Young is President of the Detroit Police Lieutenants and Sergeants Association, which along with AFSCME Council 25 is one of the affected unions.

He says the officers should get a new collective bargaining agreement.

Read more
Politics & Government
11:59 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Pugh's whereabouts unknown, allegations of inappropriate relationship with 17-year old boy

City of Detroit

This past Tuesday, Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh was absent for his second straight week of council sessions. His whereabouts for the last few days have been unknown and his public Facebook and Twitter pages were taken down last week.

Recently, Pugh is facing allegations that he had an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year old male student he mentored.

Read more
Politics & Government
6:52 am
Wed June 26, 2013

In this morning's news: Voting rights decision, Orr denies medical leave, Buena Vista layoffs

Morning News Roundup, Wednesday, June 26, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Michigan doesn't need to clear new election laws with the federal government

"The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down a key part of a voting rights law means the state of Michigan will no longer have to clear new election laws with the federal government," Rick Pluta reports.

Two counties, Buena Vista in Saginaw County and Clyde in Allegan county, were covered by the federal Voting Rights Act after failing to provide adequate help to Spanish-speaking voters in the 1970s.

Kevyn Orr denies medical leave for City Council president

Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr has denied City Council President Charles Pugh's request for medical leave. Pugh has been absent from Council meetings for a few days, and he has not returned phone calls. Orr says Pugh must report to work by 5:00 pm on Wednesday, or be stripped of his salary and responsibilities.

Buena Vista School District lays off most teachers and staff

The Board of Education for the Buena Vista School District near Saginaw approved layoffs for nearly all of its teachers and staff on Tuesday.

"School officials the district will have about $2,000 as of July 5. Board President Randy L. Jackson says the district still is making plans for fall classes. The board approved an application to request a $2.5 million loan from the state to help keep running," according to the Associated Press.

Politics & Government
9:00 am
Sat June 22, 2013

Commentary: The week that was

Lessenberry commentary for 6/22/2013

 When this week began, it looked as if the legislature and governor had finally found a compromise formula that would allow Medicaid to be expanded to nearly half a million poor Michiganders. It also looked as if the race for the next mayor of Detroit would come down to a contest between Mike Duggan, a man of many past political jobs, and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

But the week ended with the Medicaid compromise falling apart; Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr taking steps that probably moved the city closer to a bankruptcy filing, and with  Duggan tossed off the ballot and out of the mayor’s race. On the plus side for Detroit, the Ilitch family announced that a long-rumored six hundred and fifty million dollar new hockey arena would be built on the edge of downtown.

Read more
2:19 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Detroit's emergency manager takes on pension funds

Lead in text: 
Detroit's pension boards have been under investigation by the SEC and federal prosecutors. Now Kevyn Orr is ordering his own investigation.
In 2009, a Detroit Free Press investigation of Detroit's two public pensions found a history of failed investments, lavish worldwide travels by the trustees who ran the funds, and few ethics rules. The newspaper reported in 2011 that the funds had lost $470 million in risky investments since 2008.

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