Kevyn Orr

Stateside
5:20 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Detroit's 'Day of Reckoning' is at hand

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

It’s Thursday, which means it’s time to check-in with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes.

The theme for today's conversation seems to be: the Day of Reckoning is at hand.

Tomorrow, Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is going make a pitch to 150 representatives and creditors to try to win concessions from them. The pitch could very well be the precursor to the city filing Chapter Nine bankruptcy.

Daniel Howes joined us to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:16 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Stateside for Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Close your eyes for a moment and think about what America looked like, say, in 1962, the furniture, the architecture, the cars. We explore the huge role Michigan had in mid-20th century design.

And, before National Fudge Day--yes there is such a thing--we take a trip to Mackinac Island, which has a pretty legitimate claim as the modern day Capital of Fudge.

And, we interviewed an entrepreneur from Waterford who has developed a unique way for women to show appreciation for the men in their lives.

Also, we took a look at the recent Pew research report.

First on the show, we turned to Detroit News Columnist Daniel Howes for our weekly Thursday check-in.

The theme for today's conversation seems to be: the Day of Reckoning is at hand for Detroit.

Politics & Government
11:49 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Judge orders Snyder administration to produce records re: EM hire

Staff Michigan Municipal League

Governor Rick Snyder’s administration intends to appeal a judge’s order to reveal the names of all the candidates he considered as potential emergency managers for Detroit.

A lawsuit claims the hiring process violated the state’s open meetings law.

The judge ordered the state to turn over e-mails and other records related to the search that culminated in hiring Kevyn Orr to steer Detroit out of a financial crisis. The lawsuit claims the decision was made well before a state board publicly interviewed and voted to hire Orr.

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Politics & Government
8:22 am
Thu June 13, 2013

In this morning’s news: Medicaid expansion, emergency managers, and heroin incidents

Morning News Roundup, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Medicaid goes to House floor

Yesterday, the Michigan House Competitiveness Committee voted to send the Medicaid expansion bill to the floor. Michigan Radio's Jake Neher reports that while Republicans were split on the issue, “Democrats on the panel all voted in favor of the bill. That’s after lawmakers dropped a controversial plan to limit able-bodied adults to four years on Medicaid. But they say they’re still concerned about language that would raise premiums and co-pays for some patients after four years.”

Questions for Governor about Detroit's emergency manager

Concerns have been raised about Governor Rick Snyder’s process in selecting Kevyn Orr as Detroit’s emergency manager. Rick Pluta reports that “a judge says Governor Rick Snyder’s office must turn over e-mails and other records related to the candidate search for a Detroit emergency manager. The judge’s order is related to a lawsuit that alleges Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr was hired illegally. The lawsuit claims the process was rigged and carried out in violation of Michigan’s open meetings law.”

Heroin incidents on the rise in Michigan

A rash of heroin overdoses occurred in Washtenaw County last week, and incidents are on the rise across parts of the state. “Authorities say a particularly toxic heroin mix known by some on the street as ‘black shadow’ appears to be circulating in southeast Michigan communities, causing a rise in overdoses and at least one death this month,” report Robin Erb and Tammy Stables Battaglia of the Detroit Free Press.

Stateside
5:07 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Detroit suffers from an 'addiction to debt' according to Kevyn Orr

Not everyone was able to make it into the meeting
Jeff Wattrick Deadline Detroit

The city of Detroit is “technically insolvent” and suffers from an “addiction to debt.” That’s according to Detroit's Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, who described the city’s situation at his first public meeting last night.

About 350 people were on-hand at the start of the meeting, about 250 made it into the meeting but about 100 were left out because of over-crowding.

Detroit Free Press Columnist Rochelle Riley covered the meeting, and she joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:05 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Stateside for Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr held his first public meeting yesterday evening. We found out what Orr had to say and what city residents thought about his message.

And, after months and months of hearing about record-low water levels in the Great Lakes, new predictions now show levels could climb some 2 feet over the summer. We spoke with Al Steinman, the Director of the Annis Water Resources Institute at Grand Valley State University to get the details.

Also, the CEO of AutoBike, Inc. joined us today to talk about how bicycle businesses have benefited from the growing interest in cycling.

First on the show, that huge pile of petroleum coke lying alongside the Detroit River is triggering a growing sense of alarm. 

You may recall, we spoke with New York Times journalist Ian Austen here on Stateside about the origins of this mountain of "pet coke" that's growing in Southwest Detroit. It's a byproduct of tar sands oil refining used in energy production. When mixed with coal, it can be used as a low-cost fuel.

The piles are being brought-in by trucks  from the Marathon Petroleum Refinery in southwest Detroit, and the pet coke is being stored by a company called Detroit Bulk Storage for the OWNER of the pet coke: Koch Carbon.

US Congressmen John Conyers and Gary Peters and others have been voicing concern about the health and environmental risks of storing these piles of pet coke.

Nick Shroke is a professor of law at Wayne State University in Detroit and the executive director of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, and he joined us today to discuss the issue.

2:33 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Column: Detroit politicians hold meetings like political amateurs

Lead in text: 
Deadline Detroit's Jeff Wattrick witnessed the scene outside last night's public meeting with emergency manager Kevyn Orr. Other politicians and cities seem to handle large crowds and dissent without much problem. Detroit politicians, Wattrick argues, "stage manage these things like Soviet bureaucrats."
It can be hard sometimes to understand the vitriol of Detroit activists who opposed seemingly common-sense reforms like converting Belle Isle from a public city park into a public state park. It also can be hard to understand the outrage stemming Kevyn Orr's appointment as Detroit emergency manager.
Politics & Government
7:49 am
Tue June 11, 2013

In this morning's news: Detroit's budget meeting, I-96 shooter evidence, DNA testing for suspects

Morning News Roundup, Tuesday, June 11, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Wayne State University hosts Detroit's first public budget meeting

Kevyn Orr, Detroit’s Emergency Manager, told the public Monday night that the city is “technically insolvent” and suffers from an “addiction to debt.” “Orr says Detroit’s chances of avoiding a Chapter Nine municipal bankruptcy are still ‘fifty-fifty,’” reports Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek. Mlive.com reports that 100 people were shut out of the meeting after it exceeded the auditorium’s capacity. 

Evidence does not link bullet to I-96 shooter

Ballistics tests have shown that a bullet recently recovered from an I-96 driver did not come from weapons taken from Raulie Casteel’s home.  According to the Associated Press, “Casteel faces terrorism and other charges in two dozen random shootings in a four-county area last October.”

Potential DNA testing for suspects

Michigan lawmakers are considering a law that requires DNA sample collection from anyone arrested on suspicion of a felony. Currently, DNA samples are taken from people arrested on suspicion of murder, rape, and other violent felonies. According to the Associated Press, “civil liberties advocates say collecting DNA before someone is convicted violates the presumption of innocence.”

Politics & Government
12:08 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Orr's message to Detroit: "I'm going to accomplish this job"

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr didn’t share much new information at his first public meeting Monday night—but he did set the stage for an upcoming meeting with the city’s creditors.

At his first public meeting—required by the emergency manager law that empowers him--Orr told a story we already know: Detroit hasn’t been paying contractors, making pension payments, and has only survived by borrowing billions.

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Politics & Government
1:07 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Detroit's emergency manager will meet with the public tonight

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Gov. Rick Snyder, and Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.
mich.gov Michigan Government

Tonight, Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr will hold a public informational meeting. It's scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Wayne State University Law School Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek will be there and will give us an update later tonight.

According to Kirk Pinho at Crain’s Detroit Business:

The meeting is required under Public Act 436 of 2012, the state's emergency manager law, within 30 days of Orr submitting his financial and operational plan to the state Department of Treasury, although it does not need approval from the electorate or the treasury department.

Orr submitted his plan on May 13.

The plan largely reaffirmed what was already known about Detroit's financial problems, including that the city has a budget deficit of $380 million and over $15 billion in debt and liabilities.

The Wayne State Law School is located at 471 W. Palmer St.

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Politics & Government
12:24 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Orr to meet with creditors next week, but will the negotiations help the city avoid bankruptcy?

Sarah Cwiek/Michigan Radio

Next week Kevyn Orr will be meeting with creditors to start negotiations in attempts to keep the city from going bankrupt.

According to Matt Helms of the Detroit Free Press, the negotiations will includes over 150 representatives from the city’s major creditors including national banks who hold the city’s bonds, insurers, union representatives, and pensioners.

Read more
Stateside
5:20 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Detroit faces a 'Day of Reckoning'

Inside the Detroit Institute of Arts
Maia C/Flickr

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

This week, it seems the topic is the fact that the proverbial "Day of Reckoning" is at hand when it comes to the City of Detroit. Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is trying to work out settlements with the city's creditors, and the treasures at the Detroit Institute of Arts could be at risk.

He joined us in the studio today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
7:53 am
Wed June 5, 2013

In this morning's news: Budget passed in Legislature, bill to protect DIA, gas prices in Michigan

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Budget awaits Governor Snyder's signature

State lawmakers passed a budget that would increase funding to local governments and schools.

"Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville calls it the best budget he’s ever helped pass.  But the budget does not include Snyder’s request to expand Medicaid or increase road funding by more than a billion dollars," Michigan Radio's Jake Neher reports.

Senate voting to protect DIA

The Michigan Senate is expected to vote today on a measure to protect the Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit's emergency manager Kevyn Orr has warned the Institute's assets could be at risk if the city goes bankrupt. If this bill passes, the same protections would apply to collections in other museums across Michigan.

Michigan gas prices amongst highest in nation

Gasoline prices in Michigan are the second highest in the United States right now. It could be several weeks before there's any relief at the pump.

"Analyst Patrick deHaan of GasBuddy dot com says there are fewer gasoline refineries in the Midwest than other parts of the country, and gasoline commodity traders are also driving up the prices," Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports.

Politics & Government
1:05 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

With an emergency manager in office, do city council budget proposals matter?

Detroit City Council
Stephen Boyle

Earlier this morning, Detroit’s city council voted unanimously to override Mayor Dave Bing’s veto of budget cuts proposed by the council.

Last week, the mayor rejected changes the city council wanted implemented in the city’s $1-billion budget for fiscal year 2013-14, including cuts to his own office. The Detroit News reported:

“The council wanted deeper cuts to Bing's staff and quicker implementation of a new health care cost-sharing formula.

Bing however did not turn down deeper cuts the council recommended for its own department and the consolidation of its divisions.”

The council's override of Bing's veto was unanimous (8-0). Charles Pugh, the president of the council, said this was proof that the council was “standing united.”

But with Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr at the helm of the city’s finances, how much does a united city council matter when it comes to Detroit’s budget?

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Politics & Government
11:36 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Other cultural institutions on notice after DIA assets counted

The Detroit Institute of Arts.
DIA

The Detroit News' Christine Ferretti writes this morning that other Detroit cultural institutions are on high alert after the news came that assets at the Detroit Institute of Arts are being counted as potential assets of the city that can be sold to pay off debts.

Read more
Politics & Culture
4:51 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A state-appointed review team found the small city of Hamtramck is once again in a state of financial emergency. Will the city succumb to state control again?

And nearby in Detroit, one prominent observer has growing doubts about the effectiveness of the city's emergency manager.

And, a new film documentary explores the different ways Michigan families have transformed deep loss into opportunities to grow.

Also, Tom Ivacko joined us to discuss how local leaders would like citizen to get involved with government.

Read more
Stateside
4:43 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Where do Kevyn Orr's loyalties lie?

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

Over these past couple of months, have Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr's loyalties been more with the city he's running? Or with the state who hired him?

Detroiter Karen Dumas was the chief of communications for the City of Detroit.

These days, she heads up her own PR/Communications firm, Images & Ideas, and she has been watching what's been happening at City Hall.

Her recent column in Bridge Magazine shows that when it comes to Emergency Manager Orr, Karen Dumas has growing doubts.

She joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
8:42 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Commentary: Sell Detroit’s art treasures?

Before I went on vacation two weeks ago, I thought I could no longer be shocked by anything that might happen in Detroit.

Earlier this spring, the state took over the control of the city, after decades of decline, neglect, crime and financial mismanagement. Nevertheless, I was stunned to come home to the news that Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr might consider selling off the priceless collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts to pay down the city’s massive long-term unfunded liabilities.

Many people didn’t realize the city owned the museum and its collection, which has been run and financed by the private Founders’ Society for years. But technically the city does.

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Politics & Government
6:37 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

City Council approves $1 billion Detroit budget

The Detroit City Council has approved a more than $1 billion budget for the city’s upcoming fiscal year.

That budget is nearly the same as the one Mayor Dave Bing proposed last month.

Read more
Politics & Government
11:34 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Could the DIA be forced to sell art to pay creditors?

DIA

Detroit's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, wants to account for assets held in the Detroit Institute of Arts, which has sparked fears that part of the collection could be sold in the future.

We've posted information here, and Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek will have an update for us later today.

Update 11:34 a.m.

The DIA just put out this statement on their Facebook page:

"The DIA strongly believes that the museum and the City hold the museum’s art collection in trust for the public. The DIA manages and cares for that collection according to exacting standards required by the public trust, our profession and the Operating Agreement with the City. According to those standards, the City cannot sell art to generate funds for any purpose other than to enhance the collection. We remain confident that the City and the emergency financial manager will continue to support the museum in its compliance with those standards, and together we will continue to preserve and protect the cultural heritage of Detroit."

9:19 a.m.

Detroit is in a big financial hole, and the man in charge of righting the ship wants to know what can be sold.

Mark Stryker and John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press report that Detroit's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, is considering whether the DIA's art collection should be counted as assets that can be sold to pay debts:

Liquidating DIA art to pay down debt likely would be a monstrously complicated, controversial and contentious process never before tested on such as large scale and with no certain outcome. The DIA is unusual among major civic museums in that the city retains ownership of the building and collection while daily operations, including fund-raising, are overseen by a nonprofit institution.

Stryker and Gallagher report on the many hurdles facing such a sale, including ...

  • restrictions on selling off city assets in municipal bankruptcy law,
  • museum ethics and operating rules that forbid selling art,
  • opposition from patrons who donated art,
  • and major a public outcry against such a sale:

“There would be hue and cry the likes of which you’ve never heard,” said Ford Bell, president of the American Alliance of Museums in Washington, D.C. “The museum should be a rallying point for the rebirth of Detroit and not a source of funds.”

Orr spokesman Bill Nowling said there's no plan yet to sell any asset of the city, but he said all the city's assets must be accounted for.

Read more

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