Politics & Government

Politics
4:14 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

It's official: Former state fairgrounds in Detroit up for re-development

A sign designating the Michigan state fairgrounds as a historic site.
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder has signed bills that pave the way for transforming the former Michigan state fairgrounds at 8 Mile and Woodward in Detroit.

The land has largely sat idle since former Governor Jennifer Granholm cut state funding for the fair in 2009. Until then, it was one of the nation's longest-running state fairs.

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Detroit
3:21 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

Detroiters receive White House honor for fighting youth violence

De Quan O'Neal at the Lincoln Memorial
NSO YIP Facebook page

Two community activists from Detroit have been honored by the White House as "Champions of Change" for their work against youth violence in the city.

According to the White House, Detroit's Frank McGhee and De Quan O'Neal were among 12 community leaders from across the nation recognized for their "work to prevent youth violence within their communities as part of the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention..., a network of communities and federal agencies working together to share information and build local capacity to...keep our kids safe."

WXYZ's Detroit 2020 project congratulated the honorees, describing their work:

McGhee mentors and coaches young leaders to educate their peers about violence in Detroit. He’s the program director for the Detroit-Based Neighborhood Service Organization’s Youth Initiative Project.

O’Neal is a program youth director [with the Youth Initiative Project]. He helped discourage gun violence and gunfire on New Year’s Eve.

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Politics
1:59 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

Gov. Snyder signs laws to redevelop old Michigan State Fairgrounds

The Giant Stove at the 1998 Michigan State Fair.
Bob Vigiletti Michigan Radio Picture Project

Gov. Rick Snyder signed two laws aimed at fostering redevelopment of the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit.

The last state fair was in 2009. After that, the 160-acre site along Detroit's northern border was no longer used.

More from the Associated Press:

Laws signed by Snyder on Monday transfer the fairgrounds to a state land bank and create a local advisory committee that would have input on future uses.

The land could not be used for a prison, casino, racetrack or rail yard.

State Sen. Virgil Smith Jr. says he'd like a movie theater and big-box retail at the old fairgrounds. He's tired of seeing the blighted property.

The state fair was held there for more than 100 years.

Politics
12:56 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

Federal court dismisses Michigan redistricting case

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A federal court has tossed out a challenge to Michigan's redistricting plans for the state Legislature.

An order last week from a three-judge panel says the legal opposition to the new districts was "too factually
underdeveloped" to proceed.

The new boundaries are based on Census counts and begin with this year's elections.

Civil rights groups and Democrats sued late last year to challenge new boundaries for Detroit seats in the state House. Opponents said the map forces black incumbents to run against each other and dilutes the political representation of Hispanics.

Melvin Hollowell, an attorney for the NAACP and others who sued in the case, said Monday possible next steps are under review.

Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger said the ruling affirms that the Legislature drew fair and legal maps.

Commentary
10:53 am
Mon April 9, 2012

Commentary: Remembering Mike Wallace

I first met Mike Wallace 23 years ago, when I became a regional screener for the Livingston Awards, the biggest-deal prize there is for young journalists. Naturally, like every other baby boomer, I didn’t remember a time when Mike Wallace was not part of the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.

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News Roundup
9:11 am
Mon April 9, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines...

Brother O'Mara Flickr

Snyder Recall

A group that wants to oust Governor Snyder will launch its second effort to collect enough signatures to put a recall question on the November ballot. “It will go before an Election Commission this afternoon looking for permission to let the petition drive go forward. The group Michigan Rising gathered half a million signatures last year, but that was well short of the 800,000 names of registered voters needed to put a recall question on the ballot. The group will ask an elections panel in Washtenaw County – where the governor lives – to approve its petition. Michigan Rising cites the state’s emergency manager law and cuts to school funding as the reasons to recall the governor. If the petition is approved, the recall campaign will have six months to gather signatures,” Rick Pluta reports.

State Fairgrounds

Governor Snyder is set to sign legislation today that will allow the state to sell the Michigan state fairgrounds. Tracy Samilton reports:

The Michigan state fair was first held in 1849, making it the second oldest state fair in the country. But the event lost money most years after 1970… Attendance dropped 39% over the final eight years of the Fair’s existence. In 2009, Governor Jennifer Granholm ended all state funding for the fair, and it closed. Today, Governor Snyder will sign bills which will authorize the state to sell the property. The 157 acre property is located just east of Woodward Avenue, close to 8 Mile.

Palisades Nuclear Plant Offline

Operators of the Palisades nuclear plant in southwestern Michigan say they've taken it offline for refueling. The Associated Press reports:

The plant has been under Nuclear Regulatory Commission scrutiny because of a series of safety problems in recent months. Operators say crews removed the plant from service about 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. A restart date hasn't been announced. During the outage, Entergy says crews will place 64 new fuel assemblies. Other major work includes an inspection of the reactor vessel head, replacement of five control rod seal packages, an inspection of the moisture separator and re-heater heat exchangers,\ and an inspection of the plant's two steam generators.

Politics
6:04 am
Mon April 9, 2012

Hurdle today for group trying to recall Michigan's governor

A yard sign from the unsuccessful first attempt to recall Gov. Rick Snyder
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A group that wants to oust Governor Rick Snyder will launch its second effort to collect enough signatures to put a recall question on the November ballot.

It will go before an election commission this afternoon looking for permission to let the petition drive go forward.

The group Michigan Rising gathered half a million signatures last year, but that was well short of the 800 thousand names of registered voters needed to put a recall question on the ballot.

The group will ask an elections panel in Washtenaw County – where the governor lives – to approve its petition. By law, the panel may only rule on whether the petition clearly states the reasons for the recall.

Michigan Rising cites the state’s emergency manager law and cuts to school funding as the reasons to recall the governor. If the petition is approved, the recall campaign will have six months to gather signatures.

Governor Snyder’s spokesman says he is focused on his on his job and expects this recall effort – like the one before it – will fail because people will see he is making tough-but-necessary choices.

Politics
1:01 am
Mon April 9, 2012

Michigan state lawmakers waiting on a court decision on "immediate effect"

A view from the floor of the Michigan State House
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The Michigan Court of Appeals may rule today in a dispute about how State House Republicans are passing bills.    

House Republicans have tacked on “immediate effect” provisions on more than 500 bills this year.  That means the bills will become law as soon as Governor Snyder signs them. But Democrats complain the “immediate effect” provisions are being added without the constitutionally required two-thirds vote.

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government
4:00 pm
Sun April 8, 2012

Three West Michigan communities consider merging into one

Travis Randolph is part of the group petitioning the state to allow a vote to merge three West Michigan communities.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

This week there will be an important hearing for those hoping to merge three West Michigan communities. A group of citizens is asking the state to allow the cities of Saugatuck, Douglas and Saugatuck Township to merge into one city. 

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Politics
2:07 pm
Sat April 7, 2012

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing released from hospital

Mayor Bing meeting at the mayoral residence
City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has been released from the hospital, where he was being treated for blood clots in his lungs.

Bing's office says he left Henry Ford Hospital on Saturday. The 68-year-old mayor on Wednesday was readmitted to the hospital, where he'd recently undergone surgery for a perforated colon.

Bing is expected to return to the office by the end of the month. His office says he continues to be involved in city operations through regular meetings with Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis and other members of the staff.

Commentary
10:50 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Commentary: Questions of Race

Throughout Detroit’s financial crisis, the governor has had a consistent message: This is about money and financial mismanagement, not about race. This didn‘t have anything to do with  the bitter racial issues that have plagued Detroit and complicated the city’s relationship with the suburbs, and the state, and itself.

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Politics
10:19 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Flint's emergency manager wants more time to work on union contracts

Flint emergency manager, Michael Brown.

Earlier this week, Flint emergency manager said he worked out a deal with the city's firefighter's union and hoped to work out deals with the city's other unions by Friday.

The Flint Journal reports this morning that Brown will not meet that deadline:

Flint emergency manager Michael Brown has canceled this month's meeting with city council members until further notice.

Brown had planned to present council on Monday with a 2013 budget, but said Thursday that he won't meet today's deadline for addressing union contracts or the budget and wants more time.

Brown says there's no new firm deadline for hammering out new contracts.

News Roundup
8:16 am
Fri April 6, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines...

user brother_O'Mara Flickr

"Opening Day" for Detroit

In a media roundtable in Detroit yesterday, State Treasurer Andy Dillon compared the day after Detroit City Council approved a consent agreement with the state with the home opener for the Detroit Tigers taking place nearby, "This is opening day in more ways than one for the city of Detroit," he said.

The next order of business for the city is to fill new positions called for the in the consent agreement. From the Detroit Free Press:

Mayor Dave Bing now has six days to create the positions of the city's chief financial officer and program management director and 30 days after that to hire the people for the positions... At the same time the state and city are compiling the list for the two top positions, they'll be developing a file of candidates to fill the nine-member financial advisory board, a team of people also with financial backgrounds, who will wield significant power as the city tries to right its finances.

Mayor Bing suffering from two "acute pulmonary embolisms"

Bing returned to the hospital on Wednesday. Yesterday afternoon his office released a statement saying the Mayor was diagnosed with acute pulmonary embolisms in both lungs. A condition that could be life threatening, but his doctor at Henry Ford Hospital said he's recuperating well. Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis has been acting on the Mayor's behalf. Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reported that Lewis said Mayor Bing "is alert and very involved in the ongoing process to implement the city’s new deal with the state."

“I’m just standing in his shoes right now, until he recovers. But Mayor Dave Bing is clearly the mayor and will be the mayor,” Lewis told reporters Thursday.

Highland Park School Board member calls charges against him "quite suspicious"

Highland Park School Board member and union activist Robert Davis was indicted yesterday on charges of theft by federal prosecutors. They've accused Davis of stealing more than $125,000 from the ailing school district.

Davis successfully won a court battle against the state's financial review teams for violating the Open Meetings Act. At a news conference held last night in his attorney's office, Davis called the timing of the indictment "quite suspicious."

More from the Detroit News:

"It's important for people to know that for the last two years I've been dealing with this particular issue as a result of my political enemies taking this false information to the FBI and to federal authorities," Davis said...

Politics
7:20 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Detroit Deputy Mayor says hospitalized Bing is alert, involved

As Detroit and the state move ahead to implement a consent agreement, Mayor Dave Bing remains in the hospital.

Bing was just released from the hospital earlier this week, after undergoing surgery for a perforated colon.

But he ended up back in the hospital on Tuesday with pulmonary embolisms. His top spokesman says the mayor is now recovering well.

Bing has designated Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis to act on his behalf.

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Politics
6:49 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Snyder on Detroit consent agreement: "Let's go"

Governor Snyder says he’s happy Detroit leaders have signed off on a “historic” consent agreement, but now it’s time to get moving on the restructuring plan the deal calls for.

But at a Thursday roundtable with reporters, Snyder said Detroit’s fiscal problems have been building for decades, and won’t be solved overnight.

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Political Roundup
5:33 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Financial stability agreement "huge step" for Detroit

User: Fabienne Kneifel/Flickr

The Detroit City Council signed off on a consent agreement with the state of Michigan Wednesday afternoon.

Mayor Dave Bing signed the agreement from his hospital bed. Bing is being treated for acute pulmonary embolism.

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Politics
4:44 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

School Board member who fought financial review teams indicted for theft

User Gini Flickr

The Highland Park school board member who filed the Open Meetings Act lawsuits against the state's financial review process for Detroit, has been indicted for theft. The U-S Attorney’s office says Robert Davis sent fake bills to the district and stole thousands of dollars.

Davis faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Authorities say between 2004 and 2010, he stole more than $125,000 from the Highland Park School District by using cover companies to submit fake invoices to the district.

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Politics
3:32 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Detroit Mayor Bing being treated for acute pulmonary embolism

Mayor Bing meeting at the mayoral residence
City of Detroit

After being released this past Monday from Henry Ford Hospital, Mayor Bing was readmitted to the hospital yesterday for discomfort.

Now we have news on his condition.

This statement was just released from Mayor Bing's communications director, Robert Warfield:

“Mayor Bing is being treated for acute pulmonary embolism in each lung,” said Dr. John Popovich, president and CEO of Henry Ford Hospital and a board-certified pulmonologist with extensive experience and research with this disorder.

“After arriving at HenryFordHospital, his condition was promptly diagnosed and treated. Pulmonary embolism is often caused by a blood clot that forms elsewhere in the body and travels to the lungs. This condition is treatable with medications called anticoagulants, commonly referred to as blood thinners. The mayor is alert, in good spirits, and expected to make a full recovery with discharge anticipated in a few days.”

Mayor Bing was admitted to the hospital Wednesday afternoon after experiencing some discomfort. He has been recuperating at the mayoral residence from his March 24 surgery to correct a perforated colon.

Pulmonary embolism is a serious condition that can be fatal if left untreated.

Here's an animation showing how blot clots, especially after a long stay in a hospital, can form and lead to pulmonary embolisms.

Politics
3:29 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Campaign to keep Medicare as is visits Michigan retirement communities

Opponents of proposals for major changes to Medicare spent today making the rounds of retirement communities in Michigan.

They denounced the budget plan passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.  Under the Republican budget plan, future retirees would get a stipend to buy health insurance.   Its an approach Republicans say would hold down costs and begin to rein in the deficit.

Max Richtman  is the president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.   He says House Republicans want to do away with what’s left of the ‘New Deal’.

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Politics
12:01 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Read the Detroit consent agreement, Michigan Gov. Snyder to hold media roundtable

There's a lot to talk about now that the Detroit City Council narrowly approved a consent agreement with the state.

Gov. Snyder's office says the Governor, state Treasurer Andy Dillon, and Director of Urban Initiatives Harvey Hollins will hold a media roundtable this afternoon at 2 p.m. to discuss the agreement.

You can read the Detroit consent agreement here.

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