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  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May

    Margaret Doll Rod will celebrate the release of her new EP, Margaret, with a show at PJ’s Lager House on Saturday, May 10. A statement reads, “The EP contains 3 new original songs and one Chrome Cranks cover with Italian actress Asia Argento singing background vocals. Margaret moved to Italy after the end of the Demolition Doll Rods where she still lives touring and performing festivals in Europe. The Dollrods were a Garage Rock force for over 20 years, opening for Iggy, Jon Spencer, The Scientist, The Monks and The Cramps. Margaret was the front person and principal songwriter for The Dollrods. Her chief musical foil was Danny Kroha, who joined the Demolition Doll Rods after the now legendary Gories called it quits. Margaret’s sister, Christine, on drums, rounded out the legendary trio. Margaret will do a special performance in the round that night with a 360 degree revolving stage and special guest DJ Adam Stanfel.” The bill will also feature the Stomp Rockets and the Volcanos. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to bcallwood@metrotimes.com. Ricky Rat’s Tokyo Pop/Glitter People (New Fortune) 7” single highlights all that’s great about the Trash Brats guitarist, but also his limitations. The man can write a bubblegum rock ’n’ roll song to match anyone in the city and most beyond. He’s also a killer guitarist, ripping out one throwaway riff after another with reckless abandon. He’s a machine. On his own though, without Trash Brats frontman Brian McCarty, his voice doesn’t have enough strength to do the songs justice. Not that you need to have the greatest voice in the world to sing this stuff – you don’t need to be able to perform vocal gymnastics – but you do have to be able to wail the tunes out. Both of the songs on this single are great, but you can’t help but wonder how much better they would sound with McCarty or somebody similar talking the mic. Still, as they are the songs are great fun. We’re just being picky. The Paper Sound’s Trajectories is a dense, atypically dark Americana-tinged album, unrelenting and […]

    The post City Slang: Music review roundup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

    “Neighbors wanted.” That’s the message on the homepage of buildingdetroit.org, a new website launched by the City of Detroit today to auction off city-owned homes to prospective buyers who pledge to fix them up and move in. “We are moving aggressively to take these abandoned homes and get families living in them again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement today. “There are a lot of people who would love to move into many of our neighborhoods. Knowing that other people are going to be buying and fixing up the other vacant homes at the same time will make it a lot easier for them to make that commitment.” The website to facilitate the auctions went live this afternoon. The first auction is scheduled to take place Monday, May 5. Officials said in a news release that one home will be auctioned per day, Monday through Friday. Fifteen homes are available for sale on the site, a dozen of which are in the East English Village neighborhood. Any Michigan resident, company, or organization that can do business in the state can bid, according to the website. Properties will be for sale for only one day, with bidding taking place from 8 […]

    The post Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes

    In case you haven’t heard, two of the biggest names in film, Steven Spielberg and John Williams, are collaborating to put on a benefit concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra this summer. In case you wanted to go- well, you’re too damn late. The DSO says tickets to the June 14 concert were snapped up in a record-breaking 15 minutes after they went on sale at 9 a.m. today. The DSO has since released this statement to fans who didn’t snag seats: Our apologies to everyone who was unable to buy tickets this morning for our historic benefit concert featuring John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Despite increasing our phone and internet system capacity for the day, a surge of hundreds of ticket buyers purchased tickets in a matter of minutes, filling the phone lines and temporarily maxing out our web servers. After a one-hour pre-sale made available to donors and subscribers at 8am, we released additional seats at 9am to the general public, including seats available for as low as $30. All seats sold out immediately. The concert program seems nothing short of top notch: Williams will conduct the orchestra as it performs some of his most iconic tunes, such […]

    The post Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Best of Detroit 2013

Public Square - Reader's Choice

Reader's choice for Metro Detroit

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


Best Person to Run for Mayor of Detroit

Mike Duggan

The former key cog in boss Ed McNamara’s Wayne County political machine, a one-time county prosecutor, and the guy who engineered a deal that sold the nonprofit Detroit Medical Center, Mike Duggan has already been anointed the city’s next savior by the mainstream media. But now, with the endorsement of MT’s readers, he might be unstoppable.

 

Best Person to Be Detroit’s Emergency Financial Manager

Mitt Romney

If nothing else, our readers have a great sense of humor. The wooden, white-bread Romney imposed on Detroit by his Lansing soulmate, Rick Snyder? Now that’s a true hoot. On the other hand, the guy is the king of vulture capitalists, so, if the plan is to sell off the city’s assets, then, from Snyder’s vantage point, there might not be a better fit for Motown than the Mitt.

 

Best Person to Be New President of Detroit’s City Council

Kenneth Cockrel Jr.

Here’s the thing about Cockrel: No matter what, he’s a Detroiter through and through. No one ever accused him of having too much charisma, but he’s honest and steady and reasonable and accessible. He’s someone the people of Detroit can trust to look out for their interests, and he’s not someone who’s going to show up on YouTube displaying a set of washboard abs.

 

Best New Job for Charles Pugh

Television personality

The current president of the Detroit City Council (a guy who did show up on YouTube showing off his abs) has announced that he won’t be runnning for the office again. Our readers had no shortage of suggestions regarding the next career he should pursue, many of them unflattering — from corralling canines (“dog catcher”) to rounding up rubbish (“garbage man”) while others gently pricked him for his dandy self-absorbtion, suggesting, among other occuupations “aerobics instructor,” “underwear model” and “bow tie model.” In the end, though, a majority of voters thought the best choice for Pugh would be for him to return to his previous career in television broadcasting.

 

Best Person to Vote Off Detroit City Council

All of them

Be careful what you wish for, dear readers. Now that Kevyn Orr has been appointed emergency finanical manager (and soon to be emergency manager, if you care about such details), Detroit’s residents are about to find out what life is like with no elected represenatives, or at least not any with any real power. Sure, the council has its share of goofballs and blowhards, but at least the people of Detroit had the right to vote them out of office.

 

Best Way to Improve Relations Between Detroit and the Suburbs

Link the city and suburbs with an effective mass transit system

 

Overwhelmingly, our readers (correctly, we think) identified mass transit, in one form or another, as being key to this region’s future well-being. And the really, really good news is that the state Legislature and governor, with the backing of elected leaders from throughout the area, finally overcame 40 years’ worth of futility and created the Southheast Michigan Regional Transit Authority, which will be in a position to finally create a coordinated system linking Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties. This is very good news, and one reason we can all hope that this region can come together and actually prosper.

 

Best New Building for Dan Gilbert to Buy

Michigan Central Station

Unlike the train station’s current owner, Manuel “Mr. Burns” Moroun, multibillionaire Dan Gilbert actually does something with the Detroit properties he buys. At last count, the founder of Quicken Loans owns 15 downtown office buildings, and is a driving force in the effort to build a light-rail line along a short stretch of Woodward Avenue. Wherever Moroun goes, there is a giant sucking sound, and the faint whiff of brimstone. Gilbert brings life and energy and lots and lots of cash. Just look at his beautifully restored Madison Building. Then check out that hulking, vacant, deteriorating masterpiece that is the train station, and allow yourself a bit of reverie, thinking how wonderful it could be if Gilbert really did take control of it.

 

Best New Slogan for Detroit

“We’re back”

This is why we ask questions like this of our readers: because we know they will always deliver. The selection of suggested slogans for Detroit ranged from those steeped in hard-bitten, exclamatory snark (“Going for broke!” and “Duck!”) to the deadpan (“At least it’s not Beirut” or Flint or Cleveland) to the hip (“The Berlin of America”) to the politically profound ( “Where Ayn Rand’s Dream Is Reality”). Some found humor by cutting close to the bone (“Houses: $29 or two for $50”), or displayed a little chest-thumping pride in the dystopia (“It’s a fucked-up mess, but it’s OUR fucked-up mess”). In the end though, more than anything else, was the winning note of hope. “We’re back.”

 

Best Slogan for Michigan

“I’m Smitten with the Mitten”

OK, so maybe our readers don’t always deliver. Smitten? But even if that clinker did come out on top, there were more than a few others that gave us a chuckle, including “Talk to the Hand,” “Great Lakes, Bad Politicians”and “Where did everybody go?” And then there what can only be described as our sentimental favorite: “We may look like a hand, but we’re all heart.” Awww.

 

Best New Nickname for Kwame Kilpatrick

Inmate No. 702408

Our felonious former mayor hadn’t yet been convicted on an array of federal charges related to the criminal enterprise that Kwame Kilpatrick and his crew were running out of City Hall, but they could obviously see the writing on the jailhouse wall. As for that new nickname, it’s a handle the one-time political star with seemingly limitless potential will probably be hauling around for the next 10 to 20 years, depending on how good his behavior is.

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