Best of Detroit 2013
Public Square - Staff Picks
Our staff picks for Metro Detroit
Published: March 20, 2013
Best New Job for Bill Schuette
Not a receptionist just anywhere, mind you. We think the state’s attorney general needs to go to work in a clinic that specializes in writing recommendations for prospective medical marijuana patients. That way, he would spend his days seeing the wide variety of truly suffering people who aren’t looking to get their party on, as BS surely believes, but rather just want some relief from their suffering. It would provide the sort of enlightenment that would make the state’s foremost anti-marijuana crusader see just how wrong-headed his attitudes are. At the very least, come 2014, we all need to make sure that Schuette is forced into a job-hunting mode.
Best Place to Turn If You’re Busted for Pot
2930 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit
As the name suggests, this Detroit-based law firm specializes in marijuana-related cases. In recent years, they’ve been very active in the area of medical marijuana, representing patients, caregivers, clubs, collectives, dispensaries and others. With attorney Matt Abel at the helm, it’s not just a business, it is a crusade. That’s reflected in the fact that Abel is also executive director of Michigan NORML, so the firm’s offices serve as a spearhead of the pro-marijuana movement in the state.
Best Thing to Look Forward to When Democracy Returns to Detroit
If there is still a Detroit City Council come November 2014, there’s going to be a real opportunity for voters to shake up things on that body in a big way. Because of changes made in the new City Charter, seven council members will be elected by district, and two will be elected the old way, at-large. Aside from preventing council members from being clustered in the tonier parts of the city, the move could open up the field to a whole new batch of contenders, especially those people who have labored away at the grass-roots level, establishing credibility and trust with their neighbors, instead of relying on name recognition. What’s more, council members elected by district will be responsible for certain areas of the city in a way at-large council people never were.
Best Longtime Attempt at Racial Healing
Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion
525 New Center One, 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit
The good folks at the Michigan Roundtable nonprofit have been working to overcome racism and discrimination since 1941. Crossing racial, religious, ethnic and cultural boundaries, they bring together community leaders and regular citizens from all areas of life in an attempt to help us all understand the perspectives of others. And then they look for ways to break down barriers and build unity. It is a beautiful thing. If you want to get involved to the organization’s website and check out the upcoming gatherings and ongoing projects, or just give them a call. They would love to hear from you — all of you.
Best Example of a Local Politician With True Populist Grit
The Democratic state representative from southwest Detroit first earned our admiration when she stood up to bridge baron Manuel “Matty” Moroun. Ever since, we’ve only seen her come down on the right side (which would be the lefty side) of the important issues facing Detroit, the metro region and the state. She’s also fiercely protective of her constituents’ interests. And she’s willing to lay everything on the line. Literally. There’s no better proof of that than the sit-down protest she led last year, blocking traffic along Fort Street as she and about 30 others showed their opposition to the planned closing of Southwestern High School. We love that sort of fighting spirit. The mainstream media has been pimping mayoral candidate Mike Duggan by repeatedly asking, “Is Detroit ready for a white mayor?” Here’s an even better question, “Is Detroit ready for a Muslim woman to be its mayor.” The answer should be a resounding yes, and we know just the person to fill the bill.
Best Law to Strike Down
Oh, wait. We already did that, by a vote of 52 percent to 48 percent. But with Rick Snyder in the governor’s office and Republicans controlling both houses of the state Legislature, a lot of good it did. Just ask the people of Detroit how well the democratic process is working these days.
Best Emergency Manager for Detroit
Jesus of Nazareth
Why does the Son of God get our nod for the EM job? Given the intractable problems facing the city — too much debt, too much infrastructure to support, and not nearly enough people living in the city or local businesses providing taxes to pay for it all — it might just take a miracle will be able to save Detroit from bankruptcy. Absent the appointment of a loaves and fishes miracle-worker like JC, the fear is that whoever becomes EM is going to slash and burn, selling off irreplaceable public assets before seeking Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, leaving the city even poorer in the long run. Instead, we need an EM who will toss those damn moneychangers from the civic temple known as City Hall.
Best Thing to Not Publicly Subsidize
New Hockey Arena
We love our Red Wings, but if billionaire Mike Ilitch and the rest of his clan want a new venue for their hockey team to play in, well, they can afford to pay for the whole thing themselves. They’ve got all that Little Caesar’s dough, and if that’s not enough, Marian Ilitch owns MotorCity Casino, a place that mints money. Throw in all those Foxtown properties (which, like the publicly subsidized home of the Tigers, Ilitch also owns, and will benefit greatly from having a new hockey arena in the neighborhood) and its pretty clear: they have a hell of a lot more disposable cash than Detroit.
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