Most Read
  • Thank you, Detroit

    I’m not going to lie to you – this isn’t easy. This week, the final City Slang local music column will be published in the Metro Times (on hardcore band Final Assault), and I have just submitted a cover feature on the women of Detroit hip-hop, to be published next week (8/6). This blog that you’re reading now will be my last one as a regular MT contributor. I have a lot to look forward to. I’m going to be an associate editor at Yellow Scene Magazine in Colorado, a tremendous publication in a beautiful part of the country. But leaving Detroit will be incredibly difficult for me. I love the place. It’s been (amazingly) six and a half years since I arrived, a couple of cases in hand and not much of a plan in mind. I just knew, after three separate research trips for books and a magazine article, that I felt at home here. Metro Times offered me freelance work almost immediately, as did a new website called Metromix (whatever happened to that?) When I arrived here, I had been working as a writer in the UK for nine years, but the help and encouragement I received […]

    The post Thank you, Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers

      We here at MT will be delighted when Mr. Jack White throws out a pitch at Navin Field (at least, we hope he will), but until then, we’ll be happy with his pitch to Santa this evening at Comerica Park.    

    The post Christmas in July, Jack White, and the Tigers appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW)

      Footage from the Gathering of the Juggalos set to clips of Morgan Freeman’s narration from March of the Penguins? Kind of forced, but also kind of beautiful. As the AV Club reports: The oft-sought voiceover champion lends a touch of gravitas to the festival proceedings. Unfortunate scenes of barely clad people having various liquids dumped onto them now carries a quiet dignity as it’s all part of nature’s majestic plan that keeps the world spinning through this elegantly designed and truly wondrous universe. Also, the video is NSFW as there are boobs in it. Watch the clip below:

    The post Watch footage of the Gathering of the Juggalos dubbed with Morgan Freeman narration (NSFW) appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love”

    It seems like the polar vortex will never end: the weather phenomenon that brought us the most brutal winter on record this winter is to blame for this summer’s chillier-than usual temperatures as well. A couple of bands, though, made lemonade out of lemons (or snow cones out of snow?) by using the icy landscape to film music videos. 800beloved shot the video for “Tidal” in some sand dunes near Empire, Mich., and this week Turn to Crime debuted the video for “Can’t Stop,” the title track of their recently-released album. Even more piles of ice and snow might be the last thing Detroiters want to see right now, but the footage makes for some good visuals that mesh well with the song. Watch the video below:

    The post Turn to Crime debut chilly video for “Can’t Love” appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed

    Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr transferred oversight of the the city’s water department Tuesday to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in an order intended to refocus “efforts to help DWSD customers get and remain current on their water bills,” Orr’s office said today. “This order provides additional clarity to the powers already delegated to the mayor,” Orr said in a statement released Tuesday. “As the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department works to operate more efficiently and communicate more effectively with customers, it is important to ensure there are clear lines of management and accountability.” Duggan will have the authority to manage DWSD and make appointments to the utility’s board, according to a news release. In a statement issued Tuesday, the mayor said he welcomed Orr’s order, adding that officials will develop a plan that “allows those who truly need to access to financial help … to do so with shorter wait times.” “We need to change a number of things in the way we have approached the delinquent payment issues and I expect us to have a new plan shortly,” Duggan said. “There are funds available to support those who cannot afford their bills — we need to do a much better job in […]

    The post Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years

    Rovers Scooter Club, a local gang dedicated to celebrating and riding motor scooters, will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week with a very special ride. Motor City Shakedown, the annual birthday party for the club, will commence this Friday, August 1 at New Way Bar. DJ Grover from Cincinnati will be spinning northern soul, reggae, and ska, according to club member Michael Palazzola. Saturday will feature a ride from Ferndale to Detroit, starting at noon at M-Brew. Palazzola says this is where most bikes will congregate before taking the ride to the city and folks will be prepping by getting some grub starting at 10 a.m.  Detroit’s Tangent Gallery will host the after party,  a special event that will feature performances by several bands as well as Satori Circus. That portion of the event will commence at 8 p.m. with performances starting at 9 p.m. It’s free to riders, but the public is welcome to join the party with the mere cost of a door charge. Come midnight, the club will raffle off a vintage Lambretta LI 150. Sunday morning will end the weekend of festivities, with brunch taking place at the Bosco in Ferndale.   

    The post Rovers Scooter Club Celebrates 10 Years appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Politics & Prejudices

Age of consent

Those wishing to kill the consent agreement aren’t thinking clearly

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Trying to write about the insanity that is Detroit these days is risky business. I am fully aware that, by the time you clap your eyeballs on these words, an emergency manager could be in the works, the city could be out of cash, Charles Pugh could be demanding we buy him a pony of his very own, or a spontaneous soviet of workers' and people's deputies may have seized control.

OK, that last was wishful thinking, but a boy can dream. Now then: If you haven't been on a bender down in a mineshaft, you may know that someone you never heard of a month ago named Krystal Crittendon is threatening to blow up the whole fragile consent agreement keeping elected city officials in their jobs.

Crittendon, the city's corporation counsel, filed a suit last month maintaining that entering into a consent agreement violates the city charter because Michigan is in "default" to Detroit, because it canceled revenue sharing payments to balance the budget, and because the state owes it a water bill for the old Detroit fairgrounds.

Last week she added a few other items, such as some unpaid parking tickets. Now, I am not a lawyer, though most high-priced ones seem to think her claims are nonsense. But I do know this:

What Krystal Crittendon is doing is the equivalent of a passenger on the Titanic arguing that nobody could get into the lifeboats because they lacked a government inspector's stamp.

What does she, or any of the irrationals supporting her lawsuit, think will happen if she torpedoes the agreement? Simply this:

The city will run out of money next week, and be taken over by the state. The governor will appoint an emergency manager, who then may be forced to lead Detroit through a painful bankruptcy.

Dave Bing, who a month ago bafflingly seemed to be trying to have it both ways, understands this. "Flexing My Pecs" Pugh is among those who don't, which, given that he doesn't understand the need to pay his monthly mortgage statement, should come as no surprise.

This all reminds me of an old Jack Benny routine in which a robber pulls a gun on the legendary tight-fisted comedian and says, "Your money or your life." Benny replies, "I'm thinking, I'm thinking."

Those wishing to kill the consent agreement evidently aren't thinking clearly. So listen up, comrades. Once more: If the consent agreement is blocked, odds are Detroit's elected leaders lose all effective power for the foreseeable future.

And still the lemmings march to the cliff, led by Krystal Crittendon. Which leads us to the obvious question: Who in the world is she and how did she get such a powerful job?

Oddly, nobody seems to have really looked into that, though the Free Press did ask her about her own unpaid parking tickets.

Recently, however, I asked a former City Council member I respect about this. She reminded me that the city's previous corporation counsel, or top lawyer, Kathleen Leavey, had to resign after she referred to 36th District Court as a "ghetto court."

That was in January 2009, a chaotic and horrible time for the city. It was less than three months after Kwame Kilpatrick had been hauled off to the hoosegow. Former City Council President Ken Cockrel Jr. was acting mayor, and was forced to simultaneously try to get a handle on city finances, which were in a mess, and run in two elections that were going to be held over the next three months.

What's more, he had to deal with an increasingly bizarre and disruptive Monica Conyers, who was daily disgracing City Council with her antics and her outbursts. Monica, my source said, apparently had a good relationship with Crittendon, and wanted her appointed.

Trying to appoint anyone else would have brought on a fight with Conyers, who today, of course, is where she belongs — in the slam. Crittendon had virtually no real world experience outside the city. She has never worked anywhere else since getting out of law school, but appointing her seemed harmless enough, given everything else going on. Besides, corporation counsels were easy to get rid of.

However, things have changed. The new city charter that took effect in January gives the corporation counsel more power and made her more secure. Today, the mayor would have to get a two-thirds majority on council to approve firing her. Given that the consent agreement passed by a single vote, that seems less than likely.

Corporation counsels normally wait for mayors to ask their opinion on matters of legality. Why did Crittendon decide to launch out on her own against the consent agreement?

Turns out JoAnn Watson, the queen of irrationality, asked her for an opinion on whether the agreement was legal or not. Everything followed from that. 

Incidentally, the totally dysfunctional Detroit City Council hasn't even named its two members to the consent agreement's financial advisory board. That's something that should have happened in April. The unpleasant truth was that the consent agreement was a gallant attempt at preserving participatory democracy in a time of crisis.

But it was probably doomed from the start. The state now says it will hold up $80 million it promised the city when it signed onto the consent agreement, unless the city drops the lawsuit fighting the agreement. (Contrary to some councilmembers' belief, biting the hand that you are begging to feed you is normally not a smart idea.)

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