Most Read
  • The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues

    Ypsilanti police are still searching for the person dubbed the “mystery pooper.” Someone has been, as the Associated Press politely puts it today, “soiling slides at an Ypislanti playground over the last six months.” So, of course, someone purchased an electronic billboard along I-94 near Huron St. at exit 183 that delivers multiple calls for action: For instance,”Help us flush the pooper.” The company that purchased the billboard, Adams Outdoor Advertising, knows how to reach the world in the 21st Century, branding each billboard with a hashtag for the public utilize in its efforts: #ypsipooper. WJBK-TV says the billboard also toggles through other rich lines, such as: “Do your civic doody, report the pooper #YPSIPOOPER” “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” You can have the runs, but you can’t hide. They’re still looking for you, Mystery Pooper.

    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co.

    It’s a really, very cool idea. Paxahau, the good people behind the Movement Electronic Music Festival, are hosting a series of warm-up events, or previews, to the big festival which takes place Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday evening, Movement moved into the Urban Coffee Bean on Grand River in Detroit. While Dj AvA and Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp ably worked the decks, the regular coffee shop goings on continued behind them. It made for an interesting and amusing webcast experience – one guy was taking a nap on camera, while others supped coffee and tappd their feet. It should come as no surprise – the Urban Coffee Co. people have always been big supporters of electronic music. The place includes a DJ stand, and co-owner Josh Greenwood encourages customers to bring their own vinyl and spin on the open turntables. Not on Thursday night though. This being a coffee shop, and it not being particularly late at night, the music remained pretty chill throughout. DJ AvA (real name Heather McGuigan) includes Beth Orton, Madonna, the B-52’s, Daftpunk and David Byrne among her list of influences, so you know that she’s capable of both whipping up a storm and also […]

    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Politics & Prejudices

Ask the right questions

Can both sides of the aisle focus on the bigger picture?

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Ask the right questions

As I write these words, members of a group called Michigan Forward are battling to collect enough signatures to get a statewide vote next year on the emergency manager law.

If they succeed in getting it on the ballot, the law will be suspended till after the Nov. 6 election. Meanwhile, there's also intense debate over whether Detroit needs an emergency manager, or whether it can get itself out of the current mess.

To counter this, the Snyder administration is considering some kind of quarterback sneak under which they would pass a new, slightly tweaked emergency manager law if the current one is suspended. (Opponents are crying foul.)

Meanwhile, the Republicans who control our state Legislature have enthusiastically passed a law barring state employees from including their unmarried partners on their health benefits, one more in a series of "let's bash gays under the guise of saving tax dollars" moves.

That done, they are weighing the merits of dropping all limits on how many charter schools universities can create. 

Pretty much everyone has an opinion on all of these issues. If you've been a frequent reader of this column, you likely have a good idea of mine. 

But the fact is that I have changed my mind.

Changed my mind, that is, about where our focus needs to be. These are not the questions we should be asking, not until we have answered the one that really matters:

What kind of society do we really want?

When we've decided that, then, are we willing to do what it takes to make it become reality? 

What we are doing now is driving along without a plan, lurching at this or that, sometimes worrying about quality, sometimes inequality, and sometimes about money.

Yet the bottom line is that if we don't know where we want to go, we aren't going to get there. 

Frankly, I don't think most of us have a clue. We lunge at things we think we want (tax breaks for the rich, jobs for the rest of us) and react instinctively against things we don't like.

Yet we have no long-term plan.

What kind of society do we want? What kind of city, state, nation do we want? Have we even thought about this?

OK, Republicans: You want tax breaks for businesses and the rich, and want as little money as possible spent on welfare and education and other things for the poor.

Coming right up. Yet think about this: Who is going to buy your products if they can't make a living? How does having roads and bridges that are falling apart help your business?

Even more to the point: Every year, tens of thousands of kids are leaving our high schools — whether they graduate or not — totally lacking the basic skills they need to find jobs.

What's worse, they have little or no ability to get the higher education they need (not necessarily college). Thanks to our lawmakers, they also have lesser means to pay for getting these skills if they do know where to get them.

So, free market worshippers, how can you feel safe and secure with a growing mass of hundreds of thousands of unemployed and unemployable people in your midst?

OK, Democrats: You have blasted Gov. Rick Snyder's program of "reforms" and tax cuts. What is your alternative, other than hoping they piss people off enough they return your team to power?

Do you have the guts to seriously propose raising taxes on the rich instead? Do you have the guts to say to your special interest groups, "You have to make sacrifices too"?

Do you have the guts to say to the teachers unions that the product they are delivering isn't cutting it, for one thing, and for another, they can no longer automatically expect better benefits than most of the rest of society? 

You want to get rid of the emergency manager law? Great. Then what do you do when Detroit and Pontiac and Flint go bankrupt instead? The fallout will damage the credit rating of every city in the state as well as the state itself, not to mention what it will do to the economy as a whole.

OK, Detroiters: You don't want an emergency manager. You say you can solve your problems on your own.

Prove it. The city has billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities, bad and irresponsible debts racked up by mayors and city councils long gone. How do you plan to deal with that? The city isn't paying its vendors on time now. 

The city is literally falling apart, there's a large unionized city work force whose leaders don't seem to have a clue and are unable and unwilling to read a balance statement. 

The current budget deficit is increasing by $400,000 a day, and the city will literally run out of cash entirely in the spring. There are barely 700,000 people left; most poor and nearly half functionally illiterate. The mayor himself estimates that the real unemployment rate is more than 40 percent.

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