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  • 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

Cost of corruption

Tackling the taboo topic: Graft must end in Detroit

Detroit has a lot of problems, the biggest of which is that the city doesn't have nearly enough jobs or money. There's a lot else wrong too. But the city has one huge problem it badly needs to address, the very mention of which is widely regarded as taboo, especially from a white, middle-aged suburban dweller like me. But it needs to be said anyway.

Detroit is riddled with a culture of corruption.

I'm not talking about Mayor Dave Bing, who seems to be as honest as they come. And I am not talking about the mythical welfare queens, or some junkie who grabs a purse.

I am talking instead about so-called public servants; people with good elected or public service jobs who think this gives them some kind of entitlement to steal. Last week, for example, Mayor Bing fired Yvonne Anthony, director of the Department of Health and Wellness Promotion. Once allegations surfaced of misspending at the department, she began muttering about quitting, and the mayor prudently fired her and had her escorted from the building. Yes, nobody has charged her with anything. And it could be that she was only thinking about resigning to take care of her maiden aunt.

But I doubt it. Less than a week before that, the mayor suspended Shenetta Coleman, a Kwame Kilpatrick appointee who served as director of the Human Services Department. This came after the Detroit Free Press (hey, even the devil deserves praise for good works) revealed that the department spent more than $200,000 on fancy furniture last year, money that should have been spent helping a few of Detroit's thousands of desperately poor people.

Mayor Bing was so outraged he said he plans to recommend that Coleman and a number of her staffers get fired after the city finishes its investigation into what is assumed to be vast mismanagement of federal grant money.

Let's assume for a moment that the legal system works as it should, separates the guilty from the innocent and provides proper punishment for the bad guys. Regardless of that, the real question is: What were they thinking?

Why do so many Detroit officials, including the Monica Conyerses, Alonzo Bateses and, yes, Kwame Kilpatricks think selfish and corrupt behavior is OK?

Now I know that somebody is reading this and thinking, "Here's more thinly veiled racism from another phony white liberal in the suburbs." Some may say that even though some of these people were crooks, white folks outside Detroit have no right and no business criticizing them.

To all of which I say, bullshit. There have been many other cities and states that have had a culture of corruption, most notably perhaps Illinois, which has had three governors go to jail since the 1970s, plus Rod Blagojevich, who may wind up there yet. They also had a secretary of state named Paul Powell, who dropped dead in 1970, and whose house was found packed with vast sums of cash from a scam so effective that to this day, nobody is sure quite how he did it.

Every one of those criminals was white.

Yet in Detroit they are black, just like the vast majority of people. What's worse is that corrupt public officials in Detroit are primarily stealing from poor black people who can desperately not afford to lose the little they have.

Some sociologists have attributed this behavior to overcompensating for a legacy of slavery and repression. Well, even if true, nobody should accept that as an excuse. Unless, that is, you admire overcompensators like Lonnie Bates.

While on the school board, Lonnie was caught taking lavish trips at taxpayer expense to conferences in other countries, and then going to the beach. When asked how he could justify this, he said he thought it was inspiring for poor kids to see that one of their own could be a big man. Later, after being elected to City Council, he was convicted of putting nonexistent "ghost" employees on the city payroll, and was trundled off to prison.

All this might have been appallingly amusing if Detroit were flush with cash, but it is broke, and full of hungry children. Kilpatrick directly robbed the poor of the city of millions, thanks to his illegal attempt to cover up his tawdry sex life. How much more he cost Detroit indirectly because of his antics is impossible to measure. Yet there are those who admire that creature, now in a cell waiting for the feds to spend more taxpayers' money on further prosecution.

Detroit needs an attitude adjustment. Stealing from poor people is not heroic or classy. Taking money meant to feed people and buying fancy furniture for your office isn't striking back at the man. It is low-class, scumbag behavior.

Parasites like these may manage to do what generations of white racists failed to do: cost poor black Detroiters their rights. Every Kwame, every Lonnie, every Shenetta Coleman and Yvonne Anthony makes giving all power to an Emergency Financial Manager that much more certain and easy to do.

Don't like the thought of having an emergency manager for schools? Well, don't elect a school board president who can't really read or write, but who can and does masturbate in front of the superintendent. Demand accountability.

Kwame Kilpatrick had amply demonstrated he was unfit to be mayor by 2005. Yet Detroiters re-elected him over the decent, hard-working and grown-up Freman Hendrix.

Those who love this city need to develop a culture of swiftly condemning any stealing from the public purse, or any behavior guaranteed to put the city in a bad light.

Being responsible and grown-up is occasionally a good thing. Sadly, Detroit has had a run of public officials in recent years who behave as if the public exists mainly to provide them with sex, loot and a playground for both.

Detroiters can reject these clowns, angrily and utterly. Or they can look forward to being governed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

There's still a chance to make a choice.

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