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  • 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.

  • Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times

    Turns out, our very own Jack Lessenberry knows the Grosse Pointer seeking to ban the MT: Ten years or so ago, a woman named Andrea Lavigne sat in on some media survey classes I was teaching at Wayne State University. She was in her late 30s or early 40s, and seemed to be searching for answers. She wanted to know how the media work, and told me she was a Maoist. This fascinated me, because I thought authentic Maoists were almost as rare as passenger pigeons. Chairman Mao, we now know, starved to death and slaughtered tens of millions of his own citizens, and kept China economically and intellectually backward. Intrigued, I got together one night before class with her and another Maoist, to find out what they were all about. Alas, they spouted a form of primitive, grade-school Marxism. They seemed to have very little historical knowledge of Communism or what it had actually been like. Yes. A Maoist. Read the full story at Michigan Radio here.

    The post Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’

    A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the owner of Detroit’s municipal solid waste incinerator Monday, accusing the company of nuisance and gross negligence violations According to the complaint filed by Detroit-based Liddle & Dubin P.C., “On occasions too numerous to list, Plaintiffs’ property including Plaintiffs’ neighborhood, residences and yards were physically invaded by noxious odors and contaminants … As a direct and proximate result of the Defendant’s’ negligence in operating and/or maintaining the facility, Plaintiffs’ property has been invaded by noxious odors.” The eight-page complaint charges that local property values have dropped due to the incinerator’s presence, “and has interfered with Plaintiffs’ use and enjoyment of their property.” The lawsuit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, seeks a financial award in excess of $25,000 and all costs and attorney fees related to the case. In an email, a spokesperson for the company says, “Detroit Renewable Power is reviewing the complaint filed today,” but declined further comment. The suit comes weeks after a Metro Times’ cover story earlier this month found a growing number of odor complaints from nearby residents since Detroit Renewable Power LLC (DRP) took control of the facility in 2010. The investigation found a spike in citations from the Michigan Department […]

    The post Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup

    The High Times Medical Cannabis Cup is more than just a celebration — although with the recent shift in attitudes toward marijuana legalization, there certainly is much to celebrate.  HT‘s Danny Danko described it as “just like any other harvest festival or a county fair where people bring their best produce, their best pigs and horses and cows, and they compete with each other for bragging rights, basically.” Here are a list of winners from this year’s Cannabis Cup, who did indeed walk home with some well-deserved bragging rights — if anyone knows their marijuana it’s High Times: Indica 1ST - Oasis Medical Seeds - Paris OG 2ND - Herbal Solutions - Alien Dawg F2 3RD - Herban Legendz, LLC - Grape OX Sativa 1ST - Arborside Compassion - CATFISH 2ND - Organibliss - Ghost Train Haze #1 3RD - We Grow Education and Collective Centers - MelonGum Hybrid 1ST - Herbal Solutions - Gorilla Glue 2ND - Pure West Compassion Club - Death Star 3RD - Kushman Veganics for Buds & Roses - Veganic Candyland Concentrate 1ST - Mr. B’s Extracts - Raskal’s Lemon 2ND - 710 Savant - Kosher Kush Dewaxed 3RD - Oasis Medical / Vader Extracts / Dab Vader - Candy Jack Shatter Non-Solvent Hash 1ST - NLG - Jedi Kush Ice Wax 2ND - Arborside Compassion - HeadCandy Kush Hash 3RD - New World Seeds Resource […]

    The post Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative

    So is the title of the press release we received this morning from The Satanic Temple. You may recall our interview with Doug Mesner from earlier this year. The Satanic Temple is, perhaps, best known for trying to build a child-friendly monument to satan in OKC: How Mesner and TST are rocking the Hobby Lobby ruling is interesting: The Satanic Temple Leverages Hobby Lobby Ruling to Claim Exemption From State Mandated ProLife Materials Reads the next line of the press release. And then their website: A number of states require that abortion providers give information to patients that maybe inaccurate or misleading. Demands that members of the Satanic Temple, or those who share our beliefs, be subjected against our will to anything but the best scientific understanding are a violation of our religious beliefs. Thanks to rulings such as Hobby Lobby, we can take a stand against these practices. Mesner points out how the Hobby Lobby ruling bolsters their position: While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact. This was made clear when […]

    The post Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio

    On Saturday we set out to check out the High Times Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio, Mich. — High Times did hold a Cannabis Cup in the Motor City back in 2011, but Detroit police flexing their muscles and making arrests at that event may have been to blame, at least partially, for the choice of a new host city. The event was held this year at the Auto City Speedway, (also known as “B.F.E.” to Detroiters). Nevertheless, the prospect of stopping at the Torch for the best burger in the Genessee County was compelling — and anyway, this was the Cannabis Cup we were talking about. Was it really going to be “work?” It turned out, just a little bit. An inexplicable lack of an on-site ATM meant hiking quite a ways up the road to the nearest gas station, and then waiting for an attendant to restock the ATM with cash. We spoke with plenty of Cannabis Cup attendees at the gas station — everybody knows that the local gas station is a stoner’s best-friend. The two-day festival, for which one-day tickets were sold for $40, was divided into two sections — a general area and a medicating […]

    The post Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Politics & Prejudices

Detroit: Running out of time

$1 in assets for $33 in liabilities; push is coming to shove

You'd have had a hard time finding a politician in Detroit last week with anything good to say about the proposed "consent agreement" the governor offered the mayor and City Council.

"This proposal is a passive-aggressive power grab," state Rep. Shanelle Jackson proclaimed. Jackson, who is now trying for a Democratic nomination for Congress, added that it "will likely lead to privatization, collective bargaining elimination, higher costs and lower quality public services for people."

Anyone who has waited in vain for a Detroit cop to show up may well wonder how services could get worse ... but opposing the consent agreement was pretty much the party line. Mayor Dave Bing blustered, even appearing to channel Coleman Young when he heatedly said, "Why the hell would I sign it?"

The answer, Mr. Mayor, is pretty simple: Because you have no other choice, other than an emergency manager.

One of the few notes of sanity was struck by Sheila Cockrel, a longtime council member who voluntarily retired a few years ago.

"I think the city has bought all the time it can buy, and there's going to be a change," she told The Detroit News.

In other words, Detroit's soon-to-be powerless politicians need to lead, follow or get out of the way. The city is really out of options — and time. Gov. Rick Snyder has given Detroit until next week to decide whether to accept a consent agreement.

Sometime in April or May, Detroit officials admit, they will run out of money to pay their bills. When that happens, the governor will be legally obligated to act, which means an emergency manager.

There are some, however, who mistakenly think that a state takeover of the city won't happen because the emergency manager law itself may soon be suspended. A group has collected what are almost certainly enough signatures to put a referendum on the November ballot. If the state, as expected, certifies them, the law is put on hold till after the election. What happens then?

I asked Joe Harris, who was Detroit's auditor for a decade, Detroit's chief financial officer for a few months, and is now the emergency manager in Benton Harbor. "The law pretty clearly states that it then reverts to the old Emergency Financial Manager Law," he said. If the governor names one of those, it would still mean Bing and the nine city council members would lose all their effective powers.

True, the EFM would lack the ability to set aside contracts, etc., that emergency managers now have. But any emergency financial manager could ask the governor to allow the city to declare bankruptcy, which would end up having much the same effect.

For months, many people have expected the governor to name an emergency manager. But instead, he offered a consent agreement under which an appointed nine-person board would have huge powers to restructure city finances. Bing and the council would still retain some powers and have some role in appointing the board.

But they would give up a lot, and they certainly don't want to do that. Unfortunately, they really do not have any rational choice.

The city is beyond broke. For every dollar of assets, Detroit has $33 in liabilities. Yes, a lot of people are to blame for the city's plight. The whites fled to the suburbs and took their jobs and their money with them. Yes, the state owes Detroit about $200 million in unpaid revenue-sharing money.

But the city has had very poor leadership, and decades of mismanagement and corruption have drained the city's coffers and sold out the people's future. Even if the state paid the revenue-sharing money tomorrow, it would just postpone the collapse a few months.

Nobody, however, is going to trust Detroit's leaders with any more money — and there is no reason why they should. On the very morning Snyder announced his proposed consent agreement, we learned the city is forfeiting $72 million in federal money that was meant to help the poor. Why? Because Bing had to shut down the entire Human Services Department for incompetence and corruption.

Under the Bing administration, the highly paid creatures running the department — which is reportedly being investigated by the FBI — allegedly took money and bought presents for themselves.

Bing is now on a trajectory to go down as a tragic figure, like Rick Wagoner and Bob Stempel, the General Motors CEOs who tried to fix the company, but were incapable of making the really hard decisions and of moving quickly enough, and so had to be fired.

There still may be hope, however, that the city and the governor agree on some form of a consent agreement. I talked with Councilman Ken Cockrel Jr. one night last week.

Cockrel is a thoughtful man who served as mayor for seven months after Kwame Kilpatrick was trundled off to jail. When I asked what he thought the odds were of getting a consent agreement, to my surprise, he said, "I would say good — even pretty good," adding that it all depended on what happened over these next few days.

There isn't any magic bullet to fix Detroit, no perfect outcome. Detroit's leaders have to choose whether or not to pitch in and help clear the deadwood, and build something new.

Three and a half years ago, remember, General Motors was essentially given up for dead. GM is making billions now. Let's hope that Detroit can someday end up in a similar place. 

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