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  • DWSD to host water fair in wake of 15 day moratorium on Detroit water shutoffs

    In light of worldwide attention on its efforts to cut water service for thousands of Detroit residents, the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department said today it would host a Water Affordability Fair on August 2nd to explain options available to those facing financial hardship. DWSD officials said in a news release today the fair will be take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the department’s Eastside Customer Service Center at 13303 E. McNichols. The move came on the heels of growing pressure from opponents of the initiative and criticism from the U.S. bankruptcy judge overseeing Detroit’s Chapter 9 case. “Every customer that has come to DWSD with a legitimate financial hardship has not had their water service terminated,” said Darryl Latimer, DWSD deputy director, in a statement. “In cases where the water has been shut off, it’s been restored. We keep hearing at DWSD that there are poor people who are not receiving the assistance that they need, so we want to help them and we want to make it as easy as possible for the to receive that help. That’s why we created the Water Affordability Fair – ease of access and ease of assistance. We are here to […]

    The post DWSD to host water fair in wake of 15 day moratorium on Detroit water shutoffs appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Thrillist Names Detroit’s Motz’s Burgers Among Best in Nation

    The folks at Thrillist have again compiled their annual list of the nation’s best burgers, and Southeast Michigan, it seems, is well represented. Ranking alongside joints in major cities such as New York and L.A., is Detroit’s own Motz’s Burgers, hailed specifically for its Double Cheeseburger Slider. Via Thrillist: There’s nothing remarkable about the façade of this SW diner… it’s just a diner, like the hundreds of others in the D. The staff’s been there for years… and so have the regulars, who can’t get enough of Motz’s legendary smashed burgers. The formula’s nothing revolutionary: smashed, griddled patties with oozy cheese and onions that melt into the burger itself as it cooks. But it’s that unmistakable flavor of a well-seasoned griddle — which has also been here for years — that makes the difference. You can score big burgers with accoutrements, but this isn’t really a place to say things like “accoutrements”. Grab the old-school slider (the double cheeseburger one), and prepare for three perfect bites of Detroit’s finest. Flint’s Torch Bar and Grill also made the cut, most notably for its Deluxe Torch Burger with Bacon. Tucked away in an alley beyond the brick streets that used to mark […]

    The post Thrillist Names Detroit’s Motz’s Burgers Among Best in Nation appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • In what weird ways are you paying for school? MT wants to know!

    The Metro Times is looking for college students or graduates of Michigan colleges that used atypical means to pay for their schooling (i.e. sugar baby, selling underwear, military enrollment purely for school help, etc.). We are looking for personal anecdotes about the lengths you went to help pay for school, what came of it, your monetary situation, if the resource worked to get you through college and more. If you have utilized any one of these avenues, or know someone who has, please drop us a line at college@metrotimes.com.

    The post In what weird ways are you paying for school? MT wants to know! appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Kid Rock ordered to produce dildo in ICP sexual harassment lawsuit

    File under “WTF” — attorneys representing former Psychopathic Records publicist Andrea Pellegrini announced Monday that they have subpoenaed Kid Rock to produce a glass dildo as part of Pellegrini’s sexual harassment lawsuit against the Insane Clown Posse’s record label. Pellegrini claims the glass dildo was given to her by Psychopathic Records employee “Dirty Dan” Diamond as part of a larger culture of constant harassment in which she was called “bitch,” made the target of explicit sexual advances by Diamond and other co-workers, asked to procure automatic weapons for a photo shoot, and even encouraged to “deceive government investigators from the US Department of Labor.” On Friday, Diamond admitted under oath that he told Pellegrini that he had “a fat cock” and that he would “fuck the shit out of her.” The dildo, though, was “a work of art,” according to Diamond, and should not be considered sexual harassment. Why is Kid Rock involved? Diamond says when Pellegrini declined his dildo, he gave it to Kid Rock instead (presumably as a “work of art” and not a sexual advance). So now, according to court orders, Rock has 14 days to produce the glass dildo so the court can better determine if it is art or, well, a dildo. We will […]

    The post Kid Rock ordered to produce dildo in ICP sexual harassment lawsuit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Henry Cavill and Amy Adams spotted at Pig & Whiskey

    Fans of the latest Superman franchise got a treat at Pig & Whiskey this weekend. Actors Henry Cavill and Amy Adams were spotted amid the crowds of the festival that took place in downtown Ferndale as well as a local restaurant. Cavill, who plays the man of steel in the upcoming Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, stopped to chat with fans, take pictures, and sign autographs on Saturday afternoon and evening. He was wearing an inconspicuous black polo shirt as well as a signature Superman-style ‘do. Other fans spotted Amy Adams at Ferndale’s Imperial on Saturday night, some were even seated next to her at the restaurant’s communal benches. Adams reportedly was slightly annoyed that patrons continuously asked for her photo, but she smiled while cell phones snapped images nonetheless. The Zach Snyder film the two are starring in together is currently filming in Birmingham. Ben Affleck, who plays Batman, has been spotted around town with his wife Jennifer Garner recently as well. The closed movie set is under intense security and Brett Callwood attempted to infiltrate the filming last month, but was forced to give up his camera’s memory card, lest he make off with telling photos.

    The post Henry Cavill and Amy Adams spotted at Pig & Whiskey appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Shop Talk: Harvard and Duke students moderate panel discussion in Detroit

    The Social Club Grooming Company, a metro Detroit-based environmentally conscious company that focuses on health and beauty as well as education, will host Shop Talk this Thursday, a special in their on-going event series that will bring students from both Harvard and Duke for a panel discussion about the social-entreprenurial climate and business innovation happening in Detroit. Detroiters like Burn Rubber’s Rick Williams, fashion photographer Piper Carter, Crain’s Detroit’s Eric Cedo, Mission Throttle’s Jamie Shea, and campaign manager Bryan Barnhill will come together to discuss how to create change in the city’s economic landscape through innovation and entrepreneurship. Of course what makes this panel discussion unique is the way in which it will take place. As The Social Club is a barber shop, each panelist will be receiving a haircut while speaking, the trimmings from which will be used for their nitrogen content to help grow plants in the city. Part of a series that will help Detroiters meet city leaders, voices, artists, activists, and business owners, Shop Talk’s objective is to help young people understand their role in the city’s ever-changing economic system. “There’s so much positive energy in Detroit right now,” says Sebastian Jackson, The Social Club’s founder. “It’s […]

    The post Shop Talk: Harvard and Duke students moderate panel discussion in Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Stir It Up

Detroit’s turning point?

Despite the consent agreement fight, something good could come of this

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


When the Detroit Charter Commission convened a couple of years ago, they considered whether we should be in a strong mayor system or a weak mayor system. They considered how much power City Council members would have under the district system that Detroiters voted for. If they'd looked at the city's screwed-up finances, they might have considered that Detroiters wouldn't be calling the shots here anyway and saved themselves and the rest of us some time. 

Gov. Rick Snyder (the sly nerd) bent over backward with rhetoric that this is not a state takeover of the city, and there's wording in the consent agreement that obfuscates what it actually is: a state takeover. The mayor and City Council stay in place, but with a nine-member "advisory" board and the state Treasury Department peering over their shoulders. And while the governor doesn't have a representative on the board with veto power (as was the case with Gov. John Engler's Detroit School Board takeover in the 1990s), there is a de facto state veto because the Financial Advisory Board cannot spend any significant money without the specific consent of state Treasurer Andy Dillon. Maybe that's why they call it a consent agreement — our elected leaders won't be able to do anything without permission.

I didn't get mad when the feds used a consent decree to force changes at the Detroit Police Department a decade ago. So while I don't like what the state just did, I'd want to evaluate it with something of a cool head. We've seen some severe government bullying around here before. Remember Poletown? In the 1980s, the city pushed a neighborhood off the map to make room for a General Motors assembly plant. Then, in the 1990s, the county used the policy of "eminent domain" to take private property to make space for the construction of Ford Field and Comerica Park. None of those instances is of the magnitude of the entire city of Detroit, but it just goes to show that when big money and big government want something, they'll move mountains — or at least a neighborhood — to get what they want.

If the city had acted 20 years ago, or even 10, this might have been avoided. But once the state revenue-sharing money dried up in 2002 and the city didn't adjust its operations, we were headed for this. With the great recession of 2007, it became nearly inevitable. Not because consent agreements or emergency managers are inevitable during municipal fiscal crises, but that is the playbook the state has chosen to follow. I'd love to blame it on the corporate style of Gov. Snyder, but Gov. Granholm started this emergency financial manager thing and Snyder refined it to an emergency manager with seemingly unfettered power. In order to avoid the dreaded EM, the city went for the consent decree. 

These aren't new ideas. Former Detroit Auditor General Joe Harris pretty much recommended most of the financial plan we are now pursuing in a blistering critique of Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and City Council in 2005. In 2001, Harris ran for mayor with the same message. At the time I thought his analysis of the situation was correct, but his total lack of charisma and a political machine to push his ideas doomed his ability to be effective.

"The City's current dilemma is not the result of a lack of information by City officials," Harris said in 2005. "The five-year forecast I provided Your Honorable Body two years ago, Mayor Archer's 10-year forecast provided to you five years ago, both pointed to the current financial crisis. ...

"It is noteworthy that no plans have been made to incorporate the structural changes recommended by the Auditor General to fix the Department of Transportation or the Law Department's Workers Compensation Division, or to upgrade the City's telecommunications network, or to reduce the City's risk management costs, or to modernize the Public Lighting Department's Mistersky plant — recommendations amounting to savings of more than $50 million annually."

Harris has since gone on to become emergency manager of Benton Harbor. In two years, he's fired a chunk of city personnel, suspended the decision-making powers of elected officials and allowed Whirlpool Corporation, Benton Harbor's main industry, to do pretty much what it wants. He's also cut the city deficit from $2.5 million to $650,000.

But there's even more than what Harris suggested in this consent agreement. Some of it's good; at least it looks that way on the page. How it actually plays out will be telling. For instance, there is a section related to Detroit-Focused Economic Gardening. It says the city will "use a comprehensive set of tools for accelerating entrepreneurship, business growth, access to capital, placemaking and talent enhancement."

But how will something like that actually play out? Will the city empower the small community and market gardeners to create a system of distribution and processing? Will it help them acquire land? I recently spoke with a market gardener who is trying to buy a lot he has been working, but he can't even find out who owns it. At the very least the gardeners are cleaning up vacant lots and clearing buried debris in addition to remediating the quality of the soil and eliminating garbage through composting. Or will the doors be opened only to large corporate operations such as the one first proposed by Hantz Farms a few years ago. Hantz has since become a partner with community groups on the east side and changed its focus to tree farming. Our post-consent "advisers" could well fixate on corporate agribusiness as the way to fill tax coffers as opposed to the slower, surer community-building process.

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