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  • Detroit area code 313 may be phased out

    Hey, everybody from the 313, start thinking of new numbers to rally around– the longstanding Detroit area code may be phased out. Our friends over at the Detroit News report that pending a revised estimate next week, the North American Numbering Plan Administration will stop handing out 313 telephone prefixes on new phone numbers. Detroiters with existing cell phone lines would be able to keep their current area codes, while those with land lines would change. via Detroit News: The venerable 313 will ultimately become overtaxed. Even as Detroit’s population has fallen, cellphone usage has accelerated like one of those smoldering SRT Vipers that Dodge has been bolting together at Conner Avenue Assembly — which is, of course, comfortably within the confines of 313. … When the first five dozen area codes were assigned nearly 70 years ago, says NANPA’s Tom Foley, “that was expected basically to last forever.” Instead, somebody invented fax machines, and then somebody else came up with cellphones, and lots of somebody elses decided to give them to 10-year-olds, and meantime the population grew to 300 million. Now every telephone carrier is required to submit twice-yearly forecasts of its needs in each area code, factoring in […]

    The post Detroit area code 313 may be phased out appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council

    Unfortunately, we were unable to attend last night’s Neighborhood Advisory Council, which, in case you were unaware, is a 16-member board established to weigh in on the new Red Wings arena near downtown. About three dozen residents and property owners cast ballots by the 8 p.m. deadline on Wednesday inside the Block at Cass Park, The Detroit News reports. It’s the culmination of a handful of community meetings which began weeks ago. Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda Lopez facilitated the meetings, but emphasized at previous meetings that it’s up to the community to conduct business. According to the News, the 12 candidates selected include: Michael Boettcher, Richard Etue, Jason Gapa, Francis Grunow, Steve Guether, Paul Hughes, Ray Litt, Warner Doyle McBryde, Karen McLeod, Delphia Simmons, Melissa Thomas and Anthony Zander. Joel Landy, a land owner in the area, lost his bid. The City Council appointed four candidates last month. As we reported in this week’s issue, the Neighborhood Advisory Committee was negotiated after Olympia Development of Michigan, Detroit Red Wing’s owner Mike Ilitch’s real estate arm, balked on a proposed community benefits agreement.  The committee is charged with the task of offering input on the arena’s design, parking security and more.

    The post Final members selected for Red Wings arena Neighborhood Advisory Council appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag

    The Magic Bag in Ferndale will host James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets on Thursday, May 28, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. A press release reads, “James McMurtry recently signed with the bourgeoning Los Angeles record label Complicated Game. The legendary songwriter will enter the studio later this month to start working on his first album in six years. “I’ve got a new batch of songs, organic and with no added sulfites, aged in oak for several years,” he says. “Francois Moret at Complicated Game seems to like these songs and (producer) C.C. Adcock thinks he can turn them into a record. Good times fixing to roll.” Label head Moret agrees. “In March 2013, when C.C. Adcock told me we were going to see James McMurtry at the Continental Club in Austin, I expected to see a good show,” he says, “but what I saw left me mesmerized! I immediately knew I wanted to sign him. As a European, it is an amazing opportunity to work with one of the most talented American singer-songwriters.” Evidence: McMurtry’s Just Us Kids (2008) and Childish Things (2005). The former earned his highest Billboard 200 chart position in nearly two decades and notched […]

    The post James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets coming to the Magic Bag appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit

    The Dead Kennedys, still with local boy Klaus Flouride in the ranks, will play St. Andrew’s Hall on Tuesday, June 24. Alongside Flouride and fellow original members East Bay Ray and DH Peligro, the current lineup includes singer Ron “Skip” Greer, taking the place of Jello Biafra. Downtown Brown will open that show, which starts at 7 p.m., with tickets priced $20-$25. Give Klaus a hero’s hometown welcome. Just over a week before that, strangely enough, Jello Biafra & the Guantanamo School of Medicine will play at the Magic Stick. It’s a weird coincidence, but one that DK fans should be happy to embrace. That show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $17-$19. Local hardcore vets Negative Approach play before Jello, with the Crashdollz opening the show. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Dead Kennedys to have a holiday in Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Planet Ant presents A Steady Rain

    The Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck will present a police drama called A Steady Rain May 2 through 24. Planet Ant veterans Ryan Carlson and York Griffith will star in the play, written by House of Cards and Mad Men co-writer Keith Huff. Tickets ($10-$20) are on sale now at PlanetAnt.com. According to the press release, “A Steady Rain by Keith Huff focuses on Joey and Denny, best friends since kindergarten and partners on the police force whose loyalty to each other is tested by domestic affairs, violence and the rough streets of Chicago. Joey helps Denny with his family and Denny helps Joey stay off the bottle. But when a routine disturbance call takes a turn for the worse their loyalty is put to the ultimate test.First produced at Chicago Dramatists, A Steady Rain appeared on Broadway featuring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig. The Planet Ant production of A Steady Rain is directed by York Griffith featuring Ryan Carlson and Andy Huff. This marks the return of two of Planet Ant’s founding members. Carlson and Griffith. Griffith has served as the theatre’s Artistic Director where he directed the critically-acclaimed productions The Adding Machine and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? […]

    The post Planet Ant presents A Steady Rain appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • You can wear Detroit’s blight on your face

    There is no easy answer to the question regarding what should be done with Detroit’s abandoned homes. However, an Eastern Market company has a solution that could reflect Detroit’s possibly bright future. Homes Eyewear has set out to make the city a little more stylish, and do their part in cleaning it up by repurposing select woods from neglected homes for sunglasses. All of the wood that Homes uses is harvested from vacant houses with the assistance of Reclaim Detroit. A lot of work goes into prepping the wood to be cut and shaped into frames. Homes goes through each piece to remove nails, paint or anything else detrimental to their production (it’s a bit strange to think that your wooden sunglasses could have had family portraits nailed to them). In order to produce more durable eyewear, they salvage only hardwoods like maple or beech, which are difficult to come by as most of the blighted homes were built with softer woods like Douglas fir and pine. If you’re worried about looking goofy, or shudder at the thought of salvaged wood resting on your nose, you can rest easy. Homes currently offers frames in the popular wayfarer style and are developing their unique spin on the classic aviators. For as […]

    The post You can wear Detroit’s blight on your face appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Stir It Up

Heavy lifting

Hard work in Detroit revising a charter, rethinking jobs

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That isn't so settled in Kenyatta's mind, for one. "What the charter calls for is the city to investigate," he says. "We haven't had an opinion by the attorney general. No opinion by a court. It could be done by the city, or a nonprofit established for redress or relief on the part of our citizens for a better insurance solution. I think that's one of the more progressive parts of the revised charter. ... It doesn't mandate that we own an insurance company. I don't know why anybody would be opposed to that."

It could be a bit of vote-bait. But high home and auto insurance rates are an albatross around the necks of city dwellers, effectively an added tax, and a big reason why some people won't live here. I don't know why it has to be in the charter, but again, it doesn't hurt.

The impetus for the charter revision was the Kwame Kilpatrick text-messaging scandal. City Council wasn't able to remove him from office and — specifically to address that issue — put the question of a new Charter Commission on the May 2009 special election ballot. Voters approved the proposal. In November 2009, voters approved a proposal to elect City Council by districts, which mandated a change in the charter. There are 144 changes in the proposed document, many grammatical, but there are also substantive and deep changes in the way we do things. You can find the revised charter at publius.org, which has commentary after every change explaining the differences with the past charter. The CFDF web site, cfdfuture.com, has links to the full current charter and the revised charter and its arguments for a "no" vote. 

"I think that the citizens have to look at the charter from the perspective of whether or not it means better government for them, not if it benefits me as a councilperson or as a mayor," Kenyatta says. "Does it allow an individual to have a government and participate in government from a better position than now? I think that there are clearly some positive progressive steps forward. It is not 100 percent."

The November election will probably be a very low-turnout affair in Detroit. We're not voting for mayor or any key elected official, and there is little discussion about the election in the media. That makes it possible that a small but dedicated group could swing the election. 

If it doesn't pass, we'll be voting on the City Charter again in February.

There is no such thing as a perfect document that's going to make everybody happy. Try to learn as much as you can about it and vote. We could be rolling sevens or setting ourselves up for a seven-year itch.

 

What is work?

Presently jobs, or the lack thereof, are the biggest issue dogging the run for next year's presidential election. Jobs were also central in the UAW's recent contract negotiations with the Detroit automakers. That is deservedly so, but a deeper discussion about the nature of work beyond something we do for money grew out of last year's United States Social Forum. That discussion is getting bigger with the Re-Imagining Work conference held at Detroit's Focus Hope Oct. 28-30. 

"How do we do the kind of daily activity that grows our souls so that we don't have to make up for the indignities of our labor?" asks activist-philosopher Grace Boggs. That question is the starting point for activists from Detroit and elsewhere over the weekend.

"The spirit that informs this gathering is the sense that we're in a real paradigm shift economically, politically and spiritually," says writer (and former UAW spokesman) Frank Joyce, who will speak at the conference. "The event is one of hope and looking forward in contrast to a lot of what I personally think is people looking backward trying to re-create the way things used to be as opposed to the way things need to be and can be right now."—L.G.

 

Registration information is available at reimaginingwork.org.

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