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.



Search thousands of events in our database.


Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.


Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

MT on Twitter
MT on Facebook

Print Email

Politics & Prejudices

It's all about crime

Jack chats with mayoral favorite Benny Napoleon

Photo: , License: N/A

Last week I spent an hour with Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, probably the odds-on favorite to be the next mayor of Detroit. Napoleon, who has an appealing personality and a ready grin, is a lifelong Detroiter.

He grew up on the tough east side, one of a Baptist preacher's seven kids, before going to Cass Tech. He was selling shoes at Sibley's back in 1975, when he joined the Detroit police force almost on a whim.

Twenty-three years later, he had worked himself up to chief of police. Violent crime declined significantly while Napoleon was chief, something of which he is very proud. When Kwame Kilpatrick was elected mayor, Benny, who had managed to earn two degrees while a policeman, retired from the force to teach and practice law. But law enforcement was in his blood.

He's now Wayne County sheriff, and is looking hard at running for mayor. I asked him why he would want to do that; the city's budget problems seem impossible.

"Because the biggest problem the city faces isn't drugs. It's violent crime," he said. That's why people are leaving, and that exodus is a big reason why the city's revenues have been plummeting.

Since he stepped down as police chief a dozen years ago, the city has lost almost 300,000 people. 

"When you ask them why they left, the overwhelming majority of them say, 'To get away from violent crime,'" Napoleon told me. "The residents are our customers, and if you find that you are losing your customers year after year for the same reason, there's no excuse not to fix the problem." 

Napoleon thinks he understands crime and how to reduce it better than anyone else.

He has never had to shoot anyone, though, once or twice, back when he was head of the gang squad, he came within seconds "before they decided to comply with my directives."

He's never been shot, either, though bullets have whizzed past him more than once. So why is crime so high in the city?

"Detroit is unique in that its exceptionally high murder rate is directly attributable to the severity of the narcotics trade in the city. A lot of that is retaliation over drug stuff.

"You also have a culture among young people that is confrontational, and a lot of young people are involved in illegal activities, some gangs, some of it neighborhood rivalries."

That's not any different from when he was chief, he said; the same dynamics were there. The difference was that he poured resources into fighting narcotics and gangs. Today, he said with a snort, Mayor Bing is talking about eliminating the gang squad, something that made Napoleon roll his eyes.

Nor is he the only one talking about the need to stop the killing. Since Benny Napoleon left the force, there have been seven police chiefs in 12 years, many of whom quit or were fired over various scandals, sexual and otherwise.

The current interim police chief, Chester Logan, has only been on the job three months, and is in no way a household word. But late last month, he gave an extraordinary speech to an annual "Celebration of Life" banquet the Police Department holds for the relatives of victims of violence.

Chief Logan has even more time in than Napoleon; he joined the force in 1969, and has been there ever since.

The speech he gave was mostly ignored, but ought to have been printed in every Detroit newspaper. For him, it's not just about violence. It's about black-on-black violence.

"Queen Latifah said that the next civil rights movement should be gay marriage. I have nothing against gay marriage, but I got mad. Because I said, 'Why don't we make the next civil rights movement the reduction of black-on-black violence in our major cities?' That should be our singular focus, to stop the madness that's going on in our cities," he said.

Nobody, Logan said, was immune. Months before he joined the force, his brother was shot to death. In October, his wife's nephew was gunned down in a barbershop.

Something else makes Chief Logan mad too. Everyone knows about Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen allegedly killed by a white man. But the chief asked, "Does anybody in here remember who Delric Miller is?" Last February, the baby was killed when someone sprayed his house with an AK-47.

The killer was, however, almost certainly black, and as the chief said, "Nobody demonstrated, our civil rights organizations didn't speak out, you didn't see Al Sharpton come here.

"Why? Why isn't [there] the same rage when we do it? It fills me with rage. Our children, our young men are dying like dogs in the street, and it seems like we are passing it by." 

Chester Logan won't be the next mayor of Detroit, however. Benny Napoleon may well be.

But what will that mean?

Odds are that long before the November election, Detroit will be under an emergency manager, meaning that the next mayor will be a figurehead; at best, an adviser.

Napoleon doesn't disagree. He doesn't like the emergency manager concept, and thinks it takes away the citizens' rights to elect the leaders who govern them. But he is also a realist.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus