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  • Here is why landlords could make money 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 make money 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.

  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Politics & Prejudices

Say no to the Troll

The last word on Matty Moroun's Proposal 6

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Next week, Michigan voters will make a vastly important choice, and if they choose wrong, it may cripple any attempts to revive our economy — forever.

If you vote yes on Proposal 6, you'll be selling out your state, your democracy and your constitution so that one lying, bloated, greedy billionaire can get even richer at our expense.

His name is Manuel "Matty" Moroun, and he has spent a fortune — $31 million so far — in an attempt to confuse voters into giving him the right to ruin their hopes for a brighter future and preserve his monopoly for all time.

Moroun is, most likely, the worst citizen in this state who isn't currently behind bars — and that's saying something. He's an 85-year-old slumlord whose symbol is the hulking ruins of the mammoth train station people see as they drive into Detroit from the south. Moroun and his family also own the Ambassador Bridge, the only way heavy automotive components can cross the Detroit River. 

He also owns a vast trucking empire, and his trucks get preference crossing the bridge. He makes hundreds of millions every year from diesel fuel and gasoline stations at the bridge. 

Diplomats, especially perhaps Canadians, tend to be very cautious about what they say about citizens of other countries. But monsters are different. Here's what Roy Norton, Canada's consul general in Detroit, says about the Morouns, meaning Matty, his wife, Nora, and his son, Matthew: 

In all his years in government, many of which were spent in Washington, "I saw special-interest behavior that would make you cringe. But never did I see such a comprehensive effort by one interest to bend the entire system to its will.

"The Morouns act as if, by virtue of being billionaires, they are entitled to do whatever they want ... and if you are above the law, as the Morouns seemingly think they are ... they've decided to get even." 

Getting even isn't the right term for it. The Morouns want to preserve their monopoly by any means necessary — lying, legalized bribery, endless lawsuits, you name it.

Proposal 6 would prevent any new international bridge from being built without a statewide vote. Which is a laugh, since the Morouns own enough state lawmakers to prevent any referendum from ever getting on the ballot. 

If they win, it's bad news for the rest of us. Anyone who takes any time to understand what's really going on here is apt to be blown away by the nakedness of the Moroun family's lies.

Here's the scoop: Every major corporation wants a new bridge over the Detroit River. Every politician not on the take from Matty Moroun knows a new bridge is necessary. 

The economies of Michigan and Ontario are terribly dependent on trade. Billions of dollars' worth of heavy manufacturing components cross the Ambassador Bridge every year. But it was built in 1929, and it's wearing out. 

If anything were to happen to it — say, a terrorist attack — there's no backup, and our economies would plunge into crisis. Incidentally, it takes years to build a new bridge. 

Knowing that, those who really care about our future want to build one now. The new bridge is even more important for Canada than the United States — so much so, that they've offered us one of the world's all-time sweetheart deals. 

Canada will make sure we get the bridge, free of charge. Actually, it's a much better deal than that. Canada will shell out the estimated $550 million the bridge will cost Michigan. 

Eventually, we'll pay that back to them — without interest — from our share of the tolls collected. But we get an added bonus: If Michigan accepts Canada's money, Washington will allow us to count it as federal highway matching funds. 

That means we get an extra $2.2 billion dollars from Washington to fix Michigan's crumbling roads. Obviously, our federal government knows we need a new bridge. 

But that doesn't please Moroun. He and his paid mouthpieces, Dan Stamper and Mickey Blashfield, are capable of saying in the same sentence that a new bridge isn't needed — and that they want to build another one, right next to theirs. 

Idiots who have been fooled by them sometimes say, "Yeah, why not let them build it? Private enterprise is better." 

But there are a few small problems. The Morouns don't own enough necessary land on either side of the border. Plus, there's no way Canada would or should let him twin his bridge. It would be a logistical and environmental disaster. 

Heavy trucks crossing the Ambassador now face 16 traffic lights and horrendous backups before ever making it to the freeway. 

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