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    Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr transferred oversight of the the city’s water department Tuesday to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in an order intended to refocus “efforts to help DWSD customers get and remain current on their water bills,” Orr’s office said today. “This order provides additional clarity to the powers already delegated to the mayor,” Orr said in a statement released Tuesday. “As the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department works to operate more efficiently and communicate more effectively with customers, it is important to ensure there are clear lines of management and accountability.” Duggan will have the authority to manage DWSD and make appointment’s to the utility’s board, according to a news release. In a statement issued Tuesday, the mayor said he welcomed Orr’s order, adding that officials will develop a plan that “allows those who truly need to access to financial help … to do so with shorter wait times.” “We need to change a number of things in the way we have approached the delinquent payment issues and I expect us to have a new plan shortly,” Duggan said. “There are funds available to support those who cannot afford their bills — we need to do a much better job in […]

    The post Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • 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.



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Politics & Prejudices

The People vs. the Monster

Even though the 'people have decided,' expect Moroun's meddling to continue

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Back in the 1960s, kids in my neighborhood would go to the Radio City Theatre in then not-so-beautiful downtown Ferndale to see monster movies on Saturday afternoons.

Mostly, these were cheap, low-budget things, where you could almost see the tape holding the fins on the little lizards masquerading as dinosaurs. But we loved them. The Mummy! Boris Karloff! Lon Chaney! Bride of Frankenstein!

I don't remember the titles of all the bad movies I saw, but one of them was mainly about the "undead," vampires that you could kill, but wouldn't stay dead. You could blast them, decapitate them, crush them, bury them — but they still kept coming, rising from the muck just when you were certain they were dead, staggering at you through the ooze and slime, making you pee your pants.

Time passed, and I forgot all about the matinee monsters. The movie theater closed. I moved away. And then, on Nov. 7, 2012, I realized with a shock that there was such a thing as the undead.

That there was a creature you could keep killing, a slimy, loathsome thing, which kept coming at you, intent on evil.

Except now I finally knew its name. Matty Moroun.

We have long known that the patriarch of the family that owns the Ambassador Bridge will stop at nothing to prevent someone else from building a second span over the Detroit River. He doesn't care about our future.

He doesn't care that our economy would be plunged into deep recession or depression if his ancient bridge were to collapse without any backup. He couldn't care less about Detroit, his rotting ruin of the train station, or his other slum properties.

He cares only to make himself richer. Never mind that he already is worth at least $1.5 billion, according to Forbes, or that he is 85 years old, and must, if indeed human, die soon.

He cares only to enlarge his own swollen monopoly, and possibly about his pathetic wife Nora, and his son Matthew.

But this has been the worst year for Moroun since the neighbors started wearing garlands of garlic and thrusting out little silver crosses when he came by. (OK, I made up that part.)

Still, it has been the year when Michigan residents finally woke up to who he is. This started in January, when Wayne County Judge Prentis Edwards had the guts to throw him in jail, after Moroun and Co. spent two years ignoring his court orders to live up to the terms of a contract he signed with the state. This was for the so-called Gateway Project, intended to improve access from the freeways to the Ambassador Bridge. Moroun illegally routed traffic past his duty-free shops. The courts released Moroun after a little more than a day, but the courts took control of the project away from him — and made him pay the state $16 million to do it right, which they speedily did.

Next, Gov. Rick Snyder found a way to build a new bridge without involving the Legislature, which has been so corrupted by Moroun's money they wouldn't even hold a vote on the project.

The new bridge is the best deal Michigan ever had. Canada will pay all our costs, and Washington gives us $2.2 billion in federal highway funds. Naturally, the deal enraged Moroun.

He declared war, spending possibly as much as $40 million to try to fool the voters into passing two constitutional amendments.

Proposal 6 would have essentially prevented anyone from building a new bridge across the river, ever. Proposal 5 would have made it impossible for the Legislature to raise any taxes, or change tax rates, thus reducing state government to virtual impotence.

Moroun then spent $34 million on a constant flood of TV commercials and a "let the people decide" advertising campaign, a little of which was hilarious distortion, and the rest vicious lies.

Yet on election night, he must have smelled, not his usual sulfur, but the cleansing stench of garlic, and glimpsed the crosses.

The people overwhelmingly said no to Moroun! Even though those telling the truth essentially did no advertising, the people voted down his bridge amendment by almost two to one.

His effort to stop the bridge was dead. Well, not quite. The votes were still coming in when Mickey Blashfield, Moroun's mouthpiece, came forth, saying the new bridge shouldn't be built because of "the unstable salt mine foundations" below the new bridge site.

Experts say that is nonsense, but the truth is of no more interest to the Morouns than it was to Joseph Goebbels. Blashfield hinted, however, that we can expect further lawsuits aimed at stopping what's now being called the New International Trade Crossing.

After all, every year the bridge is delayed is another $100 million or more for the Moroun family. Hopefully, a presidential permit to build will soon be forthcoming, and work can begin.

Call me vindictive, but it would be really nice for the vampire to see the new bridge rising south of his ancient, rotting and rusting structure before he next returns to the primordial ooze. 

Passing of giants: Imagine a Republican governor's wife demonstrating to pass an Equal Rights Amendment for women, and demonstrating for abortion rights at a Republican National Convention. Imagine the same woman saying publicly that abortion should not only be safe and legal — the costs should be covered by state and local governments.

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