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  • Duggan takes control of Detroit water department; says changes to approach on ‘delinquent payment issues’ needed

    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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Higher Ground

War on drug tourism

As America relaxes some laws on pot, Europe gets paranoid

Lately I've been fascinated by the remarkable disparity between the progress America seems to be making toward legalizing marijuana and — dare we say it? — all recreational drugs utilized by U.S. citizens to get high on, and on the other hand the regressive direction taken by Canada and the European Union to reverse the positive effects of well-established social policies centered on tolerance and "harm reduction" for recreational drug users

The wildly successful medical marijuana movement in America has severely altered the public perception of pot smoking in a positive way and helped pave the path to the eventuality of full legalization — because, after all, why should we all have to be sick in order to get high without risking arrest?

While things look better for legalization in America than at any time in at least 50 years, a terrible turn to the idiotic right is being taken by the government of the Netherlands — the center of sane and sensible drug policy since the 1970s — and by the European Union itself.

In a disgusting new development, the EU's top court ruled Dec. 10 that Dutch authorities can bar foreigners from cannabis cafés as a legally acceptable measure to combat "drug tourism."

A 2005 law enacted in Maastricht, a town positioned near the Belgian and German borders, prohibits local coffee shops from admitting non-Dutch patrons. In September 2006, the city's mayor shut down the Easy Going coffee shop after it admitted two EU citizens who were not residents of the Netherlands.

The proprietor, Marc Josemans, appealed the mayor's ruling on the grounds that the law mandates unequal treatment of EU citizens. But the European Court of Justice, based in Luxembourg, ruled that coffee shop owners are not protected by the EU's freedom of movement and nondiscrimination principles when they are in the business of marketing cannabis.

"That restriction is justified by the objective of combating drug tourism and the accompanying public nuisance," the court said, adding that drug tourism "is a concern for the public order and health of citizens" in all EU states.

The court noted that Maastricht's 14 coffee shops attract around 10,000 visitors every day — that's 3.9 million visits a year — and 70 percent of them are not from the Netherlands, according to data provided by the city of Maastricht.

What a terrible nuisance! That's an awful lot of local business to be chasing away for the sake of what — a higher place in heaven at the final judgment? A seat at the right hand of God? Seventy black-eyed virgins? After all, there's no intelligent rationale available to the opponents of marijuana use, particularly in terms of the "health of citizens." This is a medicine!

Even in the coffee shop setting, there's a lot to be said for the medicinal qualities of smoking some good herb, enjoying the fellowship of like-minded citizens and imbibing some good music over the sound system. The uplifting effect on one's mental health alone is a benefit you can't say too much about.

What powers the drive to prohibit and punish recreational marijuana use? The mountains of public gibberish and the draconian laws drawn up and enforced by the drug-war establishment against the benign marijuana smoker attest to nothing less than some kind of religious war against people who don't worship the right gods in the correct way.

Let's say it right out: My nearly 50 years as a daily smoker of marijuana have led me to conclude that there's no public harm from marijuana use. No deaths result from marijuana use. There's no ill effect on one's health except for the possibility of weight gain from indulging the munchies. There's never been anything at all wrong with marijuana, and there never will be. It's a good thing, a gift from the gods one might say, and to persecute persons who are inclined to have a few puffs in the privacy of their own lives is simply the height of cruelty and outright meanness.

But the jackboots are marching even closer to home: Cannabis Culture reports that the Canadian Senate has passed Bill S-10, which includes mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana offenses. The bill has to be approved by the House of Commons for a vote before it can be enacted into law.

If passed, Jeremiah Vandermeer writes, "S-10 will bring mandatory minimum jail sentences for marijuana offences to Canada for the first time, including six months for growing as few as five marijuana plants and 18 months for extracting hash or making pot edibles and sharing them."

A conviction for growing or dealing near a school or park increases the mandatory sentence to two years, and other "aggravating factors" can add more time. According to Vandermeer, the bill even includes life sentences for nonviolent marijuana crimes.

Liberal Sen. Tommy Banks pointed out on the Senate floor that "yes, there are circumstances that none of us would think of as trafficking in a controlled substance which are caught by this bill.

"Giving your friend a Tylenol because he or she has a headache is an offense under this bill. Growing six marijuana plants in order to have a party with your friends at graduation is an offense under this bill. No money made, just doing it for friends.

"We have to look at what the law says, and it says, among other things, that if I give Sen. Baker a Tylenol 3 because he has a headache and if we happened to be near a school, whatever that means — 'near' is not defined — that is trafficking and I can be prosecuted."

A rare bright spot on the contemporary international horizon is the rational but politically brave stance just taken by former British drugs minister Bob Ainsworth, who proposed to the House of Commons that all drugs, including heroin and cocaine, should be legalized to beat dealers and "make the world a safer, healthier place, especially for our children."

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