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  • 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.

  • Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio

    On Saturday we set out to check out the High Times Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio, Mich. — High Times did hold a Cannabis Cup in the Motor City back in 2011, but Detroit police flexing their muscles and making arrests at that event may have been to blame, at least partially, for the choice of a new host city. The event was held this year at the Auto City Speedway, (also known as “B.F.E.” to Detroiters). Nevertheless, the prospect of stopping at the Torch for the best burger in the Genessee County was compelling — and anyway, this was the Cannabis Cup we were talking about. Was it really going to be “work?” It turned out, just a little bit. An inexplicable lack of an on-site ATM meant hiking quite a ways up the road to the nearest gas station, and then waiting for an attendant to restock the ATM with cash. We spoke with plenty of Cannabis Cup attendees at the gas station — everybody knows that the local gas station is a stoner’s best-friend. The two-day festival, for which one-day tickets were sold for $40, was divided into two sections — a general area and a medicating […]

    The post Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Politics & Prejudices

What the numbers mean

Breaking down Detroit's long census decline

Nobody knows when Detroit will bottom out, though the census figures last week indicate things are even worse than we thought. Nobody knows how bleak things will get, in terms of poverty or population flight or urban devastation.

Nor do we know what the worst-case scenario will look like when it arrives. Will Detroit eventually be run by a state-appointed emergency financial manager? Will the city be broken up into smaller pieces? Will areas be abandoned, fenced off, left to coyotes, raccoons and the occasional dying vagrant?

Or will something, somehow, revitalize the city, perk it up, make it grow again, possibly in ways we haven't yet imagined? Everyone is hoping for that. Many are counting on seeing it.

Whether we ever will is another question. Detroit is still in decline, and Gov. Rick Snyder's financial reforms seem likely, even if they are wildly successful at luring new jobs in the long run, to be positively devastating to Detroit in the near future.

Ending the state's Earned Income Tax Credit for the working poor threatens to plunge thousands of Detroiters into poverty. Ending credits for "brownfield redevelopment" may mean, a developer told me, that whatever development is going on in the city will just stop, making the economy worse.

But if we don't know where the devastation will stop, we can name the date when Detroit reached its modern-day zenith, when it was at the peak of its wealth, population and power:

July 28, 1951. That was the day the city kicked out the jams and celebrated its 250th birthday with a historic five-hour parade that had hundreds of thousands lining the sidewalks.

President Harry Truman started things off that brilliant Saturday afternoon with a speech. That was a bigger deal than it sounds today. Presidents didn't travel nearly as much back then. Yet Detroit was seen as worth it; we were the fifth largest city in the nation, and economically even more important.

This big, brawling, muscular city had sprung up between 1900 and 1930, replacing what had been a small town. Detroit put the world on wheels, and then served as the Arsenal of Democracy in World War II, arming the world to defeat fascism, sending trucks and tanks to all the Allied armies.

Detroit was still rich and still growing, after a temporary slowdown during the Great Depression. In 1951, the U.S. Census Bureau reported finding 1,849,568 Detroiters the year before. City fathers were sure they'd soon hit 2 million.

Nobody had heard of a Japanese car. We were killing Chinese in Korea, not buying cars from the Koreans and borrowing money from the Chinese.

Nobody imagined a black majority in Detroit. Negroes, as they were called, were barely a sixth of the population, and mostly rigorously segregated into a couple areas. Some white liberals muttered about that, but nobody else cared very much, except that they wanted to avoid a repeat of the vicious race riot that had occurred eight years before.

Detroiters thought they were the nation's future. They were breaking ground then for what became Cobo Hall, finishing what they would call the City-County Building.

Everyone thought the good times would go on forever. Nobody, but nobody in 1951, could have imagined the picture of sheer urban devastation that is today's Detroit.

Nobody certainly could have imagined the depopulation. Detroit today has barely more than one-third the population it had in 1950. Think of that! The census found a mere 713,777 people left in what urban explorers call the "Ruins of Detroit." In fact, if the trends of the last decade have continued, the population may now be less than 690,000.

Mayor Dave Bing is indignantly contesting that, claiming there are really 750,000 people. Even if he is right, it changes little. Forget the high point. The city has lost half a million people since Detroit managed to lure the Republican National Convention in 1980, the year they nominated Ronald Reagan.

The city has lost half the population it had when Coleman Young was elected. There is also less diversity than there was in the bad old segregated days of the city's early history.

Today, more than four-fifths of the population is black; the white population has virtually disappeared. The Detroit Free Press, perhaps striving for political correctness, did not print racial breakdowns in the census tables it published. But nearly half the city's small white population left over the past decade. Last year, Detroit had a white population of 55,604 souls, some of whom are from other lands.

There are far more white people in Macomb Township. Remember all the feel-good stories about the new urban pioneers, young whites from the suburbs moving back to the city to live in lofts and enjoy an urbane lifestyle?

Yes, maybe there are six of these people. But the trend is in the opposite direction. But the big story of this census has nothing to do with whites. It is massive black flight.

Detroit lost one-quarter of its black population during the decade — a staggering 185,393 people. That, more than anything else, says the city has totally failed, in the sense that the middle class of both races has now given up on the city.

And who can blame them? Living in the city is exhausting, expensive and risky. The schools are so bad few decent parents put their children in them. There is the fear of crime, yes.

But beyond that, there is the lack of good grocery stores; I once saw three Detroit City Council members shopping at Holiday Market in Royal Oak at the same time.

Detroiters have to endure the higher cost of everything, most notably auto insurance, and a painstakingly unresponsive city bureaucracy. I know people who've struggled heroically for years to stay in Detroit, before giving up in exhaustion.

Mayor Dave Bing may be honest, decent, intelligent and true. But he has to struggle with the corruption that came before him, and the effects of an economic holocaust.

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