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  • 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.

  • ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list

    Yes, it’s true. Forbes says Detroit is one of America’s most creative cities: “We ranked these places based on four metrics: activity per capita on project-funding platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo and music sites Bandcamp and ReverbNation. The goal was to capture organic creativity, since many artistic and musical types have “day jobs” outside of creative pursuits.” The Forbes list sandwiches #9 Detroit between #8 Seattle and #10 Oakland, Calif. If you are watching the art and culture explosion happening right now in Detroit, you probably think we should rank higher than #2 Boston and #1 San Francisco, if only for the fact that it’s actually affordable to create here and there is space for everyone to be creative. But hey, those metrics weren’t part of the equation. And there’s always next year.

    The post ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Stir It Up

Crystal balling

Larry offers and early look at November

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It might seem a little early to cast our attention at the fall election in Detroit. After all there is plenty of drama in Washington, D.C., with the recently completed fiscal cliff negotiations, and the upcoming debt ceiling and gun control fights heating up. Right here in Detroit we’re still wondering if there will be an emergency manager or bankruptcy or both in the near future that will render whoever is elected less significant for the duration of the ordeal.

Political consultant Ron Scott — who is not currently working for any candidate but says he has given advice to several possible candidates for various offices — says, “I think that people are going to run anyway. Their resolve is to maintain as much democratic control of the city as they can. Basically they want a Detroit that is independent and the emergency financial manager law will bring greater resolve to fight for that. For example, many people ran for the school board although they were in court trying to see who will be in control. That’s going to happen in the mayoral race regardless of the emergency financial manager. The enmity to Gov. Snyder is so strong in the city that people will run.”

I’m particularly interested in seeing how our first vote for City Council members by district in nearly a century plays out. Whoever is running will have to file qualifying petitions with the city Department of Elections by noon on May 14. So while it may seem early, anybody who really wants to run has to be putting together an operation right now. Generally there are nearly 150 primary candidates for the nine-seat council, but with the new district system I’m curious how it will impact the number of candidates and the kinds of candidates who decide to run.

As it stands now there will be significant turnover in who is on council, and that’s after a pretty big turnover in the last election. Kwame Kenyatta has already said that he will not run this year, while Brenda Jones has already picked up her packet from the Department of Elections for the next election. I called four council members to ask how the district system is impacting how they expect to run, or not run, their campaigns. The only one who called me back was JoAnn Watson, to say that she had nothing to say on the subject at this time. So I’m curious.

District-wise, a few sitting members would have to face each other if they all run again. Brenda Jones and President Pro Tem Gary Brown both live in the 2nd District on the north end. Saunteel Jenkins and Charles Pugh are both in the 5th District in the central south side of town. Watson and Ken Cockrel Jr. live in the 6th District covering the southwest part of town. James Tate is in the 1st District on the far northwest side with no other sitting council members, as is Andre Spivey in the 4th District covering much of the lower east side. Kenyatta lives in the 4th, although, as I’ve said, he isn’t running. Two districts, the 3rd on the northeast side and the 7th on the west side, have no sitting council members.

“It’s too early to determine whether districts are going to change things,” Scott says. “Incumbents will still have access to large fundraising opportunities. … Detroit voters have fooled me, but the ability to get information out and have name recognition and so forth with districts will have an impact. This time around, a number of the incumbents are not going to run. In those districts where they are not going to run, we will see if money or program will actually decide the race. There will be a lot more popular democracy; there will be a lot of people who wouldn’t otherwise think about running that will. That will be both good and bad. We’ll see if voters look at their program and not just their personality. For far too long in Detroit, people have been looking at the personality side and not the program the person is proposing.”

I have a feeling that a lot of people who belong to a large church or community group will consider a run for council. One significant organization could be the base that helps win an election for a newly minted politician. Or one significant issue for a community could catapult someone onto council. I haven’t digested the Detroit Future Strategic Plan; it’s hundreds of pages long and was three years in the making, but there have to be numerous issues for neighborhoods in there that could make or break a nascent politician who wants to champion or oppose how it works.

Or it could be one entity with a lot of money that makes the difference with a possible City Council member.

“I don’t underestimate the framework of corruption,” Scott says. “An organization that has a lot of money can dump it on a candidate.”

In addition to the seven district races, there are two citywide council seats that will be in contention to make things just a little bit more complex. It will take some gumption for candidates who believe they can win a district to decide they want take the chance on winning across the city. That may be one of the things keeping current members of council from tipping their hand as they eye each other to see who is running in their district and who is running citywide. The common idea would be those who got the most votes in the last election, Pugh and Brown, have the political capital for that, although Pugh has declared that he won’t seek a second term on the council. At the same time having garnered the most votes for City Council could embolden a candidate to decide to go for the mayoral office. Political observers have considered Pugh and Brown to have such ambitions. Not to mention Jenkins, who earned the third most votes in 2009. Cockrel was in fourth place, and actually sat in the mayor’s seat for several months replacing Kwame Kilpatrick when Kilpatrick left office before Cockrel lost to Dave Bing. He’s been reported saying he is keeping all options open.

Cockrel’s choice may impact Watson’s decision on whether to run or not. The same goes for Jenkins. Jones hasn’t waited to see what Brown will do; she’s the only incumbent who is openly running for re-election at this point. And we still don’t know who is going to come out of the woodwork from the neighborhoods.

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