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  • The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues

    Ypsilanti police are still searching for the person dubbed the “mystery pooper.” Someone has been, as the Associated Press politely puts it today, “soiling slides at an Ypislanti playground over the last six months.” So, of course, someone purchased an electronic billboard along I-94 near Huron St. at exit 183 that delivers multiple calls for action: For instance,”Help us flush the pooper.” The company that purchased the billboard, Adams Outdoor Advertising, knows how to reach the world in the 21st Century, branding each billboard with a hashtag for the public utilize in its efforts: #ypsipooper. WJBK-TV says the billboard also toggles through other rich lines, such as: “Do your civic doody, report the pooper #YPSIPOOPER” “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” You can have the runs, but you can’t hide. They’re still looking for you, Mystery Pooper.

    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co.

    It’s a really, very cool idea. Paxahau, the good people behind the Movement Electronic Music Festival, are hosting a series of warm-up events, or previews, to the big festival which takes place Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday evening, Movement moved into the Urban Coffee Bean on Grand River in Detroit. While Dj AvA and Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp ably worked the decks, the regular coffee shop goings on continued behind them. It made for an interesting and amusing webcast experience – one guy was taking a nap on camera, while others supped coffee and tappd their feet. It should come as no surprise – the Urban Coffee Co. people have always been big supporters of electronic music. The place includes a DJ stand, and co-owner Josh Greenwood encourages customers to bring their own vinyl and spin on the open turntables. Not on Thursday night though. This being a coffee shop, and it not being particularly late at night, the music remained pretty chill throughout. DJ AvA (real name Heather McGuigan) includes Beth Orton, Madonna, the B-52’s, Daftpunk and David Byrne among her list of influences, so you know that she’s capable of both whipping up a storm and also […]

    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Here is why landlords could do well 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 do well 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.

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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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