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  • 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.

  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Rage against the machine

The mayor held a meeting to hear from residents. They gave him an earful.

Photo: Detroitblogger John, License: N/A

Detroitblogger John

A heated meeting with Bing

Cummings repeated his question. Bing moved forward to speak. "We as a community need to do that collectively," he said. "Who is doing the shooting? Who is doing the killing? It's people in your neighborhoods." This sounded like a blame-the-victim answer, and the audience howled bitterly. Bing tried to bring order. "It's very difficult to respond when everybody's yelling and screaming," he said again, hopelessly trailing off.

This wasn't a gathering of frustrated residents voicing their concerns. It was a public flogging by a red-faced mob. The object of their outrage was cornered, their hostility was personal, and they were determined to make him suffer while they had him there. 

Sandra Hines, a 58-year-old community activist, stood and whipped the crowd up by launching a brutal volley of accusations, charges and insults at the mayor.

"I listened to you on the radio and you made a statement about the city's been in this shape for 30 to 40 years, and why didn't people step forward in the 30 or 40 years," she thundered. "You've been here for 30 or 40 years, why didn't you step forward? You stepped forward when your business failed and you was looking for a job. You weren't concerned about Detroit, you weren't even living in Detroit, and you talk about what we've done? We've paid taxes, mayor, we provide the money. It's not our fault as citizens that people like you guys that we put in take the money and jack it and we don't get nothing from it!" Her rant brought the entire crowd to its feet in applause.

One angry resident after another walked to the microphone. Not one of them had a kind thing to say about the thin, elderly man on the stage, who looked annoyed, yet shaken, as he sat there. His department heads sat slumped, faces sunken, as if withering under the weight of the crowd's wrath.

At times, Bing seemed drained, and offered vague platitudes. "As you talk about blight in the neighborhood, there are plans to eliminate blight," he assured one resident, who was demonstrably not assured. 

Mostly, the crowd simply shouted complaints — about Belle Isle, about a state takeover, about abandoned homes and cuts to the police force. "I do not know what you can take away from us next," Valerie Glenn stated. "Our children are not being educated, we have no security, we have no streetlights, we have no food in this city. I don't know what is going on, but I am very concerned."

"I love this city and you are destroying it," said Cecily McClelland. "Why don't you do us a favor and leave?"

Lewis finally heard enough. "That was the last question, and that closes our public portion of the meeting." He announced that the mayor would make his closing comments. But the crowd wouldn't stop yelling.

Then the mayor rose to his feet, his staff stood up, and they all walked into the back room, out the door, into their cars and drove off. And that was it. He'd been there less than an hour.

Outside, the cops and the residents and block club captains milled around after the meeting's abrupt end. Now they turned their focus to hounding the mayor's staff as they headed into the parking lot. Hill, the retired city employee who'd come to berate Bing, chased down Brad Dick, director of the city's recreation department. "Do you live in the city?' she yelled after Dick, who maintained a brisk walk back to his car without looking back at her. "Do you live in the city?"

Her taunt reflected one of the fault lines that defined the residents' outrage — the powerful versus those who feel powerless, downtown versus the rest of town, festering resentments over race and geography and income. Them versus us.

Though the mayor didn't stay long, and though none of his answers pacified the crowd, most of the residents got what they came for — a chance to berate those in charge and a collective release of long-simmering frustration and fear.

"Detroiters have been beat down for the last six or seven years," Hill said. "How many times do you have to get hit before you say, 'Ouch?' So we're saying, 'Ouch.' We have to make some noise and let him know. Shame on us if we just sit back and watch."

Detroitblogger John is John Carlisle. He scours the Motor City for Metro Times. Send comments to

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