Category: News Briefs Written by Associated Pfress
- Former basketball player Dennis Rodman, right, former sumo grand champion Akebono, left, and Japanese actress Maomi Yuki pose for photographers during a news conference to promote a Japanese cable network’s coverage of the upcoming NBA season, in Tokyo, Friday, Oct. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dennis Rodman is at the top of a list no one wants to be on. He's been named GQ's No. 1 least influential celebrity of 2013.
The 52-year-old former basketball player who has visited Kim Jong Un in North Korea was selected as the top pick in the magazine's third annual list of the least influential celebrities, which also includes twerking pop star Miley Cyrus, President Barack Obama, and celebrity chef Paula Deen. GQ called Rodman a "Q-list celebrity willing to commit borderline treason just to hang out with a dictator who himself aspires to be a Q-list celebrity."
Rodman said this week he's preparing to return to North Korea late next month for an exhibition basketball tour.
Deen, whose cooking empire imploded this year after she admitted to having used the N-word to describe black employees, came in at No. 2 on the list behind Rodman, while former sexting U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner took the No. 3 spot.
"He's the saddest lecher in American politics, and that's saying something, because they're all lechers," the magazine said.
Cyrus, who garnered attention at this year's MTV Video Music Awards for her provocative performance with a foam finger, won the No. 6 position for "basically trying every inane strategy she could think of to rile up America's few remaining pearl clutchers." The magazine noted "what's sad is that it totally worked."
Obama came in at No. 17 because "nothing gets done."
Other celebrities deemed non-influential include Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Ryan Reynolds and Will Smith.
Last Updated on Sunday, 24 November 2013 12:44
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
Emergency Manager, Mayor-Elect Announce John Hill as Detroit’s New Chief Financial Officer
Former Washington D.C. municipal CEO will help lead Detroit’s restructuring
Emergency Manger Kevyn Orr and Mayor-Elect Mike Duggan today joined together to announce that John Hill, the former CEO of the Washington, D.C. Federal City Council, has been named the city’s Chief Financial Officer. Hill, a CPA who specializes in municipal finance, will lead the city’s finance department and serve as an important member of the city's restructuring team.
In his previous role as the Executive Director for the D.C. Financial Control Board, Hill was responsible for working closely with presidentially-appointed control board members on developing and implementing the Board’s strategic plan to restructure all financial and operational management systems for the District of Columbia and to improve the delivery of services to Washington, D.C., residents, businesses and visitors. He was the North America partner in charge of state and local government consulting for a major CPA and Consulting Firm.
“John Hill brings a wealth of municipal finance and restructuring experience to Detroit,” Orr said. “John’s similar service in our nation’s capital will help move Detroit forward.”
Mayor-Elect Duggan added: "In interviewing Mr. Hill, I was very impressed with his successful history in Washington D.C. and with his commitment to the importance of citizen input in the decision-making process. I strongly encouraged him to accept this position and I'm very pleased he has agreed to serve as Detroit's CFO."
His appointment takes effect immediately.
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 November 2013 16:43
Category: News Briefs Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
Mr. Alexander Tzang, special advisor to the China-US Exchange Foundation (CUSEF); Dr Beverly Hogan, president of Tougaloo College; Cong. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18); Dr. Norman Francis, president of Xavier University of Louisiana; CBC Chairman Marcia Fudge (OH-11); Cong. Cedric Richmond (LA-2); Vice Premier Liu Yandong; Cong. Elijah Cummings (MD-7); Dr. Wayne Frederick, interim president of Howard University; Dr. David Wilson, president of Morgan State University; Ms. Julia Wilson, CEO and founder of Wilson Global Communications and appointed liaison representative for CUSEF
In an historic move Wednesday, Nov. 20 on Capitol Hill, China’s highest-ranking government official overseeing education, awards scholarships to students in Congressional Black Caucus districts to study in China.
Meeting on The Hill featured China’s Vice Premier Liu Yandong announcing collaborations for study in China with the CBC and Historically Black Colleges & Universities in support of President Barack Obama’s 100,000-Strong Initiative in China and ongoing efforts by the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation
(WASHINGTON) – In a historic move, China’s highest-ranking education leader, Vice Premier Madam Liu Yandong, announced the award of 400 two-week scholarships over four years to students in districts of the Congressional Black Caucus, to study in China. The Chinese government also will provide 1,000 scholarships to Historically Black Colleges and Universities for longer-term study in China, ranging from three months to two years, for undergraduate or postgraduate studies.
“We hope that our collaboration with the Congressional leaders and universities and colleges will go a long way towards people-to-people exchanges between the U.S. and China,” said Madame Liu Yandong, Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China. “I’m here to announce a decision by the Chinese government to award 400 scholarships for college and middle-school students to study in China,” she said on Capitol Hill today.
CBC chairman Marcia Page with Vice Premier Liu Yandong
The scholarships are part of continuing efforts for increased U.S.-China educational exchange. Additionally, the relationship-building work by the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation with the CBC and HBCUs are designed to more competitively position America’s diverse students in the 21st century global marketplace.
Today’s meeting was held at the U.S. Capitol, and attended by HBCU presidents from Howard University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Morgan State University, and Tougaloo College, and Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, who led the first African American leadership delegation to China in 2010. The meeting was hosted by the CBC Chairwoman Cong. Marcia Fudge, who was joined by several CBC members, including: Cong. Barbara Lee (CA-13), Cong. Elijah Cummings (MD-7), Cong. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Cong. Charles Rangel (NY-13), and Cong. Cedric Richmond (LA-2).
“We welcome Madame Liu Yandong to our nation’s Capitol, and are proud to be part of this historic event,” said CBC Chairwoman Marcia Fudge, Congresswoman (OH-11). “Through this generous award to CBC districts, and the continuing efforts of CUSEF, the National Urban League, and HBCUs, the CBC looks forward to providing 400 young scholars the opportunity to experience studying in China, one of the world’s leaders in global commerce, industry, culture and education,” Fudge said.
Earlier this year, a delegation of CBC members traveled to China and met with Vice Premier Liu, as did educators from eight HBCUs, as participants in the HBCU Leadership Visit to China delegation. Those universities were: Howard University, Hampton University, Spelman College, Morgan State University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Tougaloo College, Bowie State University, and Delaware State University. The core mission was to explore opportunities for educational exchanges and collaborations for HBCU students and faculty with leading Chinese universities, and to explore the Chinese government’s Confucius Institute (CI) and Chinese Classroom programs for more HBCU campuses.
Of the more than 300 CIs worldwide and 80 CIs in the U.S., Xavier University of Louisiana became the first HBCU to receive Chinese government approval to establish a Confucius Institute. Xavier began offering classes in Chinese culture and language in January 2012. Howard University serves as the HBCU alliance’s lead coordinator.
“Howard is committed to providing a diverse and global education to its students,” said Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, Howard University’s interim president. “Howard University, along with each of the other HBCUs, looks forward to the educational exchange opportunities with China and its world-class universities. As America’s population becomes more diverse, and people become more globally connected, our universities and colleges must offer educational experiences that enable their students to provide leadership and service in diverse and multi-cultural environments,” he said.
The HBCU delegation’s visit to China was organized in the US by Julia Wilson, as the appointed liaison representative for the China – United States Exchange Foundation. The Foundation’s African American Initiative focuses on people-to-people exchanges between American and Chinese leaders in education, media, business, and civic affairs. Mr. Alexander Tzang, special advisor for the Foundation, explained the Foundation’s purpose.
“Our goal at CUSEF is to foster a better understanding between Chinese and American peoples, through interaction and direct personal experiences,” Tzang said. “Organizing and sponsoring China study programs for American students is one of the activities we conduct for such a purpose,” he continued. “Through the recent China visit we organized for the presidents and leaders of the HBCUs, we hope they now have a better and more realistic understanding of China and its people. And, we hope they will share such knowledge with their faculty and students. We look forward to more HBCU visits in the future."
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 November 2013 18:39
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
Raquel Castaneda-Lopez is the first Hispanic member of the Detroit City Council representing the newly created District 6. And being first does come with responsibility, especially the expectations of her constituents in Southwest Detroit who are beaming with pride to have someone from the nation’s most rapidly growing community to be represented on this legislative body.
But Castaneda-Lopez’s election on Nov. 5 is not only reverberating around Detroit and Southeast Michigan. Rather, her elevation from a simple beginning as the daughter of an immigrant and a rural postal carrier to the Detroit City Council is receiving national attention.
This week, the Texas evangelist, Rev. Frank Emeka Obi, who commands a large Hispanic following hailed news of Castaneda-Lopez’s election as a bright spot for Detroit, which has been in the glare of the national and international press for reasons other than celebrating diversity.
“My heartfelt prayer is for the new councilwoman to serve her city with the fear of God, drawing worthy examples from our Lord Jesus Christ, and pleading the pertinent cause of the poor, the weak and the oppressed who really need help,” said the Texas minister who is president and founder of the Spring Texas-based Revival Evangelism Institute. He hopes to meet with Castaneda-Lopez during his visit to Detroit.
Rev. Obi, a Black preacher who works primarily in Hispanic communities in North America and South America said he is delighted for what he calls a “well deserved victory” and hopes that Castaneda-Lopez’s election “marks the beginning of a new era of resplendent and productive diversity in the city of Detroit.”
Jimmy Hernandez, communications director of the Washington, DC-based VotoLatino organization, said in a phone interview that Castaneda-Lopez’s election is a strong signal that “Latinos are a growing community in the U.S. with a huge influence,” and that by 2050 Latino youth are expected to comprise 29 percent of the entire population of young people in the U.S.
Hernandez cited as an example Election Day (Nov. 5) where he said Hispanic voters helped to elect two governors: Chris Christie of New Jersey and Terry McAuliffe of Virginia.
“It is important for Hispanics to be elected in all of these municipal bodies because these local offices make decisions that impact the everyday lives of their constituents,” Hernandez said. “They make decisions when it comes to school boards and that is why every segment of the community should be represented when local bodies are making those types of decisions.”
Local elections set the stage for national office, Hernandez said, citing President Barack Obama’s rise as an indication given that the leader of the free world was once a community organizer on Chicago’s South Side before he ran for U.S. Senate and eventually president.
“Hispanic business operators like me don’t depend on government, but we desire and encourage government policies that promote entrepreneurship and create jobs for people in our multicultural communities,” said Ezekiel Serna, owner of Ezekiel Innovation Design and Art in Houston, Texas. “So, I wish and hope that my sister, Raquel, whose Detroit electoral victory I celebrate in far away Houston, will dedicate herself to good policies that help Detroit businesses expand and create much-needed jobs.”
Councilwoman-elect Castaneda-Lopez has also touted her community organizing skills during the campaign trail, having honed those skills in several political offices including that of State Rep. Rashida Tlaib and other community and volunteer programs.
“We know that one of the best ways to get people into national office is to look at the local level,” Hernandez said. “That type of recruitment at the local level is necessary so we have national figures who can speak on behalf their communities.”
Elias Gutierrez, who runs the Latino Press, Michigan’s leading Hispanic newspaper, said he welcomed the political development on the Detroit City Council because “Raquel represents the future, not the division of the past. We hope that other council members work in concert with her to develop our communities and enhance Detroit and its image nationally.”
Gutierrez said Castaneda-Lopez’s campaign theme has been to serve all of Detroit and that he believes she will keep to that mantra of “working for all of Detroit given the fact that she grew up in a diverse community.”
On her campaign website, Castaneda-Lopez prides herself as a “first generation college graduate with a master’s degree in social work,” who worked tirelessly in the nonprofit sector for 13 years because working for Wayne State University helped underrepresented African American and Native American students.
A volunteer soccer coach with Think Detroit PAL, she has served on the Hispanic Commission of Michigan, chairing its education and health committees as well as being part of its civic engagement committee.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 November 2013 10:11
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
First of all, to suggest that the failure of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is President Obama’s Katrina is a preposterous argument that is baseless at its core because the memory of Hurricane Katrina is a bad memory that would make you feel sick when you think of the woeful incompetence of former president George W. Bush when the levees broke that led to Katrina. Countless numbers of people died in the storm, prisoners drowned in their cells, families became homeless, children could not connect with their parents as many precious lives were shattered in the face of a Bush administration that did not show any sense of urgency in intervening.
The world watched in shock. Nations offered to help but an egotistical administration turned down the offers even as its people continued to suffer and die. Some are still haunted by the trauma of Katrina which chose a mass underclass of Blacks in New Orleans as its victims. So the health law cannot be compared. Katrina is only comparable to the terrorist attacks of September 2001. Out of respect for the victims of Katrina, let’s stop the foolish comparative analysis.
But the truth is that the Obama administration messed up. President Obama admitted that in his press conference last week during which he shouldered responsibility for the ACA unveiling which turned out to be a blunder. The result has been utter frustration, anxiety, nervousness and confusion among consumers now finding themselves at the mercy of insurers and the news of how high a deductible is going to be.
But what is interesting up to now is that no individual or team has taken full responsibility for what happened, except that Obama has been the one doing most of the apology and promising a new direction.
But who’s in charge, Mr. President? Who did you delegate to handle this rollout?
Yes, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius came to Detroit last week in a public relations move to instill confidence that the government is at work. It will take more than just a stop in Detroit to get the health website working.
Apparently, the White House and the entire might of the federal government did not do what was supposed to be done: execute a well coordinated rollout and achieve the maximum impact that the new law would have on people, just as Obama campaigned on it. Or better still, the way the Obama campaign diligently and meticulously executed a massive strategy that had technology front and center and got people listening, contributing to the campaign website and connecting with the campaign.
Even though the federal government is bogged down in bureaucracy, and is not a 24hour campaign machine, that should not have stopped the White House from planning a rollout with the same effectiveness that the Obama campaign’s technological team had.
The president should have appointed a high level panel charged with the responsibility of overseeing the rollout and introducing them to the nation as the ones responsible for the rollout.
That panel, among other things, should have ensured that the capacity of the website was such that it could meet the demands of a certain number of consumers —and that number should be in the millions — because we have 30 million uninsured.
No excuses, a presidential panel ought to have the force, might and resources to carry out the most important domestic change in the last five decades in this country. More importantly, given that this is Obama’s domestic policy legacy, much detail and focus should have been placed on ensuring that the rollout was so well executed that the president’s skeptics were proved wrong and that his campaign theme promises were met.
I am unable to understand why and how the administration failed on this. We are still yet to know who in the White House was specifically in charge of this rollout.
The preeminence of common sense beckons on us that when something of this magnitude is tied to your legacy or reputation, you want to ensure that all hands are on deck to make it right, with no room for major mistakes.
Obama has enough critics and detractors to force his administration to not give them any reason to explain why their delegitimization campaign against him should hold water.
This blunder by the administration reminds me of Obama’s first televised debate with Gov. Mitt Romney, where he appeared drained and tired and uninterested in the issues, which made supporters of his re-election extremely nervous on the night of the debate.
During last week’s sudden media briefing, the president appeared bored as if he was unfamiliar with the health law, as he struggled to explain the flaws of the rollout that is supposed to benefit millions who find themselves at the crossroads of either a better insurance or a deductible they can’t even afford.
Let’s be clear. The intention of the law is to make health care affordable. The moral ground for this is huge. No amount of criticism against the rollout or subterfuge can take that away.
But something must be done about a law that passed and mustered every legitimate test from the halls of Congress to the U.S. Supreme Court, so that it reaches its eventual goal: insuring the uninsured.
Some have said no need to make a big deal out of a website crash or the unending technical glitches the president said are being addressed. That in the words of William Shakespeare this is “much ado about nothing.”
Well, it’s easy to say that if you are not the one on the computer shopping for health insurance every day, or receiving a deductible that is several times higher than your mortgage or rent.
No matter how simple the glitches might seem, the consequences are significant. Because in addition to the propaganda machine that is against implementing the new law, the administration has helped that very machine in adding confusion to the ACA.
The Obama we know is one who executes almost flawlessly and does so for the bigger picture and for posterity. Even against the advice of some his advisors, the president pressed on the ACA and got it passed in Congress. The Supreme Court adjudicated it and Obama ran on that for his re-election and won.
The final chapter of the long struggle of this new law was the rollout, which should have marked an era in government efficiency and less bureaucracy. Instead, we were disappointed.
And with this dismal rollout, the White House subconsciously caved in to their critics, giving them more fuel for their propaganda against the law and the president.
On the merits of core competence, the new law deserved a presidential rollout, not the kind we’ve seen in recent weeks.
The president’s approval ratings are tanking in the 40s and 30s. Beyond the politics of polling must lie an Obama who must move quickly to rescue his health care legacy by appointing a team to address the existing and emerging problems, and eventually make this law successfully and lasting.
I recommend that Obama appoint a “Fix It Panel,” to further mitigate the damage of the rollout. I have no doubt anyone who receives a call from Obama to serve on such a “Fix It Panel,” would see it as an extraordinary honor to serve the nation after receiving a call from the 44th president of the United States.
For a start, here is how the president’s configuration “Fix It Panel” should look like.
Howard Dean, former Vermont governor and chair of the Democratic National Committee who is a medical doctor, should serve on this panel. Dean, who some say should have been the Health and Human Services Secretary, is an outspoken supporter of the law. A hard-nosed progressive, he has been an advocate for a single- payer health plan. He knows the politics of the issue and understands the crucial patient-doctor relationship.
Nancy Schlichting, the CEO of Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, a $4 billion organization and one of the largest healthcare companies in the country with 23,000 employees, should be on this problem-solving panel.
On a panel like this it is important to have someone like Schlichting who is running a large health care system, not just technocrats, because she brings invaluable human relation experience, pragmatism and business management expertise to bear on this issue based on her knowledge of running a massive health care system. It pays to see the perspective of the institutional health care providers, not just the professionals.
Dr. Patricia Berg, professor of biochemistry and molecular medicine at George Washington University, where she directs the breast cancer research laboratory, would make a strong addition to the panel. In addition to developing vaccines, Berg has been a relentless advocate against government cuts in cancer research.
Dr. Berg has been pushing politicians in Washington, DC and state capitals to see and understand the importance of saving lives with research.
Nurses everywhere are on the front lines of saving lives daily. If success of the law is predicated on the need for better health outcomes, not just processes, then nurses should be at the table.
Dorothy A. Obuya, a certified, registered rehabilitation nurse in Texas, a state that has been one of the strongest resistant blocks against Obamacare, would bring the perspective of thousands of nurses across the country who interface daily with patients.
Conversations around fixing the health law needs to go beyond the Washington punditry class to involve hands-on health care professionals like nurses.
The faith community is crucial to the success of the health law, as we’ve seen the tension between Catholic institutions and the Obama administration over certain provisions of the law.
Hyepin Im, CEO of the Korean Churches for Community Development in California, who is already a presidential appointee to the Corporation for National and Community Service, should be on the panel.
Im, who was at the White House last week for a meeting of faith-based leaders with the president, stands at the intersection between faith, family, politics and community development. The panel will also require a brilliant legal mind that understands how to navigate the media landscape on the most complex legal matters relating to the various provisions of the law, and how they relate to the uninsured and under-insured.
Because, let’s face it, apart from the technical issues with the ACA website, the law suffered media appreciation deficiencies (MAD).
Robert Beatty, a Florida attorney understands what it will take to negotiate with the media porcupines. A partner at Adorno & Yoss and former general counsel of the Miami Herald, Beatty’s experience in a state like Florida, whose political leaders are indifferent to the health care law, will prove helpful to the presidential panel.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 November 2013 10:08
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
Democratic nominee for governor unveils minimum wage plan in Detroit
The man who wants Gov. Rick Snyder’s job has already begun flexing his political muscle by taking on an issue that has long been the bane of the struggle between liberals and conservatives: the minimum wage.
Democrat Mark Schauer, who will be the nominee for governor for Michigan Democrats in 2014, came to Detroit this week to announce a proposal to raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.40 to $9.25 per hour.
This, according to Schauer, will match the purchasing power of the minimum wage during its peak in 1968.
“This is just common-sense economics. When working families have more to spend on things like gas, groceries and clothes for their kids, it creates demand,” Schauer said. “And when demand increases, small businesses grow and hire more workers. Minimum wage workers have waited long enough for a raise. It’s time to do what’s right for our families, our businesses and our economy by raising the minimum wage.”
The Schauer plan would be phased in three years and the minimum wage would increase from the current rate of $7.40 to $8.00 in year one, $8.60 in year two and $9.25 in year three.
Moving forward, the Democratic flag bearer said the minimum wage would then be tied to inflation, and said the hourly rate should be indexed to the Consumer Price Index, with adjustments taking place every two years.
Already some working people are receiving Schauer’s plan as realistic and just what the working class needs. Kim Pearce, grocery store employee in Detroit, has embraced the minimum wage proposal from the Democrat.
“Working hard is part of who we are in Michigan,” Pearce said. “But no matter how hard we work, families like mine are still struggling to get ahead. Raising the minimum wage would help lift up thousands of families across the state.”
The battle for minimum wage increase already is gaining a lot of traction with California passing minimum wage to $10. In that case the wage will be implemented in two phases: an increase to $9 per hour in July of next year, followed by a $1 increase to $10 in 2016.
“The minimum wage has not kept pace with rising costs. This legislation is overdue and will help families who are struggling in this harsh economy,” California Gov. Jerry Brown said in support of the new law.
In Seattle, Washington, voters on Nov. 5 passed Proposition 1 by 54-46 percent, which calls for a $15 an hour minimum wage for airport, hotel and restaurant workers, the highest in the nation. Called the Sea-Tac initiative, it will affect workers in and near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The current wage is $9.19.
The Michigan League for Public Policy is applauding the move by Schauer on the minimum wage.
“No one who works hard should be forced to work for poverty wages, whether they are parents supporting young kids or teenagers who are just starting their working lives,” said Gilda Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “But this is exactly what we’re asking many minimum-wage workers to do — to put in their time at work and still remain poor.”
Erica Hill, Detroit political observer and campaign veteran, said while Schauer’s minimum wage announcement is a good start, the leader of the Democratic pack for 2014 cannot just rely on traditional supporters.
“He has to identify with newer, non-traditional voters, within the 18-35 demographic, utilize social media, establish a ground game in urban centers early and establish solutions that challenge Gov. Synder on issues such as emergency management, Right to Work, pension dissolution and public education,” Hill said. “He should clearly establish how democracy is currently being undermined and how he can help to restore it.”
Hill said minimum wage is not enough to reduce voter apathy and give voters a reason to show up at the polls.
“I believe it is a step in the right direction, as long as the party is prepared to take on the fight by our corporate friends,” Hill said. “We don’t want to muddy the water like we did in 2012, with an extremely crowded ballot, but taking another stab at the Emergency Manager Law may excite some voters, considering how Detroit is currently fairing under the law.”
Democrats have come under fire numerous times for not paying attention to the urban vote.
“Time after time, election year after election year, urban centers only come into play at the end of the election cycle, in both thought and financial investment,” Hill said. “The one thing that has not changed about Michigan politics is the fact that as Detroit goes, so does the region. This is the perfect opportunity to allow Detroit to work for the party. Make no assumptions.”
She said the streets of Detroit are still “simmering from the mayoral election. Don’t let the energy die. Capitalize on it by investing in a solid ground game in urban centers, now.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 November 2013 10:05
Category: News Briefs Written by News One
The family of 8-year-old Aolani Dunbar (pictured) is reportedly hurt that their community has not reached out to them after their child’s classmates allegedly bullied, then yanked off part of her sewn-in hair weave — and a piece of her scalp along with it — according to MyFox Atlanta.
The alleged bullying began three years ago, but it only intensified after Aolani got extensions put in to her hair on Saturday, September 28th. According to Aolani’s mom, Sarah Charles, as soon as her daughter went to school the following Monday, children in her third-grade class began pulling her hair and teasing her about having, what they reportedly thought, was a wig on her head.
Charles told the New York Daily News that she contacted Aolani’s Roopville Elementary School on Tuesday to complain about the hair-pulling but she didn’t receive any sympathy. For two weeks, the distraught Mom kept complaining about the escalating bullying.
Last Updated on Friday, 15 November 2013 07:02
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
Aside from the buzz around Mayor-elect Mike Duggan’s historic rise to the top leadership of the city Tuesday, Nov. 5, another interesting twist to last week’s election is the number of new faces that were elected to the Detroit City Council.
For example, the council will have its first Hispanic member in Raquel Castaneda-Lopez representing Southwest Detroit, which marks a seismic shift in the political coalition of Detroit’s legislative body.
But beyond the new faces on the council that also includes Mary Sheffield, Scott Benson, Gabe Leland and George Cushingberry who is a fixture in Detroit politics, lies the question: Who will be the next council president?
Four incumbents were re- elected and one of them will emerge as head of the most talked about and controversial legislative body in Southeast Michigan.
The Rev, Andre Spivey, Saunteel Jenkins, James Tate and Brenda Jones, the highest vote getter, are returning to council but it is unclear who among the four will be chosen by the body to be its new leader.
Jenkins has been the president of the council since the sudden disappearance of Charles Pugh, and she has indicated an interest in serving in that role if her colleagues choose her.
But political observers are calling for a different council this time around, even as it seeks to install a new president, especially in the era of council-by-districts for the first time in 100 years.
“The new city council is an interesting mix of old and new. I’m interested in seeing how newcomers Sheffield, Benson and Castaneda-Lopez and seasoned newcomers like Cushingberry and Leland interact with incumbent council members,” said Erica Hill, Detroit political observer and campaign veteran who has worked on a number of elections as well as in city government. Both Cushingberry and Leland served in the Michigan legislature before their election to the city council.
Hill said district-wide council members will be held more accountable to the districts that they serve.
However, she said it is important to define what these new members can do, especially in the era of an emergency manager.
“The challenge in this is that the council members, both old and new, need to be honest with themselves and their constituents about what they can and cannot do within their districts and at-large. They are the legislative body of government in a strong executive branch-led city,” Hill said. “The council/mayor relationship is a check and balance process.”
She also noted that the council should create its own plan based on the city’s master plan.
“They are the voice of their constituents,” she said, adding that as the highest voter getter, Jones is positioned to be the leader of the council.
The president will have to be chosen by the members according to the new charter, instead of the previous practice of selecting the president based on who got the highest number of votes at the polls.
Eric Foster, political consultant who has conducted a number of polls to test the pulse of Detroit voters on a wide range of issues, said the council election is a significant shift.
Foster pointed out that there are seven members who are younger than age 44 (Benson, Jenkins, Castaneda-Lopez, Leland, Sheffield, Tate and Spivey) and five are under 40.
“This new group of younger and diverse professionals have the opportunity to craft legislative policy to fit the Detroit that we need to be, one that values seniors and those who have stayed and the families and young professionals that are needed to grow the tax base and improve the sustainability of our neighborhoods,”Foster said.
“This new group is also less connected to the traditional organizations and stakeholders than former council members. Those stakeholders will need to modernize their approach and policy initiatives to fit with the paradigm of these new councilmembers.”
Foster said staying with the theme of giving a young generation voice, the leadership of the council should remain with Jenkins and Spivey.
“They can also help shape a deeper data- driven approach to appropriations decisions and policy enactments to support making the product that is ‘Detroit’ work for residents, businesses and new customers to the city,” he said.
The Detroit City Council is one of the country’s few full time legislative bodies, and in a time when resources have been dwindling, some have called for the council to go part time.
First instituted in 1824, and once called the Common Council, the body has been at the center of some of the most interesting political turmoil in Detroit’s history which includes the constant tug of war between the council and the mayor.
For example, in 2005. at the height of former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s era, four members of that council did not attend the mayor’s State of the City Address because of serious political disagreements with the mayor who is now headed to prison.
The former council president, the late Maryann Mahaffey, JoAnn Watson, Sharon McPhail and Barbara-Rose Collins all insisted that the city charter did not mandate them to attend the event.
The only members who attended Kilpatrick’s speech were Sheila Cockrel, Ken Cockrel Jr., Alberta Tinsley-Talabi and Alonzo Bates who later went to federal prison.
Mahaffey’s contention at the time was that the mayor was always seeking to tarnish the image of the council in the eyes of the public.
“During last year’s address the council heard for the first time the mayor had arranged for the purchase of the old train station in Southwest Detroit to transform it into a headquarters for the police. Council members were treated disrespectfully,” Collins said.
Kilpatrick, understanding the art of politics and persuasion, was known for presenting flowers and roses to individual council members before budget sessions began. That was his way of making amends with the body he needed to approve his proposals. The impact of those flower gestures was that the mayor received a less hostile atmosphere during the question and answer sessions and often got his proposals passed.
On the other hand, Mayor Dave Bing did not present flowers and his tenure was marked by bitter fights with the council which claimed the mayor was not communicating with them.
But in interviews, Bing has always maintained that he won’t compromise what was best for the city and in its interests.
It remains to be seen how this new council will work with Duggan, even though the former head of the Detroit Medical Center and Wayne County Prosecutor has expressed strong interest in building a solid working relationship with the city council.
Duggan cited as an example a lunch meeting he had with new member Benson during a town hall meeting where he was asked about his impression of the new city council.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 13:59
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
“This is unbearable. I feel like the radius of crime is just getting closer and closer to where I live. How long before someone I love is affected by crime? It is just a matter of time.”
That his how a colleague who walked into my office Tuesday evening before she left for the day described the current rate of executions taking place in Detroit, while our local security apparatus, the Detroit Police Department, appears helpless or begging for a plan that we are yet to see.
Almost every day, murders are taking place and the streets of Detroit have literary become a killing field from one tragedy to another.
Therefore, we must ask, Are we safe under Detroit Police Chief James Craig? That is a reasonable question to ask at this time when people are waking up every day to news of executions, gunshots and mayhem and there seems to be no realistic plan from the police department to instill confidence and a sense of security.
Well, it is bad enough that the men and women in blue are facing salary cuts when officialdom at city hall tell us that public safety is key. But the morale of the department, at an all time low, is colliding with the so-called austerity measures taking place.
Yes, Chief Craig has only been on the job a few months, say those who want to give him the benefit of the doubt. I also want to give him the benefit of the doubt because he just got here. I understand that when Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr appointed him he wasn’t naming a security magician to the post but rather an individual who is challenged like all of us.
However, it is hard to explain to the families and victims of gun violence in the last two weeks that we must wait for an answer or a plan to combat crime from the police department. It is hard to tell that to a father or mother who just lost a child or in the case of the Wayne University Law student who was shot. They can’t wait. They want answers, and they want them now.
As I’m writing this article there are families weeping because the lives of their loved ones were abruptly brought to a halt in the latest atrocity, the barbershop massacre, which Craig described as “urban terrorism.”
And if it is urban terrorism, where is the plan to fight urban terrorism that is not only destroying lives but also eating the fabric of our collective sense of security?
Where is the plan to take these criminals to task?
Where is the plan to make neighborhoods safe?
The Detroit Police Department received scout cars from the private sector to help boost its patrols and beef up resources of the department. In the past, crime was unreported or unresponded to because police vehicles weren’t available at the time crime was being committed.
The only plan that I’ve seen so far has been the decentralization of the centralized office when the chief announced a new team. But aside from that we are yet to see a plan from our public safety boss.
And his remarks to a group of seniors that he drove away from a potential carjacker didn’t help the public have confidence in the leader of public safety either.
Someone said to me inside a green room while we were waiting to go on air that in war the general is the last man to leave the battlefield, and the public perception of a chief driving away from a carjacker, while he was right in doing so, doesn’t present him as one in tune with the public safety crisis the city is facing.
Another police officer who begged anonymity was disturbed by the imagery of a chief of police running away from a carjacker. He wondered what point was Craig trying to prove when he made that revelation.
But what is most important here is not whether Craig drove away from the carjacker. What is crucial is the kind of plan that Craig has to mitigate the climate of vulnerability that we all have as a result of the spate of killings in the city.
I’ve never met Craig in person. I’ve only read him in the papers or watched his boisterous press conferences, which seek to instill confidence in the public about getting the bad guys.
But it will take more than press conferences and press releases to arrest crime. It will take more than bold descriptions like “urban terrorism” to combat the problems we are facing in public safety.
I’m not expecting the chief to perform a miracle. But what I am expecting is for him to demonstrate that he has this crisis under control. What I’m expecting is for the chief to show the public that Detroit will not be a theater for massacre and heinous crimes.
And in so doing we don’t need to be bogged down in deconstructing complicated crime numbers using metrics that are backed by all sorts of technical interpretations. The families of the barbershop victims don’t understand those metrics. What they know is that a murderer just executed their family members and they want answers.
I recognize that it will take more than the man who personifies public safety to make everyone safe in the city. That is why when Craig was named as the city’s top cop I wrote a column recommending that he engages the community in a meaningful way to allow him to get a better sense of the various perceptions about the department.
No police department can claim to have an effective crime fighting strategy without a detailed comprehensive community policing initiative that at the core places importance on its public outreach, support and partnership rather than the routine and mundane process where the men and women in uniform are talking only to each other.
A tour that earnestly seeks public input and community support will enable Craig to build a base from which the department can operate its community-policing program.
Key is getting community groups and individuals who have long been in the trenches fighting crime in an effort to create a violent-free community to have ownership in the new direction of the department as it relates to its community initiatives.
I moderated Mayor-elect Mike Duggan’s first public conversation Nov. 9 at Detroit Unity Temple sponsored by the Detroit News based on its “Six Decades in Detroit,” project, and during the conversation crime was a focal point.
Later on, I met Mushin Muhammad, a man who singlehandedly initiated neighborhood patrols, creating security networks in his community so neighbors and his family can feel safe. His presentation at the Detroit Unity Temple town hall hosted by Rev. Gregory Guice was the mark of a man who stepped out to solve a problem and make his community safe.
The police department can utilize the work and the service of individuals like Muhammad to address crime in our community.
It definitely goes beyond Craig. And it will require the support of everyone to prevent the killings that are taking place and we must support any real plan the police department comes up with.
But leadership at its core starts at the top and works its way down. And the last time I checked, our police chief was James Craig.
The ball is in your court, Chief.
We are waiting.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 13:57
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Hiram Jackson, Publisher, Michigan Chronicle
Detroit voters have spoken loud and clear, selecting Mike Duggan to serve as their next mayor. While the recent mayoral campaign was often filled with contentious twists and turns, the election is over and it’s now time for all Detroiters to stand with our new mayor.
If you were not a Duggan supporter, get over it…and quick, because he must be given a fair opportunity to lead our city out of its present state of flux — punctuated by crime, high unemployment, decaying neighborhoods, bankruptcy and a reigning emergency manager.
We have far too many problems in our city to be further hampered by political differences and petty politics. This is truly a crisis situation and we need “all hands on deck.” Duggan won’t be able to do it alone; he will need vast cooperation from all citizens, community groups, corporate entities, and other coalitions of pro-Detroiters.
As publisher of the Michigan Chronicle, I congratulate mayor-elect Duggan and offer him my support in moving Detroit forward. I also call on all Detroit media outlets to use their print and electronic platforms to help our new mayor convey to the world news stories about the many positive things that are to come — and already occurring — in our city.
Far too often, the only stories that emanate from the Motor City are ones that cast a negative light on the city.
While the historic election of Duggan has made world news — he is the first caucasian mayor to serve the Motor City in 40 years — his claim to fame must be more than a few paragraphs in history books. He must galvanize a city that has major problems, many of which have been decades in the making.
By various news reports, Duggan will soon approach Gov. Snyder and EM Kevyn Orr to discuss restoring mayoral control to the city of Detroit, making Orr’s tenure as EM short-lived. Hopefully, he will find success. But to be truly successful, Duggan must also forge an alliance with City Council.
I am hopeful that he will unveil and implement his comprehensive plan to help Detroiters find jobs —lots of them. His jobs plan would be welcomed sooner, rather than later.
I am also anxiously waiting to see his public safety plan in action so that the streets of Detroit will become safer for us all.
During a face-to-face editorial meeting at the Michigan Chronicle’s office during the campaign season, Duggan told our reporters, “I’ve worked every day in this city for the last 32 years. I’ve been honest with every group of voters that I’ve met with. I’ve asked them to see if my ties and my love for Detroit are sufficient enough for them to vote for me…because I can identify with and fix the problems of Detroiters.”
The voters have made the decision that Duggan’s ties and love for Detroit are sufficient. Like many Detroiters, and perhaps others around the world, I will be rooting for Duggan to be the change that Detroit needs.
Let’s stand with him and give him every opportunity to lead this city back to greatness now. Rooting for Mike Duggan is rooting for Detroit.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 17:32
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