Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
At a time when the U.S. Census Bureau shows a rising multiracial majority, does it bode well for affirmative action or does it make the longstanding compromise on equity and the need for an integrated education that achieves diversity no longer necessary?
The U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday on affirmative action did not answer that question in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, nor did the court squash the program.
Instead, the court in a 7-1 rule, handed down a tentative decision that sends the case back to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled against Abigail Fisher who claimed in 2008 that she was denied admission at UT-Austin because she is White and that the university’s race conscious policies undermined her qualifications. The high court said the lower court should reopen the case “under a correct analysis” because colleges, as Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion, must show “available, workable race-neutral alternatives do not suffice” before considering race in admissions. He called for a “careful judicial inquiry into whether a university could achieve sufficient diversity without using racial classifications.”
However, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who dissented, wrote in her opinion that the court missed the mark entirely.
“I have several times explained why government actors, including state universities, need not blind themselves to the still lingering, everyday evident effects of centuries of law-sanctioned inequality,” Ginsburg said. “Among constitutionally permissible options, I remain convinced, those that candidly disclose their consideration of race are preferable to those that conceal or obscure what drives them.”
Because of the far- reaching implications ending affirmative action has on colleges across the nation as well as public institutions that have affirmative action policies, Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD) will host a debate in mid-July at its downtown Detroit campus about the future of affirmative action and what the court ruling means for students coming from diverse backgrounds.
WCCCD Chancellor Dr. Curtis Ivery, reacting to the ruling, said it is important for educational institutions to lead the debate on an issue that will define the educational future of the nation as it becomes increasingly diverse, as well as America’s contribution to a diverse global workforce.
With more than 70,000 students, WCCCD is the largest urban community college in Michigan and the debate about affirmative action, according to Ivery, is a debate for everyone who has a stake in equity and diversity.
National studies have shown that Whites are twice as likely to enroll in institutions of higher learning than their Black, Latino and Native American counterparts. Most recently, the Census showed that 65 percent of Blacks and 80 percent of Latinos did not complete post-secondary education compared to 50 percent of Whites.
The debate at Wayne County Community College will feature some of the leading voices on both sides of the issue. Confirmed speakers already include attorney Godfrey Dillard, who was a lead attorney in the University of Michigan affirmative action case before the U.S. Supreme Court, and Henry Payne, conservative political columnist at the Detroit News.
Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’ Conner gave perhaps one of the most definitive and insightful answers on the case for affirmative action in colleges when she wrote almost a decade ago that “classroom discussion is livelier, more spirited, and simply more enlightening and interesting” if students have “the greatest possible variant of backgrounds.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 June 2013 10:48
Discussion about Governor Stevens T. Mason and the birth of Michigan Politics to take place at Cooley Law School
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Patrick Keating, Chronicle Staff Writer
Michigan Author Don Faber, author of "The Boy Governor: Steven T. Mason and the Birth of Michigan Politics", will visit Cooley Law School June 27 to talk about his latest book. The book tells the story of Michigan's first governor and dominant political figures in the state's early development.
Faber's book captures Governor Mason's youthful idealism and visionary accomplishments, including his advocacy for a strong state university and fighting for the creation of the Soo Locks.
"We are fortunate to have Mr. Don Faber, a two time 'Michigan Notable Book' author, with us to share his insights into the history of our first governor," said Duane Strojny, Cooley Law School's associate dean for library and instructional support. "Governor Mason was a young but forceful leader in the early development of the state and Don does a great analysis of the boy governor his recent book."
The event takes place at 5 p.m. at Cooley Law School's Brennan Library Center for Research and Study, 330 South Washington Square in Lansing. It is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase and signing during the event.
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 June 2013 07:42
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle
Snyder also appoints Brown successor emergency manager in Flint
Gov. Rick Snyder today appointed Pontiac City Administrator Cathy Square as emergency manager for the city of Hamtramck, effective July 1, 2013. Earlier this month, following the governor’s confirmation that a financial emergency exists in Hamtramck, the City Council unanimously supported a resolution seeking the appointment of an emergency manager and waived the city’s right to appeal the finding of a financial emergency.
Square has been the Pontiac city administrator and director of the city’s Human Resources and Public Works departments since 2011. Prior to that, she was an infrastructure consultant for the city of Highland Park, and spent several years as a manager in Detroit’s Public Works Department. As chief operating officer, Square was responsible for the supervision of day-to-day operations and several departments, including; Buildings and Safety Engineering, Civic Center, Department of Public Works, Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Authority, Municipal Parking, Public Lighting, Recreation, Transportation and Water and Sewerage.
“Cathy Square’s extensive municipal government experience, specifically in Southeast Michigan, makes her well-suited to assume the duties of emergency manager for Hamtramck,” Gov. Snyder said. “I am certain Cathy will work collaboratively with local officials, citizens, and others to address the financial crisis in Hamtramck and ensure residents receive the essential services they need and deserve.”
On June 3rd, Gov. Snyder determined that a financial emergency exists in Hamtramck, after reviewing a detailed report from an independent, five-member review team. The review team noted several critical conditions in Hamtramck, including:
General Fund (GF) balance decreased from $2.7 million in June 2011 to a negative $582,365 just one year later.
City audits for the last three fiscal years reflect notable variances between GF revenues and expenditures as budgeted versus GF revenues and expenditures actually realized. In all three fiscal years, GF revenues were grossly overestimated. When coupled with the inability of the city to accurately monitor revenues and expenditures, that rendered city budgets meaningless as a financial management tool.
As of the date the Review Team report was submitted to the governor, city officials still had not filed a sufficient deficit elimination plan with the Department of Treasury.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 June 2013 17:02
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Amber Bogins
Detroiters who support Mike Duggan for Mayor are planning a protest of the recent Court of Appeals decision to deny mayoral candidate Mike Duggan the ability to appear on the August 6th Primary Election ballot. Protesters also will encourage Detroiters across the city who are Mike Duggan supporters to write in his name on their absentee ballots and on election day at the polls.
Protesters will gather in front of the Cadillac Place on W. Grand Blvd. at Cass which houses the Michigan Court of Appeals on Thursday, June 27 at 11 a.m.
Since the court of appeals ruling last week, Mike Duggan supporters have heard from angry and frustrated friends and neighbors across the city who either plan to vote for Mr. Duggan as a write in candidate, or not vote at all. Detroiters should not have to make that kind of choice and should be able to vote for the person they believe is most qualified to be Mayor.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 June 2013 16:36
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
It's official. According to Gary Brown's website and twitter account, he has officially resigned from Detroit City Council. Brown's next role will be working in the Emergency Manager's office as Detroit's Chief Compliance Officer. Below is the tweet from Brown's twitter account and the letter that was posted to his website:
I have officially resigned my position on #Detroit City Council as President Pro Tem effective July 1.— Gary A. Brown (@garybrown4det) June 26, 2013
I have chosen a new role in #Detroit Emergency Manager's office which affords opportunity to effect change for the betterment of Detroiters.— Gary A. Brown (@garybrown4det) June 26, 2013
In 2009, I chose to run for Detroit City Council because I believed that we could bring a new direction that Detroiters trust. Voters granted me the honorable privilege to serve as the Council President Pro Tem for the past 42 months.
As an elected official, my focus has always been on improving public safety, educating our kids and operating a fiscally-responsible government that delivers quality services. I believed -- and still believe today -- that these three areas are necessary in creating a thriving environment for residents and businesses.
When Governor Rick Snyder appointed an Emergency Manager in the City of Detroit, I began considering if the role on City Council or another role would best place my skills to work on those three areas mentioned above for the betterment of Detroit. Because the challenges facing Detroit are as much about addressing the finances as they are about managing the current resources.
In April 2012, I partnered with council colleagues to craft a consent agreement with the State of Michigan to afford us the tools and accountability to address our fiscal challenges. However, the political will in the city did not exist in order to have Detroit's elected officials lead implementation of the necessary reforms.
Under the Public Act 436 law, City Council's power is limited in scope and the legislative responsibilities do not provide any authority over city departments, and thus does not afford the opportunity to affect change in the areas of public safety and city services.
When the opportunity arose to serve in a leadership role in restructuring operations with the City of Detroit, I seriously considered it. This includes thoughtful contemplation for continuing my current role as Council President Pro Tem for the remainder of the year. However, each day that implementation of restructuring is not done; it makes turning around the city that much more difficult. Therefore, we must act now.
I have chosen to resign my position on Detroit City Council as President Pro Tem effective July 1 and accept a new role in the Emergency Manager's office with the City of Detroit. This position affords the opportunity to focus more heavily on the pivotal areas I mentioned above where Detroiters will feel the greatest positive impact.
With the knowledge, skills and ability I have acquired over the past decades in both the public and private sectors, this opportunity was the perfect fit in my effort to provide meaningful service to all Detroiters.
Your support and that of other Detroiters has made the following possible during my tenure as Detroit City Council President Pro Tem.
During the past three-and-a-half years, I collaborated with my council colleagues to restore unity, order and dignity to Detroit City Council and address the city's most urgent challenges.
As the Chair of the Public Health and Safety Committee, I partnered with the Bing Administration to improve public safety by leading the charge to pass and adopt the Secondary Employment program ordinance, allowing off-duty police officers to work private security in order to increase police presence without added cost to the city. A number of businesses, block clubs, community associations and community groups are utilizing this program.
I also joined the Bing Administration and Wayne County Officials to lure more than a Billion Dollars in economic development by enabling the Detroit Medical Center to merge with the Vanguard Medical Corporation.
Prior to this, soon after I became a Councilman, I supported the strip club ordinances that would improve the health and safety of employees and customers, as well as nearby residents and businesses, by licensing club employees and enhancing restrictions on and monitoring of operations. Standing with council colleagues this action took place in early 2010.
I worked with the Administration to fast-track the vacant housing demolition program by suspending random demolitions in favor of the clustering process. I was a tenacious advocate for utilizing more than $20 Million from the City's fire escrow account to further impact the safety and well-being of Detroiters by demolishing even more dangerous structures in our neighborhoods.
I have been fiscally-responsible, leading the attack to reduce the annual budget and structural deficit, prioritize core services, and urge contractors to cut their costs. I often recommended balanced budgets to colleagues and the Administration that lessened operating costs and prioritized services with a focus on public safety, trash pick-up and the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department (DWSD).
In terms of City Council, I was the first to advocate for a 35% council budget reduction and while serving as Councilman I have never used a city-owned car, city purchased gas or city purchased auto insurance.
I served on DWSD's Root Cause Committee to restructure the department. This committee has been instrumental in reducing environmental violations, creating a stronger governance structure that retains Detroit ownership of the system, and integrating efficiencies. This effort resulted in the lowest annual water rate increase in the past 10 years. In March, federal Judge Sean Cox released the federal oversight of DWSD largely due to the work of the Root Cause Committee and the department's new director.
As an advocate for education, my council office adopted Bethune Fitzgerald Academy on Detroit's northwest side in the fall of 2010. The objective was to spearhead a pilot reading program and to improve the environment, thus allowing teachers and staff the capacity to focus on academics. We led efforts to create partnerships with the corporate and philanthropic communities to have the school cleaned regularly, added security measures, school uniforms for students that were donated, and received donated school equipment.
I have continued supporting other schools in these areas since Bethune Fitzgerald transferred from DPS to the State's Educational Achievement Authority (EAA).
We partnered with military and veterans affairs officials from federal, state, and local agencies, as well as representatives from corporations, non-profits and associations, to connect Detroit's veterans to available federal, state and local resources as well as job opportunities. It has been quite an honor to serve as the Founding Chair of the Detroit City Council Military and Veterans Affairs Task Force.
Since March 2011, I have proudly served on the National League of Cities, Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Advocacy Committee. This committee provides public safety advocacy on behalf of cities to the federal government.
I want to thank the Detroit voters and supporters who put their faith in me as Councilman. I will need your continued prayers for the difficult days ahead. Many unpopular and necessary decisions must be made to return Detroit to its prominent position. I am fully committed to the task at hand!
With that said, I want to express gratitude to my colleagues for their collaboration, partnership and expertise exhibited daily at the council table. It has been truly an honor to serve on Detroit City Council with them.
I look forward to this new role as we will build the future Detroit.
Gary A. Brown
President Pro Tem
Detroit City Council
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 June 2013 10:04
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
This news comes on the heels of Councilman Kwame Kenyatta resigning from city council and Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown's exit to aid Emergency Manager, Kevin Orr.
This story is still developing. Check back with us for more updates.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 June 2013 14:39
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
State Rep. Mike McCready today announced he has scheduled office hours for Tuesday, July 9 in Bloomfield Township.
McCready invites local residents of the 40th House District to meet with him from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. to discuss state or local issues. Office hours will take place in Meeting Room 3 of the Bloomfield Township Public Library, located at 1099 Lone Pine Road in Bloomfield.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 June 2013 12:49
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Deadline Detroit
As is tradition, the annual International Freedom Festival fireworks show over the Detroit River Monday evening was spectacular. And as is, unfortunately, becoming a tradition, people literally panicked at the prospect that someone could have been shot at the fireworks. Even though no shots were actually fired and, but for an isolated incident nearly ten years ago, the fireworks are about as safe as any event that crams that many people together in one place. Continue to Deadline Detroit...
Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 June 2013 09:35
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Amber Bogins
Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer announced today that the entire Senate Democratic caucus will be in the Capitol on July 3rd and ready to vote on Medicaid expansion. Senate Republicans said last week they did not see a need to convene the full Senate again until late August despite failing to pass this critically important legislation last week. Whitmer said that the Department of Community Health officials made it clear that it was absolutely necessary to pass Medicaid expansion immediately if there's any hope of getting the program in place in time.
"Whether Senate Republicans want to actually do their jobs or not, my caucus and I will be in session on July 3rd and stand ready to cast our votes in favor of this program that will provide health care access to nearly half a million Michigan residents and save the state billions of dollars in the process," said Whitmer. "We need only eight Republicans to be here and ready to work with us that day and I challenge them to do just that."
The Senate's next scheduled session day is July 3rd, though Republicans have indicated they donot plan on attending in full or casting votes that day. Governor Snyder and a bipartisan coalition blasted the Senate Republicans last week for failing to vote on the legislation prior to leaving on their summer vacation. While Republicans claimed they would be spending time working to improve the legislation further, they were seen instead spending the day at a $400 per person fishing fundraiser on Friday.
"Despite all their excuses, it's clear that a vote didn't take place only because Republicans are caving to the political whims of an obstructionist minority within their own party," added Whitmer. "The people of Michigan elected each and every one of them to be leaders and it's about time they act like it."
Last Updated on Monday, 24 June 2013 18:10
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
If your family tradition is to go and camp on Belle Isle for the annual fireworks, this information is for you.
Belle Isle will be closed on Monday, June 24, until 2 p.m.
Access to Belle Isle begins at 2 p.m. on June 24 until desired capacity is reached. At that time, parking will be allowed on Sunset around to the Strand. No parking will be allowed around the Scott Fountain.
Parking on the Casino paddock is $10 per car and $20 per recreational vehicle.
10' x 10' canopies with no sides or see-through mesh tents are allowed. Canopies larger than 10' x 10' are not allowed.
Grilling must only take place in designated areas.
The Detroit RiverWalk will be Closed.
For more information on the Ford Fireworks, Parking, Street/Freeway Closures CLICK HERE
Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 June 2013 07:40
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