Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Amber L. Bogins
For growing numbers of Americans, the new retirement may really mean no retirement. That's the conclusion of an article in the current issue of the ISR Sampler, the annual magazine of the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.
"For most of the 20th century we saw retirement ages fall while life expectancy rose," said David Weir, an ISR research professor and director of the ISR Health and Retirement Study. "About 20 years ago, the trend in retirement age reversed and it has been inching up slowly ever since."
People are retiring later for a lot of reasons, but a key one is economic. Employer health insurance benefits for retirees are eroding, spurring many employees to hold out until they qualify for Medicare at age 65. Changes to Social Security, such as the increase in the age at which people can receive full benefits from 65 to 67, also may be playing a role. And people are living longer, requiring additional savings to support those extra years.
Some 40 percent of older Americans delayed retirement in the years after the Great Recession, according to an analysis of data from ISR's Health and Retirement Study and its Cognitive Economics Study.
"The typical household lost about 5 percent of its total wealth between the summers of 2008 and 2009," said ISR economist Brooke Helppie McFall.
People don't intend to work long enough to recoup all the money they lost, but on average, those who postponed retirement expect to work about 1.6 years longer than planned, she said. And even as the economy has begun to turn around, many households still find themselves facing a more precarious future.
"While the stock market has recovered most of its pre-recession value, housing prices have not, and for most people their house is their biggest asset," Weir said.
Economics are just part of the reason why many Americans are working longer, he said. Many married men are likely to stay on the job longer now because their wives are working. Couples typically want to coordinate their retirements, and if a wife is working until age 62 or 65, that's an incentive for her often slightly older husband to keep working, too.
And some people aren't retiring for a simpler reason: they love their jobs. Not surprisingly, working beyond normal retirement age by choice is particularly common among the wealthier and more highly educated, those who are likely to have better health and jobs they can still do effectively at an advanced age, Weir said.
Overall, many more jobs than before rely on cognitive skills, rather than physical abilities, studies show, and the number of retirement-age employees who are physically able to do work into later years has increased, as well.
Although people are working longer, most still decide to retire at some point. But even that process has changed. According to an analysis of Health and Retirement Study participants born between 1942 and 1947, nearly two-thirds of those who retired from full-time work passed through some sort of bridge job—either part time or of short duration—before leaving the work force entirely.
Going part time may seem an obvious bridge step. More surprising is the move to different full-time work after retirement, according to Nicole Maestas, a RAND economist and researcher with ISR's Michigan Retirement Research Council.
She said the number of people who retire, take a break for a couple of years and then return to work has been increasing since the early 1990s. Some 40 percent of workers between the ages of 51 and 61 who stop work will return in some full-time capacity, according to her analysis of data from the Health and Retirement Study. Maestas coined the term "unretirement" for this phenomenon.
"The New Retirement: No Retirement?" by Susan Rosegrant, appears in the Spring 2013 issue of the ISR Sampler. Read the full article, including stories of those who've chosen different retirement, or unretirement, paths, at http://home.isr.umich.edu/sampler/the-new-retirement
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 14:37
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Amber L. Bogins, Entertainment Editor
May 20, the MCTV Street team comprised of myself and our web editor AJ Williams went to Belle Isle to experience first-hand what it is like inside an Indy Pace car at the Grand Prix on Belle Isle. The Cheverolet Detroit Grand Prix hosted a “hot lap ride” with three of the Grand Prix’s hottest drivers: Will Power, Driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet and three-time IndyCar Series road course champion, Simona De Silvestro, Driver of the 78 Nuclear Energy Chevrolet for KV Racing Technology and standout female driver, Townsend Bell, Driver of the No. 60 Sunoco “Turbo” Panther Racing Chevrolet and NBC Sports color commentator.
The drivers, having just come off of qualifying weekend at Indianapolis are preparing to race in the Indy 500 the next Sunday before coming to Detroit for the Grand Prix. We were able to experience the newly-paved and reconfigured 2.3-mile street circuit at Belle Isle with the drivers giving “hot lap” rides in high-performance Chevy Camaros.
We were fortunate to ride with Will Power, a phenomenal driver for Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. The trip around the track was breathtaking, a pure rush of adrenaline. In an interview with Power, he expressed confidence in Team Penske. In answer to what a win would mean to him he commented:
"I can't imagine winning it. It's such a unique race"
In regards to the new track, Power said:
"It's a huge improvement. It makes for a really nice flying circuit."
The Detroit Chevrolet Grand Prix is May 31st through June 2nd on beautiful Belle Isle. Purchase tickets by going online http://www.detroitgp.com/tickets/
Check out the video below of Amber Bogins in the 'Hot Seat' of her 'Hot Lap Ride'
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 11:50
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by by Roz Edward
Melvin London works on striping the new parking lot spaces at Meijer in the Gateway Marketplace, at Eight Mile and Woodward in Detroit. (Clarence Tabb Jr. /The Detroit News)
Developers at Detroit's Gateway Marketplace have something to brag about. Construction for a Meijer Superstore, the development's anchor store and the corner stone of the Woodward revitalization project is ahead of schedule. Leasing on the $72 million project also is moving forward, and the center will be 95 percent leased or better this fall, said Bruce Babiarz, a spokesman for the developer, Southfield-based Redico
“There’s a resurgence in Detroit. It’s not only downtown, but it’s happening here at Eight Mile and Woodward. We’re building a brand-new shopping center from the ground up. It’s the largest in terms of size in the city in decades,” Babiarz said.
The Meijer Siperstore which is slated to open in July of this year and the Gateway project are expected to spur development in the surrounding area along Woodward, particularly the former Michigan State Fairgrounds, Babiarz added. “It’s got real potential, and the success of this project may be the catalyst for that property.”
Meijer Inc. is starting its hiring push to bring about 400 of the estimated 700 jobs to the Gateway project. Other retailers slated to open this year include discount retailer Marshalls, apparel retailer Dots, PNC Bank and a McDonald’s. In all, the project has more than 325,000 square feet of retail.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 07:33
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle
As GM Student Corps members, they’ll help improve neighborhoods, learn valuable life skills
A group of 110 Detroit-area high school students are about to begin paid summer internships as members of the brand-new GM Student Corps, a program introduced today by General Motors North America President Mark Reuss that combines service, education and mentoring.
The students representing 11 United Way Network of Excellence Schools will work in teams of 10 to develop and implement service projects in Detroit-area neighborhoods. Helping to train and mentor them are 60 GM retirees and 12 GM student interns from the University of Detroit Mercy, where many students major in service-based programs. Employee volunteers from TeamGMCares also will assist throughout the summer.
The teams are currently planning their projects. Work is scheduled to begin in mid-June and conclude in August.
“Improving the quality of life in our communities means more than writing a check,” said Reuss. “It also requires investing in our young people, teaching them how good it feels to see their hard work help others, and providing them with the skills they need to lead and succeed as professionals and as citizens. Once you serve, you’re hooked for life.”
A unique aspect of the GM Student Corps is that it unites people from a range of age groups and walks of life to work toward a common goal – improving local neighborhoods – while helping students develop career skills.
Schools participating in the GM Student Corps are: Central Collegiate Academy, Detroit Public Schools Cody Campus, East Detroit High School, Hamtramck High School, Harper Woods High School, Henry Ford High School, Madison High School, Melvindale High School, Detroit Public Schools Osborn Campus, River Rouge High School and Van Dyke Lincoln High School.
In addition to managing every aspect of their projects, from budgeting to planning to implementation, the students will meet periodically with mentors for life skills sessions following a curriculum developed by Junior Achievement.
Examples of service projects might include painting and cleanups at local parks, planting and tending a community garden, setting up food banks or meal programs and others. Life skills sessions include career development, banking and finance, and health and safety.
Also, interns will be exposed to various career and educational opportunities at Focus: HOPE, Junior Achievement “Financial Park,” the GM Design Center and GM Heritage Center, the GM Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant and the UDM campus.
GM will pay for the budgeted student projects and provide Chevrolet Express vans and Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickups so adult mentors can transport materials and students to project sites and life skills classes.
Throughout the summer, students will be encouraged to document their projects on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #GMStudentCorps.
GM Student Corps members were selected based on leadership potential, overall energy, enthusiasm and grit, school activities, citizenship and academic performance. At the end of the summer, leaders from each student team will formally present their programs and results to Reuss and his staff. In addition, the GM Summer Corps experience will be chronicled in a documentary filmed by UDM Professor Jason Roche.
Leading the 60 GM retirees is former GM executive Mike DiGiovanni, who retired in 2010 and is now a full-time professor of economics at the UDM.
“As retirees, we look forward to joining forces with current company leaders as a unified GM to effect meaningful change in Detroit,” said DiGiovanni, who grew up on the city’s west side. “But most of all, we want this program to be rewarding, fun and life-changing for the students.”
Last Updated on Monday, 20 May 2013 19:32
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Amber L. Bogins
UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada, disappointed and angered by the withdrawal of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from a Detroit hearing on foreclosures, will proceed with plans to co-host the May 20 event. “This was our chance for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to listen and learn about how destructive their policy of foreclosure and eviction is for metro Detroit,” says Estrada, who anticipates spirited testimony at the People’s Hearing. “They need to see and hear the evidence that their policies are hurting working families and undermining neighborhoods.”
Following two months of discussion and planning, the federal agencies have withdrawn from the hearing at the direction of legal counsel, claiming-- at the 11th hour-- that it would be “awkward” for officials to hear testimony from homeowners who are in litigation fighting eviction by Fannie or Freddie.
Throughout the planning process, organizers of the event provided full disclosure of the anticipated agenda and details of the public hearing. Officials from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the failing mortgage investors taken over by the federal government in 2008, agreed in March to come to Detroit and hear testimony from homeowners, union members, and community leaders about the foreclosure crisis. Fannie and Freddie, which own or insure more than half of all residential mortgages in the country, have foreclosed on more than 15,000 families in Wayne County since the government takeover by the Federal Housing and Finance Agency (FHFA). Thousands more have lost their homes in Oakland and Macomb.
Fannie and Freddie have declared a moratorium on foreclosures in areas stricken by Hurricane Sandy. Estrada and organizers from Detroit Eviction Defense argue that they should do the same for Metro Detroit, flattened by banking fraud, mass unemployment, and the resulting storm surge of foreclosures. They are also calling on Fannie and Freddie to reverse their current policy of refusing to lower the principal on “underwater” loans where the balance owed is higher than the plummeting market value of the home.
Testimony at the May 20 hearing will be videoed, and organizers vow to hand-deliver the recording to federal officials. “The UAW sees the fight to halt foreclosures as part of its historic commitment to social justice for all working families,” said Estrada. FHFA officials have committed to scheduling a discussion with UAW representatives, community leaders, and public officials as soon as possible to review policy alternatives specific to the Detroit area.
A new report, “A Hurricane Without Water: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Foreclosure Crisis in Metro Detroit,” will be available at the hearing and at http://www.detroitevictiondefense.com/
Last Updated on Friday, 17 May 2013 11:13
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by michigan Chronicle Staff
Funding Provided for Inspection of Aerial Ladders, Ground Ladders
DETROIT – Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announced today that AAA Michigan will donate $23,500 to the Detroit Public Safety Foundation to pay for the inspection of 20 aerial ladders and 4,600 feet of ground ladders used by the Detroit Fire Department (DFD). The gift is the latest in a recent series of recent corporate donations in support of the City of Detroit’s public safety operations.
“Once again, one of Detroit’s corporate citizens has come forward and generously shown its support for our public safety operations, our first responders and our citizens,” Mayor Bing said. “The proper inspection of our fire department’s aerial ladders and ground ladders was a critical need that AAA Michigan has graciously met. I appreciate the leadership and continued concern for public safety that AAA has demonstrated with this gift.”
"Our history of supporting the community dates back nearly a century," said AAA Michigan President Steve Wagner. "We are very pleased to present the Detroit Fire Department with this grant, which we know will help save lives."
The ladder inspections are required to keep DFD equipment in compliance with standards of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an independent organization that establishes fire safety codes and regulations for various industries and the firefighting profession. Detroit Fire Commissioner Donald Austin ordered last February that until a full inspection of the entire ladder fleet is completed, DFD will not engage in manned aerial ladder operations -- unless there is an immediate threat to life. In cases where a manned ladder must be used, every effort will be made to properly support the ladder. DFD continues to use unmanned aerial ladders as “water towers” to fight large fires.
“We are grateful for AAA’s generous donation,” Commissioner Austin said. “Aerial ladders can place firefighters 100 feet above ground, often with large amounts of water flowing under high pressure. Because of the tremendous stress placed on ladders, regular testing is needed to find the smallest stress fractures and metal fatigue. Completing the testing of our aerial and ground ladders will go a long way toward ensuring the safety of Detroit’s citizens and firefighters.”
AAA Michigan, with 1.5 million members, is part of The Auto Club Group (ACG), the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services to approximately 8.8 million members. AAA Michigan partners with civic and community groups and traffic safety organizations to improve neighborhoods and promote traffic safety through such programs as the AAA School Safety Patrol.
The Detroit Public Safety Foundation was formed in 2011 to support the Detroit Police and Fire departments. Mayor Bing’s Active and Safe Campaign, launched last fall, has a similar mission of supporting Detroit’s public safety and recreational programs. In March, the corporate community pledged $8 million to the public safety component of the Active and Safe Campaign. The money is being used to acquire 23 new ambulances for the Detroit Fire Department’s EMS unit and 100 new patrol cars for the Detroit Police Department. To date, a total of $22 million has been raised toward the $60 million goal of the three-year campaign.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 12:14
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
With a little less than two weeks to go before the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix takes over the Motor City’s famed island park for three days of fun, excitement and racing, preparations for the fast and furious event are on schedule, according to Grand Prix officials. The event, which will be held from May 31– June 2, is expected to draw more than 100,000-plus fans and will garner a national television audience of millions.
Grand Prix officials are working long days to assure that the event is entertaining and memorable as some of the world’s greatest race drivers will compete in some of the world’s most powerful and fastest cars. “We are moving forward,” said Charles Burns, general manager for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. “We are getting geared up for a first-class event. Roger Penske and Bud Denker (event chairman) have set the standard for excellence, and we have a great team that really wants to perform well and showcase the Grand Prix, Belle Isle, and the city of Detroit. So we are staying on top of all the details and preparations necessary to make this event successful.”
Staying on top of details has included a recent long drive from Detroit to Birmingham, Alabama for Burns. “Two of the three racing series that will be held on Detroit’s Belle Isle will be held at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham this weekend (April 5-7), said Burns, via cell phone, as he motored towards Birmingham. “So I’m going down to Birmingham to talk with officials from both series about some logistical things that we have to work through. In addition, I want to spread the good word down there about our great event on Belle Isle which is right around the corner.”
This year’s Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix will feature the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans featuring the cars of the IZOD IndyCar Series, the Chevrolet GRAND-AM 200 at Belle Isle presented by the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers with the sports cars of the GRAND-AM Rolex Series, and the Cadillac V-Series Challenge presented by the Metro Detroit Cadillac Dealers featuring the cars of the Pirelli World Challenge Championship Series. ABC will nationally televise the IndyCar races on Saturday and Sunday.
In addition to the various racing series, Grand Prix attendees will be entertained by national recording acts. On Friday, Detroit’s own Dwele will showcase his vocal talents on the MotorCity Casino Hotel Entertainment Stage as part of the Free Prix Day at the Grand Prix. On that Friday, everyone will be admitted to the Raceway at Belle Isle Park free of charge. “Dwele is a true Detroit success story and we’re very excited to bring his unique sound to the MotorCity Casino Hotel Entertainment Stage on Friday night at the Grand Prix,” said Bud Denker, chairman of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. “With some great action on track Friday and Dwele highlighting a strong entertainment lineup, fans will have a terrific experience on Free Prix Day.” Dwele’s performance will follow a full opening day of track activity featuring practice and qualifying for the IZOD IndyCar Series, the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, and the Pirelli World Challenge Series on the newly-configured 2.3-mile Belle Isle street circuit.
The MotorCity Casino Hotel Entertainment Stage at the Grand Prix will also welcome rock icon Bret Michaels on Saturday evening and modern-rock band Plain White T’s on Sunday afternoon. Several other local artists will also perform on the stage throughout the weekend. Burns added that there will be something at the Grand Prix for everyone, including the Meijer Family Fun Zone and the Quicken Loans Go-Kart Track. He also said there will be some events beginning the Tuesday before the Grand Prix weekend. Stay tuned!
For Burns, Detroit has made a great impression on the West Lafayette, Indiana native. “I love Detroit,” said Burns, who moved to the Motor City last year. “There are so many positive things going on that the world doesn’t know about. When Roger Penske and Bud Denker offered me the opportunity to come to Detroit as the general manager for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, it was a no brainer. I saw it as an opportunity to come to a great city and work with an outstanding company (Penske Corporation) and a team of individuals committed to not only making the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix successful, but also committed to making Detroit a better place.
“We are all working long hours, but it has been great. It will be so special and rewarding to see our fans smile and having a grand time when they get to the island and witness all of the wonderful events and activities connected to this year’s Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 10:07
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Michael Cottman
Tension is mounting at Morehouse College.
As President Barack Obama prepares to deliver a commencement address at Morehouse, a prominent Philadelphia minister who wrote a scathing critique of Obama now says he is been disinvited to speak at Morehouse one day before Obama is scheduled to speak on May 18.
Rev. Kevin Johnson, senior pastor of the Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia, is embroiled in a growing controversy following a blistering editorial he wrote in The Philadelphia Tribune titled “A President for Everyone. Except Black People.”
“Given the president’s poor record in catapulting an economic and empowerment agenda for the African-American community, we must begin asking the questions, Why are we so loyal to a president who is not loyal to us?” Johnson wrote last month.
“To my disappointment, the president has not only failed the Black community, but also has failed to surround himself with qualified African- Americans who could develop policies to help the most disenfranchised.
“Indeed, if we objectively look at Obama’s presidency, African-Americans are in a worse position than they were before he became president.”
Johnson had been invited to deliver a baccalaureate address at Morehouse one day before Obama’s address, but after reading Johnson’s editorial, Morehouse College President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. — who previously headed the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities — told Johnson that he had decided to change Johnson’s address into a “multi-speaker” event to include three speakers.
“As president, I believe this is in the best interest of the college,” Wilson wrote on the Morehouse website. “In this instance, I decided to ask this invited speaker to share the Baccalaureate stage with two other speakers so as to reflect a broader and more inclusive range of viewpoints.”
Some Black professionals say Wilson is scolding Johnson for criticizing Obama because Obama is Wilson’s former boss. But one Black minister says Johnson is entitled to free speech and should not be punished for stating his political views.
“In an academic institution, it’s the wrong message to send graduating seniors who are going out into a diverse world,” Rev. Delman Coates, a Maryland pastor, told USA Today. “If Martin Luther King Jr. could challenge Lyndon Baines Johnson on the Vietnam War after Johnson won the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Act, then why should a distinguished alumnus of Morehouse College not raise pointed questions about the Obama administration?”
Johnson’s controversial editorial criticizing Obama comes as some Black Washington, D.C. residents have whispered their frustrations about a White House they consider too White. And in some Black circles, Johnson’s column has caused some Black leaders consternation over the issue of racial diversity in the White House.
“What we’re looking for is a government that, at a minimum, has been better than any other president has ever been on diversity,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, told Politico. “He’s not there yet, even though he’s African-American.”
But Johnson used harsher words to make a similar point.
“For me, the absence of African-Americans in a second term is not only disrespectful to the Black community, who voted 96 percent for President Obama in 2008 and 93 percent in 2012, but also underscores a larger problem of economic and job opportunities for the Black community,” Johnson wrote.
Last week, however, Obama nominated Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx to become secretary of transportation and Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) to be director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Both men are African- American.
And Valerie Jarrett, the president’s senior adviser, spoke passionately earlier this year about Obama’s ambitious goal to rehabilitate 20 poor communities across the country where Black people have struggled for years.
Speaking to Black journalists in February, Jarrett said the plan to renovate some of the nation’s most devastated Black neighborhoods is part of a broad strategy to help improve the quality of life for many Black Americans and includes Obama focusing on a myriad of challenges facing young Black men as he begins his second term in the White House.
When asked about the president’s perceived reluctance to discuss race publicly, Jarrett said the White House plans to do a better job communicating its social and economic policies to the Black community.
“We’re not afraid to say this is going to help Black people,” Jarrett said during a White House interview.
Obama also traveled to the South Side of Chicago in February where he spoke to 16 Black male students at Hyde Park Academy High School who are growing up poor, troubled and some without fathers.
“This is very personal for him because he didn’t have a father,” Jarrett said of the president. “He was raised by a single mom so he knows the challenges.”
Some Morehouse alumni are calling on Wilson to honor his original terms and allow Rev. Johnson to be the only speaker during the baccalaureate event at the historically Black college in Atlanta.
“If President Wilson turns his back on one of our most distinguished alums because of an exercise of free speech and political commentary, he will have set Morehouse on a dangerous course and departed from the great tradition bequeathed to us,” Amos Brown, a Morehouse graduate and senior pastor of Third Baptist Church in San Francisco, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Obama’s speech at Morehouse also comes as four Morehouse College athletes were arrested in March and charged in connection with two separate sexual assaults. Three of the students – all Black men — were charged in an alleged on-campus incident prior to spring break. The fourth was charged in a different case off campus.
And while Obama is poised to speak at Morehouse, many African- Americans in Atlanta remain focused on Rev. Johnson’s blunt criticism of the president.
“When one compares the first African-American president to his recent predecessors,” Johnson wrote, “the number of African-Americans in senior Cabinet positions is very disappointing.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 02:16
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
Kevyn Orr, the man charged with bringing Detroit back to financial stability said he is surprised at the numbers that will be released on Monday when the Emergency Financial Manager discloses his operating financial plan to the state and the public. The plan is coming out barely two months after Orr took over at city hall to right the financial ship of Detroit's local government whose debt obligations are in the billions.
Orr, during an exclusive interview with the Michigan Chronicle’s Bankole Thompson ahead of Monday's announcement said the city is in the first steps of a very long journey and the numbers are what they are.
“First thing you are going to see is sort of a fair snap shot of what we’ve been able to discern from sort of a document of the city as to the city’s financial status. My operating financial plan is coming out on Monday,” Orr said. “The plan is going to be sort of an analysis of the best information we have available as what the city’s condition is. I think it is fair to say at least my initial perception is that our debt service and debt obligation is probably worse than we’ve expected. To put it in a vernacular we are deeper in a hole than I thought we were.”
Since Orr took over the reigns of government in Detroit after Gov. Rick Snyder named him emergency manager, many have been waiting to see what “bold” steps would be taken to get the city on a path to financial recovery.
Even though his presence is still being protested by some who disagreed that Detroit does not need an emergency manager, a sentiment that rings true with some of the city’s civil rights activists, Orr in the interview said the numbers about the city’s situation cannot be debated.
“It just means that the numbers are going to be bigger than have previously been discussed. It means that the challenges and negotiations with the interested parties are probably going to be a little bit more intense because it’s more at stake,” Orr said. “There’s more money on the table. There is more attention. Our revenue projections are precarious.”
He said historically for instance some of the way the city has budgeted, taken on a debt to try to make a balance budget while deferring payments with some obligations to make for financial shortfalls did not help matters.
“When I say it’s worse than expected, if the city were to try to run and meet its debt obligations on an ongoing forward basis- based on what it takes in revenue fees and other incomes and balance that against what it’s obligations are paid in the in the ordinary cause that would be very challenging,” Orr said.
The million-dollar question is whether the parties tied to the financial wellbeing of the city including labor, creditors and others can negotiate a plan or reach an agreement?
Orr when he was introduced to the public during a press conference with Gov. Snyder sounded a reconciliatory note saying he believes parties of good faith can negotiate in good faith.
Asked if he still believes that after Monday’s report is announced, he said yes.
“I really do and this is why I mentioned the financial operating plan. I’m going to be fully open with everything. That includes labor, debt holders, citizens, elected officials and the press. Let’s just get it all out there the best we can,” Orr said. “Nobody really can debate the numbers. They are what they are. The math is the math. So now the next step becomes what are we going to do about it. I’m assuming rational behavior that everybody wants to get the city to a position that is both on a sustainable path, a path for growth and a healthier going forward financial practice.”
Last Updated on Monday, 13 May 2013 11:15
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by by Dion Rabouin
As the class-action lawsuit known as Floyd v. New York begins to wind down after more than 30 days of testimony, citizens throughout New York City are waiting with baited breath for the outcome. It has attracted far fewer headlines in Detroit, but the final outcome of the case could affect the way police do business in every city in the country, particularly in communities of color where departments could assert the right to search African American and Latino youth simply for being African American and Latino youth.
The plaintiffs in Floyd, known by most as simply the "Stop and Frisk trial," argue that the NYPD's policy of stopping people on the street and searching them is nothing more than racial profiling and the raw data behind the case is almost impossible to argue.
Of the 530,000 people stopped and searched in New York in 2012, only 10 percent were white, and 89 percent of the stops did not lead to an arrest or even a citation, according to the police department's own data. The New York Civil Liberties Union studied the data and found that African American and Latino men between the ages of 14 and 24 make up just 4.7 percent of the city's population, but accounted for 41 percent of stop and frisks in 2011.
The city's stop and frisk program has been in place for years, but under recently retired Police Chief Joseph Esposito, who took over the department's top post in 2000, the NYPD's stops have increased by 600 percent.
In spite of massive and ever mounting evidence, the NYPD has insisted that stop and frisk does not constitute racial profiling, because it targets communities based on where crimes are happening, not race.
"Who's doing those shootings?" said Esposito during his testimony in the Floyd trial. "It's young men of color in their late teens, early 20s."
NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly took it a step further during a recent interview with ABC's "Nightline," saying that, in fact, African Americans aren't being stopped enough.
"About 70 percent to 75 percent of the people described as committing violent crimes – assault, robbery, shootings, grand larceny are described as being African American," he said. "The percentage of people who are stopped is 53 percent African American, so really, African Americans are being 'understopped.'"
Kelly, Esposito and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who are all named as defendants in the Floyd case, have argued that stop and frisk is getting guns off the streets and saving lives in the city, and they've got the numbers to back up their position.
From 2000 to 2009 New York's homicide rate went from 8.9 murders per 100,000 people to 5.8 per 100,000, and in 2012 New York recorded 414 homicides, the city's lowest murder total since 1963.
In 2011, 770 guns were recovered across the city during frisks. That amounts to a 30 percent increase over 2003, when 594 guns were recovered. Esposito has asserted during the trial that crime in New York is down 40 percent in the last 12 years and 80 percent in the last 20.
Bloomberg has also touted a murder rate that he says has been cut in half since he took over as mayor.
"I think the effectiveness of the program is shown in the fact that under the Bloomberg decade, we've had a 51 percent decrease in murders in the city," he told CBS News in March.
Those results have garnered the begrudging support of people like Rev. Vernon Williams, a 54-year-old Harlem preacher affectionately known as O.G. or Pastor On Deck (P.O.D. for short).
Williams has served as president of the Harlem Clergy Community Leaders Coalition and Perfect Peace Ministries and says he has personally turned in 12 guns to law enforcement and been responsible for a total of 26 firearms being taken off the street as well as two bulletproof vests and an assault rifle.
He admits the policy is not perfect, but in his opinion it's working.
"There are problems with [stop and frisk]," he says. "I, as a Black man, have definite problems with that, but what you got? You got something better? Because if it gets 1 percent of those guns off the street, OK that's one gun that's not gonna kill nobody."
The revered knows about the streets from his past life. He admits to being a former drug dealer and member of the Black Spades street gang in his youth, which led to 10 years in prison for various crimes. Today he's known for visiting neighborhood youth at the Ella McQueen Juvenile Detention Center and Rikers Island Correctional Facility to mentor them and try to offer a different path
"Our young people, in the black and the Latino community, are at war," he says. "That's the reality. So, uncertain times call for stringent measures."
Though the Atlanta Police Department is not required to submit records on stops or the people it detains, the arrest record of Blacks in the city speaks to much the same racial divide as New York's.
A grand total of five white children under age 16 were arrested by the Atlanta Police Department from January to March of this year. During that same period there were 209 arrests of black children in the same age group. For those over the age of 17, the pattern of arrests follows the same archetype. In the first three months of 2013, APD reported arresting 6,242 black men and women 17 or older. There were a reported 1,000 whites arrested during that time – 84 percent less.
The same trend existed throughout 2012. More than six times as many blacks (28,238) than whites (4,622) were arrested by APD, according to the department's publicly accessible arrest files. The statistic is particularly conspicuous considering African Americans make up only 54 percent of the City of Atlanta's population.
Even though the APD's manual states, "Officers must have a particularized and objective basis for suspecting [a] particular person detained of criminal activity," young Black men being stopped for something like "fitting the description" isn't uncommon, according to some of the city's activists.
"It is something that police have been doing all the time," said Mawuli Mel Davis, a criminal defense lawyer who works with young people of color in Atlanta. "They've been profiling young African-American and Hispanic males and they have found a way to pull people over and to stop them and to pat them down and try to arrest them and whatnot."
APD spokesman Carlos A. Campos would not comment on the department's stance on stop and frisk, but he says that it's the department's policy to adhere to the code of the police handbook, which state that officers may stop or detain an individual only when "they have articulable facts that lead them to believe criminal activity is occurring."
While individuals in New York City are assumed to have the same protections, under stop and frisk that has not been the case. Walking down the street has become reasonable suspicion for anyone with black or brown skin in the city. Whistleblowers from within the NYPD have even come forward to detail the racism inherent in the policy.
"I was extremely bothered with what I was seeing out there," testified Officer Adhyl Polanco. "The racial profiling, the arresting people for no reason, being called to scenes that I did not observe a violation and being forced to write a summons that I didn't observe."
Polanco and officers Adrian Schoolcraft and Pedro Serrano are all witnesses for the plaintiffs in the Floyd lawsuit.
Residents of New York City interviewed by the Daily World almost unanimously told the same story.
"Pretty much about 100 percent of my kids have been stopped and frisked, both boys and girls" says Sarah Moore, a teacher at New York's Bronx Guild High School. "The vast majority have just [said], I was walking in the subway or I was visiting my grandmother in her building."
Moore teaches in the same Bronx neighborhood where Amadou Diallo, a 23-year-old unarmed black man, was shot at 41 times by police officers in front of his apartment building and killed. It's an area that is home to towering housing projects like Carol Gardens and the James Monroe Houses.
"I feel like when the cops are around, something's gonna happen," says Angel Cora, a 17 year old student in Moore's class. "When I walk by myself, it's happened once, but when I'm in a group cops always slow down their car or they'll actually come out the car and question us."
Over and over and over, residents of communities like Soundview – from East Flatbush, Brownsville and Cypress Hills in Brooklyn to Hunts Point in The Bronx to the Drew Hamilton and Harlem River Houses and Polo Grounds Towers in Harlem – echoed that story, saying that they have been stopped and frisked for doing nothing more than standing or sitting outside their homes. It happens, most say, on a regular basis.
"The public, the media, the NYPD itself makes it feel like it's plausible, like you have to take it, you have to accept it," says Michael Boone, who lives near the Drew Hamilton Housing projects in Harlem. "A lot of people in this community don't like to speak out for their rights because they're so scared, because police make you do that, they make you feel scared. It's not even about protecting the innocent anymore. They're making everybody feel like they're a target or a suspect. I can say people are kind of used to it but they're not happy with it."
While it's hardly an apples to apples comparison, reductions in crime surpassing those seen in New York were recorded in Atlanta during the same period without the stop and frisk policy.
Between 2001 and 2009 the crime rate in Atlanta dropped by 40 percent, homicide fell 57 percent, and violent rapes were down 72 percent. Violence overall decreased 55 percent, according to the FBI. Atlanta's improvement even surpassed the national trend.
There's also an unquantifiable byproduct of enhanced policing techniques like stop and frisk.
"When it first started happening, I used to get mad," says Cora. "Like, why? Cause I'm dressing a certain way or something? But then I just learned to get used to it. It don't bother me no more."
The ubiquity of police and the frequency of the stops have seemed to create a dispirited acquiescence among teenagers like Cora. But is that what New York City wants or exactly what it should be afraid of?
"A whole generation of young people are growing up believing that society believes they're criminals," says Moore, "and that's sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy."
Last Updated on Friday, 10 May 2013 11:24
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