Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
LANSING (WWJ) - Ahead of a historic vote in Lansing on legislation that would make Michigan the nation’s 24th right-to-work state, Governor Rick Snyder told WWJ Newsradio 950 it’s all about freedom of choice for workers and bringing new jobs to the state.
Speaking live on-air Tuesday morning, Snyder said the Senate will pass the legislation and he plans to sign it when it reaches his desk.
“I believe it will pass. The house will take up two bills, one for the public sector and one for the private sector, and they should pass those bills today. The bills likely wouldn’t arrive at my desk until the following day,” he said.
Governor Rick Snyder
The bottom line in passing the legislation, Snyder said, is giving workers the opportunity to join a union if they please, instead of forcing them to join.
“The point here is to give workers a choice, it’s their freedom to choose. And I encourage unions to be very proactive as to presenting the right value case as to why it’s good to join and when they do, I would expect that people do join… That’s the main point here is worker choice, freedom to choose,” he said. “It’s good for workers to have a choice. They can decide if they see value or not and should their dollars go to the union or not based on seeing that value.”
Snyder said research shows that right-to-work laws have brought new and better jobs in states where they’re enacted.
“Michigan is not unique in doing this. Twenty-three other states are right-to-work states and they’ve been fast growing, in terms of their economic growth in relationship to other states… If you look at Indiana, Indiana’s had at least 30 companies accept offers from the Indiana Academic Development Corporation since they did this in February that are bringing thousands of good jobs to Indiana. And we could use those jobs here in Michigan,” he said.
And more jobs in Michigan is something Snyder said will benefit all the state’s residents.
“This is about more and better jobs coming to Michigan because a lot of companies do look at this as a major factor in their analysis. We’ll then be more competitive as a state and that’s good for all of us. It’s good for workers and good for unions, because it gives them more of an opportunity to grow themselves,” he said.
The Republican-dominated Legislature rapidly pushed right-to-work legislation through the House and Senate in a single day last week, but Snyder says the issue wasn’t rushed and that the discussion has been very active in terms of citizen involvement.
“Freedom to choose and right-to-work have been out there for a long time. There’s been lots of discussion on it and in the last couple of weeks, you couldn’t go anywhere in Michigan without hearing this discussion just about. So, there’s been lots of time for citizens to contact legislators and share their feelings,” he said.
And many citizens have been sharing their feeling about right-to-work, especially concerning the exemption of police and fire from the law.
“Police and fire, there’s a unique history there and that was part of the research we did, to show that because of the nature of their work, the dangerous nature, it’s important that they have a particular bond. And so, this was one that, just to be on the conservative side of it, we recognize that and so the legislature is really going forward including other areas and not these areas,” said Snyder.
So, if everything goes as Snyder plans, when can citizens expect to see a change?
“Over the course of next year, I think we’ll start seeing a difference in terms of how this works. The legislation itself would take effect probably later in March, assuming it gets signed this week. So, it will move forward but I’m confident we’ll start getting interest from companies looking at Michigan much more seriously in adding us to their list of states to consider when they want to expand,” said Snyder.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 December 2012 08:55
Category: News Briefs Written by Matt Roush, WWJ
FARMINGTON HILLS — Real estate sales in the Detroit area posted another monthly gain in November compared to November 2011, and prices jumped even faster.
The number of sales in the 10-county region for the month was 5,506 in November, up 7.2 percent from 5,134 in November 2011. And the median sale price was $87,550, up 25.1 percent from $70,000 in the same month a year earlier.
And the sales growth came entirely in non-foreclosure transactions, which grew 18.3 percent to 3,682, from 3,112 a year earlier. Foreclosure sales in the region fell 9.8 percent to 1,824 from 2,022 a year earlier.
Homes are also selling faster, with the average days a home spent on the market before selling falling to 74 in November, from 89 days in November 2011. And the number of homes on the market fell to 23,829, down 18.4 percent from 29,209 a year earlier. Of that inventory, 12.5 percent of homes, or 2,972, are identified as foreclosure sales, and 21 percent, or 4,917, are identified as short sales.
By counties and the city of Detroit within the region, sales for November were as follows:
City of Detroit: 278 foreclosure sales, down 0.7 percent from 280 a year earlier. 175 non-foreclosure sales, down 9.3 percnet from 193 a year earlier. Median sale price on foreclosure sales, $8,375, up 9.7 percent from $7,635 a year earlier. Median sale price on non-foreclosure sales, $14,000, down 12.5 percent from $16,000 a year earlier.
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Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 December 2012 13:57
Category: Breaking News Written by The Huffington Post
Grosse Pointe businessman Bob Bashara was sentenced to 80 to 240 months in prison today for admitting he tried to arrange the jailhouse killing of his handyman, Joseph Gentz. It's the latest twist in a bizarre murder mystery that has gripped Metro Detroit throughout 2012.
Bashara has long been regarded by police as a person of interest in the death of his wife, Jane Bashara, who was found strangled in her car in January. It had been left in an alley on the east side of Detroit.
Gentz confessed to the woman's murder and said that Bob Bashara paid him to do it. Gentz is now facing first-degree murder and conspiracy charges in her death.
Bashara has not been charged in the murder of his wife. But he is headed to prison anyway, after admitting to police that he paid Steve Tibaudo, a local furniture and appliance store owner, to hire a hit man to kill Joseph Gentz.
Tibaudo was wearing a wire from the police, and recorded Bashara asking for his help in finding someone to complete the hit. Bashara also paid him $2,000 of the promised $20,000 contract, according to MLive.
Bashara also asked for a receipt after leaving the down payment.
In October, Bashara told the court, "In June of 2012, I foolishly and regrettably offered to pay Steve Tibaudo to find someone to kill Joseph Gentz," according to Grosse Pointe Patch.
Neighbors of the commercial property Bashara owns, which holds Grosse Pointe's Hard Luck Lounge, told reporters that they had seen Bashara and other darkly-dressed visitors entering a basement apartment in the building. Sources told news outlets earlier this year that Bashara was operating a "sex dungeon."
Last Updated on Monday, 10 December 2012 12:13
Category: Breaking News Written by The Huffington Post
WASHINGTON -- Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) met with Democrats in Michigan's congressional delegation on Monday morning on the controversial "right to work" bill being fast-tracked by the GOP-controlled state legislature.
Sen. Carl Levin, along with Reps. Hansen Clarke, Jon Conyers, Dave Curson, John Dingell, Sander Levin and Gary Peters, were in the meeting, according to a congressional aide involved. Rep.-elect Dan Kildee also attended.
After the meeting with Snyder, the Democratic lawmakers held a press conference. Levin said they had urged the governor to veto the right-to-work bill or at least ask the legislature to delay its Tuesday vote on it. Snyder told them he would "seriously" consider their concerns, Levin said.
Michigan is set to become the 24th right-to-work state, after Republican lawmakers rushed through legislation on the issue. Michigan's rules require that the House and Senate wait five days before voting on each other's bills. The legislature is set to reconvene on Tuesday, when it is expected to approve final passage of the right-to-work legislation. Snyder could sign it the same day. Thousands of union supporters protested at the state capitol in Lansing last week, and more protests are expected in the coming days.
Right-to-work legislation would ban automatic payroll deductions of union dues. Supporters say workers who don't want to belong to a union shouldn't be forced to pay dues. Opponents, however, point out that these non-payers will reap the benefits of a unionized workplace without paying their fair share.
"What this is really about is defunding unions," said Steve Cook, president of Michigan Education Association, on Friday. "They're attacking the collective bargaining process. They want to force unions to basically have to provide services, benefits and the protections to non-members who will not pay a penny for them. It defunds unions. It cripples unions."
While labor officials acknowledge there is little they can do to stop the bill from becoming law at this point, unions are essentially declaring an all-out war on politicians who back right to work -- including raising the possibility of recalling them from office, as was attempted in Wisconsin.
"They've awakened a sleeping giant," United Auto Workers President Bob King told the Associated Press. "Not just union members. A lot of regular citizens, non-union households, realize this is a negative thing."
President Barack Obama is in Detroit on Monday for a speech on the so-called fiscal cliff, and he is expected to weigh in on right to work.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) also weighed in on the issue on Monday, illustrating the increased national attention the battle is receiving.
“This is a blatant attempt by Michigan Republicans to assault the collective bargaining process and undermine the standard of living it has helped foster," he said in a statement. "This effort continues a dangerous trend set by Republican-led state legislatures across the nation, and it is another instance of the Tea Party needlessly sowing division and setting Republicans' economic agenda. Elected officials, labor leaders and business leaders can and should work towards the common goals of job creation, improving our economy and strengthening middle-class families. But this partisan power grab is a setback to prospects for compromise."
When asked for comment about the meeting, Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel told The Huffington Post, "It's just part of his commitment to being a good listener and having continued, open dialogue and building working relationships even when and where there are issues of disagreement. They expressed their concerns and views and the Governor did as well."
Last Updated on Monday, 10 December 2012 12:05
Category: Breaking News Written by Kia Makarechi, thehuffingtonpost
Beyonce has signed a $50 million deal with Pepsi, The New York Times reports. The agreement includes traditional promotional appearances and a new commercial, but also the beverage company's investment in a number of the singer's creative projects.
Pepsi's move is in line with a trend toward content creation as advertisers seek new inroads into the music business and labels' marketing budgets continue to decline. Red Bull -- through its Red Bull Music Academy and Red Bull Media House -- has been funding original content for some time now, as have Scion and Converse.
Beyonce will appear in a new TV spot for Pepsi, a brand she has been involved with since 2002. Her previous ads have included Britney Spears, P!NK, Jennifer Lopez and David Beckham. She's also performing at the Super Bowl halftime show, which is sponsored by Pepsi.
Billboard notes that Pepsi and rival Coca-Cola are the biggest players in advertisements that touch on music. The two companies have spent over $330 million on campaigns involving entertainment and sports figures. The Times notes that both brands each spent $148 million on domestic advertising in the first six months of 2012.
Jay-Z and Beyonce were the highest-paid celebrity couple of the year. Beyonce earned $40 million to Jay-Z's $38 million.
The "Love on Top" singer's face will also appear on a limited edition run of Pepsi cans. Other artist recently featured by the brand include One Direction and Nicki Minaj.
Last Updated on Monday, 10 December 2012 11:35
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) – Instead of complaining about conditions in their neighborhood, a group of Denby High School students decided to do something about it.
The students behind this effort believe a few people can make a big difference and they’re proving it.
As a result of this two-day effort there are stacks and stacks of tires, lining the street and waiting to be picked up on Monday and recycled.
Those tires once littered the neighborhood.
Former Denby teacher William Pointer is lending a hand to clean up the neighborhood.
“I believe our students are our resource that is probably our most precious. (It’s) not the finances, not the money but the actual people that we have in our community. I think that when our students inspire each other they help to inspired the adults also,” Pointer said to WWJ’s Terri Lee.
The students worked two days to clean up a six block area on Detroit’s east side.
This is the same neighborhood where the bodies of two young women were found in a burned out car.
Student government president Randy Grier and his friend Angela Kilgore are behind the clean-up effort.
“Transform this entire community into just a better place and make it safer and more beautiful and more green and all-round a better place,” she said.
Kilgore said that she hopes other people in blighted areas will stop complaining about the neighborhoods and do something about it.
“It’s been like this for a while and we need to bring it back to what it was,” said Grier. “When I was little, when I used to live here … it was way better than this.”
Last Updated on Monday, 10 December 2012 09:49
Category: News Briefs Written by thehuffingtonpost
It's time for Motown's Jewish community to get out the menorahs and get ready for a heap of Hanukkah happenings. Saturday marks the first night of the eight-day Jewish holiday and Detroiters have several events they can attend in the city this year.
Hanukkah, also known as the festival of lights, commemorates an ancient Jewish miracle that, according to tradition, allowed a one-day supply of oil to burn for eight days in Israel during the time of the Maccabees. The holiday is celebrated with a special candelabra called a menorah that is lit each night of the festival.
Two public menorah lightings will be held in Detroit during this year's festival. The first of these, sponsored by Shalom Wayne, Hillel of Metro Detroit, will take place on Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. on Wayne State University's campus at 5221 Gullen Mall. The Shul, a West Bloomfield congregation that sponsored last year's downtown menorah lighting ceremony, will also be returning to host their second annual "Super Big Menorah Lighting in the D." The Dec. 12 event will begin at 5:30 at Campus Martius and will feature hot soup, donuts and several fun Hanukkah activities.
Last Updated on Monday, 10 December 2012 09:39
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
METRO DETROIT (WWJ) – A union activist and Highland Park school board member has filed a lawsuit against right-to-work legislation, claiming violation of the Open Meetings Act.
Robert Davis, along with other protesters, were kept from entering the state capitol after Michigan State Police barred the doors.
Davis says under the Open Meetings Act — all meetings of the Michigan House of Representatives should be open unless there are cases of civil disobedience or disturbance of the peace.
“Individuals across the state have not had an opportunity to voice their concerns or address the legislature as a body as it relates to their individual concerns over this very destructive legislation,” said Davis.
A spokesman for Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger, calls the lawsuit “baseless and frivolous.”
While in Dearborn, Saturday, special training was held to focus on ‘learning to protest’ in preparation for thousands of union members heading to Lansing on Tuesday to let lawmakers know how they feel about right-to-work legislation.
Members of the Michigan Nurses Association are among the unionized workers who will make the trip to the capital next week.
Registered nurse Katie Oppenheim describes it as a “travesty for our state, we are …the bedrock of labor in this country, to see the state go in this direction.
“This is about our ability to safely take care of our patients because we have enough rest, because we have the right equipment, having collective bargaining just helps level the playing field.”
Oppenheim predicts estimates of 7,000 union workers descending on the capital next week as “low.”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 December 2012 13:58
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) – Just a little over two weeks before Christmas, drivers are getting to keep a little more money in their pockets.
According to gasoline price website DetroitGasPrices.com, average retail gas prices in Detroit have fallen 6.5 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.38 per gallon on Sunday. This compares with the national average of $3.34 per gallon, falling 4.8 cents per gallon in the last week.
Including the change in gas prices in Detroit during the past week, prices on Sunday were 7.6 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and 8.7 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 12.2 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 5.5 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.
“The national average has continued to see a steady decline over the last week, and that trend will likely continue through this week at the very least,” said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. “Last week, the Energy Information Administration reported one of the largest single week increases in gasoline inventories in my recent memory, which will likely contribute downward pressure to wholesale gasoline prices in the days and perhaps weeks ahead,” DeHaan said.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 December 2012 14:00
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
LANSING (WWJ) – Some unions say they’re not waiting until Tuesday’s planned mass protest in Lansing to voice their opinion about right-to-work legislation.
The Michigan Nurses Association is among those planning to protest on the steps of the state Capitol today — with duct tape covering their mouths. Why the duct tape? The group says passing that bill will effectively silence workers across the state.
State Police, meanwhile, say road closures are planned around the Michigan Capitol ahead of anticipated protests about right-to-work legislation.
Police say one road on the west side of the Capitol in Lansing will be closed to vehicle and foot traffic on Monday. And on Tuesday, state police say the city of Lansing plans to close several other area roads to vehicle traffic and parking starting at 6 a.m.
State police say they’ll be “strictly enforcing” rules for use of the state Capitol.
“All of the measures we are taking at the Capitol are to ensure the safety of those working and conducting business in the Capitol and the surrounding state buildings,” stated Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP. “Our responsibility includes safeguarding the Constitutional rights of those attempting to petition their legislators, and enforcing these rules allows us to provide a safe forum for everyone.”
Some of the rules that will be enforced include:
· Hours of Operation (interior of Capitol): Visiting hours for the public are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. When either house of the legislature or a legislative committee is in session prior to 8 a.m. or after 5 p.m., or on Saturday, Sunday or a holiday, the building shall be open to the public 30 minutes before commencement of the session and closed 30 minutes after adjournment of the Senate, House of Representatives, or legislative committee.
· Hours of Operation (Capitol grounds): Events or exhibits on the Capitol grounds shall occur between the hours of 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. on a daily basis, and shall at no time block any entrance or exit of the building, or impede free access to the building by its occupants or the public. When either house of the legislature or legislative committee is in session prior to 6 a.m. or after 11:00 p.m., the grounds shall be open 30 minutes before commencement of the session and closed 30 minutes after adjournment of the Senate, House of Representatives, or legislative committee.
· Public use of the Capitol shall not interfere with any legislative session or the conduct of public business by agencies of the State which normally occupy and use the Capitol, and shall not affect the safety and well-being of the individuals conducting the work of these agencies.
· In case of a fire, bomb threat, utility malfunction, structural failure or other unforeseen emergency or threat endangering public safety or health, the Executive Director of the Michigan Capitol Committee or Capitol security may lock the Capitol at any time and require that entrances be used only as a means of egress in case of emergency. A person shall not enter or attempt to enter through an entrance which is closed pursuant to these conditions until the emergency is over.
· Hand-carried signs and signs on handsticks are not allowed in the public areas inside the Capitol.
· Posting or affixing signs, announcements, or other documents on any exterior or interior wall, ceiling, floor, door, window or other surface of the public areas of the Capitol not designed for that purpose is prohibited. Stickers, labels, tape, or any other adhesive material that might leave a residue or otherwise damage interior or exterior surfaces of the Capitol, including porches, stairs, statuary, monuments, light wells, fences and trees is also prohibited. Likewise, tacks, nails, staples or other attachments may not be used.
· No sound amplifying equipment (including whistles, drums, bull horns, etc.) may be used whose sound level interferes with any legislative session or the conduct of public business by agencies of the State which occupy or use the Capitol.
· Camping or sleeping overnight on the Capitol grounds is not allowed. Sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, and similar bedding items will not be permitted in the Capitol building.
· Packages and briefcases suspected of concealing stolen items or contraband may be inspected. Items being brought into the Capitol may be inspected if suspected to be capable of destructive or disruptive use within the building.
· Proper identification of all employees and any other visitor may be requested at any time after normal working hours. If the facility is closed during an emergency, access may be denied for the duration of the emergency.
· A person who refuses to adhere to any of these conditions is subject, in addition to criminal penalties provided by law, to immediate removal from the Capitol building or grounds, or both, by the Executive Director of the Michigan Capitol Committee, Capitol security, the Legislative Council Facilities Agency (LCFA) Director, or any other person designated by the LCFA Director.
The full procedures for the use of the public areas of the Michigan State Capitol can be found here.
Last Updated on Monday, 10 December 2012 09:18
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