Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle
The newly created Michigan Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Governing Board held an orientation workshop today and began their work to coordinate public transportation across the City of Detroit and throughout Macomb, Oakland, Wayne and Washtenaw counties.
The ten-member board will develop a single master transit plan for the region, establish policies to coordinate service between existing transit providers, become eligible for federal and state funding, and ultimately develop bus rapid transit service via four main corridors.
“A comprehensive and modern public transit system will help set the groundwork for a sound and efficient infrastructure - attracting jobs and moving Michigan’s economy forward,” Governor Rick Snyder said. “With hard work and a collaborative effort between the community, elected leaders and many organizations, regional transit can become the backbone that supports our economic revival.”
After several decades and 23 failed legislative attempts, the governor signed legislation late last year establishing the RTA. Southeast Michigan had been the largest metropolitan area in the country without a high capacity rapid transit service, and without public transit service to its major airport.
RTA Governing Board:
Governor’s Representative: Paul Hillegonds, Chairman
City of Detroit: Lisa Franklin
Macomb County: Julie Gatti, Roy Rose
Oakland County: Steven Potter, Matthew Wirgau
Washtenaw County: Elisabeth Gerber, Richard Murphy
Wayne County: Mark Gaffney, Dr. Curtis Ivery
“Safe, reliable and coordinated transit will allow Metro Detroit to compete for federal dollars, new businesses, and young professionals that can choose to live anywhere,” said Board Chairman Paul Hillegonds. “The RTA’s work will help the region’s four million residents remain in their communities while improving access to their workplace, education, entertainment and services.”
Last Updated on Friday, 29 March 2013 08:47
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Britney Spear
As Michigan's new emergency manager and right-to-work laws both kicked in on March 28, Detroit protesters took to the streets to voice their opposition to the new legislation.
On Thursday, National Action Network founder Al Sharpton announced the filing of a lawsuit challenging the legality of Public Act 436, the new EM law that gives state-appointed managers expanded powers, WDIV-TV reports.
Sharpton said that Detroit's opposition to an emergency manager was “a local issue but a national struggle,” according to the Detroit Free Press.
The state takeover of Detroit has inspired a series of demonstrations over the last few weeks, including a number of traffic slowdowns on local highways linked to convoys of anti-EM activists.
Last Updated on Friday, 29 March 2013 08:51
Category: News Briefs Written by CNN
HONG KONG (CNNMoney)
The India-based advertising agency that created artwork depicting women tied up in the back of a Ford has fired some of the employees responsible for the images.
The cartoonish drawings, produced by WPP unit JWT, were never part of a paid campaign. But they have struck a nerve as India institutes new rules to protect women following a series of high-profile gang rapes.
One of the images depicts Silvio Berlusconi, former prime minister of Italy, driving a Ford Figo with three tied-up women in the back. Another image depicts Paris Hilton driving a Figo with what's meant to be the three Kardashian sisters tied up in the back. A third image shows three male race-car drivers tied up in the back.
"After a thorough internal review, we have taken appropriate disciplinary action with those involved, which included the exit of employees at JWT," the company said in a statement. "These were necessary steps owing to the direct accountability of the concerned individuals as we work to ensure that both the right oversight and processes are strictly enforced so that this never happens again."
Deepa Sridhar, a spokesperson for JWT, declined to say how many employees had been fired. The ads were not published or seen by senior executives at WPP or Ford.
The incident has drawn apologies from all of the involved parties, including Ford.
"We deeply regret this incident and agree with our agency partners that it should have never happened," the automaker said earlier this week in a prepared statement. "The posters are contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency within Ford and our agency partners."
WPP also released a statement saying that it "deeply regret[s]" the existence of the "distasteful" posters.
Ford unveiled the Figo, a subcompact, in 2009 to be produced in India and exported to other Asian countries and Africa.
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 March 2013 00:57
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Britney Spear, Regional Content Editor
Kwame Kilpatrick is pulling out all the stops to get out of jail, at least temporarily. His latest attempt, however has failed.
The ex-mayor's request for release on bond until sentencing has been denied by a federal court judge. U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds made the decision, citing Kilpatrick's criminal record and a history of problems adhering to parole conditions.
Kilpatrick asked to be removed from custody so that he can seek medical treatment for a knee injury. His attorney, James Thomas revealed in court documents that he feels his client has not received adequate treatment for his injury while incarcerated at Milan Detention Center. Thomas also reiterated that Kilpatrick has no money, is not a flight risk and poses no threat of danger to society.
In an attempt to appeal to the court's favor, Kilpatrick's mother and former U.S. Representative Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick offered as collateral her Detroit home to guarantee her son will report to court for sentencing.
Kilpatrick currently awaits sentencing following his Mar. 11 conviction by a federal jury on multiple counts including racketing and conspiracy.
Follow Britney Spear @MissBritneySp
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 March 2013 00:22
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Britney Spear, Regional Content Editor
It’s easy to get caught up in the constant talk of Detroit’s troubled finances, but not every part of the city is struggling. Downtown has experienced quite a boom with recent developments. But, what does that mean for Detroiters? Are residents getting a piece of the action?
The private sector continues to grow. Large corporations like Blue Cross Blue Shield, Quicken Loans and Warren-based firm Campbell Ewald are moving much of their employment base to the city’s center. Add in the anticipated downtown locations for Whole Foods and 7-11, and you’ll find that the city is on track to experience an economic resurgence. Will that equal more jobs for those living within the city limits?
In the midst of all the hoopla over a newly-appointed EFM, Detroit teeters on the verge of bankruptcy. It’s a situation juxtaposed with the auto industry’s recent announcement of record-breaking sales. A sector that knows all too well the reality of the city’s current condition, area car makers made a tremendous turnaround from their their state just before the 2009 federal bailout.
Many residents now feel that Detroit represents “a tale of two cities.” On one side, promise and prosperity. On the other, desperation and despair. Undoubtedly a standout case, Detroit reflects the cross-country dilemma of a struggling public sector. What’s happening in the private realm appears far away from the realities of most ordinary citizens. As the city struggles to maintain providing essential resources to its residents, private companies contemplate opening a new coffee shop, boutique or eatery. While a hopeful climate for area businesses, the city’s financial hardships extend from average Detroiters up to local government.
The situation might appear grim, yet some remain encouraged to think of the glass as half full as opposed to half empty.
“More businesses moving into the city means more jobs,” said George Jackson, president and CEO of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.
The DEGC is a non-profit organization that works closely with the City of Detroit and other partners to support existing businesses and to bring new companies and investments to the city. While Jackson eagerly anticipates the prosperity coming to Detroit, he also acknowledges a growing concern among the city’s residents.
“The problem is that the current workforce doesn’t have the skills required for what’s available,” he said. “A large segment of the population isn’t prepared to take advantage of the opportunities.”
Jackson believes training funds must be better utilized to help people prepare for permanent jobs:
“We must work with employers to find out what they need, and be ready to train individuals to fill those positions.”
Not all of the jobs coming to the city require a four-year education. We now live in an economic era where technical and vocational opportunities abound. Taking advantage of non-traditional programs has become the quickest route to getting a job, and one that pays well. Jackson recognizes it has become increasingly important for our educational system to prepare students for the fastest growing fields.
Community colleges have served as a breeding ground for talent trained in technical and vocational careers. There are several opportunities available in areas like IT, manufacturing and healthcare. Encouraging students to train for these fields will better help them to compete in the current economy. While Jackson acknowledges that two-year schools are currently doing a “great” job, he expressed that funding must be better allocated so that more individuals can utilize such opportunities. Creating a real connection between job seekers and employers is the key to helping the community tap into the economic boost. Jackson addressed the downfall of our educational system as an area of primary concern.
“Our schools must have a vocational track,” he said. “Some of the jobs available require degrees, but some do not. The big question is, do we have the skills required and is Detroit’s available workforce prepared?”
With the possibility of major store chains and big business coming to Detroit, George Jackson looks forward to an expanding economic front and its many possible benefits. He expects these new ventures will be successful, and serve as a major boost to the city’s economy.
“We’re going to soon witness something in Detroit that we haven’t seen before,” he said.
Granted, the local community faces unique changes. However, it’s important that residents remain excited about what’s to come and focus on taking the required steps to strengthen their ability to take advantage of upcoming opportunities.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 17:27
Category: News Briefs Written by Huffington Post
Lovers of Detroit architecture, mark Thursday on your calendars. That's the day when members of Whitney Partners LLC, accompanied by Gov. Rick Snyder, will kick off the reconstruction of the city's historic David Whitney building.
The structure, completed in 1915, was designed by architect Daniel Burnham, who helped build Chicago's Montauk Building, one of the world's earliest skyscrapers.
To read story in full visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/26/whitney-building-detroit_n_2958354.html?utm_hp_ref=detroit-development
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 14:07
Category: Main News Written by CNN
Los Angeles (CNN) -- Dionne Warwick, one of the most recognizable pop voices of 1960s, filed for bankruptcy last week citing more than $10 million in tax debt dating back to 1991.
Warwick, 72, made hits out of many Burt Bacharach and Hal David songs and won five Grammys in a 50-year career is down. But the singer is down her last $1,000 in cash and only owns furniture and clothing worth $1,500, according to the Chapter 7 filing in New Jersey.
The bankruptcy documents filed in New Jersey last Thursday outline a sad financial situation for Warwick, the aunt of Whitney Houston.
Along with $7 million in federal IRS debt, Warwick said she owes more than $3 million to the state of California in franchise taxes. Another $500,000 is owed to a lawyer and a business manager, the filing said.
Warwick's total assets are worth just $25,500, mostly because of two fur coats and two sets of diamond earrings valued at $13,000, the documents showed. She also claimed clothing worth $5,000, art worth $5,000 and furniture valued at $15,500.
Warwick recently took a credit card debt management class, it said, perhaps relating to a $20,000 Visa debt.
Her annual income was listed at just $20,950, although she is eligible for a pension from the SAG/AFTRA union, the filing said. Warwick listed her employment with Star Girl Productions, an entertainment management company.
She has been touring in recent months, singing her hits for fans in Europe and South America, according to her website.
Warwick's success began in in 1962 with "Don't Make Me Over," followed by 18 consecutive Top 100 singles.
Other Bacharach/David classics include "Walk on By," "Anyone Who Had a Heart," "Message to Michael," "Promises Promises," "A House is Not a Home," "Alfie," "Say a Little Prayer," "This Girl's in Love With You," "I'll Never Fall in Love Again," "Reach Out For Me," and the theme from "Valley of the Dolls."
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 15:15
Category: News Briefs Written by CNN
Washington (CNN) -- The Supreme Court agreed Monday to confront another high-profile challenge to affirmative action in college admissions.
The justices will decide the constitutionality of a voter referendum in Michigan banning race- and sex-based discrimination or preferential treatment in public university admission decisions.
The high court is currently deciding a separate challenge to admissions policies at the University of Texas, which did not involve a voter referendum.
A federal appeals court last year concluded the affirmative action ban, which Michigan voters passed in a 2006 referendum, violated the U.S. Constitution's equal protection laws.
It was the latest step in a legal and political battle over whether the state's colleges can use race and gender as a factor in choosing which students to admit. The ban's opponents say classroom diversity remains a necessary government role.
"We think this is a tremendous victory for the tens and hundreds of thousands of students who fought for affirmative action for decades," said Michigan attorney George Washington when the 6th Circuit ruling came out in November. He represents the By Any Means Necessary coalition that sued to overturn the ban.
"This is a tremendous day for black and Latino students in the entire country," Washington added.
The office of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette will defend the ban when oral arguments are held in the fall.
The ban "embodies the fundamental premise of what America is all about: equal opportunity under the law," Schuette said. "Entrance to our great universities must be based upon merit."
The law was passed seven years ago with support of 58% of voters. It was added to the state's constitution, and bars publicly funded colleges from granting "preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin."
That prompted a series of lawsuits and appeals from various groups.
Michigan voters approved the ban after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that while Michigan universities could use race as a factor in choosing which students to admit, they could not make race the determining factor in deciding whether applicants are accepted
The referendum effort was led by Jennifer Gratz, who was at the center of the high court case. As a white student, she was put on the waiting list for undergraduate admission to the state's largest university. She eventually attended another school, and became the lead plaintiff in a subsequent discrimination lawsuit.
After the Supreme Court's 2003 decision, she began a public campaign to end racial preferences in admissions.
The Michigan ban also prohibits the state from considering race and gender in public hiring and public contracting decisions. But the current high court case deals only with the college admissions portion.
Efforts over decades to create a diverse classroom have been controversial. The Brown v. Board of Education high court ruling in 1954 ended segregation of public schools, but sparked nationwide protests and disobedience by states who initially refused to integrate.
In the 1978 Bakke case, the Supreme Court ruled universities have a compelling state interest in promoting diversity, and that allows for the use of affirmative action. That issue involved a discrimination claim by a white man denied admission to law school.
Opinion: Chief justice out to end affirmative action
The Supreme Court is now considering whether the University of Texas' admissions practices aimed at creating campus diversity violate the rights of some white applicants. Arguments were held in October and a written ruling is pending.
The high court under Chief Justice John Roberts has made the issue a key part of its docket in recent years, and it could serve as a major legacy of the current conservative majority.
The justices in 2007 struck down public school choice plans in Seattle and Louisville, concluding race could not be a factor in the assignment of children to schools. Those school districts had sought to use raced-based criteria to achieve diversity.
The issue in recent years is whether and when affirmative action programs -- while constitutionally permissible now -- would eventually have to be phased out as the goal of obtaining diversity is met.
Now-retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor -- who wrote the key ruling a decade ago in the initial Michigan cases -- said, "The court expects that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today."
The justices are now being asked once again to decide whether Michigan's current policy meets that legal and social test.
The case is Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary (12-682).
Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 March 2013 10:16
Category: News Briefs Written by CNN Staff Writer
(CNN) -- The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on Tuesday and Wednesday about the constitutionality of two laws in the same-sex marriage debate. Tuesday's arguments deal with one of the laws: California's Proposition 8, which says marriage in that state is between a man and a woman. The high court's decision, expected later this year, could have a profound impact on the definition of families in America.
Here's the latest on Tuesday's arguments on California's Proposition 8:
Updated at 8:34 a.m. ET
Looks like Justice Kennedy will definitely be the one to watch today.
"What am I looking to? Justice Kennedy in his questioning," said California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom who, as San Francisco mayor in 2004, stoked controversy by ordering City Hall to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
He told CNN's "Starting Point" this morning that Kennedy would be key because he wrote the majority opinion in the 1996 case of Romer V. Evans in Colorado. The case dealt with Amendment 2, a Colorado initiative that banned state government from passing laws prohibiting discrimination against the LGBT community. The Supreme Court struck down the law in a 6-3 vote.
Updated at 8:15 a.m. ET
Protesters are braving temperatures in 30s outside the high court this morning to make their stand in the same-sex marriage debate. Rainbow flags are flapping next to American ones as demonstrators bundled in thick coats and scarves hold up banners reading "The nation is ready for Marriage Equality" and "Faith Alliance to preserve the sanctity of marriage as defined by God."
Updated at 7:55 a.m. ET
Today's oral arguments will focus on Proposition 8, a ballot initiative that was approved by California voters in a 52-48% vote in November 2008. The vote happened less than six months after the state Supreme Court ruled marriage was a fundamental right that must be extended to same-sex couples.
Its approval immediately ended same-sex marriages in the state, but opponents of the measure challenged it in court and have succeeded in convincing federal judges at the district and appellate levels to find the ban unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court will open its doors to the public and the media at 8 a.m. ET, two hours before oral arguments are scheduled to start.
Updated at 7:23 a.m. ET
The justice to keep an eye on is Anthony Kennedy, who may be the crucial fifth vote on either side, says CNN's senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
"I will be listening to what Justice Anthony Kennedy says," Toobin said about the oral arguments. The four Democratic appointees -- Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan -- will likely all vote for marriage equality.
"The most likely person to give the fifth vote is Anthony Kennedy," Toobin said.
Toobin likened the same-sex marriage argument to Loving v. Virginia, a landmark civil rights decision by the Supreme Court in 1967 that deemed laws prohibiting interracial marriages unconstitutional.
Posted at 7:11 a.m. ET
Supreme Court justices this morning will launch an epic dialogue when they hear oral arguments in the first of two appeals to state and federal laws restricting same-sex marriage.
The first round today will deal with an appeal of California's Proposition 8, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The second round, scheduled for tomorrow, will tackle the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and a constitutional appeal over same-sex marriage and "equal protection."
The arguments will start at 10 a.m. ET today, but don't expect a decision until at least June.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 March 2013 10:04
Category: News Briefs Written by Kirk Pinho, Crain's Detroit
Detroit business leaders and Mayor Dave Bing are expected to announce at 9 a.m. Monday an ambitious plan to provide badly needed equipment and vehicles — 23 EMS rigs and up to 100 patrol cars — for Detroit's beleaguered police and fire departments. Click Here to Read More.
Last Updated on Monday, 25 March 2013 09:19
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