Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel will attend an expansion celebration for Fori Automation Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. at Fori’s offices, 50955 Wing Drive in Shelby Township.
Fori is expanding as a global supplier of advanced manufacturing machinery. Success in diversifying beyond the automotive industry has resulted in a brand new building and the creation of good paying, sustainable jobs in southeast Michigan.
Also being announced is a new initiative to retain businesses in Macomb County developed by Hackel and the Macomb County Planning and Economic Development Department. Based on the principles of economic gardening, the initiative will expand services available for the nearly 18,000 businesses that drive Macomb’s economy.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 October 2012 10:18
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
ROCHESTER (WWJ) - A political rally on the campus of Oakland University Monday night. The speaker was Republican Vice Presidential hopeful Paul Ryan:
“The President told a television interviewer the other day on Uni-Vision that he can’t change Washington from the inside … isn’t that why we elect presidents in the first place? If he can’t change Washington, then we need to change presidents, we need to elect Mitt Romney the next president of the United States,” said Ryan.
Ryan was not the only star of the event on campus as the crowd cheered loudly when local favorite Kid Rock endorsed the GOP ticket.
“It is a little difficult to put myself in this position knowing that I might alienate a few fans, ” said Kid Rock as he introduced Paul Ryan. “But I really believe strongly that it’s okay to disagree on politics and the direction of our country without hating one another.”
While Kid Rock was lending his name and fame in support of Ryan, WWJ’s Beth Fisher asked students whether politics and entertainment mix? Fisher got mixed opinions on the subject from student on campus.
“He’s from Detroit and I listen to his music so I guess it would influence me a little,” said one woman.
But not everyone is influenced by the rocker’s appearance…
“He went out of his boundary … to go and be here today with him, I mean, that’s good for him and that’s good for Paul Ryan but … it would not influence me,” said another attendee.
Ryan told the 6,500 supporters that he and Romney want to earn their support. Ryan and Democrat Joe Biden debate on Thursday night.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 October 2012 09:37
Category: Breaking News Written by Jay Scott Smith , The Grio
DETROIT – The Detroit Police Officer’s Association has not been shy about expressing its anger with the proposed new contract that calls for a 10 percent pay cut and 12-hour shifts for officers. Last Saturday, they made their voices heard letting people know that they are entering the city “at their own risk.”
“The city is getting more dangerous,” said DPOA President Joe Duncan. “In fact, the only thing I know that’s going down in the city of Detroit is my paycheck and my (officers’) membership.”
The DPOA originally planned an “Enter At Your Own Risk” rally outside of Comerica Park prior to the Game 1 of the American League Division Series between the Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics. The officers changed their minds and instead passed out fliers urging people to vote in advance of two major ballot proposals, including Proposal 1, which will determine the fate of Public Act 4, Michigan’s controversial Emergency Manager Law.
The fliers, which had a baseball theme referencing Tigers’ third baseman Miguel Cabrera’s Triple Crown, warned visitors that the police department is “grossly understaffed” and that the city has the highest homicide rate in the country. In the last 10 years, the department has lost nearly half of its officers to resignations, layoffs, and retirements.
“Detroit Police Officers have made major league concessions in pensions, wages, and other benefits that have saved the city millions of dollars,” the flier said. “Detroit Police Officers are doing all they can to protect everyone despite the city’s less than bush league treatment.”
Violent crime has historically been an issue in Detroit, but 2012 has been an especially bloody year. The wrangling between the city and its officers has spilled into the streets over the past few months, with numerous rallies being held to stop the pay cuts and the workday increase.
In July, DPOA held a large rally outside of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center in protest of the contract changes, with the city’s fire fighters and EMS drivers standing in solidarity. Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, despite the wrangling, has insisted that public safety is still his top priority.
“For 38 months, there was no impact on public safety,” Bing said to theGrio on August 10. “Other employees had to take a 10 percent pay cut. There was a negative impact on their benefits, but never did it have an impact on public safety. But we now find ourselves in a situation because of the consent agreement, where we’ve got a revenue stream coming in and 65 percent of our budget is public safety.
“There’s no way we can balance our budget without touching (public safety).” Bing says that he doesn’t want to fire or lay off anyone in public safety, but every facet of the city must make sacrifices in order to make things work.
“People need to sit back and look at this from a long view,” Bing said. “Is it better to take a 10 percent pay cut, or not take it and lay off 500 to 800 officers? That’s not the direction that I want to go in. We’re trying as best we can to work with them because we need them. I still say that public safety is my number one priority for the city.”
On Monday, matters became further complicated with the resignation of Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee. Godbee, who had been at the helm for just two years, quit amidst a salacious sex scandal that broke last week involving an extramarital affair with Angelica Robinson, an Internal Affairs officer.
Godbee had been upfront in recent months about the department’s struggles with manpower and issues in dealing with violent crime in the city. There were even stretches where Godbee would patrol streets.
“He certainly had union contracts that were roadblocks,” Detroit City Councilman Gary Brown, a former Detroit Police Officer told the Detroit Free Press. “But once we signed the consent agreement, he then had the ability to go into those contracts, and we haven’t moved fast enough with regard to officers on the street.
“I think there was just a little too much complaining about the community not being involved, complaining about there not being enough money, and not holding the police department accountable for reducing crime.”
The DPOA holds steadfast to its stance that officers are underfunded and under appreciated in Detroit and will continue to protest the increases in hours and decreases in pay. Many members of the DPOA hierarchy were unavailable for comment on Monday because they started their 12-hour shifts.
“The men and women who work in public safety place their lives on the line every day, only to be treated like criminals,” said Duncan during the July 26 rally. “When will this administration make public safety a priority?
“When will it put their citizens first by providing their citizens the same protection provided by other communities? When will this administration understand that without public safety, Detroit will never turn around?”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 October 2012 09:29
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffingtonpost
WASHINGTON -– When Obama adviser David Plouffe walked into the spin room in Denver last week after the president's poor debate performance, there was little doubt that his boss had just stumbled badly.
But Plouffe spent the better part of a half-hour arguing the opposite. Romney "was on defense all night long," Plouffe insisted, surrounded by reporters standing three and four deep. Everybody knows that the job of surrogates in a spin room is to put the best face on their candidate's performance. But Plouffe's arguments didn't resemble reality.
"What Mitt Romney told the American people tonight is, I'm not going to ask anything from anybody like myself: millionaires and billionaires. I'm going to stick it to the middle class. Ok? He couldn't have been clearer about that," Plouffe said.
Plouffe was trying to bend reality to his view of the facts. But in fact, during the debate, Romney had stressed his intent to cut tax rates for middle-class Americans.
"My view is that we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class. But I’m not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income people," Romney said. "Middle-income families are being crushed. And so the question is how to get them going again, and I’ve described it."
He said the same thing again moments later: "No tax cut that adds to the deficit. But I do want to reduce the burden being paid by middle-income Americans."
Obama was nonplussed during the debate. And his advisers and campaign spokespeople afterward devised a strategy to say that Romney was simply lying.
"I give him credit for a strong performance. I give him an 'F' for being honest with the American people," Obama adviser David Axelrod said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" the next day.
Plouffe, who made a rare appearance in the press cabin on Air Force One the day after the debate, went even further, calling Romney a liar.
"We thought it was important to let people know that someone who would lie to 50 million Americans, you should have some questions about whether that person should sit in the Oval Office," Plouffe said, understating the debate's broadcast audience by almost 20 million.
The liar tag was based largely on Romney's characterization of his tax plan. Despite the Obama campaign's howls of protest, there's an actual debate about whether Romney's plan would do what he says. It may be that he's promising too much, but it's not as cut and dry as the Obama campaign wants to make it sound.
"I also don’t think he won by lying," wrote Ezra Klein of the Washington Post. "He mostly danced around the ambiguities in his policies in a way that appeared to confound Obama."
Obama's campaign has characterized Romney's proposal as a $5 trillion tax cut that will do one of two things: explode the deficit or require higher taxes for the middle class.
Romney repeatedly and forcefully rebutted this assertion in the debate, and much of the public discussion over the last few days has centered around his tax plan.
Yet the Obama campaign's ferocious response since then has been motivated by more than just a disagreement over policy details. The president, Axelrod, Plouffe, campaign manager Jim Messina and others realized that Romney had done a good deal on Wednesday to tear up the nightmarish portrait of him that they have been painting for months.
Romney the out-of-touch, lame, blood-sucking elitist –- or the "wealthy plutocrat married to a known equestrian," as former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour jokingly put it -– morphed into Romney the optimistic, energetic, detail-oriented turnaround specialist. And with a good touch of empathy for the poor and working class to boot.
It didn't help that Obama couldn't bring himself to look up from his legal pad or to smile for most of the night.
Obama's top advisers could see that Romney had deconstructed the narrative they've been telling since the summer. And they know that much of winning over the voters who will decide a swing state like Ohio depends on whether those men and women feel like they can trust Romney. The story of each candidate is important, not just their 12-point plans for this or that subject area.
Plouffe and Axelrod have driven Romney's negatives up with attacks on his career in private equity, on his wealth, and on his refusal to release more than two years of tax returns. But Romney's debate performance did a lot to undo negative perceptions of him. Multiple polls on Sunday and Monday showed him gaining ground, and in some cases overtaking, Obama nationally and in key swing states.
A Public Policy Polling survey of Virginia voters showed Obama's lead had shrunk to three points from five points. It also showed Romney with a 10-point turnaround in his personal favorability rating, from 47 percent approval and 49 percent disapproval to a 52/44 rating.
Plouffe, in the spin room, was already practicing a version of the pep talk he has likely since delivered to nervous campaign staff, donors, maybe even the president himself. Essentially, it boiled down to a belief in repetition and message discipline.
"For you guys who have been in battleground states and spent time with the president, you understand what we have been communicating to the voters. Romney's tax cut plan is a problem for the middle class. We've been doing that for months," Plouffe said.
"So there's a consistency to the argument the president is making to the American people," Plouffe concluded.
In other words: we've pounded and pounded and pounded with the same effective message. And that's what we're going to continue to do.
But as the debate demonstrated, message, tactics and strategy only go as far as the candidate is willing to take them. And Obama did not deliver. There are two more debates where he will have to. And nobody doubts that the president will be more aggressive on Oct. 16 at Hofstra University in New York. The X-factor is how Romney responds.
As for the details of Romney's tax plan, he says he would reduce individual tax rates for all incomes by 20 percent and cut the corporate rate from 35 percent to 25 percent. A combination of economic growth from a simpler, less onerous tax code and the closing of loopholes and deductions would add up to deficit neutrality, Romney argues.
The Obama campaign finds this ludicrous. But as CBS News' John Dickerson pointed out to Axelrod on Sunday, it's hard to call something a flat-out lie when the resulting argument involves which budget baseline you're working from.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 October 2012 09:20
Category: Breaking News Written by Cathy Nedd
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announced today that communications guru Anthony Neeley will replace Naomi Patton as his press secretary. Patton is now employed as director of public relations for Palace Sports and Entertainment.
No stranger to the mayor’s office Neeley previously served as chief speech writer and press secretary to Mayor Dennis Archer. Since that time, Neeley worked for four years as a speech writer at General Motors and otherwise as an independent public relations practitioner for various clients including ghost writing several biographies.
As press secretary, Neeley is responsible for working with the media.
Last Updated on Monday, 08 October 2012 16:44
Category: Breaking News Written by Cathy Nedd
Fox 2’s Al Allen Set to Retire This Year
Veteran Fox 2 News reporter, Al Allen, announced his retirement to the Michigan Chronicle. He is set to retire in December of this year.
Recently featured in the 2012 edition of Who’s Who in Black Detroit, Allen spent his entire career in the field of journalism. He started as a news director at KOKY radio in Little Rock, Arkansas. He later moved back to Detroit where he worked as a reporter and news director at WCXI-AM and WGPR-FM, and as news and public affairs director at WJLB-FM. In March of 1984, Allen began reporting for WJBK Fox 2 News.
Allen grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, but his family later moved to Detroit when he was a teenager. He said he acquired a passion for journalism at Mumford High School, where he reported current events going on in the school on its closed circuit broadcast, Spotlight on Mumford.
He cites his most memorable moment as
Allen has received numerous awards, both locally and nationally, including awards from United Press International, The Associated Press and the National Association of Black Journalists. He also received the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for his ground-breaking work on a documentary, entitled Crime by Color, Black on Black. The documentary examined the issues surrounding black-on-black crime in Detroit.
When asked what he plans to do after retirement, he said, “I have no set plans so far. I just know that I won’t be sitting at home.”
Last Updated on Monday, 08 October 2012 15:05
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffingtonpost
The Educational Achievement Authority of Michigan, a special school district composed of low-performing schools, is projected to grow from 15 schools to up to 60 total across the state in the next 5 years, according to a federal grant application.
In late September, the U.S. Department of Education awarded a total of $35 million over the next 5 years to the new district as part of its Teacher Incentive Fund Grant program.
The grant application estimates the new district "will impact approximately 46,545 students and more than 2,219 teachers" in 10 districts.
The EAA, which launched this school year, was established to "radically transform teaching and learning" in the lowest performing five percent of schools in Michigan. It offers students a computer-focused learning environment with individualized lesson plans.
All 15 current EAA schools are now in Detroit and previously belonged to Detroit Public Schools. The grant lists school districts in Kalamazoo, Flint, Lansing, Saginaw, Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, Pontiac, Port Huron, and Southfield as potential locations of schools that could be taken over by the statewide school system.
Schools belonging to Michigan's bottom-performing five percent are designated priority schools and have have three years to create and enact an improvement plan approved by the state. If they don't, the state can decide to add them to the EAA during their fourth year on the list. There are currently 146 priority schools in 49 Michigan school districts.
An emergency manager can also transfer a district into the system, which is what happened in Detroit under Emergency Manager Roy Roberts.
Schools that transfer into the EAA take state school funding with them into the system. Teachers who join into the new state district enter as non-unionized employees.
Sara Wurfel, a spokeswoman with Gov. Snyder's office, told the Detroit Free Press that the numbers in the grant application are simply projections, but added that it was "completely feasible" the district would grow given the number of schools on the state's priority list.
Last Updated on Monday, 08 October 2012 14:41
Category: Breaking News Written by thegrio
Janiya Penny was granted her wish of meeting President Obama this year and the photograph of the emotional meeting has become an internet sensation.
The image, taken by White House photographer Pete Souza, shows 8-year-old Janiya covering her face with her hands, overcome with excitement at meeting the president. Her mother, Breale Gray, stands in the doorway, beaming as she holds on to Obama’s hands.
The Make-A-Wish foundation reached out to Janiya three years ago as she battled sickle cell anemia, a painful and life-threatening illness. The Fort Lauderdale, Florida native told them her dream was to meet President Obama – one the organization wasn’t sure it could grant — but Janiya wouldn’t budge, even as they tried to make her change her wish.
Eight-year old Make-A-Wish child Janiya Penny reacts after meeting President Barack Obama as he welcomes her family to the Oval Office, Aug. 8, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
“I’m his number one fan,” she told The Huffington Post.
Janiya first fell for Obama when she was just four years old, staying up late to watch his 2008 inaugural speech. Her mother said Janiya, who claims the president won because she was wearing her Obama t-shirt on election day, understood the significance of an African-American man being elected as president for the first time.
On August 8, her dream came true and she finally met her idol.
Janiya was accompanied by her mother, brother and grandfather, and when they walked into the White House’s Oval Office they all began to tear up at the sight of the president.
“He gave her a signed book of the Constitution that says ‘Best Wishes Janiya, Dream Big’ and special buttons and tokens,” Gray said after the meeting.
Janiya added, “He signed my ‘J’ hat and gave me a bag of M&Ms.”
In addition to the gifts, the family took photos with President Obama and was given a VIP tour of the White House grounds.
Last Updated on Monday, 08 October 2012 14:19
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - The Detroit police sex scandal that has led to the sudden departure of Chief Ralph Godbee is prompting a policy change in city government.
Mayor Dave Bing says it’s time to write an official city policy against fraternizing with subordinates or co-workers.
“I think that should be city-wide, quite frankly, so I’ll be meeting with human resourcesand probably the law department to put a policy in place,” Bing told reporters, shortly announcing Godbee’s voluntary retirement on Monday.
“There’s never been a policy in place for fraternization and I think that’s part of the problem that we are confronted with today, so I wanna do that on a city-wide basis,” Bing said.
Godbee remains out-of-town at a police chiefs’ conference in Santa Monica, Calif., and still hasn’t commented on an alleged affair with another officer that resulted in his suspension last week.
The accusations of impropriety came from Angelica Robinson, an internal affairs officer. Robinson, in an interview with a local TV station, called the now-ex-chief a “sex addict.” She went public after learning that Godbee was involved with another woman.
Godbee’s predecessor, former Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans, was forced to resign in the midst of his own sex scandal in 2010. According to Evans, he and Godbee had been involved with the same woman around the time Godbee was promoted to chief.
WWJ Newsradio 950′s Pat Sweeting talked with lifelong Detroiter Fanny West who is among those happy to see Godbee go.
“Yeah, I think that it was a good idea. I think it’s time to get some real leaders in this city and get things straightened out because it’s horrible what’s going on,” West said.
Other residents said these latest developments cast a poor light on Detroit just as the city is making progress in its recovery.
Last Updated on Monday, 08 October 2012 16:11
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - Is the Detroit Schools’ official website unsafe?
When Internet users search “Detroit Public Schools” on Google, the district’s website, DetroitK12.org, is first on the list. But when you click on it, there’s a warning that the site contains “malware” that might harm your computer — including 43 Trojan viruses.
The following message appeared Monday morning: “Google has found malicious software may be installed onto your computer if you proceed. If you’ve visited this site in the past or you trust this site, it’s possible that it has just recently been compromised by a hacker. You should not proceed, and perhaps try again tomorrow or go somewhere else.” (View a copy of the Google advisory).
Talking to WWJ Newsradio 950, DPS spokesman Steve Wasko said school officials recently noticed the problem via the web and in their internal emails.
Wasko said the district’s technical staff is calling it a “Google glitch” and they’re working on it. He insists that the site hasn’t been compromised and that it’s safe to use.
Last Updated on Monday, 08 October 2012 14:08
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