Category: Top News Written by Michigan Chronicle
The Rev. Dr. Bernard Lafayette, a top aide to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the national coordinator of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign, the watershed momemt of the Civil Rights Movement, will be in Michigan on Thursday, Sep 27, to deliver a lecture on “Race, Voting Rights, American Politics: The Civil Rights Era and Today,” at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
The forum, which starts at 4 p.m., will be held in Auditorium A. Angell Hall. The event, which is open and free to the public, will also feature UM professor Vincent Hutchins who is the University of Michigan principal investigator for the American National Election Study for the 2012 election.
The highlight of the program will be a special screening of the acclaimed film “Freedom Riders” which features Lafayette among the Freedom Riders who were crucial to the battle for civil rights. While at the University of Michigan this week Lafayette will also lead a two-day training session, Sept 28-29, on Kingian nonviolence, something for which he has been invited by nations including Nigeria and organizations around the world to conduct workshops and seminars on the philosophy of nonviolence as an effective tool for social change.
A respected member of the Joshua generation of the civil rights movement, Lafayette co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960, and he was a core leader and strategist of the Civil Rights Movement in Nashville, Tenn., in 1960 and in Selma, Ala., in 1965. He directed the Alabama Voter Registration Project in 1962, and was appointed by Dr. King to be the national program administrator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Currently, a distinguished senior scholar-in-residence at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Lafayette occupies an important seat in the history of the Black pilgrimage in America.
In 2010, Lafayette sat down with Michigan Chronicle editor Bankole Thompson at the King Center in Atlanta for an exclusive interview for Thompson’s forthcoming book that year titled “Obama and Black Loyalty,” which was published by Global Mark Makers in Iowa.
During the interview, Lafayette was asked whether some Tea Party protesters in Washington who carried placards with racially tinged messages mocking President Obama showed any real change of heart on race.
“The change of heart has come through the majority of the people that made it possible for Barack to be elected,” Lafayette explained. “You are always going to have elements in the community in our country that hold fast to some of their old attitudes and traditions.
“Basically it is a product of their fears, and that fear comes from a lack of information, knowledge and exposure and interpretation of their experiences. So we see this kind of attitude coming forth and people being very negative, showing forth their ugliness but it does not prevail. That’s the main thing, it’s not predominant.”
Asked whether Black leaders should criticize President Obama, Lafayette said yes.
“I think that if people feel the necessity of giving their critical evaluation and remarks, that’s part of our freedom of speech. We should not silence people and say because of their particular ethnicity, they should not express their true criticism. That also represents the kind of change that we are talking about,” Lafayette said.
“Too many people are at war with each other over some superficial identification such as tribal and religious which really are not essential to the issues we are talking about. But they hide behind those kinds of cloaks in order to justify their attacks on people. Unfortunately, that is the case. The fact that Blacks can criticize other Blacks says we have come to another level.”
What would Dr. King have said about the Obama presidency? Lafayette said this about the man for whom he worked as a confidant:
“I think he would be very proud of what has happened and he would be very happy. I think he would be happy because here is an individual, a fellow American who is concerned about the conditions of poor people. But more importantly, King in his last campaign, the Poor People’s Campaign, put the burden and responsibility of changing the conditions of poor people on the government. Not a political party, not an individual but the government should be responsible for making sure that every person would have an opportunity to have a good paying job and be able to take care of their family and their communities.”
Lafayette added, “So the fact that Barack is a person of color, a Black man, would be an additional asset which really reflects the change that is taking place in our country. But King would be proud if he had been a White man, Native American or Hispanic or Asian.”
That’s what King was fighting for, he noted, for people to be accepted regardless of their ethnicity.
“But King would also have been in favor of those who want to criticize and have a debate about these issues,” Lafayette said.
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 September 2012 14:28
Category: Breaking News Written by The Root
Let's stop pretending that marriage equality will affect Obama's African-American turnout.
(The Root) -- As soon as ABC aired President Obama's May sit-down with Robin Roberts in which he gave his personal endorsement to same-sex marriage, the concern-trolling started: Will this stance hurt him with black voters, who are crucial to his re-election success? Black folks, so the conventional wisdom goes, are conservative on this issue and might stay home rather than re-up with Obama.
North Carolinians voted to ban gay marriage just a few days before the president's statement, and a lot of hay was made over the fact that black voters supposedly voted 2-to-1 for the ban. See! This could be a serious electoral problem for Obama among his base! (Roberts herself even said to the president that this was "a difficult conversation to have" in the black community.)
And so it went. Last week The Root's Keli Goff posed the question to Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), the head of the Congressional Black Caucus. Then the Associated Press spoke to a bunch of black pastors who said it was possible that black Christians might sit out this election. Just Monday, NPR chatted with the Rev. Derek McCoy, a Maryland pastor who runs a group opposed to same-sex marriage and is trying to defeat a ballot initiative there that would legalize it. McCoy said that he has heard pastors call for people to sit out this November.
But this hypothetical voter sit-out is not a real thing.
Tellingly, Cleaver told Goff that the number of people who might not vote would be "insignificant"; none of the pastors the AP spoke to named a single Obama supporter who said that he or she would abstain from voting; and McCoy was left awkwardly trying to explain how this was a serious issue for people of faith but, uh, he totally wasn't advocating that people stay home and not vote.
And what about all those black North Carolinians who voted to ban gay marriage? That number appears to have been made up. No, seriously: The Politico story in which that number first appeared didn't say where it came from, and ABC reported that there was no exit polling done in North Carolina for that vote.
This hardy little narrative about blacks and gay marriage rests upon the notion that anti-gay sentiment in African-American communities has unique properties, that it is fueled by some special black ignorance. And this notion seeps unchallenged into our cultural discourse. It's why, when gay students are greeted with chilly receptions at Morehouse College, the subsequent conversations are about black people's inclination toward a dislike of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning) people rather than the peculiar ecosystem of a Baptist-influenced institution of higher education with a self-selecting population.
It's why, when CNN's Don Lemon came out, he could say with little pushback that the decision was fraught for him because "in the black community they think you can pray the gay away" -- as if the "ex-gay" movement is somehow the singular province of prayerful Negroes.
It's the reason the "down-low"-brothers-as-vectors-of-HIV myth received such credulous treatment in the mainstream media, as if "the closet" were an invention as black as jazz and as if health officials hadn't debunked the whole theory anyway.
It's why, when a prominent black pastor denounces gay marriage, it's taken as some sort of neat shorthand about the broader attitudes of his race in a way that a random white evangelical leader's similar proclamation would not. Our homophobia is more potent and obdurate, this premise goes, and not just a mundane old ugliness.
The less-sexy story here is that there's virtually no evidence that any prominent black leaders who have backed same-sex marriage -- Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, N.J., Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, California Attorney General Kamala Harris -- have faced any measurable backlash from black voters for doing so. And black folks' support for gay marriage has grown more robust, just as attitudes on gay marriage have in every other demographic group. A Wall Street Journal-NBC poll (pdf) from March found that black support for gay marriage had jumped way up since October 2009, from 32 percent to 50 percent.
Then Obama made his announcement, and the needle really started to move: A survey of black North Carolinians found a 19-point swing in support of same-sex marriage after the president's statement; a majority of blacks now favor it there. Black support for same-sex marriage surged in Ohio and in Pennsylvania. In Maryland, where the aforementioned McCoy is trying to block gay marriage, a poll containing an oversample of black people found a solid majority now in support of legalizing it. And the Washington Post also found an 18-point swing in support among blacks across the country, although the paper noted that its black sample size was tiny.
Professional opinion havers spent the summer worrying that Obama's stance on gay marriage would hurt him among blacks, when the reality is that something much different was happening: Obama's stance apparently ended up bolstering African-American support for gay marriage. As support for marriage equality becomes enshrined as a mainstream Democratic position, black folks, who are overwhelmingly Democrats, are going to take that stance.
This isn't the neat and easy controversy that talking heads want, and it doesn't drive page views. Still, the next time this story pops up -- and it almost certainly will before November -- we should ask folks to show us the receipts.
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 September 2012 12:13
Category: Breaking News Written by Michael Arceneaux, News One
Could gay marriage keep Black people from the polls? It was the subject of a segment this week on NPR, largely fueled by an article published by the Associated Press, entitled, “Some Black Christians Waver Over Vote.“ To save you time, the pieces basically argue that since clergymen of color can’t decide if they dislike the Mormon candidate more than the Black dude who dared to personally endorse same-sex marriage, they are encouraging Black congregants to stay home on Election Day.
One of the story’s quotes came from Rev. Jamal-Harrison Bryant of Baltimore who said, “This is the first time in Black church history that I’m aware of that Black pastors have encouraged their parishioners not to vote.”
Once the story ran, though, Bryant’s Twitter account asked in response:
WHEN did you contact @jamalhbryant in order to get his statement on voting? you need to revisit this & be accurate.
This clarification is important, because Rev. Bryant — and the other Black pastors who were interviewed — never said that Black clergy had in fact told their congregations NOT to vote.
Still, select members of the press argued this baseless and sophomoric point across media outlets across the country.
In the age of the two-year presidential election cycle coupled with online media and 24-hour news, it is clear that substantive information continues to be cast aside in favor of the spectacle.
Not all of us are conservative Christians, and even for those that are, there’s been several decades of voting patterns that suggest Blacks will stick with their economic interests to guide them at the poll over anything else. After all, there’s a reason Blacks aren’t standing alongside white Evangelicals en masse at GOP conventions.
That said, as mainstream publications continue to peddle this little theory about gay marriage and the Black vote, there is currently a Black pastor actually campaigning for marriage equality in Maryland. What’s more, there have been others publicly voicing their support of same-sex marriage even before Obama declared his personal support of it. Speaking of Obama’s historical moment, his endorsement shifted many people’s opinions, both Black and White alike.
But, of course, Blacks are the only ones garnering headlines on the subject. It’s not hard to figure out why. Noticing the discrepancies in coverage, I read a comment on tumblr that noted “plenty of ink will, of course, be given to once again making Black Christians into monsters under the beds of White liberals.”
Indeed, there is an obvious attempt to make a boogeyman out of Black churches and an unfortunate number of White liberals are choosing to be willful suckers.
I’m exhausted by it, especially when it comes from White gays who are doing their part to share it. It’s déjà vu from 2008 when Blacks were faulted for the passing of Proposition 8 in California. Many of these so-called progressives didn’t reach out to Black voters then and too many of them are willing participates to paint Blacks under the same monolith as the mainstream press is doing now.
Such is the problem with not communicating enough with the people you’re condemning.
Make no mistake, the role religion plays in homophobia is problematic. I have writing about it here, there, and everywhere else I can and will continue to do so.
Yet, I’m sick of this story being told under only a sole stroke of color. It’s not just Black religious people and it never has been. Besides, if there’s any group of religious people to worry about social issues leaving them blind to their own self-interests, it’s surely not Blacks.
I get that papers need to be sold, a certain level of listeners and viewers must be maintained, and everybody needs their clicks, but enough already. This myth about Black churches, Black Christians, and Black voters at large is condescending, devoid of reality, and – pay attention if you truly want the advancement of gay rights in this country – not the least bit helpful in gathering support for gay rights.
Find a new story, or at the very least, start telling this one with the nuance and truth that it deserves.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 September 2012 14:00
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - It looks like Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan is ready to officially enter the race to become the next mayor of Detroit.
The former Wayne County Prosecutor recently moved to the city’s Palmer Woods neighborhood and on Wednesday, Duggan filed paperwork to form an exploratory committee – which then lets him raise campaign money.
“People across the city have been wonderful in their encouragement,” Duggan said in a statement. “This is the final step in evaluating whether to make the commitment and formally launch a campaign for Mayor of Detroit.”
Speaking to WWJ’s Florence Walton, Duggan, 54, said he’ll make a decision on whether or not he’ll run for mayor by the end of the year.
“Over the next 90 days, we’re going to do an analysis across the city as to whether there’s enough support for me to be elected mayor. We have a ton of volunteers, we’re going to be having between 25 and 30 house parties where people invite their friends over for coffee and it gives me a chance to meet people, and at the end of those 90 days I’m going to sit down with my supporters again and we’re going to make a decision,” he said.
Duggan said he’s motivated by his belief that Detroit can be a better place.
“Really, what triggered this is what’s been happening just in the last few weeks, you know, 32 people murdered in the first two weeks of September. It’s a rate of violence like we’ve not seen in many years. And then you hear that there’s a plan for the streetlights to finally get fixed, but it collapsed with problems in Lansing. There was a plan to fix Belle Isle, but that collapsed with a problem in City Council,” he said.
Members of Duggan’s exploratory committee include Conrad Mallett (committee chairman), Tupac Hunter (campaign director), Bryan Barnhill (campaign manager) and Rebecca Williams (campaign treasurer).
The formation of the committee was a legal necessity, since Michigan law requires a committee be established in order to receive or spend money, even at the exploratory stage.
State Rep. Lisa Howze already has announced her candidacy in the race, which takes place in 2013. Current Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has hinted that he might run for re-election, although there hasn’t been any official announcement.
If elected, Duggan would be the city’s first white mayor since Roman Gribbs, who served from 1970 until 1974.
“Once I start talking about how to get people into the abandoned houses in the neighborhoods, how to get the streetlights on and how to get the violence down, the race issue goes away quickly,” said Duggan.
“I’m not seeing (race) as an issue in my interactions. I’ll go into any neighborhood in the city and so far at least, I come out with a group of people supporting me. So, I’m not talking about the race issue. I’m talking about how we rebuild our neighborhoods and that seems to cut across all lines,” he continued.
For more information on the Mike Duggan for Mayor Exploratory Committee, visit www.DugganForDetroit.com
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 September 2012 16:28
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffington Post
President Barack Obama is leading Mitt Romney by substantial margins in three key swing states, according to a Qunnipiac University/CBS/New York Times poll released Wednesday.
Obama leads 53 percent to 43 percent in Ohio. He leads 53 percent to 44 percent in Florida. He has a 54 percent to 42 percent lead in Pennsylvania, widely considered less competitive than the other two states.
The poll showed a substantial gender gap among voters. Obama leads by 25 points in Ohio among women, while Romney has an eight-point edge among men. Obama has a 21-point lead among women in Pennsylvania and is even among men.
Obama's approval rating is at 50 percent in Florida and Ohio, and 51 percent in Pennsylvania.
In the states' Senate races, all three incumbent Democratic senators -- Bill Nelson (Fla.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Bob Casey (Pa.) -- had the lead. Nelson and Brown are leading by double digits, and Casey has a six-point lead over challenger Tom Smith.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 September 2012 13:57
Category: Breaking News Written by Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
Barbara McQuade – Andre Smith photos
“The perception of justice is sometimes just as important as justice in fact. People need to feel the system is fair and trust the system for us to be successful.”
— Barbara McQuade
As Kwame Kilpatrick’s federal corruption trial gets under way we saw last week the unprecedented diversity of the jury that will decide the fate of the former mayor and his co-defendants.
The 50 percent diversity of the jury — five African Americans and one Hispanic — is a ringing endorsement of the need to balance the scale of justice. It underscores the need to have a jury that reflects the community because in so doing it boosts confidence in the system of justice. Because fairness must not only be defined but must manifest in deeds and actions that demonstrate the need for justice for all.
That realization came on June 27, when the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara McQuade, Chief Federal Judge Gerald Rosen, Federal Judges Victoria Roberts and Denise Page Hood, Chief Federal Defender Miriam Siefer and Detroit Attorney Rev. Bertram Marks formed a rare and high-level judicial panel to tackle the racial and ethnic diversity of juries in the region.
The forum, held at the downtown campus of Wayne County Community College District, was one of the most important panels ever assembled in this region on the importance of jury selection and how to address issues within the justice system with senior members and top administrators of the judiciary in this area.
The concept of the forum was the result of a conversation between McQuade and myself about how to educate people about the challenges and strategies in the Eastern District to seat juries that represent the broad spectrum of the district.
I suggested a no-holds barred conversation on a topic that has been a thorny issue prior to McQuade taking over the helm as the Department of Justice’s special envoy to this region. She readily agreed.
I wasn’t surprised because after she was appointed as the United States Attorney by President Barack Obama, in her first major print interview McQuade talked about fairness in the system and how she wants to change public perception about the United States Attorney’s Office and increase public confidence in the criminal justice system.
McQuade has always been open and candid on issues, maintaining that fairness would be part of the hallmark of her job as the U.S. Attorney. And this is how she answered one of my questions about critics who say Black officials often get stiffer penalties than their White counterparts – businessmen and others they engaged in business with.
“I think that has been a problem in the past — a problem in fact and a problem in perception. And so we want to make sure we are addressing people in a much more uniformed manner, that we are not giving a free pass to anyone. In any criminal enterprise it is common to make deals with lower level defendants in an effort to convict higher level defendants. But I think having a better awareness of that perception is really important because the perception of justice is sometimes just as important as justice in fact. People need to feel the system is fair, and trust the system for us to be successful,” McQuade said in a June 2010 interview.
And so on the importance of jury service and jury diversity, we assembled the critical power panel. Chief Judge Rosen was instrumental and thought an open forum of this nature was a great idea and timely coming at the conclusion of a study on jury diversity.
Rosen had shared with me long before in a conversation in his chambers a study that the court commissioned to help provide an answer to the historical under-representation of racial and ethnic minorities as jurors in trials held in federal and state court. Judge Denise Page Hood and Judge Victoria Roberts were key to the panel because they led the committee that conducted the study to explore new ways to increase minority participation in the jury pool. A key finding in that study was the amount of mail returned undelivered when jury summons are sent out. Either people are deliberately not responding and ignoring summons, have changed their addresses, moved out of the area or don’t see jury service as important to their daily lives, when in reality it is.
So part of the solution here to address minority under-representation is effective community awareness and communicating the importance of jury service and the need for racial and ethnic diversity in the jury pool in a non-threatening way that conveys an inclusive message.
And so at the forum I moderated at WCCCD, the administrators of justice in the Eastern District conveyed that inclusive message, showed concern for the non-response that comes from mail sent out. All the panel members agreed that that there can be no diversity in jury pools if people in the community are not a willing participants to ensuring that diversity is not only a compelling interest, but is realized.
At the forum no questions were off-limits on the subject of jury representation and the panel did justice to the topic and solicited feedback from the community on the implementation of the study.
Lyrically, Sam Cooke put it succinctly: “A change is gonna come” and “It’s been a long time coming.”
And we are starting somewhere to address a protracted issue where those who administer the criminal justice system in this region have shown seriousness, dedication and commitment to jury diversity.
This was evident by their willingness and drive to be a part of a landmark forum that provided a benchmark for what can be done where these critical issues were tabled in a constructive and wholistic way to find real solutions to the problem, and not just a mere press release.
Bankole Thompson is editor of the Michigan Chronicle and the author of a six-part book series on the Obama presidency. His book “Obama and Black Loyalty,” published in 2010, follows his recent book, “Obama and Christian Loyalty” with a foreward by Bob Weiner, former White House spokesman. His forthcoming books in 2012 are “Obama and Jewish Loyalty” and “Obama and Business Loyalty.” Thompson is a political news analyst at WDET-101.9FM (NPR affiliate) and a member of the weekly “Obama Watch” Sunday evening roundtable on WLIB-1190AM New York and simulcast in New Jersey and Connecticut.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 September 2012 13:28
Category: News Briefs Written by Huffington Post
Michigan has enacted a law that takes welfare benefits from families whose children miss class, Fox 2 News Detroit reports. While the state believes the rule will ensure that kids attend school, welfare advocates and recipients feel the it is too harsh.
When the policy takes effect Oct. 1, the Michigan Department of Human Services will keep up with kids ages six to 15 who will have to prove they are enrolled in school. If kids within that age range miss more than ten days of class, their parents can lose their welfare benefits.
It is a policy move that one welfare recipient feels is outright wrong. “I think it’s very unfair, and I think it’s very stupid. I mean, it doesn’t make sense,” said Ebony Boost (pictured above), who has three children and is currently on welfare.
Maybe they have household problems, the parents. There might be something going on in the home, but I think they just need to investigate that further,” Boost remarked
The state, however, believes that the rule will help bolster school enrollment.
“Our whole goal is that we’re going to increase academic success for children,” said Sheryl Thompson with the Department of Human Services. “We’re going to have higher graduation rates because the most important thing with this also is that we want to end generational poverty and it starts by increasing our educational values.”
Fox 2 News Detroit has more on this story:
Maureen Taylor, head of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, believes the plan unfairly targets low income families since they are not the only ones who aren’t going to school.
“What kind of plan is this? Let’s punish everybody. Because this kid may have missed some days of school, maybe we should find out why that kid missed school,” she said. “I like motivation, but the motivation here is to take away breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
The policy change takes effect two days before Michigan’s fall count day when attendance is used to determine the funding a school district gets from the state.
There are plenty in favor of the new plan like Ryan Battle, who said there is no excuse why a parent shouldn’t be sending their kid to school.
“It matters. I mean, if you’re not going to school, if you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do with your kids, then how is the future going to work? You can’t raise new presidents if you don’t go to school,” he said.
The state plans to work with families and says that they can get their benefits back if they can prove their children have been back to school for 21 consecutive days.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 September 2012 11:25
Category: Top News Written by Minehaha Forman
Doubt On the third day of testimony in the federal corruption trial involving former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and former city contractor Bobby Ferguson, U.S. attorneys brought two witnesses to the stand. But Ferguson and Kilpatrick’s defense teams crafted critical questions aiming to comb out faults in each witness’s account. The first witness called to testify on Tuesday was Mahlon Clift; a close college friend of the Kilpatrick’s who said the ex-mayor was also client of his jewelry broking business.
Clift testified that he received $90,000 in cash from Ferguson, which he later delivered to Kilpatrick in two installments: one $50,000 drop in Texas, the other $40,000 delivered to Kilpatrick in Detroit after his friend was having trouble paying restitution. Clift said that Ferguson gave no other instructions but to hold the $90,000 for “Black” a nickname Clift said had been used to refer to the former mayor. He then said that he “probably” took the money and hid it in the zipper sack on his household vacuum cleaner in the months between receiving it ad delivering it to Kilpatrick.
Defense attorneys focused on the fact that Clift’s memory of the transactions was spotty, as he used many terms in his testimony like “’maybe’, ‘probably’ and ‘I’m not sure.’” The defense lawyers said they were finding it hard to buy Clift’s story. They argued that Clift only testified in order to get immunity for crimes he committed and suggested he was not telling the truth about the alleged cash transaction between Ferguson and Kilpatrick. “You didn’t ask for a cut? Not even travel expenses?” Ferguson’s Attorney Mike Rataj asked. Clift replied that his friendship with Kilpatrick was deeper than money. “He’s a friend, someone that I love,” Clift said. He said that compensation for carrying large sums of cash across state lines for Kilpatrick “wasn’t necessary.” Rataj then asked how Clift got 90,000 in cash through airport security on his flight back to Chicago after getting the cash in Detroit.
Clift said he stuffed the cash—9 stacks of $10,000—into the pockets of his gym shorts and then put on a pair of baggy jeans over the shorts to cover it up. “That’s a lot of dough. You didn’t you look like the Michelin Man a little bit?” Rataj asked to chuckles in the courtroom. “I felt the bulge but it wasn’t visible,” Clift replied. “They [the pants] were loose enough that I looked normal. It was before the era of the skinny jean.” Kilpatrick’s lawyer James Thomas asked in the metallic ribbon in money used to identify bills set off the metal detectors at he airport. Clift said he had “no problem, whatsoever” secretly getting $90,000 in cash onto the plane. Rataj pointed out that there were no hotel receipts for those dates when he allegedly dropped money to Kilpatrick, despite the documentation of other trips Clift made to the city. “We have no documented evidence,” Rataj said.
After the cross examination, U.S. Attorney Mike Bullotta asked Clift a series of questions about his motive to testify. He asked if Clift knew he was doing anything illegal when he moved the cash to Chicago, Texas and back to Detroit. Clift said his motive to testify was to simply to “tell the truth” and that although he did not seek immunity, but he listened to his mother’s advice and got it anyway.
Despite Clift’s blurry recollections of details of the cash transactions, Bullotta wanted to make one thing clear. “Is there any doubt in your mind that you delivered $90 in cash to Kwame Kilpatrick that was given to you by Bobby Ferguson?” he asked Clift. “No,” Clift replied. “There is not.” The second witness was Detroit police officer Michael Fountain who said he dropped littering tickets against Ferguson after the contractor, flanked by two EPU officers, threatened Fountain’s family.
Ferguson’s Attorney Gerald Evelyn worked to shadow Fountain’s testimony in doubt, saying that Fountain must have a grudge against Ferguson, and asking why Ferguson’s threat was different from others he encountered as a police officer. Kwame Kilpatrick, his father Bernard Kilpatrick, Ferguson and Detroit Water Department boss Victor Mercado are charged with rigging city contract bids and turning city hall into a racket for their private gain.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 September 2012 11:08
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
Photo Credit: Kelly Walkotten
Young talent key to future
GRAND RAPIDS (CBS 62) – Want to lure more young talent to the Motor City and places like Grand Rapids and Lansing? Bring them in as interns and you create an environment where they are more willing to consider staying. “I gotta tell ya, Detroit sells itself, people would maybe be shocked by that, but it really does,” said Gilbert on a “Michigan Matters” special look at the role of cities.
Gov. Rick Snyder with CBS 62 Videographer Tim Sargent (on left) and Chief Videographer Paul Pytlowany (on right) who filmed the Michigan Matters special where Snyder talked of the importance of cities. (credit: CBS 62)
Also appearing on the show were: Gov. Rick Snyder, Windquest President Dick DeVos and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan President and CEO Dan Loepp. Gilbert had an astounding 8,700 applications from 157 colleges for 600 full time internships at his companies this summer. And that is with no advertising.
Given that success, Gilbert is inviting other firms to join him in the effort and make downtown Detroit a mecca next summer brimming with 25,000 interns. That’s just one way they talked about how to infuse cities. The four men also appeared at the West Michigan Policy Forum in Grand Rapids Sept 12-13 where 600 people attended. Panels held focused on cities, Right to Work, healthcare as an economic driver and more.
“Our cities are our core,” said Snyder, who made his comments before leaving for China on his second trade mission to the Asian nation. “I tell them what a great place Michigan is to do business,” Snyder said. “We’re the best value in North America.”
DeVos Continues Family Tradition
DeVos, eldest son of Amway co-founder Rich DeVos, talked how the community there has pulled together to help downtown Grand Rapids. It’s a tradition that continues as he mentioned ArtPrize, started by Rick DeVos, his and Betsy’s 30-year-old son who launched the art contest going on now in Grand Rapids. “It brings in creativity and lures more young people,” said Dick DeVos.
He talked how city fathers and mothers have worked together to create Medical Mile and a plethora of other projects. “In a lot of towns, the way you break in and get established is determined by where you live and what clubs you belong to,” said DeVos. “In this community, it’s about how much you volunteer and are able to give,”
DeVos talked of redeveloping the downtown, which began with office buildings. “You could shoot a cannon down the main street at 5:30 and nobody would be hurt,” then came convention venues and then more residential options. When asked to compare how easily things are done in the West Michigan versus East Side of the state, DeVos said: “People think things are done so much more easily in Grand Rapids.’ “But the secret, someone has said, is we try to agree publicly and disagree privately. I’m not sure that’s what happens in Southeast Michigan.”
Doing It In The “D”
Loepp discussed the decision seven years ago to move Blue Cross employees in the Grand Rapids area into the vacant Steketee’s store. It gave us the guts to do what we did in Detroit and Lansing,” Loepp said. “Today, 98 percent of Blue Cross employees work in core cities, with 6,000 in downtown Detroit. As Blue Cross concentrated employees there, they found it also helped strengthen community partnerships as people took them more seriously as a Grand Rapids entity.
Inspired by success, Loepp led BCBSM’s effort to take over a shuttered power plant in Lansing and turned it into the national headquarters for Accident Fund Holdings, Inc. He also moved over 280 BCBSM employees into the revamped building. And his boldest move — concentrating 6,000 BCBSM employees in downtown Detroit this spring where its headquarters has been for 73 years. “It wasn’t about doing it for philanthropic reasons,” Loepp said.“It made good business sense.”
For Gilbert, his dive into Detroit came about following the footsteps of fellow entrepreneur Peter Karmanos, CEO of Compuware, who had moved his company from Farmington Hills to downtown Detroit years earlier. Gilbert was outgrowing his suburban offices and knew he needed more space. He decided to lease space in Compuware’s offices in Detroit and moved 1,700 employees there. That was two years ago. He has been buying up buildings downtown and a mini-Silicon Valley tech area developing along Woodward Avenue.
He has brought another 4,500 employees to the Motor City since with more scheduled to move to Detroit next year.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 September 2012 10:22
Category: Breaking News Written by News One
President Barack Obama pulled another high-profile celebrity endorsement this week–though the way in which it was delivered may make the Obama campaign cringe.
Madonna asked her cheering fans during a concert on Monday in Washington D.C. to vote President in November.
Before stripping off her shirt to show her Obama temporary tattoo across the bottom part of her back, she asked fans to vote for “the black Muslim in the White House.” Madonna, in all likelihood, knows that Obama is not a Muslim. But she probably did it to make fun of those who are hellbent on thinking that he is.
Here is some of what she had to say during the concert, according to the Daily Mail:
“It is so incredible to think that we have an African-American in the White House,’ she said as the audience cheered. ‘Those fine human beings did not die for nothing.”
She went on: ‘So y’all better vote for f***ing Obama, okay? For better or for worse, all right, we have a black Muslim in the White House, okay? Now that is some s***. That’s some amazing sh***.
‘It means there is hope in this country. And Obama is fighting for gay rights, okay? So support the man, goddammit!’
She ended her profanity-laced endorsement by saying: “So vote for him, OK godd—it!”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 September 2012 09:56
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