Category: News Briefs Written by Michigan Chronicle
In his usual eloquent and subdued manner, Detroit’s 36th District Court Judge Willie G. Lipscomb, Jr. spent his last days on the bench listening to an array of criminal cases. The only thing different was that he was preparing himself to leave the courtroom for a new and challenging career. He notes that he has enjoyed nearly 30 years of what he calls the rare privilege of presiding over some of the most serious criminal cases, prosecuted by the best prosecutors in the country, and defended by the best criminal bar anywhere.
“I am retiring at this time to complete and promote my first novel (a fictional work about a mythical African king who attempts to curb the spread of slavery) and explore other endeavors. I believe that my most significant and lasting accomplishment while on the bench is the founding and administration of the Handgun Intervention Program,” the retiring judge said.
Lipscomb is known across the United States for commitment to The Handgun Intervention Program (HIP) which was the first of its kind court administered program, which started in 1993. For almost two decades, Lipscomb has dedicated his Saturday mornings to conducting intense workshops and classes with defendants, as a condition of their bonds.
These defendants, who have been charged with gun crimes, have benefited greatly from their involvement with HIP, according to Judge Lipscomb. His relentless dedication to this cause has earned him numerous honors and awards including Michiganian of the Year, and The University of Notre Dame Alumni of the Year Award.
“The program has helped to educate citizens about the senseless violence that too often results from the possession of handguns. Although I have retired from the court as a sitting judge, I intend to continue with my involvement in this program and others, aimed at improving the quality of life in The City of Detroit,” Lipscomb said.
Judge Lipscomb is a U.S. Air Force veteran, and has served as an adjunct professon of criminal law for 30 years at Wayne County Community College District. He resides in Detroit and is the father of one adult daughter and has two grandsons.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 12:19
Category: Top News Written by Bankole Thompson
Churches are key to saving young Black males
The Rev. Marvin Winans’ remark, “I refuse to be afraid of us,” in the wake of the robbery attack on him by four young Black men at a neighborhood gas station on Linwood and Davison, carries a moral truth.
is a statement deeply rooted in the belief that we cannot throw our children away or become prisoners in our own communities, afraid to go out because young Black males have become tigers in the hood, on the prowl for their next victims.
I refuse to accept the notion that there is nothing else we can do, and that the solution is to dump Detroit and move out as quickly as you can. While such reasoning is politically expedient and the common sense thing to do in a state of fear, it is not the answer to the growing socioeconomic ills facing our community. It is not the answer to halt the violence in our town.
To conclude that the best way to deal with the escalating violence in Detroit is to move out of the city is a defeatist attitude grounded in a weak notion that, in fact, we can no longer be problem solvers. Therefore, we should run away from the problem.
What happened to our resilient spirit?
The carjacking of Rev. Winans, a prominent Detroit minister and nationally celebrated gospel singer who was driving with a suspended license, provides a context for our men and women of the clergy to be engaged in tackling the despicable acts of crime in this city.
Just as many were concerned about Winans and his well-being in the aftermath of the carjacking, we should all be equally concerned about the escalating crime rate in our city, and the senseless taking of lives.
We should be concerned about the young woman who was raped in view of her child in broad daylight on Detroit’s west side.
Children and adults are dying in horrific numbers, and the perpetrators of the crimes are usually young Black men.
The young men who attacked Rev. Winans did not know who their victim was, despite his being a prominent figure, seen often on television and in the print media. It says something much deeper: how out of touch they are with the real world outside of their own underworld of violence and mayhem.
If those young men had been properly steered on a right, productive path they would not have become carjackers.
If properly brought up in a nurturing environment and having the self-confidence to know they can be whoever they choose to be, they would not be lured into a world of crime and drugs.
Yes, they must bear personal responsibility, but as a community we also bear responsibility. Churches in particular cannot sit on the sidelines, claiming that parents have all of the responsibility.
What happened to the communal spirit that made each of us responsible for the other? Our brother’s keeper.
What happened to the church that was once the center of our life and thus took a prominent role in the well-being of our children – the future leaders?
Truth be told, Rev. Winans’ attack brought the violent crime in Detroit to the doorstep of the church, and has prompted many in the clergy to call for some kind of action, and knowing that they could be the next victim.
The church has long been the center of transformation and at this crucial time cannot ignore its role in the community. The engagement has to reflect a broader embrace of children who are often treated as outcasts. They need not be.
The interest has to go beyond church members focusing on their own well-being. After all, the church’s Biblical mandate is to go in search of the lost, not the saved.
We have lost young Black males walking down the streets like lions looking for someone to devour. They need to be saved and mentored into understanding that they have great potential, they need not rob, sell drugs or kill.
If their homes did not remind or inculcate in them that sense of personal responsibility, the church can help them develop a clear path to the future. Because the Black church historically has been the guiding light for our communities.
If there was ever a time for the church to demonstrate its power, it is now when Black children are dying and adults are being killed by their own children.
To be commended are the group of clergy members, including Bishop Edgar Vann, as well as members of the law enforcement community and other leaders who last week launched an initiative called Detroit Night Walk to fight crime.
We can create change and help those young Black males trapped at the crossroads of drug dealing and carjacking. I believe that we can transform young Black males who believe they have no alternatives and no future.
In the words of the hip-hop icon and street poet Tupac Shakur, we can make these young Black males “the rose that grew from concrete,” because by virtue of being a Black male they already live under the heavy weight of stereotypes just as we saw in the Trayvon Martin case.
Our young Black males — and anyone who is raising a Black boy is aware of this reality — are already facing an image battle, and many of them are holding our community hostage.
The church can liberate the hostage taker and the hostages.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 12:10
Category: Breaking News Written by Detroit News
The , which organizers have named the Great Lakes State Fair, will be held Aug.31-Sept.3 at Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. Organizers said this new event is revitalizing the Michigan State Fair, which closed in 2009 because of the lack of funding.
Organizers acknowledge the new event will be a smaller version of the original, while featuring many of the same elements: a midway, carnival rides, livestock and produce exhibits, a beer tent and entertainment.
The new event will also feature a Shriner’s Circus in the parking lot.
Advance tickets cost $25 for adults and children over 12; $20 for children.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 18:59
Category: Breaking News Written by Detroit News
Detroit — Mayor Dave Bing is not expected to veto the City Council's amendments to his 2012-13 budget, in contrast to the squabbles that marked previous years.
Bing staffers officially received the $1.1 billion budget Tuesday afternoon and have until Friday to return the document to the panel. Mayoral spokeswoman Naomi Patton declined comment.
But Council President Charles Pugh said Tuesday he isn't expecting problems this year, unlike the past two years when back-and-forth debate over the budget lasted another month after its initial approval. The difference this year is an improved revenue consensus process, which sets the amount of available to be spent, Pugh said.
"That was the main source of the conflict (before)," he said. "I'm glad we're avoiding the (drama) this year. What citizens need is a responsible budget."
The council last week approved the budget, keeping much of Bing's proposed $250 million in cuts intact but restoring some departments slated for elimination. The fiscal year starts July 1.
The council passed the budget 6-3, with members JoAnn Watson, Kwame Kenyatta and Brenda Jones dissenting. Bing's proposed budget eliminates 2,566 positions, reduces the city's deficit by $75 million and includes a 10 percent pay cut for police officers. It reduces Police Department spending by $75 million to $340 million and cuts officer staffing to about 2,950 through attrition and rule changes.
The council decided to restore to the Law Department; keep the Human Rights Department; provide funding in General Services to maintain comfort stations at Belle Isle; put back $2.3 million to the Elections Department to cover presidential year expenses; and fund the Health & Wellness Promotion Department while they study an outside entity to run it.
"Obviously (Bing) is getting most of what he believes is fiscally necessary to at least get through this year," said political analyst Eric Foster. "He believes this can work. Council made changes, but it ended up close to balancing out what (Bing) wanted in terms of the budget. It's going in the right direction."
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120530/METRO01/205300354#ixzz1wMKn4YAJ
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 May 2012 09:28
Category: Top News Written by Tom Watkins
The annual watering hole gathering of Michigan’s top civic, business, labor, education, government, political and foundation leaders is set to begin.
This three-day event, The Detroit Regional Chamber's Mackinac Policy Conference, draws up to 1,500 of Michigan’s “movers and shakers.”
Beginning Tuesday, they will eat, drink and mingle on the world’s largest porch at the Grand Hotel to gab about the state’s problems and opportunities. There is no shortage of either.
Will this year be different, or will the confab once again be an annual “pogo stick convention”? Will this be yet another gathering of well-intended people where lots of jumping up and down occurs without any real forward movement?
The event is well organized and features great speakers with a solid agenda. The leaders, Sandy Baruah, president of the Chamber, and conference chair Nancy M. Schlichting, CEO of Henry Ford Health System (winner of the 2011 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award), are extremely able and talented people.
A year’s worth of networking with influential decision makers can be accomplished in three short days on the island. But shouldn’t successful business performance be measured by results rather than by jibber-jabber, schmoozing and socializing?
The theme song from past Mackinac Policy Conferences should be borrowed from country sensation Toby Keith’s CD, “Whole lotta talk ... not much action.”
Since 1981, our top leaders have been gathering on the island of horses and fudge, but to what end? What has been accomplished?
This is not a slam at the Detroit Regional Chamber, which is to be commended for creating a forum for discussion of issues impacting Michigan. Everyone who attends, however, needs to pull out a mirror and take a look — everyone shares the blame for the lack of tangible results.
If government, education and the nonprofit human services community had hosted this 31-year gathering, the business community would be quick with their ridicule and scorn for the lack of results.
Results should matter! Or are we in a collective state of denial?
Michigan has a historical, almost cultural unwillingness to say that the “emperor has no clothes.” Through the years, we have been either unwilling or unable to take on many real problems and to demand real solutions.
Gov. Rick Snyder started off strong in his desire to “reinvent” Michigan. Will he keep the reinvent Michigan pedal to the metal?
We need to stop pretending and worrying about offending. We need bold leadership, courageous action and positive results. Michigan must adapt to the 21st century global economy through innovation and collaboration in order to succeed.
Fareed Zakaria, CNN contributor, and Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times columnist, will be “keynoters” at the conference. They may want to remind the audience that while we dither, the world is moving forward. Michigan is two peninsulas — not an island.
I hope to see “relentless positive action” resulting from the 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference. In the absence of that, I hope attendees at least enjoy the fudge. No pun intended, my favorite is Rocky Road.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 May 2012 12:31
Category: Top News Written by Phil Power
Travel often gives you new ways of looking at things … and that is certainly true of travel to China. My wife Kathy and I just got back from visiting our son, who lives and works in Shanghai.
We were there for 10 days, and it’s good to be home. But even through the fog of jet lag, the trip gave us plenty to think about.
And the main thing that hit me is what the Chinese are doing with their infrastructure. The trains are amazing. Our run from Beijing to Shanghai ran silently at a posted 303 kilometers an hour (that’s 187 miles per hour!) on an absolutely smooth rail bed.
Seats felt like the first class section of an airplane, with attendants bringing lunch and good views from wide windows.
The roads were wonders to behold, especially in Beijing, where virtually every one had trees, flowering roses and shrubs planted alongside, all well maintained and weeded. The expressways were well designed and in good shape. Traffic congestion in the cities was worse than anything we see here -- which isn‘t surprising, since automobile ownership in China is growing at an enormous rate.
The contrast with what we have here at home could not have been more striking. We’ve basically strangled our railroad system.
Sadly, we get delighted at news that the rail line between Detroit and Chicago will be improved enough to run at 60 mph. And, as anybody who drives in Michigan knows, our roads are still a mess.
So what’s going on here?
Naturally, we need to consider that it’s easy for the Chinese to build roads and railroads: The government doesn’t have to worry about private ownership or public opinion. It controls all the land, and ordinary people don’t have much say in an authoritarian regime.
China also has lots of cash to invest in their infrastructure -- which, sadly, isn‘t the case with us anymore. And when you have a dictatorship as they do, it isn’t hard to make serious political decisions and get them done quickly. Meanwhile, America’s politics are so gummed up these days that it’s hard to get anything done.
Part of the problem, clearly, is that our system is set up so that many varied interest groups are so deeply embedded in the political system that they can veto just about anything they don’t like.
Think Ambassador Bridge owner “Matty” Moroun and his so-far successful efforts to prevent building the New International Trade Crossing over the Detroit River, a bridge virtually everyone else in the business community says is vitally necessary. Think Detroit, where politics and unions are hobbling efforts to implement the consent agreement that might save the city’s finances.
By contrast, one of the remarkable successes of America’s private sector is how in recent years the processes of “creative destruction” have weeded out the inefficient and ineffective.
Whether working through hedge funds and private equity groups (think Domino’s Pizza) or the workings of the bankruptcy laws, American companies as a whole today are far more productive, efficient and profitable than they were just a decade ago.
Why hasn’t something like this happened in the public sector, where things like transportation infrastructure, health care and education are far too ineffective, bloated and unproductive?
One answer: Such activities have been sheltered for years from the bracing winds of competition by government preference and support. So, argue many, take away their sheltered monopoly status.
For example, to force public schools to improve, create competing charters. Those on the right usually want to do away with as much government as possible. That may be a valuable instinct, but taken too far, it runs the risk of throwing out the public interest baby with the monopolistic bath water.
Short-changing our schools and universities, for example, hasn’t seemed to make our people better educated.
Meanwhile, those on the left resist meddling with government-protected sectors, because they fear damaging society’s safety nets. But without the kinds of far-reaching changes that have so improved America’s corporate sector over the past decade, we could easily continue to spend more and more -- while achieving less and less.
To me, it seems clear that a more fruitful approach would be to identify and attack those interests embedded in the system that hold veto power over efforts to change things. In the case of schools, look to the unions. In the case of public transport, look to the veto power of public sector unions like Amalgamated Transit Union Local 312 and AFSCME Local 36. They represent the Detroit bus system’s drivers and mechanics and have held up efforts to create an efficient region-wide bus system. In the case of health care, look to the enormous market power of the big drug and insurance companies.
Don‘t expect hospitals to be change agents either; they pretty much like things the way they are.
How do we get past all this? What we need to do is identify and sideline those special interests that have veto power against changes to the workings of our public sector institutions. That approach, neither Chinese authoritarianism nor left-wing protectionism, seems most likely to offer an effective policy route to change.
The kind of badly needed change, that is, that Michigan needs to compete for jobs and prosperity in the future.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 May 2012 12:21
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the Michigan Chronicle Digital Daily newsletter!
- Detroit gears up for historic March on Woodward celebration (1)
- UPDATE: Election commission decides to keep Duggan on the ballot (1)
- African Americans Must be a part of Detroit New Development Growth (1)
- 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' Porsha Stewart Locked Out By Husband Kordell? [Video} (2)
- Earn and Learn Program helps chronically unemployed find careers (1)