Category: Top News Written by Marcus Amick
From cool concepts to hot new production models, the 2012 North American International Auto Show kicked off Monday with a host of new vehicles that raise the stakes in just about every car segment.
One of the first vehicles unveiled at the show, which opens to the public Friday, Jan. 13, was the 2013 Dodge Dart. Based on Alfa Romeo DNA. The Dart seeks to redefine the idea of performance in the compact car segment.
“The all-new Dodge Dart is a groundbreaking car that will surprise and delight customers who want a no-compromise, fun-to-drive car that’s a great value,” said Reid Bigland, president and chief executive officer, Dodge Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “With 12 exterior colors, 14 interior color and trim options, three powerful, fuel-efficient engines, three transmission choices, unsurpassed safety features and world-class aerodynamics, the new Dodge Dart sets a new standard for the compact car class.”
As part of its strategy to focus on the “Next Gen” car buyers, Chevrolet unveiled two new concepts — Code 130R and 140S.
Code 130R, the first Chevrolet concept, is a four-seat coupe with a simple upright profile. Painted in an all-new red metallic paint with matte anodized gold wheels, Code 130R features heritage performance-inspired styling and rear-wheel drive. With an aggressive front fascia, Chevrolet fender flares, straight body side and Chevy crossflag emblem, Code 130R makes a link to Chevrolet’s performance heritage.
Tru 140S, the second Chevrolet concept, is a front-wheel-drive, “affordable exotic” four-seat sporty coupe.
The three-door hatchback was designed to be an attractive-yet-affordable sports car. Shown in an all-new matte white with Chevy performance chrome wheels featuring crossflag emblems, Tru 140S is designed to look confident, exotic, expensive and fast. Tru 140S is based off the same platform as the Chevrolet Cruze and the groundbreaking Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range.
Frank Saucedo, director of GM’s Advanced Design studio, California, which headed the design of the Code 130R and the Tru 140S, said the Chevy concept vehicles targeted at youth were developed from two years of research with individuals from ages 11 to 30.
“We talked to them and said, what are your needs, what are your lifestyles?” explained Saucedo.
One of the most surprising new unveilings at the 2012 Detroit auto show is the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion, the latest in a series of vehicles, which follows the launch of hot vehicles like the 2011 Fiesta subcompact and 2012 Focus small cars.
“Our vision for Fusion was clear — deliver the very best of what One Ford stands for,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president of Global Product Development. “We brought our global teams together around a blank slate with the charge to develop a midsize car with groundbreaking design and jaw-dropping fuel economy — one that features technologies to help make our customers safer and better drivers. This car is the result.”
Other new vehicles unveiled at the show include the new Mercedes Benz SL 550, 2013 Audi A4 and the new 2013 Cadillac ATS compact sedan.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 January 2012 17:08
Category: Top News Written by Bankole Thompson
Monday, Jan. 16, is the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, the annual recognition of a man whose message was simple and to the point: a beloved community, where all of us can live in brotherhood and sisterhood, realizing that we are all wrapped in the same garment of destiny.
In that same vein, the GOP candidates running for the presidency will also honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by either taking a break from the campaign stretch or offer heartfelt words about King’s good deeds in the media.
Since it will make for a great sound bite, we’ll hear their take on race relations, America’s strides toward greater equality, and anything that moves us away from discrimination.
Some of them might even talk about how King’s work has personally transformed their views around the notions of justice and equity, as well as their positions on those ideas.
But beyond the expected sound bites about the grandeur of King’s legacy, the GOP presidential candidates need to match their words with action.
Unfortunately, none of the candidates — Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Ron Paul and John Huntsman — have offered anything in their plan to address inherent issues around race and gender discrimination in the nation.
In fact, throughout the campaign issues involving racial and gender disparity have been swept under the rug and only mentioned in passing.
Because these are explosive subjects with the potential to drown any candidate’s campaign based on how they approach the subject, they’ve left it alone. But this is the cornerstone of the legacy of the man they’ll talk about or honor next week.
King did not drag his feet on issues. He forced us to confront our own shortcomings and offered what he saw as a prescription to the maladies of race and gender inequality.
As the New South flexes its political muscles in this Republican primary ahead of the King Holiday, let it be clear that it was King, not any Republican president, who helped to create this New South after the Civil Rights Movement achieved the right to vote for African Americans. Though the Deep South still bears elements — in significant measure — of the past, it has come a long way including helping to put an African American, Barack Obama, in the White House.
Toward the end of his life, and in his defining book. “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” King sought to offer an economic vision that was based on the simple principle of equality for all. Some of the GOP candidates call that vision “socialism” in their bid to discredit President Obama.
But the reality is that the candidates cannot talk from both sides of their mouths in an era where race and gender discrimination and economic inequality offer proof that the nation still has to a long way to go with regard to full equity for all.
If we are to realize King’s dream, it is imperative that these candidates offer solution-oriented plans in line with the vision of the man they will speak so respectfully of next week.
You can’t say you are supportive of King’s dream when your plan for building America does not help advance African Americans and other people of color.
You can’t talk about your reverence for King and his equality message when you are mute on gender discrimination, with women getting paid less in the workplace.
You can’t tell the media King was an example for you growing up when your idea of an ideal society is one that excludes his message about the unfinished business of guaranteeing that every child has the basic necessities of life, including an empowering education in cites like Detroit. It’s one thing to codify those necessities to the notions of rugged individualism — often the nicely coined technical phrase — used frequently by some who want to abdicate social responsibility or others who want to show we each have individual strengths.
Regardless of what position you take on the notion of rugged individualism, we each have a responsibility and a legacy to create in our community.
King said, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
And so do the candidates running for president of the world’s largest democracy. These individuals who are vying to occupy the White House cannot avoid questions that speak to the rapidly growing rainbow nation we are quickly becoming.
Anyone who dares to become president certainly has an obligation that goes beyond the political fanfare in Iowa and New Hampshire.
They must speak to the economic climate in Detroit and the rest of the hinterland. Every segment that makes up this democratic experience called America is important.
That is why in King’s honor, we owe it an obligation to those who are cut out of the social and economic engines of society, including children, to work for a fair society and guarantee them a meaningful future. And those who dare to lead and want to lead have no excuse but to do just that. They cannot call themselves leaders when they are ignorant of the basic rudiments of leadership: step up when others will not.
So far, the candidates in the GOP primary have offered nothing but titillating sound bites and a hate-filled and anger- driven rhetoric.
Maybe someone with a more rational view will emerge to advance the presidential cause of the GOP and at the same time speak to King’s dreams as we prepare to pay tribute to him.
King preached love. He accepted people of all stripe and never spoke ill of or talked down to them. He had the hallmarks of a leader. He said “a genuine leader is not a searcher of consensus, but a molder of consensus.”
It’s hard to find in this GOP primary who among the candidates can mold consensus.
They shouldn’t just talk about King to get political points. Rather, they should help fulfill his dream.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 January 2012 16:57
Category: News Briefs Written by Michigan Chronicle
Logan served as publisher of the Michigan Chronicle for 40 years and was co-owner of Real Times, the parent company of the Chronicle and FrontPage, Chicago Defender, New Pittsburgh Courier and Memphis Tri-State Defender newspapers.
Named Publisher of the Year three times by the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), he was also inducted in the Hall of Fames of Joe Louis Arena, Cobo Hall, Junior Achievement, the International Institute Foundation, and most recently, UDM’s College of Business Hall of Honor.
The Samuel Logan Scholarship at UDM will afford students with limited financial resources to attend the institution that he personally felt so strongly about. Diane Taylor, one of Logan’s daughters, also graduated from UDM with a degree from the College of Health Professions. Taylor explained, “He was extremely proud of his education here and showed his ring proudly to everyone.”
Last Updated on Monday, 09 January 2012 15:31
Category: Top News Written by Bankole Thompson
I’ve written many tributes about heroic men and women, but this is one that I didn’t imagine I would have to write so soon. It was only a month ago that I presented the Sam Logan Lifetime Achievement Award at the Michigan Chronicle Legacy Awards gala. Little did I know that would be his last major public appearance.
The fact is, Sam Logan’s passing is the end of an era for the Michigan Chronicle.
To say that Logan, the Chronicle’s longtime publisher and founder of the Michigan FrontPage, will be sorely missed is an understatement.
That this towering figure, who means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, will no longer be around a newspaper that was so closely identified with him seems surreal.
That the Michigan Chronicle will from now on operate in the shadows of a man who spent more than four decades at the paper, in the process becoming the personification of this media institution, is a reality everyone at 479 Ledyard now has to face.
Sam Logan was a man who not only transcended generations; he also took part in events that shaped generations, and in some cases created such events.
He understood the marketplace he was operating in and subsequently placed the Chronicle at the center as a leader on almost every issue that’s been crucial to Detroit and this region’s long political and social history as well as that of the nation.
No matter how controversial his positions have sometimes been, Sam Logan stood behind his convictions and did not waver in making his positions clear. Even when people vehemently disagreed with him, he took great satisfaction in knowing that he was making them think.
Such was the man who sat at the helm of a newspaper that has given African Americans a voice and place to express their views on life and death issues since 1936.
When institutions are wrapped around larger than life personalities, it becomes a challenge for those institutions to smoothly continue to function after the exit of those personalities. That explains why many in the community today feel so deeply about the passing of Sam Logan. As someone put it, in a sense Logan was the Michigan Chronicle for decades.
No matter where he stood on the ideological spectrum and using the Chronicle to convey his message, Logan was respected across the aisle. Not everyone liked his decisions, but almost everyone respected him for knowing how to stake his position.
At the Chronicle, we certainly have lost a giant, a friend and a professional colleague whom we enjoyed working with. Logan believed in his staff and knew how to appeal to the best of our skills and intentions. He knew how to utilize the talents and strengths of his team, a hallmark of a great manager.
Logan was seldom in contention with his staff. He was always cool about things and even when he disagreed with us, he was very careful about how he conveyed that disagreement to the rest of the team. The last thing he wanted was to make any staff members feel frustrated and unappreciated.
He knew how to recognize talent and provided an environment conducive to that talent growing.
The Michigan Chronicle was Sam Logan’s home. He lived and breathed the paper.
Whether he was showing up early in the morning or leaving late in the evening, the Chronicle was his world and he was very clear about how he wanted the paper to be perceived in the community.
During our conversations he would tell me that he did not want the paper to be seen as a special interest publication. The Chronicle, in his view, should cater to all sides of the ideological divide.
Notwithstanding its Black identity, Logan always ensured the Chronicle was also talking to people who had traditionally been outside the Black press coverage range.
He grew up in an era when the Black press was the only voice for African Americans and he fully understood the importance of that alternative voice. He pushed the Chronicle to continue that role, and at the same time remained cognizant of the fact that we live in an interconnected world where we are all affected, hence the need for the paper to reach out beyond perceived realms.
Prior to my arrival at the Chronicle as editor, I heard so many stories about Sam Logan. Even those who did not know him had something to say about him.
The first day I walked into his office after accepting the appointment, he embraced me as if we’d known each other for ages. It was like a reunion, and later that evening we went to the Detroit Athletic Club (DAC), one of his favorite spots, for dinner and further discussion.
Throughout the first four months into my tenure, he would invite me to meet him for drinks at the DAC. He would also invite some of his friends and associates to meet me because he wanted them to know who the new editor was and what to expect from him.
Our best performances were a source of great pride for him. I remember when I would come back from scoring big, often exclusive interviews he would savor every detail of how the interview went, leaving out no details. We always knew he had our back and his support was unwavering.
We would spend time together talking about the paper and its editorial positions. He understood that the survival and relevance of any media entity today hinges on its editorial sanctity. He guarded that. As he would always remind me, “Do not let anyone in the world tell you what to write or how to write it.”
So as we mourn Sam Logan’s departure with a great sense of professional and personal loss, we owe it to his legacy to continue in his indefatigable spirit to give voice in the community.
Last Updated on Monday, 09 January 2012 12:03
Category: Top News Written by Carol Cain: Special to the Chronicle
Somehow heaven just got a bit more interesting with Sam Logan’s arrival Wednesday as the iconic 78-year-old publisher of the Michigan Chronicle transitioned from this world to the next.
How could it not be the case?
Mr. Logan, a beloved father and grandfather, impacted the Motor City and state of Michigan as few other individuals have during a 40-year career at the storied Michigan Chronicle and its sister paper, The Michigan FrontPage.
He impacted the region and state with his bold leadership and vision of a stronger city, one where the gap between rich and poor, black and white dissipated. One where Detroit Public Schools prepared all of our young people for the competitive global marketplace.
Through the years, Mr. Logan walked and talked with U.S. presidents, CEOs, world leaders, powerful religious and community leaders.
He was equally as comfortable at a community center on the east side of his beloved city talking to young people or seniors about issues confronting the African American community.
To Sam Logan, it was a matter of helping and doing what he could to make this city, region and state a better place.
He was also a beloved friend and mentor whose impact will forever be etched in my heart and in my soul.
In the often rough and tumble world of journalism, where legends are few and one’s heart often left on the roadway by the endless focus of glaring ‘gotcha’ headlines to sell papers or gain viewership, Mr. Logan kept his focus on simply helping.
Sometimes that meant putting a spotlight on issues that others might have decided wouldn’t sell papers like bragging about a children’s club helping the community.
But Mr. Logan was no pushover. He had a keen sense of news.
Because of his stewardship, the Chronicle dominated coverage about corruption in Detroit Public Schools a few years ago. He led the paper to score front page stories that led to criminal court cases.
He took no delight in that. Nor did he try to win journalism awards for it. Instead, Mr. Logan took comfort knowing it would be the kids and classrooms that would benefit as district dollars went where they rightfully should.
Of Pancakes and Politics
Mr. Logan and I would often talk about race relations – a topic that proved interesting to a black man from the south who came to the Motor City as a teen decades earlier and white woman who was born and raised on the east side of Detroit.
While many described the Chronicle as the largest African American newspaper in the state, Mr. Logan would tell me the Chronicle was in the business of providing information to the community, “the entire community… black, white and anything in between.”
Which brought us to a conversation six years ago when he and Hiram Jackson, of Real Times Media, parent company of The Chronicle, decided to start a community breakfast forum where leaders would gather and talk about vital issues.
To kick it off, they wanted to have then-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who had been bickering about Cobo Hall, discuss race relations and more.
Mr. Logan approached me about moderating "Pancakes and Politics” which was the name chosen for the event.
As senior producer and host of WWJ-TV CBS Detroit’s “Michigan Matters” I regularly moderated conversations as well as community forums for Detroit Economic Club, Detroit Regional Chamber and others.
But as the nature of our relationship went, I cut to the chase. I asked if he thought about the obvious. “I may be from Detroit and attended Detroit Public Schools, but, I am white.”
"Ms. Cain: you are looking for problems when there aren't any. I see you as the perfect host for our event," Mr. Logan pronounced. "I have fought my entire life to not have people judged by the color of their skin but their abilities. End of story."
We agreed to do the first one. Six years later, with governors, mayors, CEOs, religious leaders and more taking to the stage, “Pancakes and Politics” has been a runaway success due to Mr. Logan and Mr. Jackson’s efforts.
Mr. Logan and I talked last week about the upcoming “Pancakes” season.
He was enthused by the political prospects of 2012 – the presidential contest, Senate race and more. He also hoped to hear more about healthcare and auto companies.
He was excited about Detroit with the Ilitches, Gilberts, Karmanos and Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores now in town.
The pieces were falling in place to take our region to the next level.
But the captain of the “Pancakes” team and Michigan Chronicle got the call. They needed him in heaven.
Despite the tears being shed over his passing, the Chronicle family will go on.
So too “Pancakes” and other community events and stories the paper will lead going forward.
See, Mr. Logan would be disappointed if this story ended any other way.
God Bless you and your family Sam Logan! You leave a wonderful legacy behind!
Carol Cain is the Emmy winning Senior Producer and host of WWJ-TV CBS Detroit’s Michigan Matters. She has moderated the Michigan Chronicle’s “Pancakes and Politics” since its debut six years ago.
Last Updated on Thursday, 29 December 2011 22:03
Category: Top News Written by Michigan Chronicle
"It is with deep regret that we announce the death of our father and grandfather Samuel Logan, longtime and legendary publisher of the Michigan Chronicle. At 78 our father lived a fulfilled life of service to Detroit and this nation. We thank everyone for their prayers and support at this time of grief."
Funeral arrangements are listed below.
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to:
Hospice of Southeast Michigan
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Noon – 9pm
Swanson Funeral Home (Northwest Location)
14751 W. McNichols (East of Greenfield)
Detroit, MI 48235
Thursday, January 5, 2012
10am – 9pm
Swanson Funeral Home (Northwest Location)
14751 W. McNichols (East of Greenfield)
Detroit, MI 48235
Funeral / Homegoing
Friday, January 6, 2012
Greater Grace Temple
23500 W. Seven Mile Rd.
Detroit, MI 48219
Services Scheduled for Michigan Chronicle Publisher Sam Logan
Interim Publisher named
The Michigan Chronicle announced Thursday funeral services for Publisher Sam Logan will be held on Friday, January 6, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. at Greater Grace Temple located at 23500 W. Seven Mile Road in Detroit. Rev. Charles Adams, pastor of Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, will officiate the funeral.
The longtime publisher passed away unexpectedly Wednesday at the age of 78.
At the same time, the paper announced that Hiram E. Jackson, chief executive officer of the Chronicle’s parent company, Real Times Media, will serve as interim publisher of the Chronicle to assure a smooth and orderly transition in leadership at the paper.
“It is with profound sorrow that we confront the passing of our friend and colleague, Sam Logan” said Larry Crawford, chairman of the board for Real Times Media. "No words can adequately express our sadness. We will honor his memory by continuing to grow the newspaper he loved so much.
“The first step in that process is naming Hiram Jackson as interim publisher to assure that Sam’s mission of publishing a vibrant newspaper that serves Detroit is carried on."
"The state of Michigan has lost a giant," said Jackson. "Sam's dedication to the Michigan Chronicle was matched only by his passion for tackling tough issues for the betterment of the community to which he dedicated his life.
“I am humbled to be asked by the board to carry on his mission on an interim basis. I do this knowing that Sam’s first order to all of us at this time of great sorrow and loss for all of us would be to focus on continuing to get his newspaper out on time. We are going to do that."
As publisher of the Michigan Chronicle for more than four decades, Logan was no stranger to controversy. He often unabashedly expressed strong views on hot-button issues. He was most known for being a leading voice on many critical matters such as Detroit Public Schools, race relations and the future of Detroit. He was once quoted as saying, “I don’t worry about whether you agree or disagree or whether you like it. All I want to know is when I put something in writing, are you thinking? And if you’re thinking, then I’ve accomplished my objective.”
It was Logan’s conviction to being tough yet fair that made him a journalistic icon not only in Michigan but throughout the Black Press.
Last Updated on Thursday, 29 December 2011 17:11
Category: Top News Written by Michigan Chronicle
Gov. Rick Snyder issued the following statement regarding the death of Sam Logan, publisher of The Michigan Chronicle:
"Sam Logan was a pioneer in Michigan journalism and a courageous advocate for Michigan's African-American community. His leadership in Detroit and Michigan transcended politics and race. As a proud newspaperman, he was passionate about the public's right to know. Sam dedicated his life to providing his readers with solid, reliable information so they could make decisions that strengthened their cities. He was fearless when it came to taking a stand, and he did so out of a genuine love of Detroit and our state. Like so many others who were privileged to know Sam, I am deeply saddened by his passing. His lifelong commitment to serving his country and his community, as well as his spirit of entrepreneurship and business acumen, will remain an inspiration to future generations. On behalf of our entire state, I extend my sympathies to his family during this difficult time."
“Sam Logan was more than a Detroit icon, he was a respected pioneer in Black journalism who championed the need for coverage of a community not totally served by the mainstream media," said Mayor Dave Bing in a written statement.
“More importantly, Sam was a loyal friend who will be deeply missed by all Detroiters. My heartfelt sympathies are extended to Sam’s family."
"I am deeply saddened by the passing of Sam Logan. He worked tirelessly for his craft and was a man of extreme integrity. He has been a trailblazer in his field and an accomplished journalist whose legacy will live on for our community to learn from and be inspired by.”
- Robert A. Ficano, Wayne County Executive
"Sam Logan was a good friend whom I respected immensely. Detroit and the region have lost a strong voice and a committed advocate. In 2011, we lost Eleanor Josaitis, Arthur Johnson, and now Sam. We can't spare the loss of such leaders in our community."
- L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County Executive
"We are saddened by the passing of Sam Logan, a pioneer in journalism, whose passion for justice and equality was infused in every issue of the Michigan Chronicle," said Jim Murray, president, AT&T Michigan. "Through his tough yet fair coverage of issues that affected our community, he empowered those who felt powerless and provided a voice to those who felt they weren't being heard. Mr. Logan will be greatly missed, but his legacy and influence will live on forever. On behalf of our employees across the state of Michigan and beyond, AT&T sends our condolences to the family of Mr. Logan, both personal and at the Michigan Chronicle."
- Jim Murray, president, AT&T Michigan
"I shared a friendship with Sam Logan for many years, on both a personal and professional level, and I am profoundly saddened by his passing. It is hard to imagine our city without this great man. There will be a void that will be hard for anyone to fill. Sam was truly unique, and very passionate about his work. He was always courageous and never shied away from an issue even if it was not popular. He challenged our thinking. I will miss Sam."
- Joyce Hayes Giles, Sr Vice Pres, Customer Service at DTE Energy
"Sam Logan was a dear friend and confidante who embodied community responsibility. To him, giving back was part of being a member of this community. He always did what he felt was best for Detroit, the region and Michigan. He took action to strengthen the community, promote minority business growth, and to improve the physical health and well-being of Detroit residents. It’s a shame to lose Sam at this critical time, when Detroit needs its strongest voices and most dedicated leaders. Detroit has lost a friend in Sam Logan, but it is my sincere hope that we all will carry a little piece of his spirit with us each day. The most fitting way for us to honor Sam is by following the example he set – standing up for the city he loved so much and continuing to take actions that strengthen and revitalize it."
- Daniel J. Loepp, president and CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Last Updated on Thursday, 29 December 2011 15:43
Category: Top News Written by Bankole Thompson
The mere fact that we are here today debating a clear path out of Detroit’s financial crisis without arriving at any agreeable solution as 201l is quickly sentenced to the dustbin of history, is a sign of leadership failure on everyone who claims to have a stake in the process of rebuilding this city.
The fact that we are here at the dawn of another year, without any major announcement to arrest the ballooning financial mess or a clear-cut vision about where Detroit will be in 2012 in what is quickly becoming a cataclysmic financial crisis, is a damning indictment of the lack of urgency on the part of those who have been charged with driving the future of this city forward.
Year In Review
As the city rolls into 2012 it needs to hear from the men and women who claim to derive their legitimacy to occupy the velvet cushions at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Building from the people who gave them that legitimacy to public office.
What is Detroit’s leadership vision for 2012?
What direction does Detroit plan to take in the coming year?
Where is the much talked about alternative plan in place of an emergency manager?
Where is the demonstrated sacrifice that has been rattling from the mouths of those who say they were elected to serve?
The big story of 2011 is the revelations about the city’s protracted financial woes that date beyond the administration of Mayor Dave Bing.
And the challenge for the current leadership in the city is to not allow the financial troubles of the city to remain the big story of 2012.
That means something has to give. Leadership is not just about fine speeches and attending events and community forums. Being seen in the right places with the right people.
Leadership is also about making vital choices that lead to real results and consequences even when they are not popular. It is showing in concrete terms that you really care about being a caretaker of the city’s future and its jewels.
It is demonstrating that you are willing to be the front line of defense for everything that the city represents, even if you lose your job in the process of doing so. Because at the end of the day this is the business of public service, it is not your own personal property.
Writing about all things Detroit during 2011 has taken me to all kinds of events in and around the city. Some are events billed around emotional politics invoking the grand history of this city and how it has “come this far by faith.” Others are events that center on real need for answers to the failure of city hall to deliver much needed services to those who need them the most.
Because beyond the clearly scripted talking points there is a mass underclass in this city whose needs are not being tended to and, all too often, are not even heard. They live in the shadows. We don’t hear their stories.
The year 2011 has been rough for them. Their children are waking up every day without any prospective future, innocent victims caught in the middle of a grinding political gamesmanship where egos have replaced real concern for the “least of these” who will be further sentenced into oblivion when this city can no longer offer crucial services by April of 2012.
All of us invested in this city, including major businesses such as Quicken Loans and Blue Cross Blue Shield, that have recently moved thousands of their employees to Detroit and others that have long invested in Detroit as the headquarters of their businesses when they have the option to choose other attractive locations, will be affected by the lack of a real plan to solve the financial crisis of Detroit by April when the city is expected to run out of cash.
So we are all in this together.
That is why the mayor, city council and labor have no option but to give us a plan that is not only realistic but one that works and helps to revamp the archaic structures upon which the city has long operated. The old structures of operation cannot meet the new demands of the time.
This is time for Detroit to think like a 21st century renaissance city and doing so means city hall will have to alter the way it has been doing things. Business as usual won’t do.
In an age where growth represents the future, the city should not be engaging in sloppy ways of doing business. The whole government apparatus at city hall should be computerized. That cuts out bureaucracy and makes it easier for records to be traceable and for businesses and everybody who needs services from city hall to get expedited service. Detroit should be a partner in the technological evolution, not an anathema.
Governor Rick Snyder’s threat of an emergency manager has forced the mayor, city council and the unofficial third branch of local government – the unions – to come together to announce their commitment to a plan to avert the need for an emergency manager.
But beyond the announcement to oppose an emergency manager and show a unified force among the city’s leadership and some members of the faith and local business community, we want to see a plan that is workable.
It is unfortunate and bad enough that it had to take the threat of an emergency manager from a governor who made it clear that he doesn’t want to see Michigan’s largest city go under, for the city’s leadership to get their act together and sit down to talk — with a sense of urgency.
It’s almost tragic comedy.
Is Detroit’s leadership behaving like children?
Does it now mean that for every major decision concerning this city, it has to be first hashed out with the threat of an emergency manager?
But we should give them credit that at least they are willing to come to the table. The question is, what will they leave the table with?
We are all waiting for an answer.
2011 is going fast.
We need a plan that is not politically correct, but one that makes sense given the current atmosphere we are in.
Detroit needs outside-the-box thinking, and doing so will require leadership at city hall to first show an open mind and a willingness to test uncharted waters, which includes making tough decisions, even if they are not popular.
At the end of the day what should matter to all of us, including the nine members of the city council, the mayor and the unions, is the preservation of this city. And that Detroit will survive, and all of those who have invested in it will be able to tell and retell the survival story.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 December 2011 14:12
Category: News Briefs Written by Mark S. Lee
Generally, Financial Advisors (FA’s) are sought for developing personal financial plans for specific needs. However, did you know FA’s can also assist you in developing financial plans when it comes to your business?
Small Talk recently interviewed Mr. Aubrey W. Lee, Jr., Vice President, Resident Director for Merrill Lynch, in Novi. Lee provides clients with best in class service while offering customized solutions to expertly handle all of their financial needs utilizing the powerful resources available within Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
We asked for his thoughts on small business development across Southeast Michigan.
ST: How important is small business development to Detroit's economic recovery?
AWL: Small business has largely been at the crux of the country’s economic recovery, and the same holds true here in Detroit. It has served as the barometer both for economic health and recovery. We know that small businesses employ more people than large size companies, and because it is ultimately jobs that will help foster the economic recovery, small business development will be very important to Detroit’s economic recovery.
ST: What trends have you noticed across the region?
AWL: We have seen that some small business owners are cutting back on their own salaries as a savings mechanism and to retain valued employees. Regarding credit, obtaining it has emerged as a critical problem for small businesses across Southeast Michigan. At Bank of America Merrill Lynch, we partner with our clients to explore creative solutions for loans and capital.
Finally, in light of economic conditions, more businesses are looking to do more with less, at less cost. This new, more conservative approach to business operations will likely continue to be a trend as business owners navigate uncertain terrain and prepare for unforeseen circumstances.
ST: What have been the most significant contributors to small business failures?
AWL: As mentioned, since the financial crisis, it has become even more challenging for small businesses to obtain credit needed to start or grow their business. Because the crisis has made small companies more vulnerable, banks are more cautious in issuing loans. As a result, small businesses have lacked upfront capital that is necessary to succeed. Additionally, many small businesses focus solely on obtaining work versus their short and long-term visions for growth and sustaining revenue.
ST: Do most small businesses have a financial plan? If not, why?
AWL: Unfortunately, most small businesses do not have financial plans, and the ones that do have financial plans often fail to stick to them. Often they will create an initial plan for the bank in order to obtain a loan; however, they do not create a formal financial plan for the long-term.
ST: What resources are available by Merrill Lynch?
AWL: We are committed to providing small business owners with the personalized advice and resources they need to address their evolving challenges and priorities. A relationship with a Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor affords small business owners and their employee’s access to a comprehensive range of financial solutions, as well as ongoing product and service innovations, backed by one of the nation’s largest lenders to small business.
Merrill Lynch Financial Advisors collaborate with business owners to ensure that their strategic business plan is locally focused and tailored to the specific needs of the business owner and his/her employees.
ST: What specific advice would you give to start ups versus those who are more established but have stalled?
AWL: It is important that startup companies carefully evaluate their business model and offerings to account for market conditions and obstacles that may hinder their business succeeding. Other key factors to evaluate are the demand for the products or services and competitors in the market place.
Before entering into the market, small business owners should establish two or three "What If" plans. (i.e., "What if things take off fast?”, "What if things start off slow?”,"What if things don't get started at all?”) This is the time for small business owners to take a rational look at the market/business, rather than waiting until they are too deep in.
I advise small business owners to focus on more than just revenue growth. It is important to pay attention to, and practice good book keeping such as the collection of receivables and timely payment for services rendered.
ST: Is it smart to mix business and personal resources for an entrepreneur?
AWL: As always, it’s important to proceed with caution when mixing business and personal resources as an entrepreneur. Though friends and family can be helpful, there should be a clearly outlined plan for how resources will be utilized. Before committing personal resources of their own, investors must first carefully consider the implications and their overall financial well-being. We encourage business owners to partner with their financial advisors to maintain accurate records reflecting personal funding. This is also a good practice for tax purposes.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 December 2011 13:54
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