Category: News Briefs Written by Michigan Chronicle
Henry Ford Health System is hosting free head and neck cancer screenings Thursday, April 26 at four of its Metro Detroit locations as part of Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week.
The free screenings will be held at the following times at these Henry Ford Ear, Nose and Throat clinic locations:
• Detroit: Henry Ford Hospital, 2799 W. Grand Blvd. Screenings at this location will be held from 8 a.m. – 4p.m.
• Dearborn: Henry Ford Medical Center-Fairlane, 19401 Hubbard Drive. Screenings at this location will be held from 8 a.m. – 4p.m.
• Sterling Heights: Henry Ford Medical Center-Lakeside, 14500 Hall Road. Screenings at this location will be held from 1 – 4:30 p.m.
• West Bloomfield: Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, 6777 W. Maple Road. Screenings at this location will be held from 1 – 4:30 p.m.
Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week (April 22-28) is spearheaded by The Head and Neck Cancer Alliance (formerly the Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundation) to create a coalition in the fight against head and neck cancer.
Early detection not only saves lives, but also reduces the debilitating side-effects associated with this preventable type of cancer. Head and neck cancer symptoms can be vague, but warning signs include hoarseness, persistent throat and ear pain for more than four weeks.
The screening is free but space is limited, so an appointment is required. To make your appointment at one of the Henry Ford locations, call (313) 916-3275.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 April 2012 12:08
Category: Top News Written by Michigan Chronicle
Henry Ford Health System has received the Baldrige Award for performance excellence, April 15, in Washington, DC.
The presentation was made by the Secretary of Commerce John Bryson to Henry Ford Health System CEO Nancy Schlichting.
Henry Ford was one of only four 2011 recipients and the only organization in Michigan to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.
“The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award is a symbol of the highest standards of excellence, and we are extremely proud and humbled to have been selected,” says Schlichting.
Named after the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the award was established in 1987 by Congress to promote quality awareness, to recognize quality and business achievements of U.S. organizations, and to publicize these organizations’ successful performance strategies.
Now America’s highest honor for innovation and performance excellence, the Baldrige Award is presented annually to U.S. organizations by the office of the President of the United States. Awards are given to companies in manufacturing, service, small business, education, health care, and nonprofit sectors. In conjunction with the private sector, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) manages the award and the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program.
In a profile of Henry Ford, the Malcolm Baldrige examiners wrote:
HFHS’s leaders model and support entrepreneurism throughout the health care delivery system, research operations, and the Health Alliance Plan. Innovative strategies and solutions have been developed and implemented for the past decade, helping reduce unintended patient harm and establishing a “zero-defect, no-excuses” approach to health care outcomes.
Among the best-in-class innovations at HFHS: the Perfect Depression Program, which uses an evidenced-based, integrated approach to address chronic depression; Home Health Services, Pharmacy Advantage, and OptimEyes (optometry care) - all services with a retail presence to increase brand recognition and access to new customers; and the West Bloomfield “hospital model,” in which a new hospital was built from scratch with the active involvement of the community (resulting in a facility with features such as a Culinary Wellness Program and an innovative building design with a “Main Street” feel).
Henry Ford Health System, one of the country’s largest and most comprehensive integrated health care systems, is a national leader in clinical care, research and education. The system includes the 1,200-member Henry Ford Medical Group, five hospitals, Health Alliance Plan (a health insurance and wellness company), Henry Ford Physician Network, a 150-site ambulatory network and many other health-related entities throughout southeast Michigan, providing a full continuum of care. In 2010, Henry Ford provided nearly $200 million in uncompensated care. The health system also is a major economic driver in Michigan and employs more than 24,000 people. The health system is led by CEO Nancy Schlichting. To learn more, visit HenryFord.com.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 April 2012 11:31
Category: Top News Written by Michigan Chronicle
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow among honorees at this year’s dinner
The year marks 100 years since the founding of the Detroit Branch NAACP. It is a time of celebration, reflecting the victories and challenges of the organization and the people it represents. The organizations salutes its predecessors who laid the foundation for the continuous vigilance of the Detroit Branch NAACP.
“The history of our organization has been decorated by the hard work, complete dedication and commitment to the task at hand of the hundreds of volunteers, past presidents, executive directors and board members,” said Detroit NAACP President Rev. Wendell Anthony.
“We will always be indebted to the likes of Dr. William Osby, Rev. Robert Bradby, Sr., Rev. Charles Hill, Rev. James E. Wadsworth, Jr., Dr. Frederick Sampson, Dr. Betty Lackey, Dr. Charles G. Adams, Mr. Joe Madison, Dr. Arthur Johnson, Mr. Thomas Turner and many, many others.”
The Detroit branch also recognizes the work of Judge Damon R. Keith for his counsel and support of the branch over the years. The Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner is one of the signature events of the Detroit Branch NAACP, and it is grateful to the likes of Dr. Lionel Swan, Dr. Alfred Thomas, D.T. Burton, former Detroit Branch Treasurer M. Kelly Fritz, former Branch President Edward M. Turner and Arthur L. Johnson along with 59 members of the Detroit Medical Society who became the Freedom Fund Dinner’s first 59 subscribers.
The Detroit Branch remains the only branch in the nation to have the privilege of hosting presidents, secretaries of state, international dignitaries for Fight For Freedom Dinner.
The organization provided over $1 million dollars in food, medicine, cargo vans, and agricultural materials to the nations of Rwanda and Zaire during their tribal conflicts with the aid of John Conyers, Jr. and President Bill Clinton during their tribal conflicts.
“We believe we have a stellar record unmatched by any branch in the nation for advocacy on social justice issues and the implementation for correction on issues affecting our community. We are committed to remaining vigilant in the quest for freedom and justice as we fight for the maintenance of our democracy amidst emergency managers and consent agreements.
“We will continue to push for economic development in our community and excellent educational opportunity for our children. We know that the struggle continues.”
It is with this reality that the Detroit Branch NAACP announce its special guests and awardees for the 57th Annual Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner as it celebrates a century: the James Weldon Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award to Rev. Dr. Julius C. Hope, pastor of the New Grace Missionary Baptist Church in Highland Park and director of the National Religious Affairs Department of the NAACP. For over 50 years, Dr. Hope has been building bridges, working with faith-based organizations of every denomination and a leader in the civil rights/religious network communities.
The Great Expectation Award Recipient is Rhonda Walker, WDIV-TV4 news anchor. Through her Rhonda Walker Foundation, she has developed mentors and provided inspiration and scholarships for many young women throughout this community. She is a positive force, both on the camera and after she leaves the network. She is always available to work with and for young people.
The second Great Expectation Award Recipient is attorney Nabih Ayad, founder of the Arab American Civil Rights League, former commissioner of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and a prominent civil rights/social justice attorney.
The Detroit NAACP is pleased to present the Mary White Ovington Freedom and Justice Award to Maureen Taylor, president of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization. She is well known throughout our state as a champion for those in need. She has been a tremendous advocate for children, for justice, for families receiving public assistance and for jobs and education throughout our community.
The Detroit NAACP has reached beyond state borders to present the Ida B. Wells Barnett Freedom and Justice Award to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. She has been a strong and effective voice in using the national news media to advocate for justice from Michigan to Mississippi, and from New York to California.
Anthony says this year’s event will welcome legendary attorney and social justice advocate Dr. Charles Ogletree of Harvard University who will provide a special word for a new initiative on the issue of the nefarious “Stand Your Ground” law.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 April 2012 10:55
Category: Top News Written by Bankole Thompson
I have often been accused of not giving Democrats in Michigan a break because in the past I have labeled them as their own worst enemy either because they were too afraid to break away from tradition, or lacked political muscle compared to their Republican counterparts.
Added to that conundrum is the issue of how Detroit in every election season continues to be a ready ATM or American Express Card for Democratic votes without reciprocation from the party’s leadership.
And then there’s the often colossal blunder in terms of how the Michigan Democratic Party responds to the many loyalties the party has with institutions that have long formed the fabric of the party.
This year, I am somewhat more optimistic, and I’m hesitant to say Democrats, beware the Ides of March in the November election, because of some very interesting nominations that were made at their March endorsement conference.
Among the many candidates nominated or endorsed for office, three stand out in my estimation.
Bridget McCormack, a University of Michigan law professor who co-founded the Michigan Innocence Clinic working to address and litigate cases on behalf of those wrongfully convicted, is a breath of fresh air on the Democratic ticket. Beyond that, McCormack brings real life experience combined with scholarship to the bench that is often missing in candidates selected for top offices in the state. She is a mother of four who has worked to address matters relating to children and families and helping those who have no access to the legal system.
In a meeting with McCormack in Detroit, she expressed strong concern about the direction of the Michigan Supreme Court and why it needs to have individuals who cannot only directly interpret the law but also bring an experience that the average person can relate to.
In nominating the first Hispanic justice to the U.S. Supreme Court, President Obama called Sonia Sotomayor a person who has “walked at almost every level of our judicial system, providing her with a depth of experience and a breadth of perspective that will be invaluable as a Supreme Court justice.”
In selecting McCormack, Michigan Democrats are breaking away from tradition by picking someone who is not a political hack or a lousy attorney who has no business seeking the state’s high court. Instead, McCormack brings a fresh perspective to the business of interpreting the law for Michiganders.
Mark Bernstein, father of three and a lawyer who specializes in many areas of the law and notably on civil rights matters, is among the candidates endorsed to run for the University of Michigan Board of Regents.
Certainly, the name Bernstein rings a bell, because he is from the famous Bernstein legal family. Yet, Mark Bern-stein, whose brother, Richard Bernstein, could have been Michigan attorney general, is a very grounded individual who understands the role a university should play in our society. One of his main campaign thrusts is enhancing the University of Michigan’s foothold in Detroit.
It is reassuring to see a candidate run for the state’s largest educational institution on a Detroit platform, and Bernstein is among an emerging class of leaders who are not necessarily driven by tradition but transformation.
He understands the nexus between a university and its major metropolis, Detroit. Giving U-M more access to Detroit is an educational coup for any person who leads that effort.
Kim Trent, wife and mother of one who is no stranger to Detroit, was endorsed to run for the Wayne State University Board of Governors. Trent, who has worked in many fields, such as journalism and government, including serving recently as former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm’s Southeast Michigan director, will be a strong addition to Wayne State University.
Trent understands how to relate to those who are often cut out of political and educational power. She understands the DNA of Detroit and will push Wayne State further into the larger palace of educational opportunity for Detroiters.
Trent on the Board of Governors would mean time for the university to enhance its presence in a city like Detroit, one of the largest employers of labor. She’s always been committed to diversity, helping to spearhead “One Michigan,” the organization that tried to save affirmative action in Michigan, and she makes no mistake about African American participation and inclusion.
With the calibre of candidates like these on the Democratic ticket, it’s easy to conclude that it is a winnable political package. But going by history, Democrats in Michigan are notorious for nominating candidates and then leaving them to hang and dry.
A recent case in point was the last race where Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Denise Langford Morris, who began as a social worker, the first African American to sit on the Oakland County bench, was nominated but lacked the money to run a campaign.
Despite her excellent credentials and real life experience, she and others on the various tickets were woefully defeated at the polls.
Yes, blame part of it as wrong timing for Democrats because of the rise of the Tea Party in Congress, but blame the rest on the party for not doing much to wrap its arm around those they endorse.
Endorsing a candidate is one thing, and leveraging the institutional power of the party is a totally different issue.
If Democrats want to see major change this year in which President Obama is running a very crucial campaign for a second term in the White House, they have to break away from tradition and do things differently. Just as they did selecting these non-traditional candidates and others, they need to change the game.
In 2008, Obama ran a non-traditional campaign that was not part of the presidential script that has long defined campaigns for the American presidency.
But he won because he and his team dared to do something different, to the amazement of presidential historians and pollsters, some of whom had concluded long before that he had no chance to win.
So what is stopping Michigan Democrats from evolving and responding rightly and timely to the present-day realities of the political climate?
Failure to do so would mean crying over more spilled milk while Republicans are cheering and sipping coffee at the expense of certain spineless Democrats.
Good luck, as these candidates try to write the next chapter of the Michigan Democratic Party and all of Michigan.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 April 2012 10:50
Category: News Briefs Written by Michigan Chronicle
Metro Detroiters have until April 30 to vote in Walmart’s Facebook campaign. The winning community will receive $1 million in grants and the next 20 communities with the most support will receive $50,000. People may vote daily.
What: As part of Walmart’s Fighting Hunger Together initiative, the company is holding a Facebook campaign highlighting 200 communities where unemployment rates are the highest, according to the Department of Labor. Metro Detroit has fallen out of the Top 20 on the list and all are urged to get involved to help bring the funding here to the Detroit area.
Walmart’s “Fighting Hunger Together” spring initiative will provide millions of Americans the opportunity to fight hunger by shopping at Walmart or through visiting the company’s Facebook page April 9 through April 30. To learn more, visit www.walmartstores.com/fightinghunger.
Why: It’s estimated that over the course of a year, nearly 49 million Americans won’t know where their next meal is coming from. While the need to combat food insecurity is ever present, spring is a particularly difficult time as the season traditionally brings a decrease in food donations, leaving hunger organizations with limited resources and leaving their clientele vulnerable.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 April 2012 01:06
Category: Top News Written by Dr. Patricia Berg and Robert Weiner
Forty years ago, the Nation Declared a War on Cancer. Now, “Funding is in crisis,” Dr. Judy Garber, outgoing President of the American Association for Cancer Research, told the 18,000 scientists gathered at their national convention in Chicago last week. Jon Retzlaff, Director of Science Policy & Government Affairs, added that the “price index places the National Cancer Institute’s budget 20% below its real dollars in 2003.” The impact: “Things are having to slow down…. We cannot support the fantastic research” that has improved survival from cancer by over 30% the last three decades.
As the government keeps funding two foreign wars and ongoing tax breaks, curing diseases like cancer is being threatened in the budget process. In both the State of the Union and Budget Message, President Obama promised investment in biomedical research. However, the House budget just passed (the Ryan-Rodgers budget endorsed by now-presumptive Presidential nominee Mitt Romney) reduces NIH research by so-called “flat funding” for three straight years. While making hard budget choices, the nation is almost schizophrenic between cuts and necessary programs. With the economy still in crisis, the private sector does not have the ability to make up the difference.
A recently published Avon Foundation-funded study by Steven Whitman, Jennifer Orsi, and Marc Hurlburt points to race and poverty as primary factors for disproportionately high cancer mortality figures, and Detroit is affected by both. Whereas the national African-American cancer mortality is 1.4 times the Caucasian rate, in Detroit, with the highest poverty among the nation’s 25 largest cities, the ratio is 1:1. The researchers said that Detroit’s median family income of $29,109 is the lowest among the 25 largest cities and that poverty and resulting “access to care” are among “likely explanations” for high cancer rates. The article, “Racial Disparity in Breast Cancer Mortality in the 25 Largest Cities in the U.S.”, is in Cancer Epidemiology (April 2012).
Research cuts mean ongoing cancer deaths. One in two men and one in three women will develop cancer in their lifetime according to the National Cancer Institute. There are 1.5 million new cancer cases and 570,000 deaths annually in the U.S. There are over 200,060 new breast cancer patients and 40,000 deaths each year.
Thanks to successful laboratory research, a woman's risk of dying of breast cancer has now dropped 31 percent since 1989. Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institute of Health (NIH) told the National Press Club, “There is a direct line from NIH research to the life-span increases” in America. Despite these breakthroughs, the U.S. now ranks 49th in life expectancy, right above Taiwan, Kuwait, Cyprus, Cuba, Panama, and Costa Rica.
Just while such clear breakthroughs are being made—and with breast cancer still ranking as the number one fear for women – now is no time to stop the train and cut funding.
If government funding does drop or stalemate, cutting-edge researchers will have to seek even more funding from private foundations and corporations, trying to fill the void.
And they do try. The Avon Foundation has donated nearly a Billion dollars to breast cancer education, research, and prevention since 1992, and 200 million to research in the last decade. Avon expedites tests and advancement of cutting-edge discoveries with significant diagnosis and treatment potential like BP1, a gene expressed in the tumors of 80% of women with breast cancer and 70% of men with prostate cancer – and showing disproportionately high numbers for African-American women with breast cancer. Komen and the Susan Love Foundation also help make up the difference. In the world’s wealthiest nation, with hard-to-explain government funding cuts, private industries are scrambling to fund life-saving research.
Dr. William Grizzle, Professor of Pathology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Senior editor of Clinical Cancer Research, says that because of the recent standstill, “We are 5-8 years in arrears” in developing better therapies. “If there is less money for research, it means there are fewer cures,” Garber points out.
One of President Obama’s key lieutenants, Cong. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz of Florida’s 20th District, a breast cancer survivor, won the 2011 AACR Distinguished Public service award. However, the military’s insistence on maintaining old unending wars and the House insistence on health research budget cuts make the objectives difficult no matter how many heroic warriors research has.
The future of the new national health care law, which provides free mammograms and colonoscopies that detect cancer early when it is more curable and could catch Stage I cancers before they develop into Stage IV, is also under fire. The future is uncertain.
Regrettably, too many scientists are shy about helping their mission. Sridhar Ramaswamy, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Cancer Center, told us at the AACR convention, “Scientists think if they press for money it’s self-serving.” But not all are shy. Dr. Steven Meltzer, Professor of Medicine and Oncology at Johns Hopkins University, has led two national petition drives with thousands of signatures calling for a 10% increase in NIH funding and arguing, “Don’t let the United States fail in biomedical research.”
Under President Clinton and under the Obama stimulus, NIH’s budget doubled, but efforts to maintain the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and the political insistence on tax cuts are now causing medical research to be sliced – and lives with them.
To keep the breakthroughs and research going strong, the public must support cancer research foundations -- and press Congress to halt its efforts to dry up federal research dollars. If we want to fight cancer, and win, there is no substitute for the federal catalyst.
Dr. Patricia Berg is director of a breast cancer research laboratory and Professor at George Washington University Medical Center.
Robert Weiner, is a former White House spokesman, former Chief of Staff for the House Aging Committee and Health Subcommittee, and former spokesman for the House Government Operations Committee under Chairman Cong. John Conyers (Detroit).
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 15:34
Category: Top News Written by Phil Power
The idea: Transform Michigan into the Midwest’s premier inland port and transportation hub, uniquely linking air, sea, rail and road capabilities.
Create a new industry, a Great Lakes Global Gateway, forged from our existing manufacturing and agricultural sectors.
The vision: Take advantage of our geography and infrastructure to become the lowest cost transportation center for freight originating in or destined for the industrial heartland of America.
Creating such a gateway would offer the largest single economic development opportunity in Michigan. It has the potential to create tens of thousands of good jobs within a decade, while reducing supply chain cost by as much as 20 percent.
So why isn’t this happening already?
The reality: Overlapping governmental jurisdictions. Sputtering business and political leadership at both state and regional level. Dysfunctional and corrupt institutions in Southeast Michigan. Fragmented authority and no coherent structure to get things done.
The fear: A colossal missed opportunity. “Opportunity is slipping away because other railroads and ports are establishing other places outside Michigan to do this. Ohio is in the process of eating our lunch, while we’ve been embarrassing ourselves by inattention and inaction,” says Prof. Michael Belzer. He‘s a former truck driver himself who has become both an economist at Wayne State University and President and CEO of Great Lakes Global Freight Gateway, a non-profit organization promoting the idea.
The components for what you might call the Michigan logistics industry either exist already, or are within our grasp. But they have languished for years. None have been linked into a coherent business strategy. And the political institutions with jurisdiction over one part or another have largely broken down.
One big part of this is the long-planned Aerotropolis, a comprehensive airport development plan, bookended by Detroit Metropolitan Airport on the east and Willow Run Airport on the west, with 27,000 relatively undeveloped acres in between. Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano has been a consistent supporter. But near-continuous scandals in his administration have disrupted focus and added to the widespread perception that the county is too corrupt to be effective.
The New International Trade Crossing (NITC) the famous proposed new bridge across the Detroit River, the costs of which would be entirely covered by the government of Canada. The advantages of the new bridge are huge, but the span has been fiercely opposed by the monopoly interests of the Moroun family, who own the Ambassador Bridge and have showered campaign cash throughout the legislature. Once built, the NITC would link truck-borne freight to 88 million people, all of whom could get delivery within 10 hours. Gov. Rick Snyder keeps vowing to build his bridge, but the Morouns continue to bombard the state with scandalously inaccurate TV ads.
Four of North America’s six Class I railroads have a presence in Michigan, including two with their North American entry point in the southeast part of our state. But we aren’t realizing our full potential, since the rail tunnel under the Detroit River is too small to move containerized freight, and business competition and political confusion have stalled efforts to widen it.
The Canadian government is in the process of renovating two deep-water ports, Halifax and Montreal. These ports could be linked to the industrial heartland of America through the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railroads. However, other deep-water ports exist on the Atlantic seaboard – Norfolk, VA and Elizabeth, NJ – and while we dither, railroads interesting in servicing freight are focusing on interchange and marshalling yards in Columbus and North Baltimore, Ohio.
The City of Detroit is smack dab in the middle of all this. But the city is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, and now hobbled with a cumbersome and diffuse “consent agreement” governance system. The former Detroit City Airport, now renamed for Coleman Young, is a money-losing city “asset.” But it also lies next to expressway and railroad tracks. With hundreds of acres of open land, it could be redeveloped into a powerful marshalling yard. Sadly, the chances of that seem very remote, given Detroit’s current state of affairs.
What is needed is focus, political will and a willingness to bust heads to get stuff done. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, after months of dithering, has finally developed a “Statewide Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics (TDL) Strategy Project Charter and Statement of Work.”
That’s a start, but it remains to be seen whether this goes beyond some nice words on paper. Several years ago, when I talked with then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm about the vast potential of a Great Lakes Global Gateway, she sniffed there were “too many moving parts.” Governor Snyder ought to know better by now.
He has been trying to get his new bridge for more than a year -- and as an experienced businessman, should realize the Gateway idea is the largest potential economic development project this state has seen in half a century. And this chance may never come again.
Not to seize this golden opportunity would be inexcusable.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 11:48
Category: Top News Written by Bill Johnson
Massive cutbacks and layoffs contained in Mayor Dave Bing’s proposed 2012-13 Detroit general fund budget, confirms the beleaguered city’s financial state of emergency. It may not be enough, and likely only the first wave of budget-cutting mandates that will extend well beyond next year.
As budget deliberations get underway, two things should receive the utmost priority: the decimation of the City Council budget and no reductions in the ranks of public safety personnel.
This year will be a watershed for the city mired in its worst economic predicament ever. A declining population and disappearing tax base does not bode well for the city’s future. Nor does its national reputation for uncontrolled violent crime.
Because there isn’t enough revenue coming in to feed the voracious appetite of government, the proposed $160 million budget cut may come up short. Mayor Bing may have to choose between even more draconian cuts -- or a tax hike, bitter pills that will make the city even more unattractive to investors and residents.
The bulk of anticipated savings next fiscal year seems to be based on assumptions not likely to materialize. City officials, for example, estimate a $15-million increase in dubious income tax revenue.
Failure of the city to realistically cut spending down to size means a rendezvous with more political and fiscal pain at some inescapable date. Overseers of the consent agreement are being readied to take control of financial decisions.
Outsourcing, the sale or transfer of some assets is one appealing option. City officials, intimidated by employee unions and other activist groups, have been cool to that idea.
A number of departments and programs -- from transportation to funding for the arts --could be served up. Personnel cuts are unavoidable. None, though, are more critical than police officers.
Mayor Bing’s recommended public safety staff reductions are a cause for alarm. On tap is a 10 percent pay cut for police officers, firefighters and/or EMS employees. No layoffs are anticipated. However, police ranks would shrink by 150 officers through attrition and early retirements.
By necessity the city must close the gap between budget expenditures and revenues. But police protection should be the last thing to fall to the budget ax. The very first responsibility of any government is to provide for the safety of its people.
Detroit’s survival, as bleak as that may be, depends on its ability to restore safety and security. That’s impossible in a lawless environment when there are not enough cops to deter and arrest. The prevailing violence more than justifies staffing police and fire personnel based, not on the ability to pay, but on public safety needs.
The legislative branch has never been known for its efficient monitoring of police or other essential services to determine their real value to the city. The council only has two major responsibilities — budget and contract approval. With enormous clout in these critical areas, safety needs have gone unfulfilled and resources frittered away.
The pragmatic use of taxpayer dollars has been a major council deficiency even with a sizeable research staff, an underused auditor general and an army of aides. Because the council’s bloated staff is out of sync with deteriorating services and the empty till, the first cuts should come from this budget.
It goes without saying that if the council spent as much time dealing with crime problems as it does playing the “blame game” with Gov. Rick Snyder, the whole of government would be more accountable to taxpayer interests.
Expect the City Council to look almost anywhere else —including police — rather than its own budget for ways to save. While contemptible, it would be par for the course.
Any government that cannot keep its citizens safe probably is incapable of setting good budget priorities. Put to a vote, however, there’s little doubt Detroiters would opt for more cops over a feckless council.
Last Updated on Monday, 16 April 2012 11:38
Category: Top News Written by Carol Cain: Special to the Chronicle
President Barack Obama is scheduled to make two stops in Metro Detroit April 18 for fundraisers hoping to raise over $1 million for his campaign as the contest moves into high gear with Michigan native son Mitt Romney looking like the GOP candidate to take him on in the fall election.
Obama will attend two invite-only events at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn Wednesday afternoon and a dinner at the Metro Detroit home of businesswoman Denise llitch.
“I’m honored to have been asked,” by the Obama campaign to host the event, she said of the dinner she and husband, Jim Scalici, are hosting at their Oakland County home.
The money chase is on now that former Penn. Senator Rick Santorum has dropped out of the GOP race, setting a clear path for Romney to become the Republican nominee once he secures 1,144 delegates, which is likely in the next few weeks.
It will then be a money chase to raise the over $1 billion political insiders say will jointly be needed by the two candidates. There will be a flurry of dinners, receptions and meets and greets by both men in coming months.
You can count Roy Roberts, who left a comfortable retirement to take over as emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools when asked by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, and appeared on “Michigan Matters” with Ilitch and Charlie Beckham, chairman of the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce, among those who would not miss tonight’s dinner party.
‘“I’ve known Obama for years,” said Roberts, one of the most successful African American executives in the nation who worked at General Motors and other firms. “He even introduced me to Valerie Jarrett (his senior advisor) when I was involved with a private equity company (she has background in it).”
“Obama’s done a great job and I want to see him re-elected,” said Roberts, who added it is a critical time in our country and Obama needs to continue his work in a second term.
“Do you know how much it means to be able to go into a classroom and see thousands of kids (of color) and tell them they can be anything they want to be – including president of the United States!” Roberts added with pride.
Conversation turned to Obama and his being treated differently as our first president of color.
“There’s no question about that,” said Roberts. “What the Republicans have done, or not done the past few years, is try to get him out of office. That’s tragic and doesn’t speak well for our country.”
Ilitch added, “when have you ever heard anyone question where someone was born?” referring to some who still raise doubts about Obama’s nationality despite the fact he has provided his birth certificate for public consumption.
Everyone agreed Michigan would get more attention this fall with the auto industry housed here and Romney being raised in the Motor City.
“It will be a great contest,” said Beckham. “The president will win as the GOP won’t put out a strong enough platform to beat him.”
“It won’t be a runaway but it will bring out some good issues -- like the economy and gas prices,” Beckham added.
Last Updated on Monday, 16 April 2012 20:07
Category: Top News Written by Leland Stein III
Having traversed much of the country, I can see why Opening Day in the Motor City is a euphoric experience. First of all, it signals the change from winter to spring which is always a time to celebrate in this cold weather state.But most importantly, the Detroit Tigers have a team that many expect to compete at a very high level, and maybe even win the American League Pennant.
Every spring hope runs eternal for all teams as the new Major League Baseball season commences. This is especially true for the Detroit Tigers as they lost in six games to the Texas Rangers in the AL pennant series.
As I walked around Comerica Park and conversed with the diverse population that was making its way into the game, it became very apparent that this 2012 version of the Tigers was a team that had many giddy. It didn’t hurt that the opening game featured Justin Verlander fresh off a dominant season that saw him take home both the Cy Young and MVP honors. He was absolutely fantastic last year, as he won 24 games with a 2.40 ERA and 250 total strikeouts. His stuff was absolutely electric on a good day, and it makes him a threat to spin a no-hitter every time out.
Boston tossed out Jon Lester, one of the top left-handed hurlers in baseball. He has also thrown a no-hitter and had won at least 15 games in four straight seasons.
They did not disappoint as both were magnificent in the Tigers season opening 3-2 win. Both squads are considered World Series contenders, so the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox series was a prequel to what might be.
Woodward Avenue, Grand Circus Park and Brush Street were abuzz with tailgaters and revelers. The smells of hot dogs, hamburgers and whatever permeated the Detroit Woodward corridor.
The Detroit Tigers’ Opening Day 2012 was almost perfect — and a record season-opener crowd of 45,027 at Comerica Park in Detroit would agree.
Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander was simply dominant Opening Day against the visiting Boston Red Sox.
AL batting champion Miguel Cabrera showed all that the move to third base is a work in progress, but it appears he will do the darn thing as the season progress. The “Big Fella” is an intense competitor and that will go a long way in him getting the handle on a position change.
Also, the Tigers’ newly-acquired power-hitting first baseman Prince Fielder drew a standing ovation the first time he came to bat.
“I looked around and could not believe I was in Detroit,” he said in the post game interview. “I am very excited about being, in a sense, back home. I really like the possibilities of what this team can accomplish.”
Fielder, son of former Tigers star Cecil Fielder, kicked many naysayers to the curb, showing all that he has a glove and can field his position. He made a couple short hop scoops that preserved an out.
“To Prince’s credit,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said, “he has worked hard all spring training and I’m sure it will pay huge dividends for us.”
Fielder said the work was the least he could do for Cabrera, who was willing to make the move from first to third to accommodate him.
“With Miguel doing all the hard work he was doing, I felt I owed it not only to the team but to him,” Fielder said, “because I couldn’t be here without him being willing to move to third base. I thought I owed it to him to work just as hard as he is at third.”
Opening Day is over and the long grind that is baseball is under way. The 2012 version of the Detroit Tigers has the entire state lightheaded about the possibilities. If all goes right this could be a special season for Detroit’s Boys of Summer.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 April 2012 17:31
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