Category: News Briefs Written by The Huffington Post
America's Poorest Neighborhoods Lost 91 Percent Of Their Wealth During The Great Recession: Report
Families living in poor neighborhoods lost almost everything during the Great Recession, potentially making it more difficult for them to gain a better life in the future, according to a recent report.
Households living in high-poverty neighborhoods saw a 91 percent decline in their overall wealth over the course of the downturn, according to a recent report from the Pew Charitable Trusts. Though low-income families lost less than their richer counterparts in terms of absolute value during the recession, their loss of wealth was much more extreme as a proportion of their total assets: households in high-poverty neighborhoods saw their net worth drop to $3,000 in 2009 from $32,000 in 2007, Diana Elliott, research manager of Pew's Economic Mobility Project, told The Huffington Post.
This wealth drop among low-income families could prevent already struggling households from moving up the economic ladder.
"This could have a potential long-term impact upon economic mobility," Elliott said.
Much of the overall wealth lost during the Great Recession came as a result of plummeting home values, but in high-poverty neighborhoods, home ownership rates are low, according to Elliott. This raises questions about the security of the types of assets in which low-income households often hold their wealth -- typically checking and savings accounts.
"This really demonstrates the need to promote savings and asset building across the income distribution," Elliott said. "This would allow families to have access to resources to weather set-backs such as the Great Recession."
Poor Americans saw a staggering loss of wealth during the recession, but they weren't the only ones who suffered. Overall, U.S. households lost 40 percent of their wealth between 2007 and 2010, according to the Federal Reserve, sending American families back to wealth levels not seen since 1992.
Some, like The New York Times editorial board, have argued that the middle class was hit the hardest by the recession, because unlike the rich most of their wealth was in their homes and, unlike the poor, they couldn't take advantage of the government safety net. Indeed, more than 1 in 3 working families earned 200 percent less than the poverty line in 2009, according to a report cited by In These Times.
Other demographic groups that were hit hard by the recession: Hispanics, who lost two-thirds of their wealth, and those born between 1966 and 1975, who lost 55 percent of their wealth.
Still, it may be the poorest Americans who will have the toughest time bouncing back from their immense loss of wealth. Households living in high-poverty neighborhoods were the most likely to be behind on their mortgage payments, according to the Pew Report.
Making matters worse: The recession left many poor Americans jobless. From 2007 to 2009, women in high-poverty neighborhoods were twice as likely to be unemployed as women in low-poverty neighborhoods, the Pew report found. Twenty percent of low-income men were jobless in those years, compared to 8 percent of their higher-income counterparts.
The recession's impact on economic mobility won't be fully understood "for decades," Elliott said, but the huge wealth loss experienced families living in high-poverty neighborhoods may have lessened poor Americans' already low chances of achieving the American Dream.
"Living in a high-poverty neighborhood is a driver of downward mobility," Elliott said. "If you are a child who is raised in the middle class, you are more likely to experience economic mobility. This is why looking at the effects of the recession on neighborhoods and on wealth loss is really critical for understanding this piece of mobility."
Last Updated on Friday, 16 November 2012 08:30
Category: News Briefs Written by Amber Bogins
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2012 16:23
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
With all the talk last week about the NHL and the Players Union meeting in a secret location in New York City for multiple days and hours at a time, it seemed very promising that the league would reach a new CBA and we finally would have hockey by the start of December.
Well with the recent news Thursday that both sides have not talked since last week, have no new meetings scheduled and are now saying that if a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is not reached by Thanksgiving that games will be canceled through December 15th, I’m left wondering if both sides will ever get back together.
Now, like me, if you say or hear the words “never-ever together” you probably get that god-awful Taylor Swift song stuck in your head but it is kind of a fitting theme for the NHL lockout.
After surfing around on YouTube someone else thought the same thing and actually produced an official song dedicated to the NHL lockout and I have to say, it’s pretty good. Yes, they could have done away with all the Sidney Crosby posters and incorporated more teams, but then again, Crosby is Gary Bettman’s boy toy.
Click the link below to hear the song.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2012 13:42
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - Chrysler announced on Thursday the company is investing $240 million in three Detroit area plants, adding 1,250 new jobs.
“Today is another important milestone in living up to the commitment we made more than three and a half years ago to our employees, this city, this region and our country to transform this company,” said Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne. “All of these investments are the direct result of a lot of people who have battled courageously to bring Chrysler back to a state of growth. It is our contribution toward helping southeastern Michigan get back on its feet.”
Among the investments being announced by Chrysler:
Mack I Engine Plant: $198 million to produce the Pentastar (V-6) engine
Mack I Engine Plant: adding up to 250 new jobs at Mack I, subject to market conditions
Trenton North Engine Plant: investing an additional $40 million to add a flexible production line that can run both the Pentastar engine and the Tigershark (I-4) engine
Warren Truck Assembly Plant: adding 1,000 new jobs on a third crew in March 2013 to produce the 2013 Ram 1500
Chrysler has now invested nearly $4.75 billion in U.S. facilities since its June 2009 emergence from bankruptcy. They’ve added nearly 6,000 jobs. Most of those new positions are “second tier” with pay roughly half of what veteran auto workers make.
“These new investments and new jobs are a testament to the determination we all had – management, labor and our workforce – to making the best of the second chance we were given in 2009,” said General Holiefield, Vice President and Director of the UAW Chrysler Department. “In partnership with the UAW, Chrysler Group is helping grow good paying manufacturing jobs and securing the future manufacturing base in this country.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2012 13:35
Category: Breaking News Written by Amber Bogins
It looks like Abraham Lincoln's voice will be heard in the White House once again. Or at least Daniel Day-Lewis' historically accurate interpretation of Abraham Lincoln's voice. According to THR, President Barack Obama will host a screening of "Lincoln" at the White House on Thursday night with director Steven Spielberg and some of the film's cast in tow.
As THR notes, Spielberg was a big supporter of Obama during his reelection campaign. Even star Day-Lewis got involved in the political theater surrounding Obama and Mitt Romney. During the Britannia Awards in early November, the two-time Oscar winner goofed on Clint Eastwood's infamous Republican National Convention speech to an empty chair.
"I have to say that I'm so extremely grateful and glad that -- taking time out of his very busy schedule, the recently reelected president of this country has made it here," Day-Lewis said to laughs as he pointed at an empty seat near him on stage.
"Lincoln" is one of the year's biggest Oscar contenders. Tony Kushner ("Angels in America") wrote the script and during the film's unofficial bow at the New York Film Festival, he said that the 16th president and the 44th president share a lot of similarities.
"I feel like I watched the Obama presidency very much through a Lincoln lens," Kushner said. "The movie is the movie, but it's been, I think, extraordinary to watch what I consider to be a great president in action while working on a film about a great president in action."
For more on what "Lincoln" might mean for Obama, check out Huffington Post executive arts and entertainment editor Michael Hogan's thoughts on the matter. For more on the "Lincoln" White House screening, hit THR.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2012 13:22
Category: Breaking News Written by The Huffington Post
Elena Herrada, Detroit School Board Member, Defends Vote To Withdraw From EAA District
Detroit Board of Education member Elena Herrada believes the school board's recent vote to withdraw from the Educational Achievement Authority is a vote to save Detroit students, parents and taxpayers.
On Tuesday they voted at a special meeting to sever ties between Detroit Public Schools and the Educational Achievement Authority and to cancel a related contract with Eastern Michigan University.
The EAA, is a special statewide district composed of the lowest performing five percent of schools in Michigan. Currently it is made up of 15 schools -- all from Detroit -- and has about 10,000 students. The special district features an individualized computer-driven curriculum that its backers say is intended improve student achievement. Herrada, however, disagrees with its stated goal.
"It's very, very insidious. It is basically a Jim Crow district," she said.
"As a school system it has no public oversight, takes our new buildings that we just built with our bond money, which Detroit taxpayers and parents are still paying for, and basically leases them to these private entities, whom we do not know and who do not have to answer to us, for $1 a year."
The EAA began as a privately-supported venture, but began receiving state funding at the start of its first school year this fall.
Herrada criticizes the EAA's use of Teach for America instructors and its heavy focus on computers, arguing that the statewide district deprives students of time with experienced teachers.
"Basically [it's] taking what they consider to be our highest-risk students and [giving] them the least amount of resources," she said. "It doesn't matter if they pass or flunk because they're already in a failing district."
More than one in three teachers in EAA belong to Teach for America, a non-profit organization made up of recent college graduates and professionals from various backgrounds who teach for two years in urban and rural public schools, according to the Detorit Free Press.
"All of our teachers went through the same screening process and have valid state teaching certificates," John Covington, the EAA's chancellor told the paper. "We wanted to ensure we had the best talent possible to educate our students."
Backers of the new district also say the individualized computer-centered curriculum allows students to take ownership for their own learning.
Whether the EAA will be dissolved because of the Detroit School Board's recent vote is a matter of debate. Gov. Snyder's office has said the agreement between EMU and DPS can't be cancelled without the approval of the EAA's executive board. Furthermore, a spokesman for DPS Emergency Manager Roy Roberts says the board must get approval from a judge and the results of an election repealing the emergency manager law, PA 4, must be certified before they will have the authority to make such a decision.
Herrada cited what she believes are other problems. She doesn't believe the EAA has "the institutional standing to exist," but points out the state's Republican legislature is currently seeking to close legal loopholes by codifying the new district into law.
Herrada also believes Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's lawsuit to remove seven of the bodies members is also ultimately about keeping the EAA afloat.
Schuette maintains that they are on the board illegally because they were elected in separate districts instead of by the district as a whole. He says this is because DPS doesn't have enough students to qualify as a First Class School District under Michigan's Revised School Code, and hasn't since 2008. Wayne County Circuit Court Judge John Gillis Jr. decided Wednesday to put the lawsuit, which seeks to remove the board members, on hold until Jan. 10.
Despite these challenges, Herrada said the board is committed to fighting for local control of schools.
"We know that they're coming up with other tricks were used to it," she said. "Rain or shine. crooks or no crooks, we have agreed that we will be in place until we are buried off."
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2012 13:20
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffington Post
Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Roy Roberts believes it's still premature to talk about him stepping down as a result of last week's election -- or for the school board to be withdrawing from the EAA.
After Michigan voters repealed a law that allowed the state to appoint emergency managers to financially struggling municipalities and school districts, the Detroit Board of Education, reinstated to oversee DPS academics after Public Act 4's suspension, voted in a special meeting Tuesday to break ties between the district and the Educational Achievement Authority.
Before the election, Roberts sent a letter to Gov. Rick Snyder saying he was considering stepping down from the position. Steve Wasko, a spokesman for Roberts, told The Huffington Post the letter ought to be taken in its complete context.
"What Mr. Roberts said in the letter to Governor Snyder prior to the election specifically is he would wait to see what the outcome of the election is and then, in fact, immediately after the election he would reach out to the Board of Education," he said, "and based on those discussions he would make a determination and advise Governor Snyder within as soon a time as possible whether or not he could still be effective in the role."
Roberts has reached out twice to the board to arrange a meeting since the election, according to Wasko.
In regards to the board's recent vote to pull out of the EAA, he noted that the election results have yet to be certified and until that time the only decision of importance is Wayne County Circuit Judge Murphy's order defining the roles of the board and the emergency manager. Under that ruling Roberts is responsible for financial decisions and the board for academics.
"The board or either side would have to go into Judge Murphy's courtroom and seek additional orders in order to implement them," he said.
Although Wasko noted that he was not a spokesman for the EAA, he said it was still too early in the school year to make judgements about the district's academic success. He also affirmed Mr. Roberts' support from the new statewide district.
"Mr. Roberts feels strongly that the EAA is solidly based on a number of reform practices and new education models that he believes are so good they're not going to [just] be utilized by the EAA, [but] that other districts will want to use those," he said
Wasko also noted it would be disruptive to move the EAA's approximately 10,000 students from one district to another mid-school year, if DPS was to immediately withdraw.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2012 12:17
Category: Breaking News Written by Minehaha Forman
DETROIT—Mayor Dave Bing announced Thursday morning that the abandoned Fredrick Douglas Homes complex, formerly known as the Brewster-Douglas housing project, will be demolished.
The massive complex covers a large swath of land in a part of the city that is prime space for new development, Bing said. The demolition is expected to take place next summer, according to Bing.
“We’ve got 18 acres of contiguous property in a great part of Detroit. But it [the complex] has to come down first,” Bing told reporters outside of the vacant housing project located near Eastern Market, Brush Park, and Detroit’s Midtown district. “These buildings have been standing empty for years.”
Bing called the abandoned high-rises an “eyesore” and said he was open to suggestions on how to develop the space after demolition takes place adding that there are no plans in place for its future development. “It’s a white sheet of paper,” he said.
A $6.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Capital Fund Emergency Grant Program awarded to the Detroit Housing Commission will pay for the demolition.
The complex has a historical background as one of the first government subsidized housing projects in the city and has housed some of the city’s biggest legends in entertainment.
"The former Brewster-Douglass complex has a proud place in Detroit’s rich history, as the nation’s first federal housing project for African Americans; as the place where Joe Louis learned to box; and where Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard formed the Supremes,” Mayor Bing said. “However, as a vacant site it became a major eyesore and a danger to the community. We welcome the chance to make it a productive residential and commercial area once again.”
In his state of the city address in March, Bing promised to begin demolition on the complex; one of the city’s largest abandoned housing projects, by the end of the year.
The Detroit Housing Commission owns the complex, which covers 18.5 acres of property. The Frederick Douglass Homes project includes four 12-story high-rise apartment buildings; two six-story mid-rise apartments and 75 town homes.
The U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) took control of the Detroit Housing Commission in 2005. Earlier this year, HUD Assistant Secretary Sandra B. Henriquez announced a transition plan that outlines the steps for its return to local governance, including the appointment of an advisory committee by Mayor Bing.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2012 12:11
Category: Breaking News Written by Amber Bogins
Updated Tuesday, Nov. 13, 5:45 p.m. EST: The New York Times reports that Andreozzi & Associates, a law firm that said it represented the accuser, said in a statement that "he wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship." The statement added, "He will have no further comment on the matter."
Kevin Clash, who has provided the voice of Sesame Street's Elmo for 28 years, has announced that he is taking a leave of absence after allegations surfaced that he had a relationship with a 16-year-old boy.
While he admits having a relationship with the alleged victim, he insists that it was consensual and took place after his accuser was 18 years old. From ABC News:
"I am a gay man. I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter. I had a relationship with the accuser. It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to characterize it as something other than what it was," Clash said in a statement issued to ABC News.
"I am taking a break from Sesame Workshop to deal with this false and defamatory allegation," he said.
The alleged underage relationship was brought to the attention of Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization that produces the beloved children's show, in June by the alleged victim, who was by then 23 years old.
Sesame Workshop said it took the allegation "very seriously" and took "immediate action," but after an investigation, which included interviews with Clash and his accuser, found the claims to be "unsubstantiated." He has not been charged with any crime.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2012 08:54
Category: Breaking News Written by Amber Bogins
The Root's contributing editor Demetria L. Lucas challenges the argument that President Obama was wrong to praise his daughters' looks on election night. More black dads should do so, she writes in a piece for Essence.
... [Blogger Alice Robb] wrote, "Obama's comments beg the question of why a girl's beauty should be source of pride for her father -- and why beauty should be a value lauded alongside strength and intelligence."
My first thought was "Really? No ... really?" But I rolled her argument around for a bit in my head to see if I could get where she is coming from, generally. Overall, there is too much importance placed on women's looks. Anytime a women gets promoted to a position of prominence, there's an inevitable critique of her appearance. For Surgeon General Dr. Regina M. Benjamin it was weight; for Hillary Clinton is was her clothes (pantsuits); and for First Lady Michelle Obama, it's been the size of her backside and, of all things, the tone of her arms. Young women who are navigating changing bodies hear this and it can make them even more sensitive about their appearance, making it a bigger deal to them than it should be. And that is indeed a problem.
But it doesn't apply here. In an effort to be politically correct (and likely feminist), Robb is going too far in the opposite direction. There is nothing wrong with any father calling his daughters beautiful -- more fathers should do so, especially Black fathers, so that young women won't go into the world seeking affirmation from strange men because they didn't get it at home.
At the heart of this issue, one Robb may not even realize, is that Black girls turn into Black women who don't get so many regular affirmations of their beauty in this world.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2012 08:45
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