Bing Put Horse Before Cart on Belle Isle Deal
Two weeks ago Governor Rick Snyder and Mayor Dave Bing made a big announcement: The two had come to an agreement on a plan to restore Belle Isle Park to its former beauty through a 30-year lease to the state.
The plan then went Detroit City Council members for a vote. But it didn’t take them long to realize that the lease was missing crucial documents: four legal exhibits that aimed to describe major aspects of the deal.
But it wasn’t just the council that got incomplete documents. Mayor Bing didn’t have them either. No one in the city had.
Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis revealed at a City Council hearing on Tuesday that the administration had not received the complete lease from the State when Bing threw his full support behind the transfer of Belle Isle two weeks back.
“We received the documents the same time you did,” Lewis said when council members asked why it took nine days from the plan’s announcement to get a full copy of the lease.
Rodney Stokes, an urban advisor to Snyder, apologized to the Council for taking so long to get a complete lease document to the city. “I take full responsibly for that,” he said, adding that he was out of town.
“That just doesn’t work. That’s not how you do business,” said Council member Ken Cockrel, Jr.
Now that the council has the full lease, all nine members agreed that the document’s language is riddled with holes and vague ideas.
Acting as a unified team, the Council took turns pointing out flaws in the Belle Isle plan.
But they did not say they were against a lease to the state. The Council’s main complaint was that they wanted more specifics in the lease so they knew what to expect.
Council President Pro-Tem Gary Brown said any agreement with the state will have to take into consideration that Belle Isle can’t be operated like every other state park.
“I shudder to think what would happen if we bring park rangers to Belle Isle,” Brown told State and DNR officials at the hearing. “This would be the largest urban state park. You can’t treat it like the other 101 state parks.”
Minni's Morning Coffee: He's Making Me Look Bad:Kilpatrick, Drama, and Black Shame
Somewhere between hard news and nail-biting entertainment, there lies a blurry meshing point: It's there that you will find something called infotainment, a phrase coined in the 1980s that’s perhaps is more relevant today.
This is the age of Google, Reddit and Twitter. News media outlets are increasingly lodged at the mercy of clicks, readership and view numbers than ever before.
And while infotainment is arguably harmless and, in some cases, the only way to get a modern-fasted paced audience to pay attention, it’s a slippery slope.
We’re all guilty of falling for the infotainment trap. Whether it’s a psycho shooter in Colorado, a crazed gunman in West Bloomfield, or the high-profile trial of an infamous ex-mayor, we want to be the first to know.
Why? It’s a train wreck effect, so to speak: Just try to tune out of the sexy, fast paced coverage of the Kwame Kilpatrick corruption trail. Try to focus, instead, on the Detroit Works Project’s large-scale plans to re-zone and redistribute resources to Detroit residents.
Click back to the Kilptarick trial. Wait, that juror said WHAT? OMG, time to follow the Kwame Trail on my Smartphone. And yes, there’s an app for that.
So why do I feel something turn in my stomach whenever I get a glimpse of the Kilpatrick trial coverage? It’s not the infotainment aspect. I love a good news drama, I am a political blogger, hello. And it's not that I think Kilpatrick's actual trial is unjust, but, there’s something different about this.
But it wasn’t until I gave it some serious thought that I figured out what irked me: I’m black. Kilpatrick is black. He’s up there making me look bad, making my sister look bad, making my baby nephew look bad, making some black Joe Shmo in Nigeria look bad. Let’s not forget whose world we live in. Another black man on trial. Another infamous black crook going down in flames to the I-told-you-so of the majority. Oy.
Maybe it’s just in my head. Or it could be that I’m too caught up in my blackness. But as I click on the images chosen again and again for the Kilpatrick trial coverage, I see a black man frozen for eternity with a stupid frown being referred to by is first name even in cases where AP style calls for a surname.
I can’t look away, but I think I just hurled in my mouth a little bit.
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