Minehaha Forman is a freelance writer living in Detroit. Born on a farm in Belize, Central America, she moved to the U.S. to pursue higher education and a career in writing. Forman’s work has been featured in many metro Detroit publications including Dbusiness magazine, Hour magazine and Corp! magazine. She has provided event coverage for Real Times Media and The Michigan Chronicle for three years, covering the popular Pancakes and Politics speaker series and other events. Prior to working with the Chronicle, Forman was a blogger with The American Independent News Network where she covered Metro Detroit politics and the 2008 presidential election. She will continue to provide commentary and coverage of Detroit politics as a blogger and feature writer for The Michigan Chronicle’s website.
Website URL: http://truthordarestories.blogspot.com/
Teach Me How To Duggan
But if Mike Duggan—or any other Detroit mayoral candidate— shares a genuine, hopeful and realistic vision to move Detroit forward through choppy economic seas, then more power to them.
It hasn’t been a week since Detroit Medical Center (DMC) head Mike Duggan threw his hat into the mayoral race and there have already been tough criticism of his status and work in Detroit.
Two-time mayoral candidate Tom Barrow charged Duggan with being an outsider and chided him for having to move into Detroit from Livonia in order to run for mayor. The Michigan Nurses Association accused him of being a “union buster” for ending an effort to unionize nurses at the DMC.
It would seem that in order to earn the title “union buster”, there have to be unions there in the first place to bust.
Duggan, like current mayor Dave Bing, is a businessman who lived outside of Detroit and moved into the city to make his mayoral run. Duggan, too, looks at running the city like running a business. He said his experience turning around the DMC when he came on board in 2003 would be similar to turning around Detroit.
As much as I don’t agree that cities should be run like businesses (a business’s bottom line is money, a city’s bottom line is people), I think Duggan deserves a fair shot.
The fact that Duggan would be the first white mayor since the 70’s should be considered a non-issue. It really doesn't matter if you’re black or white as long as you can do right by the city and do it well.
Duggan told the Detroit Free Press:
“What I’m focused on is we need to get the violence down, get the streetlights on, and get people moving into abandoned homes, not just knocking them down. That’s what I find everyone wants to talk about. And what I find is when you talk about those issues, issues like race melt away.”
While Duggan has shown successful leadership of the DMC, he still has a lot to prove. But let’s observe a bit before we start with sipping the Hater-aid.
The fast-talking, no-nonsense U.S. attorney leading the prosecution team in the Kwame Kilpatrick corruption trial may seem severe in the courtroom, but R. Michael Bullotta has a softer side.
The 45-year-old federal agent is no stranger to corruption cases, with 15 years as a federal prosecutor under his belt and many additional years of law enforcement experience before that. In the courtroom he is aggressive, quick to object when the defense brings up something he feels is inappropriate.
But behind his rectangular wire-framed glasses, his dark suits and a direct tone, Bullotta is actually a creative writer with a knack for charities and a streak of empathy for young criminals.
In fact, he wrote the book Hard Core, fast-paced crime thriller gangs in L.A that was published last fall.
The novel is heavily based on Bullotta’s experiences as a gang prosecutor in the Hard Core Gang Division of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office.
Online reader reviews have been mostly positive so far on sites like Amazon.com where his works been compared to that of John Grisham, Joseph Wambaugh and Mary Higgins Clark.
On Bullotta’s Facebook fan page (yes, he has one) Bullotta he says he pledged a generous donation of the proceeds from book sales to The Forgotten Harvest, a non-profit with a mission torelieve hunger in metro Detroit by rescuing surplus, prepared and perishable food and donating it to emergency food providers.
In the Amazon.com book preview, the tone of the novel seems like a campy, crime trhriller novel version of the HBO series The Wire. An excerpt from the book’s opening chapter shows Bulotta seeking to empathize with a young Latino gangbanger in L.A.
“He wished that his mother had hit him, or at least battered his soul. Maybe then he wouldn’t feel like this. He’d be just another young Latino fallen victim to L.A.’s violent culture. He too could claim that he had resorted to gang banging in order to survive in a jungle of lovelessness and death.”
Bullotta also writes in a postive way about witness cooperation, a hot topic recently as witnesses with immunity deals take the stand in the Kilpatrick trial this week.
“It was clear to him as he looked straight through the grassy canyon that is was time to make it up to her. He was going to “flip and cooperate” as his friend and detective put it. His homies would call him “buster,” or coward and it would be a matter of neighborhood pride to smoke him for disrespecting his set. But he truly believed that going legit was the only thing that would make her proud.”
In court, it’s nearly impossible to picture Bullotta using the word, “homie” or “busta” but this is one instance where we can’t judge a book by its cover.
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.”
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