Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the French colonial governor in North America who founded Detroit, died centuries ago. But France’s interest in this unique American urban city situated in one of the world’s largest democracies has not died.
Instead, one could say that the special bond that Cadillac discovered when he named the Detroit River “d’Etroit” is now being displayed in a rather interesting way in the wake of the bankruptcy in Detroit.
The French media has taken an interest in Detroit that is worth noting, since the announcement of chapter 9 bankruptcy, giving special attention to all things Detroit.
In the last two months two signigicant publications in France, the first being Le Monde and then Le nouvel Observateur, two of the most influential media outlets in Europe, contacted me about my take on the city and bankruptcy. They want to know what life would be like after bankruptcy.
Just as their correspondents were very curious to talk to me as demonstrated in their emails, I was equally looking forward to hearing about how Detroit is viewed in the eyes of France.
Because media helps shape public opinion and thus any story about Detroit in the French press does have an impact on how its people, and government, see this urban city that often gets derided in news reports that are beyond our shores.
For example, Le Monde, the most influential newspaper in France which is equivalent to the New York Times and widely read in Europe, and Le nouvel Observateur, the largest weekly magazine in France, which carries the same clout as Time magazine, are two publications that have massive reach beyond France itself.
And so on Monday, Natacha Tatu, correspondent for Le nouvel Observateur, who was once based in Chicago covering the auto industry, walked into my office for an interview to begin her exclusive look into Detroit’s present condition and where it potentially could be.
She had with her a list of people to talk to, the majority of whom were not available. They either did not respond to her email requests or just were too busy to sit down with France’s largest weekly magazine for a story on Detroit.
She was a bit disappointed but was encouraged by the fact that a few people were open for conversation with her. For example, Quicken Loans, founded by Dan Gilbert, arranged an interview with her and Matt Cullen, president and CEO of Rock Ventures, one of Gilbert’s companies.
We discussed for almost an hour the financial crisis, new political leadership, the private sector, growth of neighborhoods, public safety, a booming downtown, Midtown and the future of the city.
She specifically noted that she visited some of the neighborhoods and saw firsthand poverty, abandonment, despair and blight, all of which form some of the recurring themes that take center stage in our political town halls.
On the bankruptcy she was keen about the decision that Judge Stephen Rhodes will hand down next week when he rules on the eligibility question of the city entering chapter 9. I told her we’ll wait and see.
At the end of the interview she assured me that her story was going to be a balanced and thorough piece on the city, referencing the “60 Minutes” program on CBS.
As she started to ask about my take on “60 Minutes,” I reached across the chair from my desk and handed her my column, the rebuttal I wrote three weeks ago about the program’s extreme and unbalanced coverage of Detroit. She promised to read it as she puts her story together.
Before she left, I decided to turn the table on her, to ask about France and why in the last eight weeks, two notable publications are descending on Detroit for special coverage.
My first question was the obvious one that is on everyone’s mind — the city’s international image and especially in France.
“So far, the image of Detroit in France is a very bad image. All the TV programs are about the devastation of the city. I haven’t seen anything positive,” Natacha told me as I leaned back on my chair, not surprised.
Redefining Detroit in the international media by doing balanced and informed stories that do not suggest the city is the Mogadishu of the Midwest as CBS’ Bob Simons carelessly put it, is going to be like climbing Mountain Everest or Mountain Kilimanjaro.
That is because it is hard to erase decades of prejudiced coverage and perceptions that have long been fed to global media.
If the perception about Detroit is so bad in France, because of its own media, why another trip?
Natacha’s answer was different.
“I met a French guy who is buying a lot of houses in Detroit, working with some Canadians,” she said. “I found it very interesting. He believes strongly in Detroit.”
The French man who is looking at Detroit with a different lens from the ones being presented to the public in France is Michael Bugaldon. Apparently, Bugaldon, like other investors, has been silently buying numerous houses in the city as well as some in the suburbs. Unlike others, Bugaldon is not drinking from the wells of pessimism, despair and destruction that have long been the hallmark of the city’s national and international image.
If a French businessman can defy his own country’s negative view of Detroit in France and travel to the city to embark on a wholesale purchase of properties through auctions, what should Detroiters think of themselves?
The French public was shocked by news of Detroit’s bankruptcy, Natacha said and because of that there is an interest in knowing what will happen to the city from this point on.
“People in France are wondering what Detroit’s bankruptcy means because it is different for us in France. We don’t have chapter 9 or chapter 11,” she explained. “What we are doing now is trying to tell the story about what’s next for Detroit.”
She referenced her earlier reporting beat, saying that while she believes the auto industry is in a very bad shape in Europe, “It is a paradox that the car industry is in complete revival here in Detroit.”
How do you change the perception about Detroit internationally?
“Probably a TV program showing that people are investing in the city because there are people who won’t think about buying a house in Detroit,” Natacha said, adding that television reports are mostly based on print media reviews.
But she also has some advice.
“If the image of the city is that important to people in Detroit, they should react to something faster when an international reporter is calling. If they care about the image, be a little bit more open to the international media,” Natacha said.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 November 2013 10:27
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
On Wednesday, November 27th, President Obama will announce the National Thanksgiving Turkey. Both turkeys will be pardoned, but only the American people will decide which bird takes the title.
CLICK HERE to Learn about each bird, listen to their gobble and then make your selection.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 November 2013 12:58
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by News One
NewsOne previously reported, several police officers from the Grosse Pointe Park Police Department in Michigan are being accused of filming Blacks in humiliating situations and sharing the videos for their own twisted amusement.
Now one of the men, Scipio (pictured), who is mentally challenged and allegedly made to sing and dance like a chimp in one of the videos, spoke to My Fox Detroit about the scandal.
The 55-year-old man, who lives in a boarding house, told the news outlet that he has no recollection as to when the video was filmed. He makes his living collecting cans in the ritzy Detroit suburb and claims he runs into police frequently. Scipio, whose speech is affected and has some cognitive issues as well, told Fox 2 Detroit that he was unaware he was the subject of the officers’ amusement and actually thought they were his friends.
“They made me look like a fool, humiliated me,” he said.
Eric D. Lawrence reports fresh developments in the Free Press:
The videos have drawn condemnation and protests because they appear to have been designed to humiliate Scipio.
“An officer has stepped forward to take responsibility for the video and for interacting with Mr. Scipio in that fashion. The officer has been removed from patrol duty pending the conclusion of our investigation,” said Grosse Pointe Park spokesman Greg Bowens. He added the investigation is nearly complete. . . .
Scipio had lived in a Detroit boarding house near Grosse Pointe Park and often came in contact with Park public safety officers.
Watch The News Story Below:
Last Updated on Monday, 25 November 2013 08:56
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by CNN News
(CNN) -- Yale University asked people there to shelter in place late Monday morning because of reports of a person with a gun on the southern Connecticut campus.
The alert came as most of Yale's schools were out on Thanksgiving recess.
The university issued its first alert at 10:17 a.m., saying that police in Yale's city, New Haven, received an anonymous phone call reporting a person on campus with a gun.
Less than an hour later, the university said there was a "confirmed report of a person with a gun on/near Old Campus."
"Teams from Yale Police, New Haven and the State Police are on the scene and are actively searching for any gunman," the university said later on its website.
Last Updated on Monday, 25 November 2013 13:07
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
Emergency Manager, Mayor-Elect Announce John Hill as Detroit’s New Chief Financial Officer
Former Washington D.C. municipal CEO will help lead Detroit’s restructuring
Emergency Manger Kevyn Orr and Mayor-Elect Mike Duggan today joined together to announce that John Hill, the former CEO of the Washington, D.C. Federal City Council, has been named the city’s Chief Financial Officer. Hill, a CPA who specializes in municipal finance, will lead the city’s finance department and serve as an important member of the city's restructuring team.
In his previous role as the Executive Director for the D.C. Financial Control Board, Hill was responsible for working closely with presidentially-appointed control board members on developing and implementing the Board’s strategic plan to restructure all financial and operational management systems for the District of Columbia and to improve the delivery of services to Washington, D.C., residents, businesses and visitors. He was the North America partner in charge of state and local government consulting for a major CPA and Consulting Firm.
“John Hill brings a wealth of municipal finance and restructuring experience to Detroit,” Orr said. “John’s similar service in our nation’s capital will help move Detroit forward.”
Mayor-Elect Duggan added: "In interviewing Mr. Hill, I was very impressed with his successful history in Washington D.C. and with his commitment to the importance of citizen input in the decision-making process. I strongly encouraged him to accept this position and I'm very pleased he has agreed to serve as Detroit's CFO."
His appointment takes effect immediately.
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 November 2013 16:43
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