Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Britney Spear, Regional Content Editor
Kwame Kilpatrick is pulling out all the stops to get out of jail, at least temporarily. His latest attempt, however has failed.
The ex-mayor's request for release on bond until sentencing has been denied by a federal court judge. U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds made the decision, citing Kilpatrick's criminal record and a history of problems adhering to parole conditions.
Kilpatrick asked to be removed from custody so that he can seek medical treatment for a knee injury. His attorney, James Thomas revealed in court documents that he feels his client has not received adequate treatment for his injury while incarcerated at Milan Detention Center. Thomas also reiterated that Kilpatrick has no money, is not a flight risk and poses no threat of danger to society.
In an attempt to appeal to the court's favor, Kilpatrick's mother and former U.S. Representative Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick offered as collateral her Detroit home to guarantee her son will report to court for sentencing.
Kilpatrick currently awaits sentencing following his Mar. 11 conviction by a federal jury on multiple counts including racketing and conspiracy.
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Last Updated on Thursday, 28 March 2013 00:22
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Britney Spear, Regional Content Editor
It’s easy to get caught up in the constant talk of Detroit’s troubled finances, but not every part of the city is struggling. Downtown has experienced quite a boom with recent developments. But, what does that mean for Detroiters? Are residents getting a piece of the action?
The private sector continues to grow. Large corporations like Blue Cross Blue Shield, Quicken Loans and Warren-based firm Campbell Ewald are moving much of their employment base to the city’s center. Add in the anticipated downtown locations for Whole Foods and 7-11, and you’ll find that the city is on track to experience an economic resurgence. Will that equal more jobs for those living within the city limits?
In the midst of all the hoopla over a newly-appointed EFM, Detroit teeters on the verge of bankruptcy. It’s a situation juxtaposed with the auto industry’s recent announcement of record-breaking sales. A sector that knows all too well the reality of the city’s current condition, area car makers made a tremendous turnaround from their their state just before the 2009 federal bailout.
Many residents now feel that Detroit represents “a tale of two cities.” On one side, promise and prosperity. On the other, desperation and despair. Undoubtedly a standout case, Detroit reflects the cross-country dilemma of a struggling public sector. What’s happening in the private realm appears far away from the realities of most ordinary citizens. As the city struggles to maintain providing essential resources to its residents, private companies contemplate opening a new coffee shop, boutique or eatery. While a hopeful climate for area businesses, the city’s financial hardships extend from average Detroiters up to local government.
The situation might appear grim, yet some remain encouraged to think of the glass as half full as opposed to half empty.
“More businesses moving into the city means more jobs,” said George Jackson, president and CEO of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.
The DEGC is a non-profit organization that works closely with the City of Detroit and other partners to support existing businesses and to bring new companies and investments to the city. While Jackson eagerly anticipates the prosperity coming to Detroit, he also acknowledges a growing concern among the city’s residents.
“The problem is that the current workforce doesn’t have the skills required for what’s available,” he said. “A large segment of the population isn’t prepared to take advantage of the opportunities.”
Jackson believes training funds must be better utilized to help people prepare for permanent jobs:
“We must work with employers to find out what they need, and be ready to train individuals to fill those positions.”
Not all of the jobs coming to the city require a four-year education. We now live in an economic era where technical and vocational opportunities abound. Taking advantage of non-traditional programs has become the quickest route to getting a job, and one that pays well. Jackson recognizes it has become increasingly important for our educational system to prepare students for the fastest growing fields.
Community colleges have served as a breeding ground for talent trained in technical and vocational careers. There are several opportunities available in areas like IT, manufacturing and healthcare. Encouraging students to train for these fields will better help them to compete in the current economy. While Jackson acknowledges that two-year schools are currently doing a “great” job, he expressed that funding must be better allocated so that more individuals can utilize such opportunities. Creating a real connection between job seekers and employers is the key to helping the community tap into the economic boost. Jackson addressed the downfall of our educational system as an area of primary concern.
“Our schools must have a vocational track,” he said. “Some of the jobs available require degrees, but some do not. The big question is, do we have the skills required and is Detroit’s available workforce prepared?”
With the possibility of major store chains and big business coming to Detroit, George Jackson looks forward to an expanding economic front and its many possible benefits. He expects these new ventures will be successful, and serve as a major boost to the city’s economy.
“We’re going to soon witness something in Detroit that we haven’t seen before,” he said.
Granted, the local community faces unique changes. However, it’s important that residents remain excited about what’s to come and focus on taking the required steps to strengthen their ability to take advantage of upcoming opportunities.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 17:27
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Robert Weiner and Richard Mann
In the oral debate over cutting down the power of the Voting Rights Act – the law designed to assure enforcement of no discrimination against minorities’ right to vote – Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia stated last month, “This is not the kind of a question you can leave to Congress.” He called the bill, “perpetuation of racial entitlement.” He added, “It is very difficult to get out … through the normal political process.” The Court could make a decision as early as June.
The Justice apparently missed that the 15th Amendment to the Constitution states, “The right of citizens to vote shall not be abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
The extremely significant next sentence of the 15th Amendment states, “The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was recently asked if Congress has the power to enact and amend the Voting Rights Act. She responded, “Yes, it’s there in the 14th and 15th Amendments.” To assure she meant the directness of her answer, she was asked if people are just wrong to say Congress does not have the power. She repeated, “It’s in the 14th and 15th Amendments.”
The 14th Amendment specifies that no group’s vote should be “denied” or “in any way abridged” and that if any state does so, the state’s congressional “representation shall be reduced in proportion” to the group’s voter reduction.
We asked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich last week if he still believes the Constitution gives Congress the power, since he had presided over and voted for extensions of the Voting Rights Act, and he said “Yes.” He asked us what we thought was Scalia’s reasoning to question it, and we told him about Justice Scalia’s assertion that Congress was politically pandering. Gingrich, unfazed, responded, “All the Founding Fathers won elections and understood that – they all were elected.” One may often disagree with Gingrich’s policies and politics, but as a congressional and constitutional historian, he is informed.
It’s not as though discrimination is dead and we no longer need the Voting Rights Act. After the Civil War and right through to 1965, many states enacted Jim Crow laws to try to subvert the freedom of former slaves and the right of African Americans to vote. That was what gave birth to the Voting Rights Act and its extensions. But the battle continues. In our time, in the 2012 election, thirty-seven states attempted voter suppression of minorities by targeted ID requirements and reduced hours to vote. Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is Congress’s way to stop the undemocratic shenanigans denying minorities the vote.
The Voting Rights Act and its extensions have been among the most bipartisan and overwhelmingly supported votes in American history, including the 25-year renewal in 2006 by 98-0 in the Senate and 390-33 in the House.
Last month, the leaders of the Judiciary Committee that reported out the 2006 bill--Democrat John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and Republican James Sensenbrenner (R-WI)--issued a unique joint statement and filed a bipartisan “amicus” to the Court saying the Voting Rights Act with its Section Five “protects our most fundamental right—the right to vote. This law has empowered minorities to participate in the election process, but the threat of discrimination is not yet extinct.” The Judiciary Committee had taken 12,000 pages of testimony.
Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) said this month, “I gave blood, others gave blood, so that the rights of people can be protected.” It is unfortunate that Justice Scalia made his statement about “racial entitlements” on the same day, February 27, that Rosa Parks’ statue was unveiled in the U.S. Capitol.
There is a window. Perhaps Scalia’s earlier comment that “this Court doesn’t like to get involved in racial questions such as this one… that can be left to Congress” will be his better side and will be the Court’s attitude. The 15th Amendment says “Congress shall have the power.” However, if the Supreme Court knocks the law down or diminishes it, this should be one of those rare circumstances where the Congress effectively reverses the Supreme Court and reenacts the bill, perhaps changing a word or two so that it can say there is a difference.
Some weeks ago we went out and bought a little pamphlet for a couple of dollars with the text of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. The whole thing is about 1/20th a normal paperback novel’s length. You can read and circle phrases in it in an hour or two. There is much talk these days about the Constitution. Some people try to make it seem complicated. That’s just a way of keeping we the people from our power. There is also enormous biased usage of the wording. We want an informed electorate, and everyone should read it and even carry the small pamphlet around.
And that includes the Justices themselves.
Robert Weiner is a former White House spokesman, communications director for committees headed by Representatives Conyers, Rangel, Pepper, and Koch, aide to Senator Kennedy, and a congressional committee chief of staff. He wrote the epilogue to Bankole Thompson’s groundbreaking book, Obama and Christian Loyalty. Richard Mann is senior policy analyst at Robert Weiner Associates, Solutions for Change, and a journalism master’s degree graduate of Roosevelt University.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 March 2013 16:44
Tammy Klugh, Vice President Kelly Services® among the Michigan Chronicle Women of Excellence 2013 Honorees
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Britney Spear
Troy, Mich – (March 21, 2013) – Kelly Services (NASDAQ: KELYA, KELYB), a leader in providing workforce solutions headquartered in Troy, Michigan, announced today that the Michigan Chronicle recognized Tammy Klugh, Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion and Compliance, for Kelly Services, as a Women of Excellence 2013 honoree. Ms. Klugh will be honored at an induction ceremony at the Detroit Westin Book Cadillac Hotel, March 22, 2013 at 3:00 p.m.
Nina Ramsey, Chief Human Resource Officer and Senior Vice President for Kelly Services stated, “Kelly Services is very proud that Tammy has been recognized by the Michigan Chronicle for her professional excellence and commitment to community service.”
This is the 6th annual Women of Excellence event where the Michigan Chronicle honors African American women who inspire others through their outstanding leadership, exceptional professional achievements as well as their committed community service. Nominated by their peers, the honorees are from diverse backgrounds that range from corporate executives, entrepreneurs along with professionals from public and non-profit sectors.
About Tammy Klugh
Tammy Klugh is Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for Kelly Services. In her role, Ms. Klugh partners with leaders throughout Kelly® to design global strategies to create an inclusive environment internally as well as develop staffing solutions for customers. Prior to joining Kelly in 1999 as the Director of Diversity, Ms. Klugh was Assistant Director, Diversity and Compliance Office, for Oakland University in Rochester Hills. She began her career with the U.S. Department of Labor, Office Federal Contract Compliance Programs as a compliance officer serving Southeastern Michigan. Ms. Klugh holds a Juris Doctorate from Detroit’s Wayne State University Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Individually and on behalf of Kelly Services, Ms. Klugh is committed to a number of programs that provide STEM education and career development for youth in Metro Detroit.
About Kelly Services
Kelly Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: KELYA, KELYB) is a leader in providing workforce solutions. Kelly offers a comprehensive array of outsourcing and consulting services as well as world-class staffing on a temporary, temporary-to-hire, and direct-hire basis. Serving clients around the globe, Kelly provides employment to more than 550,000 employees annually. Revenue in 2012 was $5.6 billion. Visit www.kellyservices.com and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, & Twitter. Download The Talent Project, a free iPad app by Kelly Services.
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 March 2013 15:19
Category: News Briefs - Original Written by Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
Kevyn Orr, the Washington, D.C. bankruptcy attorney named by Governor Rick Snyder as the Emergency Financial Manager of Detroit beginning March 25, said during an exclusive interview with Bankole Thompson, editor of the Michigan Chronicle, that everything is on the table to get Detroit’s finances straightened out. That includes bankruptcy, city assets, pension funds, retiree benefits, city creditors and every other stakeholder tied to the financial wellbeing of the city.
Following are excerpts from that interview.
MICHIGAN CHRONICLE: What is there about you that we don’t know?
KEVYN ORR: Not much at this point. It’s really not much about me. I’m just a guy who had the good fortune of falling into a couple of jobs that led me to restructure and practice and has me here. So really it’s not about me. It’s about somebody who can come in to do the hard work of looking at the numbers, statutes, making decisions but also being sympathetic to the fact of real world impact. That’s what it’s about.
MC: You said that this is the “Olympics of restructuring.” Is this the biggest assignment for you so far?
KO: Not in dollar value. We’ve done bigger cases. The reason I say it’s the Olympics of restructuring is most Chapter 11 restructurings have to do with taking a business that’s in crisis, coming up with a reorganization plan to restructure, getting stakeholders to agree to a structure that works and getting that plan voted on and the operating system running it again.
The thing that’s different here and is different in Chapter 9 definition is there is a bystander as the citizens and the constituents of a municipality. In a sense the balance sheet aspect of what we have to do is pretty straightforward as I keep saying. The math is the math: maintaining city services, dealing with efficiencies, addressing people’s fears and anxiety, public safety and the employees. Detroit is one of the largest employers in Wayne County, if not the largest.
That’s what makes it so difficult and doing that in an environment where you recognize what you do is going to have consequences to people.
When I’m in a business deal, this is business. This isn’t personal. There is some single mother out there who is gets up at 4:30 a.m., gets on a bus, drops her kids off on the way to her first job at 3 p.m. She has a14 year old who is going to take care of her 12 year old and 7 year old. She gets home at 9 p.m., tired, hopefully they haven’t got in trouble, get something to eat, their homework. She starts it over every day. I recognize that’s a hard way of living.
That’s how my grandparents live.
MC: So what about a single mother who’s skeptical about city services because she has in the past had no EMS service, inadequate public safety?
KO: To that person just an awareness that we’ve got to improve city services, to put these lights up because there’s a difference between October and May. Kids walking to school in the dark, that sort of thing. That’s the person I’m really talking to when I say the Olympics of restructuring because it’s not just on the business angle, it’s really the substance here.
MC: You sounded a consensus note in your first press conference. What would you specifically asked the Detroit City Council to do?
KO: I want to cooperate with city council. I’m emergency financial manager. I’m not an elected official. Council are the representatives of the people. They know their constituencies. They live here. I’m the guy coming in from outside. I think they have a very real and very substantive role to play both in communications and also recognizing my time frame is fairly short. I’m going to gone someday.
There are still going to be council people, mayor. In fact, if I get this done quickly enough they get to dimiss. So what I want from them? I want cooperation. I want them to be partners with me in recognizing this is not easy, not their preferred route but partnering with me in getting this job done. That’s what I really want.
MC: You are a successful lawyer. Stepping into this role, you are also stepping into history. This is now part of the Kevyn Orr legacy. How much impact does that have on you as you begin March 25?
KO: It really doesn’t because the reality is my life’s been a process of sort of getting opportunities and taking care of them. And each time I just try to do that job. That’s what I’m focused on. There is a task in front of me. It’s a hard task and whatever comes from that hopefully will flow from having success with that task. The broader process of history and all that context, I can’t even focus on that right now.
MC: You’ll let historians decide your legacy in Detroit?
KO: You know historians will always decide that. It’s up to them. I just want to get this job done.
MC: How would you tackle retiree benefits?
KO: I’ve always said this is going to be data driven. I have to look at inflows and outflows of the city with some of the data regarding the city’s debt service, retiree benefit service, long-term obligations, under state law. I have to look at that and see, frankly, an analysis of what needs to be done so that we can put this city on a sustainable path for growth and development going forward.
Obviously you are going to want an inventory of all of the various components of the employee, retiree benefits and compensation sides, the debt service and city service. I hope what I do is get some data that sort of informs my approach and concern, and approach the stakeholders in this case with an effort to try to negotiate some adjustments that may be necessary.
MC: How would you bring creditors to the table in addressing the fiscal crisis?
KO: To a degree the creditors have already been at the table. There has been forbearance agreements, just the declaration that Detroit is in an emergency situation and the appointment of an emergency financial manager might be in some circumstances covenant default. I understand there’s been ongoing negotiations with creditors. I saw some blog, I’m not a defender of the banks. So everybody calm down and then we’ll approach it in a very deliberate process.
It doesn’t matter whether it was me or someone else. Creditors know that something has to be done because the current path simply isn’t sustainable.
MC: You’ve said Mayor Dave Bing is going to be your partner in this. What’s your impression of him?
KO: First of all, I have to acknowledge that Mayor Bing is a historical and iconic figure in the country’s history, a great basketball player. I was actually very interested in meeting him. He’s inducted into the Hall of Fame. And watching history, Mayor Bing was drafted to run for mayor. He’s done very well for himself and hadn’t bothered anyone. And given the circumstances at the time of the prior mayor, he stepped into the frying pan. So I view him as a very courageous figure. I think it was very commendable of him to decide to become a partner at some risks and criticism from his own colleagues. So I’m very impressed with the mayor and the mayor’s courage. I look forward to working with him.
MC: The elephant in the room is bankruptcy, and it’s being talked about many times. Explain what would trigger bankruptcy for you?
KO: You’re right. The elephant in the room is bankruptcy. And I really mean what I said. If we are able to work on this collegially we can avoid a bankruptcy filing. Good parties in good faith can agree to anything that they want to. What would make me consider bankruptcy? Some of them might be consensual. Oftentimes in certain plans of reorganization, parties enter what’s called “pre-pack,” a deal that everyone has essentially agreed to or the majority of stakeholders have agreed to.
Maybe some outliers, they feel that by going through the bankruptcy process they’ll get the overlay of the court’s approval, they’ll get the court’s jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the package that they need as fiduciaries to make a decision. So sometimes it’s not that there has been a strong carmel’s back that makes a bankruptcy filing, it could be that strategically for all parties it is something they want to do in a quick way. That happens quiet frequently.
MC: What role would the federal government play here given your role as a former member of President Obama’s 2012 campaign finance committee?
KO: I’ve worked with the campaign. I know people in the administration. I don’t know if I’m closer to them on that level. I think certainly he is president of the United States. I don’t know if that gives me any opportunity to request federal help than anyone else in other cities.
MC: Have you gotten calls from the White House?
KO: No. I would like to think that we might have the ability to receive some federal help in some fashion. I don’t want to try to guesstimate it, presage it. There are many programs out there we already may be receiving some funding for. I think it’s fair to say that given Detroit’s position in the world and the status, that this is a significant matter worthy of attention.
MC: Detroit in the past has received federal dollars in grants that were returned unused. How would you deal with that?
KO: Part of the analysis is what tools and opportunities we have available that we haven’t been using. I would hate to see the city having received grants and haven’t found a way to use them. I’d certainly look into that.
MC: What was instructive in the Chrysler bankruptcy process?
KO: People keep going back to Chrysler. We have to remember that Chrysler was a private sector deal. This is different. Chapter 9 is different. What struck me at Chrysler, frankly, was the ability of the parties, even adversaries, to work together quickly and efficiently, and the ability of the federal bankruptcy court system to administer that case in a record-setting time. From filing of the case to the sale, the reorganization of the company was 42 days. That was pretty exceptional. Now past performance is no guarantee of future outcomes.
MC: Comparatively speaking, how does the financial crisis that hit New York and Baltimore fit in the Detroit equation?
KO: Well, I see a group of concerned people coming together, focused in good faith, really attentive in terms of trying to make a decision as far as what you do for the interest of the city, and then executing on it and having results. I’m in no illusion that the long-term problems we need to deal with — growing the city, city services — are going to happen in 18 months. I’m just merely an architect trying to design a process that can be put in place to make it sustainable so that the inheritors of that process, the elected officials that come later, will take that up and have the ability to achieve the results we’ve seen in Baltimore, Pittsburgh and other cities.
MC: Let’s talk about generating revenue for Detroit.
KO: Well, I think everything is on the table for me as emergency financial manager. Certainly looking at ways, cashiering, collection, looking at ways that we can generate revenue is part of the job.
MC: Now let’s discuss city assets. Part of the criticism about your appointment is that it is believed you are here to sell Detroit’s assets, like the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. What do you say to that?
KO: Well, I think I said everything is on the table. I think I’ve also said we’ll try to use the data to make reasoned decisions that provide a net benefit to the city. If you look at a city that is cash strapped in and can’t get things done in certain ways. If you have the opportunity to enhance the revenue stream from existing assets without loosing that asset, you have to examine that. At least be open to the concept. If you can generate from a system $50 million in net cash flow per year, in ten years that half a billion dollars. That’s a lot of money. So everything has to be looked at.
But I’m sensitive to the fact that people are very concerned about an emergency manager coming in selling everything off. But there may be ways to increase value (of the assets) for the benefit of the city.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 March 2013 10:15
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