Detroit 2013

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I took some time away to sit back and observe my hometown.  I watched as Detroiters walked like zombies through Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Although most of us found jobs near the end of 2012, nobody is making what they use to.  We were ecstatic to see 2013!  All the negative press of the 2012 hung around us like thick morning fog and we were anxious to put it behind us.  Yet here in March, the future of Detroit is still very much unclear.

Detroit has now been officially declared a financial disaster area.  Governor Snyder is set to announce an Emergency Financial Manager for the city of Detroit any day now even though the Emergency Financial Manager law was voted down in elections last November.  How you like that for democracy? It wasn’t like City Council and previous 3 Mayors didn’t know the city was going broke.  It just seems like every other bit of foolishness was more important.  Like chasing women, fighting with each other, and listening to Marvin Winans complain about strip clubs.  City Council is now fighting to keep an Emergency Financial  Manager out of Detroit while current Mayor Dave Bing is opening the door.  The City Council feels it Detroit doesn’t need a EFM (Emergency Financial Manager) and can fix its financial problems on its own.  If that is true, this should have been prevented a long time ago.  The current City Council should put more effort into finding solutions and let those solutions speak for themselves.  Mayor Bing has acknowledged that Detroit needs help and has conceded that an EFM maybe necessary.  In short, what Governor Snyder wants, Governor Snyder gets.  This has made Bing very unpopular among Detroit’s citizens.

The people have a right to be upset.  Not only with Mayor Bing, but also City Council. And not just current Mayor and City Council, past elected officials as well.  Can’t blame it all on Kwame. Detroit is too large to operate at a loss for so long.  Once the economy took a downturn, Detroit became a dry riverbed with all its flaws exposed.  Now in 2013, the citizens must be forced to lie in that bed.  Holla if you hear me.

-K Greene

Kwame Kilpatrick: Part 2

I have to admit when Kwame opened the question and answer session by saying “Let’s get it on!”, I expected a Q & A of epic proportions.  Kwame was offering himself for every journalist in the room to feast on.  I could see the look in the eyes of my fellow journalists.  They were hungry and their pens were at the ready.  What did we get?  Slim pickings.  Kwame did not waver.  He answered each question comfortably and completely.  His answers did not bear anymore information that wasn’t already known.  The only time he seemed slightly rattled is when he was asked questions concerning his mom, former State Representative Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick.  This was understandable.  He explained it to all in the room.  ” The two worst days of my life.” as the former mayor recalls, “The first was explaining the affair to my kids and the second was laying in a prison cell knowing that my mom lost the election because of me”.

The remorse on his face was apparent.  He said it was at that point when he realized what his actions cost the city.  His mother had done so much for the city of Detroit and now that champion for the city is out of office.  He said at that time, “I cried like a baby”.  It finally got to him.  The disappointment the citizens of Detroit felt in his actions, he now felt in himself. It was that moment that opened his eyes.  He began to realize what he had and how much damage his decisions had done.

Kwame spends his time speaking around the country.  Even speaking at T.D. Jake’s “ManPower” conference.  Kwame maintain that he wants to help young men avoid the path he took.  He feels that he didn’t deal with his inner demons before he got into office and they got the better of him.  Kwame maintains that this cost him more than anything, Not youth or inexperience.  To this day, Kwame maintains that he cannot be forgiven here in Detroit.  It doesn’t matter  how much he claims that he has changed.  Kwame said  “I don’t believe I can get a fair trial here in Detroit.” when asked about his up coming Federal  trial .  “I would be better off if they hung me from the giant fist downtown” Kwame jokes.

I think he might be right in a way,  This was made evident but the number of journalist that turned out.  People still place the blame at his feet.  As leader of this city, he failed.   In the court of Public Opinion, he has been found guilty.  His word is no longer above reproach and his name vilified in Detroit history,   That’s where we should leave him.  If there was one thing that I can take from him, that would be that we have to let him go mentally as a city.  Kwame was absolutely right about that,  Until we do that, we will never move forward and identify the real problems of our city,  Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene

Bing vs Snyder Who’s For Us?

I had a great blog that I was ready to share with all of you when I got a media alert from the City of Detroit.  That alert was shared on Facebook as well. They wanted everybody to know that Mayor Bing has had it! Mayor Bing has stated that he is not in favor of Governor Snyder’s Consent Agreement plans for the city of Detroit. In fact, Bing claims Snyder has been disingenuous the whole time.  WOW, YOU DON’T SAY?!

I admit it.  I was ready to blast Mayor Bing for giving up on recovering $220 million in funds that he said was owed to the city by the state.  Also he was ready to accept state assistance in handling Detroit’s current financial crisis citing several meetings with Governor Snyder.  All that has changed now and the Governor’s plans have been exposed.

Mayor Bing is so upset that the word “disingenuous” appears often in this media alert.  If you go to thesaurus.com and punch in “disingenuous”, you get the following synonyms; deceitful, artful, cunning, tricky, false, dishonest, sly, unfair, two-faced, underhanded to name a few.  The word “disingenuous” appears in three out the six paragraphs comprising the media alert! Governor Snyder must be one disingenuous rascal! I knew that from day one.

Prior to being elected Governor, Snyder did not campaign anywhere near Detroit.  Snyder refused to even debate in Detroit.  So it doesn’t surprise me one bit that his Consent Agreement contains some very disturbing details.  Governor Snyder said that the agreement leaves the elected officials in charge but this is not the case. Here’s a quote from the media alert:

“He’s being disingenuous when he says this agreement leaves elected officials in charge of the City. In fact, the proposed, nine-member advisory board selects and “oversees” the functions of the City’s COO, CFO and Human Resources director – not the elected Mayor.  This proposal also circumvents the role and power of the City Council as the legislative body, waives the ability of elected officials to contest any aspect of the agreement, and dismisses the unprecedented effort and concessions made by the City’s labor unions to avoid an economic catastrophe.”

Detroiters do not want a state takeover but I feel it may be in evitable in some shape or form.  The city is still losing money and people are still losing jobs.  Nobody trusts Governor Snyder but we may have no choice. Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene

Broke But Not Broken

 

I find myself  these days pre-occupied with the financial health of Detroit.  Why?  We all know that Detroit is in a bad way financially but no one could have predicted that Detroit would be months away from being out of money.  We should have known it was coming.  Detroit has lost more jobs and had more layoffs than any other city the past 3-4 yrs.  Whenever you have that, you have people moving away to find employment.  People are still planning to leave the city, as former plant workers who gained degrees in the past few years, seek paychecks elsewhere.  Those with children have extra incentive to leave.  Job opportunities out-of-state may also bring a more stable public school system.  That combination is hard to pass up.

Part of Dave Bing’s plan to get some money back in Detroit’s pocket is getting state help to recover taxes.  There is only one problem with that plan.  Depletion of people means depletion of taxes you can collect. The next part of his plan is more viable but Rick Snyder has set in motion plans for an Emergency Financial Manager over the City of Detroit.  Nothing pleased me more than to see Dave Bing and the Detroit City Council on T.V. forming a united front against Rick Snyder’s plan for an Emergency Financial Manager over the City of Detroit.  Each person took the podium and expressed confidence that Detroiters can fix Detroit.  The next part of Bings plan to get Detroit back on track involves recouping $284.6 million in which the state owes the city for various revenue sharing agreements.  Some going back as far as when Engler was Governor.  Even Kwame Kilpatrick sent a letter to then Governor Jennifer Grandholm, requesting $6.8million payment for grass cutting and lighting services for state operated property in Detroit.  The city has yet to see a penny.  Imagine you hit the Mega-Millions for $284.6 million.  You are beyond happy because you are months away from filing bankruptcy.  Instead of paying what they owe you, they send you a mandatory financial manager with no check.  How do you feel now?  That’s what the City of Detroit is facing.  Don’t forget, During his campaign for Governor, Rick Snyder refused to debate or even show up in urban populated cities like Pontiac and Detroit.  Pontiac already has an Emergency Financial Manager.  I smell a rat!

Detroiters can indeed fix Detroit, if the state pays up.  If the state does not pay up, Dave Bing and the City Council must file a lawsuit in Federal Court.  It is after all a breach of contract.  Not only that, it will send a strong message that Detroit is here to stay!  Getting the money would be huge.  That buys Detroit valuable time.  Add to that a recent announcement that the big three is due to hire 35,000 employees between now and 2015 and youve got a great start.  Working people feed taxes and entertainment revenue back  into the city.  Not to mention new business competing for new consumers.  This makes a perfect recipe for a Detroit rebirth without the need for an Emergency Financial Manager.  Detroit may rise from the ashes like the mythical phoenix better than before.  You can call Detroit “Broke” all you want to… but its far from Broken!  Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene

Life Imitating Art

I had a great topic brewing until it was interrupted by BREAKING NEWS:  OSAMA BIN LADEN HAS BEEN KILLED BY U.S. NAVY SEALS!  I kinda stared at the T.V. like a deer caught in headlights for a minute.  Somehow it didn’t seem real.  Almost like time froze while events played themselves out for all to see.  I continued to sit and watch people of all backgrounds united in joy over the demise of one of our nation’s greatest enemies.  I am happy old broom-chin is history myself!

One of my favorite movies is a Mel Brooks comedy released in 1974 called Blazing Saddles.  While watching this movie, I couldn’t help but see similarities between this movie and Obama’s term in office up to this point.  They are so similar that one could easily consider Blazing Saddles a weed-induced, hippie-spun prophecy from the 70’s.

In the beginning, We find a politician played by Harvey Korman, seeking to expand his railroad to the west and make a ton of money for himself!  However,  there are 2 things in his way.  A patch of quicksand and a small town filled with conservative white folk.  The fact that this town had no sheriff made it an appetizing target for our politician’s plans.  So with the help of his womanizing friend and paddle ball playing colleagues in government, he secured a sheriff for this town of white folks with a catch!  That catch being…. the sheriff will be  BLACK!  Our Politician was sure this would offend the people and drive them out of their little town.  Making it easy for the railroad to continue its course.  Politics serving as the vehicle for financial gain.  Sound familiar?  Not yet?  Ok let me continue.

For the record, had Obama uttered the words “Excuse me while I whip this out.” at the inauguration, I would have torn up my bucket list!  Those were the words uttered by the new black Sheriff Bart of the white conservative town of Rock Ridge.  In Obama’s case, America.  What he was “whipping out” was his legal right to assume his new post.  Like Sheriff Bart, Obama faced nothing but the ire of the white conservatives he was sworn to protect.  Even when demonstrating some good will, he was met with a resounding “Up yours Nigger!”.  Instead of it coming from an elderly white woman, it came from the Tea Party.

This was pretty much how things went until Mongo came to town.  In the movie, Mongo was played by former Detroit Lions defensive lineman Alex Karras.  Mongo was a huge, hulking figure of a man. Who rode into town on a steer and terrorized the townsfolk every time he showed up.  In reality, Mongo would be represented by Osama Bin Laden.  The one person who the townsfolk feared the most.  Osama Bin Mongo had loomed like a shadow over the peace and tranquility of America.  Even outlasting the last 2 sheriffs.  Now, It was Sheriff Obama’s turn.

In order to beat this monster of a man, Sheriff Bart dressed like a messenger and carried a telegram to Mongo.  Once Mongo open his telegram, it blew up in his face!  This made it easy for Sheriff Bart to subdue Mongo and chain him up.  Sheriff Obama did the same.  Only his telegram was delivered by Navy SEALs and the telegram itself…Fatal.  Now everybody loves our heroic black sheriffs.  Even the old white lady baked Sheriff Bart a pie and gave it to him in secret.  That’s where we are now.  Sheriff Obama now being accepted by the masses, even if it is behind closed doors and our greedy politician left to figure out another way to beat Sheriff Obama and continue his lucrative enterprise.  I am not going to tell you how everything goes.  I want you to rent it for yourself and make your own observations while laughing hysterically.  However,  I will say this…A black man and a white man riding off into the sunset together is the best ending there is.  Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene

 

Addition by Division

  

I searched high and low for a topic.  It seemed to elude me each time I tried to grasp it.  You can say I had one big case of writer’s block.  I watched T.V. day and night hoping something would ring a bell and jar loose my talents.  The more I watched, I couldn’t help but to think how chaotic our world has become.  Then the bell I was looking for rang like the Hulk himself was banging on it.

Whenever there is chaos in society, the diabolical make their move.  Right now is a pretty good time.  The economy is shot.  Confidence in our government is at an all time low and corruption is rampant at every level.  People of all backgrounds are left searching for answers in any shape and form and the answers they seek cannot come quick enough.  Too bad they are cut-off from those answers on purpose.

Those in politics  are at the heart of it.  They run through years of legal rhetoric intended for our best interest.  You would think that a system based for the people and by the people would run just fine.  This is not the case as throughout history the cunning and charismatic have often sought this avenue as a way to achieve power and wealth.  They add to their wealth and power by division.  Democrats and Republicans duke it out daily for our vote.  There is a saying that people vote their pockets.  If you are rich, you vote Republican.  If you are Middle-Class or poor, you voted Democrat.   That is what they use to stay in office.  Also they are lawyers with deep pockets.  Now you know why business get all the tax breaks and you get the tax bill.  Division created their prosperity.  Playing the rich against the not so rich is paying big dividends!  How else did a group of rich racists maintain control of our government since 1776.  Compounded by the fact that the richest 1% of Americans pay no taxes, it makes perfect sense.

The Devil uses hardcore religious fanatics to pick at the lives of those around them.  Using personal likes and dislikes as a battle ground to pit human against human for the addition of non-believers.  Bishop versus Pastor with thousands of souls hanging in the balance.  Little things such as the way one conducts service or what kind of car the other drives, are used to attract members to their respected churches.  In actuality, it drives people away.  People looking to God for stability quickly find the church as a whole as unstable as themselves.  Fanatics don’t have to be famous like Pastor Terry Jones.  The more dangerous ones are everyday people.  So intolerant of anything they don’t consider “God like” they go to extremes to distance themselves.  Some go as far as to cut off ties with family members that they consider to be “Un-Saved”.  This behavior is not “God like”.  God is about inclusion not exclusion.  Addition, not division.  It is amazing how far a little compassion and conversation can go.  It did wonders for a prostitute many thousands of years ago.   Instead of picking up a stone in judgement, Jesus offered a hand in friendship.

If television is any indicator, then I would have to say that writing this blog today may be futile.  Shows and commercials to guide you in one direction or another dominate every channel.  Not based on the quality of their product but their ability to convince you that you need it more than anybody else.  Companies don’t have morals when it comes to adding your cash to theirs.  Forcing you to compete with your neighbor through your lifestyle while companies run to the bank.  They use Credit Scores and where people live the most.  Don’t believe me?  Check you car insurance against someone in a different zip code with similar driving record.  Whoever has the better neighborhood, will have the cheaper insurance.  They do this to keep the rich folk in the better neighborhoods happy,which keep politicians happy.  While those folks are happy, the poor neighborhoods pay more and could least afford it.  Using the crime rate as an excuse.  This immoral practice is called “Redlining” but since the rich and the poor stay divided, insurance companies red-line their way to the bank.

Communication is key to overcoming the chaos in our lives.  It keeps the diabolical at bay.  It gives the saved an excellent chance of rescuing the un-saved.  Hopefully, one day the rich and the poor can communicate enough to save us some money and make the world better for everybody.  Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene

The Power Of The Vote

I woke up one day, in no great hurry.  I showered and got dressed as usual.  Following my routine to precision.    T.V. on ESPN feeding me the latest news in sports through my ears while the sun lured my eyes out the window.  I decided to leave the house and join the sun outside.  The chill in the air quickly reminded me that a Detroit spring feels a lot like an Alaskan summer.  I get in my van and make it halfway down the block when something caught my eye.  A hand-written sign on the back window of a red work truck which read: Recall Snyder!  Nothing wrong with that right?  Except for 2 things: 1) I am in the suburbs 2) The owner of the truck was WHITE!  I was overcome with laughter.

You may ask why is this so funny?  Well I will tell you.  Let’s go back to the night Barack Obama was elected President.  African-Americans all over were celebrating a historic event.  The first ever President of the United States that wasn’t a middle-aged white male.  While I sat back and enjoyed the sense of change that filled the air, an old saying came to mind; ”The shit is about to hit the fan!”  I knew the Republicans were going to come back with a vengeance.

It didn’t take long either.  They started firing shots as soon as he was sworn in.  The Republicans immediately attacked his new healthcare bill calling it “Obamacare”.  At his first State of the Union Address, Republican senator Joe Wilson shouted out  “Liar!’ while he was speaking.  No President in our history has ever been publicly disrespected by any member of government during a speech. Change was here alright!  President Obama tried to change the credit card laws to make them more consumer friendly.  What happened?  Banks and businesses (Which 99.9% of them vote Republican) made them more strict and of course added more fees.  However, this was nothing.  The local elections were up next and a Republican Governor in key pro-union states could be a huge asset. Especially since these were the hardest hit areas during the Recession.  The outsourcing of jobs coupled with a slumping economy rendered  unions helpless with their bargaining power at its weakest.  Big companies went on the hunt!

A poorly ran campaign by Virg Benero and the Democrats, coupled with poor minority turn out, made the Republican agenda very easy.  Their agenda was to scare middle class white America(People like before mentioned Joe Workingman) into voting Rick Snyder for Governor of Michigan.  Making President Obama out to be the face of the new” Black America”, worked to a charm.  Minorities thought so too judging by minority voter turn out.  Soon after Snyder was sworn in, he unveiled his plan.  It highlighted taxing pension benefits as income and spending cuts to public schools while at the same time giving corporations a 1.8 billion dollar tax break.  Joe Workingman got bamboozled!  His vote secured for the rich and powerful at the sacrifice of his kid’s education and his pension.  In Joe Workingman’s eyes, it was white on white crime and he was going to let everybody know.  Starting with writing “Recall Snyder” on his back window.

I drove off with a sense of satisfaction that another person has seen the light.  That the powerful will do everything they can to get your vote.  Including using race and ignorance to their advantage.  Your vote is worth millions to the rich and their friends at your expense.  So don’t waste it!  I will say for the record. That if 1.8 billion in tax breaks bring  jobs and prosperity to the City of Detroit, I may have to drench my laptop in hot sauce and eat it!  Holla if you hear me!

-K. Greene