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 DETROIT CITY NEWS

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PostSubject: DETROIT CITY NEWS   Sat Dec 20, 2008 10:37 pm

Motor City's woes extend beyond auto industry

By DAVID CRARY and COREY WILLIAMS, Associated Press Writers David Crary And Corey Williams, Associated Press Writers – 2 hrs 25 mins ago


DETROIT – One measure of how tough times are in the Motor City: Some of the offenders in jail don't want to be released; some who do get out promptly re-offend to head back where there's heat, health care and three meals a day.

"For the first time, I'm seeing guys make a conscious decision they'll be better off in prison than in the community, homeless and hungry," said Joseph Williams of New Creations Community Outreach, which assists ex-offenders. "In prison they've got three hots and a cot, so they commit a crime to go back in and come out when times are better."

For now, better times seem distant. Even with no hurricane or other natural disaster to blame, Detroit has — by many measures — replaced New Orleans as America's most beleaguered city.

The jobless rate has climbed past 21 percent, the embattled school district just fired its superintendent, tens of thousands of homes and stores are derelict and abandoned, the ex-mayor is in jail for a text-messaging sex scandal. Even the pro football team is a pathetic joke — the Lions are within two losses of an unprecedented 0-16 season.

And overarching these and many other woes is the near-collapse of the U.S. auto industry, Detroit's vital source of jobs and status for more than a century.

"We're the Motor City," said Scott Alan Davis, who oversees community development projects in one of the worst-hit neighborhoods. "When the basis for that name collapses, that's started to scare people."

Among the worried is 81-year-old Warlena McDuell, a retired surgical technician who shares a home with her cancer-stricken daughter. On a recent weekday, she was among hundreds of Detroiters, most of them elderly, filling orange-plastic grocery carts at a food bank run by Focus:HOPE, a local nonprofit.

"It's a depression — not a recession," McDuell said, with the authority of someone who has lived through both. "It will get worse before it gets better."

Behind her in line, stocking up on canned apple juice and fruit cocktail, was Benjamin Smith, 77, who once held jobs with Uniroyal and Chrysler. Maneuvering his cart slowly, one hand gripping a cane, he was unable to muster much cheer when someone extended holiday good wishes.

"How are we going to do well?" he replied. "Everything's busted up."

Focus:HOPE's food program serves 41,000 people a month; manager Frank Kubik estimates that's only half the number of Detroiters in need of the assistance.

"It's not going to be a nice Christmas for a lot of folks," he said.

DeWayne Wells, president of Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan, said demand is up by 25 percent from a year ago in the region's food banks as auto-industry layoffs multiply.

"Many people are first-timers — they have no idea how to navigate the system, how to qualify for food stamps," Wells said. "Last year, some were donors — now they're clients."

___

The roots of Detroit's current plight go back decades. Court-ordered school busing and the 12th Street riots of 1967 accelerated an exodus of whites to the suburbs, and many middle-class blacks followed, shrinking the city's population from a peak of 1.8 million in the 1950s to half that now.

About 83 percent of the current population is African-American; of cities with more than 100,000 people, only Gary, Ind., had a higher percentage in the latest census.

Detroit's crime, poverty, unemployment and school dropout rates are among the worst of any major U.S. city. The bus system is widely panned; car and home insurance rates are high. Chain grocery stores are absent, forcing many Detroiters to rely on high-priced corner stores.

"There's always been a real can-do spirit among our people," said the Rev. Edgar Vann, pastor of Second Ebenezer Church. "That's being beaten down right now. ... These times, unlike others, have sapped a lot of that spirit from them."

Vann, in addition to overseeing a 5,000-member megachurch, founded the Vanguard Community Development Corp., which under Scott Alan Davis's leadership is building scores of new homes and offering education programs in the blighted North End.

One apartment complex, for the elderly, is rising barely a block from two grade schools recently abandoned by the city, and now sitting empty and ransacked.

"It's death to the neighborhood," said Vann, some anger in his voice, as he gestured to homes that had been abandoned and vandalized since the schools closed.

He worries that despair and frustration may take a toll as Detroiters see more manufacturing jobs vanish and get no short-term answer when they ask, "What next?"

"Somebody needs to hear us before we begin to see a rise of social upheaval," Vann said. "I hate to say that. It's a God-forbid reality."

___

For Mark Covington, as for many of his neighbors, there are two Detroits. One features swanky casinos, opulent hotels and two new sports stadiums, beckoning high rollers and deep-pocketed out-of-towners to a relatively vibrant downtown. Luxury condo developments are opening; an ambitious RiverWalk project is mostly completed.

Then there's the vast Detroit of decaying neighborhoods, with weedy, trash-strewn lots and vacant, burned-out houses. Some areas, even close to downtown, have a rural look because so many lots are now empty.

"It makes me want to leave," said Covington, 36. "But I figure, if I leave, who else is going to help? Who else is going to do it? People like me are what's going to turn Detroit around."

With no job and plenty of time on his hands, Covington has spent the past year working on what he calls the Georgia Street Garden — three empty lots he and his friends have converted into an inner city farm east of downtown.

It's one of hundreds of urban vegetable gardens citywide that have taken root on land cleared after the razing of abandoned homes.

Covington and his friends did what the city hadn't done: moved trash from the lots to the curbs. They planted tomatoes, collard greens, kale, cabbage, herbs, broccoli and other vegetables, as well as a few fruit trees.

"During the time I was out here cleaning up, I thought it would be a good idea for a garden," he said. "Everybody uses this path to go up to the closest grocery store and the closest corner store. I figured if they gotta walk past here. ... maybe they'll pick some food instead of having to go up to the grocery store all of the time."

A makeshift, wooden movie screen was erected last summer for outdoor film nights.

"I'm seeing camaraderie around here I haven't seen since I was a little kid," Covington said. "It's actually starting to feel like a village again."

He just wishes they had more help from city leaders.

"I'm proud our downtown is coming back," Covington said. "They've put money into the downtown. We need a downtown. .... Everybody understands that. But what about the people that pay for it? I mean, we pay our taxes. We need city services. It's the crime and cleaning up."

"I just don't understand how they, anybody in the city ... the mayor's administration, can ride through the neighborhoods and see the way it is and not want to do anything about it."

___

For all its woes, Detroit has no shortage of residents offering to tackle them. There are 15 candidates for the Feb. 24 special mayoral election necessitated by the conviction of Kwame Kilpatrick for trying to cover up an affair with a former top aide.

The winner of the special election only serves out Kilpatrick's unfinished term, and a regular mayoral election will be held in November, burdening the city with a year of political uncertainty and division as it grapples with staggering problems.

"There are some good candidates — I've never seen a field as broad and deep," said Steve Tobocman, who represents a Detroit district in the state legislature. "That being said, I don't think there's a concrete vision on how to deal with the real challenges."

Solely in terms of municipal government, the challenges are daunting. Mayor Ken Cockrel Jr. said Friday the city's deficit is approaching $300 million, and he ordered all departments to cut their budgets by 10 percent. The Detroit Public School District faces a deficit of more than $400 million, prompting the state to declare a financial emergency. The district's superintendent, Connie Calloway, was fired on Monday.

Several dozen schools have been closed in the past three years, and civic leaders worry the system will be incapable of helping young Detroiters prepare for whatever new types of jobs might emerge down the road.

"Most of the middle-class parents have disengaged, taken their kids out," said Vann. "We don't have the parent advocacy that's necessary to drive reform."

The FBI's latest statistics, for 2007, show Detroit with the highest violent crime rate of any major city. Yet Jeriel Heard, chief of jails and court for Detroit's Wayne County, said jail conditions may deteriorate because of budget-related pressure to eliminate a quarter of the roughly 800 jail deputy positions.

Heard confirmed that some offenders, notably those without homes of their own, were now expressing reluctance to leave jail when their sentences were done.

He also reported that property crime in some Detroit neighborhoods had stabilized or declined because targets of opportunity were fewer now that most remaining residents are poor and many of the homes have been abandoned and cannibalized.

Trying to combat the blight, the city has applied for $47 million in federal neighborhood stabilization money, with half earmarked to tear down more than 2,300 vacant homes. About $8 million would be spent to rehabilitate vacant houses and $4 million to construct new houses.

But this effort would make only a small dent. About 44,000 of the 67,000 homes that have gone into foreclosure since 2005 remain empty, and it costs about $10,000 to demolish each vacant house, according to Planning and Development Department director Doug Diggs.

Overall, the residential real estate market is catastrophic, with the Detroit Board of Realtors now pegging the average price of a home in the city at $18,513. Some owners can't find buyers at any price.

"If you no longer can sell your property, how can you move elsewhere?' said Robin Boyle a professor of urban planning at Wayne State University. "Some people just switch out the lights and leave — property values have gone so low, walking away is no longer such a difficult option."

___

Looking ahead, Detroit civic leaders express long-term optimism but acknowledge the shift away from a heavy-manufacturing economy will be painful.

"Up until the '70s, you could come to the city without education, without speaking English, and get a job in the auto industry and instantly be in the middle class, economically speaking," said Mike Stewart, director of Wayne State's Walter P. Reuther Library and an expert on the auto industry.

"A lot of folks in the city depended on these jobs for generations — they don't exist anymore," he said. "A lot of Detroiters are unprepared, educationally and technologically, to cope."

Another fundamental problem is the gap between the city's circumstances and those in the surrounding region, which includes many relatively affluent, predominantly white suburbs.

"The lack of support, the disparities with the rest of the region are greater than folks realize," said Tobocman, a Democrat who served as House majority floor leader. "I'm not sure the system can sustain itself."

But he said the conversation on one option — greater regional sharing of local tax revenue — "is not a real active one."

Mark Douglas, 41, is among the metro area's most successful African-American car dealers — he succeeded his father in 2005 as president of Avis Ford in Southfield, one of the suburbs bordering Detroit to the north.

"Detroit has got to figure out a way to make people feel it's safe — if people don't want to live there, it's tough to develop any kind of tax base," Douglas said. "Whites have to move back in. You've got to have the integration factor. Everyone has to come together."

Though Avis Ford is faring better than some local competitors, the recession has taken a toll. It sold only 112 new vehicles in October, down from about 200 in October 2007.

Douglas said the dealership is recouping some of the loss in new car sales by performing service work on older cars no longer covered by warranties.

His father, Walter, 76, remains chairman of Avis Ford and serves as a trustee of many organizations, including the Detroit Symphony.

"This has been the most difficult and challenging time in my recollection," he said.

For some community leaders, the drumbeat of bad news seems like overkill.

"All of Detroit is not going to hell — we've been hit unfairly," said the Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of Detroit branch of the NAACP. "Our best days are in front of us."

Short-term, he said two crucially needed steps would be a moratorium on further home foreclosures and pressure on banks to make loans more available.

Another civic leader, William F. Jones Jr., expressed concern that the inevitable auto industry retrenchment might force cutbacks in corporate support of local nonprofits.

"Detroit is a very giving community, but it's hard to reach out beyond your capacity," said Jones, who recently retired as chief operating officer of Chrysler Financial and will become head of Focus:HOPE on Jan. 1

"I hope the region is prepared to band together, because we're all in this together," he said. "We won't get through the tough times if we don't have a dream of what's ahead."

___

Detroit's downtown abounds with symbols of past dreams — the still-gleaming round towers of the Renaissance Center of the '70s, Super Bowl XL venue Ford Field, the three hotel-casino resorts with their gaudy exterior lights and cavernous gaming rooms.

Yet less than two miles from downtown stands the decaying, 18-story Michigan Central railroad station, built in 1913 and unoccupied for 20 years while developers shied way from the cost of restoring its Beaux-Arts grandeur. Along Grand River Avenue, a six-lane thoroughfare leading from downtown to the northwest, liquor stores and check-cashing outlets alternate with scores of abandoned commercial buildings, some boarded up, others just gutted shells.

To the west, in the modest residential neighborhood of Brightmoor, there were five burnt-out houses on a single short block. The facade of one was daubed in red and blue graffiti — some obscene, some gang-related; the charred rubble inside included a battered toy truck.

The scene brought to mind the city's motto, crafted by a Roman Catholic priest after a devastating fire in 1805: "We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes".

(This version CORRECTS the spelling of the mayor's last name to Cockrel instead of Cockrell.)


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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT CITY NEWS   Sun Dec 21, 2008 2:26 am

Maybe if people in Detroit would stop electing crooks; [ like Kwame and Coleman Young] things wouldn't be so bad
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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT CITY NEWS   Sun Dec 21, 2008 7:28 pm

This is not shocking information.....
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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT CITY NEWS   Sun Dec 21, 2008 8:50 pm

tigersaint wrote:
This is not shocking information.....


Nope
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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT CITY NEWS   Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:10 pm

Here is a plan... Elect whites to office, bulldoze complete neighborhoods, build gated ethnic communities, like they used to have, and are found in the burbs, and get better manufacturing jobs in fields that are not auto centralized! Bring back some of those companies that went overseas!


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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT CITY NEWS   Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:12 pm

GoGetEmTigers wrote:
Here is a plan... Elect whites to office, bulldoze complete neighborhoods, build gated ethnic communities, like they used to have, and are found in the burbs, and get better manufacturing jobs in fields that are not auto centralized! Bring back some of those companies that went overseas!


We can't elect Whites


That be racist lol!
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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT CITY NEWS   Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:21 pm

Thre hell with that! Detroit was started be WHITES who allowed blacks to come north for jobs. Detroit used to be a fantastic place to live and work, for all races! But the whites took flight when the minorities started rioting. Now look what they have, a junk city. And I am not against blacks. They have thriving communities in the area... there are many in the suburbs... And many metro Detroit communities are mixed race, and function well.

Detroit just needs a new beginning, with a new mayor and mixed race leaders.


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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT CITY NEWS   Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:35 pm

GoGetEmTigers wrote:
Thre hell with that! Detroit was started be WHITES who allowed blacks to come north for jobs. Detroit used to be a fantastic place to live and work, for all races! But the whites took flight when the minorities started rioting. Now look what they have, a junk city. And I am not against blacks. They have thriving communities in the area... there are many in the suburbs... And many metro Detroit communities are mixed race, and function well.

Detroit just needs a new beginning, with a new mayor and mixed race leaders.



Wait until they put Kwame back in office
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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT CITY NEWS   Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:41 pm

If Detroit gets a bailout, it better be with a stipulation that anyone in office, within the last 20 years, cannot hold an office in Detroit again!!!


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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT CITY NEWS   Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:53 pm

Kwame would love to get his hands on government money


That should be reason enough never to allow this slimeball to again be mayor
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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT CITY NEWS   Sat Dec 27, 2008 10:46 am

Saturday, December 27, 2008
Detroit through two lenses: Snapshots 50 years apart
Charlie LeDuff / The Detroit News

(click title to go to article and see "Then and now" video)

Detroit was at the height of its promise 50 years ago, a place of limitless possibilities.

Photographer Robert Frank immortalized them in "The Americans," a picture book of poetry and masterpiece of modern photography that changed the way we look at ourselves. Its main character: Detroit.

In creating "The Americans," Frank snapped 28,000 shots from 1955 to 1956 over the course of three road trips across the United States. The genius lay in editing the photographs down into 83 daggers, which he plunged into the heart of the Ozzie and Harriet myth of the 1950s.

The Motor City is depicted in nine of those 83 photos. Detroit was important.

Much has changed over a half-century, but the arguable fact is that Detroit remains an important city, still a taproot of the American identity. Unlike 1958, Detroit teeters. But that is the story of the new America -- America 2008.

Detroit News Photographer Max Ortiz has retraced Frank's footsteps, asking with his lens, "What happened here? From where have we come? Where are we going?"

Ortiz's photos are not intended to be daggers, but pin-pricks, reminders that Detroiters are a tough, gritty -- some times even pretty -- people.

Their work, as well as a picture by News Photographer Velvet S. McNeil, can be viewed side by side in this package along with more photos at detnews.com.

Frank spent two days at Ford Motor Co.'s Rouge plant in 1955. The car was built there soup to nuts. Ore and rubber in the front door, a car out the back. Frank showed an oppressive, grainy, alienated scene of humans and machinery, something like butchers on the kill floor. Frank still remembers the heat and stench of the place, the inaudible profanities from the workers who mistook him for management.

Frank wrote his wife about the place: "This one is God's factory. I am sure that the devil gave him a helping hand."

One hundred thousand people once worked at the River Rouge plant. Today, with Detroit's Big Three on the verge of collapse, the factory's workforce is 2,500.


"I used to complain about the work," said Sharon Dais, a 46-year-old line worker. "I used to, until I realized what I had and what I almost don't have."

As if to emphasize that there is no real escape from the car factory, Frank snapped a photo at the Gratiot Drive-In. The theater is gone now, replaced like so much else by an empty parking lot and an abandoned strip mall. The Gratiot was not in Detroit, but Roseville. The Rouge factory, too, is not in Detroit, but Dearborn. To Frank, this was all one sprawling factory town.

There were jobs and men with plenty of money in Frank's Detroit. Frank eternalized them in a snapshot at a crowded lunch counter. That lunch counter like so much else is gone. Lost somewhere in the post-industrial rubble of Detroit.

But there is one lunch counter on Michigan Avenue -- a place called Paul's. It has been for sale for a decade, and it looks as though no one had been in the joint for half of those years. The cake on the counter was hard. Paul, 65, would not give his last name. He was smoking no-brand cigarettes.

"It didn't used to be that way in Detroit," Paul said. "There used to be (so) much money 50 years ago, you never had to worry what happened."


What happened, Paul was asked. Where did it fall off?

"If you have to ask you wouldn't understand," he said.

He smoked in silence. Then he said: "1967."

That was the year of the riot. The white exodus followed.

Frank snapped a photo on Belle Isle. There is a pregnant white woman in that photo, a white soldier in the background, a black child to the left. Ortiz found the very spot where Frank snapped that picture. What Ortiz found was a black family roasting sausages on a barbecue.

Detroit was America's fifth largest city in 1950 with a population of 1.85 million. It was 83 percent white.Today, Detroit's population is less than 900,000. It is 83 percent black and the nation's poorest city. The Detroit metropolis -- then, as now -- is chained to the boulder of race. Frank was arrested on the city's east side and detained for the evening by a white cop. His crime? Consorting with blacks.

"We all committed the sin of bigotry," said the woman in Ortiz's snapshot at Belle Isle. "We're going to have to figure out how to live together. If we don't we're going to die together. Look around at the city and the suburbs. Lord, look around."

The future seemed limitless in Frank's Detroit. Looking back, we now know that everything has its limit. The scenes captured by Frank and Ortiz remind us of that.

It was William Faulkner who said that it is the poet's privilege to help man endure by reminding him of the glories of his past, that his work does not have to simply be a recording but that it could be a pillar to help man endure and prevail when things seem hopeless.

The exhibit "Looking In: Robert Frank's 'The Americans' " can be viewed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., from Jan 18. through April 26.

You can reach Charlie LeDuff at (313) 222-2071 or charlie@detnews.com.


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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT CITY NEWS   Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:43 am

They had the Mayor's election for Detroit today.

Mayor - Detroit - Oth Primary
Michigan - 622 of 629 Precincts Reporting - 99%
Max Winners=2
NameVotesVote %

Bing, Dave
26,142
29%

Cockrel, Ken
24,538
27%

Hendrix, Freman
21,058
23%

Evans, Warren
9,131
10%

Young, Coleman
3,714
4%

McPhail, Sharon
2,546
3%

Hood, Nicholas
2,057
2%

Sanders, Jerroll
335
0%

Wilcoxon, D. Etta
307
0%

Sanders, Brenda
196
0%

Bradley, Donald
153
0%

Montgomery, Duane
152
0%

Christmas, Stanley
102
0%

Holt, Joseph
99
0%

Culver, Frances
87
0%


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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT CITY NEWS   Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:48 am

Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Bing and Cockrel declare victory
Christine MacDonald, George Hunter and Leonard N. Fleming / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- Businessman Dave Bing and Mayor Kenneth Cockrel Jr. declared victory Tuesday night after voters selected them to face-off in a May 5 mayoral general election.

The two top vote getters were closely tied, with Bing at 29 percent and Cockrel at 27 percent, with 99 percent of precincts reporting. Former Deputy Mayor Freman Hendrix trailed with 23 percent followed by Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans with 10 percent.

Bing and Cockrel have been front-runners throughout the campaign. The results set up a contest between Cockrel, the City Council president who landed the job five months ago after Kwame Kilpatrick's resignation, and Bing, a basketball star turned industrialist who recently moved to the city.

At 10:20 p.m., Cockrel addressed supporters at the Atheneum Suites in Greektown. More than 250 gathered in the eighth floor ballroom, many wearing yellow and black shirts reading "Ken Cockrel Corp."

"Things are looking very, very positive," Cockrel said. "At this point I am prepared to say, one down, three to go. It looks like I'm going to be No. 1 or No. 2. I want No. 1, but I'll take 2."

Bing was expected to speak close to 11 p.m. to accept victory and his frenzied supporters packed into the small ballroom on the second floor of the Doubletree Fort Shelby as they look forward to May.

Rev. Wendell Anthony, the Detroit president of the NAACP and creator of the Fannie Lou Hamer PAC that endorsed Bing, said the basketball legend's victory "reflects the fact that there's some change that we can trust and believe in."

"I think the smoke has cleared, and we can see that there's two left standing," Anthony said. "I think people should look for something that is very transparent, particularly from Mr. Bing. I think that he's going to bring a freshness. He's going to bring a momentum that is new to elevate the image of the city to move us into a new direction. I'm very pleased to be one of his supporters."

Hendrix conceded at about 11 p.m. and congratulated Bing and Cockrel, although he didn't endorse either.

"I don't think I am going to be running for office anymore," said Hendrix, who lost the mayor post to Kilpatrick in 2005. "This was my last shot."

"If it was meant to be, it would have been tonight."

The primary race generated little excitement at the polls, with only 14.5 percent of registered voters deciding who would move on to the general election, including about 6 percent of votes from absentee ballots, election officials said. Clerk Janice Winfrey had predicted last week anywhere from 10 to 15 percent turnout in the city with about 626,000 registered voters.

The voters' choice on May 5 will serve out Kilpatrick's remaining term, which expires Dec. 31. But the contest will be played out again in an August 4 primary and Nov. 3 general election for the next four-year mayoral term.

The special election, costing an estimated $2.4 million, came about after Kilpatrick resignation in September as a condition of a plea bargain that sent him to jail for 99 days. He pleaded guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice and no contest to assaulting an officer. The allegations involved lying about a sexual relationship with his former chief of staff, Christine Beatty, during a civil trial in 2007, then crafting an $8.4 million settlement to keep secret text messages that contradicted his testimony and revealed the affair.

Cockrel, whose council seat remains vacant, has been mayor since September.

Despite the polls showing he was running third, Hendrix's camp remained upbeat into the night Tuesday. A few hundred people filled Harry's Bar and Grill, feasting on ribs and gathering at the bar filled with red and white balloons about 9 p.m.

"We feel good we think we've done the kind of work it takes to win the hearts and minds of voters," said Greg Bowens, Hendrix spokesman.

Winfrey said earlier in the night she was disappointed by the low turnout.

"Anytime an individual chooses not to express themselves ... chooses not to participate in the Democratic process, it's sad," Winfrey said.

"I can't fathom not voting and I don't really understand folks who don't."

Voters went to the polls to narrow the field of 15 candidates. The field included Bing, the former Detroit Piston; Cockrel; Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans; Hendrix; former Councilman Nicholas Hood III; former City Councilwoman and former mayoral general counsel Sharon McPhail; and state Rep. Coleman A. Young II.

McPhail, who had once been one of Kilpatrick's closest advisors, said her loss was no surprise.

"But at least now Detroiters have a clear choice," she said referring to Bing and Cockrel. "There are two very different people."

McPhail does not know who she will support. "I'm going to take some to think on that," said McPhail, who added she is unknown what here future will hold except that it will involve "helping people."

Others on the ballot include physician Donald Bradley, community activist Stanley Christmas, former special needs teacher Frances Culver, former teacher Joseph Holt, human resources consultant Duane Montgomery, 36th District Judge Brenda Sanders, business consultant Jerroll Sanders and publisher D. Etta Wilcoxon.

Kilpatrick was freed in February and has registered to vote. He refused to say who he favors when asked last week by a Detroit News editor.

Polls, including a Detroit News/WXYZ Action News poll, consistently show Bing and Cockrel in the lead, followed by Hendrix and the rest of the pack trailing.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT CITY NEWS   Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:52 pm

Kwame be the mayor again within 10 years
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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT CITY NEWS   Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:39 pm

Go Dave Bing! or does he answer to somebody too?
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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT CITY NEWS   Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:54 pm

I hope Bing makes it! He even refuses his pay as Mayor.


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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT CITY NEWS   Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:27 pm

GoGetEmTigers wrote:
I hope Bing makes it! He even refuses his pay as Mayor.


He won't win!


I guarantee it


Detroit voters are morons

Case Closed
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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT CITY NEWS   Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:29 pm

Look for Cockrel to play the race card against Bing


Bing will be portrayed as an Oreo and an outsider that is too chummy with the white suburbs and will give the city to suburbanites
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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT CITY NEWS   Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:29 pm

An Oreo means Black on the outside and white on the inside


For anyone that does not know that
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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT CITY NEWS   Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:17 am

147 cases in police lab mess called 'tip of iceberg'
State Police must reanalyze Detroit's mishandled evidence

BY AMBER HUNT and BEN SCHMITT • FREE PRESS STAFF WRITERS • March 15, 2009

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy says her office has identified 147 cases of convicted and imprisoned people that will require the retesting of evidence as part of the investigation into the now-closed Detroit police crime lab -- unveiling the first of potentially thousands of cases that are at risk of unraveling because of mishandled evidence.

"This is the tip of the iceberg," Worthy told the Free Press on Thursday, noting that in addition to the 147 cases identified by her office, defense attorneys have notified her office of 30 others that they believe relied on mishandled evidence.

Those cases, and thousands of others, are taxing the Michigan State Police's capacity, which could translate into guilty people walking the streets, innocent people stuck behind bars and law-enforcement agencies hamstrung in fighting crime. Added to the caseload is the budgetary constraints under which the Prosecutor's Office and State Police must function.

"I really feel baffled at how many people might be in jail because of botched evidence, or how many people aren't in jail because of botched evidence," said LaDarrell Howard, 40, of Harrison Township, who was acquitted on a second-degree murder charge last spring after Detroit police wrongly included a bullet from an unrelated suicide with evidence in Howard's case.

Defense attorney David Steingold, who tries murder cases in Wayne County, calls the crime lab problems scary.

"To a defense lawyer, the scientific evidence in court is the hardest evidence to contest in court, whether it's a blood test in a drunk driving case or a ballistic test in a murder case," he said. "You are at the mercy of a piece of paper."

'This is a big public safety issue'

Michael Thomas, director of the State Police's forensic science division, said he expects the state's labs to handle at least 20,000 Detroit cases this year.

That's on top of the 10,000 cases a year the State Police lab handles of its own and about 650 other police departments, which makes for a six- to eight-month backlog.

Added to the crush, at the State Police's crime lab in Sterling Heights -- which handles most of Detroit's cases -- some 3,000 firearms cases have piled up since April and await testing, Thomas said.

Sgt. Stephen Nowicki, a specialist with the Sterling Heights lab, said that before the Detroit lab closed, his personal backlog was between 10 and 20 cases. Now, it's 100 cases and climbing.

About 600 cases have been shipped to some of the six other State Police labs across the state -- 100 apiece to labs in Grayling and Bridgeport last week alone -- in hopes of staying afloat, said Sarah Hough, a forensic technician at the Sterling Heights lab.

"This is a big public safety issue," Thomas said. "We may have evidence that would identify a rapist, but because I can't get to it, it's just sitting there.

"How many victims are exposed during that eight-month period while I don't have time to analyze that evidence?"

How the problem started


The case that broke the scandal and overwhelmed the labs involved Jarrhod Williams, 21, who withdrew two no-contest pleas last year stemming from a May 2007 double slaying in Detroit after faulty firearms evidence surfaced.

Williams initially confessed and went to trial a year ago in the shooting deaths of Detroiters DeAngelo Savage, 33, and Tommy Haney, 38, when prosecutors offered to let him plead no contest to second-degree murder and serve 12 years in prison. But he insisted that his confession was coerced and that he was not responsible for the killings.

A Detroit police report indicated all 42 spent shell casings at the scene came from the same gun. But Williams' attorney Marvin Barnett was skeptical of the evidence and hired former State Police firearms examiner David Balash to look things over. Balash discovered that the casings came from at least two weapons. State Police conducted its own tests and confirmed Balash's results.

As a result, a new trial was granted in October. Worthy and former Detroit Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings ordered an audit of Detroit's crime lab. The audit found, among other findings, an error rate of 10% in 200 firearms cases it reviewed.

After the audit, Detroit Mayor Ken Cockrel Jr. and Police Chief James Barren shut down the lab.

Still, even with the bungled crime lab results, Williams' mother, Valarie Washington, remains skeptical.

"I hope the truth will come out," she said. "But my family doesn't trust the system. We believed in Mr. Barnett and all he's done, but the state has a way of always winning."

Williams' new trial is expected to begin March 30.

Only one of many

Another homicide case in question -- that against Edward Hill, who was sentenced to at least 50 years in prison about two years ago -- is being sent back to a circuit court judge, who could order a new trial.

Hill's lawyer, Gerald M. Lorence, said a ballistics expert falsely testified that a bullet found in the victim came from a handgun seized from the home of one of Hill's relatives.

Lorence said Hill's family is ecstatic that he may get a new trial. "It's true that someone was shot, but no one saw my client shoot anyone. Witnesses testified that he walked out of the store with a black gun, but the video shows it's a silver gun. I said, 'Wait a minute.' "

Lab woes a nationwide problem

The Detroit lab wasn't the only one in the country with problems, according to the independent National Research Council. A review by West Virginia State Police found more than 100 convictions were in doubt because an employee had repeatedly falsified evidence. At least 10 people had convictions overturned.

In Oregon, a man won a $2-million settlement after fingerprints mistakenly linked him to the 2004 train bombings in Madrid, Spain. Fingerprint evidence also was tossed out of a death penalty case in Maryland by a judge who declared it untested and unverifiable.

Help on the way, but a ways off

Among the 20,000 cases are some that need DNA analysis. Of those, about 20% might be contracted out to independent labs, though there are only three such licensed labs in the country.

And with Worthy's latest announcement that dozens of homicide cases need swift re-evaluation, Thomas said the state's labs are going to slip even further behind. Meanwhile, Worthy said her office is understaffed and doing the work "on a part-time basis on the county's dime."

Worthy said her office has submitted a budget to Cockrel's office, which he said conservatively calls for $871,000 per year to take on such tasks.

Worthy said more than 10% of the money budgeted for the investigation has already been spent.

Meanwhile, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano is asking all departments to cut their spending by 20%.

Last month, the state approved $5 million for the hiring of 45 forensic scientists to add to the State Police's current staff of 36 across seven labs.

That will help, Thomas said, but not for two years -- the average time it takes to train each scientist.

"We're working in an environment where the acceptable failure rate is zero," he said. "You can't make a mistake, so obviously, we have very rigorous training programs."

To help with the backlog, Michigan State Police will continue to ship DNA testing to nationally accredited third-party labs, but those labs aren't able to help with the thousands of cases that involve other types of forensic testing, such as the firearms analysis that landed Detroit in trouble.

The Detroit audit found that access to the firearms unit was unrestricted and evidence could have been contaminated because it was allowed to overflow into office and work areas.

Washington, the mother of Williams, said the crime lab problems are terrifying.

"It makes you wonder how many other people might be going through the same thing and it makes you wonder how many times the police lied or got it wrong," she said. "I want my son home and I also hope that this is going to help some other people."

Contact AMBER HUNT at 313-223-4526 or alhunt@freepress.com



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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT CITY NEWS   Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:45 am

Here is another fine mess for Detroit! Rolling Eyes


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PostSubject: Re: DETROIT CITY NEWS   Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:55 pm

GoGetEmTigers wrote:
Here is another fine mess for Detroit! Rolling Eyes
Nod
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