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Thursday, September 18, 2014

M8 is The Worst Road in the State! MDOT Automobile Damage Claim Form Download

by Friends of Cushingberry

Pastor Winans prays for
Road Repair on Davidson
Citizens in Detroit deserve better roads. There are no good excuses for this type of shoddy cement work on our streets. During a recent inspection of streets in Detroit, I drove by the location of the DavidsonFreeway and Oakland Boulevard and found massive benign neglect. The service drive is the ultimate horror story of roads of Michigan.  There are holes so deep that you can see the rods in the street.   Watching the faces of the drivers coming through this stretch is a lesson on lip reading.  Under the sign  with a picture of  esteemed Pastor Marvin Winans, Automobile damage is a foregone conclusion. This is a State of Michigan/City of Detroit road and, if you do have a claim for damage to your automobile, download this form from MDOT(Click Here) and file your claim.

This area is a candidate for the worst streets in Michigan. In addition to that, the sign arrangement at Oakland giving you a choice of going to I-75, Davidson Freeway East(M-8) or, Dequindre Street is an embarrassment and very confusing, after you dodge the potholes. If you want to get this fixed then file your complaint with the Michigan Department of Transportation’s report a pothole program. (ClickHere for MDOT Contact Info).  Then file a complaint with City of DetroitOmbudsman Durene Brown for your records. The people of the City of Detroit deserve better.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Saving Homes in Detroit with help from International, Federal, State and, Local Agencies

by The Friends of George Cushingberry

Public and private stakeholders and, elected officials met on Sept 4th in the Governor's Office to discuss management of the reversion of 20,000 properties by the Wayne County Treasurer, preparation for another 80,000 in 2015 and collaboration on "life quality policy solutions and metrics" in Detroit that align with global goals of the United Nations as part of a collaboration lead by Communities Without Boarders International

One of the primary reasons that people lose their home is that they are not paying the property tax on their primary residence. In this process the property is in the hands of the Wayne County Treasurer. When the taxes become due, if a homeowner does not pay the bill, their home remains property of the Wayne County Treasurer until the bill is paid or, the property gets transferred to the land bank.

A panel of experts composed of:
  • United Nations Economics Advisor Dr. Jeffery Sachs
  • Director of the Governor’s Office of Urban & Metropolitan Strategies, Harvey Hollins
  • Black Caucus Foundation Managing Director; Dr. KB Stallworth,
  • Members from the Michigan Housing State Development Authority,
  • Legislative Black Caucus,
  • City of Detroit
  • Wayne County Treasurer (click here for property tax payment info)

The goals of this panel were as follows:
  1. Recover and Collect delinquent taxes
  2. Prevent Evictions
  3. Provide leadership and assistance to help people keep their homes.
  4. Allowing property owners to make arrangements to pay taxes in arrears and become current.
  5. Helping old homeowners to keep their existing homes or providing opportunities to move in and fix one up.
This group engaged in a lively discussion regarding helping citizens keep their homes. The City of Detroit has been thorough tough times and is currently on the rebound to prosperity. Sadly some citizens are living paycheck to paycheck because of Job Loss and other unforeseen events that can’t be covered by insurance. Therefore you cannot throw them under the bus for something that is beyond their control.

As a part of a global neighborhood stabilization plan, the City of Detroit has been selected by the United Nations to be a catalyst for implementing sustainable life quality strategies. Some of the methods discussed were using holistic solutions before the year of 2020.  This effort encompasses the UN model of humanity where the access to clean water is essential to life. To maintain reliable water supply there must be collaboration of ideas from organizations like Government, Manufacturers, Builders, Universities, and society worldwide. The ability to manufacture products that do not add to the carbon footprint will be our answer to deal with the issues of worldwide climate change. For instance the creation of building materials for homes using agricultural resources like plants will save the environment and create lots of jobs with opportunities for growth.

An interesting law is called the Reversion Claim Clause where a person who purchases a private property will not be charged the back taxes that are owed. This and other programs like Hardest Hit Program from the Michigan Housing State Development Authority(Click here for MHSDA) that will allow a homeowner to apply for funds for the sole purpose of keeping them in their home. Home ownership is essential to a City that is in need of a renaissance and the authority has programs for a low income tax credit that help people to keep their home.

Another piece of information that came out of the meeting is the ability for a Detroit Resident to purchase an empty lot next to their property for $100. If a person goes to the website they can go to the Wayne County Treasurer’s office and purchase the lot next to them and maintain it.

Councilman Cushingberry overwhelmingly supports the effort to keep people in their homes. Coleman Young always said that there is nothing better to keeping people in their homes like a good paying job. After leaving work, a person needs a place to lay their head and, there is nothing better than a home.

If we can be of any assistance please feel free to contact the office..

Friday, September 12, 2014

Weather Emergency Information From the Office of Mayor Mike Duggan - City of Detroit

City of Detroit provides key information to address possible effects of severe weather

The Office of Mayor Mike Duggan has been coordinating with various city departments to prepare for the effects of possible severe weather this afternoon. Potential issues could include power outages, flooding and downed trees. 

To provide residents with the information they need to have these and other issues addressed, the city is providing the following information on how to report problems:

Downed Trees
To report a downed tree, go online at or call the Ombudsman’s Office at 313-224-6000.  For after hour calls, please contact the Forestry Division’s after hours hotline at 313-590-3336.

Priority is being given to fallen trees that are blocking streets or on top of homes and vehicles. The City’s forestry crews will focus on trees that were rooted on city property or blocking streets and sidewalks. 

How to determine if a tree is the city’s property or private property: 

If the fallen tree is located between the curb and the sidewalk of a home it is the responsibility of the city and city crews will address them.  To report a fallen tree on city property, residents should call 313-590-3336 or fill out a form posted on the city’s website at (full link below)

If the tree is between the sidewalk and the house or in a backyard, it is on private property and is the responsibility of the homeowner, who should contact their insurance company or a private contractor.  If the tree fell from private property but is blocking the street, residents should still call the city at 313-590-3336. 

Removal of tree limbs: If a homeowner has taken it upon themselves to cut up a fallen tree or limbs on their property, they should cut the debris into sections no longer than 48 inches and leave it at the curb for their next scheduled yard waste collection date.   

Link to Online Damaged Tree Assessment Form: (Click Here)

If your street is experiencing flooding on surface roads, first try to clear any debris from storm drain covers if you can do so safely.  If you unable to access a blocked storm drain, or if clearing it does not work, please contact the Ombudsman’s office at 313-224-6000 and a crew from the Department of Water and Sewage will send out a crew to clear the debris and/or clear out any obstructions in the line that may be preventing water from draining.

Downed Power Lines 
If a fallen tree or limb has impacted a power line, stay away and call DTE Energy’s emergency line immediately at 800-477-4747.   

Monday, September 8, 2014

What it Takes to Make a Great City: Boating at Erma Henderson & Riverside Marinas

By The Friends of George Cushingberry Jr.

Lake St. Clair on a nice day
The City of Detroit is budgeting up to 3 million dollars and, pursuing grants to upgrade the boating facilities at Erma Henderson and Riverside parks to accommodate the needs of boaters.  Line item repairs on docking facilities and fueling stations at Erma Henderson will make it better for boaters who use the park.  At the weekly Thursday meeting of the Committee of Neighborhoods and Community Services, overwhelming community support of the work being done by ABC Construction was expressed by the large number of boaters and patrons who came to speak during public comment. A big shout out goes to the leadership of Detroit Recreation Department by Director Alicia Minter who has spearheaded the charge for change. Some of Ms. Minters work includes the restoration and repair of the Hart Plaza fountain in time for the heat of the Jazz Fest and, progress on re-opening the neighborhood recreation centers like Tindal and Johnson in District 2.

The status of Riverside park is precarious because the Riverside Marina is closed and in dire need of repair and upgrade, along with the entire park. An audit of the Recreation Department at the request of Councilman Pro-Tem George Cushingberry Jr. will be produced showing the strengths and weaknesses of the park assets. These actions are in line with the uplift and upgrade of Detroit assets and citizen morale. Citizens love the water access that we have because it makes it much easier for boaters to get in and out of the water. If you need more information on the progress and status of the Marinas, please contact the Detroit Recreation Department or Councilmember Mary Sheffield(click here) who is the Chairperson of the committee of Neighborhoods and Community Services.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Restoring the Revenue: 2015 Detroit Fire Department Equipment Upgrade proposal.

By Richard Clement

"Improving Service with technology"

Obsolete "Code-Red" Laptop
Plans to upgrade Fire Department trucks will include the installation of flat screen monitors that will display information regarding the location of the fire with a backup printing system with streamlined information.  Currently firefighters have to rely on a message system that contains a tower and a printer that produces a run sheet. According to various Detroit Firefighters, the font size is hard to read at 4am, it has too much information and, important data is hard to find on the printout. The flat screen monitors would replace a non-functioning and costly Code Red system that was purchased from an outside vendor.  

Information on the screen will give firefighters directions and, other information pertinent to the issue at hand. 

Closed Laptop on Rig
The recommendation from the President Pro-Tem’s Firefighter task force is to, de-install the old equipment, place old equipment on a cart for donation, and replace with touch screen, flat screen monitors. If we can put flat screen monitors on motorcycles and, have smartphones that can display massive amounts of content,  then we can place touch screen monitors in the fire trucks and give better information at the same time. When the city gets from under the cloak of bankruptcy, this will be a priority project for improved safety and service to firefighters and the Citizens of Detroit. 

Fixing Detroit Infrastructure with the help of FEMA. A Flood Silver Lining with Long Term Benefits

By The Friends of George Cushingberry  Jr.

"Help from Washington D.C. is on the way!" - President Obama

City of Detroit from Belle Isle
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will be visiting flood damage victims in the City of Detroit. To help expedite things, we recommend that you take photographs and video with your cameras, tablets, cell phone, of damage to property.  Keep these pictures for your records. Next step is to go online at and apply for disaster relief. The last step is to send us the name of the insurance company and the amount of the claim if you were denied by your insurance provider.  Our office and City Ombudsman who will do a tabulation by company name and, amount of claim.

1. Document damage with pictures and video
2. Apply for Disaster relief from
3. If your private insurance claim is denied go to Step 4 otherwise go to Step 7.
4. Record the name of the insurance company and amount denied in a email and,
6. If you do not have email, fax or call the City  Council office with the information
7. End of process.

If your property is starting to develop black mold or other unhealthy activity due to the flood, these are some agencies that can offer assistance.

State Department of Human Services(click hereoffering assistance with completing applications for possible financial assistance and social services.
Detroit Buildings Safety, Engineering & Environmental Department(click here) offering tips on hiring contractors and information on obtaining permits, if required.
Detroit Department of Health & Wellness Promotion(click here) will advise citizens on health precautions to take. 
Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD),
1. American Red Cross 
2. Salvation Army offering services at their centers.

MI State Rep Leslie Love(D) Detroit
We are encouraging neighborhood block clubs to band together and demand infrastructure upgrades of the Water and Sewer systems in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties. This is a new and uncharted direction for the City when it comes to flooding and the truth about residents own insurance plans. City Charter Article 9 offers relief to residents with a City of Detroit rate for car insurance. Maybe the residents can demand and update to the charter regarding insurance rates and fair coverage to residents. The ultimate equalizer would have to come from the statehouse in Lansing regarding a statewide insurance rate for cars, rental property, and homes of Michigan citizens. 

Riverside Park
For Detroit to prosper in the future, we need fairness and accountability in insurance rates.  The City Charter is designed to protect and serve the needs of Detroit residents and, the citizens deserve open disclosure of home and car owners polices from insurance companies. An additional City ordinance regarding the management of insurance companies within the city may be upcoming. If you support the ideas of: enforcing the City Charter regarding car insurance, updating the charter regarding home/rental coverage, and fixing the infrastructure, we strongly encourage you to contact the Mayor and City Council to express your ideas and, make it an action plan.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Bulk Collection After Flooding

Residents may call Department of Public Works for special bulk pickup.

Bulk pickup for Detroit residents is continuing daily in the aftermath of last week's flooding and citizens are being asked to leave their items at the curb until the City's trash collection contractors or DPW crews can pick it up.

Due to the large volumes of water damaged items that continue to be set out after last week's flooding, the City contractors are running behind schedule in picking up bulk items. In the meantime, a Department of Public Works team of more than 30 workers has been done dictated to providing additional bulk pickup.

DPW Director Ron Brundidge also issued a reminder that residents should leave their bulk items at the curb until collected and will not be ticketed.

In addition, those whose bulk collection day has passed, may call the City to request a special pickup. Residents should call (313) 224-3901 to notify DPW that they will be taking flood-damaged items to the curb. - Good Stuff on the Internet