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Monday, March 20, 2017

Municipal Golf Courses And Land Use Agreements in the 21st Century On City Budgets

By Richard C. Clement

In 2016, City of Detroit Golf Courses make $57,000 in profits combined, according to testimony by Charles Beckham of the Mayor’s Office at the full session of The Council.  Members were informed by Mr. Beckham of the financial burden municipal courses are to the City.  He cited a national trend that Golf Course use is on the national decline and, that younger people are not picking up the game like their parents did.  To support his statement, Mr. Beckham cited places like Lansing, and Oakland County that are having the same problem with the maintenance costs.

Municipalities are restricted by land use agreements that are part of the deed in trust on the property, preventing them from using the land for something else. Recent experiences with Rev. Charles Ellis and Rackham Golf course highlighted the costly endeavor of maintaining a course. He was awarded the property when the City of Detroit was looking to eliminate debit and, wanted to maintain a golf course at the site. When the property that he owned could not be converted to a cemetery because of land use agreements, Bishop Ellis was forced to dump the property. 

A series of one year contracts were approved by the council to maintain the grounds so that 2017 is a great year on the links.. 

To save some of these courses, a public private partnership with the City and Golf Club Contractors was signed The solution is a combination of a few events that include educational institutions and potential land developers. Golf is a great game for students to learn how to play. Therefore there has to be an concerted effort to highlight the benefit of golf while inspiring the young.  For senior citizens who want to chill out on their remaining years, Golf is a game for exercise. For youth and young adults under 40, Golf is a game for scholarships and social meetings mixed with competition.  Golf is a game that is played from the head up. 

To bring back the game, Golfers at all levels must support youth programs and, encourage schools to keep the game alive through inter-school competition.  Maintenance costs have to be contained and controlled through asset management. Like baseball and bowling, a serious awareness movement in our schools are essential to it's survival.

Informational Meeting on Johnson Rec Center and Higginbotham School Complex

Council President Pro Tem George Cushingberry Jr. is strongly urging you to attend the following meeting on 

Thursday March 23rd, at 6:30pm
Detroit, MI 48221 

Hosted by District 2 Manager Kim Tandy

This meeting is regarding the status of the Johnson Recreation Center and Higginbotham School in Northwest Detroit. Currently there is an offer from UofD Jesuit High School to invest capital into redeveloping the property.  

When Joe Louis Arena is demolished, there will be one less tribute to the great Brown Bomber in Detroit. Joe Louis Field shall get some dignity by redevelopment with a purpose to the community. Public and Private partnerships are becoming a normal way of business in the revitalization of a city.  ProTem Cushingberry is adamant about the development of the land, the rich history of this property, and keeping it for public use.  Mr. Cushingberry was successful in getting an appropriation inserted the 5 year plan for a new Olympic Size Pool in a new facility on Joe Louis Barrow Field.

Currently, the former Johnson Center and Higginbotham School Complex is for sale at $1.5 million dollars. Therefore, your input is needed on the future of the neighborhood when it comes to quality of life issues of youth engagement and leaving a legacy to our babies who will be here after we are gone. When all of the neighborhood input is received, an ordinance to reflect the will of the people will be developed, agreed upon and, enacted into law.

Johnson Recreation Center 

City of Detroit District Managers Website Link

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Press Release - Detroit City Airport Expansion 2017-2020 (KDET)

Legislation introduced to Restore Commercial Air Service and Benjamin O. Davis High School Back to Detroit City Airport Grounds.

At the Budget/Audit/Finance Committee meeting on March 6th, 2017, a major step forward was made by the Council to restore commercial air and, help our children to achieve successful aviation careers.  A motion was introduced by ProTem Cushingberry to move Benjamin O Davis airport back to airport grounds from the Jefferson Street location.  According to aviation experts and, Airport Director Jason Watt, “with an additional 1000 of runway we could land the space shuttle in the middle of the neighborhood”.  This airport currently serves as a major hub for freight, entertainers, executives, and government officials. Notables like Michelle Obama, BeyoncĂ©, and others often “sneak into” the City because of the close proximity to neighborhoods and downtown. Everyone that remembered using Southwest Airlines at KDET always reported a good experience.
Website: Detroit City Airport  (Arrivals and Departures) Flight Tracker 

Council President ProTem Cushingberry
discussing business with Airport Director Jason Watt

The motion was approved 9 to 0 to look at using available funds to construct a new runway that would add 1000 feet so that larger aircraft could land there. This would include a runway for exclusive use by the High School and smaller aircraft.  Currently, City Airport is handling commercial air service on a regular basis.  Arriving nonstop flights from places as far France and, other locations around the world are not uncommon because of new aviation technology.  Additional traffic generating landing fee funds would assist in the construction of the new runway and high school.  We want the community to continue to demand that this City Asset not be removed or destroyed. 

Article: Restoring Commercial Air Service to City Airport (KDET)

To allow outside interests to turn the last piece of city owned property into an industrial park is unbelievably racist and completely un-acceptable.  While students studying aviation on the west side of the state have a runway and high school on airport grounds, students in Detroit are on Jefferson Avenue miles away. No one had the decency to include a helicopter pilot program to the airport for the students either! This must change for the sake of our future.

We strongly encourage parents and children and supporters of Detroit Public schools to show their support. The plans and the funding are there now.  Now is the time to move forward to get the job done.

Comparable Size Airport:
Billy Bishop Airport Toronto CA (CYTZ) (Website  Billy Bishop Airport Toronto CA). 
Commercial Airservice provded by Porter Airlines (Website: - Commercial Air Service in Toronto CA)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Michigan Freeway Lighting Partners(MFLP) team up with MDOT To Install Lights On Freeways in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties.

By Richard C. Clement

Entrance to the Ambassador Brige
Michigan Freeway Lighting Partners (MFLP) has maintained their contractual commitment to install new lighting on the freeways in the Tri-County area.  Milestone 1 required that %90 of new luminaries be installed and functioning as design within the first year starting on November 24, 2015.  We are pleased to report that this milestone was finished one month earlier on October 18, 2016 resulting in 11,841 new lights being installed on our freeways. As of January 1, 2017, this number has increased to 12,572. Milestone number 2 is to substantially work towards the completion date of August 2017.  This is a 13 year contract between MFLP and MDOT to maintain the integrity of the lights.  The savings resulted in DTE presenting MDOT a $1 million dollar rebate check as part of their business incentive program for efficient energy usage.

For more information please contact:
Frank Wichtner, PMP
Senior Projects Manager
Michigan Freeway Lighting Partners
313.974.7316 x200

M1-Rail QLINE Community Project Update Meeting Dates March and April 2017

By Richard C. Clement

QLine Rail Car

Find out what the plan is for Woodward Avenue regarding driving and walking. With the new QLINE rail cars, there will be changes on how to navigate Woodward. Doors open at 5:30 with the presentation and community conversations starting at 6pm.

Thursday, 3/2/2017
5:30 to 7:30pm
Villages of Brush Park Manor
2900 Brush Street
Detroit MI 48201
Thursday, 3/9/2017
5:30 to 7:30pm
Triumph Church East Campus
2760 E. Grand Boulevard
Detroit, MI 48211
Thursday 4/11/2017
5:30 to 7:30pm
Detroit Public Library
5201 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48201
Thursday 4/20/2017
5:30 to 7:30pm
Michigan State University
3408 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48201

For more information please contact 
M1 Rail Community Relations Department at or 313.483.8077

Repealing and Replacing the Detroit Marijuana Zoning Ordinance in 2017

Richard C. Clement – Marijuana Policy Analyst

Winfred Blackmon  MCDA
Weed Jihadist
After further review of public hearings at Board of Zoning Appeals the Detroit Marijuana Zoning ordinance needs to be drastically overhauled. All during the process of drafting the ordinance, public input was ignored. The Board of Zoning Appeals members have no flexibility to grant waivers based on common sense situations.  In some cases denials have been granted even though the religious institution does not exist or, an old liquor license has not been used in years.  For instance on 8 mile Road, the mothballed Johnson Recreation Center was used to shut down a compassion center because it was “too close to a drug free zone”. The back story is that the city is putting the property up for sale even though the neighborhood has been demanding that the center be reopened or reconstructed.

Other examples are some owners purchasing property close enough to a proposed facility so that it does not open.  The opposition from the community groups are sponsored by some marijuana business owners who are using the evangelical community to promote fake outrage even though their numbers are small.  Some of the people who attend the churches are customers of the compassion centers and, if a pastor can sell water at $5.00 a bottle, then Marijuana at $10.00 a gram is good too. After all the Water and Weed come from the same manufacturer. 

A new ordinance drafted and voted on by the people would address working hours and, other issues like drive through service. Another option is that City Attorney Butch Hollowell would choose to opt into the State Law and save the taxpayers major money in legal fees.  Either way, the people have the final say with their vote and that is the way it should go.  The proposed language below would go into effect when a referendum petition is signed by the electors who are registered voters in the City of Detroit.

Example Repeal Ordinance Language:

Initiative to Repeal Detroit Zoning Ordinance Section(s) 24-13-1 through 24-13-30, 61, Articles XIII, 61-3-353 and 61-3-354 Definitions; Licensing, Conditional Uses; Procedures; Waivers and Public Nuisance. We the undersigned electors want these sections of the Detroit Marijuana Zoning Ordinance repealed and redesigned in the Detroit City Charter.  This ordinance gives too much weight to empty churches, non-existent liquor stores and, discriminates on the basis of religion by violating the 1st Amendment rights regarding the freedom to worship or not to worship. This ordinance encourages shady business practices by competitors to purchase and squat on property for the purpose of preventing a business from opening.  The undersigned electors demand the immediate suspension of this ordinance and, the right to vote YES or NO in the next general election on August 8th, 2017.

Area 51 - Compassion Center
5000 valid voter signatures are needed by March 21st, 2017 to place this issue on the ballot. Therefore if you are legal professional interested in pursuing this option, please contact me at the office with a valid petition.  Then ask your elected officials to allow you to vote on a new ordinance that will be reflective of the will of the people, instead of the wishes of a few.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Appealing The Board of Zoning Appeals - Medical Marijuana Caregiver Centers in Detroit

By Richard C. Clement - Marijuana Policy Analyst

      Medical Marijuana Business owners who have been denied by the City of Detroit Board of Zoning Appeals are strongly encouraged to go to the next step in the process at the Wayne County Circuit Court. The BZA process has exposed faulty data and overly strict guidelines regarding Caregiver Centers in the City.  Variances have been denied owners who have businesses next to buildings that are abandoned and/or owe taxes to the City because, the land use is defined as a church or religious institution. Additionally, the Drug Free Zone zoning regulations are in conflict of federal law at 500 feet. Currently, only one out of 240 business that have gone through the process of becoming a Caregiver Center has been approved.
Website: Active Count Detroit Medical Marijuana Website
Website:  State of Michigan House of Representatives

Most of the people in opposition to the Marijuana business do not live in the neighborhood where the facilities are located. Some of them live as far at 10 miles away and have the nerve to complain about the traffic. The rigidness of the ordinance allows BZA board members to apply criteria that is well outside the bounds of common sense and reality.

The majority of them are in the approval process or, shut down by court order. To rectify this situation an resolution to opt into the current State law is required. Council President Pro Tempore George Cushingberry Jr. is aware of the situation and working on a new ordinance with Corporation Counsel Butch Hollowell to opt into the current state law to easing the situation and saving the taxpayers in legal fees.  The next option is that the owners and citizens draft a new ordinance for a vote in the next election which is August 8th, 2017. 

A people driven ordinance is the best way to go because the voters will have an actual voice in the process instead of special interests who devised the first ordinance. Things like business hours, drive through service and other things can be put into the local ordinance.  %25 of all revenue from Marijuana sales comes back to the community for investment into projects like Recreation Centers, Schools, and parks. 

Firefighters in Michigan will have their First Responder fund financed from the revenue of marijuana sales to fight Cancer caused by the hazardous working conditions of the job.

If you support this cause then we urge you to call your Detroit City Council members and ask them to support the change to the current Detroit Marijuana Zoning Ordinance or risk losing the revenue that comes from sales to other counties and cities in Michigan. - Good Stuff on the Internet