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Monday, August 29, 2016

The Cost of Reopening Johnson Center - Starting from Ground Zero to Completion by 2018

By Richard C. Clement
     Friends of George Cushingberry Jr.



Johnson Recreation Center was built in the 1930’s on the corner of Cherrylawn and Chippewa in Detroit Michigan. The Center sits on Joe Louis Park that is maintained by the City of Detroit General Services Division. This historical structure was the only place that allowed African Americans to swim in the City of Detroit.  This was an outdoor pool that was easily accessible to citizens in Northwest Detroit and Southern Oakland County.  (Click Here for Park History). The pool was modified by building new construction around the current structure. Now citizens in the neighborhood are restless as this once great and historical structure sits empty and being used for a storage dump.


Bringing Johnson Center online in its current condition will cost $750,000 and the same amount per month to maintain. This is because of the plumbing and other code violations that are now out of compliance with today’s building code and energy saving standards.

To demolish the old center will cost $250,000 and, the proposed new center will have an 8 lane pool and diving board.  Improvements like energy efficient, tank-less water heaters, motion sensors attached to lights and, self-generating power with solar cells with lower monthly operational costs. This plan includes an 8 lane Olympic sized pool with 3 and 10 meter diving boards at a cost of $180 per square foot. Additionally a new Gym will contain rooms for boxing, arts, and community meetings.

This project will help to restore our neighborhood instead of Downtown/Midtown Detroit.

The procedure of demolishing the old and rebuilding the new will result in lower monthly maintenance costs that over time cost much less to maintain. To finance this project Councilmember Pro-Tem George Cushingberry Jr. is recommending that we approach the Department of Housing and Urban Development for up to $20 million in funding and, seek grants from philanthropic organizations.  Johnson Center may be eligible for historic status by the City and, that will give us access to more money for the project.

If you are interested in signing the petition to reopen the center please click here to sign the petition in support of revitalizing Johnson Center for the neighborhood. 

By signing this petition you are putting your elected officials on notice that we want something done and we want results now.  According to Dwight Smith, President of the 8 Mile Old Timers Association, they have over 1700+ signatures now and we are using this list to show how much support is in the surrounding neighborhood for the center.

Feel free to voice your concerns to my fellow City Council Members and Mayor Mike Duggan. We want you to contact your State Senator Ian Conyers, State Representatives LeslieLove, Laytonya Garrett, and Wendell Byrd in Lansing MI to get on board with the program. We feel that the best way to start taking back our neighborhoods is, through the re-establishment of the neighborhood rec-centers because, there is never enough money to invest in our children.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Detroit Marijuana Business Owners Team up to Challenge Harassment of Patients by Wayne County Sheriff Deputies

By Friends of George Cushingberry Jr.


Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napolean
The Wayne County Sheriff's offices has decided to attempt an end run around the Detroit Medical Marijuana ordinance and arrest anyone with a Medical Marijuana Card that has visited a Herbalists place of business. Victims are being stalked and stopped by a 4 car team of deputies asking very intrusive questions.  Then their car and property is seized arbitrarily, and the victim is made to walk or catch a taxi home. .



If you are stopped by a team of Wayne County Deputies and, they take your vehicle after leaving a Medical Marijuana compassion center, you are strongly recommended to fight the charges.  You will be given two choices.
1.  Pay the Wayne County Sheriff up to $2500 to get your car back
2.  Pay $250 bond money and wait for up to 3 days to get your car back
Advantages/Disadvantages.
  • If you choose option 1, then you will never receive a court date and get your money back. This is a shakedown of the highest order. They are taking advantage of your need for transportation. In too many cases to be mentioned here, charges are never brought against the victim, the victim is bullied into giving up the money and getting their car back.
  • If you choose option 2, then you  WILL receive a court date and given the opportunity to get your property back (including confiscated medicine) by going to trial. 
    • At that time you have the choice to ask for a jury trial. You may be able to instruct a Jury on Nullification procedures and responsibilities to you as a Juror. For any Marijuana case brought before a Jury, jurors can vote not guilty to anyone being charged with a Marijuana possession crime and not be in violation of a judges instruction to a jury.

This issue is ongoing and currently being looked into by legal agencies and advocates and, we are appalled at the conduct of Wayne County Sheriff Deputies who have chosen to disregard the card and choosing to continue the 80 year drug war as designed by Harry Anslinger, a racist civil servant that hated the ground African Americans walked on and, the first CEO of the Drug Enforcement Agency in 1929.
Meanwhile, you are strongly encouraged to get legal counsel and fight for the following:
  1. Return of Vehicle ASAP
  2. Return of Confiscated Medicine 
    1. This may include compensation from the Wayne County Sheriff to replace damaged or destroyed medicine that was illegally confiscated by Wayne County Deputies..
  3. Refund of all collected “fines" and Court Costs.
  4. Dismissal of all charges and expungement of all arrest records for Marijuana Possesion.
Make sure to use your cell phone to document the harassment when your car is getting seized and, please obtain badge numbers of the deputies. 
Save all receipts from the Wayne County Sheriff!!!
In more than one case, the car and the medicine were returned to the victims, when it was determined that the plaintiff had valid reason for entering the establishment. You want your vehicle and medicine returned at once.
There is nothing illegal about visiting a Medical Marijuana facility in the City of Detroit, especially if you have a Medical Marijuana card. Pursuant to the Home Rule Act Section 117-3 of 1909 , these facilities are recognized by the City of Detroit as a valid place of business. 
Currently Detroit's Marijuana Ordinance is suspended until a court evaluation is performed by the 3rd Circuit court in January of 2017. (click here to view the case status (Case# 16-004201-CZ Jones, Ronald, et al v City of Detroit))  The Plaintiffs have successfully argued before US District Court Judge Avery Cohen that the ordinance is discriminatory and will shut down dispensaries owned by indigenous citizens of Detroit.
Judge Cohen ruled in favor of the Sons of Hemp and remanded the case back to the 3rd Circuit Court for re-hearing of valid plaintiff claims.
Both Sides have until September 23, 2016 to exchange Witness briefs in support of their positions.  Plaintiffs have until November 11, 2016 to present ANY discovery information to the court.
However, both sides can reach an agreement in a settlement conference that can happen 42 days after the January Case Evaluation date. The first available date for the conference is February 13, 2017. Both sides have a chance at settlement before it reaches the full court with a jury. Court cases cost a lot of money and time.
If NO settlement is reached, then the plaintiffs will be headed to court.
Finally, please remember to show up and VOTE for positive Judges, State Legislators and President in 2016 and 2017.  This is the proper and only way that you can make effective change in your neighborhoods. Vote for the candidate that will best represent your beliefs and values.  
Early voting for the November General Election starts on September 24th, 2016!!!!!
The last day to register to vote in the November General Election is October 11, 2016 at 4:45pm. Don't miss this date!
The last day to vote early in the November election is November 7th, 2016
This is NO time to be sitting on the sidelines because too many people have sacrificed for us to do the job.   Women got punched out on a bridge in Alabama by men who did not want them to vote at all. However and for the better, times have changed and you have NO excuse not to show up and vote. You DO have something to vote for!
The well being of everyone will be in complete jeopardy if the wrong candidate wins the election in November.. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Take Back Our Neighborhood With A NEW Johnson Recreation Center - Built by Union Skilled Trades Members and Neighborhood Supporters.

by Richard C. Clement  
     The  Friends of George Cushingberry Jr.



Johnson Recreation Center has to be rebuilt from the ground up because it will cost more per month to operate.  Jonson Center looks new on the outside but when you go inside, the pool and other construction issues become more apparent. The pool was a former outdoor pool that served the neighborhood before, during, and after normal working hours of 12-7:45pm. 

Currently the pool at Johnson Center is not code compliant to today’s Building Safety Engineering Department standards(BSEE) and, cost ineffective because the Johnson Center pool was built around the existing outdoor pool. During the project the contractors built the new face around the old structure and kept the old plumbing in place.

At this moment Johnson Rec Center is being used as a storage facility for unused and paid for things like signs, games, etc. You do not go inside with a suit on, more like blue jeans and a t-shirt because of the dust.

Solution?   A number of solutions were being floated around the neighborhood. One involved a special assessment on all residential property within a 2 mile range of Johnson Center.  This self-imposed fee on your property tax of an additional $50 per are restricted funds that cannot be touched or diverted to anything else by law.    Another solution is to seek out a grant as a non-profit to receive funds to build a new center that is economically feasible to manage.  Features like tank-less water heating and lights connected to sensors will greatly reduce the electric and light bills to the taxpayers.

Once the new center is built, then the residents will have membership privileges and will be able to use the center along with other citizens.  The neighborhood association in charge of managing the funds use on recreation will have a great say in the direction of their investments.


If you are interested in supporting this cause please contact our office so that we can set up a meeting to make an action plan.  We also plan to be at the annual 8 mile gathering behind old Beaubien Jr. High School a.k.a. Bates Academy.

We feel that Johnson Center is a vital asset to the neighborhood and if we can reopen this facility, this will lead to a rebirth of our community in District 2, especially for the children.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

What Does it Take to Make A Great City? Re-Opening Neighborhood Recreation Centers like Tindal in Northwest Detroit

Raising The Roof on Tindal Recreation Center
by Marie Adams Lawton Executive Director
     and Friends of George Cushingberry Jr.



Nestle snugly in the northwest side of Detroit, this once vibrant recreational center was the "hub" for young people in and around the City of Detroit. However, it wasn't long before cutbacks, layoffs, and fund reduction forced Tindal to close its doors in 2007 eliminating a safe haven facility that previously taught children the true meaning of teamwork. Tindal Recreation Center located at 10301 W. Seven Mile consist of a multipurpose room, gymnasium, classrooms, and a weight room. UAW-Ford has been so generous to replace the gymnasium floor, lighting and kitchen. However our main problem is the ROOF.

(Click Here for Map and Directions)

The roof on the building has never been replaced and has now passed it life expectancy. The roof consists of a built up material and it is in two sections, a sloped portions and a flat section. Numerous issues have occurred in the flat section with the perimeter being the worst area where most of the water leaks occur. The ridge perimeter at the top ash split, is showing signs of water penetration, and the membrane around the eave and drains is failing. Over the years, the roof has become worn and is need of a complete tear off and replacement.

In 2015, under an operational agreement for the next fifteen years, Tindal Recreational Center was given to Health Kidz Inc., a youth based sports organization with a successful and pulsation reputation for keeping kids of the streets and teaching them the true meaning of sportsmanship both on and off the court/field/course. Maria Adams-Lawtom the founder & CEO of Health Kidz inc. acquired Tindal from the City of Detroit Parks and Rec Department with one mission in mind, opening the doors to the community and young people who need a safe and productive place to be with physical and mental activity to stimulate overall growth.

During the 9 year period of inactivity of the Tindal Building, time was not on the side of the building as it experienced water damage, resource theft, intrusion, and lack of overall attention. Although the task appears enormous, Maria Adams-Lawton says it's not impossible and those will do what she can while she can, for as long as she can, with whatever resources are donated her way. In a short period of time, she has replaced most of the plumbing, purchase new restroom fixtures, acquire recreational games like pool and ping pong tables, and solicit help for painting and structural repair..... 

However, that is not enough, WE NEED THE COMMUNITY'S HELP!

If you the public would like to assist in this effort please contact 
Maria Adams-Lawton at (313) 995-0607

Fall Fellowship Internship Opportunities With The Michigan Democratic Party

By  Friends of Cushingberry



The Michigan Coordinated Campaign Fall Fellowship is an opportunity to be a part of history and work at the grassroots level to elect Hillary Clinton and Democrats up and down the ballot.

Fellows will be trained on organizing tools and tactics as well as grassroots fundamentals, and will work alongside organizers in communities to support voter outreach and registration, volunteer recruitment and development, team building, and community engagement.

Fellows commit to spending at least 15 hours per week for eight weeks working to elect  Hillary Clinton and other Democrats. 

Our Fall Fellowship Program will officially kick off with a training in Detroit on Sunday, September 11 , however applicants who are interested in starting early can be accepted for August start dates on a rolling basis.

Fellows will be expected to:
● Meet ambitious goals and deadlines to reach and register voters and recruit volunteers;
● Organize in a specific neighborhood, community, or group of communities alongside
grassroots volunteer leaders and coordinated campaign staff;
● Engage new potential volunteers through phone calls, canvassing, and community
outreach;
● Participate in training on field organizing, messaging, and other activities;
● Hold organizational meetings to recruit new volunteers and supporters in communities;
● Use social networks to help amplify our message and to talk about the work that we do
and
● Continue to build the movement to help elect Democrats up and down the ticket this
November.

Apply by August 28th! Apply Today By Clicking Here

www.hillaryclinton.com/FallFellowship
Amira Perryman
Michigan Democratic Party
Regional Organizing Director


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Free Child Support / Divorce Help From Concerned Community Organizations

by Friends of Cushingberry


       During a divorce,  the symptom of "Baby Mama Drama" with a spouse reaches an all time high with two people dogging each other out and, children are caught in the middle of it. Often times a spouse feels that there is no one to turn to that will listen to their issue.  The good news is that there are many places in Detroit that provide legal help to citizens who are going through a divorce with the children. All of them are free of charge and just takes a few moments of your time to utilize their services. If you have any questions on these programs please contact the coordinator of each program. From August until the end of the year, organizations like the United Auto Workers and others are assisting people in need legal services regarding their children.  These dates are not just for August 2016 because the hyperlinks and information are good all year round. If you have any questions, we recommend that you call the agency directly.


Free Child Support Help Dates:
Fri, Aug 5, 2016: UAW Region 1A Center 15140 Livernois Detroit MI  48238 9am-3pm
Fri, Aug 12, 2016: ACCESS 6450 Maple Street Dearborn MI 48216 9am-3pm
Tue, Aug 16, 2016: Resource Network 11816 Jos Campau Hamtramck MI 48212 10a,-3pm
Wed, Aug 24, 2016: Focus Hope  1200 Oakman Boulevard  Detroit MI 48238 9am-3pm
Thu, Aug 25, 2016: Wayne County Legal Resources Consortium  645 Griswold, Detroit MI 48226 12pm-3pm
Thu, Sep 15, 2016: Wayne County Community College District
Sat, Oct 22, 2016: Wayne County Child Support Help Program 5201 Woodward Ave, Detroit MI 48202 1pm-4pm

MONTHLY MEETINGS - CHILD SUPPORT HELP
1st Thusday of Month:   William Booth Legal Aid Clinic 2 Woodward Ave Room 1901 Detroit, MI 48226   Default Divorce Judgment 10am
2nd and 3rd Thursday of the month:   William Booth Legal Aid Clinic 2 Woodward Ave Room 1901 Detroit, MI 48226   Legal Aid Clinic 12pm-2pm
4th Thursday of the Month Wayne County Legal Resources Consortium  645 Griswold, Detroit MI 48226 12pm-3pm

Michigan Legal Help
Self-Help Centers
Monday through Thursday Penobscot Building
SMART Detroit 13th Floor
645 Griswold, Suite 1300
Detroit, MI 48226

9a-4p
Mondays and Wed. Southwest Detroit Family Alliance for Change (Spanish/English)
3627 W. Vernor
Detroit, MI 48216 
 9a-3p

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Detroit Marijuana Business Owners Challenge New Ordinance in the US District Court of Eastern Michigan and Gets Results!

Richard Clement  - Friends of George Cushingberry Jr.

On July 12, 2016 Judge Avery Cohen of the United States District Court Eastern District of Michigan Southern Division agreed with plaintiffs Sons of Hemp against the City of Detroit regarding the new Medical Marijuana Ordinance 3-15. (Case# 16-11492 - Sons of Hemp v City of Detroit) The court deemed this matter appropriate for a decision without an oral argument. Judge Cohn ordered that this case be remanded back to the Wayne County Circuit Court to re-hear the plaintiff’s arguments.

The Sons of Hemp are a group of African American Marijuana Business owners in Detroit who are being adversely affected by this new ordinance going into effect. %100 of all African American owned businesses would be shut down if this ordinance was put into full effect.

Judge Cohn remanded the case back to Wayne County Circuit Court to allow the Sons of Hemp to bring up their arguments regarding their Federal and State Claims of:
  • Unconstitutional taking of property
  • Violation of equal protection laws
  • Violations of due process per U.S.C. 42 of 1983 and State Law (MCL 600.2918)
  • Violations of 1st Amendment protections from Freedom of Religion

Detroit City Attorney Eric Gaabo agreed with the plaintiffs’ claims to argue these points based on Title 42 U.S.C. 1983 and 1985 because the ordinance violates their right to equal protection because it treats them differently than pharmacies.  Judge Cohn concurred with the plaintiffs and remanded this case back to Wayne County Circuit Court.

It is currently legal for a caregiver to dispense medicine to their patients and transfer to other patients from any private home in Detroit. Given the unpleasant choice of conducting business in the neighborhoods, the City prefers to have the traffic on the B1-B4 Zones to keep it out of the neighborhoods.  Federal law prohibits the use of religion in the zoning of property because it violates the 1st amendment regarding religious freedom. 

The ordinance as it is written is un-constitutional and cannot be enforced in it’s current state.  The ordinance adversely affects Marijuana Business owners in Detroit with over-regulation and, it must be re-written to remove any vestiges of racial and religious discrimination. Additionally arguments regarding the use of Drug Free Zones to specifically attack Medical Marijuana businesses in Detroit can also be brought up in a State Court of Law. As it stands now, the Detroit Marijuana Ordinance is suspended until it can be re-heard in Wayne County Circuit Courtroom at a date to be named later. 



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