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Thursday, July 30, 2015

A YES Vote for Riverside Park is a YES Vote for Detroit

by Richard Clement

"Mayor Duggan, Detroit City Council and The Moroun family push for peace on the Riverfront".

The vote to accept the land deal with the Morouns is a positive benefit to the Citizens of Detroit and Windsor Canada.  This investment trade off will give the City of Detroit an additional Boat Launch new playing field and a larger area to host neighborhood jazz concerts and other events.  The fishing is awesome at this location and to that effect investment in park infrastructure will increase opportunities for fishermen and fisherwomen.  This vote puts the Department of Natural Resources and the US National Park Service on notice that Detroit is ready to get to work right now instead of later. 

These two governmental agencies have known about the situation at the park for years. Both of them should not have any problem finding old paperwork to create an approval letter.  DNR’s objection to the vote is the kind of butt dragging bureaucracy that City of Detroit is eliminating from its vocabulary through; sound decision making and leadership by Mayor and City Council. The resulting development of the Park will create a new play field for Baseball and Soccer. On certain days, the river is full of people trying to catch fish and this will give the Michigan Department of Natural Resources opportunity to sell more fishing licenses

The Morouns have committed land and resources to make the park a viable park once again without the drama.  While the park issue is being resolved, the entrance ramp to the Bridge from W. Grand Boulevard and the Fisher Service Drive is suffering from poor road sign markings by the Michigan Department of Transportation. (View the Site)

Some of our American Citizens are forced to go across the Ambassador Bridge because they made a turn thinking that they were getting on the freeway.  No American leaving the park should be subjected to a full body strip search by the Canadian Border Security Agency and US Customs Agency for having “contraband” that is otherwise recognized as legal to have. To fix this situation we are strongly urging the Morouns to direct MDOT to place eye level signs at this Entrance with the Canadian Flag emphasizing that a driver will be leaving the Country if they turn, instead of the big green overhead sign that they have now. Some drivers have thought that this overhead sign is a part of the freeway and ignore it. Other driver's GPS units have told them to make a turn here to get on Interstate 75. This is a small fix from the State of Michigan that can easily resolved.

It is now time to get shovels into the ground and start getting to work on improving one of Detroit’s hidden assets on the Riverfront. The leadership of Detroit has clearly stated this is what we want for our citizens. All the Moroun haters out there will be happy once the Gordie Howe International Bridge is finally up and running. While truck traffic will decrease, personal car, bike and walking traffic will increase on the Ambassador Bridge.

Eventually, the old span has to be replaced by a new one. Before that new span is built, the old one has to stay open until the new one is completed. We anticipate that The Morouns will hire local labor because they want to come right to the City of Detroit after all of the conflict.  They have to live here like everyone else and we foresee a peaceful accord will be reached between the dissenters like Attorney Rashida Tilab and supporters like Malik Shabazz.  When this bridge of understanding is reached between the parties, there will be peace, profits, and prosperity on both sides of the Bridge for years to come.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Cushingberry Improves Neighborhoods by Approving NEZ Certificates

By the Friends of Cushingberry

       Councilmember  Pro-Tem George Cushingberry Jr. is committed to neighborhoods and, has approved NEZ Certificates for the following properties in Detroit.

July 2015.

# of Units
248 Mack Avenue
2658 Porter Street
3147 Woodward Ave
4335 Lakepointe
4119 and 4217 Aretha
4228 and 4240 Aretha
3926,3943,3955,4142 Aretha
11 units Woodward/Brush/Hendrie
81 Peterboro

What is a Neighborhood Enterprise Zone?

If you live in one of these areas, you may qualify for a tax abatement of up to %50 for 15 years. Since 2006, the City of Detroit began a program offering tax relief to specific geographic areas. Many residents have been interested in this program, but are unsure how to go about it. Here are some frequently asked questions:

1: Who is eligible?
If you purchased your home after January 1, 1997, it is your principal residence, and you have completed $500 of improvements to your home since its purchase, you are likely eligible for a tax cut. Two-family properties are also eligible if it is the owner's principal residence.

2: How much is the reduction?
The NEZ tax abatement adjusts the rate of the City and County operating mills by 50%.* this millage rate varies yearly - therefore the NEZ millage rate varies also. *Only the City and County operating mills are abated - all other homestead mills are applicable.

3: How long does the tax abatement last?
15 years.

4: How do I apply?                       
You must apply in person at the City Assessor's Office, which is located in the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, Two Woodward Avenue, Room 804, Detroit, MI 48226.

5: Is there a deadline:
Yes. If you want to see tax relief for the next year, you must apply between the dates of April 1 – October 1. For example, if you recently purchased your home, you can apply between April 1 and October 1 of the current year to be eligible for the upcoming tax year. You do not have to reapply every year.

6: What documentation do I need to bring?
You will need to bring your driver's license and property deed.

7: My mortgage company pays my taxes through my escrow account. Do I have to inform them of this change?
It is a wise idea to notify your mortgage company of this program, once you have been approved, to transition the change of escrow more smoothly. The first year, and every eligible year thereafter, they will receive four tax bills: one for the land and one for the house (improvements), each summer and winter. This is due to the land on which your house sits is not eligible for this program, just the house itself. Under normal conditions, they would only receive two tax bills: winter and summer. If your mortgage company understand these bills, it may help avoid further mistakes later on.

8: How will I know when my taxes have been reduced?
You can log into the City of Detroit Assessment Department's Online Property Tax Payment and Information System: (Click Here for the tax on your Property Tax  as Assessed - BSA Software)

There is no charge for this system as long as you set up an account and verify only your own property. Changes will be noted after the next tax billing cycle.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Civil Asset Forfeiture Revenue and Marijuana Legalization by the Detroit Police Department

By Richard C. Clement

    In light of the recent raids on Medical Marijuana facilities in the City of Detroit this week, we asked Detroit Police Chief James Craig how much money does the Department make from Asset Forfeiture.  The Chief responded with a chart that shows over a 3 year period, the Department made $7.3 million dollars from taking assets under the Civil Forfeiture programs. The breakdown is as follows:

 $   451,542.05
 $   7,394.00
 $   410,168.87
 $           -  
 $   348,461.79
 $ 36,254.07
 $ 43,648.07

The figure shows that there needs to be a redirection of assets so that Marijuana based businesses and, the policy on Civil Asset forfeiture needs some serious re-direction of funds toward expenses like retiree pensions and healthcare.  This is a large amount of money to make from taking someone’s money and property for Marijuana possession and, never charging the person for the crime in a court of law.

People on the receiving end of this lose everything seized to the agency who made the initial contact if; the person does not contest the seizure in 10 days. After 10 days, the money or asset(s) that was taken from a home or person during a police raid is kept by the arresting agency and sold for profit. The raid on the facility at Puritan and Hubbell on July 14th, 2015 is a prime example of this type of asset forfeiture abuse by law enforcement.  On Puritan there are 7 churches that are within 3000 feet of the school.  City wide, there are numerous hair shops and churches that are across the street from each other.

This un-even enforcement of the Marijuana Laws creates an incentive for police agencies to conduct raids as a profit center for the Department instead of the protection of the citizens.

The only way this will stop is if you show up to vote and elect people who want to make this type of change.   You can also direct change through a ballot initiative that will take 2000 signatures from registered voters in the City of Detroit.  Or you can force change by signing the legalization petition hosted by to fully decriminalize and stop the War on Weed.  The revenue from legal Marijuana sales will make more money than the Water and Sewage system maintained by the Great Lakes Water Authority.

We have more people in new jails with no pot holes in their walls and, at the same time we have horrible roads, declining education opportunities and, retirees that have dwindling pension benefits. Participation in the MI Legalize  effort will address these problems.  We are expecting much better out of our elected leadership because, the War on Weed in the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan is a complete failure and, a waste of law enforcement resources. 

Finally if the Detroit Branch and the Michigan State Conference of the NAACP can honor Kid Rock, then they are morally obligated to support decriminalization of Marijuana use because of the impact on the community especially citizens of color. 

Mr. Cushingberry is Demanding a Retraction from Rashida Tilab regarding the Comparison with Synargo and the Ambassador Bridge Settlement

By Friends of George Cushingberry Jr.

Councilmember Pro-Tem Cushingberry is demanding an immediate apology and retraction from Rashida Tilab for accusing him of committing a Federal Crime like former City Councilmember Monica Conyers 

Mr. Cushingberry is extremely pissed off about Rashida’s public statement about the Council saying; “This Riverside (Park) deal is just like Synargo” and “I will expose the crime” comparing the Riverside Park project to the Synargo Scandal is deplorable and reprehensible. Councilmember Cushingberry Jr. and his colleagues are working very hard every day to insure the transparency of City Business to the people of Detroit.  

Rashida's childish comparison of Cushingberry to Monica Conyers with her allegations is something that she needs to address verbally and in writing at the next regular session of the full Detroit City Council including Sam Riddle. Mr. Cushingberry strongly states that there is nothing to hide regarding the business of the Ambassador Bridge, Maroun Family and, the City of Detroit.

On behalf of the Detroit Water and Sewage Department, the Council and Mayor’s Office are looking at ways to save the City money by re-purposing the solid waste into fertilizer that will be sold at places like Home Depot and, Eastern Market for consumer use. This will be much better than the current process of burning the waste at the City incinerator and polluting the environment.

The Riverside Project will be a benefit to the City of Detroit by providing a new baseball/soccer park and reopening the Marina that was closed during the 9/11 days. The old Detroit News Warehouse and the railroad tracks will be removed by the Maroun family as a tradeoff for the Marouns building the second span next to their old span.  Mr. Cushingberry is a fan of Gordie Howe and supports a fair settlement with the Maroun family regarding the issue of a Government buyout of privately owned property.

When this happens, Ms. Rashida and her hate Maroun friends are more that welcome to; play in the new park and, participate in the construction of the Gordie Howe and New Ambassador Bridge once the financials are worked out.

We are demanding a retraction by Rashida Tilab esq.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Solutions to Water Operating Expenses and Rates - Public Meeting July 7 & 8 2015 - City Hall

by Richard Clement

DWSD Master Plan for Detroit
Meetings regarding Detroit's water rates will be held on July 8th and 9th at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center on the 13th floor.   Time will be 2pm Wednesday and TBA on Thursday. While addressing the budget shortfall regarding the water rates, other alternatives and construction projects needed that will improve the public good will be discussed. Suggestions like turning liquid waste water into drinking water and creating fertilizer from solid waste products are some ideas that will offset the expenses of providing clean water. Cities in Michigan like Lansing Michigan has a sewer/rain water separation project that has cleaned up the environment. (Lansing Michigan CSO sewage separation project)

Examples are Cities like Milwaukee Wisconsin that create a  fertilizer project by the name of Milogranite (Wiki Definition)  that they sell at the local Home Depot,  and other hardware stores.

Cash from Sewer Waste: Milwaukee's Best! 

If we can have water filtration systems in the Space Station for Astronauts, we can use this same technology in Detroit.  There is a company in Israel that has a process of converting water from air (click here to see water from air).  Otherwise, they convert their liquid waste into water because they live in a desert that is not near a fresh water source like the Great Lakes. (click here to see water created from waste) The Great Lakes has 40% of the worlds fresh water and people in Texas and California would love to build a pipeline to Michigan to use it.

Water is an issue so much that the old Johnson Recreation Center in Detroit MI has to be rebuilt because of the 1950’s plumbing inside of it that cost the City of Detroit one million dollars a month to operate.

Therefore, If you want your voice to be heard, stay tuned to Council member Pro Tem Cushingberry, and the Detroit City Council for more information or watch City Council live stream on Demand (Click Here to watch City of Detroit TV)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Chief James Craig Answers Questions Regarding 2015/2016 Budget from Pro-Tem Cushingberry

by Richard Clement

DPD 2015/2016 Proposed Budget recommendations. 

Councilmember Cushingberry cares about the Detroit Police Department so much that he is closely watching operations. He wants to make sure that citizen concerns and needs are addressed, 

On June 3,2015, Mr. Cushingberry asked the following questions of Police Chief James Craig.

List of Questions

1. In light of neighborhood/community policing, what are the efforts to encourage police offices to live in the City of Detroit?
2. How much have collected in the last three years from the various forfeiture programs?
3. Please provide details relative to new efforts in Information Technology ?
4. What steps should be taken to request Federal and State funds for a Blight Task Force and Quality of life blight deterrence?

Summary of Answers by Chief James Craig

1. Officers are being encouraged to live in the City by coordinating with the Detroit Public and Charter schools to provide education to Officer’s families.
2. We have collected a total of $6,045,732.02 dollars with $1,210,172.71 from Federal and $43,648.07 from the State  of Michigan collections divisions.
3. We are collecting more information from new fingerprint machines and other data requiring that we upgrade to 450TB of storage. We are upgrading hardware with 100 new units that have the Microsoft System Center Configuration and Operation Manager.
4. The Office of Grant Management can assist with providing information on seeking grants for this cause

We hope that the answers provided by Chief Craig will further enhance the transparency that the Department and the Council wants and the public demands of their public servants. - Good Stuff on the Internet