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Profiles in Corporate Welfare

Profiles in Corporate Welfare

Bedrock/Gilbert

Gilbert’s Net Worth is $6.5 billion. (1)

Synonymous with Corporate Welfare, Dan Gilbert’s portfolio and influence in Detroit continues to grow.  In late. 2017 Bedrock broke ground on the “Q-Scraper”, a high-end, high-rise on the old Hudson’s site that will benefit from tax incentives and tax capture for 30 years.  Gilbert received nearly 3/4 of a billion dollars in tax subsidies for this project alone!

Ford Motor Co.

Ford’s Global Revenues in 2017 were $156.7 billion. (2)

Ford Motor Co. promotes their reputation as a socially responsible corporation. They claim they want to be a good corporate neighbor but they only agreed to invest $10 Million in community. Ford can voluntarily enter into a REAL community benefit agreement with the community at any time.

The Platform

The Platform has hundreds of millions of dollars in projects in varying stages of completion. (3)

“The Platform” is a multi-site development project with locations across the city. They are also grabbing a great deal of public tax incentives to subsidize high-end housing that most Detroiters can’t afford, like their “Cass and York” project.

Olympia/Ilitch

Public financing for LCA totaled $324.1 million. (4)

For the amount of tax incentives that went into Little Caesars Arena one would think that Olympia would improve nearby  neighborhoods, but they have turned it into a large parking lot for people who don’t live in the city. 

Profiles in Corporate Welfare, sources:
1. Gilbert: forbes.com/profile/daniel-gilbert/#d6dc7d571283 
2. Ford: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Motor_Company
3. Platform: crainsdetråçoit.com/article/20160521/NEWS/160529957/owners-of-fisher-kahn-buildings-look-to-develop-underserved-areas?fbclid=IwAR2bIPxhoaLdVQKAitn0NkA6sodF8Vbnzb05i9B0aLYEgfuY4WAbnQ3bkzU 
4. LCA: crainsdetroit.com/article/20170523/news/629041/latest-little-caesars-arena-construction-cost-8629-million   

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Infosheet: Why the Ford Deal Matters, What’s the Big Deal

Infosheet: Why the Ford Deal Matters, What’s the Big Deal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equitable Detroit Coalition and Detroit People’s Platform

Infosheet: Why the Ford Deal Matters
What’s the Big Deal?

In October, Detroit City Council approved the Community Benefits Agreement struck between the Neighborhood Advisory Committee (NAC) and Ford Motor Co. around their new project in Corktown. Ford only offered 10 Million in community investment on their $740 million project. The NAC voted 9-0 to approve the Ford CBA offer. This in spite of urgings from community members to fight for a better deal.

The current Ford deal is a Bad Deal

We are giving away WAY TOO much, getting too little in return, and the “too little” we’re getting is based upon projections and intentions rather than facts and details about the process for claw-backs.

Here’s what ford gets

These incentives are made possible by:

Michigan Renaissance Zone Act
$208,796,791
in tax abatements for the Renaissance Zone, coming from a combination of city, county and state money. This is an abatement of real and personal property taxes, city corporate income tax, and utility users tax. This would occur over 30 years. Nearly $90 million would come from the City of Detroit.

Commercial Rehabilitation Act

$8,056,085
under the Commercial Rehabilitation Act (P.A. 210). Nearly $4 million in tax incentives would come from the City of Detroit. This would occur over 10 years.

Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act (OPRA)

$18,763,677
under the Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act (OPRA). This act allows the taxable value of a property to be frozen at its pre-improvement value with some exceptions. It would last 12 years and nearly $9 million would come from the City of Detroit. 

Neighborhood Enterprise Zone Act
$2,933,944 under the Neighborhood Enterprise Zone Act. This law allows taxable values of property to be frozen at their pre-improved value. This incentive lasts 17 years (it reduces at 15 years) and just over $1 million would come from the City of Detroit.
(Final Decision Pending)

source: https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/detroit/2018/10/16/ford-michigan-central-station-tax/1651079002/

What’s the community’s Return on investment? 

We know what Ford’s Return on Investment (ROI) is going to be, but what is the community’s ROI? 

“BUT IT’S A DONE DEAL. COUNCIL ALREADY GAVE IT AWAY. WHY DOES IT MATTER?”

Three Reasons why the Ford Deal Matters:

1. WE WANT DEVELOPMENT WITHOUT DISPLACEMENT!

We’re not opposed to development, but this goes too far.

2. INSTEAD OF BECOMING AN EXAMPLE CBA, FORD JOINS the ranks of Gilbert and the Ilitches as a bad corporate player.

This is beyond corporate welfare, this is a straight up gift to a $17 billion dollar global corporation.  For all the sentimentality around Ford Motor Company, they still roll like a corporation; driving the hardest bargain for the best deal they can get.

3. The process “gaslights” community by inviting them in and then dismissing them for already done deals.

A quick definition of gas-lighting is making people experience self-doubt or self-criticism by acting welcoming but being disrespectful. In short, saying one thing while doing another. 

Here’s what the community gets

Whatever the city collects in income tax over next 30 years.  That number will be based  on how many workers are employed and local business activity.

Ford Commits to 2,500 jobs. DEGC* says there will be 5,000 jobs. The other 2,500 jobs are just DEGC projections.  Since we know these numbers usually don’t come out as planned we’re not sure we can trust them. *Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) manages business retention, attraction, and economic development for the city.

Ford has committed 2,500 jobs even though we are hearing about job reductions and retiree buy-outs in the media. 

What would a real CBA with Ford look like?

Every CBA is different, but REAL CBAs are community driven, meet community defined needs and are legally binding and enforceable.

A recent REAL CBA in Nashville included, setting aside affordable housing, providing child care and community services, and raised low wage jobs to $15.50 an hour.
source: https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2018/08/02/nashville-soccer-stadium-mls-fairgrounds/11150930027

What can I do? How can we get ford back to the table?

Continue to call for the NAC to push for a better CBA deal based on the original recommendations they submitted to Ford.  ie fund the Housing Trust Fund, which supports affordable housing options for Detroiters most in need.

Attend future meetings of the NAC, Ford and city representatives and let them know how you feel. 

Support the call for the CBO amendments that are currently before City Council.

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Jefferson Chalmers Community Advocates demand Development without Displacement

Jefferson Chalmers Community Advocates demand Development without Displacement

#DevelopmentWithoutDisplacement

Detroit – Today the Jefferson Chalmers Community Advocates visited Detroit City Council to present signatures from over 300 households from their ongoing “Development without Displacement” campaign. The petition is in support of 12 demands that have been put together based on citizen led organizing and surveying.

In December 2017, a group of long time residents in the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood came together to discuss the plans the city is making for redevelopment in their neighborhood. Jefferson Chalmers Community Advocates began to engage residents in face to face conversations about community needs while at the same time collecting important survey data.

The group has been focused on responding to the Strategic Framework Plan that the city is currently hosting community engagement meetings on. They have also met with their Council representative, Council Member André L. Spivey. Due to lack of adequate response the city Jefferson Chalmers Community Advocates have prepared, collected and are now presenting these petitions.

Petition by the People of Jefferson Chalmers

We, the undersigned residents acknowledge that the Declaration of Rights included in the Charter of the City of Detroit states “The people have a right to expect city government to provide for its residents, decent housing; job opportunities; reliable, convenient and comfortable transportation; recreational facilities and activities; cultural enrichment, including libraries and art and historical museums; clean air and waterways, safe drinking water and a sanitary, environmentally sound city.” Therefore, as residents we demand a more equitable and inclusive planning and economic development process that prioritizes the voice and recommendations of our residents and honors the community’s historical and current priorities as cited:

  • Provide home repair grants for fixed low-income residents (owner occupied) who have been residing in the home for 1 year or more.
  • Retain property tax levels at current rates for the life of the homeowner and any surviving heirs who remain in the home.
  • Ensure that only homes that cannot be rehabbed will be demolished after assessment is made by a third party not affiliated with the Land Bank.
  • Assure that once a home has been demolished a comparable home is built in its place within a 12-24 month period.
  • Community Residents will be given first priority to purchase Land Bank owned property.
  • Offer incentives to reopen a mixed-use community center, specifically Maheras-Gentry.
  • All waterfront parks will remain public.
  • Make sure there are separate buildings for elementary and middle schools for students in the Jeff Chalmers area.
  • The city office of General Services will create jobs for community residents to perform park maintenance and park patrols.
  • Upon the recommendation of an independent party demolish all Land Bank/city-owned buildings along the Jefferson Corridor that cannot be rehabbed. Offer incentives to have the demolished buildings replaced with businesses needed in the community as noted in the community survey.
  • Create an enterprise zone within the Jefferson Chalmers Community and a  Workforce Development Office.
  • Remove bike lanes from main thoroughfares, i.e. Jefferson Avenue.
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Charter Revision Candidate Night – Thursday, October 25 6 pm – 7:30 pm

Charter Revision Candidate Night – Thursday, October 25 6 pm – 7:30 pm

Election 2018 – Vote November 6th

CHARTER REVISION COMMISSION CANDIDATE NIGHT

In the August Primary Detroiters voted on whether or not to “open” and revise the City Charter. The City Charter can be likened to the U.S. or Michigan Constitution. Proposal R was successful by only a slight margin of 184 votes. Since it passed, Charter Revision Commission Candidates will be on the ballot in November. There will be 16 candidates on the ballot for this 9 seat commission.

Learning as much a possible about these candidates before the election is important because they will shape the 3 year revision process. 

Thursday, October 25
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm – FREE! 

Wellness Plan Building
First Floor Cafeteria
7700 Second Ave @ Pallister
Detroit, 48202

A light dinner will be served at 6:00 and the forum will start at 6:30 pm.

Charter Revision Commission Candidate Night Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/737546463257396/

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Civility Detroit Style

Civility Detroit Style

“Civil discussions with people who themselves may have already breached the bounds of civility are difficult.”(1)
– Vann R. Newkirk II

This started out as a response to the Detroit Regional Chamber’s tone-deaf call to “Create a Culture of Civility” earlier in the year.  Since that time, calls for civility have been issued from the national stage. Those in power and those in denial have called for civility in answer to righteous outrage over the upsurge of white policing of black living, of court decisions that uphold racist immigration policy and legitimize  bigotry, and over kids in cages. These offensive and strategic calls for civility resonate with Detroiters because they have heard them  repeatedly since Emergency Management and for decades prior. ~ ed.

Last year, we recognized the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit Rebellion and many in the city dove deep into discussions of its meaning and impact. This year, we continue to recognize 50th anniversaries associated with the civil rights movement, most recently Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s assassination and the passage of the Fair Housing Act. Here at Detroit People’s Platform our attention also shifts to the fact that 2018 marks the 5th anniversary of Emergency Management and Bankruptcy in Detroit.

These anniversaries also remind us that transformational changes were not easily won and certainly not won by being polite or civil. These anniversaries are also important and vital to Detroiters as they represent touchstones of our history that denote the emergence of Black political, economic and cultural power in the largest majority-black city in the US. The changes that came from movement work in our city and across the country were in part sparked by the interruption of civility, most famously and powerfully, through nonviolent direct action. 

Nationally, there has been a renewed interest in improving civil discourse due to the Trump presidency and the complete breakdown of bipartisanship in our political and civic life. However, we must not confuse the legitimate push back against the President’s divisive rhetoric with the growing chorus of Detroiters demanding our equity stake in the city’s current revitalization. 

In March, the Detroit Regional Chamber hosted it’s 2018 Detroit Policy Conference. This year’s focus was on “Creating a Culture of Civility.”  The conference referenced the widely heralded example of the relationship between Mayor Duggan and members of City Council. In the Mayor’s recent State of the City he touted the difference in their relationship between now and the past. Perhaps he, and the Chamber fail to recognize the historically oppositional stance by some Council Members in the past was due to their protection and defense of their constituents. Some council members could be counted on to challenge the administration. While a new age of civility at CAYMC bodes well for the administration and corporate interests, it does NOT for everyday Detroiters. 

Let’s Count some of the ways government and corporate leadership have targeted Detroiters:

1. Public School Takeover by the State of Michigan

2. Consent Agreement/Emergency Management

3. Municipal Bankruptcy

4. Hijacking of Worker Pension and Healthcare

5. Privatization of Services like Lights and Trash Removal

6. Loss of governance of the Water System

7. Taking public funds and using them for private projects like the Qline and LCA (Little Caesars Arena) 

8. Creating legislation and a well funded campaign to defeat a  community-led CBA ballot  initiative 

9. Refusal to stop Water Shutoffs that harm Detroit children and senior citizens. 

10. Calling housing “affordable” when it isn’t affordable to the majority of Detroiters.

11. Using hardest hit funds intended to keep Detroiters in their homes to demolish homes.

12. Threatening and inappropriate physical handling of citizens in meetings by city appointees, staff and designees. 

13. Huge transfers of public funds and resources to wealthy white billionaires.

The list goes on.

It is an insult that in an 80+% majority-black city, both corporate and government representatives feel completely comfortable disrespecting community members. When leaders and their representatives are allowed to roll their eyes, make racist and condescending comments and negate the ability of Detroiters to engage in serious and thoughtful discussions they are replicating tactics used to silence opposition.  The levels disrespect shown when Detroiters speak out or show up and protest peacefully against injustices creates a culture of incivility across all of our institutions.

Don’t lecture Detroiters on Civility. The solution is to actually listen to Detroiters and meet us where we are, whether we fit into the plans or not.

(1) www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/
     2016/12/discussing-racism-white-voters/509528/

 

 

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Detroit: High Concentrated Poverty and High Corporate Tax Incentives

Detroit: High Concentrated Poverty and High Corporate Tax Incentives

The Free Press covered a damning new report on poverty in Detroit and across the US.  “Metro Detroit’s poverty gets worse despite city’s comeback”.

“A new look at the poorest urban areas in America, despite economic growth and increasing prosperity, puts metro Detroit near the top of the list. The report ranks the Detroit area at No. 5 in a list of impoverished communities.” Read More: https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/detroit/2018/04/26/detroit-poverty-getting-worse/553439002/

“A study by the Brookings Institution in 2016 found metro Detroit — which was defined in that report as a six-county region: including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, St. Clair, Lapeer — to have the highest rate of concentrated poverty among the most populous metro areas in America”. Read More: https://www.brookings.edu/research/u-s-concentrated-poverty-in-the-wake-of-the-great-recession/

[bctt tweet=”Our majority-black neighborhoods have the highest concentrated poverty of any large city in the US while millions in tax incentives have been given away to wealthy white developers Downtown. #Detroit” via=”no”]

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Update: Rental Regulation Ordinance

Update: Rental Regulation Ordinance

In October of 2017, Detroit City Council voted unanimously on an ordinance to toughen rental regulations. The ordinance could greatly impact many renters and increase displacement. The city is implementing the ordinance through the neighborhoods by zip code. They  started with 48215 on the East Side February 1st. 

Downtown, Midtown and New Center are changing rapidly. While many have called for equal investment and treatment in our neighborhoods, as the city’s develops policy to focus on  neighborhoods are they doing enough to protect those who are already living there? 

[bctt tweet=”In order to shift investment into more that just greater downtown and historic neighborhoods of affluence, areas of the city have been and are being “cleaned up” so that they are more appealing to investors and new settlers. #Detroit ” via=”no”]

The policies being developed are double-edged. The RRO process will successfully bring rentals up to code, but at what cost? The ordinance is written in such a way that it’s success could reduce already hard to find low income housing. 

Download the full pdf

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Transit Update Public Transit A Choice or Right?

Transit Update Public Transit A Choice or Right?

[bctt tweet=”As a new Regional Transit Plan is discussed it’s vital we consider ESSENTIAL Riders. Lack of equity in bus service and planning replicates the racism that has historically plagued our transit policy.” via=”no”]

Public transit is a hot topic. The lack of adequate transit has been cited for Amazon’s rejection. Many don’t connect this failure to the race-based policies of our region. There are many recent examples of the shift toward private service and choice options rather than equity for essential riders. [bctt tweet=”Quicken Loans, Wayne State and Henry Ford could use their influence to promote a robust DDOT system rather than use private shuttles.” via=”no”] Also, Quicken and others decided to use our public tax dollars – over $70 million from state, local, and federal funds to build the QLine.  The reliance on public services and the diversion of public funds contributes to inequality.

A modern public transit system responds to the needs of a diverse population. There are as many types of riders as there are people. Here we consider two particular types of bus riders – Essential & Choice Riders…

Essential riders ride the bus for their day-to-day economic and social survival.  They use transit to get to important institutions like schools, banks or credit unions, social services, healthcare, and jobs. They endure neighborhood service that is unreliable, slow, and unavailable when needed most. Essential bus riders have various personal circumstances that make car ownership impossible.

“Choice-rider” is an industry term used by public transit providers that refers to individuals that ride the bus as an option. Choice riders may have access and the means to afford and use a car, but instead “choose” to ride the bus. More often than not They also have the option to use smartphone app-based ride-hailing services like UBER and LYFT.

Public transit authorities cater to choice riders to lure them out of cars and into public transit.  They fit buses with amenities like Wi-Fi, app-based fare and boarding technology, and offer express/commuter routes from more affluent neighborhoods to business/employment districts

Some new services only get people from around the region in and around downtown. These services often give choice riders the option to bypass the very neighborhoods where services are inadequate for Essential riders. [bctt tweet=”This lack of equity in bus service and planning replicates the racism that has historically plagued our transit policy in #Detroit and the region.  ” via=”no”]

A just and equitable  public transit system serves all types of riders. 

Here are some signs that Essential Riders suffer from transit injustice

  • Nearly flat funding has been maintained for DDOT, at $135 million with little emphasis on improving the State Fair Transit Center & little improvement for bus stops & shelters.
  • The creation of routes  that serve areas targeted for investment  with express/commuter service.
  • The expansion of night and weekend service prioritizes main roads and neighborhoods where new population increases are planned.
  • The failure to improve service in all neighborhoods forces families & individuals to ride for hours on a disconnected, under-resourced & unreliable bus system.

Transit Justice is a Civil Rights Issue

The struggle for civil rights and racial equity in public transportation is rooted in the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott which successfully challenged and ended bus segregation. This gave birth to the modern Civil Rights Movement and resulted in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title VI regulations that ensure bus riders are not discriminated on the basis of race, color, creed, gender, and ability/disability status.

It’s in the City Charter!

“The people have a right to expect city government to provide for its residents, decent housing; job opportunities; convenient and comfortable transportation; recreational facilities and activities; cultural enrichment, including libraries and art and historical museums; clean air and waterways, safe drinking water and a sanitary, environmentally sound city.”

“The people have a right to know the rules and regulations governing dealings between the City and the public and to a means for review of administrative decisions.”

Download an easy to print black and white version of this Transit Update to share with your neighbors. 
[wpdm_package id=’2705′]

Take Action! Make Some Calls! Share it Out!

City Council Members

Mayor Duggan

DDOT Leadership

[bctt tweet=”We demand participatory decision-making between riders/residents and DDOT for input on routes and changes in fares and scheduling. #Detroit” via=”no”]

Bus riders must have a say!

Join the Detroit People’s
Platform Transit Justice Team!
Contact Renard Monczunski
renard@detroitpeoplesplatform.org
(313) 338-9396

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People’s Response to the State of the City #PeoplesSOTC

People’s Response to the State of the City #PeoplesSOTC

What are the REAL Issues in the nation’s largest Majority-Black City?

On March 6th, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan will deliver this year’s State of the City address. We are coming together online and in community to offer a People’s Response.

Tuesday, March 6th, 6 – 8:30 p.m.

Join our efforts on social media
#PeoplesSOTC
or come together in community at
7700 Second Ave. at Pallister
free, secure parking

6 p.m. – Food/Social Media Strategy
7 p.m. – Viewing SOTC on a Big Screen/Social Media Action
8 p.m. – People’s Response Press Conference

We’ll view the Mayor’s State of The City address and respond through social media. After the address we’ll host and broadcast the People’s Response Press Conference and hear from people who are living through the REAL state of the city.

FB EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/201945927058296/

Promote the People’s Response:
[bctt tweet=”On Tues March 6th, #Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan will deliver this year’s State of the City address. We are coming together online and in community to offer a People’s Response. Join us #PeoplesSOTC http://detroitpeoplesplatform.org/2018/02/peoples-response-to-the-state-of-the-city-peoplessotc/” username=”Detroitpeoples”]

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Redistricting 101 Where You Live Matters

Redistricting 101 Where You Live Matters

Redistricting 101 shares important information about the way voting districts are created, what that looks like in Detroit and across the state of Michigan, their impact on you and your community, and how you can have your voice heard in the process!

Download Print and Share
http://detroitpeoplesplatform.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Redistricting101digital-3.pdf

[bctt tweet=”Redistricting 101 shares important information about the way voting districts are created, what that looks like in Detroit and across the state of Michigan, their impact on you and your community, and how you can have your voice heard in the process!” via=”no”]