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This Wednesday: Commemorate ’67 Rebellion at our kick-off event

This Wednesday: Commemorate ’67 Rebellion at our kick-off event

This Wednesday: Commemorate ’67 Rebellion at our kick-off event


Wednesday, June 7 | 5:30 to 8:30 PM

Detroit: On the Road to Reinvention examines the critical issues confronting Detroit voters in the 2017 elections through the lens of the 1967 Rebellion. These issues include: 1) anti-blackness and othering; 2) displacement of long-term Detroiters due to school closures, water shutoffs and illegal tax foreclosures; 3) regional injustice; and 4) the need for equitable forms of development. We must explore these issues’ deep, historical roots to fully understand the challenges facing Detroit today.
Join us for a special kick-off event Wednesday, June 7 at the Detroit Historical Museum to learn from some of Detroit’s best organizers on the historical context of the 1967 Rebellion and our continued fight today against the issues facing our city. The program will include guided visioning exercises so that we, as a community, can reclaim our hope and vision for Detroit.
Speakers include: Peter J. Hammer of Wayne Law’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, Asha Noor of CAIR Michigan, Linda Campbell of Detroit People’s Platform, Lacy Dawson of Michigan Voice and more.
Click here for the Facebook event page, and please share the flyer above!
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Coalition to End Unconstitutional Tax Foreclosures- People’s Forum

Coalition to End Unconstitutional Tax Foreclosures- People’s Forum

Event: Coalition to End Unconstitutional Tax Foreclosures- People’s Forum

Over 100,000 Detroit Working Families lost their homes from 2009-2015 due to foreclosures caused by the City of Detroit assessing properties at rates that violate the Michigan Constitution. If you have been subject to tax foreclosures, or know someone who has, join us to share your story and help determine the Coalition’s Restorative Justice Strategy. 

Date: June 17, 2017

Time: 1:00pm-3:00pm

Place: Wayne State University Law School- Partrich Auditorium: 471 West Palmer, DetroitMI 48202

Parking: Free Parking Will Be Available in Lot 32, in front of the law school

More Information: For More information Visit http://illegalforeclosures.org/, or Email: illegalforeclosures.detroit@gmail.com.

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Lansing Watch – Dan Gilbert-backed Corporate Welfare bill package passed

Lansing Watch – Dan Gilbert-backed Corporate Welfare bill package passed

Detroit – Yesterday, May 4 2017, the Michigan House of Representatives approved the Dan Gilbert-backed Corporate Welfare bill package (SB111-115).

The Detroit Representatives justify their ‘yes’ votes for Dan Gilbert’s Corporate Welfare bill package with stats, data and theories about TIFs (Tax increment financing) provided by Quicken Loans itself, but they are NOT responding to the fundamental questions their constituents are and have been asking:
  • Why are we giving Dan Gilbert another hand-out when the majority of Detroiters, the 99%, are living through a housing crisis and massive water shut offs?
  • Why can’t 1% billionaires pay for their projects on their own dime?
  • When they “capture” our money and resources why can’t they meet our demands for equity and opportunity with legitimate and legally binding Community Benefits Agreements?

We never get the local hires.
We never get the contracts.
We never get the jobs
All these promises are never kept.
Once again the big corporations win.

Call your Detroit Representative and express your disappointment in their failure to hear our questions and act on our behalf.

Detroit Reps that voted ‘yes’ on the
Gilbert Corporate Welfare bill package:

State Representative Wendell Byrd
Toll-Free: (855) 564-4673
Email: wendellbyrd@house.mi.gov

State Representative Fred Durhal III
Toll-Free: (877) 877-9007
Email: freddurhal@house.mi.gov
https://www.facebook.com/staterepdurhal/
@FDurhal3

State Representative Latanya Garrett
Toll-Free: (855) 647-3707
Email: LaTanyaGarrett@house.mi.gov
https://www.facebook.com/LatanyaGarrett7/
@GarrettLatanya

State Representative Sherry Gay-Dagnogo
Toll-Free: (888) 347-8008
Email: sherrygay-dagnogo@house.mi.gov
https://www.facebook.com/sherry.gaydagnogo
@DetroitEducator

State Representative Leslie Love
Toll-Free: (855) 568-3010
Email: leslielove@house.mi.gov
https://www.facebook.com/repleslielove/
@statereplove10

State Representative Bettie Cook Scott
Toll-Free: (855) 737-2882
Email: BettieCookScott@house.mi.gov

State Representative Sylvia Santana
Toll-Free: (855) 427-8399
Email: SylviaSantana@house.mi.gov
https://www.facebook.com/votesylviasantana/

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Register Today – Community Benefits 2.0 is next Week!

Register Today – Community Benefits 2.0 is next Week!

Community Benefits 2.0
A Movement that Connects

Thursday May 11th 2017, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
UAW-GM Center for Human Resources
200 Walker Street, Detroit, MI 48207

Workshops include: ‘Negotiation Skills Training: Leveraging Community Power’, ‘Understanding Public Subsidies: The Forms of Corporate Welfare’, ‘Leveraging Local Power: Strategies for Equitable Development’, and ‘A Guide to Civil Disobedience’. Keynote Speaker: Greg LeRoy, Executive Director Good Jobs First FREE! Connect your community and register today!” http://goo.gl/51BvgX  or email: Rashida@sugarlaw.org, or call 313-993-4505

In June of 2015, people from across Michigan and neighboring states gathered to learn about how they can have a seat at the table and a voice in decision-making when huge developers come into their communities to ensure that there is reinvestment in neighborhoods.

On May 11th 2017, we are gathering once again to strategize, but this time, we are zooming out a bit to take a look at how our representatives are using our tax dollars and resources. Our elected leaders must commit to ensuring equitable community development and public safety when they use public money to subsidize private profit.

This conference will focus on strategies and tools including Community Benefits Agreements, to help residents and stakeholders develop plans to engage in state advocacy for equitable development.

Keynote Speaker: Greg LeRoy
Executive Director
Good Jobs First

Dubbed “the leading national watchdog of state and local economic development subsidies” Greg LeRoy @GregLeRoy4 founded and directs Good Jobs First www.goodjobsfirst.org a resource center promoting accountability in the >$70 billion spent annually by states and localities for economic development. GJF is home to Subsidy Tracker, the only national database of subsidy awards. He is the author of The Great American Jobs Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation (2005) and No More Candy Store: States and Cities Making Job Subsidies Accountable (1994). GJF was honored by State Tax Notes magazine in 2015 for its landmark victory/accounting rule: Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement No. 77 on Tax Abatement Disclosures. Greg was also honored in 2014 by GIS Planning, Inc. and fDI Intelligence (division of the Financial Times) as “a recognized and committed leader in educating and informing decision makers and communities on the ‘truth’ of incentives based on in-depth research, case studies and white papers.”

Connect Your Community!
Register: http://goo.gl/51BvgX

facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1438048609573018/

 

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Lansing Watch: Gilbert Bills back in committee this morning

This morning a bill package is being considered by the House Tax Policy Committee that will shift our public dollars towards private (for-profit) projects and greatly expand the definition of brownfield. These bills are being pushed by mega-billionaire Dan Gilbert, apparently to support his next big project Downtown with our tax dollars. The “Transformational Brownfield Plan” bill package, SB 111-115, is on the Tax Policy Committee agenda on Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Learn More:
The Detroit News Column: Brownfield tax credits divert needed funds by Gloria Rivera “No city, township, county, village or school district in Michigan can afford to be ripped off. But the recent package of bills being pushed by Dan Gilbert does just that. It needs to be rejected by our representatives in Lansing.” Read the full column below.

Watch Live:
The Tax Policy Committee meeting can be watched live at 10:30am:

http://house.michigan.gov/MHRTV/mhrtv_channel1.html

Tax Policy Committee Members:

Jim Tedder (R) Committee Chair, 43rd District
PHONE: 517-373-0615
EMAIL: JimTedder@house.mi.gov

David Maturen (R) Majority Vice-Chair, 63rd District
PHONE: 517-373-1787
EMAIL: DavidMaturen@house.mi.gov

Martin Howrylak (R) 41st District
PHONE: 517-373-1783
TOLL FREE: 877-248-0001
EMAIL: MartinHowrylak@house.mi.gov

Klint Kesto (R) 39th District
PHONE: 517-373-1799
EMAIL: KlintKesto@house.mi.gov

Peter Lucido (R) 36th District
PHONE: 517-373-0843
EMAIL: PeterLucido@house.mi.gov

Hank Vaupel (R) 47th District
PHONE: 517-373-8835
EMAIL: HankVaupel@house.mi.gov

Steven Johnson (R) 72nd District
Phone: (517) 373-0840
Email: StevenJohnson@house.mi.gov

Bronna Kahle (R) 57th District
(517) 373-1706
BronnaKahle@house.mi.gov

James Lower (R) 70th District
Phone: (517) 373-0834
Email: JamesLower@house.mi.gov

Wendell Byrd (D) Minority Vice-Chair, 3rd District
Phone: (517) 373-0144
Email: wendellbyrd@house.mi.gov

Sheldon Neeley (D) 34th District
Phone: (517) 373-8808
Email: SheldonNeeley@house.mi.gov

Jim Ellison (D) 26th District
Phone: (517) 373-3818
Email: JimEllison@house.mi.gov

Abdullah Hammoud (D) 15th District
Phone: (517) 373-0847
Email: AbdullahHammoud@house.mi.gov

Column: Brownfield tax credits divert needed funds

Gloria Rivera

No city, township, county, village or school district in Michigan can afford to be ripped off. But the recent package of bills being pushed by Dan Gilbert does just that. It needs to be rejected by our representatives in Lansing.

The bills are designed to take public money from local people and put it into the pockets of developers. Their stated purpose is to develop “brownfields,” a term used by federal environmental authorities to describe abandoned sites contaminated by industry. The old Uniroyal site on the banks of the Detroit River right across from Belle Isle is a prime example.

Furthermore, the purpose of brownfield tax credits is for the cleanup, remediation, environmental assessments and inclusion of green components in a development project. There are many brownfields in Detroit, but even so, Gilbert and elected officials have redefined brownfield to mean just about any abandoned or “blighted property.” This definition does not take into account the connection between human health and the quality of water, air and soil. People who work with development of those sites would channel the income and sales tax stripped from the public directly into the developer’s pocket.

This means developers would be paid to control huge swaths of property while locals watch their budgets being robbed of much needed funds. What would regular working people get in return? Well, that’s one of many problems with these bills. Gilbert requested University of Michigan study the economic impact of these bills but now refuses to release the report. This act alone shows that there is a lack of transparency and accountability and should alarm anyone concerned about economic justice.

Such highhanded manipulation of local revenue would be malfeasance in the best of times, but with the state and many local governments straining to provide much needed services due to schemes just like this one, it boggles the mind that money would be funneled from the public to billionaires with no clear benefit. Schools from pre-kindergarten to universities are severely underfunded. Human services, roads, environmental issues, police departments, fire fighters — there is no public service that’s flush with enough cash to fork over to wealthy developers.

This move and the insane proposal to cut an even bigger hole in the state budget reveals a bigger problem: utter refusal by many elected officials to admit that tax dollars, public money is needed to keep society functioning. They defund programs, especially those that working people rely on, transportation, schools, childcare, clean water, and then scream about the way public services function. Wealthy people and corporations need to pay their share.

If Gilbert wants a soccer field or the largest building in Detroit, let him pay for it rather than strip public funds to support his private profit. In the meantime, the people elected to serve the state should reject the bills outright.

Gloria Rivera is a leader with Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit.

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We must organize for REAL COMMUNITY BENEFITS NOW more than ever!

We must organize for REAL COMMUNITY BENEFITS NOW more than ever!

April 2017, Detroit – The City’s new Community Benefits process for development is being rolled out. The process isn’t inclusive, isn’t legally binding and is not what Detroiters deserve. Proposal B was bad last year at the polls and now we’re seeing that it is even worse at play in our communities.

  • Invitations and outreach about meetings have been haphazard and with short notice resulting in confusion for residents and poor representation.
  • Rather than encouraging participation from census tracts, the initial roll-out, in some cases has limited stakeholder status to an “impact area”  of 300 radial feet around the project.
  • Meeting facilitators have disrespected community members by over-managing the process and silencing critical community voice.
  • Any resistance to the process or project is considered disruptive rather than advocacy for real community engagement, equitable development and for those who will experience the impact of these developments the most.

Across the city, Detroiters are stepping up, asking questions, putting elected officials on notice, interrupting the process and making rational demands on many public-funded projects being introduced.


Detroiters Deserve and Demand:

  • More meaningful interaction with everyday people in the community.
  • Meeting organizers must make a real effort to include everyone  who will experience the impact of the project without discrimination or favoritism.
  • More than one meeting is required for real community engagement.
  • Developers must respect the people in the communities they move into, the people whose money they are taking and whose lives will be changed by the project.
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Lansing Watch: Gilbert Bill Package being considered in Lansing this morning


This week bills are being considered in the Michigan Legislature that will shift our public dollars towards private (for-profit) projects.  These bills are being pushed by mega-billionaire Dan Gilbert, apparently to support his next big project Downtown with our tax dollars. The “Transformational Brownfield Plan” bill package, SB 111-115, is on the Tax Policy Committee agenda on Wednesday, March 22, 2017

  • Tax breaks should be reserved for projects and programs that will help Detroit and other municipalities across the state restore their infrastructure and benefit the neighborhoods that host large-scale projects.
  • Our representatives should make sure public dollars are reserved for schools and other public facilities.
  • Detroit and the entire state has suffered for far too long from these types of tax schemes that have not created sustainable change in our communities.

THIS MORNING:
The Tax Policy Committee meeting can be watched live at 10:30am:

http://house.michigan.gov/MHRTV/mhrtv_channel1.html

Tax Policy Committee Members:

Jim Tedder (R) Committee Chair, 43rd District
PHONE: 517-373-0615
EMAIL: JimTedder@house.mi.gov

David Maturen (R) Majority Vice-Chair, 63rd District
PHONE: 517-373-1787
EMAIL: DavidMaturen@house.mi.gov

Martin Howrylak (R) 41st District
PHONE: 517-373-1783
TOLL FREE: 877-248-0001
EMAIL: MartinHowrylak@house.mi.gov

Klint Kesto (R) 39th District
PHONE: 517-373-1799
EMAIL: KlintKesto@house.mi.gov

Peter Lucido (R) 36th District
PHONE: 517-373-0843
EMAIL: PeterLucido@house.mi.gov

Hank Vaupel (R) 47th District
PHONE: 517-373-8835
EMAIL: HankVaupel@house.mi.gov

Steven Johnson (R) 72nd District
Phone: (517) 373-0840
Email: StevenJohnson@house.mi.gov

Bronna Kahle (R) 57th District
(517) 373-1706
BronnaKahle@house.mi.gov

James Lower (R) 70th District
Phone: (517) 373-0834
Email: JamesLower@house.mi.gov

Wendell Byrd (D) Minority Vice-Chair, 3rd District
Phone: (517) 373-0144
Email: wendellbyrd@house.mi.gov

Sheldon Neeley (D) 34th District
Phone: (517) 373-8808
Email: SheldonNeeley@house.mi.gov

Jim Ellison (D) 26th District
Phone: (517) 373-3818
Email: JimEllison@house.mi.gov

Abdullah Hammoud (D) 15th District
Phone: (517) 373-0847
Email: AbdullahHammoud@house.mi.gov

 

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Development Watch: A busy week!

Inline image 1

Tonight! Monday March 20th, 5pm at Henry Ford Health System, Suite 1C00, please enter through the Third St. entrance.

The city is calling this meeting part of a “community benefits process.” These high-profile developments create the conditions for displacement of long term Detroiters.

 

  • Real Community Benefits are more than game tickets and basketball courts.
  • Real Community Benefits would address the conditions for displacement that this project will create.
  • Real Community Benefit Agreements are legally binding, NOT just meetings and more broken promises.


This meeting is what Community Benefits look like under the watered down wording of Proposal B that just barely passed over Proposal A. Nearly 100,000 people voted for Prop A, which would have created a legally binding agreement for this and other large scale development in Detroit. Proposal B was bogus last year at the ballot and now that it’s in place it’s still bad.

Inline image 2

Tuesday Evening, March 21st, 5:30pm at Henry Ford Health System, One Ford Place Room 3B25 (Parking available in the Third Street lot)

The City of Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (DBRA) is considering a proposed brownfield plan for the Detroit Pistons Corporate Headquarters and Practice Facility Campus Redevelopment. The eligible property consists of three (3) parcels located at 6201 Second Avenue and 690 Amsterdam, north of Amsterdam and between Second Avenue and Third Avenue in Detroit’s Midtown/New Center Area. All interested persons desiring to make public comments will be afforded an opportunity to be heard at the public hearing and are invited to provide written testimony or materials concerning the Brownfield Plan. Further information and a copy of the proposed Brownfield Plan may be obtained from the offices of the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, 500 Griswold, Suite 2200, and Detroit, MI 48226, (313) 483-4150. The public hearing and this notice have been authorized by the City of Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.

 

Inline image 3

Wednesday the Gilbert-backed Corporate Welfare Bill Package is on the agenda in the Tax Policy Committee of the House. We will share more details soon.

Tax Policy Committee:
Jim Tedder
(R) Committee Chair, 43rd District
David Maturen
(R) Majority Vice-Chair, 63rd District
Martin Howrylak
(R) 41st District
Klint Kesto
(R) 39th District
Peter Lucido
(R) 36th District
Hank Vaupel
(R) 47th District
Steven Johnson
(R) 72nd District
Bronna Kahle
(R) 57th District
James Lower
(R) 70th District
Wendell Byrd
(D) Minority Vice-Chair, 3rd District
Sheldon Neeley
(D) 34th District
Jim Ellison
(D) 26th District
Abdullah Hammoud
(D) 15th District

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Proposed Capital Budget and Impact on DDOT

Proposed Capital Budget and Impact on DDOT

This past February, the city council held hearings for the Capital Agenda – a multi-year plan that sets budget standards for purchasing equipment, maintenance of city property, including recreation centers, Rosa Parks Transit Center, warehouses, maintenance facilities like the Shoemaker Terminal, and other facilities the city maintains.

The bulk of capital funding recommended and forecasted through 2018 and some years after will focus on vehicle replacement, purchasing of more buses, and mid-life vehicle overhaul. Other investments include security, technology upgrades, and equipment.

This means the city will focus on upgrading and purchasing of more buses that include both standard and the longer 60ft articulated buses. However, this also means that we will continue to deal with bus stops without seating and shelter outside of busy areas where passengers use transfers and main streets.

On February 24th, Dan Dirks, Director of the Detroit Department of Transportation, submitted the DDOT budget request for the upcoming budget year in the budget hearings for city council. The total proposed budget for DDOT through 2018 is $133 million. According to the Four Year Financial Plan (Plan of Adjustment) that lasts through fiscal year 2019, the Department of Transportation budget breaks down into four major areas –  department administration, plant maintenance, vehicle maintenance, and transportation. The budget plan defines vehicle maintenance of “providing clean, safe, and reliable coaches and support vehicles for daily use”, this is the city’s spending on the buses. Transportation is responsible for the day to day bus operation for passengers in the DDOT service area.

The proposed budget plan for DDOT vehicle maintenance and transportation for 2017-2019 is as follows

Vehicle Maintenance:
2017 – 2018: $29.1 million
2018-  2019: $27.9 million

Transportation
(Vehicle operation and ADA Transportation Service):
2017 – 2018: $48,723,113
2018 – 2019: $47,898,385

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20 Minute Neighborhoods and you!

20 Minute Neighborhoods and you!

In May of 2016 Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan introduced the concept of the 20-Minute neighborhood as part of revitalization and development plans for the future of Detroit. The objective of the 20-Minute neighborhood is to create pedestrian and cyclist friendly communities where residents are able to meet their basic needs within a 20 minute walk or bike ride from their front door.

While not a new concept, similar plans have been implemented nationally including in the cities of Portland and Baltimore.

Mayor Duggan’s plan has at least one very Detroit specific metric:
20 minutes from Blight! One should not encounter blighted buildings, derelict streetscapes, nor crumbling infrastructure within a 20 minute walking radius.

In theory the concept of 20 minute neighborhoods appears positive:

  • They create higher density neighborhoods.
  • Reduce or eliminate the need for a car.
  • Lead to better community health outcomes and the reduction of negative environmental impacts.

However, there are real concerns about how existing residents of the targeted areas are included or excluded from the planning process.

  • Historically, mass development of “blighted areas” especially when tagged with a revitalization label, has led to mass scale push out of existing neighborhood residents.
  • As areas become more desirable, the rising rates of property costs make the goal of homeownership less accessible for the existing and often low income residents, as seen in the former Cass Corridor area.
  • In the case of Downtown Detroit as rental housing stock has gone into high demand, outright displacement of existing residents, primarily seniors, has occurred.

The current neighborhoods in some form of the planning or implementation phase of the 20-Minute Neighborhood are:

  • West Village
  • Southwest
  • Live6/Fitzgerald
  • Jefferson/Chalmers
  • West Grand Blvd.
  • The North End
  • Russell Woods/Nardin Park

While these areas are all in need of resource development, revitalization should not mean the removal of long-time members of these communities.