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Transit Newsletter & EARNED PAID SICK DAYS


We have compiled this newsletter to provide you with the latest updates in local transit. Included is a timeline of recent transit history and a breakdown of Proposal One, a bill that among many changes will raise additional funds for public transit.

-We at the People’s Platform, in partnership with North End Woodward Community Coalition (NEWCC) seek a just transportation system that is respectful of and accessible to all transit riders; our current system does not reflect this commitment.

– Public transit is crucial piece of the public commons; it is a public good, paid for with public dollars. The benefits of transit investments must be broadly shared by the public.

-Since 2010, 30% of DDOT’s services have been cut. These cuts are hurting Detroit households and result in job loss and lack of access to medical facilities and schools. These cuts further isolate many Detroit neighborhoods, thus creating two Detroits.

-It is our duty to advocate for a just system and hold our leaders acountable to providing fair, accessible, and afford- able transit options for all Detroiters.

Are you are passionate about improving our public bus system, organizing your community in demanding accountability and changes, or just simply passionate about public transit and the wide benefits it provides?

We at Detroit People’s Platform, in partnership with NEWCC,
NEED YOU and YOUR VOICE! We need all community voices involved, as there are many changes heading our way. Keep Detroit in the conversation!


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Photostory: Detroiters About to Lose Their Homes Visit the Home of the Wayne County Treasurer for Prayer Vigil

Photostory: Detroiters About to Lose Their Homes Visit the Home of the Wayne County Treasurer for Prayer Vigil

Detroit, the largest majority African-American major city in the country now faces the largest forced housing eviction, possibly in the history of the United States. Wayne County Treasurer Wojtowicz is preparing to foreclose on 37,000 occupied homes affecting nearly 100,000 people, the equivalent of 1/6 of the city’s population. Many Detroiters and Wayne County Residents are being foreclosed upon due to incorrect tax bills with exaggerated property assessments and disputed water bill liens. Persistent and high rates of unemployment, government cuts to services Detroiters rely on and increased displacement and forced relocation will result in enormous physical and mental stress and trauma on children and families. As of today, the Treasurer has not done that which is fully in his power, to stop the foreclosures.


To build community trust and unity of expression and intent, vigil agreements we proposed and accepted when those participating staged the action at Eastern Market. The location of the vigil, the Wayne County Treasurers home, was not announced publicly until the participants began to get on the bus.


Denise Kennedy, of the Princeton Street Block Club and Rev Joan Ross of the Equitable Detroit Coalition attempt to deliver thousands of petitions to Raymond Wojtowicz, the Wayne County Treasurer who has the power to stop the largest mass tax foreclosure in US history. The woman who answered the door refused to accept the petitions and told Mrs Kennedy and Rev Ross to get off the porch.

IMG_1540Last night 50 Detroiters and Wayne County residents visited the home of Raymond Wojtowicz, the Wayne County Treasurer who has the power to stop the largest mass tax foreclosure in US history.

IMG_1566Today, Tuesday March 31st, Join Detroit People’s Platform members and supporters in our Call for National Outrage!

People from around the country are flooding Detroit Mayor Duggan’s office with calls, messages and on social media demand he remove all tax liens for past-due water bills. They are also be calling, messaging and addressing Wayne County Treasurer-Elect Wojtowicz (Voy Toe Vich) on social media to demand that he stop the displacement of families in the largest tax foreclosure in one city, at one time, in US history.

Mayor Duggan
(313) 224-3400

Treasurer-Elect Wojtowicz
(313) 224-5990

#PeoplesPlatform #OurCity

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Detroiters Working to Keep Families in their Homes Pack Council Meeting

Detroiters Working to Keep Families in their Homes Pack Council Meeting

News from The People’s Platform

Detroiters Working to Keep Families in their Homes Pack Council Meeting
Almost one sixth of population could be kicked out of their homes

DETROIT – Members of the Detroit People’s Platform were among those that packed a Detroit City Council meeting to support a resolution for a moratorium on home tax foreclosures in Detroit.  March 31 could mark the day that Detroit sets the record for the largest number of tax foreclosures in US History on a single day. About 100,000 people could be forced from their homes because of tax foreclosures from Wayne County. Families threatened with losing their homes because of their Wayne County tax bill were among many that spoke out at the Council meeting.


Platform Members and supporters at City Council Meeting to present a People’s Resolution, Petition Signatures and public comment on the Mass Tax Foreclosure planned next week in Detroit. Photo Credit detroitcommunicator.com

The Detroit People’s Platform turned in thousands of petition signatures from people calling for a moratorium on foreclosure. Platform members also read a People’s Resolution to Stop the Foreclosures that shared the demands of impacted residents, community groups and the Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan (EJAM), Equitable Detroit Coalition (EDC), Storehouse of Hope, North End Woodward Community Coalition (NEWCC), and the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice.

“Detroit families have added keeping their homes to list of struggles people are facing every day such as water shut offs and poor public transportation,” said Linda Campbell of the Detroit People’s Platform. “It is essential that the Detroit City Council join with their constituents to hold this city together. We can’t tolerate thousands of hard working people becoming homeless.”

"PUBLIC COMMENT: THE PEOPLE'S PLATFORM... STOP THE FORECLOSURE" Linda Campbell, Building Movement, Detroit People's Platform reads a People's Resolution into the public record and presents thousands of signatires to Detroit City Council, March 24, 2015 Photo Credit: Detroit Council Pres. Brenda Jones Facebook Page

“PUBLIC COMMENT: THE PEOPLE’S PLATFORM… STOP THE FORECLOSURE” Linda Campbell, Building Movement, Detroit People’s Platform reads a People’s Resolution into the public record and presents thousands of signatures to Detroit City Council, March 24, 2015 Photo Credit: Detroit Council Pres. Brenda Jones Facebook Page

Those working to keep Wayne County tax foreclosures from creating yet another crisis in the city are asking for a moratorium on foreclosures to allow newly enacted safeguards to kick in. Council Member Castañeda-López put forth for a Council Resolution of the Foreclosure Crisis on Monday, March 24 and it is currently being prepared. Council will vote on the resolution this week.

“We have new tax laws that haven’t had time to work and we know property in Detroit has been over-assessed resulting in unfair tax bills,” said Aaron Handelsman of the Detroit People’s Platform. “It’s really only fair that the new laws and fair values be used before thousands are summarily ejected from their homes.”


“PUBLIC COMMENT: the Detroit People’s Platform…. That a halt be placed on all Tax Foreclosures for a one year, remove all tax liens for past due water bills, pass a Community Benefits Agreement Ordinance that insures pair and equitable development and Promote Housing Security by enacting a Community Land Trust policy and redefining Neighborhood Affordability to reflect the economic reality of low income communities.” Aaron Handelsman, Detroit People’s Platform reads a People’s Resolution into the public record at Detroit City Council, March 24, 2015 Photo Credit: Detroit Council Pres. Brenda Jones Facebook Page












Sign the Petition!

Take ActionWayne County Treasurer-elect Wojtowicz is in charge of foreclosing on 37,000 occupied homes for overdue property taxes on March 31st, affecting nearly 100,000 people. This represents the largest mass tax foreclosure in US history in one city at one time. Treasurer Wojtowicz has the power to stop it.

Detroiters are being foreclosed upon due to incorrect tax bills with exaggerated property assessments and disputed water bill liens.

Long-time residents are the heart and soul of Detroit. Ongoing displacement of our families from mortgage and tax foreclosures has been devastating. Public services are being cut and privatized, and Detroiters are being pushed out of their generational homes. To now lose another 100,000 residents would cut the city’s total population by 1/6 and tear a hole in the city’s cultural and economic fabric that can never be replaced.

Sign the petition to let the Wayne County Treasurer know that 100,000 Detroit residents need a place to call home!

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People’s Platform NEWS Five – Democracy by Authority

The latest edition of the Detroit People’s Platform News hit the streets on January 26th. Proudly printed in a union shop, 5,000 copies will be distributed through Platform members in their neighborhoods and through community hubs city-wide.

This edition features:

  • Update: CBA Ordinance
  • Announcing WNUC 96.7 FM
  • Right to the City
  • Special Report: The Restructuring of Detroit, Democracy by Authority
    • Join the People’s Platform Authority Watch
    • Changes in City Governance
    • The Anatomy of an Authority
  • People’s Platform Report-Out 2014

Download the pdf!

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People'sPlatformNews5pg1sm  People'sPlatformNews5pgs2_3smPeople'sPlatformNews5pg4sm

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Special Report: The Restructuring of Detroit, Democracy by Authority


The Plan of Adjustment and Financial Oversight
On Monday, November 10th, 2014 Judge Stephen Rhodes approved the eighth version of the Plan of Adjustment. This brought Detroit’s bankruptcy to a close and ended Emergency Management of our municipal government. Detroit Public Schools remain under Emergency Management and have been since 2009. The Plan of Adjustment is intended to prevent Detroit from going into bankruptcy again and to establish the means for Detroit to continue to provide basic city services.

While some power has been returned to the city’s Mayor and Council with Kevyn Orr’s exit, state oversight continues through the Detroit Financial Review Commission that will handle the city’s books and large contracts for at least the next 13 years. The 9-member commission was established by the “Grand Bargain” that brought law makers, private investors, and foundations together to “rescue” the Detroit Institute of Arts from the threat of liquidation to cover pension obligations and that removed it from municipal ownership.DetroitTimeLine

The Rise of Authorities
The Governor’s Declaration of a State of Emergency in Detroit in 2013 and use of Emergency Management to facilitate the city’s Bankruptcy has greatly changed the structure of our municipal government. These changes were accomplished through many means, three being:

  •     Executive Orders from Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr that altered aspects of the recently ratified Detroit City Charter. The dissolution of the CDCs being one example.
  •     Legislation from Lansing signed by Governor Snyder that created or made way for the creation of authorities like the Regional Transit Authority and the Great Lakes Water Authority.
  •     Changes in executive administration made by both Mayors Bing and Duggan shifted power and responsibility from city departments to Authorities that have little or no such accountability.

Authorities are used to:

  •     Transfer  public assets into corporate profits
  •     Work around local power by inserting regional and state oversight
  •     Shift policy from the “common good” to what’s good for business
  •     Shift public dollars and resources to for profit entities through operations and management contracts; often displacing public workers and union contracts in the process
  •      Acquire investment and funds through the writing of bonds unavailable to municipal departments due to negative credit ratings.
  •      Overcome ethical or moral issues, like mass water shut-offs by replacing the social contract with the bottom line.

Anatomy of an AUTHORITY


In-depth information on 4 of the many Authorities that have been created or empowered during Detroit’s restructuring.

Great Lakes Water AUTHORITY
The Great Lakes Water Authority will be funded by a $50 million annual lease for 40 years. Detroit will continue to own and control its local water mains and sewer system. Roughly $20 million will come from Detroit.

The regional authority will be governed by a board made up of two members appointed by the Mayor of Detroit and one appointed from each from Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties and the Governor.  Major decisions, such as rate increases, will require five of the six votes to be approved.

The authority will provide public disclosure of all contracts on the authority’s website as well as competitive bidding on contracts.

There is not currently a way for citizens to file complaints. The authority does not currently have a website or contact information posted.

Public Lighting AUTHORITY of Detroit
The legislation that created the authority allocated $12.5 million annually from the City’s Utility Users Tax, which originally was levied to pay for public safety activities. That source was chosen because the marketability of the bonds required a secured revenue stream and public lighting is clearly an important part of insuring public safety. The law also allocated a portion of the City income tax to public safety to ensure that funding for the Police Department remains whole.

This dedicated revenue stream and its independent status enabled the PLA to sell $185 million in bonds to fund the relighting of the city. The original goal was to sell $160 million worth of bonds, but a very favorable interest rate of 4.53 percent enabled the authority to sell $185 million in bonds, providing funds for an additional 10,000 lights, meaning a total of 65,000 lights will be installed.

The PLA is run by a five-member board, all of whom are Detroit residents. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and the Detroit City Council each appointed two board members and the fifth member was picked by council from a list of candidates provided by the mayor. Current members of the PLA board are Dr. Lorna Thomas, who serves as chair; Eva Garza Dewaelsche, vice chair; David Jones, secretary and Nicole Spieles. The CEO is Odis Jones, a Detroit native who has extensive experience in managing urban initiatives.

The PLA website (pladetroit.org) has the 2013-2014 audit as well as the 2014-2015 annual budget. They also have their construction schedule through 2015 available via a map of Detroit and a legal description of the work.

Under the contact us portion of their website, visitors can report a street light outage via phone, email, or online form. They provide a PDF that informs visitors whether or not they should contact them or DTE.

The PLA can be reached at info@pladetroit.org, by calling (313) 324-8290, on twitter.com/DetroitPLA , and on facebook.com/PublicLightingAuthority

The board published their meeting minutes on their website in PDF format. They also post meeting times and locations updating the website with cancellations and location/time changes. There is a community meetings tab on the website with no upcoming events.

Detroit Land Bank AUTHORITY
The Detroit Land Bank Authority is financed through property sales, government grants, philanthropic support, donations, and fees for service.

The Detroit Land Bank is governed by a board of five directors. Four are appointed by the Mayor of Detroit and approved by Detroit City Council, and one is appointed by the Executive Director of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). The current board members include Erica Ward Gerson (Chair), Marsha Bruhn (Vice Chair) Richard Hosey (Treasurer), Patricia Pernell Shelton, and Larry Lipa.

The Detroit Land Bank publishes meeting times and locations on their website along with some meeting minutes. Though they meet every month (subject to cancellation) they provide minutes from only 3, non consecutive,  months. Additionally, they publish quarterly reports as well as all contract and auction information.

There is no way to file a formal complaint. You can fill out an inquiry/question form on their website buildingdetroit.org, call 1-844-buy-dlba, or email info@detroitlandbank.org or communityrelations@detroitlandbank.org.

Regional Transit AUTHORITY
The RTA funding includes State Revenue, Charitable Contributions, seven percent of administrative fees from a Federal Transit Administrative Planning Grant, and State Match funding to support the FTA grant.

Its 10-member board is appointed for three year terms by the county executives of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, the chair of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners, the Mayor of Detroit, and the Governor of Michigan. The Governor’s appointee serves as chair and without a vote.

The RTA seems to be the most transparent of all four authorities. They have all of their policies published online as well as meeting information.

The RTA can be contacted by filling out a form on their website (rtamichigan.org), by phone (313) 402-1020, and by email info@rtasoutheastmichigan.org

The RTA provides access to all of their information on Rtamichigan.org. This includes fiscal budgets, bylaws, expense policies, and information regarding meetings.


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NEW! People’s Platform News, Election 2014

5,000 copies of the special ‘Election 2014’ issue of the People’s Platform News are hitting the streets this week. In addition to ‘getting out the vote’ and providing a breakdown of what is on the ballot in Detroit November 4th, there are also updates from the Detroit Community Land Trust Coalition, on the Community Benefits Agreement Ordinance, Good Jobs and more.

Copies of the People’s Platform News are distributed by People’s Platform Members and Allies in Detroit’s 7 Districts. If you would like to distribute papers please get in touch.

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