Dave Bing | Michigan Radio
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Dave Bing

A community meeting with Detroit Mayor Dave Bing came to an abrupt and early end last night.

Bing and members of his administration were booed and heckled offstage after about 20 minutes.

Before the meeting broke down, Bing took questions from a few people. Most were angry questions, about issues ranging from the city’s lagging bus system, to a proposal to let the state lease Belle Isle.

DetroitMI.gov

Detroit has become a poster child for the struggling Rust Belt city, and its struggles affect both Southeast Michigan  and the entire state.

This is why the possible mayoral candidacy of Mike Duggan is going to be closely watched.

Duggan—former aide to Wayne County Executive Edward McNamara, former Wayne County prosecutor, and now CEO of the Detroit Medical Center (DMC)—has filed the paperwork needed to set up a campaign committee for a possible run to become the next Mayor of Detroit.

Commentary: Detroit’s next mayor

Sep 27, 2012

Ten years or so ago, I went to talk to the powerful and flamboyant medical malpractice lawyer Geoffrey Fieger, probably best known for successfully defending Dr. Jack Kevorkian in a series of sensational, high-profile assisted suicide trials.

He said he was thinking about running for mayor of Detroit, and wanted my confidential advice. I told him I thought that was a brilliant idea, but that there were only three things wrong with it.

DetroitMI.gov

Detroit Medical Center chief Mike Duggan has all-but-officially thrown his hat into the Detroit mayor’s race.

Duggan filed papers Wednesday to create a campaign committee to raise money while he explores that possibility.

"I've never seen things this bad," Duggan said in a statement explaining his run. "This month we had 32 murders in 15 days, the city's plan to replace streetlights collapsed in Lansing, and the city just ran up another $40 million deficit in the last quarter despite the consent agreement.

There's been talk, and now it's official. Mike Duggan has filed papers this morning indicating a run for the Detroit mayor's office. The seat is up for a vote in next year's election. Duggan is the CEO of the Detroit Medical Center. Update 10:17 a.m. - Mike Duggan released a statement this morning about forming an exploratory committee for a mayoral run. From the statement: "Exploratory Committee Chairman Conrad Mallett explained the formation of the committee was a legal necessity. Michigan law requires a committee be established in order to receive or spend money, even at the exploratory stage. 'Over the next 90 days, the Committee --Mike Duggan for Mayor Exploratory Committee-- will meet with citizens, block clubs, neighborhood organizations and community leaders to assess Mike's support in the city,' Mallett said. 'We'll also have a broad presence on the Web to give anyone and everyone a chance to weigh-in on what Mike and this team should do, including what problems, issues and solutions the average citizen wants addressed.'"

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Another shuttered fire station in Detroit has been vandalized.

City officials confirmed Monday night that the former Engine 10 quarters in southwest Detroit was hit by vandals, and that some copper piping was stolen.

A fire department spokesman would not release further details about the extent of the vandalism Tuesday, saying the department was still looking into it.

Commentary: Acid test for Detroit

Sep 20, 2012

Does Detroit have any chance of avoiding bankruptcy and a state takeover of some kind? Frankly, I don’t know. The odds right now look bad for the city being able to continue governing itself.

But miracles and surprises happen. And right now, something is going on which should be a pretty clear test of whether those running the Michigan’s largest city can avoid disaster.

For the second time in as many weeks, the Detroit City Council is taking legal action to force the hand of Mayor Dave Bing.

During a Tuesday meeting, the Council voted to seek a temporary restraining order to stop proposed changes in the city’s health department.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Without major changes, it looks like the proposal to turn Detroit’s Belle Isle into a state park doesn’t have a shot with the Detroit City Council.

City Council members blasted the proposal at a meeting Tuesday, calling it, among other things, “ridiculous” and “terrible.”

Mayor Dave Bing and Governor Snyder outlined the plan last week. It calls for the city to lease Belle Isle to the state for 30 years. In return, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources would maintain the island. The state would also make some as-yet-unspecified major upgrades.

Commentary: Restoring Belle Isle

Sep 13, 2012

There was some good news yesterday for those who care about this state. Governor Rick Snyder and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announced a deal to turn Belle Isle, the city’s neglected jewel of an island park, over to state management for the next thirty years.

Under the agreement, the state would pour millions into Belle Isle, fixing up facilities that have become shabby. They would restore shelters and restrooms; shore up buildings that are starting to crumble, and make the park safe and family-friendly. 

The Detroit City Council wants information from Mayor Dave Bing, and they say issuing a subpoena is the only way to get it.

The Council voted Wednesday to issue the subpoena.

Council member Saunteel Jenkin said it came to this because Bing has ignored repeated requests for documents.

“And this isn’t just [a case of] we asked last week, and we didn’t get it this week,” Jenkins said.

A glimpse of the disturbing Belle Isle to come - from today's press materials about the proposed Belle Isle agreement.
State of Michigan/City of Detroit

Many Detroiters have long been suspicious of outsiders coming in to control their city, but once they lay their eyes on what Mayor Dave Bing and Gov. Rick Snyder have in store for the city's crown jewel, Belle Isle Park, they finally have real reasons to be afraid.

Belle Isle, it appears, will soon be overtaken by Photoshopped people from Pleasantville.

Only Detroiters won't have the pleasure of romping around their Utopia with Toby Maguire and Reese Witherspoon. They'll have to share the park with out-of-proportion picnickers, a cardboard blue heron, and a dancing DNR park ranger.

The James Scott Memorial Fountain on Belle Isle Park.
Mike Russell / wikimedia commons

Today, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and Gov. Rick Snyder announced a plan to manage and restore Belle Isle. The plan will go before Detroit City Council for approval.

It calls for park operations, maintenance, and improvements to be managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources under a 30-year lease agreement. MDOT would maintain roads and bridges on Belle Isle.

The city of Detroit would maintain ownership of the park.

DETROIT (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing have called a news conference on the future of Belle Isle park, a tattered green gem that has been subject of a city-state power struggle.

Mayoral spokeswoman Naomi Patton says Bing and Snyder will announce a park leasing agreement at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in Bing's downtown office.

Proposals for a Michigan takeover of the under-maintained 985-acre park have met fierce opposition from some local officials who call it a state power grab.

Commentary: Ballot madness in Detroit

Sep 10, 2012

If you live in Detroit, I want to wish you good luck trying to wrestle with your election ballot this November.

The rest of us Michigan voters are going to be asked to decide six complex statewide ballot proposals, which is far too many. But Detroiters are going to face a total of ten proposals.

That would be ridiculous, even if this were an enlightened state like Oregon, where everyone is mailed a ballot so they have time to study the races and issues before casting an informed vote.

Commentary: Watching the conventions

Sep 5, 2012

I grew up a pathetic political junkie of the worst kind. I've been avidly watching and occasionally attending conventions since I was eight years old. I was so pathetic that I would rather have watched Stuart Symington speak than Rocky Colavito play ball.

However, while that didn’t make me one of the cool kids, it does give me some basis for comparison, and there is no doubt that Michelle Obama’s speech to the Democratic National Convention last night was one of the best I have ever heard.

Bob Jagendorf / Flickr

DETROIT (AP) — The 22nd of each month will become a "No Violence Day in Detroit" following a proclamation by Mayor Dave Bing.

Bing is expected to issue the proclamation Wednesday evening to the United Communities of America at Fellowship Chapel on the city's northwest side.

Concerns about violent crime in Detroit are rising.

Through Aug. 12, the number of homicides is one fewer than the 221 committed over the same period last year. Assault, larceny, rape and car theft reports are up.

The state police and Wayne County sheriff's office are assisting Detroit police on patrols in some city neighborhoods.

The United Communities of America helped organize a January "Thou Shall Not Kill" motorcade led by hearses through crime-ridden neighborhoods to call an end to killings in the city.

Detroit officials are showing off progress on some of Mayor Dave Bing’s signature initiatives.

Bing toured a rehabbed historic house in the city’s once-prestigious Boston-Edison neighborhood Tuesday. Boston-Edison has historically been one of the city’s stronger communities, but it’s seen blight creep in steadily over recent years.

Mayor's Office / City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says a judge’s order blocking 12-hour shifts for police officers will make it harder to balance the budget and keep the city safe.

"Absolutely. No doubt about it," he said. "I think some of the initiatives that we were putting forward was for two different reasons – once again, to make sure we stay within our budget, but also to keep as many police officers on the street as we possibly could and keeping them in the neighborhoods. So this doesn’t help."

detroitmi.gov / City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says the pace of the city’s recovery is being slowed by delays in Lansing. The mayor says the Legislature is taking too long to create an independent authority to help Detroit and other cities keep their street lights on.

WXYZ 7 Detroit

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announced a plan today that may help illuminate some of the city's darkest streets and freeways.

The plan aims to fix 3,300 reported burned out lights, broken light posts, or light outages in six months after the creation of a public lighting authority.

But in order to establish the new authority, the state Legislature must approve a bill allowing communities to establish lighting authorities.

Bing says the plan also needs the passage of a utility users' tax and suspension of an income tax rollback.

Photo courtesty of Birmingham Public Schools

Detroit’s Water and Sewerage Department will slash its workforce in a drastic overhaul set to take place over at least five years.

The move comes as city and department officials move to stem soaring water rates as they deal with rising maintenance and operation costs.

City and department officials say they’ll move to contract out most of the department’s non-core functions.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan, the city of Detroit and the Detroit Public Schools have launched an intensive effort to stabilize some city neighborhoods.

The targeted interventions focus on three major areas around a total of nine schools across the city.

The effort officially kicked off Thursday afternoon outside Clark Preparatory Academy in Detroit’s Morningside neighborhood, on the city’s east side. Other targeted areas include the communities around Bagley and Bates schools in northwest Detroit, and several schools including the Roberto Clemente Academy in southwest Detroit.

myfoxdetroit.com

Several hundred Detroit police officers, firefighters and other municipal union members have rallied in protest of wage and benefits cuts called for in new city contracts.

Holding aloft some signs that read: "Highest Crime Rate. Lowest Pay," workers, retirees and their supporters marched today around City Hall.

The rally was organized by Detroit police unions.

Mayor Dave Bing imposed new contracts on unions whose previous deals expired June 30. Salaries will be cut by 10 percent, and employees must come up with 20 percent of their medical costs.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Signs of a widening rift between Detroit and state officials cropped up Tuesday, as rhetoric heated up over what’s going to happen to Detroit’s Belle Isle.

According to news reports, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said he’s rejected the state’s proposed offer to lease Belle Isle for 99 years.

A provision in Detroit’s consent agreement with Lansing provides for creating park funding for Belle Isle, while ensuring continued City ownership by designating  Belle Isle as part of a cooperative state relationship with Milliken State Park” on Detroit’s riverfront.

wikimedia commons

Rumors are running rampant in the Detroit Police Department after the city imposed a pay cut and changes to work rules on most officers.

That’s according to officers who spoke privately about what those changes will do to the city’s long-troubled police force.

Just before Mayor Dave Bing imposed the new contract terms, including a 10 percent pay cut, Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. praised his officers for their dedication.

“They could do other things," Godbee said. "Nobody has checked it in, nobody has hung up their badge and gun at the door.”

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit has launched an effort to take down more than 150 vacant homes in one city neighborhood.

The effort kicked off at one intersection in southwest Detroit, where multiple apartment buildings stood vacant and scrapped.

The demolition campaign is part of Mayor Dave Bing’s plans to demolish 1500 abandoned buildings citywide by fall.

It’s also tied to Bing’s Detroit Works project, which is an effort to direct resources into stemming blight in some of the city’s more stable neighborhoods.

An abandoned home in Detroit
Kate Davidson / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit will receive $10 million of a statewide $25 million fund to counter blight in Michigan.

Last month, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing pledged to demolish 10,000 vacant buildings in the city by December 2013, the end of his four-year term.

The state funding comes during the mayor's "Summer 2012 Demolition Plan," during which he plans to raze 1,500 buildings by this September.

Some of those buildings went down today. In a media advisory this morning, the Mayor's Office said,

Four apartment buildings and another dangerous structure will be razed simultaneously Thursday morning in the Detroit Works Project Demonstration Area #3.

The demolition funds come from the state's $97 million share of a national settlement with banks over faulty foreclosure processes.  Yesterday, the Michigan house and senate voted on how to divvy up the money across state projects.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has imposed new contract terms on nearly all city workers.

The move comes a day after the Detroit City Council rejected those terms. But the city’s consent agreement with the state lets city officials impose them anyway.

Bing said it was a tough decision, but a necessary one.

“It’s not easy," he told reporters Wednesday morning. "I know it’s going to be difficult for a lot of people. But I’ve got to worry about 700,000 people in the city of Detroit, not just the workers.”

Dave Bing
Mayor Dave Bing / Facebook.com

Today, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing decided to go ahead and impose new contract terms that will cut wages by 10 percent and drastically change their work rules for many of Detroit's city union workers.

This decision comes after the Detroit City Council voted down the proposed plan yesterday, 5-4.

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