Saturday, April 14, 2012
Monday, April 09, 2012
Such projects should include, but not be limited to:
Saturday, April 07, 2012
Thursday, April 05, 2012
Regarding the recently accepted consent agreement between the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan, I want results. No more well-meaning but empty rhetoric from any of the principals involved: Mayor Bing, Governor Snyder, or the City Council. I want working streetlights: many neighborhoods have no working streetlights. On major thoroughfares it's bad enough, but in the broader neighborhoods, sometimes streetlights are the only ambient illumination (no businesses keeping lights on after dusk) and when they are gone, entire blocks are shunt into 'complete' darkness.
I want a regular police presence: I mean police cars patrolling the neighborhoods, officers on bicycles, and even beat-walking officers. Currently, people can wait for hours and longer after calling for police help-- and of course, sometimes police don't show up at all.
I want a responsive fire department, ambulances and emergency medical service: seconds literally count in emergency medical circumstances, and the current status-quo of frequently broken-down emergency vehicles and overall diminished number of vehicles is untenable.
I want reliable mass transit: currently, that means bus service, which in the past year has regressed from passable to maddeningly inefficient. Commuters are frequently stranded for hours waiting on an assortment of buses, and even if a bus shows up, it may be so packed that the rider deliberately passes by riders for lack of space. Bus drivers face a hostile, frustrated public, some of whom fall into the maniac category and have taken to physical assaults on drivers and even armed assault on buses.
I want blight removal to be taken seriously. Too many structures throughout the city: houses, apartments, storefronts, factory grounds, warehouses and more, lay empty and devastated. Many exist in half-demolished states that are not only eyesores but dangerous for the unwary passerby. Scrappers and urban-ruins explorers put their lives at risk entering and lurking in these buildings, whether for personal profit or a guerrilla-photography muse.
If city planners want to get a proper assessment on what residential and commercial developments are appropriate for the future, they need to be actively getting rid of blighted buildings. Almost no one wants to move in next door to a house that could double as a haunted house. Almost no one is willing to open a business where the adjacent property resembles a burned-out tomb. Records databases have to be drastically improved to see just who owns these properties to begin with. If absentee owners are heavily fined in the process, so much the better.
I want a non-obstructive, functional city bureaucracy. People shouldn't have to travel downtown to the Coleman A. Young Municipal Building to address every single civic issue. Parking is scarce downtown, and by default costs money that poorer folk and working-class folk have little of to spare. Many people take time off from work or school to address business at the CAY building. Time is precious. Most if not all city-business documents should be made available online, with a functioning, user-friendly website for people to navigate and download what they need. This would enable many forms to be filled out before people arrive in-person at city offices. Forms should be able to be filled out online as well (as well as a component to facilitate online payment.) This would help to streamline city government and reduce all the back-and-forth scenarios that frequently happen when a person is directed from one office to the next, and often with a limited time-window to achieve their goal.
I don't want this to last forever. I want Detroit's fiscal stability restored. Detroit's citizens deserves better. They deserve to not live as second-or-third-class citizens.
Sunday, April 01, 2012
I'm really not sure about the point of this article. What happened to supporting education for its own sake, and not just as a grudging stepping-stone move to theoretical long-term riches from athletics fame and endorsements? I think it would help if there were some published statistics that explain how many ex-college players ended up getting their undergraduate degree after leaving school to join the NBA or other professional teams. I suspect that it is far from 100%, or even 50%.
Sure enough, higher education can't be "forced" on anybody. But hey, America has become a place that is more invested in people having formal credentials-- and in most areas of "white collar" employment, that means a college degree of some kind. Even much "blue collar" employment nowadays requires some type of formal, vocational certification at the very least, even at the entry-level. America is not a place anymore where people can just have a high school diploma or a GED, and expect to find readily available entry-level jobs for those who are unskilled or semi-skilled.
In the past 10 years, look at the ascent of Jeremy Lin, Yao Ming, Mano Ginobli and other non-African-American players in the NBA. The league, as a corporate entity, is looking to recruit more from global and multicultural communities. Not everybody who jumps ship from college early to join the draft is going to become Kobe or LeBron. Not by a long shot. To "Make it" in the NBA, it's increasingly not good enough to just be a talented black American young man from the hood or suburbs anymore.
And when it comes to the post-athletics career, look at what's available. There are only so many slots to be TV sports commentators. Not every ex-athlete is guaranteed a front-office job, especially without a degree.