Showing posts from March, 2014

What To Save: DIA or Detroit

I profess not to know the value of all the art held at the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA). Further, I do not know how much of the art is owned by the city of Detroit. I think we should find out and use it in the best way possible to save Detroit and its citizens. I commend all the foundations and the state of Michigan who have stepped up with hundreds of millions of dollars in proposed contributions to save the DIA and the art work that it holds. Is the plan presented to the creditors concerning these donations and the leveraging of the art the best way to save Detroit and its citizens? Is saving the artwork more important than saving the city and its citizens? Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press made a valid point with his editorial titled " Detroit's Rebirth Must Include More Than Downtown, Midtown ". Detroit will not succeed if it does not cultivate a middle class and we cannot wait decades from now to complete the task. Wouldn't it be a better idea f

Latest Headlines About Detroit

THe links below were taken from an email from the Manhattan Institute. How can Orr tell creditors to get serious when he has no proposal on the table concerning Detroit Water and Sewer Department that is crumbling and difficult to value? This could be thw white elephant in the room. Detroit Seeks To Privatize Its Water System ,  The Wall Street Journal , 3-25-14 EM Kevyn Orr Says Creditors Need To 'Get Serious' ,  Detroit Free-Press , 3-25-14 Orr Says Time For Bankruptcy Talks Running Out , Bloomberg News, 3-24-14 Snyder, Orr Upbeat About Detroit At NYC Policy Forum ,  Detroit News , 3-25-14 $120 Million Detroit Financing Plan Going To Vote , Associated Press, 3-24-14 Detroit EM Wants Bankruptcy Plan Confirmed By Fall , Reuters, 3-24-14 Detroit EM Says Creditor Support Is Mounting ,, 3-24-14 Snyder, Orr To Discuss Detroit's Future At NYC Policy Forum ,  Detroit News , 3-22-14

When Free Trade Does Not Work

Free trade does not work if you are dealing with a country that uses slave labor or sacrifices other important issues like the environment or safety. Improving the environment does not happen without costs. The United States invests in technology to help improve our air quality and purity of our drinking water. Saving our forest land comes with a price. Investing in solar energy helps future generations to live in a better environment but presently it is expensive compared to fossil fuels. "Trickle-down economics is a myth. Enriching corporations — as the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) would — will not necessarily help those in the middle, let alone those at the bottom." On the Wrong Side of Globalization , New York Times, March 15, 2014 From Above NYTimes Article Slavery was banned 150 years ago, even though treating the future generations of the slaves equally is still a work in progress. If other countries pay their unskilled workforce like slaves, we effectively

Michigan School Districts Ranked By Number Of Pupils

Below is an incomplete list of Michigan's school districts starting with the largest district, Diderot, plus the next 17 largest districts by number of students. The next largest district is Utica and it is 43% the size of Detroit. If I was on the DPS Board I would be visiting Utica, Dearborn, Plymouth, Walled Lake and Livonia to find out why they are doing so much better on the MEAP scores than DPS. If you want to improve you need to understand your competition.** This information was extracted from reports created by

Detroit Pensioners and Selling Art From DIA

I have to defend Mark White. He advocated using DIA art long before the rest of us realized its potential. I applaud him for that. There is a question in my mind as to whether there is significant value in the art to be able to sell it all with a result that pensioners are better off than with the current proposal on the table of getting almost $1 billion from foundations and the state and allocating all of those funds to help the retirees. Further remember the state portion of the $1 billion is a loan to the city to be paid back over time. If instead the decision is made to sell all of the art the proceeds from that sale would be distributed to all creditors and would the retirees share be greater than $1 billion? This is why a second appraisal is needed.

Bloomfield Hills Versus Detroit Public Schools

Click On Image To Enlarge It is worthwhile to compare Detroit Public Schools to Bloomfield Hills Public Schools, which according to had the 6th highest MEAP scores for the 2013 school year in Michigan. Here are some observations. >> There is 55,000 more students attending DPS schools than at BHPS. >> The local community spent $6,300 more per pupil in Bloomfield Hills than Detroit >> The state spent $240 more per pupil in Detroit versus Bloomfield Hills >> The federal government spent $4,312 more per pupil in Detroit versus Bloomfield Hills. Here are some thoughts I have not validated but worth pondering. 1. Like other things in life, perhaps size matters. Detroit should consider breaking down its school system in smaller pieces in order to have better local control. 2. The more money the state has invested in a school system the more they feel the need to maintain some influence and control. 3. The more the Federal Government ha

Detroit Public Schools Fall Further Behind

For the school year ending in the summer of 2013 Detroit Public Schools fell further behind the rest of its peers throughout the state of Michigan. This information was gathered from School  as summarized by the chart below. The decline at the Detroit Public Schools has not stopped and if Detroit is going to become a top city again it must consider drastic change as suggested in S hadow Detroit Public School Board . The proposal is far from perfect however it is a starting point. It is good that Michigan, through the EAA, is interested in improving the schools, but it is a big mistake to not have local individuals, parents and teachers, a say in what is being done. After all, sooner or later the EAA is leaving Detroit and it is still the parents and students who have the most to gain or lose. The chart below summarizes the decline.

A Vote In Ukraine?

Sergey V. Lavrov, John Kerry's counterpart in Russia said, "The statement added that the “threats and ultimatums” made it difficult to reach “honest arrangements” that would help stabilize the situation in Ukraine, apparently referring to blistering statements by Mr. Kerry and other officials." As E.U. Meets, Crimea Moves to Hold Vote on Joining Russia , New York Times, March 6, 2013 Someone needs to remind Russia their occupation of Ukraine makes it impossible to reach "honest arrangements". There is some sense to having the eastern region voting on whether it wants to become part of Russia. The key will be the vote must not be influenced by outside forces including Russia and the west. The only way to do this is by vote of the regions citizens that is closely monitored by the U.N.. The vote also needs to occur without Russian occupation. Russia must withdraw all of its troops to remove the intimidation factor. A Russian solider on guard with a military r

Putin McCain and Graham

Remember the last time we rushed into war? In 2003 we invaded Iraq because they had weapons of mass destruction. Almost 10 years later we withdrew from that country that had no WMD's with thousands of our solders maimed and killed. The war also led to the deaths of 100's of thousands of Iraqis. We expended billions of dollars that could have either helped us balance our budget, repair our infrastructure or improve education and given more citizens the opportunity to pursue the American Dream. Over the last several days two war hawks, Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator John McCain have pounded the drum to do something more than talk concerning Ukraine. Mr. Graham is demanding the President support the removal of Russia from the G-8. while Senator McCain is clamoring Obama needs to take action. The problems in Ukraine unfolded less than three weeks ago and so much for supporting our Commander and Chief. it is important to remember the background of these two senators. Se

Ukraine And Some Views From Russia

Here is a very good discussion of the Ukraine crisis including some perspective from the Russian side. A case is made that the President was improperly removed.