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Showing posts from December, 2014

Detroit's bankruptcy: Where was the press?

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Almost a year ago we asked the question of where was the press as the city of Detroit was in decline and with much corruption and mismanagement for the past ten years or so. Unfortunately we need to ask the same question once again. The city’s bankruptcy was recently wrapped up with the result being the net worth of Detroit declined as a direct result of this legal action. This is not supposed to happen. Once again, where was the Press? Was the press intimidated by big money? Big money was not on the side of the citizens of Detroit. Big money was on the side of the DIA and the foundations that contributed the art to the city. Big money was on the side of the Governor and other politicians. I found it interesting that Governor Snyder's opponent in last falls election did not raise any concerns about the bankruptcy during his campaign. Was he also influenced by big money at the expense of the city and its citizens? At the crux of the issue is the art held at the Detroit Institut

Grand Canyon and Detroit

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The recent bankruptcy of Detroit inappropriately analyzed what the art owned by the city was worth to Detroit. It only took into account what the art would sell for on the open market and ignored how the city could benefit by utilizing these assets in a different manner. Detroit will never have the opportunity to fully utilize the value of the art stored at the DIA because the Grand Bargain, which was the centerpiece of the Plan of Adjustment under the recent bankruptcy, accepted far less than it was worth. There were two appraisals of the art, one placing the value at $4.6 billion and the other at $8.5 billion . In either case both appraisals were substantially higher than the $500 million in present value terms that the city benefited by in the bankruptcy. The city walked away from at least $4 billion and got nothing in return. The logic used by those selling the Grand Bargain was that the city will still benefit from all of the dollars spent in the local economy by those visit

Trading art for city's future

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Why have we been stubborn about the issue of using Detroit's assets stored at the DIA to improve Detroit Public Schools (DPS)? Its about the future of the city and it's citizens. Our first thoughts concerning the art was it should not be sold and under Chapter 9 bankruptcy law the city was not obligated to sell the collection to pay debts so the art collection could be left in tact. We then went through a mental exercise assuming Detroit was a new city sitting on $10 billion in assets and it was our job to recommend the best use of the funds. The art was never fully appraised but a recent article in the Detroit Free Press indicated the Ford House sold one piece of art in 2013 for $100 million. Per The article, "Mullins said Ford House officials didn't release news of the sale when it occurred for fear of causing further problems for the DIA, which by then was at the center of the bankruptcy debate. DIA director Graham Beal, who was unaware of the C├ęzanne sale until

Race Relations: Do it for America's survival

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It is time to recognize all of us are in this together. Color does not matter. If we don’t, we will be surrendering our world influence to other nations, most notably China. They are smiling as we commit similar mistakes they made in their past. President Obama was right when in 2004 he said,   “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America—there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America—there's the United States of America. ”   If we cannot get along for any other reason, let’s do it for our own survival. We need to utilize all our resources and that includes citizens of all races. If we don't we will not keep up. Improving results from education, both black and white, must be a top priority. We cannot waste any resources we have, especially the human mind. The chart below shows our knowledge advantage over much of the world and we are losing it. I was in high school and college du

Narcotics Anonymous: Sort of

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I have a close friend and she is addicted to drugs, specifically heroin. This prompted me to read the book Narcotics Anonymous, which has modeled itself after Alcoholics Anonymous, in hopes of helping her by better understanding her problem. I am writing this more for myself, to better focus, then for anyone else. However, perhaps someone will find it helpful. Addiction is said to be a disease and when the addiction is to a harmful substance it can be life ruining and life threatening. There is no cure for the addiction. You either refrain from that which you are addicted or it consumes the individual and overtakes her. In some ways addition is like an allergy. I have a son who has a terrible reaction to bee stings that can be life threatening. He needs to avoid bee stings. The same is true of a drug addict. The only way to avoid the downward spiral of drug use by an addict is to abstain from drugs. There is no alternative of "I will only do it one more time." What makes