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Stumbling into a (secret) public meeting of the State’s Financial Advisory Board

Today, while seeking an opportunity to share with Mr. Bing (we had heard he was holding a meeting at WSU) I actually stumbled upon what I’m calling a (secret) public meeting of the State’s Financial Advisory Board.

When I say (secret) I should say that the media were out, a bunch of people who smelled really good for a hot day were out, but there were only a handful of community members there, one of which was disrespected by another attendee. It was a deeply disturbing display to stumble upon. About 40 well-dressed folk making decision that will turn an already tight screw on many Detroiters.

I only caught the last 10 minutes of the show, but based on this fresh article, which conveniently came out AFTER Bing’s community meeting this evening, it seems like it was very “productive” for an illegal meeting.


Financial board signs off on Detroit cuts, 10% decrease in city workers’ pay

9:40 PM, July 12, 2012  |

In its first major action on righting the city’s finances, Detroit’s financial advisory board Thursday approved Mayor Dave Bing’s plans for $100 million in cuts to the city’s unionized workforce — including a 10% pay decrease, higher out-of-pocket healthcare costs and limits on overtime — that his administration is expected to impose without negotiations.

The wage reduction would also apply to police and firefighters, a cut that Bing has long sought. In addition, workers would move into an 80-20 health plan with higher co-pays and higher costs for brand name and generic prescriptions.

read it all! http://www.freep.com/article/20120712/NEWS01/120712060/Detroit-financial-board-signs-off-on-deep-budget-cuts-including-a-10-decrease-in-city-workers-pay

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July 12, 2012   No Comments

Detroit City Planning Commission preemptively challenges land sale to Hantz Farms

Please see the attached letter documenting the Detroit City Planning Commission’s preemptive challenge to the Bing Administration over the possible sale of 1900 parcels of land to Hantz Farms. I came across this yesterday and wanted to get it out to as many people as possible. I’ve been attempting to respectfully share with communities and grow relationships here in Detroit for almost six years now and will admit that I’ve been watching Hantz Farms for quite some time. Below are a few of my immediate observations. I know there are many other concerns around this issue.

Hantz Farms has been attempting to “land” for a couple-three years now and, while not even existing outside of the internet or off paper, has been heavily featured in stories about Detroit from around the globe. A few years back I sat drop-jawed and witnessed John Hantz himself declare the project a “land grab” at a public forum where he was also praised as the new Henry Ford! This virtual “farm” has mutated so many times in it’s attempt to get at land, shifting from food production to u-pick berries, christmas trees and now hardwoods, that, if the spin wasn’t so damn sickening, it’d be laughable.

The sale of land to Hantz and other proposed large-scale agricultural projects has been on hold while the City Planning Commission drafts regulations around urban agriculture that strive to respect both the farmers and the communities that they are growing in. These regulations also serve to protect the city from potential legal implications and set guidelines for land use that can prevent the farm from being developed in ways that threaten existent communities and the environment. Based on the letter below, it appears that the Bing Administration is considering this sale of land to Hantz without any of these concerns.

It is my understanding that representatives from Hantz have been active in the development of this policy and in reaching out to communities. I suppose it is considered good business sense to work the community and help shape policy while at the same time working old-boy networks and looking for back doors as a means to your ends, but from the perspective of someone attempting to build lasting relationships with existing communities in Detroit, is disingenuous at best and criminal at worst. Seriously, how does this impact the ability of communities and organizations to trust Hantz and how does this effect the people that Hantz has been sending into our communities to represent the project?

Specific to my concerns, how does this unethical way of going about this impact other organizations and individuals. like myself, who are attempting to mindfully share in Detroit?

It actually reminds me of what we’ve recently seen coming out of the massive community distraction called Detroit Works. I truly believe that the Detroit Works folks thought they were doing something meaningful to create change and I feel for them. I suppose the good news is that, through trial and error, they actually got out there and connected with Detroiters. I personally consider that a really big deal. The bad new is, it seems Detroit Works was/is a part of a bigger game designed to displace some of the very people they connected with.

Actually, I have to apologize for my “game” reference, for many folks this isn’t a game, it’s their family homes, their children’s education, or for many of our elders, whether or not they’ll make it through the heat this summer. The plan is already being implemented, emergency management, consent decrees, bus cuts, lights cut, this is disaster capitalism in full effect.

Speaking of distractions, while the sale of 1900 lots at $300 each would be of some financial benefit to Detroit, it is really just a drop in the bucket compared to the cities massive financial concerns. Using the broken budget to justify this oversight is an insult. We must weigh heavily the possible implications of cutting deals with Hantz or any other development proposals in the areas of the city that are being decommissioned through the removal of city services. Really, if the Mayor’s Office is willing to go back-door with this supposedly innocent agricultural project, then how is it going to process other potential projects?

With the City Planning Commission bringing to light Hantz’s potential back-room dealings with the Bing Administration, it becomes even more apparent that this “farm” is being concocted to get some cheap land, just like Detroit Works was/is a scam to conceal and distract from a plan. We need some honesty, some transparency and some respect to get through these changes. I look forward to seeing how the Mayor’s Office and Hantz move forward from here. I hope that they will reconsider this potential deal.

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June 26, 2012   2 Comments

Job Posting: Catering Staff

Position Summary
We are seeking experienced cooks to join our part-time, event-based catering staff. Staff members will be responsible for assistance with planning, preparing, set-up, serving, and clean up. Events take place both on-site at our space in the Cass Corridor Commons (formerly 1st UU Church) and off-site around Detroit. Occasionally we have events outside of the city, but transportation would be provided to these events if necessary.

Work hours will be event-based, with events beginning the last week of June and continuing through August and beyond. Weekend availability will be required for some of these events. All kitchen work will be at the Cass Corridor Commons, 4605 Cass Ave. @ Forest.

Core Requirements
● Previous kitchen experience – knowledge of raw, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free cooking
● Passion for healthy local foods, creative and mindful meal preparation
● Understanding of, and support for the Food Justice Movement
● Alignment with the Principles of Food Sovereignty
● Familiarity with the City of Detroit Policy on Food Security
● Comfortable working in a diverse group environment, people of color encouraged to apply
● Personable, positive attitude a MUST!
● Ability to self-manage, anticipate needs and adapt to changes

To Apply
Please send a cover letter and your resume to angela@detroitevolution.com by Sunday, June 24th. Applicants by mail: 4605 Cass Ave., Detroit MI 48201

About Detroit Evolution
Detroit Evolution is a local catering company providing handcrafted deliciously healthy, local and organic food for grassroots organizations and community events of any size. We prepare primarily vegan and vegetarian dishes, and offer many options for a variety of dietary restrictions such as gluten-free.

We support community-based urban agriculture by purchasing Detroit locally grown produce first and collaborating with many people and organizations working to educate people and transform our broken food system. We also source Michigan and regionally grown organic produce, grains/legumes, eggs, dairy and some fish, and never under any circumstances use Genetically Modified ingredients. In addition to our mindful sourcing, we honor Mother Earth by bringing our events as close to zero waste as possible by buying in bulk, composting and recycling.

In the heart of our kitchen, the preparation of food is a sacred art, and the taking-in of food an extremely intimate process in which our clients entrust us to facilitate. We are what we eat – we believe that we can change not only ourselves but the world around us by changing our diet. The awareness that food can create change is empowering. We believe that food plays a vital role in meaningful interactions with others, building community and alternative systems with every bite.

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June 19, 2012   No Comments