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High Court: Low Understanding!

Posted on April 22, 2014 at 8:05 PM Comments comments (0)

The Supreme Court recently upheld the State of Michigan's ban using Affirmative Action in University Admission Decisions. I believe in a higher law as espoused by William Henry Seward. The majority of the U.S. wanted slavery in tact. Seward a true agitator for what was right prevailed on the conscience of the nation to do what was in the spirit of the Declaration of Indepence! In essence he called for Affirmative Action!

D.I.F.T.: making a DIFferance for Detroit!!!

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Lastly, Detroit should have gotten the high speed rail connection to Chicago by way of Kalamazoo not lowly populated Dearborn: whose the destination city in Mchigan (Detroit or Dearborn!)? Do I have to even ask that question? Dearborn should have gotten a light rail system not Detroit. Detroit should have received the high speed rail system upgrades not Dearborn-this would have saved the tax payers millions. But some folk want their own station and rather not come to Detroit to catch the train-but Detroiters go to Dearborn to shop at Fairlane! There is a bit of backwards thinking in Washington, D.C. as it relates to Metro Detroit and this needs to change. This is not rocket science-it's good horse sense is all!

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IMPORT/EXPORT: CREATING 2,000 jobs!

 

"A significant volume of freight being moved by railroads today is delivered to the rails by trucks. Following the train trip, it is again moved by truck to its final destination. These movements between rail and truck are termed intermodal freight transportation. The most common movements involve transferring trailers or containers between railroad flatcars and trucks. This activity usually takes place at a location called an intermodal terminal. In Southeast Michigan, the transfer of trailers is conducted by Norfolk Southern’s (NS) Triple Crown operation. Today, that is accomplished at the Melvindale and the recently reopened Willow Run terminals (Figure 1-1/inset). Canadian Pacific (CP) also transfers trailers in its Expressway operation at the terminal behind the Michigan Central Depot. CP also transfers containers at the Oak terminal. Finally, both NS and CSX transfer containers at the Livernois-Junction Yard and Canadian National Railroad (CN) transfers containers at the Moterm terminal in Ferndale, Michigan. The Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal Study (DIFT) includes the proposed enhancement of intermodal operations by four Class I railroads1 at four intermodal terminals that will continue to exist in the future: Livernois-Junction Yard; CP/Expressway; CP/Oak; and, CN/Moterm (Figure 1-1/main graphic). (Mazda has an intermodal terminal in Flat Rock in Wayne County serviced by Canadian National Railroad, but it is solely dedicated to Mazda use.) Information gathered for the DIFT indicates there is a current lack of adequate intermodal capacity ...Information gathered for the DIFT indicates there is a current lack of adequate intermodal capacity. For example, the Norfolk Southern Railroad has realized a significant recent increase in its Triple Crown business to the extent it cannot be accommodated at the Melvindale terminal. Norfolk Southern has requested financial assistance of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) so that it can consolidate its intermodal operations at its portion of the Livernois-Junction Yard. But, until the DIFT studies are concluded, use of federal monies to provide such assistance is not available. So, NS recently reopened (in mid-2004) its terminal in Romulus, Michigan, to handle its Triple Crown business growth. If the DIFT were an approved project, and, if appropriate improvements were made on a timely basis, NS would shift all its intermodal operations in Michigan to the Livernois-Junction Yard. This will leave four intermodal Class I railroad terminals serving Southeast Michigan in the future. These four terminals are the subject of the DIFT Study."

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What if the international world famous hollywood eyesore called the Michigan Central train depot could be transformed into a virtual Union Train Station franchise like they have in D.C.,New York and Chicago. And make other improvements as outlined in this study to upgrade the Livernois Junction-this shovel ready projects coupled with other innovative solutions would create 1,000s of long term jobs over the next decade in Detroit. Would Matty Maroun be willing to leave such a legacy of improvement and productive and change the reputation he and his company has garnered with landmark dilapidation.

D.A.T.A. (Detroit Area Transit Authority): the Merger!

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Detroit can never become a world class city without a first rate bi-modal transit system. Chicago has such a system and so does New York! Even little Lansing, Michigan has policies in place to make its' transit system more people friendly-like free 1st Fridays. Detroit's transit system has been hit by bus and derailed! Local 26 works hard and helps to ferry travelers within the city and beyond Detroit's jurisdiction to places of employment and various enterprise markets like the new one at Woodward and 8mile. This is an idea that I gave a Congressional Candidate two years ago.

However, getting a bus, routinely, at designated times is a nightmare. Many recall the toddler in the cold with her mother saying she wanted to go home and that it was very cold as they waited hours on the bus. its not the drivers fault 90 times out of a 100. Sure there are some surly drivers that are crass, that will not wait for a connection if the other bus is blowing its' horn across the street.  In the main, the drivers can only drive a bus that is given them. Yes, buses are potentially unsafe due to a criminal element that also uses them. There were remedies in place to thwart this criminality and that system was being trammeled with by some who would not ride the routes-the entire trip-but just stop the bus-get the driver's badge number and then de-board and hop into a squad car. Since then cameras have been affixed to the inside of buses.

All of this and more are ways in which Mass Transit could be improved. The biggest improvement would come from is when I would go to Washington and ask for increased federal funding for one-merged-system. Not two subsidies: one for Smart and one for DDOT, but one. Duplicaiton would be eliminated. 

Catching the bus would be made simplier with my input. I would lower the fare to $1 and no transfers. It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars if not more to print all the different collar paper associated with transfers and tickets.  That's right $1 dollar for every ride. If you only needed to ride the bus one way each time-this would save you 100% or another $1 ($2.00) if you rode Smart and 50% if your rode DDOT ($1.50). this would be a revenue generator for the sytem that would still need a small levy. But with a few cents to the gasoline tax D.A.T.A. could serve communities that need to be service but opted due to lack of funds-but where jobs centers (auto plants and other enterprises) are located. Also, the regional pass should be decreased from $50 for a monthly pass to just $40. Make the option of mass transit an attractive alternative to fossil fuel pollution.

Detroit outlays about 80M to run DDOT of which 25% is offset by federal subsidy. That leaves about 60M to run DDOT that tax payers have to pony up for. If DDOT were to merge and that merger were to be managed by a entity and not by the city of Detroit ti would save Detrotiers nearly 25% of a billion dollars every four years! Local 26 the Union for DDOT ran by Westbrook formerly ran by Gaffney and ATU 26 which is the local for Smart could then capture synergies. The UAW can be a model of how Unions and companies partner in making the service or product more user friendly and increase its demand for usage or purchase. When the UAW agreed to manage the legacy costs of the hourly workforce it unleashed a more market responsive firm that was more globally competitive in re: the Big Three Automakers.  The same can be done with mass transit. All laid off employees could be put back to work. They could receive an average higher rate of pay than they have had to accept under mismanaged by the city of Detroit. They also would receive better benefits due to the Union brother and sister managing their bennies. Most importantly the region would benefit by connecting hybrid buses with Pontiac, Plymouth, Livonia, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Detroit, Farmington Hills, Southfield. Weaving a new industrial/service core of interconnected Carnegie Research I institutions in Wayne State, MSU and U of M-Ann Arbor with the greater metro-region!


Lastly, Detroit should have gotten the high speed rail connection to Chicago by way of Kalamazoo not lowly populated Dearborn: whose the destination city in Mchigan (Detroit or Dearborn!). Do I have to even ask that question. Dearborn should have gotten a light rail system not Detroit. Detroit should have receive the high speed rail system upgrades not Dearborn-this would have save the taxpers millions. But some folk want their own station and rather not come to Detroit to catch the train-but Detroiters go to Dearborn to shop at Fairlane! There is a bit of backwards thinking in Washington, D.C. as it relates to Metro Detroit and this needs to change. This is not rocket science-its good horse sense is all! 

And yes, while we are at it we need to upgrade the Canadian Rail

Trial by Percentages!

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

I support the Trial Lawyers Association in the main. I am not for limiting punitive damages for those who are negligent. Insurance companies should do more to educate their clients and policy holders like the commercial that says a person should park near lights in parking lots to deter crime or a family shoiuld have an alarm installed at the house to bring down the premiums etc.

However, when lawyers say that they can help SSI petitioners receive their benefits after having been turned down by the agency and then takes 1/3 of the back entitlements-this to me is greedy! Even in class action suits a judge can limit the standard 1/3 fee to 20% or less.

I would help legislate that any lawyer who works on a SSI claim-which is federal can only receive a 12% fee of the proceeds. SSI recepients are some of the poorest people economically in the country. Fleecing them for 1/3 of their claim is disingenuious!

Assisting Chief Criag of the Detroit Police Department

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)

In Fox 2 news episode the sagacity of hiring crime fighter extrordinaire Chief Craig was brought into cynosure. His professional certification expired. Even in the teaching realm an educator has to pay hundreds of dollars for being re-certifiied. Normally the cert lasts a number of years and if one is busy-as Chief Craig-shutting down drug infested lairs and coordinating interdiction with other law enforcement agencies-well-certification is second to being highly qualified-see the CBS news article. In another such story of crime fighting by Chief Craig the message he is sending to Detroiters is that we will have a safer community-we will be family friendly-see MLive story.

Chief Craig is using everything in his arsenal. He reminds me of a successful coach who have seen enough action on the field to know how to catch the other side off balance on their heels and make them pay by massive arrests!!

I want to initiated a Home Land Security Grant for cities like Detroit that share international boarders to be able to pay its Reserved Officers a straight salary wihtout benefits for 40 hours work in the summer months-to ride bikes and walk beats and use those motorized uni-cycle looking aparatuses that they use to get around downtown from more mini-stations.  This grant would conceiveably hire about 1,000 new officers full time for 12 months for two years  and then the city would have to figure a way to continue on.  Crime is a major problem in the D. Especially violent crimes.

in addition, I think felony firearm possesion  used in acts like robbery or murder or mansaughter etc should be given a stiffer penalty at the state level for those who use firearms in the commission of a felony.

Chief Craign has been cracking down on major crimes and I think he should be given some added resources to help me use more fully his reserve officer corps than to merely use them for special events like Super Bowls and Parades!

The Technology Gap: aka The Digital Divide!

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 5:25 AM Comments comments (0)

According to an article in the USA Today the digital divide is becoming more complex due to cell phone usage and access. The research shows clearly that phone access is used mostly for entertainment  like Facebook, Twitter, Kik, & Instagram but not scholary activities (for example, doing home work) or seeking out job opportunities (filling out online applications).  Pew Research compiler Aaron Smith states "Research has shown that people with an actual connection at home, the ability to go online on a [desktop] computer at home, are more engaged in a lot of different things tha[t] people who rely on access from work, a friend's house, or a phone,"

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The digital divide or technology can exist between disparate age groups like the elderly who will tell you they are old school and barely have a cell phone and do not know what Google is! Some have said Google is the internet! The digital divide herein speaks to the disparity in boradband access and software technology that will enable a person to translate skills developed and used continuously into a knowlege worker who can add value. Versus a person who does not have acccess to the internet nor the Microsoft Suite of Software and thus even in a technological society does not know what Project Manager or Access are or even Power Point! The latter two being applications that are being widely used in businesses of all kinds-public and private.

A technology credit would be designed for the working poor of any hue-though the divide and gap is more pronounced in the Latino and African American communities-even poor whites who don't have broadband access will be able to apply a portion of their earned income child credit towards the purchase of a desk computer with printer and one year worth of internet access up to $1,000.00 This way, there would be no new cost imagined, except maybe a one time increase of this amount to take advantage of the opportunity if the earned income child credit is too low.


Four legs vs. Two Legs?

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 5:10 AM Comments comments (0)

According to the Humane Society of the United States 

"62 percent of American households included at least one pet."

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When I was in graduate school I had a classmate who once told me "Burgess it's not the four legged animals in the world you have to worry about-it's the two legged animals!" In the spirit of good advice, I want to help out the tens of millions of Americans who own pets, to defray their costs of taking care of their four legged family additions. Many owners love them as much as they do their two legged additions.  Jocundity aside, a pet credit of $500.00 is over due to be out of the dog house. This will help keep down the growing number of animals placed in shelters and that suffer from abuse. In many instances the cost of maintaining a pet exceeda a miniscul $500.00 but any amount that will help families who are already struggling is welcomed it is imagined. This would only count if the pet owner saved receipts totaling the max credit and would only be good for one pet.

What's Missing from the Fair Labor Standards Act?

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 4:25 AM Comments comments (0)

According to the (NCSL) the National Council of State Legislatures:

"The U.S. Congress last amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in 2007, passing a three-step increase that raised the federal minimum wage to $7.25, where it has remained since 2009. The FLSA establishes standards for hourly minimum wages, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor. In 2012, more than 75 million workers were paid on an hourly basis and of those, 3.6 million were minimum wage workers."

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Thus Michigan's minimum wage is $.15 higher than the federal strandard. As a matter of fact many states pay better than the federal standard. Many will agree that $7 an hour is not a living wage. In Detroit, where the Union has helped to shape this discussion a living wage is considered $14 an hour on average although that will vary depending on locality.  Recently Wal Mart has been in the news within the last year for rejecting to pay this living wage in D.C. where a new store was to be built. It agree to pay a bit higher than the D.C. minimum which is just over $9 but would not acquiesce to the living wage. In Detroit, just months ago there was a big push to protest at McDonalds. This service brand is considered the icon of minimum wage and thus taking the fight there is seen as weakening the resistance by businesses to be conciliatory.

This candidate believes what is missing from the equation is that business need to agree to the $10 an hour standard but drug screen its workforce.  Many believe that minimum wage jobs are low skill jobs and because of the high turn over in these jobs, enterprises feel that it may be cost prohibitive to vette by screening applicants. In addition to drug screening applicants businesses should require the applicants to have had at least 12 college credits from a community college or a university-thus improving the human capital of its organization and its capacity to improve operational efficiency. This way you transform what is perceived as a low skill/high cost alternative :( into what Peter Drucker would have refered to as a Knowledge Worker with an accreting skill set.:D



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