Hey Hey, Detroit,
Happy Halloween! We want to make sure ghouls and goblins and ordinary Detroiters can get where they need to go, so we’ve brought back our Documenters on the Bus special assignment.
All this week, Documenters will ride the 10 most popular DDOT bus routes from start to finish and taking note of timeliness, safety and whether buses show up at all the stops. We’re still looking for paratransit riders who are interested in allowing us to ride with them — reply if you’re interested or know someone who might be.
In other transportation news, we finally made it to a Detroit Transportation Corp. meeting, where board members approved several contracts to update the Detroit People Mover system, including new paint jobs for every station.
Huntington Place is making more money this year when compared with last year, we learned In the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority meeting. We’re still waiting to make sure all the plazas, green space and bike paths it said would be included in the expansion plan (see Page 18) are still on the table.
And Highland Park’s tens of millions in water debt were forgiven last week when the Great Lakes Water Authority board approved a plan to relieve the city’s debt since 2014.
“Share those damn profits, casinos.”
—Detroit Councilmember Mary Waters, in support of striking casino workers
Detroit’s only Black-owned food co-op is set to open in 2024
By Darlene A. White
The Detroit Food Commons (DFC) is set to become a transformative force in the city, offering not only access to fresh and affordable fruits and vegetables but also access to community empowerment and economic growth.
Located in Detroit’s Historic North End neighborhood at 8324 Woodward Ave., DFC is a two-story, mixed-use complex in the final stages of construction that features a full-service grocery store. Scheduled to open its doors to the public in February 2024, the building is a beacon for like-minded community members interested in the health of our residents.
➡️ Keep reading
Content produced in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. #ad
City and Regional News
Politics, Transportation, Utilities
There was an auditorium full of striking casino workers and union supporters at last week’s formal session when the councilmembers approved, in the name of the full council, a resolution to demand wage increases, workload reduction, protection of health care benefits and job security for employees at MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino Hotel and the Hollywood Casino at Greektown.
Councilmembers also approved plans for an almost $14 million athletic recreation center, to be housed in an air dome in Chandler Park, despite previously saying they wanted a brick-and-mortar structure in District 4. Since there are no plans for a different structure, and the federal American Rescue Plan Act funds for the project must be spent by December 2023, District 4 Councilmember Latisha Johnson said it was better for residents to at least have something for now.
10/24/2023 Detroit City Council, Formal Session
Documented by Afua Osei-Bonsu and Sherrie Smith
The Detroit Transportation Corp. (DTC) recently hired EDSI Consulting to conduct a study on employee compensation. Before the study, the DTC didn’t have a salary structure and had only limited policies on salary assignment. EDSI created a pay structure on fair market value emphasizing career growth and pathways.
The board approved several contracts to update the Detroit People Mover, including a budget increase for Northstar Painting. The original contract from April cost $40,000. The company was awarded an additional $107,000 to paint all 13 stations before spring, when the city will host sporting events including the Detroit Grand Prix, NCAA “March Madness” basketball tournament and NFL Draft.
10/24/2023 Detroit Transportation Corporation, Board of Directors Meeting
Documented by Amber Umscheid and Gina McPherson
The Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) Board of Directors approved the terms of agreement in a proposed settlement on a decades-long billing dispute with Highland Park.
“This is both a last step and a first step,” said William Wolfson, GLWA chief administrative and compliance officer and interim general counsel. Per GLWA, the term sheet focuses on payment assurances from Highland Park, state investment in capital improvements in Highland Park and other GLWA communities, and adding meters for that city. Highland Park City Council had already agreed to the terms.
Brian Baker, chief deputy to public works commissioner at Macomb County, has concerns about how suburban cities would recoup payments they have made to GLWA over the decades.
The term sheet can be changed by the board’s committees. It would also need final approval by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
10/25/2023 Great Lakes Water Authority, Board of Directors
Documented by Bridget Scallen
More City and Regional News
Elections, Development, Tourism, Housing, Policing
10/23/2023 Detroit Election Commission: City Clerk Janice Winfrey says 14 early voting centers will open 12-14 days in advance of the next election.
Documented by A J Johnson and Meghan Rutigliano
10/24/2023 Detroit Land Bank Authority, Board of Directors: Revenue is down about $900,000 compared to last year; the authority said it’s due to decreased sales. The board approved property purchase agreements for several organizations to create affordable housing rental units.
Documented by Amanda Duren and Amelia Benavides-Colón
10/24/2023 Detroit Planning and Development Department, Future of Health CBO (meeting No. 3): Neighborhood Advisory Council members were elected and immediately expressed concerns about housing affordability for residents and tax incentives for developers.
Documented by Clarissa Williams and Laura Kennedy
10/26/2023 Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority, Board of Directors: Representative from the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights calls on the authority’s board to review a key memorandum for union workers.
Documented by Eric McCormick and Perry Sylvester
10/26/2023 Detroit Housing Commission, Board of Commissioners: Voucher recertification is trending in the right direction to hit the goal of 2,500 completed certifications by end of year.
Documented by A J Johnson and Amber Umscheid
10/26/2023 Detroit Board of Police Commissioners: Homicides are down; officers were promoted. Tamara “Liberty” Smith will fill the vacant District 1 seat previously held by Bryan Ferguson.
Documented by Gina McPherson and Meghan Rutigliano
For more on the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners, check out the latest BOPC Watch.
Upcoming training and events
Sustainable Urban Design Summit
Thursday, Nov. 9, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
Newlab Detroit hosts a full day of sessions, followed by cocktails and an after-party at 5:30 p.m. Check out the sponsors, speakers and schedule, and register for free.
Detroit Documenters Orientation
Wednesday, Nov. 15, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
In this one-hour workshop, we will introduce you to the Detroit Documenters community. Find out how we help build the public record by paying people to attend local government meetings and take notes. This training is required for Documenters to be eligible for paid assignments. Immediately after the orientation, we will host a Covering Your Local Government training on the same Zoom link. This is the final orientation of the year. Don’t miss out, register now!
Covering Your Local Government
Wednesday, Nov. 15, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Earn your Public Meetings badge! In this one-hour training, we will explore local government in Detroit and how to monitor it for the public good. You’ll learn the basics of notetaking and open meetings law. We strongly recommend this training, as public meetings are our most common assignment offering. Register separately for this meeting, which will start right after the orientation.
Editor’s Office Hour
Friday, Nov. 17, 12-1 p.m.
Join WXYZ Channel 7 digital executive producer Max White on our regular Office Hours Zoom link. Documenters can use this time to get feedback on your notes, learn about Max’s work at WXYZ, or just hang out. Register now.
Tuesdays, 2-4 p.m.
Documenters, drop in to ask questions, pitch ideas, discuss assignments or just hang out. You can even get personalized training on topics like live-tweeting or improving your notes. Visit us in the office or join our office hours on Zoom!
This week’s newsletter was written by Lynelle Herndon, Noah Kincade, Amber Umscheid, Amelia Benavides-Colón, Bridget Scallen, Meghan Rutigliano and Perry Sylvester.