Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Moving Michigan Into A Top Notch Global Market by Akindele Akinyemi

In 2009, 70% of global growth came from developing and emerging market countries; Africa ranked third after China and India in terms of growth rates. Various companies from developing and emerging markets are increasingly the source of corporate leadership and business innovations. Developing and emerging markets are incubators for the companies growing from within.

Therefore, Michigan and in particular its urban environments must begin to invest in the benefits of whatever speed of broadband is under consideration.For example, telecommunications giant AT&T is investing $19 billion in wireless and broadband services. Investment translates into jobs as well as benefits to companies and consumers. Investment also benefits the entire telecoms sector because the trickle down to partners and suppliers is substantial. Investment empowers the new applications environment and benefits public policy, e.g. by enabling the creation of new platforms for innovation in areas such as healthcare, education and the environment.

However, in order to create a competitive, world-class knowledge economy we will need to develop a plan that includes substantial investment. We must remind our state lawmakers that the government’s job is to remove the barriers preventing investment in R&D and education by the private sector. At the same time, Michigan must cut through the tangle of red tape that makes it impossible to get anything done.

Companies from developing countries are tough and resilient and can deal with challenging environments in their DNA. They understand how to attract a large but frugal consumer base and can withstand macroeconomic insecurity. For example, African entrepreneurs are successful partially because living with uncertainty is in their blood. Now, how do companies in Africa expand beyond national borders and become regional and global players and connect to international borders like Detroit and Windsor, Ontario?

Local companies must understand and be successful in the national market and then overcome regional challenges before going global. A key advantage of national companies over multinationals seeking to exploit domestic markets is an inbred understanding of cultural sensitivities. This understanding pays dividends when companies from developing and emerging market countries expand.

Therefore, the private sector has a responsibility to drive growth and innovation. We also must connect urban communities with the global market by tapping into areas that are emerging markets. For example, Africa is fueled by an entrepreneurial spirit. One has to just look around to see millions of business transactions taking place, from local markets to the business of national champions. However, most African businesses face obstacles in taking their businesses across borders. The challenges of working cross-border are “very real” and can limit a company’s growth. Overcoming these obstacles will be a major driver for growth and create the connectivity to feed both regional and pan-African trade. The question becomes how do cities like Detroit and Benton Harbor tap into potential trade and development since both cities sit on water?

It is important to implementing robust frameworks for business to create a transparent environment that will in return build consumer confidence. Alternatively, the most important thing cities like Detroit can do is to open up, bring in technology to build human resource capacity – particularly by empowering women – and create healthy business ecosystems. This is why we need more public-private partnerships.

By saying this one of the greatest risks we face as we strive to redesign the urban systems we use to govern our lives is not to disrupt whatever behavioral spirits have allowed us to be so successful. We must be careful not to introduce barriers to progress in our inner cities. Nor can we be complacent. Many problems and risks obviously remain. The environment is in jeopardy, the population is swelling along with the ranks of young people without jobs. We have largely failed, moreover, to reduce the global imbalances in savings and trade that set the stage for the crisis.

As we move forward we must keep in mind four fundamental prerequisites to maintaining sustainable long-term economic growth: effective education, social stability, incentives for taking risks and integration with the global economy. More specifically to our present predicament, though, we need to reduce the role of financial speculation in our economy relative to real production. Our urban infrastructure must strive for a better balance in our economy, between spending and consumption, between domestic and foreign demand, between financial innovation and technological innovation, between rapid growth and sustainable development and between globalization and regional integration.

In the decade ahead, Michigan will be first to reach a number of milestones as it seeks to leverage its growing technological sophistication to meet the needs of its population. If we can stay focused with reinventing education through curriculum and instruction our state could be the first state in the United States to succeed in educating most of its population through the Internet. Between now and 2020 our state will need to invest about $1 billion to implement educational distance-learning projects and other technological advances to make us globally competitive.

An advanced educational population can develop quantum computers as an industry where it could enhance National Security. We already have Tech Town here in Detroit where bio-science technology is occurring and right next door is Next Energy where fuel cell technology is being developed. However, let's not stop there. Southwest Detroit could harness a research technology park dealing with life sciences and environmental issues, the East Side can develop an agricultural research technology park with a MSU Experiment Station and Northwest Detroit can become home to a regional technology park that focus on information technology and telecommunications. It's important that these research technology parks collaborate and partner with our community colleges and universities to become successful.

The next 10 years will be a challenge for the State of Michigan. We can no longer afford backwards thinking to dominate cities like Detroit. With industries coming online that are dealing with bio-engineering, water technology, only 10.8% of residents living in Detroit have a bachelors degree and 4% have a graduate degree. Additionally, 33.3 percent of Detroit residents were below the poverty level, compared to 13.2 percent of the U.S. population as a whole. More than half (an estimated 51.0 percent) of “female headed households with related children under 18 years” in Detroit were below the poverty level (nationally, the number was 36.3 percent). This is unacceptable. We simply do not have time to argue about who controls Detroit Public Schools when we are constantly losing another generation to the lost culture. It is up to us to promote both academics and connect the curriculum to entrepreneurship through financial literacy and accountability.

There is no way we can move forward in the 21st century if we do not address education and economics. Let's take a look to diversify our population and make education, trade and skills, and financial literacy a top priority in our respective communities. Urban educational empowerment zones are necessary to help revitalize and transform our community. We have to move Detroit and other urban areas in our state into the global market if we want to survive.

The views in this article are strictly my opinion and do not reflect the views of others.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen: Let's Move Michigan Forward For Once Instead of Backwards by Akindele Akinyemi

First, let me begin by saying that this commentary is MY personal opinion not the opinions of others.

Let me continue.

The primaries have passed here in Michigan and Rick Snyder is the GOP gubernatorial candidate. While Virg Bernero is the Democratic candidate for Governor we are witnessing something that has not happen in a long time here in Detroit.

Detroiters planning to vote for a Republican candidate over a Democratic candidate. 40 people have called me, including some people in my close inner circles, said they are voting for Rick Snyder because his message is positive.

Regardless of who you supported in the other races (State Representative, State Senator and County Commission) please keep in mind that the world will not end of your candidate did not win. Even though I did not endorse any candidates in the primaries there were some I was hoping that would win and they did not. I am glad that they ran a clean and solid campaign. And for those who won I hope they do a great job. We still need to move forward on putting together an urban execution plan to help revitalize our cities. This is crucial to the advancement of our great state.

While Rick Snyder is preparing to become the next Governor of the State of Michigan we must do our part of the developmental stages of connecting our urban communities to the rest of the globe. We should be ready to develop an urban community where children can go to bed knowing where their next meal will come from, a powerful inner city with a new mindset and an urban execution plan which offers a better life and better future. This is why the role of our urban conservatives and independents in Michigan is EXTREMELY crucial to victory in November.

We can no longer be living in the past by playing divisive politics and using fear tactics to scare people into voting. Instead we must develop new systems and ideas for not just the 21st century but the 22nd century here in Michigan. Fostering empowerment, through education, skills development, access to finance and leadership must emerge as a key issue, with a focus on young people.

Therefore, we must begin to transform Detroit, Muskegon, Flint, Saginaw, Grand Rapids, Highland Park, and Benton Harbor into economic hubs of commerce and development. Therefore, this community must move to identify fresh ideas for help compete in the global market that can gain traction and are able to attract the support of governments and policy institutions that can make them work. We must push for efforts to reform institutions and mechanisms of governance must be based on the principle of multidimensional cooperation in terms of economics, trade and development in our community to foster growth and development.

Today, in a more closely and deeply interconnected world, the lines between the economic, the social and the political have blurred. Political borders are increasingly meaningless, and domestic, regional and global dynamics are now hard to separate. Because things have shifted drastically we need to work more closely together in the common interest to resolve the challenges that faces us in Michigan. Business, government and civil society must collaborate. The multistakeholder approach is the most effective way forward.

Michigan is an emerging market in the 21st century but it is still being led by 20th century leaders. Regardless of the unemployment and job losses our state have suffered over the past several years we are still looking towards the future. The key is developing emerging leadership that are not afraid to take new bold steps to move our state forward.

With our ever changing demographics here in Michigan, the rising Internet penetration and our young techno-savvy population this will be the catalyst to fuel the drive for innovative technologies, products and processes.

Therefore, our urban hubs in Michigan must become centers of innovation where R&D takes place in places like Detroit, Flint and Saginaw and products are sold in developed markets is happening as investments and consumption continue to rise in this part of the world. We know that most new ideas are coming out of small companies and entrepreneurs, but to help them take those ideas to global markets, a new leadership in Michigan will need to step up with a supportive business environment, including efficient infrastructure, restructuring our tax system. Places like Tech Town in Detroit must be expanded as we rezone land to create research parks in other parts of the city to lure in companies for aerospace engineering, agricultural technology and information technology.

And we will need to invest a lot more in education as well as create a stable environment for investors and entrepreneurs to lay roots. The charter school vs Detroit Public School debate is OVER and its time for education to be taken to another level. This is something Mr. Snyder has been talking about since day one. However, our academic and financial crisis will not end in Michigan when Snyder wins in November.

We, as stakeholders, must understand the painful lessons of our own financial crisis and come up with solutions to help weather the state's financial crisis. However, by increasing financial literacy, education we can make Michigan more attractive by investing in both domestic and global capital from investors who will consider the state a hot market. And, as the state’s wealth rises and its foreign exchange reserves swell, Michigan will also becoming an increasingly important source of that global capital.

Therefore, it's time for Michigan to elect silver rights leadership that will help our state integrating economically and financially. More should be done to harmonize free enterprise so as to simplify intraregional trade and commerce. While it may not be possible to create a completely integrated regional regulatory framework, Michigan should avoid creating a patchwork of regulations that complicate life for multinationals or open new regulatory loopholes. Indeed, while the rest of the world is debating how to better regulate its financial industry Michigan still need to be innovative in their approach to create new industry for our state.

Now, with that said, Mr. Snyder has made our future young leaders a priority to help sustain growth in our state. We should assist with this measure by stop fighting over the governance of Detroit Public Schools and begin to promote urban educational empowerment zones to create economic development centered around high quality schools in our community with an academic focus that will create new student competition to help our children compete globally.

President Obama recently hosted a summit of young African leaders to discuss the development of the future of sub-Saharan Africa. I have been a long advocate of tapping into new resources to help diversify urban areas such as Detroit especially when it comes to Africa. To take this a step further some countries in Africa, more than 70% of the population is under 20. To add on, a young workforce that is not stuck in their ways of thinking will in the long term produce the kind of academic and economic powerhouses experienced in other areas like China and India. With Detroit's median age at 35.7 years we desperately need young people to take on the new challenges that we face globally. This is why I am glad to see young people like State Rep. Justin Amash to be elected to Congress in the Grand Rapids area, and John Olumba and Lisa Howze in Detroit be elected to the State House.

The youth in Africa are also helping fuel the mobile technology it is also creating both innovation as well as a new middle class that is emerging where urban consumers are buying and investing. Now I am not saying Mr. Snyder is going to tackle these issues head on, however, we hope that his administration, along with our State leadership, would foster a better environment for businesses in Michigan that can lead to global business by increasing trade and development by way of our foreign trade zones.

My point is with the right economic climate young Africans will invest in areas like Detroit and Grand Rapids to help change both the educational and economic dynamics of our urban communities.

I think Mr. Snyder will do well as long as he stay on message, not waste his time on a career politician like Mayor Virg Bernero in useless debates, and continue coming to Detroit and other urban areas to hear his message, take action and move forward. We have not had a Republican Governor in over 30 years where they had a positive relationship with Detroit. Former Democratic Mayor Coleman A. Young and Former Republican Governor William Milliken had a positive relationship that helped Detroit. While they slightly differed on the political philosophy they came together anyway because Gov. Milliken understood that the economy of Michigan would die if we did not have a strong Detroit.

We are at that point again. This time, when elected, Rick Snyder has an opportunity to foster a great relationship with Mayor Dave Bing to move not just Detroit forward but move both Southeast Michigan and the entire state forward. And let's not forget about Windsor, Ontario being part of this region as well.

It's exciting to see Detroiters coming out to vote for a Republican candidate. However, we have a personal responsibility to correct the wrongs of our community. Rick Snyder is a stakeholder not a Savior and for those who are viewing him as such is being disingenuous. We still have work to do to assist Mr. Snyder and his upcoming administration. This is where we need to hold our State Representatives, State Senators and County Commissioners accountable.

It's a new day in Detroit with urban conservatives, independents and other people who are seeking change. Let us continue to usher in silver rights leadership with Rick Snyder and others who are ready to deal with the challenges ahead and put Michigan back on the global map.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Real Truth About Immigration in 2010 by Akindele Akinyemi

Today is May Day and with the immigration debate in full swing we predict thousands or more Hispanics, Blacks and others will take to the streets across America.

At center stage is the Arizona immigration bill.

The Arizona illegal immigration bill, sponsored by Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce outlined the provisions in this bill that he sponsored.

a) It requires police officers, “when practicable,” to detain people they reasonably suspect are in the country without authorization and to verify their status with federal officials, unless doing so would hinder an investigation or emergency medical treatment.

b) It also makes it a state crime — a misdemeanor — to not carry immigration papers. In addition, it allows people to sue local government or agencies if they believe federal or state immigration law is not being enforced.

Ever since Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed a bill into law requesting tougher measures on illegal immigration we have heard both sides of the debate giver their take on this whole issue. While I strongly feel that illegal immigration is a problem in the United States we need to look at this issue from a different angle.

The United States of America has over 309 million people. Out of the 309 million 10.8 million are illegal immigrants. Are you telling me that  10.8 million people are causing a strain to the economy here in America? Something is not right with this picture.

Two viewpoints I have read are the following:

According to the The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), in the section titled "Costs of Immigration" on its website (accessed Oct. 24, 2007):

"...the net fiscal cost of immigration ranges from $11 billion to $22 billion per year, with most government expenditures on immigrants coming from state and local coffers, while most taxes paid by immigrants go to the federal treasury. The net deficit is caused by a low level of tax payments by immigrants, because they are disproportionately low-skilled and thus earn low wages, and a higher rate of consumption of government services, both because of their relative poverty and their higher fertility. This is especially true of illegal immigration. Even though illegal aliens make little use of welfare, from which they are generally barred, the costs of illegal immigration in terms of government expenditures for education, criminal justice, and emergency medical care are significant.

Francine J. Lipman, MBA, LLM, Professor of Law, Business and Economics at Chapman University, in a Spring 2006 Tax Lawyer essay titled "Taxing Undocumented Immigrants: Separate, Unequal and Without Representation," wrote:
"Americans believe that undocumented immigrants are exploiting the United States' economy. The widespread belief is that illegal aliens cost more in government services than they contribute to the economy. This belief is undeniably false... [E]very empirical study of illegals' economic impact demonstrates the opposite...: undocumented actually contribute more to public coffers in taxes than they cost in social services. Moreover, undocumented immigrants contribute to the U.S. economy through their investments and consumption of goods and services; filling of millions of essential worker positions resulting in subsidiary job creation, increased productivity and lower costs of goods and services; and unrequited contributions to Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance programs. 

I do know one thing.  No one is discussing how private businesses have been using illegal immigrants for their landscaping businesses, their fruit markets and the like just to name a few. Yes, we are talking about those who are promoting the free market. These businesses, who are not complaining about illegal immigration here in the United States, follow the belief of how illegal immigration gives added value through the goods and services they provide as consumers and producers.

At the same time we also have private businesses supporting the need for illegal immigrants to even rent or buy housing. We all know that illegal immigrants should not be able to do this but the powers that be are pushing for this not because they believe in amnesty or love illegal immigrants but because they are looking at this from an economic point of view in terms of exploitation. 

Virginia Deane Abernethy, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Anthropology at Vanderbilt University weighs in:

"Buying a house typically involves presenting documentation including a Social Security number. Insofar as it is fraudulent for an illegal alien to have a Social Security number, no illegal alien should buy a house. Presentation of alternate documentation such as a Consular Matricular card issued by a Mexican Consulate is evidence that a person cannot legally obtain a Social Security card. Therefore, it should not be accepted by any government agency, including by a County Clerk whose duty it is the register and issue titles for property.

Yes, there are 460,000 illegal immigrants living in Arizona. However, this is not just about national security this is also about shifting demographics. Both political parties are trying to position themselves to gain the Hispanic population vote. All of us know that the Hispanic population is now the largest minority in the United States.

The immigration issue has energized the Hispanic electorate, making them a lot more interested in politics and a lot more willing to come out to the polls and participate in the electoral process. Also, many Hispanics have been offended by the tone of the debate in the political landscape.

What about redistricting political boundaries? This may favor certain demographics that the oppositional political party is not ready to deal with. If the Democrats continue to secure the Hispanic votes in larger numbers than previously expected this could pose a problem for the Republican Party. Presently 57% of Hispanics vote Democratic while 23% vote Republican. And while Cubans in places like Florida support the GOP that area is beginning to shift demographics as well into a more non-Cuban Hispanics community as well.

While the Republican Party feel that the Hispanic population should vote for the GOP because they share the same social conservative values most Americans are ignorant to contemporary Mexico in 2010 (yes even the ones who go on cruises). The average American perspective on Mexico is outdated by 50 years. 

For example, the Catholic Church is much weaker in Mexico than people think. The majority of Mexicans don't attend Mass and the church has failed to inculcate its moral values among much of the younger generations. The Catholic Church can't even recruit enough priests from the Mexican population and so has to import priests from other countries.

Many people ignore the fact that Mexico is an integral part of the Western World. As such, it has been affected by the same philosophical and social trends as the rest of the West. Name any social problem in the U.S., and you can also find it on the increase in Mexico. Family breakdown? Check. Drug abuse? Check. Pre-marital sex? Check. And extra-marital sex has been accepted for years, as long as it was practiced by a married man and an unmarried mistress. Homosexuality is becoming more accepted, and a gay rights movement is gaining strength. About 20% of Mexican mothers are single mothers.
Hispanic women have more abortions than non-Hispanic women. However, the GOP says Black women abort their children MORE than Hispanic women so why are the GOP only targeting Black people on this issue? The GOP cannot use 1980 voter value tactics in 2010.

One thing I would like to point out is how mainstream conservatives keep pointing out how 70% of the residents in Arizona support the new tougher measures. Did they ask the state's largest employer, Wal-Mart, if they liked the measure? I sincerely doubt it.  What about the other businesses out in Arizona that hire illegal immigrants to help contribute to the $232 billion economy in that state? I doubt that also. So out of the 6.5 million residents that reside in Arizona who are these 70%? I doubt 70% of Hispanics or even 50% of Hispanics are for the passage of this illegal immigration bill. At the same token these same Hispanics who are against the bill must weigh in on how to secure our borders with better policies not trying to get their cousin in the United States illegally across the Rio Grande.

The real issue here is not the Arizona law that was passed for tougher measures for illegal immigrants in that state. The real issue here is the fear of a shifting demographic that may become the next political force to be reckoned with in the next 5-10 years. This is about ECONOMICS not what you are seeing on television. Illegal immigration is a massive recruitment program for the welfare state as well as for private businesses. These immigrants who are working illegally will work 16-18 hours a day for private American private businesses.

Urban conservatives should be watching how people are going to try to spin the 4th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

The 4th Amendment clearly states:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

There are going to be lawsuits flying over this issue..especially over the 4th Amendment I predict. For example,  the law which proponents and critics alike said was the broadest and strictest immigration measure in generations, would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. Opponents have called it an open invitation for harassment and discrimination against Hispanics regardless of their citizenship status. While The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a division of the United States Department of Homeland Security, is permitted to search travelers and their belongings at the American border without probable cause or a warrant does the Arizona law fall under similar ramifications?

Then again, all Gov. Brewer did was utilize her states rights to enact and enforce a law that federal lawmakers could not reform. Gov. Brewer also stated how racial profiling would not be tolerated.

I thought  that was a cute statement. This has been going on forever in a day. With the racial intensity in this country because some are so opposed of the fact that the demographics of the United States is changing they are willing to do whatever is necessary to stop the increase of immigrants (yes even legally).

From an urban conservative perspective this is the time for both Blacks who live here in America and Hispanics to come together, regardless of political parties, and craft real time solutions away from the rhetoric and negative synergy that is going on with this debate on illegal immigration. Any urban conservative supports the notion that immigrants must enter the United States legally just like anyone else. I also have been saying all along to put troops on the borders to protect us against the Mexican drug cartels who are a HUGE problem. However, there are some local issues we need to tackle.

For example, while Blacks have taken serious measures to curtail drug abuse and the drug trade in our communities its time for Hispanics to put more pressures on the drug cartels that are shipping and selling mass drugs in our communities. I am asking that Chairwoman Roslyn Brock of the NAACP to work with leaders like LULAC to address these serious concerns. Urban conservatives must weigh in on the solutions because illegal immigration, misWe can no longer be quiet on this subject or be divided.

Half of Blacks who live here in the United States felt that Hispanics were taking away land, jobs and political power, while 44 percent of Hispanics were afraid of Blacks because they blamed us for high-crime rates. Meanwhile, police in places like Los Angeles and Chicago are starting to report an increase in racially based violent crimes perpetrated by Black and Hispanic gangs.

Education affects both Blacks and Hispanics in this country. The whole speaking English debate is not on my radar. While we are pressuring Hispanics to learn English how good of a job are we pressuring Black children to learn the same language. Even though 80% of the city of Detroit is Black over 55% of residents are functionally illiterate. Some of our own children are bi-lingual in terms of not understanding their own English and writing skills. Anytime you are turning in academic papers using text message language it is a form of illiteracy.

Both Black and Hispanic America is in serious trouble economically, and both groups are living in “deep poverty.”  Black and Hispanic people in America are not just poor by American standards; many of us are third-world poor.  While some economists praise the American economy with talk of low unemployment, record housing starts, and a booming gross national product, none of this tells the real story of a quickly declining Black economy within America.

Education is important because it can help eradicate poverty. Instead of falling for the negative stereotypes of each other ethnic groups we need to find common ground to work together for the future of our children. A silver rights approach to building wealth is needed in both the Hispanic and Black communities.

And while people debate what policies should be set for Hispanic illegal immigration urban conservatives should be on notice that that battle with BOTH legal and illegal immigration will not stop there. The targeting of Black immigrants by the INS does not tend to receive as much attention among Hispanic immigrants. Yet Black immigrants, particularly Dominicans, Jamaicans and Haitians, have relatively high rates of deportations. Black immigrants tend to have higher numbers of deportations than Asians and Whites, despite the fact that the rate of immigration from Africa and the Caribbean tends to be slower than the rate of Asian and Brown immigration. 

You will not see this on CNN or FOX News. 

The other issue with African immigrants is the growing number of incidents taking place in terms of violent clashes.  Most African immigrants who migrate from places like Senegal and other countries in Africa are sometimes met with fierce hostility because of their religion. Most of the African immigrants who come here are Muslims and because the media has painted a picture of Islam in a very negative light this is oftentimes reflected with African immigrants who enter our country legally. You now have some Black folks who live in America talking about how African immigrants are "taking their jobs away from us." Sounds familiar? It sounds like White people saying the same thing about Hispanics immigrants taking their jobs away from them. 

Until recent years, new Black immigration was little noticed outside a few cities—especially New York and Miami-where communities of West Indians, Haitians, Nigerians, and other Black immigrants flourished. But that has changed in recent decades as Somali communities have grown up in Columbus, Ohio, Lewiston, Maine, and Minneapolis. Immigrant blacks and their children are gaining prominence in many fields, raising their visibility and attracting attention among the general population.

And while these immigrants have high educational attainment—38 percent of African-born and 20 percent of Caribbean or Latin American-born Blacks have a college degree they often are underpaid and underemployed given their educational achievements and experience. Like most newcomers, Black immigrants face myriad challenges as they join the labor force and raise their families in the United States. They too are a threat. 

The truth of the matter is we still have many people in the United States who do not trust any immigrants, whether they are here legally or illegally. If you go up in Northern Michigan to the resorts we have some people who live there are upset that Jamaicans work at the resorts instead of them. The Jamaicans are here on a H-1B visa that allow them to work and live here for a short period of time. That still does not sit well with the people who live in these areas year round. They often complain about how these "people" take our jobs away.

This country right now has a problem with immigrants period whether they are here legally or illegally. It's strange for me to say this because America is a nation of immigrants. Whether we were brought here in chains as slaves (illegally) or Ellis Island (legally) we have all contributed to the advancement of this nation. Illegal immigration is a problem to many as well as legal immigration. The reason? We want legal immigrants to actually give up their customs, religion and assimilate into U.S. culture. If they are reluctant to do that then they are viewed as terrorists, illegals, and other kinds of nonsense.

Forget what you are seeing on TV. The whole immigration issue is about economics not the political talking points. Anytime GM ships jobs out the country to allow Mexicans to work slave labor wages ($2 an hour for 18 hours a day) it is about economics. If you want to solve the issue of illegal immigration you have to take an urban conservative solution to the problem.....you solve it economically and educationally. Anything else will force Hispanics to grow the base of the Democratic Party.

Republicans face a shifting demographic disaster if it doesn't change course soon. The 2008 election should have removed all doubt. The GOP lost the Hispanic vote, lost the Black vote, lost the Asian vote, barely won the White vote, and lost the popular vote. By 2012, if present trends continue, it will be mathematically impossible for the Republican presidential candidate to win the presidential election.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Detroit is NOT Dead But Alive and Ready for the International Experience

There is an article I read this morning entitled, "Health Care and Detroit: Killed by Government." It was written by Gary North. He discusses how Detroit is in the river basically and how the city has no hope.

You can read it here.


I love the critics who bashes Detroit even though they are buying land and pieces of property to invest in so when the market goes back up they can receive a return on investment on their properties. Normally, these same people who talk about how Detroit is dead and how government controls Detroit are the same ones talking to government about how they can invest on Woodward Ave. I have a name for those people.


I am so sorry, I know this city has severe problems that drive me crazy but I will tell you Detroit is NOT DEAD. However, we need a change of thinking in our mentality to make it a 21st century city.

We know that it is no secret that Detroit’s infrastructure, along with those of many other Midwestern cities, is aging and failing, and that funding has been insufficient to repair and replace it. Urban engineers of the 21st century face the formidable challenge of modernizing the fundamental structures that support our community.

Last night I went to the State of the City address listening to Mayor Bing discuss how Detroit will need to reinvent itself. This is true. However, Detroit must move away from just being the automotive capital of the world but becoming a financial market to compete globally. Our city needs to become similar to what the Asian Economic Tigers are in SE Asia. If Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam is booming after the Vietnam War ended over 30 years ago how come Detroit cannot rise to the top?

Detroit needs a silver rights approach to development. In fact, our leadership must operate on a silver rights platform if we are going to get anything done. However, it is important to showcase our vision for the poor, the under-served, and the wealthless of our city to show them that all hope is not lost. We simply have to help them see themselves differently. We can do this by helping to expose, to educate, to empower, and ultimately to inspire them to grow and develop into stakeholders.

Detroit, like other urban cores in America, is going through changes. However, urban conservatives support the need for public-private partnerships during this economic transformation in our city and other urban communities across Michigan.

Public-private partnerships have increasingly become an option for governments here, particularly in the transportation and transit infrastructure arena.

This is how it works.

Under a public-private partnerships, a government entity transfers some aspect or aspects of a responsibility traditionally performed by the public sector to a private-sector partner under a well-defined, long-term contract. Some such transactions involve an up-front payment from the private-sector partner to the public-sector entity. In return, the private-sector partner receives rights to a future revenue stream—such as monies from toll collection—over a defined time frame. Other Public-private partnerships structures involve a private-sector pledge to provide a service, such as operating and maintaining a free road or a subset of bus lines, in return for a regular payment from the government entity. In general, the government retains ownership of any physical infrastructure asset.

Detroit is starting to move in that direction. A prime example is the light rail project that will be built between the New Center Area and Downtown Detroit.

You can see a demo of that right here.


Urban conservatives support the notion of a public-private partnership because in a silver rights framework we believe that the ultimate answer to eradicating poverty, right here in America, lies in an active, proactive and coordinated partnership, by and between the private sector, government and the technology and the community at-large.

The Detroit Public School system is going through a massive realignment and are leaning towards other organizations such as Excellence Schools in Detroit and the Skillman Foundation to create partnerships to close failing schools and schools with little or no population and recreating new schools that will be more theme based. Mayor Bing announced last night the creation of a public health and public safety academies here in Detroit. Both academies are critical to the development of our city.

The need for a public health and public safety academy will help encourage young people to go into medical entrepreneurship and develop private firms in security that can contract globally.

Educational entrepreneurship are growing also. Urban conservatives view educational institutions as a means to develop new economic infrastructure in desolate areas such as the North End in Detroit. Charter schools fit well into this category.

Some look at public-private partnerships as "authorities." For example, the Detroit Land Bank Authority, Cobo, etc. We should not frown upon those entities. Instead, we should bring our ideas and strategies to the table. Let's put down those who keep promoting fear of "takeovers" in our community and participate in the solution for a better region.

Its important to engage our young people in the fields of urban and regional planning to help them understand that they too have a say in develop and redesigning their own communities.

However, there are some other points urban conservatives would like to share about rebuilding Detroit.

For example, Detroit must stop operating on an island and join the rest of the region. We must support regional projects such as the Aerotropoils.This way our region can plan to make up the difference not just with imports and exports but by investing in infrastructure and promoting inclusiveness through spending in areas like health, education and urban development. Energy will be an integral part of the infrastructure development mix.

The Aerotropolis is important for our region because our global GDP has risen 154%, and the value of world trade has grown 355%. But the value of air cargo has climbed an astonishing 1,395%. Today, 40% of the total economic value of all goods produced in the world, barely comprising 1% of the total weight, is shipped by air (and that goes for more than 50% of total U.S. exports, which are valued at $554 billion).

Who would not want to participate in this project? The FAA predicts annual passenger traffic will increase by about 60 percent to about 1 billion by 2015. If you listen to grassroots people about this project, the same grassroots people who barely travel to begin with, you will never learn the real benefits of the Aerotropolis.

Detroit needs to make the same kind of progress in manufacturing that it has in services, notably in information technology. Silver Rights leaders must be determined to transform the city into one of the world’s most important manufacturing hubs. Some 50,000 jobs must be created to meet the employment needs of new workers who will be entering the job market and to meet the goals of social inclusion set by the public-private partnerships. Education and worker training programs will be needed to address the projected 40% shortfall of skilled manpower by 2025.

A new medical revolution is needed to boost Detroit's medical and bio-technology entrepreneurship in a sustainable way. The health industry is rethinking, redesigning and rebuilding itself through the broader involvement of multistakeholders, and is exploring issues of gleaning more information from available health data. The industry is also identifying innovative delivery models of care from emerging economies that could be scaled up in the developed world. Finally, the industry called on each participant to “be the change they want to see” in fighting chronic diseases – the biggest public health threat society has ever faced.

And we cannot forget about agriculture technology. For critics who dismiss urban agriculture they are thinking with tunnel vision. One billion people on the planet Earth are linked to agriculture and 800 million of them do not have enough to eat; 30-40% of food production is lost before it gets to the consumer; investments in agriculture are four times more effective in reducing poverty than investments in any other sector. We can not only promote healthy living but also open our own Whole Foods store or Randazzos right here in the City of Detroit. Let's also partner with the MSU Extension and build an Experiment Station right here in SE Michigan in Northwest Detroit near Rouge Park.

Outside of agriculture technology is creating groundbreaking ideas for water technology. Detroit has the largest body of freshwater anywhere in the United States. Water is a viable tool of resources. I still do not understand why we have not sat at the table and begin to bottle our own water for revenue.

However, redesigning areas in the city of Detroit into research and technology parks will help sustain development. Studying the uses of water is critical because the water crisis is already with us globally. For example, in Mongolia, one-quarter of rivers are already dry and sandstorms are increasing. Without good management, population growth, climate change, urbanization, change in diet and economic development will make the crisis both worse and more global in its impacts.

The water challenge is deeply embedded in current economic and trade structures that encourage water waste or trade in “virtual water” from relatively water-scarce countries to water-rich ones. The water challenge is also closely linked to the challenge of supplying clean and efficient energy. Large-scale desalinization processes would require extraordinary use of electricity and might contribute to carbon emissions and, therefore, climate change if that electricity were generated from coal, gas or oil. Meanwhile, achieving the goal of 10-20% of renewables in the energy mix could add to pressure on water if the processes that generate the energy – such as biofuels – require large water inputs.

Public understanding remains limited. The volume of water consumed on a per capita basis is generally underestimated, particularly in the developed world. Personal hygiene and drinking account for only 7% of water consumption – a much higher proportion is embedded in what we eat. Raising awareness is key to achieving support for measures such as water pricing. Most governments do not have a coherent water policy, with responsibilities split between different levels and departments. Yet, water is central to development; it should be at the core of planning.

How come Detroit cannot be a leader in designing cleaner and better water systems for areas in the world that need better water quality?

Architecture is an economic engine that we must tap into. Architecture must change in response to issues within the global environment. To date, architecture has only tackled these problems through technical solutions, but revolutionary architect Toyo Ito believes that the 20th century mechanical interpretation of architecture must be challenged.

Too many architects neglect the flow of people, air and water surrounding their structures. Japanese architect Toyo Ito models much of his architecture on the idea of the whirlpool – when an object is placed in a flow, a whirlpool forms behind it. As the flow changes, the whirlpool itself changes.

Detroit could lead the region in architecture firms and PK-20 schools that will help redevelop and reshape our city and urban areas. We already have schools like Wayne State University (the only urban research university in the State of Michigan), U-D Mercy and Lawrence Tech University to partner with to make this a reality. Also, let's not forget about our community colleges such as Wayne County Community College and Henry Ford Community College.

And how can we forget the need for cultural arts in our city? We have intellectual and talent in our city that we must begin to harness to develop a cultural creativity that will empower our community. Brightmoor, Warrendale and Core City neighborhoods are prime targets to help bring culture and life to the City of Detroit.

Engaging in social entrepreneurship will be the next step in recreating Detroit. The rise of microfinance has provided considerable start-up financing to small-scale entrepreneurs. However, a huge gap remains between microfinance and private equity scale ventures. Creating vibrant economies in the our city will require greater attention to this type of business, which currently lacks support. Brainstorming focused on finding mentors for leaders of small businesses and strengthening ties to prominent investors who might contribute to smaller funds.

There is no way Detroit or ANY urban community in Michigan can become a REAL world city without sustainable urban infrastructure. As populations are shifting from rural or urban areas in the world Michigan is no different. We must begin to get on board with a silver rights approach to developing our community that we can take to other urban communities in Michigan.

I am sorry but Mr. Gray is DEAD WRONG when he says Detroit is Dead. Maybe his fear tactics and rhetoric is dead. We are passed the welfare state of mind and now are moving into the silver rights frame of mind where we are engaged in education, family and wealth. Let's put aside our personal ideologies and come to the table like men and women and demonstrate to our children that we too can act civilized when billions of dollars is on the table for infrastructure. Instead of battling over strip clubs let's battle over land use, water, health care, education and public safety.

For those who are running for office this year I hope you will have a serious vision for change like us as urban conservatives. You cannot call yourself a Michigan Legislative Black caucus and only focus on Detroit. Let's launch several educational-economic models in Detroit and take those models to areas such as Benton Harbor and Saginaw.

Now I know if Cleveland, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh can come back from certain doom so can Detroit. If Dayton, Ohio is being developed into a Silicon Valley of the Midwest Detroit can do better. Its up to those silver rights activists to invest, accumulate and design a better model for the city.

The Discussion On The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act Without The Fear Factor

One thing I have learned NOT to do over the years is listen to paranoia from the Democrats and Republicans. I have learned to read between the lines without fear mongering.

So while people were complaining about health care reform and protesting no one discussed the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act. For those who do not know what it is its a bill that was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman George Miller that would expand federal Pell Grants to a maximum of $5,500 in 2010 and tie increases in Pell Grant maximum values to annual increases in the Consumer Price Index plus 1%. It would also end the practice of federally subsidized private loans, using all federal student loan funding for direct loans and cutting the federal deficit by $87 billion over 10 years.

President Obama has pledged to make the US the most educated country in the world by 2020. The bill, which closely tracks a proposal by the Obama administration, would eliminate wasteful subsidies to student loan companies, and use the $87 billion in savings to make college more affordable, accessible, and effective.

SAFRA invests $40 billion to increase the maximum Pell grant award to $5,550 by 2010, and $6,900 by 2019. A recent report by US PIRG and the Institute for America’s Future estimated that this would mean an additional 260,000 students receiving Pell grants, and larger grants for existing Pell recipients.

Also in 2007, Congress slashed interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans, but these reforms are set to expire in 2012, causing the interest rates on these loans to jump from 3.4% to 6.8%. SAFRA would make the interest rate variable, but cap the rate at 6.8%, which means borrowers will be able to benefit from low interest rates while being protected from high rates.

Some of the highlights include:

(a) Investing in community colleges and Minority-Serving Institutions. SAFRA would create a competitive grant program for community colleges to create programs that would improve completion rates, improve instruction, create partnerships with employers, and implement other reforms. It will also invest in modernizing community college facilities and create a grant program for the creation of quality online college, high school, and job training classes.

This falls right under Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb's plan to create PK-14 and PK-20 academies here in the City of Detroit. Not to mention community colleges are becoming more affordable and more popular because of the ever changing job market.

(b) SAFRA will invest these funds in the College Access Challenge Grant program, which funds state, local, and federal projects that help get low income students ready for college, able to navigate the admissions and financial aid process, and earn their degrees. In addition, these funds will be used to support programs at both the state and institutional level to that focus on improving college completion rates and financial literacy.

This falls right under the silver rights movement.

What people are complaining about is the student loans. Right now there are two different federal programs that award the same types of loans to students: the Federal Family Education Loan program (FFELP), and the Direct Loan Program (DLP). The FFELP has consistently been found to be more expensive to taxpayers than the DLP, since it uses subsidies and loan guarantees to persuade loan companies to act as middlemen. The FFELP is also more prone to corruption, backroom political deals, and instability during economic crisis (as we have seen recently). SAFRA would originate all future federal loans from the DLP.

In other words, The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act terminates the Federal Family Education Loan program, which provides subsidies and guarantees to private lenders that make student loans. Instead, the federal government would issue student loans directly to borrowers.

So how come Republicans were against this? Fears of government takeovers? Socialism? Communism? Get a grip. Would it help to let you know that 58% of the middle class supported this bill regardless of political affiliation while 39% opposed it? This is the 21st century..get with the program.

A college education is increasingly a prerequisite for a middle-class standard of living, current and aspiring middle-class students and their families are struggling more than ever to afford college. A massive $87 billion subsidy to private companies that make student loans did little to promote affordability. Unless you OWNED and OPERATED a BANK yourself why are you against someone who would piss on you in a heartbeat and KEEP you in debt?

And for the Black folks who went to school on student loans and grants and OPPOSE any level of reform is caught on an ideological plantation. Most of us have filed bankruptcy or worse because of student loans..yet you support high interest rates on the very loans that are supposed to help us with are academics.

And for the people who say we should not have pell grants, scholarships or anything to help us with college but support student loans are hypocritical unless they do not want other people going to college to create a permanent underclass of illiterate people in the United States. Maybe that is what some want in our society. A new plantation of illiterate people who the wealthy educated people can control. Is that what we want here? Please explain because opposing scholarships and grants but supporting student loans makes no sense to me.

In order to win support from lawmakers with powerful non-profit loan companies in their state, bill authors included a provision that would award these lenders no-bid contracts to service student loans. Each company would automatically get to service the loans of 100,000 borrowers or every borrower in their state (if the state has fewer than 100,000 borrowers), and in some states there would be more than one eligible lender.

My only main concern is not about SAFRA being passed. It was HOW it was passed. How come it had to be stuck in a health care reconciliation bill? I would have rather seen this important bill pass on its own with full debate. Give us a chance to actually debate the issues not slide it in a health bill for votes. And how come the GOP did not make any noise to this if they opposed it? Black Republicans (and Dems) who opposed SAFRA I would like to know why when our community is hit the hardest in terms of student loans repayments?

For those who are opposed to this bill I am curious to know how can one person pay their way through school if you are against grants, and other forms of financial aid? Furthermore, how come our GOP team did not see this coming? Are we in the bed so much with the banking industry (who do not care about anyone but themselves) that we cannot see right or wrong?

The State of Kentucky has received national coverage after the Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation (KHESLC), also known as the “Student Loan People,” overcharged the federal government $80 million, used the money to offer loan forgiveness to teachers, and then abandoned their promise, leaving many teachers with thousands of dollars of debt that they thought would be forgiven.

Is this right? I can hear the haters now. "They could have washed windows and saved for college." I will tell you what. You can go and wash windows and graduate in 15 years when you could have done it in 4 years.

Or how people are $50,000 in debt and can barely make the minimum payments without their loan going into default.

Or what about Dr. Susan B. Neuman, former assistant secretary of elementary and secondary education and a professor in educational studies at the University of Michigan who served in the Bush administration from 2002-2004?

Her comments:

"The legislation deserves GOP backing first and foremost because it eliminates government waste and saves billions — this is the bedrock of everything the party stands for. This bill will have the Education Department originate all new federal student loans instead of going through banks. The choice is simple —do we help Citibank make millions of dollars in profit from zero-risk student loans or find other ways to use the up to $87 billion in savings?"

She continues:

"Next, $12 billion would go to reform and strengthen community colleges. We know community colleges are the lifeblood for training workers and matching them to local employers. Ask any Republican governor and he will tell you. But, as they say on TV, there’s more! The bulk of the overall savings would help student loans keep up with inflation. Again, this helps us win in a worldwide economy."


"The key part of the bill, in my opinion, is the $10 billion for the Early Learning Challenge Fund. This fund will promote improvements in early learning standards and ensure students in the next generation have the skills that they need for kindergarten and the rest of their education."

So why is the GOP against this? I forgot education was placed on the backburner during the Health Care debates and saving the Republic was more important than making sure our children graduate from college. You cannot save the Republic if you are uneducated and you cannot save America if you are functionally illiterate.

It is imperative that we take educational reform seriously. Regardless if President Obama, Mitt Romney or Captain Crunch leads the way we must invest in our future. To fight against reforming the FAFSA forms and helping students reduce debt is insane.

Do we understand that by 4 years old, children from low-income families are already 18 months behind most other 4-year-olds? Education reform must include high-quality early learning opportunities from birth through age 5 to help give children what they will need to succeed. We know if they don’t succeed the outcomes can include dropping out of high school, lower wages, fewer life skills and trouble with the law.

We can no longer afford to ignore our shortcomings in these areas: the average student debt for graduates has reached more than $23,000, and at least 37 states are slashing higher education budgets which will lead to increasing tuition and less student aid.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities will receive $2.55 billion in investments from this bill. But these HBCUs cannot depend on the federal government alone to forge a new reality for our students. We must support out HBCUs by engaging in real leadership, real programs and expand graduate programs that will help us connect with both domestic and international markets. Our students deserve better.

The top 20 lenders have already spent $4,665,000 on lobbying since January, and they represent only a miniscule fraction of all student loan companies. They strongly opposed this legislation. That was money that could have went into investing in education.

In the silver rights movement we believe that the ultimate answer to eradicating poverty, right here in America, lies in an active, proactive and coordinated partnership, by and between the private sector, government and the community. At the same time we believe that individuals prefer "a hand up to a hand out," and actively promote programs aimed at helping people, people help themselves. A person getting financial aid is not a hand out but a hand up especially if they are going to school for engineering or the medical field.

Therefore, for those who choose to work and pay for college please continue to do so and we will support you. But do not block those who need financial aid to go to college in the name of ideologies and fear tactics. At the end of the day we need an educated America to compete in the 21st century against the global market.

Urban Conservatives Must NOW Lead The Way In REAL Health Care Reform

The historic health care bill in Washington DC passed last night. It took 100 years to make this happen. While this was historic in nature people are still upset and still feel that the government are impeding on their natural rights as U.S. citizens.

This of course will lead to a showdown in all 50 states and DC in November.

From an urban conservative perspective I never understood why we needed the federal government to improve the health care in our community when our community generate $1 trillion. The problem with the $1 trillion is that we are the largest consumers in the United States instead of being the largest producers. With $1 trillion we could easily write our own health policies and fund them. So when I see Black folks screaming for joy over the passage of the health care bill I ask myself is it because President Obama did this, is it because the Democratic party did this or a little of both?

To tell you the truth no political party can save our community when it comes to health care. We have to be able to save ourselves. Urban conservatives have given solutions to this issue many times however, if Blacks would learn not to be distrustful towards each other and actually begin to support each other from a silver rights perspective then we would not have to rely on the federal government all the time. I have no problem with our community partnering with government, private sector and technology to conduct business. What I have a problem is that we would rather much turn solely to a larger entity who is having trouble running the United States Postal System than turn to each other and be innovative about our approaches to health care.

So with the passage of this bill where do we go from here?

Although urban America is rich in natural resources, paradoxically, most of our cities are afflicted and pounded by domestic hunger, poverty, diseases, conflict, genocides, corruption, environmental degradation, and massive underdevelopment among others. Urban conservatives are always seeking other alternatives to address the cultural, spiritual and economic needs in our community. From its natural resources, one would expect to see people enjoying high standards of living. Instead, urban America is full of people still struggling for their basic needs.

There is no magical bullet to solving the health care crisis in our community because our faith based/non profits have not demanded that these coney islands in our community and other fast food restaurants stop building death traps in our community. The reason? Most Black churches in the urban communities serve food that is unhealthy after church service. How can you get an emotional high after service only to make yourself sick later? It makes no sense.

40 years after the Civil Rights Movement, the urban communities in America are still struggling in homegrown solutions and urban talent. The biggest question is why this is happening in a community where people are endowed with the human mind that is creative and innovative? Again, with $1 trillion being generated how come we cannot provide the basic needs for health in our community?

Today most urban communities focused on the “visible wealth” and in some cases what I call ‘tribal organization’. This individualistic structure instead of creating wealth, promotes chaos over resources.

Urban America have perpetually been at war over the 'community cake’ with each community struggling to control only the known aspects of wealth. Few have ventured to create new wealth and migration trends could as well be a pointer to a new breed of Black Americans out to explore new opportunities as opposed to fighting over stale ones. By continuing to fight over the stale issues we had to wait for President Obama to save us from failing health care. This could have been done 20 years ago where our children would have been benefiting from health care reform from our parents. But when you are not thinking with a vision and have an entitlement mentality this is what we end up.

Urban Americans have been unable to produce real health care sensitive to our plight because of the heavy reliance on political external support. It makes no sense that each ethnic group that exploits urban Americans have its long term interests pegged to the support in a way compromises the ability of urbanites to seek to solve their own problems in this health care crisis. Consequently,our urban cores are a desert of concrete solutions to its own problems. Each and every urban community has been made to believe that the solution to our problems is somewhere in the federal or state government. Prosperous ethnic groups exploited people’s talents in order to develop and the urban community must do the same for the inner cities.

The fact that the inner cities are plagued with numerous problems points at the wealth of solutions beckoning problem solvers. Migration to other communities is but a symptom of an underlying problem in urban America. That people are suffering an inner crisis to change. They want to develop and achieve better living standards similar to those in the suburbs; they want security, health, better political and legal infrastructure. Black migrants from the inner cities want electricity, clean water, a good educational system, good roads and generally a happy and satisfying life. One need not blame those who migrate to wealthy suburbs – blaming them is to miss the point.

Intellectuals from urban America migrate to wealthy countries in search of more rewarding challenges, better pay and recognition. This has been possible due to lack of an effective intellectual property regime that will make them stay home and help their cities create wealth. Health care is not an excpetion to this rule.

However, they are harassed and treated with suspicion for merely being intellectuals. To stem our brain drain from the inner-cities, it’s instructive that urban Americans builds educational institutions that will protect intellectual property. Building such institutions will ensure that the urban innovators build upon the already existing knowledge to solve urban America's problems. Inner city innovators should seek to work with Africans in Diaspora and immigrants from other developed nations to offer concrete and workable solutions to urban America's problems. So far little has been done to tap into medicine, and the extra educational economy in the community.

The health care bill does not address hunger and poverty that exists in our community. This is something we must solve as a community. You can open a church on every corner but you cannot feed children on a daily basis. You can complain about strip clubs but will not address child poverty in areas like Detroit.

Urban community leaders should promote the welfare of poor and innocent people in the inner cities and work hard to build amicable and amiable relationships among each other and other communities. Above all, they must determine to promote urban America's economic development, with competitive global markets, improvement of health, a more cohesive social structure, and better standards of living. No health care bill can solve this issue but us.

Urban America do not need delusional epistemological or ontological revolution of paradigms but practical and pragmatic approaches to both economics and politics. Therefore, when we are developing health care policies it is not supposed to and cannot be catered to a political party slogan but a meaningful and purposeful statement of intent with a coherent, consistent and commensurate set of well thought out and achievable objectives and instruments to ameliorate a properly diagnosed policy problem. The policy process should neither be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency as is often the case with many policies in urban America nor be a journalistic or newspaper story. A developmental policy for urban America must be predicated on a vision to transform the economy and society at large.

Its nice to cheer on health care reform in our country and I must admit President Obama got the job done on this. Even with the election of Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, Obama still managed to navigate the ship and steer it into the dock. Meanwhile, the GOP fell asleep at the wheel with the health care debate. We bitched, faxed, called our Congressmen and women,screamed and even protested. Not only the health care bill passed but the Student Aid bill passed.

Regardless of how you feel about the Student Aid bill how come this was NOT part of the central debate like the health care? Again, when will my GOP colleagues realize that education is the # 1 issue in America? Allow the urban conservative community to help you reshape your debate on the issues when it comes to urban America.

Here is a tip for my GOP colleagues. A core strategy was needed in this debate. I said years ago, there will come a time when the GOP must enter the urban community for votes. It is ridiculous for any Democrat to come into a GOP stronghold and win elections on a pro-life/pro-gun platform. Now the Democrats are going after illegal immigrants and registering them to vote in their party. If you cannot see the writing on the wall then its time for the Frederick Douglass Republicans and urban conservatives to run the show. The GOP could have easily catered their health care plan to the urban communities but as usual chose not to do so.

That is ok because we have to take matters in our own hands.

So what do we do with this health care bill since it will be signed into law by President Obama? Do we sit and complain about the problem or do we take action? I have taught urban conservatives not to even flinch about what is going on in DC. To complain about the passage of the health care bill and not have solutions will show our weakness as a group. We do not have time for this.

Instead, we need to take health care into our hands. One way is to start is with a full-scale fight against poverty in an organized and planned manner. We must begin to amass human, material and financial strength and begin to mobilize all sectors of society for this purpose.

While we increase investment to improve production and living conditions in poverty-stricken areas, Urban America must also pay more attention to ecological and environmental protection and for sustainable development.

It's time to handle business not promote fear. We do not have time for protests and screaming when we must protect and provide for our children and senior citizens. We have people in our community who are going to school for nursing. Have we ever tried to steer them into a direction of medical entrepreneurship? Taking them higher as doctors? Opening and managing group homes and the likes with a holistic diet, routine exercise and a reestablishing a spiritual foundation that will enhance their way of life? Independency, not dependency, is the call of the day. I will like to reach out to others in the Diaspora for assistance in terms of a 5 year plan on health care that can benefit our urban cores internationally. Take action not talking about November. By that time more people would have died because you are waiting for some election to vote people out.

A triumph over poverty and improving health care in urban America is not necessarily a symbol of goodwill nor an end in itself, but rather a fundamental and monumental act of justice as well as the protection of fundamental and inalienable human rights, including the right to self esteem, the right to a decent life and dignity. The dignity of urban America cannot be said to be fully restored as long as the inner city masses remain trapped in the vicious circle of poverty. This is our health care challenge. Our job, as urban conservatives, is to lead the fight as social entrepreneurs, from a 21st century silver rights approach.

Urban Conservatives Must Create a Knowledge-Based Economy Through Educational Entrepreneurship

I guess my mantra of education being the #1 issue in Michigan is starting to come into fruition.

Highlights of educational movements going on:

(a) $540 million academic plan Robert Bobb to change the academic face of the Detroit Public Schools.

(b) A coalition of education leaders and foundations will unveil today a sweeping academic reform agenda that targets failing schools, calls for 70 new programs and launches a national effort to recruit principals. This includes a $200 million plan also aims to build community support this year to eliminate the Detroit Board of Education and make the mayor accountable for Detroit Public Schools.

(c) Opening 70 school programs by 2020, 40 of which will be open within five years.

(d) Pushing for 90 percent of students to graduate high school, 90 percent to enroll in college or post-secondary training and 90 percent to succeed without remedial education in college by 2020.

(e) DPS Reading Corps is in full effect.

(f) The advent of University YES Prep in the fall in Detroit and the opening of the ninth grade academy at University Prep Science and Math Academy.

Even at the national level we are seeing the following.

(g) Underperforming school districts that fail to show improvement would have to cede control of critical Title I funds to state-level officials under a reauthorization plan for the "No Child Left Behind" outlined by Department of Education officials today.

(h) A group of 107 graduating seniors from the Urban Academy for Young Men in Englewood, Chicago is celebrating a great success. That success is every young man in the school’s first graduating class has been accepted into a four-year-college.

While we celebrate these accomplishments we are still a long way to go from our goal of helping our students compete in a 21st century global setting. We are still fighting and debating over why we should not abolish the Detroit Public School Board. This is a very simple process. The Board is past their prime and its time to move on.

I would love to take a poll or survey of Detroiters who have actually traveled and lived in other countries to see how the education works in those countries. We are still stuck on a civil rights approach to education when our students should be learning metric and preparing to study abroad in Tokyo and London.

Educational proponents may not agree on what educational design we need to turn around urban education. But what we can agree on is that the relevance of educational design to the multitude of issues humankind faces is now widely accepted: few continue to view education as a relatively minor step in the process of bringing a product to market, and one that lies far downstream in the value chain. Rather, redesigning education in the urban community is increasingly seen as an integral part of innovation, and a very potent tool in realizing change.

Our mission should not be just building new facilities to make a community feel good. We need to both reinvent and redesign education in our communities. In order to do this we must engage in educational entrepreneurship. From educational entrepreneurship we rebuild our curriculum framework and reinvent our students in the classroom.

Urban conservatives must begin to place a heavy emphasis on educational entrepreneurship because it is essential for developing the human capital necessary for the society of the future. It is not enough to add entrepreneurship on the perimeter – it needs to be central to the way education operates. Educational institutions, at all levels (primary, secondary and higher education) need to adopt 21st century methods and tools to develop the appropriate learning environment for encouraging creativity, innovation and the ability to “think out of the box” to solve problems. This requires a fundamental rethinking of educational systems, both formal and informal. Also in need of rethinking are the way teachers or educators are trained, how examination systems function and the way rewards, recognition and incentives are given.

I often teach urban conservatives to focus on educational entrepreneurship ideas in areas where we can make an immediate impact. Areas like Ecorse, Flint and Benton Harbor are prime examples of building a strong educational entrepreneurship platform. Urban conservatives must embrace charter schools and other educational options as a form of educational entrepreneurship opportunities to create change.

Educational Entrepreneurship is about developing attitudes, behaviors and capacities at the individual level. Inherently, it is about leadership. It is also about skills and attitudes that can take many forms during an individual’s career, creating a range of long-term benefits to society and the economy.

First and foremost, educational entrepreneurship requires close cooperation between academia and business. Past barriers to academic collaboration with business need to be broken down and outreach both encouraged and supported. As demonstrated later in the report through the case studies, companies and entrepreneurs play instrumental roles in promoting entrepreneurial education by providing knowledge, expertise, mentoring, social capital and financial support. In addition, businesses with an entrepreneurial culture contribute directly to the entrepreneurial education process by providing employees with the opportunity to cultivate entrepreneurial skills and aptitudes at work.

The educational "capitalist" who is engaged in educational entrepreneurship should build capabilities of leadership and social responsibility in students and academics. This is mandatory precisely because societal demands based on established social and ethical norms will influence the acceptability and economic viability of innovations and novel entrepreneurial opportunities based on them. Some stress how the dynamic environment of the innovation-driven new industries requires entrepreneurial learning and leadership for understanding and actively shaping what kind of entrepreneurial business concepts will gain societal legitimacy.

Lawmakers at the international, national, regional and local levels all have important roles to play in setting the appropriate legal and fiscal frameworks to encourage educational entrepreneurship and in filling market gaps as necessary. This is why we must stop voting by name recognition and start voting for people who will support educational reforms to help our children become competitive. This includes promoting legislation for a Grade 13 for failing schools and supporting a county ran school model for failing schools to eliminate waste and duplication. I have yet to hear anyone who is running for office support and discuss this openly.

While people fight over Detroit Public Schools and prepare to tear down Robert Bobb and the DPS School Board charter schools must begin to have a critical role as intellectual hubs in entrepreneurial ecosystems by serving as incubators for innovation and research, and focal points for collaboration among researchers, students, professors, companies and entrepreneurs. Foundations, Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) and other organizations can play important facilitation or intermediary roles within the charter school, often helping to link various stakeholders. Most important are the champions (often serial entrepreneurs but also educators, staff or students) who leverage their social capital and serve as catalysts for building the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

When introducing educational entrepreneurship into the academic community, one major challenge is to develop contents and methods that encourage entrepreneurial learning. Entrepreneurial learning is characterized by cooperative learning (creating teams) ; taking entrepreneurs as models (exchange, feedback, networks) ; doing and experience (trial and error) ; developing entrepreneurial ideas ; working out problem solutions, and recognizing that mistakes can be learning opportunities.

As we are redesigning our charter school market to a 21st century model we need to understand how entrepreneurial learning develops problem-solving competences through self-learning processes.

It also develops opportunity recognition and acting competences through a change in perception, action and interaction. In the entrepreneurial learning process, the students are confronted with concrete problem situations, e.g., in case studies. The solutions must be worked out either independently or in a team. Often only heuristics are available for the generation of a solution. This also means that in most cases not one solution, but several solutions are possible for a specific problem.

Moreover, solutions are often linked to a specific time and situation and cannot always be applied to another problem in the same way.

Where suitable for fostering team-based, participant centered and interactive learning this may be supported by IT infrastructure, for example, for individually tailored e-learning modules, business simulations or virtual project communities with participants from different countries or disciplinary backgrounds. Inter-disciplinary collaboration is an essential element in developing enterprising abilities.

The importance of interdisciplinary work in creating entrepreneurial opportunities has been widely recognized. As regards the specific content, programs and courses should be adapted to the different target groups in our community.

But there is more about utilizing educational entrepreneurship as it pertains to social entrepreneurship. Utilizing these tools of innovation at the grass roots level is to find sustainable solutions to overcoming poverty. The upcoming generation of charter school developers must take this into account that they are not just servicing the immediate community in which the school is housed but understanding that with the educational model we implement we can also duplicate this model in other urban places globally.

In order to enable a wider participation of those who are socially excluded, such as women, underemployed youth, those with poor health and people distant from modern markets
or with low levels of literacy, we need to create markets and opportunities for innovation and social improvements. These communities are described as being at the “bottom of the pyramid” and the case is being made to draw them into the income generating capability of the modern world through appropriate and targeted educational entrepreneurship.

The missing piece in the promise of urban education seems to be the ability of people to apply their education for self improvement and a solution to this part of the puzzle also needs to be addressed.

Stakeholders, such as not-for-profit organizations, large local and multinational companies, well-established educational entrepreneurs and others need to come together in networks to create an ecosystem in which up-start educational entrepreneurship stakeholders can flourish.

So keep in mind while everyone focus on Detroit and its school system true social entrepreneurs, educational capitalists and stakeholders will focus on urban communities in Michigan and abroad. Academia needs to work with ministries, the private sector and other stakeholders to rethink the educational systems in their countries to develop entrepreneurial societies. Embedding entrepreneurship and innovation, cross disciplinary approaches and interactive teaching methods all require new models, frameworks and paradigms. It is time to rethink the old systems and have a fundamental “rebooting” of the urban educational process. Incremental change in urban education is not adequate in today’s rapidly changing society. We need schools, colleges and universities that are entrepreneurial in their approach to preparing individuals for the future.

Michigan needs to leverage the resources it has by using its universities and colleges to help create a knowledge-based economy. Most educational entrepreneurs are 100% in the dark in terms of negotiating with universities to open K-12 program right on the university campus to promote a theme-based charter school. In other words, an university can open their own charter school WITHOUT going through the authorization process because they are already authorizing the program. Plus the Board of Regents can be the Board for that charter program. However, no university in the State of Michigan are making this effort to join in the innovation process to help our students compete.

But on the flip side how many educational entrepreneurs who are investing in charter schools are thinking out the box and partnering with Everest Institute, Walsh College and other smaller colleges to create fast-track programs for job training in medical and accounting? We can no longer just rely on the traditional universities for assistance. Use our community college system like Wayne County Community College and Schoolcraft College to partner with to engage in homeland security and information technology training to put people back to work. We cannot wait for a broken government to save us. We have to save ourselves. Educational entrepreneurship is the key to transforming urban communities.

Join in the effort for educational reform. We do not need a band-aid approach to education we need a radical and revolutionary approach to change.

It's Time For The Civil Rights Leadership and Parrots To Sit Down

It's time for the civil rights leaders in our community to sit down and enjoy their rest of their lives.

It's time for Black folks who call themselves conservatives and parrot the ideologies of mainstream conservatives to sit down as well.

We are in a state of crisis, emergency and straight catastrophe. No longer we need the old guard of leadership to try to lead us into the promise land. This has hurt our cause tremendously.

It still bothers me to see how the Congressional Black Caucus, the most ineffective caucus on Capitol Hill, to clown the Obama Administration because he is not doing enough for Black America.


President Obama is the President of the United States not Black America. And if he was the President of Black America I would tell him to put on a bulletproof vest because there is ALWAYS a hater in the midst.

Black America ELECTS the Congressional Black Caucus to REPRESENT us. Instead, it was revealed how they represent corporate interests. No surprise there since these same corporate interests they entertain have not brought back jobs into the urban community.

But most importantly, we have not even heard them COLLECTIVELY fight against failing education in our community. Oh, I forgot they cannot do this because of the teacher unions.

This is why they need to sit down for good. Not just the CBC but these Legislative Black Caucus leaders as well. We will START with my homestate of Michigan where every urban center is destroyed to the core. From Detroit to Benton Harbor to Muskegon to Saginaw there is zero growth in these areas.

And we keep electing more foolishness into office to constantly ignore the needs of the urban communities. Not just Black Democrats but Black Republicans are NOT off the hook either.

We appreciate everything our leaders did in the Civil Rights Movement. Some of these people died for freedom and justice. If it was not for the Civil Rights Movement we would have still been drinking from separate water fountains, riding on the back of the bus and being lynched for looking at a White woman.

However, there comes a time when we need to re-evaluate our position as a community.

Even with Blacks coming into political power in the late 60 and early 70s, or Blacks becoming Republicans or independents our brand of leadership have not changed. Therefore, it has created a vacuum for our future.

These civil rights leaders have not addressed how our young Black men are barely surviving in the 21st century. In fact, today so many of us do not exist in our community. 50% to 80% of prison and jail populations are made up of Black men although we are less than 7% of the total U.S. population.

And while these same Civil Rights leaders who beg for the crumbs that fall from our masters tables more than 70% of our children are born into single, female-headed households. When we discuss colleges and universities the Black male populations on many major college campuses total a mere 1% to 3%.

Now some feel that President Obama should directly address these issues. I do not feel that way. I feel that these same haters who originally jumped on Hillary Clinton's bandwagon before Obama's bandwagon should be called out and VOTED out for allowing such genocide to occur in our communities. They have never liked Obama and in my personal opinion are no better than mainstream conservatives criticizing him. Maybe they should have voted for John McCain and Sarah Palin or Ron Paul in the last Presidential election and called it even.

Well, these same old civil rights leaders have paralyzed our community with their inept policies. It hurts me to see people cheering on old Black men or women for re-election to send back to Congress, the State House or Senate when they are STUCK in their ways of thought. This is not elevation but stagnation. The voting on name recognition only has killed progress in our community and we need to open this decade with new leadership that will work on our behalf. For those who oppose term limits on any level need to rethink your position. Ask yourself, when was the last time Congressman John Dingell brought anything new to the table? The man has been in office since 1955. Congressman John Conyers have been in office since 1964.

Today, this new generation of urban leaders often fights battles on two fronts: 1) we fight to remedy and mitigate against the vestiges of racism and inequality that still remain; and 2) we struggle with some older generation leaders who are unable or unwilling to make room, make way, get on board, be led or at the very least – get out of the way.

New generation urban leaders often find themselves in a constant struggle to both recognize, honor and respect those who came before while exercising our own authentic leadership relevant to the 21st century and beyond. We struggle to find the space to lead and to do so in our own way, with our own style, vision and methods; and we long to do so with the respect and support of older leaders whom we typically came into our work admiring, respecting and wanting to emulate.

For example, there are a large number of young Black conservatives who lack knowledge of their own history and culture. This, in return, as affected their dialogue to create solutions because most do not know what happened in the past. Part of this reason is because most of these young people were born in the mid to late 80s so they never experienced the Civil Rights or Black Power movements. And most are too young to remember the conscious hip hop movements of the late 80s to early 90s that helped reflect and reinforced our conscious way of thinking.

Mentors like myself not only must educate those who are serious about change in our community but also give them a worldview of education that can help connect them with their past to present and connect them to the global balance sheet that exists out here. When young Black conservatives begin to discuss policy issues and move away from political rhetoric they will (1) be able to begin solution driven policies that are 21st century based and (2) create a new pool of independent thinkers/scholars that value not only the importance of education as a passport to freedom but understand economics, family and urban infrastructure.

Until that happens, young Black conservatives will continue to rely on Glenn Beck and other mainstream conservatives who are (1) opportunists and (2) divisive. These people do not have the right ingredients to solve what is going on in urban America. Older Black conservatives have an full obligation (whether they like it or not) to mentor and educate our young people who are conservative by teaching them the truth about our plight here in this country and where we are going. To do otherwise is failure.

Meanwhile, in the past 50 years we need to ask in urban America what has transformed into making our cities great, our educational system better and our families intact? The only thing our Democratic civil rights leadership gives you today is a headache when you try to figure out what they’re standing for and what they’re doing to remedy the social and economic disparities this community is facing today. It's embarrassing.

On the other hand, Black conservatives use the easy way out by pointing to the War on Poverty programs of the late 60s. But refuse to take the hard way in when it comes to solutions and practices that will help engage action. It's easy for both sides to play the blame game but when its time to talk about infant mortality, unemployment, and education we need to learn that (1) whatever worked in the 1950s is most likely NOT applicable in 2010 and (2) we are living in an information age NOT an industrial age. You can keep conservative values BUT the strategy in the transformation and policy process must be different to keep up in a global competivie society.

Today, this new generation of Black leadership is struggling to find the space to co-exist, thrive and lead with an older generation not always willing to pass the baton and graciously make room. That is fine because we have a history of innovation on our side. Leadership in this community must be policy oriented and spiritual based. When I say spiritual I am not just talking about Christianity. I find more spiritual people who take care of themselves OUTSIDE the church with holistic diets, exercise, and expanding their way of thinking. Everyone who is participating in the transformation of our community will not be Baptist, AME or COGIC. Some may practice Judaism or some might be Muslim. Should we ostracize them because they have a different faith? Again, are you thinking for yourself or is someone thinking for you?

The socio-political infighting amongst each other is not only dangerous and damaging for the negative impact it can have on our communities’ need for real, united leadership but is is also self-destructive in nature. One side is talking about the free market while the other side is talking about Keynesian economics. How about both sides coming together to create a new economic model that we can compete globally and gain our fair share of wealth that we can tap into? This will take a high level of scholarship to develop which means you will have to think outside the box.

I understand that we have some of our elders in the community embracing this new generation of urban leaders who have proven themselves fully capable of taking the mantle to further advance civil rights and social change. The challenge is will older leaders, the trailblazers whose shoulders many of us stand on, get on board to work with and support the new generation of leaders so that we can experience the manifestation of the very dreams they fought hard for?

This is why its time to make the transformation from civil rights to silver rights. Its time to move into the next phase of the Civil Rights Movement. Education is a global silver right and I cannot understand why so many of us will not take to the streets to change our outdated academic system. If we can take the same energy to elect President Obama then what is our excuse of not taking the same energy to save both our families and education system? How come we have to be a reactionary group of people when we should be proactive?

It's time for this generation to fully engage in public-private partnerships, helping convert small business dreamers into small business owners and helping people help themselves to create more stakeholders in our community.

What our Democratic civil rights leadership must understand is that the 20th century was marked, both here and abroad, by issues related to race and the color line. Today, in the 21st century, its marked by issues of class and poverty.

Let's face it the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and it is harder for the average person, simply to remain "middle class." 30 short years ago, middle class meant one parent working, and one parent raising our children at home, as a sort of domestic engineer. Today middle class most often means two parents working, and the television set and popular culture is raising our children, in our place.

And with so many people living from paycheck to paycheck (if they are even working to begin with) is a struggle. In this community we are one paycheck away from poverty. This must change.

An estimated 65 million Americans have no traditional banking relationship. Another 33 million are dirt poor in this country.

Now when you look at Black America and keep in mind our leadership comes from our community we see how one million Black children in the United States are living in extreme poverty. 58% of Black boys do not graduate from high school in the United States. Many of the 42% who do will be given diplomas that graduate them to low-wage jobs or no jobs at all, street-corner hustling, incarceration and violent death. In fact, for most of these students, their high school diplomas will not lead to a decent job, acceptance to a good college or even qualify them for military service.

Today, I can careless what you refer yourself to my concern is can we get the job done?

Our community must immediately disengage from the diversions of mind-deadening entertainment, useless sports, hyper-sexuality, excessive social celebrations, pointless conversations and debates about Democrats and Republicans..conservatives
vs. liberals, meaningless media and the civil rights issues approaches to managing our problems. We must begin to think independently not rely 100% on Fox News, Tea Parties, NAACP Dinners and Fighting the Power. Our market is now global not just domestic. Our destiny has nothing to do with 1776 but 2010.

We must focus on the most important issue in our communities -- making EDUCATION the highest priority. Please, do not come to me about how to make a million dollars when (1) you are broke yourself and (2) possess a hustling mentality. If quality education is not the foundation of your solution then you are wasting time. Black have to get out of this hustling mentality that has created a rat race in our community. The same people who are telling you NOT to get involved in certain policies are INVOLVED themselves if not making money on the side. Think for yourself to create a new level of leadership.

We must create a counterculture of literacy and learning that replaces intellectual apathy and resistance to educational progress. Somehow, we must re-inspire our children to want to learn and to love to learn. But having educated children is not enough. We must have educated families and educated communities. Every Black man, woman and child must become part of this new community of learners.

Now more than ever in our history, leadership in the Black community needs to be cross-generational, united and mutually respectful. Anything less is a recipe for failure.