Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Urban Turn Around Plan: Putting Detroit On The Map by Akindele Akinyemi

Dick DeVos has recently released his Urban Turn Around Plan to the Black community. I have never seen such a comprehensive plan that is dealing with our plight to create a better urban environment in the State of Michigan.

There are some things I would like to point out from his Urban Turn Around Plan.

I will work with local governments across the state to create an Urban Jobs Office, headed up by an Urban Jobs Director that will be stationed in Detroit. Although I will be in Michigan's urban communities often, the Urban Jobs Director will be my eyes and ears every day in our urban areas. He or she will come from one of our urban communities and will understand the unique needs of the people, families, and businesses there. The main concern of the Jobs Director will be the creation of high-quality jobs in the inner cities of Detroit, Flint, Pontiac, Lansing, and so on. He or she will be a regular contact, and will have a direct link to me at all times. This individual will also report directly to me on a regularly scheduled basis and will be held accountable for creating jobs. When this leader makes a commitment, it will be a commitment from me. They will not be buried beneath layers of bureaucracy. The Urban Jobs Director and the Jobs Office will be empowered to work with any state department to get the results urban residents need.

How come Jennifer Granholm has not created such a director?

He also points out the following:

Create a post-high school program to help young people determine their skill set. Many young
people fresh out of high school have trouble finding a job because they have not identified their skill set. By working with community colleges and vocational training schools, a DeVos administration will implement a program to help our high school graduates identify the skills they have, those they need to develop, and potential career paths for the future. Michigan's job training programs will be focused on determining what skills workers need to get the jobs that are in demand. This kind of assessment will help workers understand where they are, where they can go, and how to get there.

Again, where is Jennifer Granholm on this?

The Urban Jobs Director will serve to connect young, entrepreneurial minds to initiatives such as TechTown and help them to grow their ideas into job-providing businesses right in the city. Local colleges and universities will work in turn to provide high-tech job openings with individuals with the specific skills they need. By embracing and expanding upon such innovativethinking, we have the potential to improve the business climate and overall quality of living in Michigan's urban communities.

This is MUCH better than some Cool City initiative that benefits gays and lesbians.


Cutting the red tape that hinders small business. As a businessman, I know how difficult it can
be to start a business in Michigan. If you are looking to start a small business in your city, I
believe all of your effort should go into making your business successful not fighting state
government. A DeVos administration, along with the Urban Jobs Director will help you slice
through the cumbersome red tape that stands in your way.

Have Jennifer Granholm done this for African Americans in Detroit? Nope.

Making the Michigan Economic Development Corporation work for and with Urban Communities. The MEDC, as a resource for businesses looking to expand in Michigan, must become a better ally of job-makers in order to help foster job growth. By working along with the Jobs Director, a DeVos administration will provide the tools and resources business owners need to be successful in our urban communities.

Has Granholm done this in four years? Hell naw.

Let me be clear: I will NOT increase taxes on people to pay for the elimination of
the SBT. While Lansing has struggled for years to follow through on the promise to get rid of
the SBT it is not really that difficult.

My solution to replace the SBT is simple:

Replace the majority of the revenue with a broad-based business tax. Like other states, it will be centered on business profits and gross receipts. Simple and fair. If a business makes more, it will pay more.

Cut non-essential spending. My administration will conduct a top-down review of all government departments, and we will eliminate wasteful and unnecessary spending. In fact, the Auditor General has already identified more than $141 million in wasteful spending over the past yearsrs. By ensuring taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and responsibly, we can effectively lower the tax burden on Michigan citizens.

Protect critical state services. I will not allow our schools, police protection, health care and other essential programs to be harmed. My replacement plan for the SBT will protect critical state services.

Create jobs. By eliminating the SBT, we will create jobs. This job growth will help to replace a portion of the revenue generated by the SBT.

Eliminate the income tax for families with income below the poverty line. Many
families in Michigan are struggling to make ends meet. Unfortunately, the burden of taxes on
these families is making matters worse by punishing lower-income workers. Right now,
Michigan is one of only five states that tax families with an income below the poverty line. A
family of three with an income of $12,000 a year must pay $200 in state income taxes. What
are we thinking? That money should be helping to put food on the table not lining the state's coffers. This disproportionate tax scheme is putting undue pressure on families already in need of assistance. Though efforts have been made for tax reform, there has been a lack of
leadership from the Governor's Office. In contrast, a DeVos administration will reform the tax
structure so that families at or below the poverty line will not pay any state income tax. It is
time to give working families a break. Let's focus on getting those who are struggling out of
poverty and moving Michigan in the right direction once again.

Has Granholm given ANY clue of how to get rid of the SBT to create jobs? Yes. Her solution is to just keep it in place because it's been around 30 years.

His urban plan on education:

Integrate better technology into the classroom.

As today's economy relies more and more on technology, it is critical that we provide urban
students with the same opportunity to achieve technological workplace skills as those in the
suburbs. Michigan received a "D" for the number of computers in classrooms and teachers
ability to help kids use technology.Despite this, some communities are taking steps in the
right direction. Last year Detroit Crocket High School teamed up with Apple Computers to
create the Detroit Digital Learning Community which provided high school freshmen with
notebook computers and I-pods for enhanced learning experiences. This partnership is an
excellent starting point. Now we must ensure that all inner city school students are ready to
use the technology they will need in the jobs of tomorrow by putting it in their hands today. By partnering with sponsors from the private sector and getting more funding to the classrooms, we will achieve this all-important goal.

Implement more educational choice for our inner city children and families.

Urban communities across the nation are already taking steps in the right direction. For example, the Baltimore Public Schools have achieved great success with an innovative approach to learning at the Talent Development High School. In a city where some estimate the dropout rate to be upwards of 60 percent, the school has reduced the rate within its own walls to less than 4 percent. How have they made such a dramatic change? By providing more educational choices; by encouraging more student involvement in the decisions that determine their learning experience; and by holding to high standards while providing laser-like focus in helping students from difficult backgrounds to succeed in achieving them. These methods are proven, and they can work for children and families in the urban communities of Michigan.

Make use of innovative educational approaches.

A DeVos administration will build on innovative ideas to cut the dropout rate in our city schools and ensure a quality education for all children. This means providing the funding and resources necessary and equipping Michigan's great teachers with the training and support they need to prepare our students for success. Both charter public schools and traditional public schools can play a significant role in this process. I believe providing more alternatives for students will be a vital component of bringing change to a troubled education system. Providing more educational choices, better resources, and better equipping teachers and administrators are all vital components of bringing change to a troubled system. We must incorporate teachers, students, parents, and community leaders in the process of finding lasting solutions. Michigan must do what works andosen'trove what doesn't for the betterment of its schools and the promise of its future.

Raise the cap on charter public schools.

We must make certain that all parents have the opportunity to decide what education environment is best for their kids, and at a minimum provide them with sound options within the traditional public schools as well as the charter public schools. While each district is unique in its makeup and its challenges and charter schools will not be the solution in each and every community, I believe they have proven to be an effective tool in providing more educational opportunities to Michigan students. By raising the cap on charter public schools, we can ensure that all parents have more choices in the education of their children.

Again, ask why Granholm keep the cap on charter schools when our children and parents do not have enough options? And let me be very clear, those of you who sit and lie about charter schools are taking money away from traditional schools and charter schools segregate children in education is totally misleading.

It is a well known fact that you must take a test to get into Detroit Renaissance, Detroit Cass Tech and Detroit King. If you do not pass this test you do not get into these elite schools that taxpayers are paying for. Instead, you have to go to the failing neighborhood school. Charter schools do not have such a test. Charters accept ALL students regardless of social-economic backgrounds.

Restore Revenue Sharing

Revenue sharing is an important source of funding for police departments, fire departments,
and other services vital to a community's safety and success. Yet under the current Governor's administration, Detroit alone has seen four consecutive years of cuts or flat-lining in their revenue-sharing payments which has resulted in the loss of $41 million. In addition, the City of Grand Rapids has seen $5 million in cuts, and the Cities of Flint and Lansing have each seen $2.7 million in cuts.3 All Michigan cities have seen their revenue sharing slashed under the Granholm administration, and this has been especially hard on our urban communities.

Why in the living hell would we re-elect Granholm who have cut funding to the City of Detroit? Why are you precinct delegates and Young Democrats stomping on her behalf? Can't you see that she does not give a damn about us?

DeVos on insurance fraud:

Eliminating Fraud.

The price of fraud is high on urban residents. When individuals make fraudulent claims to their insurance companies, those who have insurance pay the difference. As governor, I will implement a statewide Insurance Fraud Bureau that will ensure the integrity of individuals who file claims. While the department will have some cost, the savings realized by urban residents as fraud decreases will result in a reduction in insurance costs. This is an investment on the part of the state that will lower insurance costs for the residentsof Detroit.

Reducing crime rates.

Crime plays a significant role in driving up the cost of home and car insurance in Detroit. Because even the most responsible individuals are still subject to theft and vandalism, this problem persists citywide. By leading in the creation of a partnership between the Mayor and the Michigan Chief of Police, a DeVos administration will develop an initiative to increase police presence in Detroit's most troubled areas, particularly in high-crime hours. We will charge the State Police to work hand in hand with the local police departments such as the Detroit Police Department in keeping peace and safety in the city. In doing so, we will produce lasting results by reducing crime that increases insurance rates for urban residents.

Encouraging Pooling.

As many businesses across the state are finding in their attempts to provide health insurance to their employees, pooling is a progressive approach that can result in significant cost savings. In the same way, pooling responsible individuals in search of affordable car and homeowners insurance can provide a cost-effective alternative to individual rates. Pooling initiatives are already taking place, collecting those who qualify. A DeVos administration will expand the initiative by working with insurance companies to increase competition in the pooling market. By doing so, we will drive the cost of insurance down further for responsible home and car owners in our urban cities.

Creating more options for consumers.

Increasing insurance options for individuals across the state can play a part in providing lower cost to those in Detroit. Currently, Michigan is the only state that requires mandatory unlimited medical coverage as part of auto insurance packages. This coverage drives insurance rates upward. By giving car owners the choice of unlimited coverage or a no-frills package, we can provide increased options and rein in insurance costs for those in Detroit.

You can read the Urban Turn Around Plan at

There is no excuse for voting for Granholm AFTER reading the Urban Turn Around Plan.

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