Check-Save-Buy

Previously published in the Free Press with minor unapproved edits. Original below: It started with a Facebook post “77-year old women needs help immediately!” The woman was a renter of a tax foreclosed home, and a stream of well-meaning friends offered their advice about what she should do. There was fear that she would face eviction, […]

Beneath The Steam

Originally published in Hour Detroit An iconic image of winter in Detroit is the columns of smoke spewing from sidewalks. Steaming streets are part of the landscape, but few know the answers that lie beneath this mystery in plain sight. Below our sidewalks, there’s a vast infrastructure that includes electricity, water, sewer, and fiber optics. […]

Government Can Stop Government Foreclosure

Originally published in the Detroit Free Press If you’re anything like me, you feel a little sick when you hear that yet another 36,000 Detroit properties are facing tax foreclosure this year. Tax foreclosure is an autoimmune disorder through which our own local government has become the agent of its own destruction. The city, the […]

Reparations 313

[Originally published by ModelD. All photos depict homes that were occupied when they were acquired by Detroit Land Bank Authority but are now vacant.] Detroit’s greatest paradox is its abundance of space and its scarcity of quality housing. The massive stock of single family homes once sustained double the current population. Yet each year, more […]

Goodbye Goodwell’s

The following is a conversation that my friend Margo Dalal and I had about the closing of Goodwell’s Market.  Michele: “Pocket sandwich with avocado and cheese.” For an indecisive person, figuring out lunch can be a difficult prospect. What I loved about Goodwell’s is that I always knew what to order and, when lunchtime rolled around, I always […]

Silent Auction

Detroit’s Largest Missed Opportunity (originally published in a similar form by Occupy.com) Last month, the ACLU filed suit against the Wayne County Treasurer (WCT) for foreclosing on owner-occupied homes. The lawsuit has been anticipated for years, and could dramatically affect the fate of thousands if it successful halts the auction sale of those properties, but, even […]

Small Claims: A Slow Journey to Justice in the 36th District Court

Originally published by ModelD Media In the early morning light, a line of people slowly builds at the front doors of the 36th District Court. A bail bondsman in parachute pants stands patiently beside the line, waiting for the grinding gears of justice inside the building to churn out some clients for him. The 36th District […]

Policy ideas to fix Flint’s water crisis (and help avoid another)

Originally published by ModelD Gov. Rick Snyder has apologized for the inexcusable failures of leadership that led to the current situation in Flint, where tens of thousands of individuals, including children, have been poisoned, dismissed, neglected, and lied to. What’s clear at this stage is that great harm has been done to both people and […]