Law enforcement had a big day in Hamtramck yesterday, as state and federal authorities raided six Hamtramck markets, all owned by Bengalis, on charges of food stamp fraud. At least one police helicopter hovered above the city while six markets were raided in a sting that resulted in almost a dozen arrests in Hamtramck alone.
It's always dicey to make predictions a century in advance, but a piece in The New York Times this week reprinted a would-be prophecy from UCLA professor Matthew E. Kahn, who argues that Detroit could be a haven for thousands of "environmental refugees."
We in Detroit presume that, in order for a business to succeed, competition is bad. From the lowly brick-and-mortar greasy spoon operator complaining about the food truck outside his door to the billionaire developer who wants to vertically integrate the parking, restaurants, and residential components of his campus-style development, we seem to have lost sight of the way thousands of individual decisions and enterprises create an actual city.
One of the poorest big cities in the United States, just beginning to emerge from bankruptcy, has essentially given acres and acres of land downtown and sacrificed tens of millions of dollars to help enrich a billionaire under a deal that will leave Ilitch with what is essentially a tax-free enterprise. And our Detroit media can't stop cheering about it.
Is nothing sacred? That's what we through when we got wind of plans to create a TV reality show based on Detroit's priesthood. Apparently, based on the success of TV's Preachers of L.A., the Oxygen network is now beginning shooting in Detroit.
For the uninitiated, all things "entheogenic" relate to the use of mind-altering substances in a religious context. The people really into entheogenic substances argue (convincingly, we may add) that humans have been using psychoactive chemicals in rituals for many thousands of years. That's certainly what will be up for discussion at this year's inaugural Detroit Entheogenic Conference.
A stimulating piece of reporting mixed with commentary appeared over the weekend on the politico.com site. It's a piece entitled "Is There Room for Black People in the New Detroit" by Suzette Hackney, a former Detroit journalist now living and working in Toledo, Ohio. Hackney takes a look at the "New Detroit" — the pockets of redevelopment mostly occupied by freespending white people — and points out how these enclaves of vitality aren't necessarily trickling down to the longtime residents who've stuck it out through tough times.
Michigan officials are looking to name Detroit's most ambitious proposed trail project. It's still just a proposal, but the trail would link Michigan all the way from Ironwood down to Detroit, linking hiking and bicycling trails to create a continuous route for hikers and a similar one for cyclists, each more than 500 miles in length
We read an interesting post on our old buddy Mark Maynard's blog this week. It concerns an article in the Ann Arbor news about policy provisions that are making it harder and harder to come by affordable housing in that city.