Dubious achievement awards 2004 - May 

Can I buy a vowel? How ’bout we change the city’s motto to “Teamwork,” since there’s no “I” in Detroit — at least, according to Hart Plaza’s marquee on Movement weekend. Yes, nothing screams “attention to detail” like 12-inch-tall letters spelling out “DETROT’S ELECTRONIC MUSIC FESTIVAL.” But, hey, you glass-half-full city boosters, they got the apostrophe right, right? Only slightly less disorganized is the festival itself, which doesn’t announce the final lineup until just days before the event begins.

Homeland insecurity: An employee of the Department of Homeland Security is indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of immigration fraud and bribery. Robert Walton, who works as a supervisory customs and border protection officer in Detroit, is charged with illegally approving citizenship and residency, and accepting bribes — a diamond earring and a gold bracelet — to do so. And we thought Kwame already had his citizenship.

Snotnosed sniper: A computer store employee calls police to report a man shooting a gun from the roof of a travel agency in Madison Heights near Oakland Mall. The ensuing police swarm closes off the 14 Mile Road exit ramps from I-75, creating a huge jam on the freeway. Turns out it was just a 17-year-old kid, who could use a good smack, firing his paintball gun for shits and giggles. The juvie d is nailed after he calls police from the lobby of the Star John R theater to turn himself in.

Feelin’ gassy: Michigan motorists collectively yowl when AAA announces that Michigan gas prices reach an all-time high, at an average $2.09 a gallon for regular self-serve. The previous record was set in June 2000, when the statewide average was $2.07. Thanks, Dubya! In a lame attempt at retaliation, a “one-day gas boycott” e-mail is relentlessly forwarded and posted. The e-mail claims that one day of not buying gas will cripple the oil industry. Numerous experts debunk the claim, which is about as probable as Detroit building a mass transit system.

Hacked hubby: Many of us have forgotten Mother’s Day at least once. But fourth-grade teacher Nancy Seaman of Farmington Hills isn’t so forgiving over her husband’s lapses in that area. The two already had a rocky relationship, but after husband Robert allegedly left the state for nine days without giving his whereabouts, Seaman decided to buy herself a gift on Mother’s Day — a hatchet from Home Depot, which she uses to bash in her husband’s skull, after which she stabs him 18 times in the back with a knife. Seaman claims she is a battered wife. She’s convicted of first-degree murder in December.

Kwame’s gonna get you: On Mildred Gaddis’s talk show on WCHB (1200-AM), co-host Greg Bowens — mayoral spokesman during the Archer administration — claims the mammoth mayor threatened him during an event at Cobo Center. Bowens, a vocal critic of the Kilpatrick administration, claims the Kwaminator, while passing him in the hallway, pointed and said, “I’m going to get you.” An upset Bowens tells Metro Times, “I’m a resident of this city. I shouldn’t have to worry about the mayor getting me.” When asked about the incident, Mayor Hip Hop’s office takes its usual tactic: deny, deny, deny.

Slink, slank, slunk: To curb roving gangs of feral teenagers, Fairlane Mall in Dearborn adopts a 5 p.m. curfew for shoppers under the age of 18. The Detroit News chronicles this ineffable tragedy with a visually gripping depiction of teens at the mall, chattering away about their infringed rights. When a randy 15-year-old boy is rebuffed, the News reports that “the boy slunked away.” For the record: Slinked or slunk is acceptable, but any 15-year-old can tell you that slunked ain’t no word.

Have they found him yet? Some people just can’t let sleeping union organizers lie. Following a tip from Fox News, police rip up the floorboards in a northwest Detroit home in the never-ending search for Jimmy Hoffa. Turns out Fox struck a deal with Charles Brandt, who authored a new book on the Teamster boss’s famed disappearance; the book includes an interview from someone claiming to have shot Hoffa inside the home. The floorboards were turned over to the FBI for analysis, despite that (1) officials admitted the chance that DNA evidence might still exist was highly unlikely, and (2) according to Brandt’s book, all but one of the people who allegedly witnessed the killing are now dead.

Long blue line: Alvin Bowman becomes the fourth Detroit cop to file a lawsuit claiming retaliation by the Kilpatrick administration for conducting an investigation linked to the notorious Manoogian Mansion party that never happened. In this case, Bowman alleges he was transferred from the homicide unit for investigating the shooting death of Tamara Green, a 27-year-old exotic dancer who told friends she had performed at the aforementioned phantom party. Chief Ella Bully-Cummings issues a statement saying Bowman was reassigned because he “did not follow department procedure.” It’s clear the procedure she’s referring to is never to conduct any investigation that might make the mayor look bad.

Deny, deny, deny: Court documents containing allegations that Mayor Hip-Hop engaged in some major philandering are released. The media begin salivating like hungry dogs sniffing T-bones at a barbecue when mayoral chief of staff Christine Beatty is named as one of the women Kwame Kilpatrick allegedly dallied with. Kilpatrick doesn’t blink as, after consulting with Rep. Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick (aka Mom), he stands before microphones and rolling cameras to denounce his accusers — two of them men who once protected the lives of Kilpatrick and his family — as liars who will say anything for money. As opposed to, say, someone who would say anything in an attempt to keep the Manoogian Mansion as his mailing address.

Rat pack, suburban style: The Freep publishes a shocking exposé on the fact that (gasp!) rats live in the suburbs. The enlightening report points out that “Rats freely scamper across all social and economic lines.” Anyone who’s ever been in a boardroom already knew that.

Continue to June Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com

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