Of course we never know what any of the speakers might spontaneously say about Detroit’s bankruptcy, but following are a few of the sessions where we expect issues related to the Chapter 9 to be front and center.
WDET will be following the conference at this link.
Detroit Public Television is broadcasting live for much of the conference and can be viewed here.
The first full day of the conference is largely focused on entrepreneurship, but two sessions promise some specific Detroit mentions:
1 p.m. Gov. Rick Snyder speaks as part of official “conference welcome.”
4:45 p.m. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan will be interviewed by Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley. DPTV is hosting an online screening and chat during his appearance with Next Chapter Detroit’s Sandra Svoboda as a panelist.
The second day centers on STEM – science, technology, engineering, math – but we’re watching and listening for Detroit bankruptcy topics primarily in the following sessions:
9:30 a.m. Author Malcom Gladwell gives a keynote address and is interviewed by Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes, who has written extensively about the Detroit bankruptcy. As Gladwell’s writing pushes a message of how entrepreneurship and education can help overcome obstacles, he’ll explain how these lessons can apply to Detroit as well as the entire state.
2:45 p.m. Gov. Rick Snyder will be interviewed by Vickie Thomas, WWJ city beat reporter, and is expected to review the highlights of his administration.
5 p.m. WDIV and The Detroit News conducted a survey for the Mackinac Policy Conference, and the results will be discussed at a town hall meeting. They include the statewide view of Detroit as well as attitudes and opinions about this year’s political races and policy issues.
This is the bankruptcy day with several sessions and speakers focused on the topic:
8:55 a.m. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, interviewed by WDET’s Craig Fahle, will explain how rebuilding from natural disasters transformed the Crescent City and how lessons learned there could help Detroit’s revitalization.
9:40 a.m. Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr will be interviewed by Vicki Mabrey, former ABC News correspondent. He’s expected to discuss how Detroit is being positioned for success post bankruptcy and what his plans are toward the city’s long-term sustainability.
10:15 a.m. The panel titled “Detroit Next: Positioned for the Future,” will be moderated by Detroit Free Press editorial page editor Stephen Henderson. Speakers include Detroit City Council president Brenda Jones, Kresge Foundation CEO Rip Rapson, and Jase Bolger, Michigan speaker of the house, and others who will address how “bankruptcy is positioning Detroit to establish financial stability and sustainability and redirect its efforts in city development. With a newly elected mayor and city council in place to guide the city through the post-bankruptcy phase, Detroit offers an environment for unprecedented innovation and collaboration.”
Here’s the link to the full agenda.
The Detroit bankruptcy figures prominently into the agenda at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference this year, Chamber president and CEO Sandy Baruah told Craig Fahle in advance of the annual event that opens today. Why? “What people inside Michigan forget is that the brand value of Detroit and the brand value of Michigan are exactly the same,” Baruah says. “Until the brand of Detroit is fixed and is stable, we’re going to continue to be struggling to attract our fair share of talent and jobs in this state.” We’ll have coverage from the island all week on www.nextchapterdetroit.com.
Detroit’s bankruptcy moved to Lansing, with a House committee holding hearings on a package of 11 bills. But there are, Sandra Svoboda tells Craig Fahle, some discrepancies between what’s in the bills and what’s been filed in court documents. Meanwhile, while Kevyn Orr is telling Lansing “Show me the money,” the city’s creditors tried to say “Show me the art” in court.
While city officials — and plenty of attorneys — are focused on the city’s financial restructuring as related to the bankruptcy case, efforts also are ongoing to restore some of the basic services for residents. Among them: public lighting. This week, WDET revisited two Detroit neighborhoods where the city is installing brand new street lights and spoke with the Detroit Public Lighting Authority CEO Odis Jones. Here are the stories with links to the audio:
Martina Guzman reports about the community-led initiative in southwest Detroit to brighten West Vernor Highway and replace 200 streetlights including new poles, LED lamps, underground wiring, sidewalks, curbs and landscape bed. “The Southwest Detroit Business Association and community businesses took matters into their own hands. They created an initiative to build a new lighting infrastructure along 2.3 miles of Vernor Highway.”
Travis Wright visited “Chaldeantown,” the area south of the old state fairgrounds just east of Woodward Avenue. He reports:
In a lot of ways, Chaldeantown could be considered a microcosm of Detroit. It has a deep history, bones to build on, and a sense of community. But it also continues to battle violent crime, mistrust of the police force, chronic de-population, and blight. Most of these problems might be resolved, says Dureid Kada, by turning on more lights in Chaldeantown.
“We’re prioritizing getting the neighborhoods lit first.”
Pat Batcheller spoke with Public Lighting Authority CEO Odis Jones, who says one of PLA’s goals is to reduce neighborhood crime.
The Public Lighting Authority’s next meeting is at 5 p.m., Thursday, June 5 on the 13th floor of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, 2 Woodward Ave., Detroit.