The Craig Fahle Show

Next Chapter Detroit: Bankruptcy Update & Duggan Profile

Friday, June 27, 2014

Bankruptcy reporter and Next Chapter Detroit blogger Sandra Svoboda and Bridge Magazine's computer-assisted reporting specialist Mike Wilkinson join Craig to talk bankruptcy court proceedings and Mayor Mike Duggan.

Following two significant days in court, Sandra talks with Craig about the proceedings, which involved bond insurer Syncora attempting to issue subpoenas for foundation officials, Michigan's Attorney General Bill Schuette and for pensioners’ financial data. She also recaps arguments about whether to allow a lump-sum payment for ASF recoupment.

Sandra also tells Craig about the Next Chapter Detroit community meeting that happened earlier this week in Southwest Detroit. “The bankruptcy process is something that has seemed a little bit distant from the neighborhoods at this point. Nobody’s opinions are right or wrong or more important than anyone else’s," she says.

However, comments from two community meeting attendees demonstrates that resident's opinions on the bankruptcy are just as divided as their opinions on the city's media coverage of the financial crisis.

One attendee, Maria, supports the work of NCD. “I thought today was a good day, I give WDET a lot of kudos,” she says of the meeting, “and doing it in the park was genius.” However, like many other, Maria recognizes that meetings like these are helpful, but still in short supply for residents. “There’s still a lot that needs to happen at the grassroots level,” she says.

Antonio, another attendee, felt differently about the meeting. “It’s a media outlet that’s helping to justify a neoliberal assault” that he says is happening in Detroit right now. He also says that Next Chapter Detroit has done a very poor job or representing the average voice of Detroiters, and instead has lifted the voice of the top officials.

Wilkinson, who just wrote a profile on Mayor Mike Duggan for Bridge Magazine, says the internal struggle is even happening among the Bridge staff. Wilkinson's profiles Duggan's talent for creating his own, often unverifiable metrics to show his success. "It’s a story that’s unfolding everyday," he says, and Mayor Mike Duggan is recognizing the city-wide frustration with the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings.

"This has given Duggan a great opportunity" to tackle some of the other problems in Detroit, including "lights, blight and buses," he tells Craig. However, considering that many of the hard numbers being used to demonstrate Duggan's efficacy are difficult to prove, for now we'll have to wait and see what happens.

--Annamarie Sysling

Find more coverage of Detroit's bankruptcy and its impact on people and neighborhoods on WDET's Next Chapter Detroit blog.

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