Of Bobb and Bing
I'm an educator with the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) and I read with interest the article, "Saving DPS" (Feb. 16), and must say, with all due respect to Robert Bobb, DPS' emergency financial manager (EFM), it's time for him to go. DPS was more than he could handle. He was cited as saying, "I know cities," in terms of possibly considering being appointed as an EFM to a city struggling financially — which was an admission that he didn't know schools. During his tenure, he didn't meet his objective of reducing or eliminating the district's deficit of $219 million when he arrived, but has added to that deficit by $108 million. I don't call that financial management; I call it financial mismanagement. As Jack Lessenberry wrote, "He failed totally."
As far as DPS coming under the control of Mayor Bing, I think not. Mayor Bing's focus should be on what the people elected him to do, and that's to run the city of Detroit! He has a Herculean enough task running the city without placing DPS — which has its own $300 million-plus deficit and a myriad of other problems — on the city's plate. The city itself is strapped with its own $300 million-plus budget deficit. It still hasn't settled contract negotiations with the AFSCME union. Overall crime, though it has improved according to recently released statistics, is still too high. The unemployment is as high as 27-percent-plus, possibly higher. Mayor Bing is attempting to reconfigure the city into seven to nine zones to relocate residents, through the Detroit Works Project. He's also trying to lure police officers back into the city with Project 14. He's now faced with a struggle to keep control and ownership of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. Merging DPS, as another city department, with the city would be tantamount to a bad marriage! —Thomas A. Wilson Jr., Detroit
Let them eat hemp
I would like to expand on the conversation started by Larry Gabriel ("Hemp on the ropes," Feb. 9) and the excellent letter from Ralph Givens ("The wages of hemp," Letters, Feb. 16) about the glories of hemp. Not only is hemp an answer to producing fiber for textiles and paper with a much lower carbon footprint, but is also a stellar food. Vegans and vegetarians love the fact that it is the best plant source of Omega-3s and Omega-6s, the same heart-healthy essential fatty acids found in salmon. It also contains complete protein with all 10 amino acids. This could be a real boon to Michigan farmers, since hemp is easy to grow organically and does not require additional fertilizers, pesticides or genetic modification. If Gov. Snyder is serious about creating jobs and new markets then he should support asking the feds to drop opposition to growing THC-free hemp. Right now the delicious hemp seed nuts and hemp milk that I buy must come from Canada. Drink your hemp and save the planet. —Ed McArdle, Melvindale
Mistakes a village
Re: Larry Gabriel's Feb. 16 column, "Join us and we'll pay you" — oh, Mr. Gabriel, I know the east side is a long way from Green Acres, but I believe you have your neighborhoods confused. East English Village is located between I-94 and Mack, Cadieux and Whittier-Outer Drive. It has been a neighborhood since about 1913 and was fully built by about 1950. You can find great historical and current information about East English Village, including recent neighborhood newsletters, at eastenglishvillage.org.
Now, English Village, to which it seems you were referring (at least geographically) in last week's column, is adjacent to Indian Village, and did crop up in the last 10 years, and has now caused the confusion that we feared — with its name too similar to East English Village. —Darrell J. Dinges, Grosse Pointe Park (formerly of East English Village for 15 years)