wayne county

Today on Stateside, we talk with Congresswoman Debbie Dingell about efforts to halt the deportation of Mexican journalist and University of Michigan Knight-Wallace Fellow Emilio Gutierrez Soto. Plus, we check in with Wayne County Executive Warren Evans about the state of the county's finances.

Listen above for the full show, or find individual segments below.

Today on Stateside, Benton Harbor's emerging problem with lead in drinking water, and what it tells us about the risk of lead in other Michigan communities. Plus, the city of Midland is documenting its unique, and massive, treasure trove of mid-century modern architecture. So far, they've found more than 400 structures. 

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

Courtesy of Penni Johnson

 

He was born April 29th, 1976. His parents named him James Dean Fuson.

James’ mom died when he was seven, and his dad left the picture after that. His maternal grandparents, Delores and Wallace Bach, raised him alongside his aunt, Penni, in southwest Detroit.

In the beginning, he called them Granny and Pee Wee. Then teenage self-consciousness got the better of him, and he switched to Grandma and Gramps.

“I was eight years older than him,” says his aunt Penni Bach Johnson. “And I remember I used to babysit him a lot. I used to change his diapers. He was like my little brother.”

Morgan Springer

 

(Editor’s note: we recommend you listen to the story.)

In March 2001, Fred Williams left his friend Tanya Davis’ house to get groceries. He was 17 and living on the west side of Detroit. Fred says he weighed two options before he left.

“I had Hometown Groceries on Joy Road and Wyoming,” Fred recalls, “or I had Foodarama on Livernois and Julian.”

Fred chose Foodarama because he could buy spaghetti ingredients and make a drug sale at the same time. He’d been selling drugs for about three years – mostly as a “corner boy” selling for someone else.

 

(Editor’s note: we recommend you listen to this story.) 

Jose Burgos was 16 years old when he shot and killed Omar Kaji. It happened during a bogus drug deal in 1991 in southwest Detroit. 

“The whole plan was, we’re going to make it look like – from the outside looking in – there’s 10 pounds of marijuana in this bag,” says Jose.

Joel Kurth is the Detroit Editor for Bridge Magazine. Along with Mike Wilkinson and Laura Herberg, he’s been digging into how Wayne County is fattening its coffers through home foreclosures.

“Misery is monetized by counties all across Michigan, and no government relies on money from tax foreclosures as much as Wayne County.”

That blunt statement leads off a Bridge Magazine and Detroit Journalism Cooperative investigation titled “Sorry we foreclosed your home. But thanks for fixing our budget.”

Wayne County is currently in the midst of the largest municipal property auction in United States history.

Some 30,000 properties are on the auction block, and around 85% of the properties facing foreclosure are in Detroit.

Michele Oberholtzer watched the 2014 Wayne County Tax Foreclosure and saw that many of those properties sold to investors and speculators were occupied homes.


Governor Snyder has made it official: Wayne County is in a state of financial emergency.

County Executive Warren Evans had asked for the declaration.

Wayne County faces a projected budget shortfall of $171 million by 2019.

With the start of the New Year, Warren Evans became the new county executive of Wayne County, and with it he's inheriting a daunting pile of problems.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes recently published the article "Fiscal fight fraught for Wayne County's Evans." He joined us to discuss what Evans has inherited from his predecessor, Robert Ficano, and what he can do to improve the county's financial situation.

Tuesday’s primary election marked the beginning of the end of the scandal-ridden administration of Robert Ficano, Executive of Wayne County.

He placed fifth in the Democratic primary, so former sheriff Warren Evans will likely win the office this November in that Democratic stronghold. But Ficano leaves behind a huge challenge for his successor.

Daniel Howes, business columnist for The Detroit News, joined us today. Howes said Robert Ficano has left Wayne County in a financially poor shape.

“The pension fund is in some way more underfunded than some of the Detroit pension funds. Budgets are out of whack. A lot of white elephant projects. It’s going to be very hard for a successor to unwind, particularly a successor who has basically been a part of the Wayne County and Detroit political law enforcement machine for a very long time, ” Howes said.

* Listen to the full interview with Daniel Howes above.