What Are ‘American Values’ in 2018 — And Who Gets To Decide?

July 24, 2018


Two experts of different political philosophies discuss the meaning of American values and civility in the political climate of 2018.

With the contentious and divisive political climate of 2018, what does it mean to be American? What are the core American values? Have those values changed over time?

Historians like Howard Zinn would say America is about the struggle of ordinary people against the greed and power of an elite ruling class.

On the other hand, students of Alexis de Tocqueville would identify liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, populism, and a free market economy as the defining American values.

Every one of the 335 million Americans could potentially have a different definition of what it means to be an American.

Two Americans might even voice beliefs that directly contradict each other.

Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson speaks with Frank Joyce, local writer and activist, who recently wrote an article for Alternet titled, “Are We Being True to Our July 4th Values? Yes — That’s Exactly the Problem.”

Henderson also speaks with Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, which has led a call for restoration of civility in public discourse.

On the core values according to the founding documents:

“The number one core value of the U.S. when you drill all the way down to the bedrock is hypocrisy,” says Joyce. “Because in the Declaration of Independence, you have lofty ideals and equality but you also have references to indigenous people as merciless savages and in the Constitution of course you enshrine slavery and its defense.”

“Let’s say for purposes of discussion that these founding documents and aspirations have gotten us to this point. Are they adequate to the challenges we now face at this moment?”

On the need for civility in our political discourse:

“We’ve gone from having an opposition party or an opposition idea to having enemies,” says Baruah. “There are people in our country now that dislike their opposing party so much—Republicans dislike Democrats so much—they like Russia and Vladimir Putin better than they like the opposing party.”

On the use of violence in our country’s history and present moment:

“We have the roots of the United States in violence, the violence of settler colonialism, the violence of slavery, the violence of the Revolutionary War, the violence of the Civil War,” says Joyce. “Our default is violence and how we break that cycle is no easy task.”

“The challenge with today’s society is that everything is a fight. Everything is viewed through that lens,” said Baruah.

“Look at our political advertising. Everyone says I’m going to fight for you. Okay, so wait a minute, I’d rather you kind of work more collaboratively with other people to get things done. And what does it mean to fight for me if we are a country of 335 million people?”


You can view the original post from WDET on their website.

Lawmakers take on newcomers for open Oakland County state Senate seats

July 19, 2018

The Detroit News

By: Christine McDonald

Suburban Oakland County’s open state Senate seats have attracted a mix of veteran lawmakers along with first-time political candidates in the Aug. 7 primary.

Many contested primaries will decide who is elected to the Senate because the district boundaries are drawn to favor one party over another.

In the 12th district, four Republicans are vying to replace term-limited Sen. Jim Marleau, R-Lake Orion. The area includes Pontiac, Auburn Hills and Bloomfield Township.

Competing are state Rep. Mike McCready, R-Bloomfield Hills, state Rep. Jim Tedder, R-Clarkston, along with Vernon Molnar, a retired construction company chief executive, and Terry Whitney, an information technology consultant.

Democrat Rosemary Bayer of Beverly Hills will face the winner of the Republican primary in the fall.

Tedder, a 49-year-old former civics and history teacher, has been endorsed by the Detroit Regional Chamber Political Action Committee. He’s said he’s proud of the tax policy changes he’s pushed in the state House, including simplifying the state income tax dispute process and making it easier for small businesses to apply for personal property exemptions.

Tedder, a married father of three, said he’d advocate similar tax reforms as a state senator.

“We need to create efficiency within government,” said Tedder, who is chair of the Tax Policy Committee as well as the vice chair of the Health Policy Committee.

McCready, 57, is a former member of the Bloomfield Hills City Commission and a manufacturer’s representative for commercial furniture companies prior his November 2012 election to the state House. He served on the House committee formed to help Detroit through its historic bankruptcy five years ago.

He said his priorities are to bring down Michigan’s costly auto insurance rates in part by cracking down on fraud and to repair aging roads, while reining in government spending.

“We need to keep battling to keep our state spending in check and we need to fix the roads,” said McCready, a divorced father of two.

Terry Whitney, 42, of Clarkston is running his first political race because he said Tedder and McCready voted to raise taxes. Both lawmakers supported the $1.2 billion road funding package signed into law in 2015 that raised gas taxes and registration fees.

Whitney acknowledges the state has underfunded road repairs and argues the money should come from spending cuts. He’d advocate for a state audit that would bring a “deep-analysis” of spending that could “save billions,” he said.

He’d also like to restore local control to school boards and regulate the state’s Department of Education to a “check writing organization,” along with pushing a repeal of the state’s pension tax.

Vernon Molnar, 64, of Auburn Hills said he wants to head to Lansing primarily to find a long-term solution to the state’s crumbling roads. His 30 years of experience in heavy construction as CEO of the Molnar Group would help Michigan finally achieve a fix, he said.

“As a lifelong road builder, I know what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong,” Molnar said. “I am not part of the system.”

Molnar, a divorced father of three, said he’s a supporter of President Donald Trump. He ran unsuccessfully against former U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers in 2012.

District 11

A state representative is competing against three other Democrats for the District 11 state Senate seat to replace term-limited Sen. Vincent Gregory, D-Lathrup Village. The area includes Southfield, Farmington Hills, Ferndale and Oak Park.

Rep. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, is running against Southfield attorney Vanessa Moss, Oak Park fashion entrepreneur Crystal Bailey and Farmington Hills filmmaker James C. Turner.

AFSCME Council 25 has endorsed Moss, who was the youngest member to be elected to the Southfield City Council and is serving his second term representing Michigan’s 35th House District.

Moss, 32, said as a state senator, he’d work to increase government transparency, primarily by pushing expansion of the state’s Freedom of Information Act laws to the Governor’s Office and the Legislature. The bills, which would provide access to records, passed the House in 2017 but have stalled in the Senate.

“I have a sense of urgency to restore accountability to state government,” Moss said.

Moss also wants to increase education spending and the minimum wage, and expand family leave time.

Vanessa Moss, 55, calls herself a bridge builder and said she’d bring valuable experience as an attorney representing clients in the juvenile justice system.

“I look at what is going on now in our country on both sides, and we have a whole lot of the same old, same old,” she said.

She wants to ensure a living wage to stop the “vicious cycle of poverty” and would advocate for more oversight of charter schools. Vanessa Moss ran unsuccessfully against incumbent Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence in the 2016 Democratic primary for the 14th House District seat.

Bailey, 35, is running her first political campaign and was motivated to improve education for her 11-year-old daughter and thousands of other Michigan children, in part after seeing Michigan’s third-grade reading scores continue to decline. She’d start by increasing teacher’s salaries and training.

“It starts with the teachers,” Bailey said. “It will make them motivated.”

She also wants to bring down “the sky-high” auto insurance rates.

Bailey produces fashion shows around the world for independent fashion designers and offers sewing classes through non-profit at Oak Park High Schools.

This is James C. Turner’s first run for political office as well. The 48-year-old married father of three said he wants to serve in Lansing primarily to hold journalists on cable television “accountable for misinformation and for deceiving people deliberately.”

“I got tired of complaining … and watching people holding positions I don’t think they are qualified for,” Turner said.

He recently released a film documenting the 100th anniversary of Highland Park, which was where Turner grew up.

Republican Boris Tuman of Southfield will face the winner of the Democratic primary in the fall.

District 15

Two Republicans are vying to replace state Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake Township, in the 15th District, which includes Novi, Wixom, South Lyon, Walled Lake and Northville.

State Rep. Jim Runestad, 59, of White Lake was first elected to the House in November 2014 and is chair of the House Judiciary Committee. He served three terms as an Oakland County commissioner, and prior to that, ran his own insurance company.

He’s most proud of his legislation signed into law last year that strips the pensions of public employees convicted of a felony that relates to a “breach of public trust during their service.”

“Now they are going to pay the price,” Runestad said.

In the state Senate, he’d like to pursue more protections for those who have lost possessions through civil forfeiture, bring down the cost of auto insurance and make sure more of the state sales tax is spent on road repairs.

His competitor, Mike Saari, 59, of Commerce, said he’d also like to reform the civil forfeiture process so innocent people don’t lose their possessions. He said in the state Senate he’d also legalize marijuana use and defend gun rights.

“I am an honest guy and I love my community,” Saari said.

But Saari created controversy early this year in a series of Facebook posts. FOX 2 Detroit reported that he called Ingham Count Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who presided over the Larry Nassar sentencing, a “feminazi.” He said she was wrong for voicing her personal opinions about Nassar in court.

One post appeared to justify men marrying 12-year-old girls and other comments posted from the account were racist. Saari said he was not advocating child marriage, just describing what was acceptable during Biblical times. He said he didn’t write the racist posts and that his account was hacked.

More than 50 of Saari’s neighbors filed a complaint against him in Novi District Court last month, arguing his dogs roam free and are dangerous. Saari denies his dogs are a threat and said that he is being harassed by a neighbor.

In 2002, Saari was sentenced to 138 days in jail after pleading guilty to a third drunk driving offense.

District 13

State Sen. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy, who is unopposed in the primary, faces Democrat Mallory McMorrow of Royal Oak in the November election.

District 14

Republican Katherine Houston of Ortonville faces Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, of Holly in the primary. Democratic candidate Cris Rariden will face off against Jason Waisanen and Renee Watson. All are residents of Grand Blanc.


You can view the original post from The Detroit News on their website.

Detroit’s Adult College Students: ‘It’s Never Too Late to Go’

For the region’s 690,000 adults with some college education, no degree or credential, returning to school can seem daunting, especially for individuals saddled with debt. Recognizing the need to grow Southeast Michigan’s talent pipeline, Detroit Drives Degrees is working with regional leaders to increase access among adults to pursue postsecondary educational opportunities for high-quality credentials, two-year and four-year degrees.

Detroit Drives Degrees hosted its Leadership Council meeting in June, bringing together leading representatives in higher education, business, government, philanthropy and the nonprofit sector. This meeting focused on adult talent and how adults can find their way back to and complete postsecondary education.

Working on a Dream

For Bob Ellis, a real estate agent and Macomb Community College (Macomb) student, returning to school was a big life decision. Raised in a working-class family, Ellis said college was never encouraged. But after a series of setbacks in his 40s, he realized he wanted to improve his life and follow his dream of getting a degree. Ellis returned to school to enhance his skills and follow his passion to help people.

Ellis struggled early on in college, as he lacked the necessary reading comprehension and study skills required at the college level. It wasn’t until he was placed into a student cohort that he was able to excel, learn study habits, and feel part of a community. Ellis transferred to Wayne State University (WSU), but faced higher tuition bills and a sense of uncertainty about his chosen degree path. He’s put his college attainment on hold while he saves money and further explores career opportunities after he obtains his degree.

Tiffany Treadwell returned to college after a career in retail with companies like Apple and Shinola. Treadwell said through her sales experience, she developed an interest in advocacy and human resources. Committed to return to school to obtain a bachelor’s degree but with few financial resources, Treadwell applied for a job with the university to take advantage of WSU’s tuition-free policy for employees. The transition back to school was challenging and although she used WSU’s tutoring programs, she didn’t meet the academic requirement for her first semester. Determined to continue, she used her advocacy skills and appealed her case to the Provost’s Office. She’s now back on-track, working and in school, as well as helping the university improve their systems for re-engaging adult students.

Both Ellis and Treadwell shared their story as part of a panel discussion moderated by David Scobey, director of the national initiative, Bringing Theory to Practice. Bringing Theory to Practice encourages and supports colleges and universities in developing sustainable campus cultures that support engaged learning and discovery, civic purpose, well-being, and preparation for a meaningful life.

A second panel moderated by Melanie D’Evelyn, director of Detroit Drives Degrees, featured Dawn Medley, associate vice president for enrollment management at WSU, Scott Anderson, vice president of human resources at Comcast, and Scobey. Focusing on the roles that institutional leaders play in an adult’s education, panelists discussed the importance of changing the learning practices that are in place, and rules that could potentially leave behind adult students due to grades or unpaid debt.

Finding Your Way Back to School

Businesses are encouraging adult education through tuition reimbursement. Comcast offers tuition reimbursement to employees and research by the Lumina Foundation showcases the return on investment for employers. WSU now offers one of the most innovative strategies in the country to re-engage adult learners. As announced at the 2018 Mackinac Policy Conference, WSU created the Warrior Way Back program for returning students. Warrior Way Back relieves past student tuition balances of former students who did not graduate.

Detroit Drives Degrees is also working to improve opportunities for adults to further their education, by focusing on creating a community of leaders that can be used to learn from each other to continue to create opportunities for adults to continue to pursue their degree. Detroit Drives Degrees is also developing a formal compact among higher education partners and others to better track and measure components of the talent pipeline, like reducing the percent of the adult population with some college, no degree.

To learn more about the Detroit Drives Degrees Leadership Council visit: www.detroitchamber.com/detroit-drives-degrees/leadership

Regional Transit Authority plan for Southeast Michigan won’t make November ballot

July 19, 2018

WDIV – Local 4

By: Amber Ainsworth

DETROIT – The Detroit-backed Regional Transit Authority plan for Southeast Michigan will not be on the ballot in November.

The plan needed to have a unanimous “yes” vote Thursday in the Funding Allocation Committee, but Oakland and Macomb counties voted it down.

A statement was released on behalf of Gerry Anderson, the chairman and CEO of DTE Energy; Sandy Baruah, the president and CEO of Detroit Regional Chamber; and more than 250 employers for the Transit Coalition.

Read the statement below:

“We are disappointed that the Southeast Michigan leaders represented on the Regional Transit Authority were unable to agree upon a plan to move our region’s transit system forward.  When the quality of transit systems in large urban areas across our country are ranked, our region’s transit system consistently falls near the bottom of the list – and that state of affairs is badly complicating life for many of our citizens.

“At the Mackinac Policy Conference in May, more than 250 companies and nonprofits called for a plan to improve transit in our region.  That call for action will persist, and we expect that the stakeholders involved will continue to work on a mass transit solution. We echo the Oakland County Board of Commissioners’ current resolution that calls for continued work toward the development of a plan that improves transit for the region. And we remain committed to working with our region’s leaders to achieve this goal.

“Strong mass transit benefits everyone, directly or indirectly.  It connects residents with jobs, education, health care and entertainment.  It spurs economic development and improves the quality of life.”

Plan proposed by Wayne County earlier this year:

The plan is being called “Connect Southeast Michigan,” and it will call for a 1.5 mill property tax levy on Wayne, Washtenaw, Oakland and Macomb counties.

The millage is projected to raise $5.4 billion over 20 years to fund expanded regional transit service and plan forward flexible transit innovations as technology changes the transportation and mobility industries.

The average house in the RTA region is worth $157,504, meaning it would cost $118 a year, or less than $10 per month.

It would also leverage an additional $1.3 billion in farebox, state and federal revenues for Southeast Michigan.

Highlights of the plan include:

  • Premium Bus Routes Connecting Job Centers: 5 premium routes on Mound/Van Dyke, Gratiot, Woodward, Grand River, and Michigan, eliminating unnecessary transfers.
  • Increased Routes, Frequency of Service: An additional 10 high-quality bus routes on major cross-county commuter corridors at 15 minute frequencies and 11 commuter express routes connecting Park and Ride lots.
  • Better Connecting Airport to Region: 4 express bus routes connecting Detroit Metro Airport with Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti (I-94), Western Wayne (I-275), Oakland (M-39), and Wayne/Macomb (I-94) to serve the airport’s 33.7 million annual visitors and 18,000 badged employees.
  • Expanded Commuter Rail Service: Commuter rail service between Detroit and Ann Arbor with eight round-trips daily.
  • Flexible “Hometown Service” Program: Focuses on communities not serviced by the new plan’s transit routes, bringing value to areas of region not addressed in 2016 plan.
  • Infrastructure Investment: An additional $696 million for funding infrastructure improvements that support transit.

Chamber Welcomes New Board Members, PwC’s Ray Telang Named Board Chair

This week, the Detroit Regional Chamber welcomed nine new executives to its Board of Directors, while PwC’s U.S. automotive leader and Detroit managing partner, Ray Telang, took over as chairman at the Board’s first meeting in the 2018-2019 term. Telang, who chaired the highly successful 2018 Mackinac Policy Conference, succeeds Highgate President and CEO Stephen Polk, whose one-year term as board chairman came to an end. Polk will remain a member of the board as immediate past chair and will serve on the Executive Committee.

In addition to announcing the new chair, the Chamber welcomed nine new executives to its Board of Directors. The new board members, representing the region and a variety of industries, include:

George Corona, president and CEO, Kelly Services Inc.
John Fikany, president, The Fikany Group
Ronia Kruse, CEO, OpTech LLC
Lisa Lunsford, CEO and co-founder, Global Strategic Supply Solutions
Betsy Meter, managing partner, KPMG
Troy Mooyoung, executive director and complex manager, Morgan Stanley
James Proppe, managing partner, Plante Moran
Suzanne Shank, chairwoman, CEO and co-founder, Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co. LLC
Anthony Tedeschi, CEO, Detroit Medical Center

View the full list of Detroit Regional Chamber Board members here.

Regional Transit Proposal Won’t Appear on 2018 Ballot

July 19, 2018

The Macomb Daily

By: Mark Cavitt

A regional transit proposal will not appear on November’s ballot.

On Thursday, the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan’s funding allocation committee wasn’t able to come to a unanimous 5-0 vote, which means the Connect Southeast Michigan plan won’t go forth for a public vote in 2018.

The committee voted 3-2 in favor of the plan with Oakland County representative Chuck Moss and Macomb County representative John Swatosh voting “no”. City of Detroit representative Freman Hendrix, Washtenaw County representative Elisabeth Gerber and Wayne County representative June Lee all voted “yes.”

The plan needed approval from the authority’s board of directors as well, but an item can only be put forth to the board for a vote if it first receives unanimous approval from the committee. The board decided to dissolve the committee at its 2 p.m. meeting.

In order for the plan to have landed on the November ballot, the plan, and its ballot language, would have had to be approved by the board no later than Aug. 14.

According to the RTA’s June financial summary of the plan, it would have generated $5.42 billion in property tax revenue. Of that number, $2.196 billion would have come from Oakland County, 1.083 billion from Macomb County, $168 million from Detroit, and 1.274 billion from the rest of Wayne County.

The total revenue collected over the 20-year lifespan of the tax was estimated to be $6.99 billion if you included state ($506 million) and federal ($303 million) revenue sources as well as system generated revenue, which includes fares ($573 million) and bond proceeds ($192 million).


Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said he wanted a regional plan that featured a smaller taxing footprint to include only the county’s 38 communities that opted-into SMART in 1995.

He said a plan can be agreed upon in 2019 if all the major issues are resolved among the regional leaders and the RTA.

“The RTA didn’t want to reduce the footprint,” said Patterson. “This fight is not over yet. If they (the RTA) would just sit down and negotiate with us, instead of blowing us off, we might be able to make some progress. The RTA’s biggest obstacle was that they got greedy. They thought they had the votes and were going to stick it to the taxpayer. I wasn’t going to double cross my opt-out communities.”

Patterson added that the City of Detroit opted out of receiving SMART services in 1995.

“So it’s OK that Detroit opted out over 20 years ago, but when my communities opted out they’re all called racists,” said Patterson. “That’s bullcrap. The only way for the RTA to fund this current plan is to bring in my 35 opt-out communities.”

Matt Webb, RTA chief operating officer, said although there continues to be a debate about the right taxing footprint and the manner in which the RTA constructed the financial assumptions, what cannot be debated is that the region has significant mobility needs that are being unmet.

“No action means more people will miss medical appointments, have fewer options to connect to jobs, and less opportunities to access education and quality of life assets using transit,” he said. “We are working hard with regional leadership to find a path forward next year or in 2020.”

In response to the vote, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said as a transit support, he’s disappointed but not deterred. He added that the effort to place the plan on the ballot was torpedoed by short-sighted politics.

“We are on the right side of the issue and the economic and societal benefits of transit are too great to ignore,” he said. “I’m heartened by those who rallied around this plan yet sad that two elected leaders didn’t let their constituents decide for themselves.”

John Paul Rea, Macomb County’s director of planning and economic development, said this vote was just another step in the complex conversation in our region surrounding regional transit.

“Clearly, there are still some divisions associated, not only with financing the plan, but also with regards to the jurisdiction and coverage of the area as well as the service-based parameters put on it,” he said. “I still think there is a tremendous amount of opportunity for us to build upon regional transit with the SMART millage vote on August 7. We are laser focused on that as they are our only regional transit service provider.”

Gerry Anderson, chairman and CEO of DTE Energy, who advocated for the plan along with other regional CEO’s, said he’s disappointed that regional leaders serving on the RTA board were unable to agree upon a plan to move the region’s transit system forward.

“When the quality of transit systems in large urban areas across our country are ranked, our region’s transit system consistently falls near the bottom of the list – and that state of affairs is badly complicating life for many of our citizens,” said Anderson.

For Dave Massaron, Detroit’s chief operating officer, voters deserved the right to consider this plan in November.

“This region desperately needs investment in transit to stay competitive,” he said. “The city will continue to invest in its system and will work to find a regional solution in 2019.”


You can view the original post from the Macomb Daily on their website.

Statement on RTA “Connect Southeast Michigan” Plan

“We are disappointed that the Southeast Michigan leaders represented on the Regional Transit Authority were unable to agree upon a plan to move our region’s transit system forward.  When the quality of transit systems in large urban areas across our country are ranked, our region’s transit system consistently falls near the bottom of the list – and that state of affairs is badly complicating life for many of our citizens.

“Strong mass transit benefits everyone, directly or indirectly.  It connects residents with jobs, education, health care and entertainment.  It spurs economic development and improves the quality of life.

“At the Mackinac Policy Conference in May, more than 250 companies and nonprofits called for a plan to improve transit in our region.  That call for action will persist, despite today’s setback, and we remain committed to working with our region’s leaders to achieve this goal.”

Sandy Baruah, President and CEO, Detroit Regional Chamber; Gerry Anderson, Chairman and CEO, DTE Energy; and the 250+ Employers for Transit Coalition

Walsh Professor Brings International Conference to Detroit

Professor and Chair of Walsh’s Economics and Finance Department John Moore, Ph.D., CPA, was recently elected president of The Economic and Business History Society (EBHS) during its 43rd annual international conference in Finland. Established in 1975, EBHS fosters interdisciplinary scholarship in business and economics, history and how historical perspective applies to current issues. Its members are an international community of historians, economists, business professionals, social scientists and others living in the United States, Canada, Western Europe and the Far East.

The 44th international EBHS conference will be held in Detroit in June 2019. “Many of my EBHS colleagues have said Detroit will be a fascinating location for the conference,” said Moore. “There was strong enthusiasm among members to travel here.”

Moore attended his first EBHS conference in Portugal in 2010, after which he published an essay in the EBHS scholarly journal, Essays in Economic & Business History and was awarded Best Published Journal Article by a New Author (2011). He joined EBHS that year.

The keynote speaker for the 2019 EBHS conference will be Paul Ballew, Vice President and Global Chief Data & Analytics Officer of Ford Motor Company, who was also a Walsh adjunct instructor in the 1980s. “We are excited to have Paul as our speaker. He is a tremendous scholar and embodies the balance between a practical career and significant intellectual contribution, which aligns with Walsh values,” said Moore.

The conference will be held at the Hotel Fort Shelby and Moore will encourage his students to attend. “Having your eyes opened to the wider world is an important part of the educational experience,” he said.


Walsh is an all-business, private, independent, not-for-profit, fully accredited college offering undergraduate and graduate business and technology degrees, as well as certificate programs. Founded in 1922, Walsh is one of the region’s largest business schools and Michigan’s third largest graduate business school. Walsh has locations in Troy, Novi, Clinton Township and Port Huron, as well as online. Our nationally ranked programs integrate theory and application to prepare graduates for successful careers. Walsh degree programs include accounting, finance, information technology, management, marketing, taxation and other fields. For more information, please visit www.walshcollege.edu.

Walsh is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (www.hlcommission.org) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs (www.acbsp.org).

TiECon Detroit 2018 AI Competition

TiE Detroit and Kyyba Innovations have partnered to bring the AI Competition to TiECon Detroit 2018, Michigan’s largest ongoing conference for entrepreneurs. The contest will take place from 3 p.m. to 4:15 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6 at the Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River Ave, Novi, Michigan.

Aimed at identifying the six top-level entrepreneurs and startups working on disruptive AI technologies, the competition will center on Artificial Intelligence technologies in the areas of Sensors/Electronics/IOT, Food/Health/Fitness, Fintech, Blockchain / AI / ML / DL, and Manufacturing / In Vehicle Technologies / Mobility. During the contest, six finalists will compete before an audience of AI executives, venture capitalists, angel investors and technologists. They will have a total of 10 minutes to pitch and answer questions from the judges.

The winner, which will be announced at 7 p.m. on October 6th, will be eligible to receive up to a $50,000 equity investment and support services from Kyyba Innovations, as well as mentorship from the organization’s extensive network.

“Current wave of disruption requires an expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning. We have both investment capital and talent in Michigan but there is a money/talent mismatch. Through Kyyba Innovations and the TiECon platform we aim to build an innovation ecosystem to create real value to the entrepreneurs ,” said Tel Ganesan, President, TiE Detroit. “I am looking forward to seeing what the participants have innovated or the ideas they plan to share that will help catalyze the future of AI”.

TiECon Detroit 2018, will take place Saturday, Oct. 6. Bringing together TiE members, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, top industry executives and thought leader. The event provides an opportunity to exchange ideas, explore new businesses, discuss emerging technologies, share growth strategies and obtain insight from global business leaders, community leaders and worldwide experts. The conference also will feature “TiE20,” which will showcase the most promising 20 startup companies.

Applications for the AI Competition are due no later than Sunday, August 19th.

For more information or to apply visit http://tiecondetroit.org/ai-competition.php, or contact Jacqueline Perry at 248-254-4087 or jacquelinep@kyyba.com.

About TiE
The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) was founded in 1992 in Silicon Valley by a group of successful entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and senior professionals with roots in the Indus region. There are currently 13,000 members, including over 2,500 charter members in 61 chapters across 18 countries. TiE’s mission is to foster entrepreneurship globally through mentoring, networking, education, incubating, and funding. Dedicated to the virtuous cycle of wealth creation and giving back to the community, TiE’s focus is on generating and nurturing our next generation of entrepreneurs.

About Kyyba Innovation (KI)
Kyyba Innovations is a innovation and collaboration eco-system that provides innovators and entrepreneurs the environment to enable their ideas to become reality. We provide services that allow startups to scale to the next level. We do this by investing in businesses and leveraging our network to empower your organization to accelerate your mission forward.

RTA’s Transit Plan Fails to Get Support for November Ballot

July 19, 2018

The Detroit News

By: Shawn D. Lewis

It appears voters will not weigh in on a regional mass transit plan in November after the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan failed to drum up enough support from its members.

The RTA met Thursday to consider the proposed Connect Southeast Michigan Plan with hopes of placing it on the Nov. 6 ballot, but it failed to even make it out of committee because of a lack of support from Oakland and Macomb representatives.

“We’re obviously disappointed because we could not reach a consensus on a master plan for 2018,” RTA Chairman Paul Hillegonds said. “But I don’t think anyone sitting at this table doesn’t believe we have to do better as a region.

“We need to continue working on a master plan, and I also hope the counties and city will continue working on an alternate plan that will get us to a consensus soon.”

The four-county plan was put together after a prior regional transit master plan narrowly failed in November 2016.

Over the last four months, the RTA refined a draft of the plan originally released for comment in April but still struggled in the interim to win support from Oakland and Macomb leaders.

The plan for Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties included a 20-year property tax at 1.5 mills, which would have generated $5.4 billion in millage revenue and leveraged an additional $1.4 billion in state, federal and fare revenues for investment regional transit.

It called for a new rapid transit bus service along 15 high-frequency corridors, express routes and an Ann Arbor-Detroit commuter rail line. It also sought “hometown service” funding for communities like Addison or Independence Township that weren’t be covered by new bus routes.

The plan would have provided $170 million a year in operating funding while investing $696 million for infrastructure. The tax would have cost owners of the average house worth $157,504 in the region $118 a year.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel went on the record numerous times opposing the plan.

“The vote on the RTA plan should come as no surprise,” Patterson said in a statement Thursday.

“I wasn’t going to drag into the taxing footprint my 38 opt-out communities — just as Detroit opted out of SMART. Regional transit discussions are ongoing, but our position remains the same as it was in May of 2017. The RTA legislation needs to be amended to reduce the taxing footprint and offer further governance protections on the RTA board.”

Before the RTA’s board of directors meeting on Thursday, Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner issued a statement, splitting with Patterson in favor of placing the issue before voters.

Meisner said 234,000 Oakland County residents need to leave Oakland County every day to get to work but don’t have a regional mobility system as an option.

“Major Oakland County employers like Beaumont Hospital are calling for a regional mobility system,” he said. “Almost every community in Oakland County already invests in mobility for its citizens, but not adequately to meet current and future demand. This deprives our communities and taxpayers of a powerful economy of scale that would be achieved by regional purchasing of these services.”

That prompted return fire from Patterson.

“Andy Meisner looks like the Monopoly Man handing a big bag of Oakland County cash to Detroit and Wayne County. He is willing to take a billion dollars out of northern and western Oakland County to support transit in his southeast Oakland County community as well as Detroit and Wayne County,” the Oakland County executive said in a statement.

“A Trivial Pursuit game has already surfaced in the Oakland County Executive Office. Name four infamous traitors in history: Judas Iscariot, Benedict Arnold, Julius Rosenberg and Andy Meisner.”

John Paul Rea, Macomb County’s deputy county executive and director of planning and economic development, was part of the transit talks for the county. Rea emphasized the need for a different transit millage before voters.

“Today was another step in a complex process involving regional mass transit,” he said. “A lot of people will look at this as there being winners and losers. But we’re still committed to addressing transit in southeast Michigan, and that starts with the SMART millage in August.”

Oakland and Macomb county executives have strongly urged voters to support a 1-mill ballot measure for Metro Detroit’s bus system, fearing residents might confuse that Aug. 7 vote with the RTA’s proposed plan.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Wayne County Executive Warren Evans supported the new plan as Evans presented it to the transit group in March.

Evans said Thursday the plan was “torpedoed by short-sighted politics” after negotiations were made in “good faith.”

“The drumbeat of support will be kept alive by our undeniable need for true regional transit, both for our cities and suburbs,” Evans said in a statement. “The silver lining is that communities, including some opt-outs, are considering their transit needs more than ever before, and I’m confident we will get it done moving forward.”

Dave Massaron, Detroit’s chief operating officer, in a statement indicated the battle for regional transit will be renewed next year.

“We are disappointed in the results of today’s RTA board action,” Massaron said. “We believe the voters deserve the right to consider this plan. This region desperately needs investment in transit to stay competitive. The city will continue to invest in its system and will work to find a regional solution in 2019.”

Washtenaw County released a statement through its transit officials and blamed Oakland and Macomb for preventing voters from the opportunity to weigh in: “With their actions today, the leaders in Oakland and Macomb have shown they are willing to trade short-term political needs for long-term benefits to our region and state. We will not stop working with them to try and find a solution, but they will be held accountable by voters and by history.”

Gerry Anderson, DTE Energy Co.’s chairman and CEO, and Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, issued a statement Thursday expressing their frustrations.

“We are disappointed that the southeast Michigan leaders represented on the Regional Transit Authority were unable to agree upon a plan to move our region’s transit system forward,” they said.

“When the quality of transit systems in large urban areas across our country are ranked, our region’s transit system consistently falls near the bottom of the list — and that state of affairs is badly complicating life for many of our citizens.”

Rip Rapson, president and CEO of the Kresge Foundation, added town hall meetings held across the region produced “a strong desire to see the question on the ballot.”

“Oakland and Macomb county have short-circuited an all-important vote for our community — this time,” Rapson said in a statement.

“Rest assured that those of us who do believe in a unified, comprehensive regional transit system — which is to say, in a unified regional future — are saddened but not daunted by what happened today. Our commitment to that goal is undiminished.”

The $4.6 billion millage that appeared on the 2016 ballot failed 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent. Washtenaw and Wayne counties favored the millage, Oakland County voters were split and Macomb County strongly rejected it.

The lack of transit hurt Detroit’s Amazon bid for the online retailer’s second headquarters, according to those who constructed the city’s offering.

“I believe one day we will have regional transit,” Hillegonds said. “In spite of our inability today, there is more awareness of a need for public support for true regional transit. We need to keep working together toward that end.”


You can view the original post from The Detroit News on their website.