A roundup of recent Michigan newspaper editorials

The Detroit News. Dec. 4, 2019

Hey, Kid Rock, Detroit is done with you

At times, Kid Rock's pushback against political correctness is refreshing. In a world of oh-so-woke entertainers, the Detroit rocker's inclination to stomp on the eggshells can provide some relief from celebrity self-righteousness.

Heck, he even posed for a picture with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office, something few in his industry dared.

But this time, Rock, whose real name is Bob Ritchie, has gone too far.

In a drunken, ugly rant at his Nashville club late last month, Rock spewed the most vile insults at television mega-star Oprah Winfrey and some lesser women celebrities, lacing his out-of-nowhere tirade with misogynistic and racist comments.

It was so bad he had to be led off his own stage by security.

More: Kid Rock tells protesters to 'take the wheel' in Detroit

When he sobered up — if he ever did — Rock followed the bizarre episode not with an apology, but with more of the same. Denying he's a racist, Rock posted this on his Facebook page:

"I have a big mouth and drink too much sometimes, shocker! I also work hard and do a ton to help others out but that’s just back page news because the press hates I love Trump, f — — them too. I am what I am, I ain’t what I ain’t!"

Among the things that Rock ain't, as of Wednesday morning, is a restaurant owner in downtown Detroit. The Ilitch organization announced early Wednesday that the singer wouldn't be renewing his lease on the restaurant Made in Detroit inside Little Caesars Arena.

It was a smart business decision. No organization wants its name associated with an individual who dips into racism and sexism.

This is all too bad. Kid Rock, a Macomb County native, has been a good ambassador for Detroit and Michigan, embodying its hard rocking, blue collar personae. And he puts on a good show, if you're not faint of heart.

He has, as he noted, done a ton in the way of philanthropy in Detroit and elsewhere.

But he's gone out of control. Bad boy charm has given way to oafish crudity. He's getting too old to get by with simply saying "I was drunk." Being stinking pie-faced is not an alibi, it's part of the offence.

Detroit is a city striving toward unity and inclusiveness. It doesn't need public representatives who are determined to pull people apart.

In his Facebook tantrum, Rock declared himself done with Detroit.

Well, here's some news, Kid Rock. If you're going to be a drunken, racist jerk, Detroit is done with you.

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The Mining Journal (Marquette). Dec. 4, 2019

County prosecutor’s office deserves some more help

Prosecutor’s offices typically are busy places, but the Marquette County office has been particularly active the past seven years.

County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Wiese said the office had 427 authorized felony files in the county in 2012, with the number projected to rise to 681 this year.

Apparently, the office isn’t overcharging people. Instead, Wiese pointed to a huge increase in methamphetamine felony cases as the reason behind the spike. In fact, he expected his office to face over 200 meth felonies this year. Also, cases deal with cartel meth made in drug labs as opposed to individuals making their own.

Behind this fact is that people who can’t afford to buy meth typically commit larceny-level crimes to get the money to buy the drug, compounding society’s problems.

Wiese stressed that although there have been rises in sexual assault and domestic violence cases, he believes the increases are due to more reporting of sexual crimes as well as awareness of both this type of offence and domestic violence.

Misdemeanours, on the other hand, have steadily decreased since 2012, with Wiese pointing out some crimes, such as possession of marijuana, no longer are illegal.

With the increased caseload, Wiese said the office has to prioritize, with the most serious cases considered first.

However, a lot of work beyond just authorizing charges is involved; the office has to handle mental health hearings, child abuse and neglect cases, juvenile offenders and other duties.

A competent staff, though, can go only so far in handling more cases. Additional staff eventually is needed.

Wiese hopes to have the addition of a part-time assistant prosecutor approved by the Marquette County Board of Commissioners, leaving his office with six full-time attorneys.

He said he already has started getting the money for the position through local dollars and grants.

We believe this would be money well spent.

Ideally, people should get at the roof of the increased caseload, particularly focusing on the meth problem. However, in the meantime, something has to be done on the other end.

Swift justice is essential to any community, and if this means more staff in the prosecutor’s office, so be it.

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Traverse City Record-Eagle. Dec. 5, 2019

Housing needed, no surprises there

We wished we were shocked.

Unfortunately, we found ourselves nodding as we read yesterday’s results of the Networks Northwest and Housing North survey.

We need 4,660 new houses for people to buy in 2020?

That sounds right.

An additional 10,880 rental housing units?

Yep, still nodding.

That two-thirds of the demand will be for lower-priced units (homes under $200K and rentals for less than $800 per month)?

You’re darn tooting.

We see it all of the time, in our office and outside of it.

We, among many employers in our community, are stymied by the cost of housing when making hires.

Recent college graduates come to us saddled with student loan debt payments of $600-plus/month. That’s almost a rent payment — almost, because most of the time Traverse City rents are much higher.

Young couples, with young children here or "on the way," want to stay in the area to raise them but cannot find an affordable house to buy.

We know we’re not alone in wanting to keep good people around — people who want to stay but get so much more for their housing dollars elsewhere.

"This demand represents the homes that people like teachers, health care workers, emergency responders, restaurant and hospitality workers, and construction workers are looking for — and not finding," said Housing North Executive Director Sarah Lucas.

Hard to imagine a big boom in construction when construction workers can’t find a place to live.

But it’s the "affordable" part that seems to slow the works down most.

Developers assure us that building affordable won’t generate enough profit — not in a market like ours that can speedily move $300,000 luxury condos.

They need tax breaks and incentives to make it worth their time, they say. But even when our leaders agree with them, projects are slow in coming.

We were glad to hear of the 600-unit Brewery Creek project in Elmwood Township and hope that concerns are worked out with the surrounding community.

In the meantime, we can appreciate the study’s suggestion of divide and conquer: to subdivide existing homes to house more people in fewer structures. Looking at zoning with this in mind may help in the short-term.

But it will do little to quell the demand for nearly 15,000 new homes and rentals in our region.

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