Land Bank scandal, 2 shot passing out flyers, legalized pot: Your Wednesday briefing

A Detroit Land Bank demolition. Photos By Steve Neavling.

“Morning Briefing” is a new feature in Motor City Muckraker to keep you informed as we add award-winning reporters to our independent newsroom that soon will be a nonprofit watchdog. Your donations are key to our ability to produce more vigorous, meaningful, nonpartisan journalism at a time when news rooms are cutting back on impactful, investigative stories.

These are Wednesday’s top stories:

Detroit awarding more contracts to black-owned demo companies

More city-funded contracts are being awarded to minority firms following a Free Press investigation four months ago that found a lack of diversity in demolition work for the Detroit Land Bank. 

More than half of the $8.7 million awarded to demolition firms went to minority firms in the past three months, compared to just 18% in the first three months of 2018, the Free Press reported Wednesday. 

Mayor Duggan’s demolition program had passed over qualified black-owned firms to hand out contracts to favored demo companies that were predominately white.

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Poll: Marijuana legalization proposal holds strong lead

Dispensary in Detroit. Photo by Steve Neavling

The proposal to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Michigan holds a strong lead in a poll conducted at the end of October.

The Detroit News-WDIV poll of 600 likely voters found that 55% of respondents said they favor legalization, compared to 40% who are opposed. 

Only 2.8% of voters remain undecided.

The proposal will be on the Nov. 6 ballot.

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Gunman shoots two people passing out political flyers

A gunman shot two people passing out political flyers on Detroit’s east side Tuesday, killing one man and injuring a woman.

The volunteers, both in their 20s, were on the 6000 block of Drexel when a black man in a hoodie shot the pair. The suspect is described as between 5 feet 6 inches tall and 5 feet 8 inches tall.

Police told Fox 2 that the shooting occurred after one of the victims had a dispute with someone else.

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It wasn’t immediately clear what the flyers were, other than political in nature.

The suspect fled and was on the loose as of Wednesday morning.

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.