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Karen Dumas is a PR/communications strategist and former chief of communications for the city of Detroit. A native Detroiter, she leads her own firm, Images & Ideas, Inc. She spends brunch hours with a cup of tea, planning the week ahead. The views and assertions of guest columnists do not necessarily reflect those of Bridge or The Center for Michigan.

Foundations open wallets to improve Detroit’s fortunes

The Kresge and Stillman foundations are investing in neighborhoods and education, in a city that badly needs help with both.

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Detroit’s comeback can’t work if most are left behind

Detroit can’t prosper if the jobs coming with its current recovery are only for the well-educated few. Excellent public schools must be part of the solution.




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Detroit’s successes have a thousand parents; its struggles are orphans

For some reason, expectations for Detroit were high during Gov. Rick Snyder’s fourth State of the State address. With Detroit’s looming money problems, there was anticipation – or blind hope – that he would announce some financial relief to the city as […]

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Detroit’s blank slate means new reality for council

In spite of the tumultuous events surrounding Detroit city government, the reality of a newly elected mayor and city council come to fruition on Jan. 1. Next week, the five newly elected council members will participate in an orientation to help acquaint […]

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For Detroit under an EM, lots of woulda-coulda-shoulda

There has been tremendous pushback on several actions by or taken as a result of the emergency manager’s office in Detroit. The argument here isn’t whether these things are good, being done the right way or whether it is even fair or […]

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Police alone can’t pacify a violent culture

Public safety is and remains a primary topic of concern for Detroiters. From campaign conversation to political platforms to administrative agendas, making and keeping Detroit safe has been an elusive promise, the fulfillment of which apparently lies with simply hiring more police […]

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Misplaced rage over minimum wage: Workers need options to leave burgers behind

The recent marching and walkouts in protest of the minimum wage rate at fast-food restaurants – and demands for a higher one – are a bit misplaced. At $7.40 an hour, it is far from being generous or enough for a family […]

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Detroit’s EM should surround himself with fresh faces, fresh thinking

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr came in with an impressive resume and a seemingly razor-sharp focus and determination to right the city’s finances. He is an “outsider” who was viewed as independent and detached enough to make decisions independent of the political […]

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Orr, what? Detroit EM’s first days show more loyalty to state than city

Detroit’s Emergency Manager, Kevyn Orr, started his job with mixed reviews. Some thought he was a necessary evil or a saving grace for Detroit, while others felt he represented the demise of democracy and the voice of voters. Either way, his presence […]

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Detroiters pay price for their lack of diligence

The city of Detroit has become a glaring example of what happens when citizen engagement and voter accountability are passive, at best. Historically low voter turnout, election – and re-election – based on name recognition and not holding those elected officials accountable […]

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