Perspective by Jim Nelson


SEMCOG Demographic that shocks 2021 04 27 annotated



So, I was checking out SEMCOG's report on local broadband. A statistic leapt off the page.

Was I shocked?  Was I surprised?  Not exactly. 

All the Township politicians, boards, committees, and commissions are uniformly white.  The Township has only one black employee.  Period.  No black cops. No black firefighters. No black sewage plant workers.  No black office staff.  Northfield Township is white as the Jimmest of Crows.   

Still, I didn't realize how pervasive the issue was.

And it's not like we could miss the message telegraphed by the downtown marijuana business approval process.  Any applicant with a black face in sight was shot down. 

The whitest, least downtown-problems-solved, of all the applicants was waved in by then Supervisor Chockley.  The Township attorney muzzled her before she gushed out whatever it was about these applicants she loved so much.  Later, Planning Commissioner Cousino couldn't get a satisfactory answer out of Board Rep Chick when he asked why contributing a stub of a one way alley was deemed better than plans and financing to rebuild Barker Road's public face.

GS Ashley, a group willing to pay for redoing the town's biggest eyesore intersection, was denied. "Tabled" the Board called it. GS Ashley planned to turn the Barker Road intersection into a show place.

Who was waved in?  An all white group whose sole contribution to the downtown parking issue was a one way alley. 

That wasn't the only red flag in this process.  Sam Iaquinto was aced out of a chance to retire comfortably. The applicant who had offered to buy his aging marina was a successful black owned company.  What makes this the deepest of ironies is that Sam's location was the only location that short circuited the down town pot business parking shitstorm that's rushing toward WhiteMore Lake like an oncoming freight train.  It's coming because the downtown Whitmore Lake location will be the first pot shop south of the Livingston County line. 

Because of the Board's meddling with the Planning Commission's plans, only one pot shop was to be allowed downtown.  The US-23 off ramp traffic could have landed at Sam's old marina parking lot, done their pot buying business, and jumped back on the highway to home.  Instead, they'll be sucking up the woefully underprovisioned downtown parking.

I'll post a few pix of an off ramp proximate pot shop later.  Amazing amounts of traffic.

Don't blame the planners.  Their work gets ignored or twisted beyond recognition.  Even the best people in the twin Downtown planning groups have proven themselves willing to go along with whatever half assed schemes our local schemers believe will get them to a pot of gold.  


Long exposition aside, that's why the cheap housing Steve Gronow will be building just inside the Whitmore Lake School District boundaries and its Livonia Builders North Village affordable equivalent will be a good thing for this woefully redlined region. Our future depends on diversity and fresh perspective.

When you see her, thank Trustee Janet Chick.  She's been the main cheerleader for both developments.  This is 2021.  It's time for Northfield's racial hegemony to get a makeover, a kick to the curb of a post-conservative world.


 Green Guys Group white guys 2020 07 15 PC presentation 800w

 "Green" Guys Group: approved


GS Ashley presentation to PC Vince Canales begins at 19m21s 800w

 GS Ashley. The man on the lower left is the ex Maryland Police officer who was describing the retailer's security plans.

GS Ashley: Disapproved.


9/29/2021   The Unmaking of the White Christian Worldview, by Robert P. Jones, Time

Individually, I was a sinner, but collectively, I was part of a special tribe. Whatever our humble social stations might be, we white Christians were God’s chosen instruments of spreading salvation and civilization to the world.


The power and sheer cultural dominance of white Christianity in America historically bound these contradictory sensibilities together. But today we are witnessing the unmaking of this white Christian worldview, and it has unleashed remarkably destructive forces into American life.


Understanding this dissolution is the key to deciphering one of the most vexing puzzles in our politics: how a purportedly sober Christian worldview has become a volatile cocktail of fealty to Donald Trump, wild-eyed rants about vaccines, faith in QAnon conspiracies and hysteria over critical race theory.

9/23/2021   Why hasn’t Florida followed through with special marijuana license for a Black farmer? by KIRBY WILSON, Miami Herald

While Florida’s Black farmers have had to wait for the Pigford rules, other states have more actively helped Black residents affected by unjust marijuana policies. New Jersey, in an attempt to amend for drug enforcement policies that disproportionately targeted Black residents, has built social justice into its legal cannabis program. One quarter of all licenses will go to residents who live in “impact zones” — larger cities with a disproportionately high number of marijuana possession arrests. The state also expunged criminal marijuana possession and distribution records involving smaller amounts of the drug.  


An effort to expunge some cannabis offenses in Florida passed the Senate during the 2021 legislative session, but House Speaker Chris Sprowls was opposed to the measure. It died in his chamber.  [This suppresses the return of voting rights to convicted Florida citizens.]

8/11/2021    Local Farmer's Home Vandalized With Racist Graffiti, by Jon King, WHMI New

7/4/2021   Livingston County wants to lose its reputation of racism, but it's not that simple, by Jennifer Timar, The Livingston Daily

If you pull up the Wikipedia page for Howell, Michigan on the internet, you'll find the subheading "Historic reputation." The page references several instances of racism in the city's past, including Ku Klux Klan activity around the Cohoctah Township farm of late Michigan Grand Dragon Robert E. Miles, who died in 1992.


"Currently, Brighton, Howell and Pinckney are listed as sundown towns," Matthews-Creech said. "We are hoping to get ourselves off the sundown towns lists, but to get off that list you have to show that you've changed. You can't just say that. We have to prove we're different."


The phrase "sundown town" is a throwback to the Jim Crow era, when many communities had curfews for Black people, prohibiting them from being out in public after sundown. The term also came to describe communities where minorities face a risk of violence or intimidation as well as communities where there are discriminatory practices designed to keep minorities out of white communities.


7/3/2021   Opinion:  The Excesses of Antiracist Education, by Ross Douthat, The New York Times

Douthat is the Times' pet conservative.  I'm recording a link to his writing, an unctuousness sampler. This is not a recommendation.

5/26/2021   Opinion: Why conservatives really fear critical race theory, by Christine Emba, The Washington Post

It’s one thing to post a black square of solidarity to one’s feed, as over 14.6 million Instagram users did on #BlackoutTuesday last year. But it’s another to defer to Black voices, to change policies that harm Black people, to truly adjust one’s way of existing in the world in response to a critique of American virtue, and of one’s own innocence.

1/18/2021   Ohio couple alleges discrimination kept them from buying Livingston Co. lake home, by James David Dickson, The Detroit News

The lawsuit reads: "The Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful 'to refuse to sell or rent after the making of a bona fide offer, or to refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin.'

1/18/2021   Interracial couple files housing discrimination lawsuit against Livingston County realtors, by Caroline Llanes, WUOMFM, Michigan Radio

The Franklins say Ikens told them she had spoken with listing agent Rick Beaudin, who she referred to as her boss. She said that their proposed offer of $300,000 would not be considered, even though they were willing to make a higher offer. The Franklins say Ikens said this was because the homeowner was only accepting all-cash offers of $350,000, with the house as-is, no inspection. According to the lawsuit, none of these stipulations were mentioned in the listing. After Ikens dissuaded them, the Franklins decided not to make an offer.


Julie periodically checked in on the listing, and says it was listed as "pending offer" for nearly all of September and October. On October 28, the house was listed as "sold," and the selling price was $300,000 — the same offer the Franklins had wanted to make at the beginning of September. The offer was not all-cash, but made with a down payment and a mortgage. The lawsuit says the buyer was a white man who was permitted to have the property inspected before he purchased it.

1/19/2021   Lawsuit Alleges Racial Discrimination Against Local Real Estate Agents, by Jessica Matthews and Jon King, WHMI 93.5FM



Wikipedia:  Racial Steering

Racial steering refers to the practice in which real estate brokers guide prospective home buyers towards or away from certain neighborhoods based on their race. The term is used in the context of de facto residential segregation in the United States, and is often divided into two broad classes of conduct:

  • Advising customers to purchase homes in particular neighborhoods on the basis of race
  • Failing, on the basis of race, to show, or to inform buyers of homes that meet their specifications.[1]



Local Towns in the National Sundown Town Registry




South Lyon




The Detroit metro area has the highest level of residential racial segregation in the county. Nearly 9 out of 10 black residents of the area live in Detroit proper, Highland Park, Inkster, Pontiac, or Southfield. The level of residential integration has actually fallen since 1980.


Detroit is highly segregated even in contrast with other metro areas with large black populations in the central cities. 75% of Detroit metro area blacks live in the city proper, compared with 22% in the Atlanta metro area, 27% in the Washington, D.C. metro area, and 60% in the Baltimore metro area. After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, Detroit and other towns in Michigan became frequently used stops on the Underground Railroad, given the state's proximity to Canada. Detroit schools integrated in 1869.


By the 20th century, racial egalitarianism had faded in Michigan. Henry Ford deliberately housed his workers in segregated in segregated neighborhoods of Detroit and other towns in the area and allowed blacks to do only the most dangerous and physically demanding jobs in his plants. In the 1920s, Michigan had more Ku Klux Klan members than any other state. The peak membership was about 875,000.


In the 1968 and 1972 presidential elections, segregationist George Wallace won every white ward in the Detroit area. He also won the state's Democratic primary, with 51% of the vote. In the 1970s, Detroit lost a $500 million grant for public transit development, because the suburbs refused to cooperate.


In 2006, the National Fair Housing Alliance conducted extensive tests to determine if Detroit area realtors were steering home buyers based on race. 145 pairs, consisting of one white and one non-white pair, attempted to buy homes through 73 real estate offices in 12 areas of the metro. As reported in the Detroit Free Press, the study concluded that 87% of the pairs were steered. White testers attempting to move into interracial neighborhoods were told the schools were bad, but black or Latino pairs were told the same school were good. Non-white testers were shown less homes than white testers.

In each case, the black or Latino testers had a higher income, lower debt, and more money for a down payment. Despite this, many were denied service outright, and others were asked to provide a pre-approval letter from a financial institution or other financial information. White testers were not asked for this information.

One couple, who was not a part of the test but was featured in the Detroit Free Press article about the study, reported that their real estate agent repeatedly refused to show them houses in the exclusive Grosse Pointes and instead urged them to move to interracial Harper Woods.