Hello from Mackinaw City!

I’m writing this from what I affectionately call “Zip Line Starbucks,” because as my casual name for it implies, there’s literally a zip line attached to this caffeinated outpost. And a wood carving of bears climbing up the side.

It’s clear this place survives by doing a little bit of everything. It reminds me of home in an odd way.

Have you ever seen those “Detroit Hustles Harder” shirts? Well, I’ve long thought they should read “Detroit Hustles / Side Hustles / Works on Weekends Harder” because the people I know that are making it here have so many plates spinning at the same time.

Doing a little bit of everything to make ends meet.

This week will be a busy one as there’s a trifecta of things we’re doing. Today through Friday we’ll be at the Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island. I’ve gone a number of times — probably enough that I could be considered a veteran at this point.

If you’re not familiar, it’s an annual gathering of the who’s who in Metro Detroit and Michigan to discuss policy and do business.

Then, we’ll be at Ferndale Pride on Saturday (look for our flower arch on Nine Mile!) and then the return of the Detroit Grand Prix to downtown on Sunday. In that time, we’ll send out four daily podcasts, a few newsletters, and more conversations than I can count for the show.

But first, the conference.

This year’s theme is “The power of &” (power of and) … and to be honest, work needs to be done.

Long-time followers of mine know that I’ve always been positive about what I can, but I try not to sugarcoat issues.

And the truth is, Michigan and Metro Detroit are having issues keeping people and attracting talent. The state is getting older.

It’s something that people both on the left and right are paying attention to. How to get the flywheel back going again?

What we call “growth” in Southeast Michigan is usually sprawl, trading development in one place for losing it somewhere else.

A recent survey by the Detroit Regional Chamber (that puts on this Mackinac Policy Conference event) was very sobering. Nearly half of young residents plan to leave the state. That number was a majority among Black voters.

So Governor Gretchen Whitmer is putting together a task force, and I hear that Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is about to roll out a split tax plan with the goal to lower taxes on residents (which, I’ll note, was an we talked about on the podcast back in 2021 and again mentioned in 2022).

More details on that, of course, are to come.

But as I said on the show a few days ago, it’s good to see some progress among leadership. We have unified government for the first time in a long time, so if people want to get something passed, there’s no real excuse.

Hopefully it turns into actual dollars that go to people doing the work and policies that let people make things happen.

On a recent show, I talked about how I’m not sure which approach is best but it will be on us to make cool and interesting things happen.

(Oh, and totally unrelated, on that episode I spent a few minutes with Carla Hall from The Chew and Food Network and all of that - she was in town in Detroit. What a dynamic person! Anyway, back to the more serious stuff…)

Detroit is also no longer America’s largest Black city, as a pattern of black flight to the suburbs and other regions has set in. Contributor Norris Howard who grew up in a city neighborhood has some strong feelings about it.

So I’d like to hear from you. What do you think Michigan and Metro Detroit needs? What do think you’re not being heard on? Or do you think everything’s fine?

Send me a note by email - dailydetroit - at - gmail dot com or leave a comment.

📬 If you want to get future notes, sign up free:

☕️ And if you’d like to help what we’re doing, buy me a coffee. Every year I save up my Starbucks stars because it’s almost double the price up here. 😂

I’d have usually have more links, but I needed to get this done in an hour and have a ferry to catch to get to work on the island.

Thanks for reading and we’ll talk soon.


p.s. - As a reminder for first timers or if you’re curious, Mackina(c) = Island. Mackina(w) = City. Say both the same way, -aw. Confused? Blame the French (ac) and British (aw). Both root from Michinnimakinong in Ojibwa.

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