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Jul 18th
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A Visit to Deliver a Vision for Detroit PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Politics
Written by Bobby M. Reyes   
Saturday, 20 July 2013 15:15



By Bobby M. Reyes

Part Two of a Series on the "Politics of Economic Development" for Detroit and Other Financially-distressed Cities


I did not go to Detroit, Michigan, in August 2011 just to attend a journalists' convention or meet long-time friends or see face-to-face some of my corporate contacts. I went to Motown on a mission. I told my friends and new acquaintances that I was delivering a vision on how to save the city from financial ruin.

Now that Motown has officially sought the protection of the Bankruptcy Court, perhaps the policy-and-decision makers of Detroit may revisit the visionary ideas of economic development that I tried to "sell" to them -- as coursed through Detroit's Fourth Estate and my contacts at General Motors.

The first step I thought was to persuade the two major newspapers of Detroit to help me spread the vision. So I looked for the proper contacts at the Asian-American Journalists Association (AAJA) convention. Then after talking briefly with the media powers-that-be about my visionary proposals, I sent them this e-mail on how to "reinvent" newspaper publishing, so as to begin the first step of rescuing Motown from the coming bankruptcy.

Here are excerpts from a letter that I sent:

QUOTE.

Mr. Paul E. Anger
Editor and Publisher
Detroit Free Press
 
Dear Mr. Anger:
 
It was a pleasure to have met you and Madame Anger at tonight's Awards Banquet of the Asian-American Journalists Association (AAJA). As I told you, I had the pleasure of meeting your Ms. Julie Topping at the AAJA function at the COBO last Thursday. I immediately sent her an e-mail, as a summary of what I told her. At the end of this instant correspondence is a copy of the said e-mail to Ms. Topping, who has not yet acknowledged receipt of it.
 
RE: "Reinventing" the Newspaper Publishing Industry and even Journalism as a Profession. As I told you last night, the business model is the Green Bay Packers NFL Football Team. My idea is to turn the newspaper's subscribers into stakeholders, along (or in partnership) with the publisher, editors, writers, photojournalists and employees. It would be easy actually to adopt revised Corporate Bylaws (and even what I call a Covenant with the Public) of, and for, the "reinvented" business operations. (This will be the job of internal lawyers and/or outside attorneys plus financial advisers who will be hired for the said purposes.) Here is a brief description of a conceptual framework of approach for saving the newspaper and its employees, while protecting the interests of the public, as represented by the subscribers (AKA stakeholders), and Ombudsman -- and helping jump-start the American economy as a bonus:
 
1.0  Ownership. The newspaper, as a corporation, will have to be turned into a Fourth-Estate version of the Green Bay Packers (as explained above and further amplified below).
 
          1.1  There will be no conflict between editorial and business functions. The Editorial Department can still have its full independence (or autonomy) and the Business Office, as empowered by the Board of Directors (or Trustees), can run the various enterprises (business operations).
 
          1.2  Many ethnic groups will find an opportunity to become part of the ownership of a media company quite an attractive option, considering that they will have a stake in it, plus some fringe benefits, the details of which can be amplified further on your request.
 
2.0  The stakeholders, namely the publishers, editors, writers, photojournalists, newspaper employees, subscribers and other shareholders or members will then form a consumers' cooperative and a credit union (or take over or join an existing small credit union). There will be of course incentives for subscribers to become stakeholders, as part of their subscription payments can be credited to the payment of their shares of stocks (or membership) and other benefits -- from share of profits, referral commissions, etc.
 
         2.1 The co-op and/or a credit union will then have to buy on group rates the members' needs for insurance (auto, life, disability, homeowners, etc.), cellphone service, Internet service, cable or satellite connections and/or even their purchases of major items such as appliances and motorcars/vehicles, and/or travel or vacations. This will enable the members to save money on their purchases for goods (at almost wholesale prices) and/or services with the co-op and/or credit union earning over-ride commissions from the vendors or suppliers. (Actually this practice is being done now by banks, credit unions and other financial institutions.)
 
                 2.1.1  As in my plan to "reinvent" the Filipino-American media and the Filipino Fourth Estate (as conduits for constructive changes in the Overseas-Filipino communities and in the Philippine homeland), we have offered to market the vehicles of General Motors. We told GM executives that with the right advertising and promotional support, we can sell a million vehicles to Overseas Filipinos and in the Philippines in about 15 years or earlier. At an average marketing fee (or rebate/income of $1,000 per vehicle), we can actually generate a minimum of a billion dollars (that can surely fund proposed activities such as real-estate development, putting up a Filipino alternative press, pay-TV operations in the USA, Canada and the Philippines, reforestation, cleaning of bays and rivers, student-loan funds, setting up of a Filipino HMO, charter schools and other relevant social services). This will be in addition to building other profit centers such as a movie studio with a nearby international airport and what we call the "Las Vegas-Caribbean Cultural and Gaming Resorts of the Orient." All our proposed projects will also generate the support of, and investments from, our American, Taiwanese-American and Italian-American partners/investors and Overseas-Filipino stakeholders. Filipino-American households earn collectively more-than $92-billion (spelled with a B).
 
                  2.1.2  It may be easy for our proposed plan to entice the more-than 500,000 Filipino nurses, 22,000 Filipino physicians and tens of thousands of other Filipino medical professionals in the United States to join, and invest in, the ventures -- once our international consortium is formed. As I have been telling fellow Filipinos, "it takes now more-than a village to do anything good; it now takes an internation consortium to do it".
 
          2.2  The newspaper corporation (as reorganized) must then diversify into other collateral enterprises (such as hardcopy/e-books, script writing and production of films, especially documentary films), Pay-TV operations for selected minorities in the United States and Canada, provided the feasibility studies done for the ventures will show excellent chances for modest returns on investments (ROI).
 
                  2.2.1  There are other economic activities that the reorganized newspaper corporation can do (such as ethnic festivals, book and/or travel fairs, concerts, ethnic church-choir competition, etc.) All of these activities can easily attract corporate sponsors because the newspaper itself is the major organizer or co-sponsor.
 
            2.3  There are other activities that can be chosen as short-, medium- and long-term goals and objectives. These can all be treated like items in a conveyor belt of an assembly plant, with projects being accelerated (from long-term to short- or medium-term, if the right circumstances or favorable factors are present) or put back on the drawing board.

It you and/or your Business Department are interested in discussing the ideas, I can drop by at your office on Monday, August 15, 2011, at any time at your convenience. I will be returning to Los Angeles, Californa, on Tuesday morning. Or we can discuss more the ideas by e-mail and/or telephone and if we can arrive at a meeting of minds, then I can discuss them personally with you when I return to Detroit to conclude my negotiations with the General Motors executives late this month or early next month.
 
Thank you for the attention.
 
Best wishes,
 
Bobby M. Reyes
 
==========================================
-----Original Message-----
From: mediabcla <mediabcla@aol.com>
To: jtopping <jtopping@freepress.com>
Sent: Thu, Aug 11, 2011 11:17 pm
Subject: RE: Rev. Leon Howard Sullivan (1922-2001)

Ms. Julie G. Topping
Managing Editor
Detroit Free Press
 
Dear Ms. Julie:

Thank you for your courtesy during our meeting at the 22nd Convention of the Asian-American Journalists Association at the COBO today.
 
As I told you, it might interest you and your media organization to know that our group of Filipino-American writers and I have been working on a new biographical book on Rev. Leon Howard Sullivan, who made history by becoming the first Black-American member of the Board of Directors of General Motors in 1971. He was also the first Black-American leader to become a Director of any major American corporation. Our research on the life of Rev. Sullivan is based partly on the recollections and notes of a Filipino-American community leader, Ernesto Gange, who was one of his best friends in Philadelphia, PA. Mr. Gange is our chosen chairman of the budding American-Filipino Public Affairs Council. It is also possible that our book project may lead to a full-length film about Rev. Sullivan, which movie project we discussed with our associate, Francesco Quinn, the actor son of Hollywood legend Anthony Quinn. (We met, however, a set back on the film project as Francesco Quinn died on Aug. 5, 2011, of a heart attack while jogging with his son near his home in Malibu, California. We will talk with the Quinn Family after the customary period of mourning if it still wants to join our film project.)

Rev. Sullivan visited the Philippines after he was introduced by Mr. Gange to Filipino Foreign Affairs Secretary Raul Manglapus during an event at the United Nations. Rev. Sullivan started also a job-creation project in the Philippines.

Mr. Gange has also assured us that the Sullivan Family will assist our book-and-film project about the life and achievements of Rev. Leon H. Sullivan. If we succeed with the Sullivan book-and-movie projects, then they could facilitate our proposed new historical book and a 13-part series of documentary films about the exploits of some 6,000 Buffalo soldiers that the U.S. Army sent to the Philippines from 1899 to 1901. Twenty of the Buffalo soldiers defected to the Philippine Revolutionary Army and more-than 1,200 of them married Filipino brides after peace was declared by then-President Teddy Roosevelt on July 4, 1902.

Perhaps you and your esteemed newspaper may be able to assist us in completing the new book and possible movie about Rev. Sullivan and eventually those about the Buffalo soldiers..
UNQUOTE.

P erhaps
Paul E. Anger and/or Julie G. Topping and some officers of the Detroit Media Partnership (whom I met also during the AAJA convention and who were provided copies of my e-mail to Mr. Anger) thought that I must have been crazy for sending such a proposal that would make Detroit the "New Hollywood" and the "New Las Vegas" of the Midwest and/or replace New York as the center of the American media. They never bothered to reply to my e-mails although Mr. Anger left a voice mail in my cell phone that he was sorry that he could not see me as he was just very busy at that time.

My contacts at General Motors did not also bother to reply to my proposals about "reinventing Detroit." Although they did invite me to be their guest at the AAJA convention. (I traveled to Detroit at my expense.)

(To be continued ...)

To read Part One, please click or copy and paste to the browser this URL:
http://www.mabuhayradio.com/politics/how-motown-can-deliver-the-big-mo-for-the-american-economic-renaissance



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