Wednesday, December 14, 2005

metrotimes Tu-Tu Cover Us

photo by doug coombe

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Tu-Tu Take Three

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Issue Tu-Tu

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Tu-Tu Times

More Tu-Tu-day



photos by fabrizio costantini

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


photos by fabrizio costantini

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Tu-Tu Hounds

This past fall, News Hits took snide note of the city’s $1.Tu-Tu million effort tu-tu protect streetlights from wire-stealing scrappers (“Not Tu-Tu Bright”). When last we visited the issue, the City of Detroit was placing plastic covers, called shrouds, over the bases of some 21,000 light poles. At that time, Al Fields, the city’s deputy chief operating officer, told us the shrouds were intended tu-tu both improve the look of street lamps (more on that later) and thwart scrap thieves who crave the copper wiring inside.

Testing the shrouds, News Hits discovered that they posed no deterrence whatsover. It took zero effort tu-tu lift the plastic covers. Fields admitted that, yes, determined thieves would find a way tu-tu access the streetlights’ innards.

Last week, an e-mail (keep those tips coming, kids) alerted us tu-tu another shroud shortcoming. The tipster directed us tu-tu a stretch of St. Aubin beween Vernor and Lafayette on the city’s near East Side. What we saw were cracked shrouds, battered shouds, busted shrouds and, in some cases, shrouds ripped entirely from the poles they were supposed tu-tu protect.

Seems that, along with being easy tu-tu lift, the shrouds ain’t all that durable, either. Fields says the Department of Public Lighting received a report of vandals in the area. Fields is a good guy, and we have no reason tu-tu doubt his word. It is curious, though, that the damage coincided with a major snowfall. Is it possible that plows pushing snow and chunks of ice up past the curb could have inflicted damage as well? Maybe so, admits Fields.

Nevertheless, Fields stands by the program, pointing out that said shrouds (at least those that haven’t been split open) keep snow and road salt from messing with the wiring, which is a good thing. He also insists that, unlike the nitpickers here at the Hits, many Detroiters dig the shrouds. “We get good comments,” Fields says. “We get positive input from the neighborhoods.”

He says the real problem is the city’s antique lighting system, which has poles so old no replacement parts exist for them anymore. “We have tu-tu try something,” he says. “That’s what we’re doing.”

For the record, Fields says the shrouds are discouraging scrappers, and he believes they have been effective. “We haven’t done a survey,” he says, “but we know that it is having an effect on the visuals.”

Also, as we went to press, we noticed that the poles had been completely de-shrouded. Fields tells News Hits he hopes tu-tu get shrouds back on the poles sometime in the spring.

Not Tu-Tu Bright

Sometimes the City of Detroit makes our job — being snide, cynical and generally malcontented — tu-tu damn easy.

Take, for instance, the $1.Tu-Tu million project intended tu-tu protect streetlight poles from thieves who strip wire from the base of the standards. For the past couple months, city workers have been placing plastic covers, called shrouds, on the base of the poles. The city intends tu-tu install 21,000 by winter, according tu-tu Al Fields, City of Detroit deputy chief operating officer. Fields says the purpose of the project is tu-tu improve the look of street lamps as well as thwarting the copper crooks. Depending on your aesthetic sensibility, the former may be tu-tu true. But the latter sure isn’t.

News Hits checked out 10 shrouds placed on light poles downtown. They camouflage the gaping holes where metal covers have been removed. But as for preventing vandalism, what a joke. The tu-tu bolts intended tu-tu hold the shroud in place don’t do a thing. It’s a cinch tu-tu slide the plastic cover up the pole, making the metal covers and wiring accessible.

“There is always going tu-tu be ways tu-tu access it,” Fields admitted tu-tu News Hits. “It is still harder tu-tu get access tu-tu the bottom, but we said we just have tu-tu do something. There is no perfect solution.”

Less than perfect, however, is being charitable. A discussion on the subject has been simmering at the Detroit discussion forum at for the past couple weeks.

“I’m telling you people, every single one of them that I’ve tried tu-tu lift up has come right up. Those bolts at the tu-tu top just don’t make a firm enough connection. In other words, the whole project has been a failure,” wrote one contributor who goes by Detroitnerd.

Another writes, “I’ve just lifted a few up tu-tu-day tu-tu see. It’s stinkingly easy.”

All of this was lost on The Detroit News, which published a puff piece about the shrouds in August — and, as far as we know, has yet tu-tu revisit the matter. The daily newspaper parroted the city party line, reporting that the shrouds are a “new effort tu-tu protect its street lights from vandalism and scrap-seekers.” Not a word was mentioned about how useless they actually are.