Monday, May 7, 2012


Fisher Body Plant #1 -- photo by Edward Burtynsky

"Woe to you, blind guides! You say, 'If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.'"  Mt 23:16
 Fischer Body Plant #2
With the profits-driven outsourcing of manufacturing for decades , and people of means fleeing Detroit in droves [a 25% decrease the past decade alone], is it really surprising that one of the nation’s poorest cities is going bankrupt? See a status report from Reuters.
There is now insult to this injury in Detroit. A consent agreement for emergency management controls the city.  Certainly there was abuse and corruption in recent and past city governments, as in most major cities. That has cost the budget millions. But Detroit’s total debt approaches a couple billions.   Still we see many cities across the nation with debts approaching bankruptcy. Business Insider reported 16 of them in December 2010.  None of these, except Detroit, have had emergency managers imposed. 1
Vallejo and Orange County in California simply went through bankruptcy. Hamtramck, MI was spared with a state loan. In fact, emergency managers rule cities only in Michigan, though Indiana and New York are considering facilitating legislation like our P.L. 4 which Gov. Snyder signed into law early in his administration. Dallas, Texas has a general operating debt also in the billions. No talk of emergency manager takeovers there. 2
And now Detroit et. al.
What is unique about Detroit, and all the other Michigan cities that now have become emergency management takeovers, is their very large African American citizenship. Percent black population in 2010 is as follows for all those Michigan’s cities now managed by edict of the Republican statehouse: Detroit 82.7%, Flint 56.6%, Pontiac 52.1%, Benton Harbor 89.2%, Ecorse 46.4%, Highland Park 93.5% { only school district is state managed}. [from U.S. Census data 3] Contrast this with 19.4% for Hamtramck--given a governor’s pardon. Incredible reversal into plantation politics, for Republicans who began their party over a century ago, as declared champions for abolition of slavery. The claim is made by staff of the Sugar Law Center that 50% of Michigan’s people of color are now under emergency management.
n the end, if a city faces bankruptcy, then its local people and representatives should be the ones held responsible to hammer out agreements with creditors. What gives a state government in the hands of a different political party, and foreign to the life of the city, the right to swoop in selling off city assets, and breaking city contracts? These managers will also determine the budget for voting booths etc. in the upcoming national election in Detroit. Is this likely to help or hinder Michigan’s support for the first African American president?
The petition to put on the state ballot a proposal to rescind P. L. 4, which brought on this surge of emergency management, was signed by a healthy surplus of the requisite voters across the state. In Lansing on this April 26th it was reject by the Michigan’s Board of Canvassers, by a 2 to 2 vote. The font used for the heading on the petitions was too small by millimeters.
Some from Gov Snyder's side of the fence are trying to take pictures too, of the protest at their gated community against the emergency manager law on Jan 15, 2012.
Please go to the website Michigan Forward--Stand up for Democracy for more information, and to become involved.
Martin Luther King said, “An unjust law is no law at all.” This is becoming true for too many of our laws and regulations, especially those that pertain to elections. The will of the people is being replaced by the will of the powerful. Please work and pray for a healing of the wound that could kill our democracy. Those who wield power really do depend on all the rest of us who don’t have so much. God help the 99%, to help the 1% see that.
Martin Luther King--In Birmingham Jail

"Many of us have been prisoners of fear and prejudice. We have preached the Gospel while closing our eyes to the racism it condemns. We have allowed conformity to social pressures to replace compliance with social justice."    ---Brothers and Sisters to Us---U.S. Catholic Bishops Pastoral Letter on Racism,1979
 "For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”    Lk 6:38

The Last Judgment--  by Rogier van der Weyden


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