Detroit’s Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr Still Shouldn’t Be There

Detroit’s Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr Still Shouldn’t Be There

Thanks for the report, Kevyn, but you still have no business here.

According to a  recently released report from Detroit’s Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, the city’s financial circumstances are dire enough that he admits Chapter 9 bankruptcy must still be kept on the table as an option. But then, the city’s dire financial circumstances have never been at issue except to those who continue to insist that it’s not as bad as everyone says. With all due respect, I think it’s exactly as bad as is being depicted. You’d have to be close to blind not to see how bad things have gotten, and claiming it’s not doesn’t help.

The problem is not that Detroiters don’t know things are bad. Detroiters are not stupid. The problem remains that Detroiters are being ignored and held hostage by their own Governor Snyder, who flagrantly violated their voting rights – as well as the voting rights of the majority of the entire State of Michigan – when they voted to overturn the Emergency Manager law in November 2012.  What’s worrisome here is that, not surprisingly, the news story of the largest city in the nation being shoved under the foot of an Emergency Manager by its own governor is no longer news and most of the press has moved on. It wasn’t that long ago when the Rev. Al Sharpton promised he would return to the city with thousands of protesters, and I for one hope he keeps that appointment ( I actually hope he shows up in June which will be the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech that he delivered here at Cobo Hall two months before the historic Washington D.C. address. That would make a HUGE statement). But for now, whenever Orr steps forward to say whatever he has to say these days, it is reported as if he is a legitimate leader. As if the people of Detroit voted for him to take control and steal their right to vote and to choose their own leaders.

But we didn’t. And this is a fact that needs to be kept front and center in Big Red Letters for as long as this occupation continues because if it is allowed to continue uncontested here in the city of Detroit – and in all the other heavily African American cities throughout Michigan – then it is only a matter of (very little) time before this is no longer just a Michigan problem. We need to keep ourselves reminded of this at every opportunity.

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And speaking of problems, way down near the end of the Free Press story where Orr discusses his report and what the city needs, what is likely to happen, etc., Orr “warned that even if the city emerges from state receivership in 18 months, it’s likely that some form of state oversight, such as a financial board or a state-appointed comptroller, would stay on, perhaps for decades as was the case in New York after its 1970s near-bankruptcy.” Say what?  What the hell do you mean “perhaps for decades”? Is Orr seriously suggesting that our vote could be considered null and void until my grandson reaches my age and I may not even be here anymore..? And speaking of decades, it has truly been decades since the majority of elected State leadership in Lansing has given a damn about Detroit, so why are we supposed to sit here and believe that these same folks who have been giving us the finger all these years should suddenly be entrusted with the weight of deciding what is in our best interest?

Are we supposed to believe that they know what’s best for Detroit up there in in Lansing “for decades” simply because they’re in Lansing?



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