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Is Michigan the Proving Ground for Democracy’s Silent Killer?
By: John HenrySep. 6th, 2011more from John Henry
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Sep. 6th, 2011 at 7:58 pm
Welcome to PoliticusUSA, John. Glad to have you here.
The Benton Harbor story is one of the saddest stories and most revelatory re the GOP agenda– giving a park away to corporations that was paid for by private citizens who left it to the PEOPLE. And what many may not realize is that Michigan is known for the beautiful public spaces – a big generator of tourism money as well.
Sep. 7th, 2011 at 12:16 am
Thanks, Sarah – and everyone. I’m very glad to be here, and I hope I can add a unique and effective progressive voice to this excellent community. I’m flattered to be in such good company, you have some really amazing writers here!
Sep. 7th, 2011 at 12:28 am
got hooked on this site a while ago because of the writing. don’t always agree but i’ve never been lied to here. grew up in ohio so visited the hand (UP too). good hunting, stunning water. sorry to hear about the troubles up there. rethuglicans always wanted everything the government had and they don’t see the contradiction there.
Sep. 6th, 2011 at 8:09 pm
Welcome to Amerika!
Sep. 6th, 2011 at 8:14 pm
Now I just have to believe, deep down in my heart, that the federal courts, if not the state Supreme Court, will step in and quash this unconstitutional act by the EFM of Benton Harbor.
This just can’t be allowed to happen in the USA where I was born, and which I knew and loved in my youth.
Having spent the last 24 years of my life in Sweden [you know, that "socialist" country across "The Pond"], I can only feel good knowing that we enjoy greater freedom [from this kind of illegal property grabbing, among other things] here in Sweden than you do in the USA.
Get a grip America.
Sep. 6th, 2011 at 8:29 pm
I have followed this somewhat having lived in Michigan for most of my life. This is taking away the rights of Americans at the base level
This should never have been allowed to happen by any court. That the courts allow it speaks volumes about what we have and will lose.
Sep. 6th, 2011 at 8:33 pm
As detailed in the Michigan Messenger, and www.savejeanklockpark.org..., there are several other things going on besides the outright theft of public land. The private developers say that people within city limits will be allowed to join the club, except they will have to pay a membership fee that exceeds months of paychecks for the average worker. Whirlpool isn’t exactly bending over backwards to play fair, either, because of implications that they would be unable to afford to keep their corporate headquarters in the area.
I grew up in Michigan, and stuff like this (AmWay, Blackwater, Hutaree) actually hurts.
Sep. 7th, 2011 at 12:18 am
Indeed. I probably could have done another 1500 words on this easily, but I was trying to keep it reasonably brief :)
Sep. 6th, 2011 at 8:54 pm
There are two theories at least on which this might be fought. An attempt to privatize Matheson Hammock Park in Miami was, if I recall correctly, foiled by finding a reversionary clause that if the land were ever used for any purpose other than a public park, it would revert to the heirs of the grantor. The other route is a constitutional attack.
I know utterly nothing about Michigan law or the state constitution, but a couple of items you might look at federally are the improper delegation of powers, the denial of the one citizen, one vote principle (since the citizens of poor communities are being deprived, on the ground of poverty, that which affluent communities are allowed to continue to enjoy), possible racial discrimination charges, and the constitutional guarantee that every state shall enjoy a republican (not Republican) form of government. This is hastily written, but maybe it’ll give you some ideas. Then, engage in an attention- getting form of protest, and if the MSM presstitutes won’t cover it, get it on the Internet and send videos to places like Al Jazeera, the BBC, or even RT. Corporate America privatizes Mayberry can be a damn attention- grabbing story line.
Sep. 6th, 2011 at 9:30 pm
What is happening in the states with the republican governors and what is happening in ‘The House’ with the tea party newcomers is bordering on evil. What they are doing is no longer a difference between two parties. They are trying to rule with their vengeance, regardless.
I am sorry to say, by president Obama still trying to compromise with them is not going to get it. Chaimberlain wanted to compromise with Hitler as well, we know how that turned out.
Obama may be forceful in his speeches, but if he does not act accordingly and caves again to that evil cabal he may just lose anyway to them.
Sep. 6th, 2011 at 9:45 pm
Bordering on evil? No, Ingarose, it does not border. As for President Obama, he does not resemble Chamberlain, who sympathized with the enemy. He is rather more in the position of Schusschnig, who was both held hostage and blackmailed by him.
Sep. 7th, 2011 at 12:20 am
I spend a great deal of time growing up in South Haven, MI, to the north of Benton Harbor by 20 miles or so. It’s beautiful country there, but I have to admit I was rather disheartened when I returned after living in NC for 15 years and saw how much the lakeshore has been built up. It used to be all very natural area with a few houses, and now it’s much more populated and the natural areas are pretty well wiped out.
There are MANY reasons why this is just wrong, wrong, wrong.
Sep. 7th, 2011 at 12:48 am
I grew up in Lapeer, lived there for 50 years.
Sep. 7th, 2011 at 7:04 am
I used to know some fellow Heathens in Lapeer!
Sep. 7th, 2011 at 1:15 am
Hey, John Henry! It’s great to see you here.
To answer the question in your title, Michigan is the proving ground for a lot of the solutions to the continent’s problems. Unfortunately, some of the solutions are bad ones. The EFM is one of them.
Sep. 7th, 2011 at 6:46 am
This is a sad state of affairs and much much more should be written about it.How can we let this stuff happen?You are right,it could and is happening all over the US.In West Virginia,we are being sold out to the energy companies.They have the right to take your land to do whatever they want.Destroy our land,water and air,all in the name of jobs.Temporary jobs at that,and the people and our Dino’s let it happen.Enough already!
Sep. 7th, 2011 at 6:51 am
I’m a former Michigander, and I still keep one eye on my home state. Now, I may be wrong, but from I’ve read, Rick Snyder was NOT a Tea Party favorite. Not all Republicans are Tea Partiers and not all Tea Partiers are Republicans. Snyder’s actions here go directly against the Tea Party’s belief in small, limited government. Republicans abandoned that belief long ago, and that is largely WHY the Tea Party exists.
Sep. 7th, 2011 at 6:01 pm
Michigan has been more successful than most states passing the ALEC state legislative agenda, which makes Rick Snyder a conservative star in the Michele Bachmann Tea Party camp–if he can just dodge the recall bullet.
Sep. 7th, 2011 at 7:05 am
Great article, John. Glad to have you writing with us and especially for spreading light on the situation in Michigan. It’s scary.
Sep. 7th, 2011 at 1:49 pm
Act 4 is far more frightening than you even realize! One very scary fact that is hidden in Act 4 is that it gives the EFM the ability to suspend elections without suspending them. All the EFM has to do is dissolve the town, village, city, municipality, or whatever type of local government it is and your ability to vote is gone. After all, if your town, village, city, municipality or even county no longer exists, then you are no longer a citizen of that entity and subsequently you are no longer a registered voter of that entity. So then how will you be able to vote in 2012 or 2014 or any other year? Do you trust Snyder to let you vote, especially if you’re a Democrat?
Remember, no one needs to take away your right to vote, because if your local government no longer exists then your ability to prove you are a citizen no longer exists either. If this happens, who will help you? Your Republican controlled State Legislature? Your Republican controlled State Supreme Court? Your Republican Attorney General, Secretary of State, Lt. Governor, or your Republican Governor? Or perhaps the Republican controlled media?
Sep. 7th, 2011 at 6:06 pm
I agree, what you are dealing with is much worse than in Wisconsin, and I dont understand why there isnt bigger coverage of these issues in all media.
Sep. 7th, 2011 at 8:30 pm
Welcome, John, nice opening piece. I have been aware of EFMs since the law was first passed, (www.politicususa.com/en/m...) and I agree, its coverage has not been to scale with its impact.
You should look up @nNomad_ on Twitter. He’s been talking about Benton Harbor on the radio. He is the head of NewStand Media and Progressive Leadership Action Network, to which I also belong. We put info about EFMs in our book FIX America! so we’re trying to get the word out too.
But if your town is dissolved, don’t you just become a resident of an unincorporated area? You may not have a city council, but you would still vote in county, state, and national elections, no?
Sep. 12th, 2011 at 8:19 am
With all due respect (and I’m writing as someone who has covered the Benton Harbor saga of the past year probably more than anyone else), the situation with Jean Klock Park has nothing to do with the Emergency Manager. The City of Benton Harbor agreed to this deal 4 years before Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm appointed an EM (then called and Emergency Financial Manager [EFM].)
I am as anti-EM Law as anyone around but let’s be sure to get the facts straight. The situation with JKP is separate from PA 4 and all of the anti-democratic, disenfranchising aspects of it. I have done everything I can to promote the repeal of Public Act 4 – the so-called Emergency Manager Law – and will continue to do so. However, we can do it without rewriting history. And, yes, Rachel Maddow got that bit wrong, too.
Also, it’s Al Pscholka, not “Pshulka”.
If you’re interested in following my writing about Michigan politics, you can do so at Eclectablog.com.
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