AMBER ALERT! ROSA PARKS’ GODCHILD MAILAUNI WILLIAMS MISSING; JUDGE KATHRYN GEORGE LOOTS ESTATE, BARS MORTGAGE PAYMENTS ON HER HOME

HAVE YOU SEEN MAILAUNI WILLIAMS?

HAVE YOU SEEN MAILAUNI WILLIAMS?

Civil rights heroine’s godchild, who has cerebral palsy, not seen by family, friends since “guardian” Atty. Mary S. Rowan seized her June 14

Judge Kathryn George was earlier removed by state Supreme Court as Macomb Chief Probate Judge, barred from handling wills and estates

Attorneys will demand Mailauni’s return to mother and home

Williams family long the subject of racist abuse in Grosse Pointe Farms

By Diane Bukowski

July 20, 2014

Atty. Mary Rowan (seated in blue) grabs Mailauni Williams' arm outside court June 13, 2013. The next day Rowan seized the young woman; her whereabouts are now unknown to her family.

Atty. Mary Rowan (seated in blue) grabs Mailauni Williams’ arm outside court June 13, 2013. The next day Rowan seized the young woman; her whereabouts are now unknown to her family.

Grosse Pointe Farms, MI — Five weeks after attorney Mary S. Rowan’s seizure of Mailauni Williams from a foster care home, after police forcibly took her from her own home May 21, her family, friends and attorneys do not know where the 28-year-old woman with cerebral palsy is.Her mother Lennette Williams said she is frantic and worried about her daughter’s well-being.

“I can’t eat or sleep,” Williams said. The two have been inseparable throughout Mailauni’s lifetime. Williams calls her daughter “Pookie.” A beautiful portrait of Mailauni in her green high school graduation gown dominates the living room of their home in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Mailauni (first row r) with her mother Lennette behind her; Arnetta Grable is to Lennette's left.

Mailauni (first row l) with her mother Lennette behind her; Arnetta Grable is to Lennette’s left. Cornell Squires, another family family friend and advocate, is behind Grable.

Community activist Arnetta Grable, a long-time friend of the family, told VOD that Mailauni met Rosa Parks at the age of 5, and that Parks adopted her as her godchild later. She said the two frequently visited.Elaine Steele and Anita Peeks of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development are active in support of the family.

Rowan finally allowed Mailauni to talk to her sister Monique Williams July 19 over the phone. Rowan earlier had not returned any of the sister’s daily phone calls.

“Mailauni didn’t tell her sister where she was at, but said that she missed her and wanted to see her mom,” Grable said. “Mailauni already has told many people that she wants to go back home to her mother. She told the lady at the foster care home that she wants to be with ‘my mama and my doggie.’”

ROSA PARKS, 1990

ROSA PARKS, 1990

The Michigan Bar Directory lists 1303 Nottingham Rd. in Grosse Pointe Park as Rowan’s business address, as do other legal sites. That address is only blocks away from the Williams home in Grosse Pointe Farms, where neighors earlier carried on a campaign to move the Williams family out of their neighborhood.In a 2006 “Handbook for Guardians of Adults,” Michigan Long Term Care Ombudsman Bradley Geller advised, “If the individual is living at home, it is likely her or his strong wish to remain there. You should explore what financial programs and services are available to effect this goal.”

The handbook says guardians are to report the residence of their wards to the court promptly, but George has not notified Mailauni’s family or attorneys of her whereabouts.

Geller said the wishes of the individual under guardianship are to be taken into account at all times. The establishment of Geller’s office and legislative reforms regarding guardianship policies resulted after exposures of decades of abuse of individuals by guardians, attorneys and trustees in Michigan, involving among others the Wayne and Macomb County Probate Courts.

Williams’ attorney Allison Folmar said she  plans to file court actions this week to produce Mailauni and return her home, to remove Macomb County Probate Court Judge Kathryn George from her case and Rowan from guardianship, and other appeals of George’s rulings from a raucous June 13 court hearing.

Macomb County Probate Court Judge Kathryn George

Macomb County Probate Court Judge Kathryn George

George’s order on police removal of Mailauni May 21 read only, “The Court directs Grosse Pointe Farms Public Safety to enter the address of [street address], Grosse Pointe Farms, MI 48238 to ensure the safety of Mailauni Williams. Grosse Pointe Farms Public Safety may break into the residence if necessary.”At the June 13 hearing, George jailed Lennette Williams and fined Folmar for speaking on behalf of her client, while Mailauni clearly spoke out on behalf of her mother and her desire to remain with her.

Attorney Folmar said later that it is clear that Mailauni’s mother has taken excellent care of her daughter throughout her life and questioned whether the Probate Court even has any jurisdiction over the young woman.

Williams said that after Mailauni’s birth, doctors never expected that she would even be able to walk, but that Mailauni has in fact thrived with her love and support.

Attorney Allison Folmar

Attorney Allison Folmar, who also represents Maryanne Godboldo in case of CPS seizure of her child

The young woman walks, speaks clearly and coherently, and expresses her thoughts, emotions and desires well. She is a graduate of Grosse Pointe North High School.It is unclear why George has handled the case out of Wayne County Probate Court Chief Judge Milton Mack’s courtroom for the last eight years. Mack himself asked the State Court Administrator’s Office to approve the appointment.

But the Michigan Supreme Court removed George as Macomb Probate chief judge in 2008 amid a storm regarding a host of improprieties, including assigning wards primarily to one guardianship agency.  George’s successor as Macomb Probate Chief Judge, Kenneth Sanborn, removed her permanently from handling estates and wills.

The Williams case involves a $30 million estate deriving from a medical malpractice case settled with Henry Ford Hospital for neglect during Mailauni’s birth. Williams and her daughter were to be provided a monthly life-time annuity from the settlement through the ELNY Administrator Hardship Fund.

Walter Sakowski, Estate Planning Atty. and Wayne Co. Public Administrator

Walter Sakowski, Estate Planning Atty. and Wayne Co. Public Administrator

But court-appointed estate-planning attorney Walter Sakowski, of Livonia, informed George in a letter July 14 that he had withdrawn $869,382.40 from the Hardship Fund and placed it in a checking account held by the Mailauni R. Williams Irrevocable Trust, which he controls.

“I am requesting direction from your honor as to whether the funds received ($869,382.40) should be placed in a restricted account, should I file a bond for an amount equal to this amount or should the funds be invested in mutual funds or the like,” he asked George.

In her order of June 19, 2014, George said among other matters, “the Trustee shall not pay to Lynnette (sic) Williams the monthly allowance previously ordered by this Court nor is the Trustee to pay the mortgage payment on Lynette Williams home as previously ordered, both Orders are hereby set aside.”

According to the Wayne County Register of Deeds, that home, in Grosse Pointe Farms, was deeded by Lennette Williams to Lennette and Mailauni Williams JTWRS in 1992.

Lennette Williams said she has been the subject of constant harassment by the courts, police and neighbors since she moved into the home, to provide her daughter with beautiful surroundings and a world-class school district. The U.S. Census shows that in 2010, Grosse Pointe Farms had only 1.8 percent African-American residents.

Grosse Pointe Farms police guard wealthy white residents of the city, which is only 1.8 percent Black.

Grosse Pointe Farms police guard wealthy white residents of the city, which is only 1.8 percent Black.

In 1990, an anonymous group of Williams’ neighbors mailed a letter to “The B’s” at her home address.It said, “How does it feel to be the most hated family on [street name]? Your house is the biggest eyesore here. No one wants to live here because of you. Half the homes are now for sale with no signs because of you people. Just because you won a settlement for a fake medical care you had to move here. It is a joke to the entire city. You don’t fit in nor belong here with your trash and junk cars. Why don’t you live in the Detroit area as your kind made Detroit the mess it is in now. You don’t know how to act or fit in here. You are not wanted here. This used to be a beautiful area but no more. Please go away.”

Williams said she gave a copy of the letter, which today qualifies as a hate crime, to the Grosse Pointe Farms police, but they took no action. She also said that while Mailauni was attending school in Grosse Pointe, police stripped her naked at the school to look for signs of abuse because she had a keloid scar from an earlier accidental burn on her body. No Child Protective Service case was ever opened.

Related articles:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/06/16/shady-probate-judge-kathryn-george-jails-mom-seizes-daughter-and-estate/

Mother and child rebellion Lennette Williams Metro Times, by Curt Guyette

Weaver opinion on George

Housey opinion re George et al

Judge Kathryn George Under Investigation

Katheryn George shakeup ProbateCourt

Kathryn George _ The Michigan Lawyer

My Mother KG case

Probate Judge letter on Kathryn George


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DOLL’S-GO-KART ANNUAL SING A SONG FOR A RIDE A BIG SUCCESS

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Children zoom around Doll’s Go Kart track after winning free rides for a song July 3, 2014. Photo: Cornell Squires

Black-owned business, over 30 years old, revives tradition for the youth

DJ Hydef and blues singer Priscilla Price participate

By Cornell Squires 

July 5, 2014

Ron Hereford, proprietor of Doll's Go Kart, (above center), and Jamar Reed's family and friends watch him sing for a ride.

Ron Hereford, proprietor of Doll’s Go Kart, (above center), and Jamar Reed’s family and friends, including his sister Blessin (in braids) watch him sing for a ride. Photo: Cornell Squires

DETROIT — Mr. Ron Hereford, proprietor of Doll’s Go-Kart, re-established Sing a- Song for a Go Kart ride on July 3, 2014, to help  encourage young people with talent in Detroit’s ommunity.

Almost five years ago Mr. Hereford created this special day for the young people.  Mr. Hereford told Voice of Detroit that he wants to do more in our community to help encourage people that are inspired to one day be singers.

Today, the community, young people and old alike, came out to sing a song for free rides around Doll’s Go Kart track, located at 4455 Oakman south of Grand River. The community enjoyed the opportunity to express their talent. Ten-year- old Jamar Reed sang his favorite rap song along with his sister Blessin Reed, 6, who sang the words to her favorite song. Both of them received free rides.

Renee Payton holds the mike for her daughter Blessin Reed, 6, as she sings out her heart. Photo: Cornell Squires

Renee Payton with her daughter Blessin Reed, 6, as she sings out her heart. Photo: Cornell Squires

Their mother Renee Payton, 33 years old, said she remembered the days of her youth when she went to the track, and now she is bringing her children. The track has been in existence for 31 years.”I support this place because it is safe and it’s a fun place in our community and I will continue to bring my children here, especially with these special events at a place where our children and friends can have fun and feel safe!” Ms. Payton said.

Many customers attended this pre-Fourth of July holiday event, excited about the promotional offer, “Sing a song for at least 2 minutes and get five free rides.”

Mr. Hereford said he began this promotion almost eight years ago, and it ran for at least five years.   Now he has brought back the good ole days to give thanks to all the families and patrons that have supported his family business over  30 years.

DJ Hydef, a/k/a Clyde Moore Photo: Cornell Squires

DJ Hydef, a/k/a Clyde Moore Photo: Cornell Squires

Clyde Moore, proprietor of DJ Hydef, played the music at this event which ran from six p.m. until the closing. DJ Hydef said he supports business in our community and especially Doll’s Go Kart. He said he used to DJ at “Starvin’ Marvin” and other clubs across the City of Detroit.He grew up in Brentwood N.Y and was inspired by many grass roots rappers, including DJ “EMMD,” an ‘80’s rap group in New York City, the legendary rapper “Rock Rakim,” and his first producer C. I. John Mahoney. He said Mahoney inspired him 16 years ago to get into the DJ business and he never looked back. One of his best friends DJ Diamond also helped him get involved.“There is always someone in life that will inspire us, and help us to fulfill our dreams,” he said. “The DJ business is my life’s passion. Another person I cannot forget is my mother who is the famous legendary blues singer Priscilla Price from West Virginia, and my uncle Lloyd Price 74, another blues singer. They are still singing blues today!”Before the event was over VOD had a chance to speak with the famous Priscilla Price, who stopped by Doll’s Go-Kart. She said she would love to help this 30 year- old business that still is operating in Detroit community!

PRISCILLA PRICE: “I’LL TAKE YOU THERE!” 2010 PERFORMANCE

She said she wants to sponsor events here to help raise community awareness of Black businesses, and raise money to for renovations at the track, to give back to the community.

DJ Hydef  said there is a need in the Detroit community to help get the youth back on course, to see that they are going into the right direction. He said we need a place where teenagers can go and have fun and not be worried about violence, danger, gangs, and trouble, a safe place off the street, a place that is a neutral ground. That place is  for our Doll’s Go Kart, he said. No trouble or security problems, a wholesome family business that doesn’t allow cussing, drinking, or drugs on their property.

DOLL’S GO KART IS OPEN FROM 12 NOON TO 10 PM EVERY DAY. CALL 313-898-4811 FOR MORE INFORMATION.

gokart sign

MORE PHOTOS OF DOLL’S CUSTOMERS OVER THE LAST MONTHS

gokart familygokart family little kids
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Gokart child good

 

Gokart multiple

gokart girlsgokart white and Black

 

gokart girl drivers

 

Gokart with office
Gokart workerGokart mother son

 

Gokart 4 drivers

 

Dolls map

RELATED ARTICLE:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/07/03/dolls-go-kart-sponsors-sing-for-free-laps-day-thurs-july-3-4-10pm/


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DETROIT BANKRUPTCY BOMBSHELLS: WATER SHUT-OFFS, FALSE RETIREE BALLOTS; NAT’L RALLY JULY 18; COURT JULY 21

Detroit bankruptcy protesters listen to Abayomi Azikiwe during lunch break outside federal court July 15, 2014.

Detroit bankruptcy protesters listen to Abayomi Azikiwe during lunch break outside federal court July 15, 2014.

Rhodes: “City getting a bad reputation around the world” for shut-offs

Ballots did not disclose that retiree annuity “clawbacks” include additional 6.75% compounded interest rate; is re-vote needed?

Others cite huge health care costs, 75% reduction in retirement income

By Diane Bukowski

July 16, 2014

Kris Hamel

Kris Hamel

DETROIT – This city’s barbaric, now world-renowned mass water shut-offs, and a major mistake on ballots sent to retirees that could force a re-vote, lit a flame of hope for individual objectors at a bankruptcy hearing July 15 in front of Judge Steven Rhodes.Rhodes has ordered attorneys for Jones Day, Denton’s and city officials to return to court Monday July 21 to resolve these issues.For the first time in the bankruptcy process, Detroit resident Kris Hamel, who works with the Moratorium NOW! Coalition, raised the issue of the water shut-offs in morning session. Many others followed her lead all day, referencing the notorious practice, which has been condemned by the United Nations, in their remarks.

DWSD bondholders get $537 million on swaps, $5 billion on bonds, while Detroiters’ water is shut off for owing $150

“While the poorest Detroiters have their water cut off for owing $150, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, Loop Financial and Morgan Stanley were paid $537 million in termination fees on interest rate swaps out of $1 billion in bonds . . . that were earmarked to fund repairs of the water infrastructure system, not line the pockets of these four banks,” Hamel told Judge Rhodes.

Detroit mother without water.
Detroit mother without water.

The Plan of Adjustment lists a total of $5 billion in uncontested claims for DWSD bondholders, who are considered secured creditors not required to take cutbacks.

“It is up to you to stop the national and international disgrace and humanitarian disaster of mass water shut-offs . . . You must immediately enjoin these shut-offs by placing a moratorium on them TODAY and ordering [EM Kevyn] Orr to implement a real water affordability plan for the poorest Detroiters.”

Hamel noted that Orr’s office has called the shutoffs “a necessary part of Detroit’s re-structuring.”

Jean Vortkamp

Jean Vortkamp

In her objection, Jean Vortkamp talked about two of her neighbor’s small children, Simea and James.

“In concentration camps, there was water,” Vortkamp said. “Many of the children in my neighborhood had their water cut off. Families are taking money from things like rent to pay the bill that they could not afford with our high water rates. My neighborhood is a 10 minute drive to a pumping station on a river connected to the Great Lakes but my water bill is higher than the average U.S. water bill. Privatization usually causes water rates to double or triple. How would that make Detroit a more attractive place to live post-bankruptcy?”

Rhodes ordered Jones Day attorney Heather Lennox to produce a Detroit Water and Sewerage Department representative at the afternoon session to explain the situation.

Jones Day, DWSD excuse shut-offs, are warned by Rhodes

Darryl Latimer, Dep. Director of DWSD

Darryl Latimer, Dep. Director of DWSD

Testimony from DWSD Deputy Director Darryl Latimer began the afternoon session. He claimed the shutoffs began in the fall of 2013 but were suspended until March due to winter temperatures.“Our bill is to the resident, we bill the property,” Latimer said. “We don’t know what or how many individuals live there or whether they can afford their bills.”

He claimed the average outstanding balance on delinquent water bills is $540, and that monthly bills average $75. He said shut-offs happen after 60 days if the outstanding balance is $150 or more.Latimer said DWSD has various resource programs to help “people that come forward.”He claimed an initial payment of 30 percent of the outstanding balance could be waived.

He was later contradicted by objector Cecily McClellan, who headed the Water Affordability Program at Detroit Human Services before the department closed in 2012. McClellan said the 30 percent payment is mandatory. She also noted that delinquent water bills are attached to property tax rolls, so customers can lose their homes as well.

Cecily McClellan

Cecily McClellan

According to DWSD documents, Detroit residents are already penalized with higher sewerage rates than suburban customers to make up for delinquent bills, causing even more delinquencies.Latimer said DWSD has insufficient staff to send to customers’ homes to warn them of pending shut-offs due to recent lay-offs and cutbacks.The original Water Affordability Plan, proposed after massive water shut-offs in 2002, called for rates to be geared towards customers’ incomes, but that provision was shot down in the final version.In contrast, cities like Cleveland have an income provision for up to 40 percent reduction in rates in their water affordability programs.  Click on Cleveland water affordability program for description.

Delinquent commercial accounts not being shut off?

Latimer appeared to discount media reports that DWSD plans to shut off commercial customers with higher delinquencies.

Trucks shutting Detroiters' water off have this insignia. Watch for them! Do not let them in your neighorhood!

Trucks shutting Detroiters’ water off have this insignia. Watch for them! Do not let them in your neighorhood!

“Those are different because regular crews can’t shut off commercial accounts because they have larger valves,” Latimer contended. He admitted later that a contractor [Homrich Wrecking] is doing the shut-offs, exposed by a militant sit-in and arrests
outside Homrich’s facility at 2660 E. Grand Boulevard July 11. Homrich, which is demolishing the Brewster high rises, and earlier did in the Jeffries projects and J.L. Hudson’s downtown store, has very heavy equipment.

Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes

Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes

“The residential shut-off program has created not only a lot of anger and hardship, but bad publicity that Detroit doesn’t need right now,” Rhodes said. “Cost reductions come at a price. The citizens are very angry and the city is getting a bad reputation around the world . . . this problem is affecting the bankruptcy proceedings.”He asked that Latimer and Lennox return Monday, July 21 for a status conference on their progress in establishing more aggressive assistance programs for Detroiters. He stopped short of ordering a moratorium on water shut-offs as Hamel had asked.

Retiree ballots leave out whopping interest rates on annuity ‘clawbacks’

Objector Steven Wojtowicz, a 30-year retiree from the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department, dropped another bombshell. He said Orr and attorneys from Jones Day did not disclose on ballots mailed to 32,000 retirees that Orr’s Plan of Adjustment (POA) charges a 6.75 percent compounded interest rate on the top of the allegedly illegal annuity savings fund (ASF) interest the EM wants to “recoup” from retirees.

Orr ready to clawback another 6.75 percent of retirees' annuity savings plans.
Orr ready to clawback another 6.75 percent of retirees’ annuity savings plans.

“I looked at my ballot package,” Wojtowicz said. “It said the city will recoup a total of 89,000 from my annuity payments in 12 years. But that should be $189,000 because there is no mention of the 6.75 percent interest [from the POA]. The City says it will save $230 million by the ASF recoupment, but that is actually $400 million with the interest.”

Retiree Belinda Myers-Florence noted in an email that a Freedom of Information Act request has been submitted for an actual accounting of the proposed clawbacks.

“The Judge questioned the Retiree Committee representative and the Jones Day lawyer,” she said. They both began to stutter, fumble, dodge and avoid direct questions posed by the Judge.”

Rhodes asked whether that information was omitted from all 32,000 ballots mailed to retirees.

“6.75 %! RE-VOTE!”

Heather Lennox

Heather Lennox

Jones Day attorney Heather Lennox tried to claim the added interest rate was only omitted from 3,200 ballots earlier identified as erroneous because they included interest from 2002, when the amounts were supposed to cover the years from 2003 to 2013.Denton’s attorney Carol Neville, allegedly representing the Official Committee of Retirees, ran to the podium to assist Lennox, but only clouded the matter further.“We are attorneys, not actuaries,” she complained.

On their way out of the courthouse, the attorneys heard chants of “6.75 percent! RE-VOTE!” While the daily media has been trumpeting that most retirees are voting “Yes” on the POA, in fact such a major error may invalidate the ballots and require a massive re-vote.

Denton’s, which recommended a yes vote in its mailing, is supposed to represent the Official Committee of Retirees (OCR). But at least three members of that committee, Gail Wilson, Gail Wilson-Turner, and Michael Karwoski, a retired Law Department attorney, have filed official objections to the Plan of Adjustment. (Click on DB Gail Wilson objection re UMTA, DB Karwoski ASF, and DB obj Gail Wilson Turner to read their objections.)

bankruptcy costsDenton’s has been paid over $7.4 million so far by the City of Detroit, allegedly to represent the OCR. But its letter to retirees says it is represents itself and the city only.

Retiree Irma Industrious questioned whether the clawback itself is legal, noting that 11 USC 547 of the Bankruptcy Code sets a limit on recoupment of 90 days prior to the filing of the bankruptcy petition.

“Why not recoupment of debts from state, banks, feds?”

Cecily McClellan is a leader of the Detroit Concerned Citizens, Active Employees, and Retirees, which has been conducting “NO” vote drives throughout city neighborhoods in U-Haul Trucks festooned with banners.

She said, “The Governor places no value on the people of the City of Detroit. The retirees are being scapegoated. The Great Recession of 2008 was not caused by the retirees, but by Wall Street greed. The state needs to pay Detroit the $730 million it owes the city in revenue-sharing. There should be a moratorium on all corporate tax abatements. The banks need to be sued. Even Public Act 436, under which Orr operates, says that he must comply with the state constitution by not impairing or diminishing pension benefits.”

McClellan and others also noted that the bankruptcy takes federal funds from workers whose wages, benefits and pensions are or were fully funded by federal grants, including those from the departments of Health, Human Services and Workforce Development.

In her written objection, Committee of Retirees member Gail Wilson, who is the widow of Leamon Wilson, long-time president of the bus mechanics’ AFSCME Local 312, says the POA fails to comply with the Federal Urban Mass Transit Act (UMTA) Sec. 13(c).

Her objection reads in part that the UMTA requires that “recipients of grant funds for the purpose of implementing projects, maintenance and/or operations involving mass transportation, must first voluntarily agree to enter into a Protective Agreement with the affected labor organization(s) to ensure that members of the labor organization are not harmed as a result of the project. . . .such protective assistance shall include, without being limited to, such provisions as may be necessary for (1) the preservation of rights, provisions and benefits (including pension rights and benefits) under existing collective bargaining agreements . . .”

Objections to elimination of retiree health care: “Most of us will be dead”

Health care, like water is a human right.

Health care, like water is a human right.

Numerous objectors told shocking stories of the added burden the elimination of health care has laid on their backs and those of their spouses.

Retired city bus driver Jesse Florence, said during the morning session that since the city cut health care benefits for retirees under 65, his premiums have jumped from $152 a month to $1026.

Meah said hole at top of sewer looks like the size of a quarter.

Meah said hole at top of sewer looks like the size of a quarter.

“I never thought I would be struggling to get health care,” he said. “This is devastating.”Marshall Meah said he worked 30 years in DWSD, sustained numerous injuries and diseases due to toxic exposure, and lost his wife and family because he was on 24-hour call, even having to take his child with him to work one time.“It was a very dangerous job working in the sewers,” he said. “There were no gas detectors in the beginning, the manhole looked like the size of a quarter from down below, and once our cable broke and I had to save a co-worker’s life.”He said he now needs constant medical care for physical injuries he sustained.

Stop CancerHis brother Amru Meah, formerly Director of the Buildings and Safety Engineering Department, said he pays $858 a month for health care which he desperately needs because he is a cancer patient.

Roger Rice, a Department of Public Works retiree and long-time union officer, said his wife had a heart attack due to stress after the announcement of the bankruptcy, and now has had her entire city health insurance eliminated because she is under 65. He noted that retirees can’t wait 20 years for restoration of their benefits. He said he will be 86. Another retiree said, “Most of us will be dead by then.”

Cuts reduce one retiree’s annual income from $21,000 to $4,942

Constance Phillips, a supervisor for 17 years at the Human Services Department, helping Detroiters with their utility bills and other needs, she said she now estimates cuts in her health care, pension, and annuities will reduce her annual compensation from $21,000 to $4,942, putting her in her former clients’ positions and worse.

Retirees are the backbone of the Black community.

Retirees are the backbone of the Black community.

“Remove the retirees from these bankruptcy proceedings!” H. Jean Powell demanded.Rhonda Sims, a UAW member, said the cuts are targeted specifically at Black workers by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and the Koch Brothers.“Any further cuts will have a devastating psychological effect on our already devastated African-American community,” she said.

“Retirees are the backbone of our communities. Many retirees are supporting grandchildren and parents, four generations in one household. How will the younger generation be motivated to get an honest job after they watch their parents and grandparents, who worked all their lives, homeless and on the streets? There are no summer jobs, no recreation centers, no Belle Isle, and now no water. Why should they not turn to crime? The banks can afford to take cuts, pensioners cannot.”

Retirees object to sell-out by retirement systems, balloting process

“The Detroit General Retirement System’s use of coercion and blackmail [in its mailing calling for a ‘yes’ vote] was totally offensive,” said Beverly Holman. “Not all elements are disclosed, including the total dollar amount of [alleged] excess interest paid to retirees. We are told that we can pay it back in one lump sum—that is like eating an elephant in one bite. This will create a new class of the elderly poor in Detroit and across the U.S., eligible for public assistance.” (Read full letter from DGRS at DGRS Yes letter.)

Tom Sheehan is president of the DGRS and also sits on the DRCEA board.

Tom Sheehan is president of the DGRS and also sits on the DRCEA board.

Many referred to the 3200 ballots that had to be remailed due to deficiencies, as well as the inclusion of letters from the Detroit Retired City Employees Association (DRCEA), the Detroit General Retirement System, Denton’s, and others recommending a “Yes” vote. The DGRS even told its members that they could request another ballot if they wanted to change their vote.Several said the ballots could easily be falsified since the “Yes” and “No” pages are separate from the signature pages. One retiree said his groups had filed an FOIA to get a copy of the mailing list of retirees so they could mail out fliers advocating “NO” votes and giving the complete picture.

Carl Williams outlined numerous violations of Chapter 9 Bankruptcy Procedures in the Plan of Adjustment. He and retiree Hassan Aleem sponsored a series of objections signed earlier at a meeting of the Detroit Concerned Citizens, Active Employees, and Retirees. Two of those objections are listed below.

“Orr is a representative of the state, not the city,” he said. “Only a municipality can file for bankruptcy. That state owes the city millions, but then it turns around and files bankruptcy, not in good faith, and not for the benefit of the city.”

Williams added that Rhodes’ court never had jurisdiction over the filing, alleging that Rhodes is a magistrate, not a judge, without the authority to make any judgments in the case. Rhodes did not deny Williams’ allegation.

Retirees at meeting of Concerned Detroiters, Active Employees and Retirees July 7, 2014. Meetings are held every Monday at N'namdi's, 12150 Woodward at 11 a.m.

Retirees at meeting of Concerned Detroiters, Active Employees and Retirees July 7, 2014. Meetings are held every Monday at N’namdi’s, 12150 Woodward at 11 a.m.

 

Many objectors, including Cindy Darrah, raised the issue of the billions in public taxes that are being paid to wealthy developers like Mike Illitch, Dan Gilbert, Roger Penske and others, while Detroit is allegedly bankrupt.

John Lauve“The state has the obligation not to look the other way,” Darrah said. “They gave the ‘Grand Bargain’ $195 million while giving Illitch $240,000,000, illegally out of the school aid fund for his new hockey rink.”

John Lauve, who protested outside the courtroom, handed out a flier detailing the public costs of the Red Wing area, the M-1 trolley, and $1 no bid sales to developers.

“Penske’s trolley system diverts money that should be used to fix the failed bus system to benefit the entire City,” Lauve noted “This added transit system will compete and disrupt the two current bus services.”

July 18 rally_0001

 

Water is a human right rallyJuly 18 rally_0002

Endorsements of July 18 march and rally in Detroit

Charity Hicks gone too soonCelebration of life

HOME GOING SERVICES FOR ACTIVIST CHARITY HICKS

SATURDAY, JULY 19, 2014   9:30 A.M.

CHURCH OF THE MESSIAH

231 E. GRAND BLVD. AT E. LAFAYETTE

Related documents and stories:

Full testimony of Kris Hamel on the water shut-offs. KH testimony.

Steven Wojtowicz official objection at DB Wojtowicz objection.

Group objection Carl Williams, Hassan Aleem DB objection Hassan Aleem et al 7 8 14.

Group objection Williams, Aleem DB objection Williams Aleem et al

Jean Vortkamp’s full testimony at Vortkamp testimony.

Cindy Darrah’s full testimony at Darrah testimony.

John Lauve’s written objection at Lauve testimony.

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/07/10/pastors-community-leaders-arrested-blocking-homrich-gates-to-stop-detroit-water-shut-offs/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/06/19/vote-no-detroit-retirees-hold-majority-of-bankruptcy-claims-can-stall-plan-which-violates-ch9-rules/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/07/13/britain-strikes-for-a-day-against-low-pay-job-cuts/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/07/04/vowing-to-paralyze-this-island-puerto-rico-unions-call-general-strike-against-austerity/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/06/11/puerto-rico-unions-threaten-strike-against-austerity-budget-jones-day-law-firm-involved/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/06/07/why-im-voting-no-on-the-grand-bargain/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/05/20/racist-detroit-bankruptcy-plan-11-5-billion-for-banks-0-for-retirees-vote-no-or-lose-appeal-rights/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/05/16/detroit-retirees-blast-bankruptcy-deal-in-lansing-drceas-lightsey-sells-out/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/05/14/state-bills-target-detroit-assets-in-bankruptcy/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/05/12/dccr-update-on-pensions-in-detroit-bankruptcy-plan-vote-no/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/05/05/aarp-joins-other-groups-in-legal-support-for-detroit-retirees/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/05/03/no-detroit-bankruptcy-deal-may-day-marchers-block-detroit-streets-banks-natl-retiree-systems-blast-rhodes/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/04/29/days-of-rage-hearing-on-pa-436-april-30-shut-down-detroit-may-1/

http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/01/22/teachers-strike-shuts-puerto-ricos-schools/

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/15/us-usa-puertorico-teachers-idUSBREA0E13P20140115

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/11/puertorico-pensions-idUSL2N0N325N20140411

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2014/06/05/work-stoppages-at-public-firms-in-puerto-rico-against-cuts/?intcmp=obinsite


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DROP THE CHARGES AGAINST REV. EDWARD PINKNEY OF BENTON HARBOR; TRIAL SET FOR JULY 21

REV. EDWARD PINKNEY SPEAKS AT JUNE 23 RALLY IN DETROIT (above)

By Leona McElvene

As promised below are  links to the 16 video clips that I recorded Mon. June 23, 2014 during the “Drop the Charges Against Rev. Edward Pinkney and Celebrate His Release from House Arrest!”  event hosted by the Moratorium NOW! Coalition and Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI),  with featured speaker Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor BANCO (Black Autonomy Network Community Organization) at 5920 Second Avenue, in Detroit, MI.

(VOD has embedded some of these videos to watch on this site, including Rev. Edward Pinkney’s talk at top of story. There is a list at the conclusion of all links as provided by Ms. McElvene.)

Be sure to sign the petition to free Rev. Pinkney at http://www.change.org/petitions/berrien-county-michael-sepic-stop-the-corruption-we-demand-justice-in-benton-harbor-michigan-and-the-resignation-of-berrien-county-michigan-prosecutor-michael-sepic-free-rev-pinkney-stop-the-corruption.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”- Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

REV. PINKNEY’S WIFE DOROTHY PINKNEY SPEAKS

MARCINA COLE, A CHIEF ORGANIZER OF THE EVENT

TANGELA HARRIS OF 7 MILE RADIO


CECILY MCCLELLAN OF DETROIT CONCERNED CITIZENS, EMPLOYEES AND RETIREES

TOM BARROW

MONICA LEWIS-PATRICK AND REV. PINKNEY

LINKS TO ALL VIDEOS below:

(1/16) – Marcina Cole (Approx. 6 minutes)http://youtu.be/XV6MTYSKQDs (9/16) – Tom Barrow (Approx. 8 minutes)http://youtu.be/OyfcewVsrPg
(2/16) – Rev. Pinkney (Approx. 14 minutes)http://youtu.be/7Z4HiO_NPyI (10/16) – Cecily McClellan (Approx. 5 minutes)http://youtu.be/NZScq3b5VDE
(3/16) – Abayomi Azikiwe (Approx. 1 minute)http://youtu.be/8WIPjU8xX-o (11/16) – M.L. Patrick & Rev. Pinkney(Approx. 6 mins) http://youtu.be/JAoYr29JdEg
(4/16) – Tangela Harris (Approx. 6 minutes)http://youtu.be/hhMzfFg5ELI (12/16) – Detroit 7Mile Radio (Approx. 4 minutes) http://youtu.be/o2A1nqgMBDU
(5/16) – General Audience (Approx. 2 minutes)http://youtu.be/KLfke_ybTnM (13/16) – Helen Moore (Approx. 7 minutes)http://youtu.be/S_FqWl8irQQ
(6/16) – The Churches (Approx. 3 minutes)http://youtu.be/K0a8-9mi5zg (14/16) – Young Man from ROC (Approx. 3 minutes) http://youtu.be/M_qlOYmKxII
(7/16) – Larry Hicks (Approx. 3 minutes)http://youtu.be/xmyNMcxnk1o (15/16) – Mrs. Dorothy Pinkney (Approx. 5 minutes) http://youtu.be/nO_R-0ThUSo
(8/16) – Jerry Goldberg (Approx. 3 minutes)http://youtu.be/_OqF4_TeH3U (16/16) – We’re gonna win! (Approx. 4 minutes) http://youtu.be/8o2Js_o51zA

STATEMENT BY REV. PINKNEY ON FALSE CHARGES:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Charges invented to send me to jail

 There is absolutely no evidence that a crime was even committed by me. The judge and prosecutor are hired guns for Whirlpool Corporation. I’m now in the kangaroo court.* The judge is so one-sided, he is about to tip over when he walks. He is trying as hard as possible to rush to trial, hoping the all-white jury will find me guilty – with no evidence of a crime being committed.

We are now appealing the case to the State Court of Appeals, seeking leave to appeal the denial of my motion to quash. The bind-over was improper and wrong. We must stop the corruption in Berrien County at all costs.

I am charged with five felony counts of forgery under MCL168.937, a provision of the election code, with six misdemeanor counts regarding allegations that I falsely certified that I did not permit or know of anyone having signed recall twice. The bind-over on the felony counts and denial of the motion to quash are the subject of this application for leave to appeal to the State Court of Appeal.

MCL 168.937 is a penalty provision for any forgery offense set forth under any other section of the election code. MCL 168.937 does not itself define which election related documents may be the subject to a forgery prosecution and does not set forth the elements of forgery.

There is absolutely no evidence that I committed forgery; the handwriting “expert” cannot say that I did anything wrong; there is no confession, no witnesses. Sheriff Paul Bailey and the prosecutor made up the false charges to send me to jail. We must stop Berrien County judge Sterling Schrock and prosecutor Mike Sepic, two of the most corrupt individuals in the history of this country. We the people must take a stand against corruption. It is not about me, it is all about the future and you.

Rev. Edward Pinkney

*an irregular or mock court, illegally passing and executing judgment.

www.blogtalkradio.com/rev-pinkney

Pinkney to Pinkney show

Sundays 5pm ET

Burn Baby Burn

Burn all NAACP membership cards

New video: THE BENTON HARBOR STRUGGLE


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BRITAIN STRIKES FOR A DAY AGAINST LOW PAY, JOB CUTS

A file picture shows British Public sector workers march through the city center of Manchester, England as workers around the country stage the biggest general strike for decades in a row over pensions.

A file picture shows British Public sector workers march through the city center of Manchester, England as workers around the country stage the biggest general strike for decades in a row over pensions.

 

Labor Notes logo

 

BRITAIN STRIKES FOR A DAY

July 11, 2014 / Sheila Cohen

It’s finally happened. The rusty machinery of the British trade union movement has turned—sluggishly—to allow us a magnificent day of rank-and-file protest. Only one day of striking, when there should be so many.

Yesterday hundreds of thousands of public sector workers “took a day off” the length and breadth of Britain to protest not only their poverty pay (already low-paid, they have now been denied anything more than a 1 percent increase since 2010), the loss of 400,000 public sector jobs in the same period, and pension losses.

Support from the National Union of Teachers meant the closure of schools across the country. Civil Service strikes closed government offices and even national art galleries.

Public sector workers struck all over Britain to protest low pay and job cuts. Here, UNISON members rally in Birmingham. Photo: Timm Sonnenschein/UNISON.

Public sector workers struck all over Britain to protest low pay and job cuts. Here, UNISON members rally in Birmingham. Photo: Timm Sonnenschein/UNISON.

In London, the crowd takes off from the BBC headquarters—making a point about media bias. As we head towards the warlike monuments of Trafalgar Square, the mood is boisterous and festive, with chanting, singing, and lots of laughs.

At the Trafalgar Square rally, the first group I speak to are workers at the imposing National Gallery just behind us, who seize on me as reporter to tell of a brand-new grievance: the new head of the gallery has just privatized sections of its staff and launched a sweeping attack on their Public and Commercial Services union. I promise to do my best to publicize their cause.

These workers see the march as “magnificent,” but one comments: “Parliament live in a different world where the public comes last. The press will give it five minutes… There are 650 [Members of Parliament] who have no concern other than the vote.”

I share their cynicism, which turns out to be only too justified. Later we learn that “Labour” Party leader Ed Miliband has felt it necessary to declare his opposition—yes, you read it right—to this great movement of public sector workers.

Food Banks in Peacetime

But other strikers are boosted by public reaction to the protest. Clare, a school support worker from the public sector union UNISON, says she saw a lot of support, with cars and bus drivers honking. “You get the sense that [the march] is the start of a backlash against cuts to services,” she says.

Was there pro-strike feeling? She thinks so. But “people in general don’t understand that [public sector workers] are low-waged.”

Her colleague Valerie adds, “Everything’s gone up. Once food banks were only heard of in wartime.

“The MPs [Members of Parliament] should take notice,” Valerie continues. “A lot of us are in unions. If they’re bringing in more [anti-union] laws they’re going to have a lot of trouble on their plate. The rich are richer, the poor are nothing—it’s not even.”

“We would be ready to take longer strike action,” Clare says, “so people can see we mean business.”

At the rally, Fire Brigades Union activist Phil tells me that every London fire station is on strike today: “We don’t need picket lines,” because no-one went to work. The firefighters were already taking action in their own dispute on pensions.

Phil describes their mood as “pretty gritty, pretty determined.” He insists that “large gatherings like this where unions come together have an impact—they get media attention,” but when asked if he thinks it’ll be on the news tonight, he grins. “For 20 seconds.”

Two workers in the General and Municipal union (GMB) are confident that “the march should show, with all the different unions, that we’re serious.” Teaching assistants like them have already suffered a staggering six-year pay freeze.

Living under the poverty line, they too have had to use food banks. “We can’t afford to take a day off,” Tracy points out, “but we have to make a stand.” Her colleague chimes in, “If the government doesn’t take notice, it’ll get bigger and bigger.”

‘He Won’t Sleep’

James, a refuse collector in Britain’s largest union UNITE, also reports low wages. “We were promised £1 an hour more—we haven’t had it yet. No pay rise for three years.”

These “bin-men” are paid below the poverty line for a job so vital that society would collapse if they went on strike for more than a few days.

Another refuse collector, Colin, says this is the first time they’ve been on a march. They say the people of Thurrock, the town they come from, are on their side. Referring to Parliament, Colin says, “Westminster doesn’t realise how important we are.”

Yet, like so many other strikers, the two demonstrate a surprising faith in British democracy. Will Prime Minister David Cameron sleep easy in his bed tonight? “No,” they agree.

Finally, special needs caregiver Mary from UNITE tells me she’s here because “they cut our pay. We used to be on 30 hours a week, now 20.” Proudly, she reports that there were “pickets outside all the public places” in her outer London borough.

Mary too says, “The demo will worry Cameron…he will be fretting…He won’t sleep tonight!”

I can only hope that Mary’s right, and I’m wrong. But whoever wins the argument, there’s no denying the power and glory of workers in action. Venceremos!

Sheila Cohen is a member of the National Union of Journalists (UK).

See more at: http://labornotes.org/2014/07/britain-strikes-day#sthash.gUNrNfFn.dpuf


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PASTORS, COMMUNITY LEADERS ARRESTED BLOCKING HOMRICH GATES TO STOP DETROIT WATER SHUT-OFFS

Coalition takes direct action against city contractor

12,000 Detroiters shut off so far; assault connected to city bankruptcy

Charity Hicks, first to be arrested protesting water shut-offs in her neighborhood in May, passes after weeks in coma in NYC

By Diane Bukowski

July 10, 2014

Complete videos of protest and arrest by Demeeko Williams at end of story.

Police cart off protester outside Homrich gates. Photo by Mark Tucker.
Police cart off protester outside Homrich gates. Photo by Mark Tucker.

 

DETROIT – Members of the Detroit Water Warriors, the Detroit Water Brigade, Call ‘em Out and others today put their bodies on the line to stop Homrich Wrecking trucks from shutting water off to the people of Detroit, the poorest major city in the U.S.

At least 10 of many protesters blocking the gates to the facility at 2660 E. Grand Blvd, including religious and community leaders, were arrested and brutally treated by police, said Demeeko Williams of the Water Brigade.

“We are making a statement to Detroiters that the shut-offs are not their fault, but are their fight,” Williams said. “When the Water Board did not meet our demands to stop the shut-offs, we took the battle to the streets. A lot more Detroiters need to stand with us against this outrageous assault, and also to demand the departure of Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and an end to bankruptcy proceedings.”

Demeeko Williams during May Day protest against bankruptcy.
Demeeko Williams during May Day protest against bankruptcy.

He said that during the arrests, police grabbed and twisted the arm of Michigan Citizen editor Teresa Kelly despite her statement that she would get up, and came down hard on Agnes Hitchcock, leader of the Call ‘em Out Coalition, as she lay on her stomach on the ground. (The two can be seen in the video above, Kelly with white hair and Hitchcock in scarf.)

 

Others arrested included Pastor Bill Wylie-Kellerman and his wife Denise Gruebler, Father Tom Lumpkin, Sister Mary Ellen Howard, Detroit School Board member Elena Herrada, and Pat Driscoll, an activist with Detroit Eviction Defense. Herrada said they were charged with “disturbing the peace” and face a court hearing July 21 at 8:30 a.m. in Detroit’s 36th District Court.

“We will not stop until they stop,” Herrada told VOD.

Protesters block gates at Homrich facility. Photo by Abayomi Azikiwe

Protesters block gates at Homrich facility. Photo by Abayomi Azikiwe

“This morning I participated in an act of civil disobedience,” Sister Howard said in part. “With several others, I peacefully held a long banner blocking the driveway to Homrich Co. headquarters on East Grand Blvd. so that their employees could not get in to work and their trucks could not leave to do the shutoffs. We arrived at 6:45 am, and the cops arrived at about 8 am. Although we were peacefully demonstrating, they attacked us; it was quite violent. I was arrested with nine others. We were handcuffed together and taken to Mound Correctional Facility to be processed.”

Sister Mary Ellen Howard
Sister Mary Ellen Howard

 

Howard said police threatened to jail them until their July 21 hearing if they didn’t stop singing, “Wade in the Water,” but that in the end they posted bond and were released.

“Several of my co-criminals want to request a jury trial which they say is the last vestige of a democratic society. We are meeting Sunday night to decide together what we want to do. Water is a human right, and as the UN has said about the Detroit situation, to deny water to persons who cannot afford to pay for it is a denial of a human right.”

Williams also announced that Charity Hicks, the first to take action protesting water shut-offs in her neighborhood in May, passed away July 9 after being in a coma since May 31 in a hospital in New York City. Hicks was policy director for the East Michigan Environmental Action Council (EMEAC). She was the victim in NYC of a hit and run driver as she attended a national conference in the city.

Charity Hicks gone too soonHicks told VOD shortly before that accident that a Homrich employee assaulted her when she asked him to give her neighbors time to collect water for their needs. Detroit police arrested her instead after she reported the assault, and threw her into the Mound Road prison for two days to endure “conditions that are meant to shame you, demoralize you, criminalize you and break you down.”

Those included being kept in a holding tank with one toilet housing hundreds of women.

Hicks said earlier regarding the water shut-offs, “Your human dignity shouldn’t be truncated because you’re priced out of the commodification of an essential resource.”

Funeral arrangements are pending.

The Detroit Water Board approved a $5.6 million “Water Shut-Off/Turn-On Project” contract with Homrich Wrecking, headquartered in Carleton, Michigan, April 24. The contract is costing more than delinquent bills, according to some sources.

Despite the city’s announcement, after protesters’ repeated demands, that it will begin shutting off delinquent corporations, it has not stopped shut-offs in the poorest neighborhoods of the city. At least 12,000 Detroiters have been shut off, including elderly citizens, families with children, and disabled people.

Protester at bankruptcy court April 1, 2014 carries depiction of "Dictator" Kevyn Orr.
Protester at bankruptcy court April 1, 2014 carries depiction of “Dictator” Kevyn Orr.

 

The shut-offs, ordered by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, are taking place during ongoing bankruptcy negotiations in New York City with Detroit Water and Sewerage Department lenders.

Bankruptcy documents list $5 billion in secured DWSD bond claims, most “unimpaired.” That means the city will pay the entire debt while it raises water rates, shuts water off, lays the groundwork for privatization and regionalization of DWSD, and attacks city workers and retirees, under the bankruptcy “Plan of Adjustment.”

The water shut-offs have engendered publicity across the world. In many countries like Great Britain, water shut-offs, even by private entities like Thames Water, are illegal since they are considered a threat to public health and safety.

When Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, under pressure from suburban interests, ordered mass water shut-offs in 2002, media came from as far as Britain and Australia to film the events. After a long delay, the Detroit City Council finally passed a “Water Affordability Plan” that was originally supposed to gear rates toward customers’ incomes.

Neighbor brings water to family with children shut off in 2002.
Neighbor brings water to family with children shut off in 2002. Photo: Diane Bukowski

It was substantially altered, then administered by the city’s Human Services Department, which was wholly shut down last year by Mayor Dave Bing, despite being nearly 100 percent federally funded.

 

In the interim, DWSD has raised Detroiters’ sewage rates much higher than those of suburban communities, allegedly to compensate for delinquent water bills in the city.

The city also attaches unpaid water bills to residents’ property tax bills, subjecting them to possible tax foreclosure and actual loss of their homes along with their water. The State Department of Human Services, through its Child Protective Services workers, frequently removes children from homes affected by utility shut-offs instead of providing assistance.

Monica Patrick

Monica Patrick

Demeeko Williams said groups are spreading out through the city’s neighborhoods under the leadership of well-known activist Monica Patrick and others. He said residents can call 1-844-42WATER and volunteers will be dispatched to their homes and those of their neighbors. The Detroit Water Brigade’s website is at http://detroitwaterbrigade.org. Leaders of the brigade can be reached by calling 313-279-0608.

Arrestees after release outside Detroit Detention Center at Mound Road Prison. Photo: Demeeko Williams

Arrestees after release outside Detroit Detention Center at Mound Road Prison. Photo: Demeeko Williams

 

 

SIGN PETITION TO WATER BOARD TO STOP THE SHUT-OFFS

I’m Joe Dinkin of Working Families, and I started a petition to James Fausone, chairman of the Detroit Board of Water Commissioners , which says:

We demand that the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department stop violating basic human rights and return clean water to Detroit citizens.

3,600 residents in Detroit are already without water. Why? Because they have bills of $150 or more, or are 60 days past due on bills in a city that is bankrupt. Soon, half of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department’s 323,900 local residents will be out of water. It is unacceptable to withhold our citizens’ basic needs like clean running water.

We need to call attention to this unacceptable violation of human rights, and quickly — before more homes run dry.

Sign our petition to demand that the Detroit Water and Sewage Department restore running water to the residents of Detroit.

Click here to add your name to this petition, and then pass it along to your friends.

Thanks!

–Joe Dinkin

This petition was created on MoveOn’s online petition site, where anyone can start their own online petitions. Working Families didn’t pay us to send this email—we never rent or sell the MoveOn.org list.

COMPLETE VIDEOS OF PROTEST AND ARRESTS BY DEMEEKO WILLIAMS




Demeeko: Dude the police was very out of order. They put my friend Baxter Jones under panic attack when he was assaulted by being pulled out of his chair.. a few reports have claimed that they seen Baxter out of his chair. Anybody who messes with the disabled is heartless.

Related stories:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/06/27/detroiters-say-peoples-war-on-water-shut-offs-needed/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/06/25/stop-water-shut-offs-detroiters-take-demand-to-united-nations/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/06/22/appeal-to-support-charity-hicks-powerhouse-fighter-for-the-people/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/06/01/call-em-out-goes-back-to-war-direct-action-to-stop-water-shut-offs/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/05/28/mass-water-shut-offs-mass-incarceration-at-mound-road-prison-for-protesters/

Baxter Jones (left) as crowd masses in front of Homrich gates July 10, 2014.

Baxter Jones (left) as crowd masses in front of Homrich gates July 10, 2014.


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SIGN PETITION DEMANDING NATIONAL ACTION AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY

This is new Facebook photo for Dominika Jones' page. She is the mother of Aiyana Jones, murdered by Detroit police in 2010. Her husband Charles Jones was framed as part of a cover-up and sentenced to 40-60 years in prison.

This is new Facebook photo for Dominika Jones’ page. She is the mother of Aiyana Jones, murdered by Detroit police in 2010. Her husband Charles Jones was framed as part of a cover-up and sentenced to 40-60 years in prison.

NATIONAL ACTION AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY!

This petition will be delivered to:

UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL – ERIC HOLDER

Danette ChavisPetition by Danette Chavis New York, NY

CLICK ON http://www.change.org/petitions/national-action-against-police-brutality to sign petition

INVESTIGATIONS “CASE BY CASE” HAVE NOT AND SHALL NOT REMEDY THE PROBLEM! AS ONE IS BEING INVESTIGATED “HUNDREDS MORE” ARE MOUNTING UP! AND INDEED, POLICE BRUTALITY HAS ESCALATED TO THE LEVEL OF “NATIONAL PROPORTIONS”. THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS ARE BEING “STOPPED AND FRISKED” FOR NO REASON WHATSOEVER. THE LOSS OF LIFE THAT HAS OCCURRED AT THE HANDS OF POLICE HAS ESCALATED TO WHERE “UNARMED INDIVIDUALS” ARE BEING “FIRED UPON” AND “KILLED” AND WEEKS AND MONTHS GO BY – WITH “NO EXPLANATION” FOR THESE SHOOTINGS BY THEIR DEPARTMENT!

Photo on petition.

Photo on petition.

THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL WITHIN THESE STATES HAVE “REFUSED TO ACT” – LEAVING ALL ACTION TO BE TAKEN BY THE COMMISSIONER’S OF THESE DEPARTMENTS. AND THE COMMISSIONER’S HAVE “JUSTIFIED” THE ACTIONS OF THESE OFFICERS – AND IN MANY CASES “PROMOTED THEM” AFTER THE KILLING OF THESE VICTIMS. THE MECHANISMS THAT HAVE BEEN PUT IN PLACE HAVE “ALL FAILED” AND THE ESCALATION OF POLICE BRUTALITY IS “EVIDENCE” OF THAT FAILURE.

WE HAVE WITNESSED THE CONFESSIONS OF POLICE THEMSELVES WHO HAVE TESTIFIED THAT THEY WERE “MADE TO ISSUE SUMMONSES” AND “MAKE ARRESTS” WITHOUT CAUSE – AND THE SUBSEQUENT “HARASSMENT” WHICH FOLLOWED “IMMEDIATELY AFTER” THEIR REFUSAL. WE HAVE HEARD TESTIMONY IN COURT HOW THEY INDEED “PLANTED NARCOTICS” ON “INNOCENT VICTIMS” – SIMPLY TO MEET THE “QUOTA REQUIRED” CONCERNING AN ARREST. YET, THOSE INDIVIDUALS REMAIN INCARCERATED FOR THE CRIME ACCUSED.

THE RECOURSE OF THE PEOPLE HAS BEEN THWARTED, SO THAT THERE REMAINS “NO COURSE OF ACTION” THAT CAN BE TAKEN. THEREFORE, THIS EPIDEMIC WHICH HAS REACHED “NATIONAL PROPORTIONS” HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, FOR IMMEDIATE INVESTIGATION, ACTION AND REMEDY.

Detroiters who testified against the killings of their loved ones by Detroit police at Police Commission hearing.

Detroiters who testified against the killings of their loved ones by Detroit police at Police Commission hearing.

AS THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, THE OCCUPIER OF OFFICE IS THE “CHIEF LAW ENFORCER” HAVING JURISDICTION OVER BOTH “STATE” AND “GOVERNMENT” IN ISSUES CONCERNING “LAW”. AND WHEN VIOLATIONS OF LAW ARE “RAMPANT” “UN-CHECKED” AND “UNABATED” – HE HAS A “SWORN DUTY” TO RESPOND THOSE VIOLATIONS.

LAW ENFORCEMENT ACROSS THE UNITED STATES HAS “ABUSED THE AUTHORITY” VESTED IN THEM, AND HAVE VIOLATED ON A “CONTINUAL BASIS” THE LAW ITSELF. BUT NO ACTION HAS BEEN TAKEN, EITHER BY THEIR DEPARTMENT OR ATTORNEY GENERALS WITHIN THEIR STATE.

THEREFORE, PETITION IS MADE BEFORE THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES TO NOT ONLY “ACT” ON BEHALF OF THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES, BUT TO FULFILL THE OBLIGATIONS OF THE OFFICE – FOR WHICH HE HAS “SWORN AN OATH” TO FULFILL UPON HIS OCCUPANCY!

LET IT BE UNDERSTOOD: THAT A “FAILURE” OR REFUSAL TO “ACT” IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE OBLIGATIONS CONCERNING THOSE DUTIES, SIGNIFIES AN “INABILITY” TO HOLD THE OFFICE – WHICH IS “NOW” BEING HELD.


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CHAMPION DETROIT HYDROPLANE RACER JERRY BELL MAKES COMEBACK IN 5 LITER GOLD CUP RACES JULY 11-13, 2014

Detroit's own champion hydroplane racer, Jerry Bell (center in light blue T-shirt) with his 2008 crew, made up of Golightly students.

Detroit’s own champion hydroplane racer, Jerry Bell (center in light blue T-shirt) with his 2008 crew, made up of Golightly students.

Appeals for additional sponsors

By Diane Bukowski

July 8, 2014

Jerry Bell shows one of his championship patches after City Council hearing in 2010.
Jerry Bell shows one of his championship patches after City Council hearing in 2010.

 

DETROIT — Detroit’s own Jerry Bell, a hydroplane racer since 1995, is announcing that he will return to the sport in this year’s APBA Gold Cup races. He and a dozen others are scheduled to compete in a supporting class, the five-liter Gold Cup.

“These are smaller boats, about 19 feet, running about 120 mph, but this is a very highly competitive and exciting class,” Bell said.  “The racers jockey with each other for lanes unlike the bigger boats, giving spectators true thrills.”

This is the first time in many years that the Eastpointe-based American Power Boat Association has scheduled the class, after Bell’s urging.

“I am appealing to the community and to businesses for additional sponsorship,” Bell said. He has recovered from serious injuries sustained in 2010, during a robbery while  working as a cab driver. He was unable to work for months afterwards. He said he needs $6,000.

J

Jerry Bell racing in 2004.

Jerry Bell in races 2004 Bell dreamed of becoming a hydroplane racer as a child, when his mother took him to the river near their home to watch the races. He began racing in 1995 under the tutelage of the first Black hydroplane racer, Teddy Dudley.

He was the APBA High Point Champion for Region 6 in 2000, and won two fourth-place finishes in the Gold Cup in 2003 and 2004, among other awards. In 2008, students from the Detroit Public Schools Golightly Career and Technical Center made up his crew for the 100th running of the Gold Cup, but their  hopes were dashed when the automotive-powered boat class they were registered for was eliminated.

TO HELP SPONSOR JERRY BELL’S BOAT, AND FOR MORE INFO

CALL 313-549-4187


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VOWING TO ‘PARALYZE THIS ISLAND,’ PUERTO RICO UNIONS CALL GENERAL STRIKE AGAINST AUSTERITY

Puerto Rican workers rally in preparation for a general strike against Jones Day-style austerity measures.

Puerto Rican workers rally in preparation for a general strike against Jones Day-style austerity measures.

occupy logoPublic water, electrical workers vote to approve strike

Call on public to stop paying utility bills

Vote follows series of one-day walk-outs

June 19, 2014

This article originally appeared in Caribbean Business

PUERTO RICO — The main unions representing Puerto Rico Aqueduct & Sewer Authority (Prasa) and Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) workers approved strike votes on Tuesday over proposed fiscal emergency legislation that will cut benefits for employees across the island government.

UIA President Pedro Irene Maymi speaks to members.
UIA President Pedro Irene Maymi speaks to members.

The first move to approve an open-ended walkout came during a special assembly of rank-and-file Independent Authentic Union (UIA by its Spanish initials) members. The union, the biggest at Prasa, has staged a series of 24-hour stoppages in recent weeks.

 

UIA President Pedro Irene Maymi said the strike vote was intended to make the public feel the indignation that utility workers feel over austerity measures in the fiscal emergency legislation approved by both the House and Senate.

Members of UTIER, as the chief union as Prepa is known, also met in an assembly Tuesday where they unanimously approved a strike vote.

“We are going to paralyze this island until this law is stopped,” UTIER President Angel Figueroa Jaramillo said.

He also called on islanders to stop paying their electricity and water bills. Union members then took their protests to the middle of Plaza Las Américas, the largest shopping mall in the Caribbean.

The Puerto Rico National Guard has said it is prepared to step in to help insure that essential services including electric, water and ferries continue to operate in case of a general strike.

La Fortaleza announced last weekend that union leaders representing the majority of workers at Puerto Rico government agencies have agreed to pay and benefit amendments sought under García Padilla’s balanced budget proposal for fiscal 2015.

Puerto Rico Governor

Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla

However, unions representing a range of public corporations are still battling hard against the belt-tightening plan. La Fortaleza Chief of Staff Ingrid Vila on Tuesday called on public corporation union leaders to return to the bargaining table to negotiate with management. “We urge them to take this step toward firming up accords to avoid bigger complications,” she said.Gov. Alejandro García Padilla was questioned during an activity about union leaders framing their protests as an issue of rich and poor.

“On what side of the rich and poor equation is a secretary at a public corporation who earns $10,000 per month?” García Padilla asked. “Or a person who makes $200,000 per year and has 3,000 hours of vacation accumulated that must be paid off?

For more in-depth coverage of the Puerto Rico general strike, Yana Kunichoff reported for In These Times:

Public union workers from a handful of unions across Puerto Rico have spent the last week blocking ports, shutting down thoroughfares and slowing public transit. But that may be just the beginning: In the coming week, workers are expected to vote on whether to hold a general strike across the country.

The unions are standing against the austerity budget proposed this spring by members of the U.S. commonwealth’s General Assembly to deal with the country’s recent bond downgrade and looming payment of its debts to bondholders. The Fiscal Sustainability Act of the Government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, as the budget is called, would allow the government to bring in “emergency powers” to deal with the crisis.

(October 15th, 2009) Thousands of protestors flooded the streets in the largest public gathering in Puerto Rican history.  The massive strike was in response to the republican governor Luis Fortuño's decision to lay off 16,720 public workers.  ~ San Juan, Puerto Rico ~ Photo © 2009 Ricardo Figueroa

(October 15th, 2009) Thousands of protestors flooded the streets in the largest public gathering in Puerto Rican history. The massive strike was in response to the republican governor Luis Fortuño’s decision to lay off 16,720 public workers. ~ San Juan, Puerto Rico ~ Photo © 2009 Ricardo Figueroa

Under this authority, it could renegotiate all public employees’ contracts, liquidate unused sick days, and freeze salaries—thereby gutting workers’ collective bargaining powers. Privatizing the commonwealth’s electrical company, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, has also been placed on the table as an option for stanching the crisis; the emergency measures would also include closing 100 public schools.

The budget must be passed on June 30 to coincide with the beginning of the 2015 fiscal year on July 1. And as that deadline nears, unions across the island have been escalating their protests. On June 5, the union of transportation employees prevented ferries around the country from functioning. That same day, workers from the bus and port authorities, as well as the state insurance funds, blocked the entrance to the central government building in San Juan. Amid the disruptions, the labor secretary said at a council meeting he would not speculate as to whether the actions already constituted a general strike, or were just a series of protests. Continue reading


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DOLL’S GO KART SPONSORS ‘SING FOR FREE LAPS’ DAY THURS. JULY 3 4-10pm

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