Video above: Mary Rowan ward Raymond Davis among five men dead in fire in uninspected group home; husband John Cavataio featured in footage
Probate Court judge ordered Davis seized from his own apartment by Rowan and Detroit police March 7, 2017; two days later he died in fire
Well-known country music star Sharmian Lynette Worley’s mother Wanda Worley also a Mary Rowan kidnap victim, without court order, song below is for her mom
Are wealthy elite running homes for victims of probate kidnappings?
SUPPORT SHARMIAN AGAINST CHARGES BY ROWAN
Wed. March 29, 2017, 11 a.m.,33rd District Court
19000 Van Horn at Allen Rd; Woodhaven; Judge Jennifer Coleman Hesson
By Diane Bukowski
March 27, 2017
Mary Rowan (seated in darker blue, in the process of kidnapping developmentally disabled Mailauni Williams (r) outside court in 2014, as Mailauni’s previous caregiver (l) and sister (2nd from r) watch. Taken by VOD, this is the only known published photo of Rowan. Rowan now has 1396 Probate Court cases.
DETROIT, MI — Serial kidnapper-guardian Mary Rowan continues to strike. Now she may also be an accessory to the murder of one of her wards, Raymond Davis. Rowan is additionally pressing charges against country singer Sharmian Lynette Worley for trying to protect her mom from Rowan, who had no court order to take her.
Regarding the death of Davis and four other men March 9 in a fire on Whittier in Detroit, Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy has charged one of the allegedly mentally ill residents for setting the fire, which was fanned into an inferno by gusting winds.
The other men who died were James Johnson, Leo Dear, William Ballard, and Norman Connors, according to a report from Channel Four. Neither the operators of the home, which was not licensed by the city or other entities, nor Rowan, who placed Davis, who is blind, in an unlicensed home with possibly dangerous roommates, are being charged.
Rowan is currently involved in the cases of at least 1398 individuals under that court’s supervision, according to its records.
Sharmain Worley (l) with mother Wanda Worley (r) and kids.
Six months ago, Rowan seized Wanda Lynette Worley, mother of Nashville-based country music star Sharmian (pronounced Char-min) from the home she shared with her daughter in Brownstown Twp.
VOD’s review of Wanda Worley’s probate court file shows that Judge David Braxton, in charge of Worley’s case, NEVER issued any order granting authority to Rowan to take Worley away from her daughter, who is also known as Sharmian Sowards. There are also no notices of service of an order appointing Rowan as successor guardian, on Sharmian or the rest of Worley’s family. See http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Wanda-Worley-WCPC-roster.pdf.
Sharmian told VOD it was not Rowan’s first attempt to take her mother.
“First, Mary Rowan come banging on my mobile home, screaming as loud as she could, ‘Where is Wanda Worley, I’m the guardian.'” Sharmian told VOD. “I told her get off my property NOW and she left. A week or two later, I was in my front yard, weatherizing the house and cleaning it a with hose. She pulled up again. I still didn’t know who the woman was. I continued washing my house. I told her again do not come on my property. She looked like the Wicked Witch of the West, very scary and intimidating, and I was not giving my mother to her.”
33rd District Court Judge Jennifer Coleman Hesson.
Both Sharmian and Rowan called the police, who took her mother after assuring Sharmian she would be OK and would be back in a couple of days. They claimed to have seen the non-existent court order. Sharmian says she never saw it and never knew who Rowan was.
Wanda Worley has not come back home for good since. Meanwhile, Sharmian faces misdemeanor charges of “resisting, hindering and obstructing a police officer/public official,” under what appears to be a city ordinance.
A trial on the charges against Sharmian will take place in 33rd District Court Wed. March 29 at 11 a.m, in front of Judge Jennifer Coleman Hesson.
Since no court order existed for Rowan to take Wanda Worley, Rowan and Brownstown Twp. police were acting unlawfully and Sharmian had the right to resist Rowan’s kidnap of her mom.
Wayne County Probate Court Judge David Braxton
Sharmian first asked to be appointed as her mother’s guardian under Wayne County Probate Court Judge David Braxton on Feb. 4, 2016.
She cited a long-term history of mental illness and in later years, prescriptions repeatedly given to her mother by various doctors including the highly addictive drugs Lyrica, Dilaudid and Percocet. Sharmian said that while her mother was on the drugs, she began telling hospital staffers and neighbors that Sharmian was beating her. Sharmian firmly denies that.
“Mom goes in and out of hospitals constantly for drugs, and they give them to her, this needs to stop or she is going to die,” Sharmian said in a letter in the court file. “Before my mom takes her last breath, I want to enjoy something I’ve never had. My mother.”
Sharmian said, “I never saw a court order to take my mom, and if there is one, I believe it is fake. I want to get her [Rowan] for lying to the police, kidnapping and filing fake documents. I don’t believe the judge’s signature appointing Mary Rowan as my mom’s guardian is his. The records say she was appointed Sept. 21, 2016, but my mom was in the hospital then.”
In fact, the records VOD reviewed show that Braxton likely did not sign documents in Worley’s file. Not only was there no order to remove Worley, the document removing Sharmian as her mother’s guardian, shown above, is signed in handwriting that appears very similar to other entries in the document, such as Mary Rowan’s name. There is an illegible initial next to Judge Braxton’s alleged signature.
That order was initiated and signed after Worley spent time at Wyandotte Psychiatric Hospital, where she received more drugs. On Sept. 9, according to court records, Sharmian went to the hospital to bring her mother home, but she was not allowed to see her, despite showing her guardianship papers. A doctor at the hospital claimed Sharmian was acting bizarrely. The hospital called police on Sharmian, but she contacted a legal services attorney who came and got her mother released to go back home with Sharmian.
12317 Monica Detroit; Mary Rowan “group home”
Worley told VOD during a brief visit with her daughter last week that she has been shunted from one Detroit home to another, allegedly adult foster care homes. She is currently at 12317 Monica. It is questionable whether any of the homes are licensed as such.
Sharmian said her mother had been at the Monica address for five months, with eight other men and women. Her mother told her a woman named Wendy runs it.
“Every one of them is a ward of Mary Rowan,” Sharmian said her mother told her. “None of them know what she looks like. They all hate her. One 83-year-old woman says Mary Rowan cleaned out her bank accounts and took her house. My mom got bedbugs while she was there. They finally brought in an exterminator and threw all the beds out. Then, when those 60 mph winds happened, the home lost electricity for 3 days and no one saved the people for three days—they were freezing. Then they put mom and eight others in another home on Lindsay St. There are more homes, all of them about 15 minutes away from the Monica address, and the people believe Wendy owns all of them.”
However, Wayne County records list the taxpayer at the Monica address as Capital Clearance Group, Ltd. It is four years delinquent on property taxes there, like the house on Whittier that burned. According to Register of Deeds records, the group also owns 31 other properties in Detroit. The company is not registered with the State of Michigan. Various sites claim it is based in Wyoming and has offices all over the world. See http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Capital-Clearance-Group-Ltd-properties-in-Wayne-County.pdf.
“Three investment experts and banking elites came together in 2007 and amidst the Sub-Prime debt crisis of 2008 and burst of the property bubble, managed to collectively conduct a wholesale acquisition of land and properties across various states at a low borrowing cost and purchase price,” says one site. “In a short span of just one year, the founders of Capital Clearance Group managed to grow it to tens of millions of dollars in total Assets Under Management based on its current market value.” See http://www.capitalclearance.com/web/index.html.
Above: Zerious Meadows’ sister Pamela Davenport comments on her brother’s 47 year incarceration, since the age of 15.
Case is key challenge for state’s juvenile lifers
Defense attorney Melvin Houston: state statutes do not require 60-year max, judges should have more flexibility in sentencing
Meadows’ family attends hearing in his support: “I just want him to be strong”
U.S. District Court Judge O’Meara dismisses Hill case, after first ruling that state juvenile lifers should be eligible for parole after 10 years
By Diane Bukowski
March 23, 2017
Wayne Co. Pros. Kym Worthy
Zerious “Bobby” Meadows
DETROIT – “It makes me sick, I’ve had nightmares that I’m behind prison bars ever since I was eight or nine years old,” Pamela Davenport said March 14 after an appeals court hearing in the case of her oldest brother, Zerious “Bobby” Meadows.
Meadows was sent to die in prison when he was 16 years old, in 1971. He is now 63 years old and has spent 47 years behind bars. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy appealed Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Morrow’s re-sentencing of Meadows to 25-45 years, which would have allowed his immediate release. She is insisting he must receive a maximum of 60 years under her interpretation of state juvenile lifer re-sentencing statutes.
Davenport accompanied her husband Dee Davenport, her sister Beverly Lucas, and another relative to the hearing at the Cadillac Place Center on W. Grand Blvd. She said Meadows is the second oldest of eight siblings.
Pamela Davenport with her husband Dee (l) and brother’s attorney Melvin Houston (r).
Judge Bruce Morrow re-sentenced Meadows to 25 to 45 years on Sept. 23, 2016. Since Meadows had already served the time, his family expected to welcome him back home immediately. Even Chief Criminal Court Judge Timothy Kenny signed off on the sentence.
“My client is staying in prison right now rather than going before the parole board, trying to make sure everyone else is helped by the outcome of his case,” Attorney Melvin Houston told Appeals Court Judges Michael J. Kelly, William B. Murphy and Amy Ronayne during the hearing. “Everyone is just taking 25-60 year sentences like it’s candy.”
He argued the state statutes do not require an absolute maximum of 60 years, but “up to 60 years.”
Former Wayne Co. Prosecutor John O’Hair
Numerous prominent officials including former Wayne County Prosecutor John O’Hair and former Governor William Milliken have contended that an absolute 60-year maximum is tantamount to another death in prison sentence.
“With the average life expectancy of a juvenile serving life without parole at 50.6 years, 40 and 60 years sentences are virtual life sentences,” O’Hair said in a Detroit Free Press column last year. He referred to life expectancies current at the time many juvenile lifers were sentenced over 40 years ago.
Houston and Meadows’ family members said he has always maintained that he is innocent of tossing a Molotov cocktail into an east side Detroit home in 1970, killing 12-year-old Ruth Turner and her four-year-old sister Regina. The conviction and life sentence of his co-defendant Cornelius Fuller was thrown out by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1980, citing lack of evidence.
Family members said Houston has gone before the parole board before, but always refused to say he is guilty even if it meant his release.
“He says, ‘I’m not leaving out of here saying I’m guilty,’” said Attorney Houston. “If he winds up before the parole board, they will not be welcoming. The state statutes do not allow enough flexibility for judges to determine the appropriate sentence.”
Attorney Melvin Houston arguments on behalf of Zerious Meadows.
Since former Michigan Gov. John Engler made the parole board subject to appointment rather than civil service procedures, it has become much more rigid about releases. It usually insists that prisoners admit to the crime(s) with which they are charged.
Houston added that under a 1980 Michigan Supreme Court ruling, People v. Aaron, intent has to be proven in cases of felony murder, where commission of a felony like arson leads to a death. However, the state court did not make its ruling retroactive. He said there was no intent to kill proven in Meadows’ case.
Judge Karl Zick in 1971: glad to leave Detroit for “God’s country.”
According to news reports at the time, the case against Meadows was earlier dismissed during a juvenile court hearing, after two adults testified he was elsewhere with them during the arson. The prosecutor reinstated the charges in adult court. The chief witness against him in Recorders Court was originally arrested for the crime, then released after agreeing to testify.
Meadows was tried in 1971 before Visiting Judge Karl Zick of Berrien County, but his conviction was thrown out on appeal after Zick refused to allow the defense to bring up the witness’ criminal record.
Zick, who was taking part in a state-wide rotation of judges into Detroit Recorders Court to clear up a backlog, said afterwards, “I’m very happy to be back in God’s country. I wouldn’t be a circuit judge in Detroit if they paid me $50,000 a year.”
Meadows was not released after his first conviction was thrown out, but tried again in 1975 in a possible violation of double jeopardy rules. His attorney Arthur Arduin (also the original defense attorney for juvenile lifer Charles Lewis) evidently did not challenge the re-trial.
Juvenile lifer Charles Lewis is also arguing his innocence and asking for dismissal of his case because his entire official court file has been lost.
Lewis, who like Meadows has always contended he is innocent, commented earlier during a court hearing, “Ninety percent of juvenile lifers are in prison because they had bad attorneys.” He also said he believes at least 10 percent of juvenile lifers are innocent. Under the state re-sentencing statutes, there is no provision to take innocence into account.
Meadows’ sentencing judge Susan Borman said she did not believe Meadows had any intent to kill anyone, characterizing the incident as a neighborhood dispute that got out of hand.
“I really don’t feel that there should be every door slammed shut on a sixteen-year-old, Judge Borman said at the time. “. . . .I think that there is something wrong with the law that gives the court no discretion at all. Where the defendant has to spend the rest of his natural life behind bars, and it is particularly tragic in a case where it is a sixteen-year-old child that has been convicted.”
Former Recorders Court Judge Susan Borman
Very few of Michigan’s 360-plus juvenile lifers have been released since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that they were serving unconstitutional sentences, in Miller v. Alabama (2012) and Montgomery v. Louisiana (2016). Some have been re-sentenced, but still await either parole board hearings or decisions.
Others still await re-sentencing. The case of Cortez Davis El was one of three in which the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) unsuccessfully challenged appeals court rulings that Miller was not retroactive, before the Michigan Supreme Court. The USSC weighed in with the Montgomery v. Louisiana, ruling unequivocably that Miller was indeed retroactive.
Cortez Davis El
Davis El’s re-sentencing is set for April 27 at 9 a.m. in front of Judge Shannon Walker. His sentencing judge, Vera Massey Jones, retired from the bench in 2015. She originally said sentencing Davis to life without parole in 1994 was “cruel and unusual punishment,” 18 years before the USSC held that indeed it was. She sentenced him to a lesser term but was forced by an appeals court to sentence him to JLWOP. Later, in 2012, Judge Massey Jones scheduled a re-sentencing for Davis El under Miller v. Alabama, but was blocked by an appeal from Prosecutor Worthy again.
Davis El is 40, and has been in prison since 1994, 22 years, serving an unconstitutional sentence. Since state statutes currently require minimums of 25-40 years, he will not have served enough time to become eligible for parole immediately.
Judge Vera Massey Jones’ 2012 order to resentence Cortez Davis.
In an Oakland County case, Jennifer Pruitt, 16 when sent to prison in 1992 for first-degree felony murder, was re-sentenced to 30 to 60 years on March 2, 2017. She was not the killer in the case. She remains incarcerated in the notorious Huron Valley Women’s Correctional Facility, where she was raped by a guard, and will not be eligible for parole until 2022.
Jennifer Pruitt then and now.
In the vast majority of cases statewide, county prosecutors have ignored a USSC declaration that “only the rarest” child should be sentenced to life without parole, and are re-recommending that sentence for up to 100 percent of their cases.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has re-recommended JLWOP for 40 percent of cases here, but the actual number is the highest in the state because Wayne County has the highest number of juvenile lifers.
In a severe blow to the state’s juvenile lifers, U.S. District Court Judge John Corbett O’Meara dismissed the Michigan ACLU’s Hill v. Snyder case Feb. 7, 2017, after first ruling in 2013 that all Michigan juvenile lifers should be subject to parole after serving 10 years. The ACLU prevailed on the state’s first appeal, after the Sixth Circuit sent the decision back to Corbett O’Meara for tweaking.
The ACLU challenged the 2014 state statutes requiring minimums of 25-40 years and maximums of 60 years during subsequent hearings, as well as a provision that “good time” could not be taken into account for juvenile lifers.
O’Meara did an about-face in his opinion, granting the state’s motion to dismiss the case. He said saying the plaintiffs could not challenge “impending sentences” or cite the Eighth Amendment in their arguments.
U.S. District Court Judge John Corbett O’Meara
“In Counts II and IV, Plaintiffs challenge the constitutionality of the sentencing scheme set forth in M.C.L. 769.25 and 769.25a,” O’Meara said. “In Count II, Plaintiffs contend that a life without parole sentence for juveniles categorically violates the Eighth Amendment. In Count IV, Plaintiffs contend that the maximum sentence provided in the statute – 60 years – is the equivalent of life in prison and violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. In other words, Plaintiffs challenge their impending sentences.”
O’Meara called the challenge to impending sentences “untenable.” He added, “The Supreme Court has made clear that a “prisoner in state custody cannot use a § 1983 action to challenge ‘the fact or duration of his confinement.’ He must seek federal habeas corpus relief (or appropriate state relief) instead.’
The Eighth Amendment forbids “cruel and unusual punishment,” and was cited by the USSC in both Miller and Montgomery. “42 U.S. Code § 1983” is a “civil action for deprivation of rights.”
Saginaw Prosecutor has re-recommended Henry Hill, lead plaintiff in federal case, for juvenile life without parole. Other plaintiffs in the case have received the same recommendation.
O’Meara also refused to allow juvenile lifers consideration of their “good time,” which the plaintiffs had contended was being discriminatorily denied to them under the state statutes.
On its website, the Michigan Department of Corrections defines good time as “Days subtracted from certain prisoners’ sentences for good behavior, required under Michigan law unless the prisoner has violated prison rules; it escalates from 5 days a month to 15 days a month on very long sentences. An additional one-half of regular good time can also be earned for exemplary behavior. Prisoners sentenced for crimes committed after April 1, 1987, do not earn good time.”
A representative from the law offices of Deborah LaBelle, the attorney representing the Michigan ACLU in Hill v. Snyder, told VOD, “We DEFINITELY are appealing O’Meara’s ruling to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.’
SOME OF THOSE KILLED BY POLICE IN METRO DETROIT, 1996 TO PRESENT; KILLER KOPS NOT CHARGED BY WAYNE CO. PROSECUTOR KYM WORTHY
Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy virulently opposed state legislation introduced in the last decade to outlaw JLWOP. Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has outlawed JLWOP she continues to put every stumbling block possible in the way of releasing Wayne County juvenile lifers. Wayne County has the highest number of children sent to die in the state.
Some of Michigan’s juvenile lifers: (l to r, top through bottom row), Cortez Davis, Raymond Carp, Dakotah Eliason, Henry Hill (Worthy recommends JLWOP again), Keith Maxey (Worthy recommends JLWOP again), Dontez Tillman, Charles Lewis (Worthy recommends JLWOP again) Jemal Tipton, Nicole Dupure, Giovanni Casper, Jean Cintron, Matthew Bentley (JLWOP recommended again), Bosie Smith, Kevin Boyd, Damion Todd, Jennifer Pruitt, Edward Sanders, David Walton (photos show some lifers at current age, others at age they went to prison). Although some have been re-sentenced, none have been released to date after serving unconstitutional sentences for most of their lives in prison.
Protect Our Stolen Lives (P.O.S.T.) was founded in Detroit by Yolanda McNair, mother of Adaisha Miller, killed just before her 21st birthday by a gun fired by a Detroit cop.
POST members and supporters block Woodward Avenue during protest Sept. 24, 2016, as dozens of cars honked their horns in support. They included Arnetta Grable, mother of Lamar Grable, Mertilla Jones, grandmother of Aiyana Jones, Kevin Kellom, father of Terrance Kellom, and Yolanda McNair, mother of Adaisha Miller.
In conjunction with the national Stolen Lives Project and community groups around the country, they held a national conference and protest against police slaughter of their loved ones and Black, Latin and poor people across the United States.
Groups from metro Detroit as well as New York City, Kenosha, Illinois, and Dayton, Ohio were among those who attended the day-long conference, held at St. Matthews and St. Josephs Church on Woodward at Holbrook Avenue.
Kevin Kellom, Pastor Jerome McCorry of the Dayton, Ohio Faith and Justice Social Alliance, and Yolanda McNair during march.
Among police murder victims they spoke about were Adaisha Miller, Terrance Kellom, Aiyana Jones, Lamar Grable, and Kimoni “Kodak” Davis of Detroit, Justus Howell, from Kenosha Illinois, Malcolm Ferguson and John Collado from New York City, and Emmet Till.
At the close of the conference, Pastor McCorry was in tears.
“This is my family,” he said. “I love everyone sitting at this table. I refuse to ever sell you out.
“This is a fight we all better fight. It is as much about white folks as Black folks. A boat cannot rise from the flood waters until the people at the bottom are saved.”
Above: Agnes Hitchcock, steward of Call ’em Out, passes torch to New Era Detroit leaders including (l to r) Zeek, Scrill and Lyric Divine. Watermelons at base of podium represent ‘Sambo’ awards Call ’em Out has traditionally handed out to traitors in the community. Attendees at the packed dinner, held at the voted top ‘Sambo’ honors to:
City Clerk Janice Winfrey, for repeated election-rigging
Rev. Wayne T. Jackson, who hosted Donald Trump at his church during the presidential campaign (New Era Detroit later entered birthday celebration for Walker to register their disgust)
Rev. Wendell Anthony, who along with other Black officials, endorsed Mike Duggan for Mayor, calling him the “white mayor, the right mayor,” signed off on Detroit bankruptcy, recent abolition of Detroit Public Schools, and “Transition Team” sabotage of school board elected in 2004.
DETROIT — The International Institute in Detroit was packed to overflowing with members and supporters of the renowned activist group Call ’em Out, most of them veterans of this city’s struggle for decades, on Feb. 27. They came to welcome the youth of New Era Detroit into the battle, and to conduct their annual dinner and “Sambo” awards ceremony singling out members of the city’s “Black misleadership class,” as Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report calls them. The top awardees were Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey, Rev. Wayne T. Jackson, and Rev. Wendell Anthony.
Video above:Lyric Divine, Zeek and Scrill of New Era Detroit thank Call ’em Out and supporters at Sambo Awards dinner, introducing their agenda for the youth and people of Detroit.
NED members cooked and provided the “beans and cornbread” dinner which has been a staple of Call ’em Out’s annual Sambo awards ceremonies since the first one in 2004. NED’s on-stage speeches showed that they are carrying out much of the militant program favoring Detroit’s Black-majority population, similar to that embodied in Call ’em Out’s work since 2002.
Photo of Agnes Hitchcock taunting Detroit’s illegally elected “mayor” Mike Duggan graced the front of the Sambo Awards program.
Agnes Hitchcock introduced the event. She became famous internationally for throwing “the grapes of wrath” at Detroit School Board members in 2005, after they reversed an earlier vote and supported the closing of 50 Detroit Public Schools. Those closures were the first mass shutdowns in any large majority-Black city in the U.S. They initiated a “Hurricane Katrina” here that has seen over 200 DPS institutions drowned in Wall Street greed.
She was arrested and hauled out of the meeting, as were many students, parents and even members of the media, from many board meetings during that time.
Additionally, Board of Education Member Marie Thornton was subjected to constant sanctions initiated by Board Chair Jimmy Womack, and verbal abuse from audience participant Loyce Lester, due to her votes against the school closings and many contracts she considered questionable.
Activist Sandra Hines hauled out of board meeting Oct. 20, 2008 after condemning school closings.
The DPS Katrina has left Detroit communities littered with the ghostly burnt-out and vandalized shells of historic venues like the Oakman Orthopedic School, the city’s only school designed specifically for the needs of special needs students.
Those schools once anchored strong Black-majority neighborhoods and produced many nationally-known leaders in all fields. Meanwhile, as in New Orleans, the majority of Detroit’s children now attend private for-profit charter schools run by corrupt politicians and “snakes in the pulpit,” as Call ’em Out termed many city pastors.
During her introduction, Hitchcock pointed out that there are no longer any Detroit Public Schools left, due to the passage of legislation last year, supported by Detroit “mayor” Mike Duggan, Rev. Wendell Anthony, and even the leadership of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, that created a state-run “Detroit Public Schools Community District.” It is paired with a state School Reform Office that has the authority to close even more schools.
Activists Eula Powell, Gwen Mingo and Marie Thornton, a former militant Detroit Board of Education member, at front of packed hall. Mingo is reading flier denouncing sell-out pastors including Rev. Charles Williams II of the National Action Network, passed out at the dinner.
State legislation is now pending that would eliminate the entire elected State Board of Education and its Superintendent, in favor of a board appointed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who has already taken over many predominantly Black cities and school districts under the state’s second Emergency Manager Act.
Below, New Era Detroit leader Scrill speaks at Call ’em Out Dinner along with Detroit Public Schools students NED is politically educating and organizing to become the next generation of fighters for majority control of Detroit schools.
Public schools in the U.S. were largely initiated after the Civil War by kidnapped Africans who had been lynched and tortured for learning to read on the plantations of the South. The national attack on public schools, replacing them with private, religious and charter schools paid for by public taxes, is an attack on that heroic legacy.
Scrill was framed up by Detroit police on felony charges of “assaulting, resisting and obstructing” them during a peaceful NED outreach walk through a Detroit neighborhood in Aug. 2016. NED and Call ’em Out combined forces to pack the courtroom and win an acquittal for him in January, 2017. Scrill also said NED is educating the youth about the thousands of police murders across the U.S., largely of young people of color, including Detroit’s Aiyana Jones, and about the nature of the system in general.
Scrill announced during his talk that he will be running for Detroit City Council this year.
Scrill (center back) with supporters from NED and Call ‘Em Out at his trial Jan 25, 2017, outside Frank Murphy courtroom. Their combined forces won acquittal for him.
In addition to its activities in the Detroit Public Schools, New Era Detroit has been conducting marches against police murders like that of Kevin Matthews by a Dearborn cop, holding street rallies in the neighborhoods reminiscent of those organized by the Black Panthers, and taking bottled water to Flint residents.
Some NED members at dinner Feb. 27, 2017, including those who helped prepare the dinner and other activities at ‘Sambo’ Awards event.
They have protested at area stores that are selling alcohol, tobacco and other unhealthy products in the Black community, and taken area pastors like Rev. Wayne T. Walker, who hosted the sole Black church event featuring Donald Trump during his racist Presidential campaign..
Agnes Hitchcock holds up “Sambo” award given to former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick in 2005 for his role in city water shut-offs and privatization of city services.
Call ’em Out has led numerous campaigns since its founding in 2002. The organization held large rallies at venues like Bert’s place, where they condemned the city’s “Sambo’s” like former Mayors Kwame Kilpatrick and Dave Bing, and Council members Kay Everett (now deceased), Sheila Cockrel, and Kwame Kenyatta for handing over city assets, services, and workers’ jobs to the private sector for profit.
Call ’em Out marched with hundreds of others on the Manoogian Mansion in 2oo5, in a protest covered by international media, against the wave of water shut-offs first initiated under the Kilpatrick administration. It continued its battle against those shut-offs in a large “Blackinaw Island” rally in 2010 where instructions were passed out on how Detroiters could take direct action and turn their own water back on.
Under the Great Lakes Water Authority, which has since taken over the seven-county Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, orders have now gone out to deny water service ever again to homes whose owners turned the water back on as a necessity of life for their children, elders and disabled members.
March on Kwame Kilpatrick’s Manoogian Mansion April 15, 2005 to protest massive water shut-offs (yes, they started then) and other attacks on city services.
“Blackinaw Island” gathering of Call ’em Out May 31, 2014, where plans were laid to stop water shutoffs.
Many photos of these events, taken by Diane Bukowski for the now-defunct Michigan Citizen at the time, are featured at the end of this article.
Such politicians paved the way for the “Emergency Manager” takeover of Detroit under Gov. “Ric-tator” Snyder after a “Consent Agreement” was approved by a City Council headed by now notorious child molester Charles Pugh.
DWSD worker Andrew Daniels-El holds up city charter at large rally organized by Call ’em Out in Bert’s Warehouse Theater Jan. 28, 2009. Also shown next to Hitchcock is AFSCME Local 207 President John Riehl, who passed at the age of 62 after years of leading his local in militant battles against the takeover of DWSD.
EM Kevyn Orr, in coordination with Snyder and Wall Street banks, led the unprecedented, disastrous and illegal declaration of Detroit bankruptcy that has stripped the city of its assets including the $6 billion Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD), and stolen the jobs, pensions and health care of City of Detroit workers and retirees.
These actions were in gross violation of Detroit’s City Charter, (its most recent version passed by the people of the city in 2012) as well as union contracts.
During the dinner, an election was held, in mocking emulation of alleged practices by City Clerk Janice Winfrey, to see who would become the 2017 “Sambo’s.” Ballots were purchased at the cost of 25 cents each, and individuals could purchase as many as they desired.
Other participants at packed Call ’em Out Dinner Feb. 27, 2017.
Bill Davis, president of the Detroit Active and Retired Employee Association (DAREA), (2nd from left) with other dinner participants.
More dinner attendees.
Aside from the winning Sambo nominees, also listed on the ballots were:
Marie Thornton of Call ’em Out with Scrill of NED at dinner Feb. 27, 2017. Thornton helped count ballots.
Jeffrey Robinson, the alleged adopted son of Rev. Loyce Lester, who is running for Mayor; he attempted to get this author fired from the Michigan Citizen for objecting to Lester’s unbridled attacks on Marie Thornton from the audience.
Former School Board member Jonathan Kinloch, who allegedly sponsored a resolution to “sanction” Call ’em Out at a 13th District Democratic Party meeting;
Current Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, another supporter of “mayor” Duggan, who previously ran against him;
Detroit City Councilman James Tate, who was among the “Fatal Five” who voted for the state Consent Agreement that led to the Emergency Manager takeover of Detroit and the bankruptcy which followed.
Detroit City Councilman Andre Spivey, another member of the Fatal Five.
Heaster Wheeler, Executive VP of the Detroit NAACP, who has followed in the political footsteps of Wendell Anthony.
Wayne County Commissioner Jewel Ware.
Pros. Kym Worthy refused to charge cops in executions of Terrance Kellom, many more
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, who has done her best to send thousands of Black youth and individuals to Michigan prisons to die, guilty or not.
Natasha Baker, appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder as the “State School Reform Officer.” Her office is in charge of closing, not assisting, the five percent of lowest-performing schools in the state, most in Detroit.
Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, ex-officio member of the board of the state-run Detroit Public Schools Community District, as well as member of the state advisory committee overseeing the City of Detroit.
City Councilman George Cushingberry, long ago sued for stealing assets of his probate clients, also an ardent advocate of privatization.
Malik Shabazz, an officer of the Detroit 300, which collaborates with Detroit police and openly advocates “snitching” in the neighborhoods.
Kevyn Orr, former Emergency Manager of Detroit, who ordered the bankruptcy declaration and left the city in ruins.
Butch Hollowell, Duggan’s Corporate Counsel, helps him move into his office.
“Butch” Hollowell, Democratic Party hack now working for ‘mayor’ Duggan as his Chief Corporate Counsel.
Darnell Earley, former Emergency Manager of Flint as well as the Detroit Public Schools. He ordered the disconnection of Flint from DWSD, resulting in the lead poisoning of the entire population.
Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity.
Detroit Federation of Teachers, which endorsed the recent creation of the state-run Detroit Public Schools Community District, (after ousting the DFT’s elected and militant President Steve Conn), as well as the original 1999 state takeover of DPS.
Bernice Smith, itinerant community gadfly.
PHOTO GALLERY OF CALL ‘EM OUT EVENTS IN EARLIER YEARS:
Call ’em Out “Prayer Vigil” at the late Councilwoman Kay Everett’s house, calling for her to stop privatizing city assets.
Greg Frazier and the late Mary Shoemake present “Power Couple” award to Jan and William Malachi (now deceased); tribute was paid to late Call ’em Out members at dinner
Protest at former School Board President Jimmy Womack’s house by Call ’em Out. Girl in center taunting the late activist Ruth Williams (r) was identified as Womack’s stepdaughter. Photo by Wyoman Mitchell.
Call ’em Out sit-in at City Clerk Janice Winfrey’s office.
Call ’em Out members Mary Shoemake, Erma Thomas, Linda WIllis call for Justice for Aiyana Jones at protest June 26, 2010.
Call ’em Out fights for water rights outside Water Board building.
Call ’em Out outside Coleman A. Young Center May 28, 2009 demands no Detroit giveways at Mackinaw Island Conference.
NOTE: SINCE THE PUBLICATION OF THIS STORY, ISSUES HAVE BEEN RAISED BY ONE OF THE ‘SAMBO’ NOMINEES, JONATHAN KINLOCH, CHAIR OF THE 13TH DISTRICT DEMOCRATIC PARTY, OBJECTING TO HIS NOMINATION. CALL ‘EM OUT RESPONDS AS BELOW:
After becoming the first boxer in U.S. Olympic history — male or female — to win two gold medals, Claressa Shields was expected to rise rapidly through the professional ranks.
Two-time Olympic Gold winner Claressa Shields of Flint, Michigan.
But headlining a fight card on a premium network in her second pro fight? Impossible. No female fighter had ever topped the bill on a premium network, let alone with one pro fight on her résumé.
Yet Shields has been doing the impossible for years. Like winning Olympic boxing gold at 17. Sure, it happens in swimming, and gymnastics, maybe tennis. But not in boxing. Shields was a high school junior when she took home the middleweight title in London in 2012, the first year women could box in the Olympics.
Friday night at MGM Grand in Detroit, just down the road from her hometown of Flint, Mich., family members, friends and her growing legion of fans will gather to watch Shields, 21, make history again when she headlines Showtime’s ShoBox: The New Generation (10 p.m. ET) in a six-round middleweight bout against older, more experienced Szilvia Szabados of Hungary.
(Photo of Shields, left, and Szabados during the weigh-in by Tom Casino, Showtime)
Shields couldn’t contain her excitement as she talked by phone on Wednesday. “Now that we’re two days out from the fight, everybody is calling, texting, and just to know that all my family is going to be there — my mom, my dad, my sister, my cousins — it’s a really great feeling,” Shields said. “I predicted this would happen one day; I just didn’t think it would happen so soon. And I’ve already sold out the MGM Grand, so it shows that women can sell tickets.”
Having boxed in two Olympics and two world championships, Shields is used to pressure. But fighting in Kazakhstan or China is not like fighting in the Motor City in front of family and a full house. She remains unfazed.
“Pressure will make you underperform. I have no pressure,” said Shields, who won her professional debut vs. former USA Boxing teammate Franchon Crews in November. “I know what I’m capable of. I know how I box. I know that if I have my mind and everything together, and I’ve had a really good training camp, I’ll perform probably better than I expect to. I know I’m going to look good and do really well. I’m not under any pressure.”
Muhammad Ali (portrait)
Szabados (15-8, six KOs) has about as much confidence as one can muster against the talented and power-punching Shields.
“I’m ready to fight. I’ve been waiting a long time for this fight,” Szabados, 26, said during the final news conference to promote the bout. “This is a huge opportunity for me, and I plan to take advantage of it.”
But the Flint fighter nicknamed “T-Rex” has plenty of reasons not to let that happen, not the least of which is that this fight is for the NABF title, one that Shields’ idol, Muhammad Ali, won on his way to the top 50 years ago.
And this: “I’m not going to let her beat me in front of my family,” Shields said. “I’m not going to let her beat me in front of my nephews, cousins and my mom and dad. I just don’t roll like that.
“If she doesn’t have the talent and skill to go six rounds with me, she will not go six rounds. So, I hope she had a very good training camp. I know I did.”
Claressa Shields with family in Flint
“This is the first time that a woman has been the main event on Showtime, and I’m not coming to make women look bad.”
Shields prefers not to dwell on the past, including those coveted gold medals, instead focusing on what will be. She has a simple goal that those who know her best have no doubt she’ll accomplish.
“I know about Laila Ali, and Christy Martin and Lucia Rijker, and I don’t box like any of them. I have my own unique style. I’ve never seen a female fighter like myself. I want to carry the sport,” she said.
“I want my legacy to be that I’m the best female fighter to ever put on gloves.”
So far, so good.
Claressa Shields vs. Szilvia Szabados Live Stream: How to Watch Fight Online
Published 12:00 pm EST, March 10, 2017 Updated 12:01 pm EST, March 10, 2017 Comments closed By Tim Keeney
Looking to watch a live stream of the Claressa Shields vs. Szilvia Szabados fight on Friday night? There are a couple different ways to do so, whether or not you have a cable subscription.
The card, which starts at 10 p.m. ET, will be broadcast on Showtime. If you can’t get to a TV, here’s a full rundown of your streaming options:
If you have a Showtime subscription (read above how to start one if you don’t have cable), you can watch a live stream via the Showtime app, which can be downloaded for free in the following locations:
DETROIT – The regional Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) lifted a “boil water advisory” for a vast swath of Detroit from McNichols south to the riverfront and Linwood east to Conner, as well as the cities of Highland Park and Hamtramck Fri. March 3. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) gave their blessings.
“The second round of test results taken by the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) related to the February 28, 2017 boil water advisory have come back clear,” the GLWA said in a terse statement. “Given that both sets of test results have proven that there was nothing wrong with the water, GLWA has made the recommendation to the impacted communities that the boil water advisory can be lifted.”
Shades of Flint, where three boil water advisories were lifted before nearly 100,000 residents discovered that they had been severely poisoned beginning in 2014, by lead and other contaminants in their water, with dire life-long consequences.
Water Works Park Water Treatment Plant on East Jefferson in Detroit; GLWA CEO blamed crisis on operator error
The GLWA did not specify WHO performed the tests in question on the water in Detroit, Highland Park, and Hamtramck. It released no actual test results. Their staff at treatment plants like Water Works Park, where water pressure dropped for two hours Feb. 28, allowing possible bacterial contamination, is made up of “operators,” not chemists or other qualified experts.
Nine operators were recently sent to remedial mathematics classes “developed for operators struggling with math or those who needed to review basic math before moving on to more advanced computations required for drinking water operators.” according to GLWA CEO Sue McCormick’s February report, which she presented at the GLWA’s Public Budget hearing March 1, 2017. (See http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/GLWA-CEO-Report-February-2017.pdf.)
DWSD Director Gary Brown was present, but offered no commentary himself. He spent part of the meeting laughing in asides with a GLWA director next to him. He allegedly had not known of the boil water alert until that morning.
McCormick said the formal monthly meeting of the GLWA Board will take place at a date and time “to be determined” (TBD).
Prior to the formation of the GLWA, McCormick, who previously headed the DWSD for a brief period, boasted that she had eliminated 41 percent of the staff in that department. Detroit’s Wastewater Treatment Plant is now run by the Toronto-based EMA, which has eliminated nearly all the experienced DWSD staff there, including chemists and engineers. EMA recommended earlier that DWSD lay off 81 percent of its workforce.
______________________________________________________________ DWSD Chemist Saulius Simiolaunias after GLWA 3/1/17 meeting
“It is terrible,” Saulius Simiolaunias, an internationally renowned retired Senior Chemist from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, told VOD. “They have people who are not chemists, just operators. They don’t do the right tests. They need people who know mathematics, to know how much chlorine or other chemicals to add to the water supply. The MDEQ is always covering for them. They are just interested in getting their money. I have challenged them many times. Sue McCormick is just making double-speak. Her reports at the GLWA meetings are long but nonsensical.”
Simiolaunias said he will be giving a presentation at the International Association for Great Lakes Research 60th annual conference, to be held in Detroit from May 15 through 19, 2017. See http://iaglr.org/iaglr2017/ .
During the meeting, Carolyn Doherty, a nurse from Royal Oak, commented on the “poor condition” of water provided by the GLWA.
“Water rates and shut-offs are excessive,” Doherty said. “We are surrounded by water. The price should be less. You are serving corporations instead of concentrating on long-term prevention [of crises].”
Representatives from other suburbs similarly complained about water rates and condition.
McCormick did not give an updated report on what is happening with water shut-offs in Detroit, as she used to in her executive reports for the DWSD. But the DWSD website for Feb. 15, 2017 showed the figures to the right on various such issues.
The Feb. 28 “boil water alert” was not the first emergency for the GLWA for Detroit since its formation in 2015 although it was by far the most extensive in DWSD history.
In mid-January this year, according to the publication Great Lakes Now, “. . . .more than 100 complaints came in from residents in Allen Park, Ecorse, Southgate, Lincoln Park and other downriver communities in the Detroit area . . . Some residents reported feeling ill from drinking the sulphur-smelling water, and some said their pets got sick, too. They complained about discoloration, smell and taste.”
In a press conference, GLWA officials said the problem was due to the twice-yearly clean-up of catch basins at the Southwest Water Treatment Facility, which stirred up sediment.
“Great Lakes Now” (GLN) said McCormick called the problem an “aesthetics issue” caused by turbidity, or cloudiness or haziness in water.
GLWA CEO McCormick and COO Porter at January press conference on downriver water complaints.
“We don’t want taste, odor or color in our drinking water but they are not a health issue,” McCormick said according to GLN. She said all test results performed by GLWA met EPA standards. “The water has been safe to drink one hundred percent of the time,” she claimed.
The GLN added, “GLWA’s Chief Operating Officer of Water and Field Services, Cheryl Porter, says the system is tested for safety 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She says, ‘We are still doing our investigation. This was an unusual situation with an unusual amount of solids.’”
In July, 2016, another boil water alert was issued for Detroit’s southwest side. Issues involved there have not yet been resolved.
“Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) customers who are in the area between West Jefferson to the south, Vernor Highway to the north, Miller Road to the west, and Livernois to the east are advised to boil their drinking water until further notice,” the DWSD said in its alert. “Some customers in the area have reported low pressure which was caused by a 42-inch water transmission line break occurring this morning.”
July, 2016 Boil Water Alert on Detroit’s southwest side.
As part of her February CEO report, McCormick described the progress of the replacement of the 42-inch main with a 30-inch main.
“Construction of the 30-inch water main under the Rouge River started on January 19, 2017,” McCormick. “The final tie-ins on both sides of the river was delayed due to leaky gate valves and higher river water levels coming through the existing main. The final tie-ins of the new 30-inch main was completed on February 18th, and disinfection of the main is underway. The main will be in service by Friday, March 3rd, contingent upon water quality results.”
After storms in July and August, 2016, sewer back-ups contaminated the basements of homes in the Jefferson-Chalmers and Cornerstone Village neighborhoods on Detroit’s east side, causing an outcry from residents there.
DWSD boasted that it took “historically unprecedented steps to ensure homes in the area impacted by recent storm activity are professionally cleaned and sanitized.” That region is one of those slated for ongoing gentrification efforts, unlike the southwest side, which got no such professional clean-up and sanitation efforts.Yesterday, DWSD Director Brown announced that the city would pay more than $11 million in claims from homeowners affected by the flooding.
Later, on Sept. 29, 2016, flash flooding affected freeways, streets and building basements across Metropolitan Detroit, including the Lodge Freeway underneath Cobo Hall. Gushing water and sewage backups were part of the scenario. Flash flooding recently affected Detroit’s southeastern suburbs as well.
The DWSD said the flooding on the Lodge in Sept. 2016 was the responsibility of the Michigan Department of Transportation. It blamed street flooding on clogged sewer catch basins.
“Today’s flash flooding is a reminder that residents and businesses can minimize street flooding by ensuring leaves, twigs, grass clippings and other debris are cleared from the street and in front of their property,” the DWSD told residents then. “Left remaining on the street, these items will clog the catch basins that cause flooding. DWSD encourages residents and businesses to use rakes, shovels and brooms to remove the debris and place in a proper refuse bag.”
However, retired Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) workers blamed the similar although more massive metro Detroit floods of August, 2014 on EMA’s elimination of workers at the WWTP, putting an end to 24/7 supervision of sewage pumps there. They said three of the major pumps there were down, causing sewage-filled flooding when the area experienced heavy storms. The GLWA had not been constituted yet but was in the wings. In preparation, under the direction of U.S. District Judge Sean Cox, massive lay-offs were already occurring in the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.
More recently, VOD reporters the late Cornell Squires and Diane Bukowski interviewed laid-off workers from DWSD, on Nov. 1, 2015. They told VOD, “If people think things are bad in Flint, wait until they see what’s going to happen with THEIR water!”
VOD reporter and long-time community activist Cornell Squires, who passed Nov. 19, 2016, is shown second from left behind laid-off DWSD workers Sammy Barber. Edward Collins, and Dean Fox.
The workers, Edward Collins, Jr., Dean E. Fox Sr., and Sammy Barber showed lay-off notices with “elimination of job title,” not “lack of work,” listed as the reason for termination, or no reason at all. Their layoffs were part of hundreds McCormick had just enacted, ignoring seniority and with it, levels of experience.
They referred VOD to one Wastewater Treatment Plant worker still on the job, in the four-floor facility, who VOD did not identify by name to protect his job.
AFSCME Local 207 protest against lay-offs Oct. 13, 2015.
He told VOD, “There are sometimes only two workers on a floor, sometimes one, and sometimes none at all. I can hardly leave the job because they’ve laid off about 70 people, or transferred them, or switched them around to other jobs. They were already short 300 workers. One worker recently had a major heart attack. The people running this place [EMA] are totally incompetent. They’re dumping sewage sludge back in the river, and they just got fined for that. They’re piling up other sewage sludge outside the new [NEFCO] sludge-drying plant across from us, because they haven’t been able to get it working yet.”
FLINT HIT WITH DIRE CONSEQUENCES FIRST; MAYOR REPORTS CITY NOT READY TO TREAT ITS OWN WATER UNTIL AUGUST, 2019
The lead poisoning of the entire city of Flint, a cold-blooded act of domestic terrorism against another majority-Black city, first revealed the consequences of a decades-long drive by out-state forces to dismantle DWSD. Flint’s nearly 100,000 residents and their children will suffer dire lifetime physical and mental health consequences.
Flint residents have now been using bottled or filtered water for 3 years, with no end in sight until at least Aug. 2019, according to Mayor Karen Weaver.
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver recently announced that Flint will not be able to begin processing its own water from Lake Huron through the Karegnondi Water Authority’s new pipeline until at least August, 2019.
“The previously submitted ‘Flint Water Treatment Plant Improvement Plan’ includes a schedule for the design, permitting and construction of the proposed improvements,” Weaver wrote in a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Feb. 28. “To expedite completion of the project and minimize cost, a design/build project delivery method is proposed. Based on this approach, an August, 2019 completion date is anticipated for the treatment plant improvements.”
Meanwhile, the city government is still recommending that Flint residents used bottled or filtered water, not the water currently coming from the Great Lakes Water Authority.
The most shocking thing about Weaver’s announcement is that Flint should never have had to treat its own water in the first place. Since 1967, it received its water from DWSD, water that had been treated well enough to keep lead contamination below state and federally-approved levels. The city’s water treatment plant existed only to provide a two-week emergency back-up supply.
VIDEO: Bond Buyer of the Year Award to Karegnondi Water Authority; poisoning Flint for the profits of the banks
The push to get out of the DWSD system, allegedly to get customer costs lowered, was motivated by pure political and corporate greed. Genesee County Drain Commissioner Jeff Wright and his campaign contributors initiated a project to build a pipeline from Lake Huron that duplicated DWSD’s water supply pipeline, in 2012. The pipeline, built and run by the Karegnondi Water Authority, was supposed to be up and running by 2015, but has not yet gone into operation.
Jeff Wright, now CEO of the Karegnondi Water Authority, whose creation led to the poisoning of the people of Flint for profit.
What Wright and his contractor cronies did not advertise was the fact that Karegnondi never had any plans to treat water from Lake Huron, leaving it up to individual communities that bought into the system to provide their own treatment facilities at greater cost to their residents. The Flint water crisis was not a result of using Flint River water as opposed to Lake Huron water. DWSD was already supplying water from Lake Huron to Flint and the surrounding area.
VOD previously quoted DWSD spokesman Bill Johnson regarding a state-commissioned study that showed DWSD remained the cheapest and most effective way for Flint residents to get clean water.
“The Flint City Council’s approval of the Genesee County Drain Commission-backed idea to link Flint and a proposed multi-county connector effectively launched the greatest water war in Michigan’s history,” Johnson said in a press release. “The action ignores a credible state-sponsored study that came out against the ill-advised Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA) project. And the vote makes no connection to Flint’s fiscal reality. All things considered, the City of Flint is best served by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD).” (See full release at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/water_war_undermines_flint-dwsd_relations-2013-14.pdf.)
VOD wrote, “The study concluded that the cheapest and safest option out of eight through 2042 for Flint’s water supply was to provide it directly through an adaptation of DWSD’s Imlay City pumping station, which is closer to Flint. DWSD has always provided water for the area through its Lake Huron Water Treatment Plant at Ft. Gratiot, Michigan, which sends it to the Imlay City station to go to Flint. Flint then supplies it to other regional customers.”
In forming the regional GLWA under the Detroit bankruptcy declaration, Wall Street greed has thus devastated the previously world-class Detroit Water & Sewerage Department (DWSD) and the people it served, 40 percent of Michigan’s population.
That utility, built and owned by the people of Detroit, had provided clean water at reasonable rates since its founding in 1836. Eventually, it included seven counties and 126 municipalities. It was the third largest such department in the U.S. Its Wastewater Treatment Plant was the largest in the world.
DWSD was the crown jewel of the assets belonging to the people of the nation’s largest Black-majority city. Now, under the GLWA, it presents a constant threat to the health and well-being of its customers.
The current City of Detroit charter says,
“The people have a right to expect aggressive action by the City’s officers in seeking to advance, conserve, maintain and protect the integrity of the human, physical and natural resources of this city from encroachment and/or dismantlement.
“The people have a right to expect city government to provide for its residents, decent housing; job opportunities; reliable, convenient and comfortable transportation; recreational facilities and activities; cultural enrichment, including libraries and art and historical museums; clean air and waterways, safe drinking water and a sanitary, environmentally sound city.
It also mandates a vote of the majority of Detroit’s residents prior to selling or leasing either the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department or the Department of Transportation, or any of their constituent parts. That Charter is still in effect, despite denials by Detroit’s former Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and his boss, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. The GLWA has not provided “clean air and waterways, safe drinking water and a sanitary, environmentally sound city,” as mandated by the people of Detroit, who voted on this Charter in 2012.
It is time for Detroit to revisit the terms of its contract with the GLWA and revoke it by any means necessary.
DUMP THE GLWA NOW!
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Coleman Young II, candidate for Mayor, speaks at DAREA meeting March 1, 2017
By Diane Bukowski
March 5, 2017
DETROIT – A vibrant and in depth presentation by mayoral candidate Coleman Young II highlighted a packed monthly meeting of the Detroit Active and Retired Employee Association (DAREA) March 1, 2017.
DAREA Secretary Yvonne Jones
“When we were fighting the state takeover of Detroit and the bankruptcy, fighting for our pensions, health care and jobs, we went to the state legislature,” DAREA Secretary Yvonne Jones told the audience. “State Sen. Coleman Young II was the ONLY one who came forward in our support, and voted against the emergency manager and bankruptcy on our behalf.”
DAREA officers also reported on the progress of the group’s lawsuit against the bankruptcy imposed on the city by Wall Street banks and corporations in 2014. The bankruptcy has devastated the jobs, wages, pensions and benefits of city workers and stolen nearly all the assets of the largest Black-majority city in the U.S.
DAREA president Bill Davis reported that the Washington, D.C. law firm of Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis now represents DAREA and other groups pro bono in a combined appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The USSC confirmed receipt of a petition for a writ of certiorari Feb. 9, 2017, after the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the appellants Oct. 3, 2o16.
DAREA members disembark from bus in Cincinnati June 15, 2016 to attend 6th Circuit Court hearing on their bankruptcy lawsuit. In center is DAREA President Bill Davis, to his right is DAREA VP Cecily McClellan, to his left is retiree Ezza Brandon. They were allowed to wear their “Hands off my Pension” T-shirts in the 6th Circuit courtroom as arguments on bankruptcy appeals were heard. The bus was full, with over 40 retirees.
Young received a standing ovation and shouts of “Mayor Young” as he entered the room. He began his hour-long presentation including a question and answer session, with an initial statement about the 40 percent poverty level in the city of Detroit, the continual drainage of jobs from city residents to suburbanites, and the ongoing water shut-offs.
This reporter, videotaping Young’s talk, had to move to a different location to get a better lighting background, so his initial statements are not captured in the videos below.
But these videos present a view of a knowledgeable, passionate and evidently sincere official, unlike the image portrayed by some of the corporate media, which has lined up behind “mayor” Mike Duggan. Life-long Livonia resident Duggan is in office illegally because the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that he had not lived in Detroit long enough to qualify to run.
Concluding remarks and question and answer session
INFO FOR DETROIT ACTIVE AND RETIRED EMPLOYEE ASSOCIATION:
Water Works Park Plant at East Jefferson and Cadillac in Detroit.
Alert covers the broadest area in Detroit’s history
DWSD retiree leader Bill Davis: “The GLWA doesn’t care about Blacks and minorities”
Continues beyond the “48 hours” the GLWA first estimated, now GLWA says PREMATURELY it will lift alert after second round of tests
Can GLWA be trusted?
By Diane Bukowski
March 1, 2017Updated March 2, 2017
Cheryl Porter, GLWA COO, previously DWSD COO
DETROIT – The Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) belatedly issued a boil water alert for massive areas of Detroit, Highland Park, and Hamtramck last night. It cited a two-hour drop in water pressure from an pump failure at the Water Works Park water treatment plant, which may have caused bacterial contamination. The failure occurred at 5 p.m. and lasted for at least two hours, GLWA Chief Operating Officer Cheryl Porter told the Detroit City Council.
The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department issued a more extensive advisory than the one paragraph issued by the GLWA, which runs the plant. DWSD told people living and working in areas south of McNichols to the riverfront and Linwood east to Conner in the City of Detroit, along with the Cities of Highland Park and Hamtramck, to boil water before drinking it, or using it to prepare food and cook, while the water is sampled and tested for bacterial contamination.
“Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one minute, and let it cool before using . . . for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice,” the DWSD alert said. “The boil water notice shall remain in effect for the defined area until results from the sampling verify the water is safe to drink. CUSTOMERS WILL BE ADVISED WHEN THE BOIL WATER ADVISORY HAS BEEN LIFTED.” (See full DWSD alert at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/DWSD-Boil-Water-Advisory.pdf.)
Bill Davis is also President of the Detroit Active and Retired Employee Association (DAREA), which is pursuing a battle against bankruptcy cuts in federal court.
The GLWA and some of the mainstream media first reported that the alert would last for 48 hours, creating ongoing confusion in the three cities, but Porter cautioned that people should wait until the alert is officially lifted after tests are completed.
“It’s my personal belief that the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) doesn’t care about the people of Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park, because they have too many Blacks and minorities,” Bill Davis, a retired Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) supervisor, told VOD.
“If we were still under the DWSD, there would have been an immediate alert, but the GLWA chose to sit on it. Gary Brown [head of what’s left of the DWSD] didn’t even know about it until this morning.”
Davis said any bacterial contamination from the water pressure drop meanwhile created risks, particularly for children and elderly people. He said massive staff cutbacks at DWSD before and since the GLWA took it over likely contributed to the failure.
Water fountain at Detroit’s Frank Murphy Hall of Justice on March 2, with notice from DWSD posted above it. Water to all schools and other public buildings is similarly restricted, while private restaurants, supermarkets and other businesses must use alternate resources.
“I’ve been telling this City Council and this Mayor since 2013 that something like this was likely to happen,” Davis said. He said there has not been a massive boil water alert like this in Detroit’s previous history to his knowledge.
He added that the Flint water crisis began with a similar drop in water pressure, which allowed lead contamination of that city’s pipes to leach into water that was moving sluggishly instead of at its full rate of speed. Davis also blamed repeated flooding in the GLWA region from rainstorms on massive staff cutbacks at plants like the Wastewater Treatment Plant downriver, where he worked. Three major sewage pumps there were non-functional in 2014 as a result of a lack of 24/7 maintenance.
GLWA CEO Sue McCormick told the GLWA board March 1 that she and her staff first contacted the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) drinking water division to find out what to do. Unlike her COO Porter, who previously also served as COO at DWSD, she said the alert would be over after 48 hours.
“This is a very unfortunate circumstance that resulted in what I would call an electrical mechanical failure,” McCormick said in response to a question from VOD, ironically at the GLWA’s public hearing on new water and sewerage rates March 1.
GLWA CEO Sue McCormick with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, who signed the contract giving away DWSD to the regional Great Lakes Water Authority.
“It’s a systems control issue from a valve operator,” McCormick went on. “The valve was closing inappropriately causing pumps to back off as the water was starting. We know pressure sagged in the process—particularly in the system from the other plants that would pick up that flow. That worked less effectively than we hoped it would. So we had pressure sag. We know the extent of that pressure sag based on the number of complaints we received in the area. In conversation with MDEQ drinking water division we discussed how we should notify the public. So we issued what I would call a precautionary boil water alert. While today we don’t have any evidence that the system depressurized to the extent that contaminants could have entered the system through the ground or from buildings, we won’t know the result of our tests for 48 hours. So we are suggesting that people in the area boil their water for that time.”
Gary Brown (l) with GLWA officials at meeting June 12, 2015 where contract turning DWSD over to GLWA was signed.
On March 2, the GLWA reported regarding tests conducted only in one day, “While these results are a sign that there is nothing wrong with the water, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is requiring the boil water advisory remain in effect throughout the originally stated 48-hour time period. A second round of test results will be returned tomorrow and upon a second clear result, GLWA will recommend that the boil water advisory be lifted. GLWA will provide additional updates as soon as they are available.”
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan signed the contract turning the six-county DWSD, the larges asset of the largest Black-majority city in the U.S., over to the GLWA, except for a few minor mains in Detroit, in June, 2015. The GLWA was created during the bankruptcy proceedings in 2014 despite ongoing protests by city workers, residents and others who warned of dire consequences.
Area of Detroit where boil water advisory is in effect.
“Donald Trump and the corporate media are locked in mutual hostility, but they are both enemies of the poor and oppressed. Media tell non-stop lies about foreign leaders abroad and Black people here at home. As servants of corporate power, the media usually kow-tow to whoever wins the White House. They’ve made an exception for Trump, but that doesn’t make them honest journalists — just flunkies for the other party.
“When the Democratic Party needed to distract its rank and file from its ignominious defeat, the press continued to aid the deception and helped to play a dangerous game in foreign affairs.”
Every day Donald Trump exemplifies the contradictions of this era. He may make a statement that the left can agree with, but not because of shared political beliefs or motives. That is the case with his latest twitter statement regarding the media. “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”
Donald Trump at press conference
The corporate media generally go out of their way to make nice with presidents and promote their agendas. The feeling is mutual and presidents make nice right back. Even George W. Bush, who like Trump lost the popular vote, enjoyed media popularity for most of his two terms in office.
But Trump is different. He cannot say the words New York Times without adding, “Which is failing.” He can’t stand criticism and apparently doesn’t like to work for praise either. We can add his continued fighting with the press to the rest of his list of firsts.
“Even George W. Bush enjoyed media popularity for most of his two terms in office.”
The fact is that the corporate media in this country are our enemies. Media consolidation has left us with a handful of newspapers and television networks which are all controlled by international conglomerates. They hoped they would make neo-liberal heroine Hillary Clinton the next president but Democratic Party failures and her own weaknesses put Trump in the White House.
Iraqi children scream after U.S. soldiers killed their parents during invasion.
The news has been fake long before Donald Trump used those words. The cozy relationship between Bush and the press gave him cover to invade Iraq and kill 1 million people. The correspondents’ dinners and the private briefings create media haves and have nots, and taint the journalism that comes from this collusion. Obama made the private briefing a standard operating practice and kept Democratic pundits in his thrall, not that he had to work hard to win them over.
Trump considers anyone an enemy who doesn’t love him. That is why he is no friend of the press. But the rest of us should not rush to defend them either. After all they do not defend us. In 2016 they stood with Hillary Clinton while Bernie Sanders, despite his political failings, revealed the weaknesses in the Democratic Party. He was mocked, the desire for change was ignored and as a result Trump is the 45th president of the country.
“The corporate press never took Obama to task for his foreign aggressions.”
Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Hillary Clinton
Presentation and politesse are everything to our press overlords, so they never took Obama to task for his foreign aggressions. They repeated lies about foreign leaders who fell into Obama’s cross hairs. They said nothing about job stealing trade deals or the dishonesty which gave us more private health insurance when we needed Medicare for All.
When Hillary Clinton picked up on a Marco Rubio talking point and accused Donald Trump of being a Russian agent and/or dupe, the media followed right along. When her strategy failed they kept repeating it instead of asking why she lost to the person they all disregarded. When the Democratic Party needed to distract its rank and file from its ignominious defeat, the press continued to aid the deception and helped to play a dangerous game in foreign affairs.
Do the media report on the inhumanity of mass incarceration? Do they tell their viewers and readers that half of all Americans live on $31,000 per year or less? Do they reveal the devastation created by American regime change or give voice to its victims?
They do none of these things. They engage in a mutual admiration society and having covered up great wrong doing they now act as gate keepers against Donald Trump. But let us imagine if Trump were to suddenly have a change of heart and personality. Suppose he stopped calling the New York Times “failing.” Suppose he decided to make friends.
“If Trump acted like Obama, he just might enjoy some of his untouchability.”
Suddenly we would see stories about his under appreciated brilliance. The planned wall on the Mexican border would be called a master stroke, the travel ban of citizens from seven mostly Muslim nations would suddenly be deemed a legal breakthrough. If Trump acted like Obama, he just might enjoy some of his untouchability. Such is the power of media imprimatur.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, now owner of the Washington Post, and a $750 M CIA contract, at White House.
No one should deny that one plus one equals two if Donald Trump states this easily understood fact. When he calls the press the enemy one must remember that the Washington Post was purchased by Amazon owner Jeff Bezos. Bezos then used Amazon’s cloud technology as means of getting a $750 million contract with the CIA.
Late in 2016 the Post runs a fake news story calling outlets like Black Agenda Report agents of the Russian government and begins the process of making repression a reality. To complicate matters further, Bezos is one of eight billionaires on the planet with as much wealth as half of humanity. Anyone with a fat CIA contract who literally controls the world is certainly no friend of the people.
No one should be fooled by Trump’s bloviating, nor should they be fooled by phony outrage from guilty parties. The media are in bed with the rulers and that makes them enemies of the first order.
The Voice of Detroit does not make a habit of endorsing political candidates. But former State Senator Coleman Young II had some good points to make when he announced Feb. 24 that he is taking on “the white mayor, the right mayor” as Rev. Wendell Anthony had the gall to call Mike Duggan when he introduced him.
Many of Senator Young’s points were raised in VOD’s earlier article “Duggan’s Decades-Long Detroit Demolition Derby.” It will take a GRASS ROOTS people’s movement to oust the white aristocracy and banking establishment that has the City of Detroit and the Detroit Public Schools in its clutches, with the devastating bankruptcy under Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and Gov. Snyder. But more power to Young, maybe he can get the ball rolling. . . .
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