TURN DETROIT’S LIGHTS ON!

VOD with redThe excellent video above, published on Youtube by Detroit talk show host Cynthia Johnson, gives the lie to people touting the benefits of Detroit’s bankruptcy, such as Citicorp, which published the commercial at bottom.

In reality, the banks have left Detroit in a total of $3 billion in debt through 2034 since the conclusion of the bankruptcy trial. The bankruptcy Plan of Adjustment specifies that the debt is priority #1; it must be paid first before anything else is spent on city services. Before bankruptcy was declared, Detroit was $1 billion in debt through 2034.

Detroit’s Public Lighting Department has been deliberately decimated over the past two decades through privatization and deliberate sabotage, including mass lay-offs and refusal to purchase needed equipment as simple as street light bulbs. The Public Lighting Authority is part of that privatization and regionalization.

Banner on side of Herman Kiefer Health Complex, vacated after Detroit Health Department was eliminated.

Banner on side of Herman Kiefer Health Complex, vacated after Detroit Health Department was eliminated.

EM Kevyn Orr auctioned off numerous assets of the Public Lighting and Public Works departments in November, 2014.

EM Kevyn Orr auctioned off numerous assets of the Public Lighting and Public Works departments in November, 2014. They filled the parking lots surrounding the Herman Kiefer Health Complex, now vacant after the elimination of the Health Dept. This lot used to border the Herman Kiefer Family Health Center, no longer in existence.

VOD wrote an article last November, titled PLANTATION DETROIT: PUBLIC ASSETS ON AUCTION BLOCK THIS WEEK –  http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/11/03/plantation-detroit-public-assets-on-auction-block-this-week/#sthash.OCzwpCi7.dpuf .

City of Detroit PLD workers fixing streetlights on Belle Isle July 29, 2012.

City of Detroit PLD workers fixing streetlights on Belle Isle July 29, 2012. Belle Isle itself has been taken over.

Excerpt:

“EM Kevyn Orr told DTE the entire Public Lighting Department (PLD), including its revenue-generating provision of lighting to public buildings, will be phased out over the next five years to DTE, which has already taken over PLD’s electricity grid.

The newly-founded regional Public Lighting Authority plans to dismantle 46,000 of the city’s 88,000 streetlights, in areas targeted for “blight (i.e. Black) removal,” according to Orr’s May 12, 2013 Financial and Operating Plan.  

AFSCME, CBTU protest May 27, 2010 demanded no privatization of PLD, among other issues.

AFSCME, CBTU protest May 27, 2010 demanded no privatization of PLD, among other issues.

PLD was founded in the 1920’s and was originally meant to provide electricity to the entire city, including its residences. The city’s former Auditor General reported several years ago that those service lines could have been revamped to provide revenue-generating, public cable TV service to city residents at lower costs.  

PLD has been one of few opportunities for Black and women skilled trades workers such as electricians to get long-term employment.

Profit from the auctions is to be used to “pay down debt,” with some allegedly restored to the departments, according to an Oct. 30 article in the Monitor. Considering there will be no DPW or PLD, it is clear only the banks will profit from these auctions.

Look at the Citicorp commercial below, and decide which of the videos most accurately represents YOUR experience in the streets of Detroit.


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One Response to TURN DETROIT’S LIGHTS ON!

  1. cynthia A. Johnson says:

    Thank you Diane!

    Look forwards to seeing all the leaders, that’s YOU, on Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 9:00pm at Dexter and Waverly. Thank you Geo Errol Jennings, Karen Mills, Jennifer Thrift, Debby Ector, William Davis, Charles Detroit Change Bell, S Danita Jackson, O.c. Dexter, Mike Shane, Valerie Jean, Reybekah Larson, Stephanie Gordon, David Oclander, Joyce Moore, Vanessa Gladney, and everyone who participated in any of the COMMUNITY LIGHT WALKS.

    Please remember that walking from your car to a chair, if you’re unable to stand, with an illuminating light is good enough for us. ALL ARE ENCOURAGED to participate.

    THANK YOU from our Community Light Walk coalition including the Detroit Light Brigade, Moratorium NOW! Coalition, StandUp Now, Historic Russell Woods – Sullivan – Detroit, and participants of NAN, Veterans, and others.

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