KID ROCK TO CRITICS: ‘KISS MY ASS’ RE: CONFEDERATE FLAG; WHAT WILL DETROIT NAACP DO NOW?

Kid Rock gets award from Rev. Wendell Anthony, head of Detroit NAACP, during Freedom Fund dinner. Anthony also sits on the board of the Detroit General Retirement System, and remarked at its meeting Wed. July 8 that Greece needs an Emergency Manager!

Kid Rock gets award from Rev. Wendell Anthony, head of Detroit NAACP, during Freedom Fund dinner. Anthony also sits on the board of the Detroit General Retirement System, and remarked at its meeting Wed. July 8 that Greece needs an Emergency Manager!

Adaj Parr

Why are you a member of the Detroit NAACP…? (Facebook page)

July 11, 2015

Kid Rock making cozy with Wendell Anthony and former Mayor Dave Bing.

Kid Rock making cozy with Wendell Anthony and former Mayor Dave Bing.

DETROIT— Let’s be clear, when Kid Rock speaks on matters of social issues he speaks for all those who support him. That includes organizations that have honored him. The Detroit Branch NAACP led by Wendell Anthony honored Kid Rock.

Kid Rock told Rev. Charlies Williams II and Rev. Al Sharpton both who represent the National Action Network (NAN), and Sam Riddle, to KISS HIS ASS!

Kid Rocks speaks for Wendell and the Detroit Branch NAACP. Kid Rock supports waving the Confederate Flag and all that it stands for. Wendell Anthony and the Detroit Branch NAACP support Kid Rock!

Kid Rock, Wendell Anthony

Kid Rock, Wendell Anthony

VOD: Mr. Parr asked Rev. Charles Williams in an earlier post: what are you going to do about it? That question should also be put to NAN’s national head the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Related:

The MLIVE story below includes clips from the racist national coverage supporting Kid Rock, e.g. comments about how much Kid Rock has allegedly done for Detroit, and who the real villains in Detroit are: the city’s Black leadership for the past 30 years. http://www.mlive.com/entertainment/detroit/index.ssf/2015/07/kid_rock_tells_people_boycotti.html


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GREEK LEADER TRIES TO SELL LAST-DITCH AUSTERITY DEAL TO PARTY DESPITE REFERENDUM ‘NO’ VOTE

Pensioners protest in Athens 7 10 15

Pensioners protest in front of the finance ministry in central Athens, July 10, 2015. Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will seek backing for a harsh new austerity package from his party Friday to keep his country in the euro.(Photo: Emilio Morenatti / AP)

“If this is Europe, then we don’t want this Europe. If this is the eurozone, we don’t care if we go out or in. If in this life we’ll be slaves, it’s better to be dead.” — Aristidis Dimoupulos, Athens marketing professor

By Derek Gatopoulos and Elena Becatoros,

Associated Press

July 10, 2015

Greek leader Alexis Tsiparas in front of his party's flag, is trying to sell new austerity measures to his parliament.

Greek leader Alexis Tsiparas in front of his party Syriza’s flag, is trying to sell new austerity measures to his parliament.

Athens, Greece — Left-wing Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was seeking backing for a harsh new austerity package from his party Friday to keep his country in the euro — less than a week after urging Greeks to reject milder cuts in a referendum.

Government ministers signed off on the sweeping new measures — likely to extend the recession after six years of painful decline — that include pension cuts and tax hikes.

The proposals were sent to rescue creditors for approval at emergency meetings of European Union leaders and finance ministers over the weekend. The proposed new bailout worth nearly $60 billion would be Greece’s third since it lost market access in 2010.

But in an unusual procedure, Tsipras is first seeking authorization from parliament to negotiate with the creditors based on the proposal in a vote Friday. He is essentially asking his Syriza party to sign off on the U-turn despite more than 60 percent of voters opposing more austerity in the July 5 referendum.

Did Greeks want MORE austerity measures when they voted Tsiparas in? Supporters of Alexis Tsipras, leader of Greece's Syriza left-wing main opposition party attend his pre-election speech at Omonia Square in Athens Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. . (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Did Greeks want MORE austerity measures when they voted Tsiparas in? Supporters of Alexis Tsipras, leader of Greece’s Syriza left-wing main opposition party attend his pre-election speech at Omonia Square in Athens Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. . (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Tsipras was convening his party’s lawmakers for discussions Friday morning before the parliamentary debate.

The coalition government has 162 seats in the 300-member parliament and pledged backing on a deal from a large section of opposition lawmakers. But failure to deliver votes from his own government would likely topple his coalition.

The proposals are to be discussed by eurozone finance ministers on Saturday, ahead of a summit of the European Union’s 28 leaders Sunday.

Greeks march with banner: STOP AUSTERITY GROWTH NOW!

Greeks march with banner: STOP AUSTERITY GROWTH NOW!

“My feeling is that the agreement will be signed,” said Alternate Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas as he arrived in parliament. He said he believed both the party and parliament would sign off on the proposal, “and we will have an agreement, that is my feeling, on Sunday night.”

As the government inched closer to a deal to ensure Greece doesn’t crash out of Europe’s joint currency, some Greeks adopted a ‘wait and see’ approach.

“I don’t know. The chances are fifty-fifty” for a deal, said Athens resident Omiros Fotiadis. There were many things to take into account, he said. “One being if all the European countries will accept the agreement, as well as the institutions, and the other is whether the agreement … will be accepted internally.”

But some were furious at the deep spending cuts in the proposals.

“If this is Europe, then we don’t want this Europe,” said Aristidis Dimoupulos, a marketing professor in Athens. “If this is the eurozone, we don’t care if we go out or in. If in this life we’ll be slaves, it’s better to be dead.”

The negotiations have come amid capital controls in Greece, with banks shut since late last month and Greeks restricted to cash withdrawals of 60 euros ($67) per day. Although credit and debit cards work freely within the country, many businesses are refusing to accept them and insisting on cash-only payments. All money transfers abroad, including bill payments, require special permission from a finance ministry committee. Continue reading


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CITIZENS FOR DETROIT’S FUTURE NEEDS CALLS TO COUNCIL TO GET ELECTION ORDINANCE ENACTED

Citizens for Detroits Future logo 2

WE NOW NEED YOUR HELP AND THAT OF THE COMMUNITY

NOTICE (Sharing Informs the Public)

Dear Friend:

Tom Barrow: Citizens for Detroit's Future NEEDS YOU!

Tom Barrow: Citizens for Detroit’s Future NEEDS YOU!

As many reading this will know, last October, Citizens for Detroit’s Future and a number of determined Detroiters, undertook an Initiative to create a first ever Detroit election Ordinance.

The Initiative would “Provide for the Immediate Posting of Detroit Election Results”.  The Ordinance creates a public transparency by informing the public of election results…in real time…i.e. after the polls have closed for the evening.  The Initiative grew from numerous recurring anomalies discovered during city election recounts which the public never sees.

To create the Ordinance, CFDF turned to Section 12-105 of the city’s charter which requires that petition Initiatives be submitted to the Clerk’s office and validated by the Detroit Election Commission.

Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones

Call Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones and at least your own Council member.

This past May 28th, the Detroit Election Commission reported to us and the Detroit City Council, that our petitions had sufficient valid signatures to move the Initiative forward.  That “report” activated Section 12-107 of the Charter which mandates that council must conduct a “public hearing” and a vote to enact the Ordinance within 60 days of May 28th or before July 27th.

Earlier this week,  each member of the Detroit City Council received a certified letter from our organization further informing them of the requirements under the Detroit City Charter and its deadlines.  It is now important that the public get involved by taking just 2 minutes to minimally call the Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones’ Office (313-224-1245) and then their own Council Member’ Office.

The call should inquire as to:

1) when the public hearing will be held

2) when will the matter be formally voted upon and

3) ask that they do so immediately.  

CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS PHONE NUMBERS 

  • Detroit City Council-President, Brenda Jones, 313-224-1245; 
  • James Tate, Dist. #1,313-224-1027;
  • George Cushingberry, Dist #2, 313-224-4535;
  • Scott Benson, Dist #3, 313-224-1198;
  • Andre Spivey, Dist #4, 313-224-4841; 
  • Mary Sheffield, Dist #5, 313-224-4505;
  • Raquel Castaneda-Lopez, Dist #6, 313-224-2450;
  • Gabe Leland, Dist # 7,313-224-2151;
  • Janeê Ayers, At-Large, 313-224-4248)

Demand that he/she contact the Clerk’s office to demand that her report be issued forthwith as is required by Charter.

We understand that a call takes time but it is essential that officials respect both you as a citizen and importantly, the democratic process.

Respectfully,

CITIZENS FOR DETROIT’S FUTURE

Previous release: July 7, 2015

Contact: Citizens for Detroit’s Future

Media Telephone: 313  393-3100  – Option 3

INITIATIVE SUCCEEDS:  COUNCIL TO TAKE UP ELECTION REFORM

Historic Initiative Creates July 27th Charter Deadline for Full Council Vote

DETROIT (July 7, 2015) — In what is being hailed as an historic exercise of Detroiters democratic rights,  Citizens for Detroit’s Future president Tom Barrow today announced that the city’s Election Commission had secretly “reported” to City Council President Brenda Jones, (a requirement of Charter Section 12-105), that the Group’s reform petition to “Provide for the Immediate Posting of Election Results” had enough valid signatures to move the Initiative forward.

Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey is part of current unelected Election Commission, which is a division of her office.

Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey is part of current unelected Election Commission, which is a division of her office.

The Detroit Election Commission’s notification activates Section. 12-107  titled Time Limit for Enactment or Repeal of Ordinance and mandates a public hearing and full Council vote on the Ordinance by July 27th.

In an envelope containing the May 28th “Report” and post marked June 25th and addressed to Citizens for Detroit’s Future‘s President Tom Barrow, Detroit Election Commission Deputy Director, Gina Avery-Walker secretly “reported” that CFDF’s petitions had been checked and was found to have sufficient valid signatures to go forward. The notification automatically activates Section 12-107 which requires a hearing and vote by the entire council within 60 days of the May 28th date or by July 27th.

“While I am convinced that receiving a letter addressed to me nearly a month after it was written is no accident, it not only emphasizes further the need for reform but also confirms that certain Officials are resistant to our public transparency Initiative.” said Tom Barrow, the group’s president.

“With a kind of official resistance, it is essential now, more than ever, that the public get involved as a united public seeking reform is more powerful” he said.


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A WAYNE COUNTY EM? STATE FINANCIAL REVIEW TEAM HOLDS PUBLIC MEETING FRI. JULY 10

Michigan Department of Treasury logoContact: Terry Stanton, (517) 335-2167

Media Advisory for Friday July 10, 2015

The Wayne County Financial Review Team, appointed to examine the county’s finances following a preliminary review requested by the County Executive, is scheduled to conduct a public information meeting at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, July 10, 2015.

The public information meeting, required under Public Act 436 of 2012 (Local Fiscal Stability and Choice Act), provides Wayne County residents an opportunity to share their opinions, thoughts, and/or concerns about the county with members of the review team. The review team will not be issuing a report or presenting information regarding its review of the county’s finances during this meeting.

The meeting will be held in the Wayne County Commission chambers on the mezzanine level of the Guardian Building, 500 Griswold Street in Detroit.

# # # #

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans requested state review team.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans requested state review team.

MEMBERS OF REVIEW TEAM

Clarence Stone, director of Legal Affairs for the State Housing Development Authority;

Jeffrey Bankowski, chief internal auditor, State Budget Office;

Tom Davis, deputy director at the Senate Majority Policy Office;

Sharon Madison, owner of design and construction firm Madison Madison International, and

Frederick Headen, legal adviser for the Michigan Department of Treasury. He also was on the financial review team for the city of Detroit that was appointed in December 2011.

The review team has up to 60 days to report to the governor whether a financial emergency exists in Wayne County. State Treasurer Nick Khouri, a member of the Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board, said he expects it to be completed within “weeks, not months.”

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans requested that the state step in on county finances.


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A VISIT WITH MICHIGAN POLITICAL PRISONER REV. EDWARD PINKNEY

Rev. Pinkney campaigns against Whirlpool during PGA tournament in Benton Harbor May 26, 2012.

Rev. Pinkney campaigns against Whirlpool during PGA tournament in Benton Harbor May 26, 2012.

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By David Sole and Marcina Cole

July 6, 2015

Prisoners in Lakeland Correctional Facility yard.

Prisoners in Lakeland Correctional Facility yard.

Coldwater, Mich.  In rural, south central Michigan, several hours from Detroit, sits Lakeland Correctional Facility.

Upon our arrival we noticed the sun reflecting brightly off the triple row of 12-feet-high razorwire, coil fencing surrounding the extensive state prison. After passing through metal detectors, pat-downs and shoe, sock and feet inspections, we entered the visiting room to the warm embrace of the Rev. Edward Pinkney.

Rev. Pinkney, a leading African-American activist in Benton Harbor, Mich., was tried and convicted in late 2014 by an all-white jury for supposedly altering five dates on a recall petition against Benton Harbor’s mayor. Not one shred of evidence was presented that Pinkney committed these alleged acts.

The prosecutor, Michael Sepic, could not produce one witness to say that Rev. Pinkney was the culprit. Judge Sterling R. Schrock allowed Sepic to tell the jury, “You don’t need evidence to convict Mr. Pinkney.”

Rev. Edward Pinkney during earlier visit with Marcina Cole.

Rev. Edward Pinkney during earlier visit with Marcina Cole.

All the prosecutor showed the jury was that Rev. Pinkney was a speaker at press conferences and chaired meetings of his organization, BANCO (Black Autonomy Network Community Organization). That was enough for this gang of racists to convict and sentence him to 2.5 to 10 years in prison.

As we sat and talked, we were amazed at Pinkney’s energy and optimism after six months behind bars. He had petitioned the authorities to be transferred to Lakeland, which is not far from his spouse Dorothy, making visits much easier. Previously he had been at Marquette prison, a 10-hour drive from his home.

But Rev. Pinkney was also somber about his situation. “Lakeland has 1,400 prisoners, and I’d say 70 percent are lifers,” Pinkney told us. “Being here is serious business. Every day is a challenge. Many of these guys have been here 20, 30, 40 or more years. Today ‘life imprisonment’ means just that — they will never get out.”

Helping those ‘who will never get out’

Prison graphicIn his short time among these men, Pinkney has done what he always does — organize and assist people.

“I spend most mornings and afternoons in the law library helping inmates with legal research. Then a group of lifers asked me to help them better organize their group meetings, which I am doing. The Muslim prisoners invited me to speak to their Friday prayer session when they found out about my case and history of activism.”

Rev. Pinkney receives many books and periodicals from supporters. Part of the work we do in the Detroit-based Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shutoffs and the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice is fundraising for his legal appeal. We also send a monthly donation to help pay for his daily phone calls to his spouse. He often calls in to our weekly Monday evening meetings.

Rev. Pinkney is a voracious reader, so we send him one or two books a month and gave him a subscription to Workers World newspaper, which the prison allows in. “I share the books and articles you send me. As soon as I am done they go hand to hand,” he said. He noted that he could use more good reading material.

Sentenced to death in prison.

Sentenced to death in prison.

Pinkney’s activism and kindness have won him the respect and admiration of many of the prisoners, but not all. “I’d say that 90 percent of the prisoners here love me and 10 percent hate me. That 10 percent resent my getting so many visitors, when many of them never get a visit. They resent the many books and letters I get. They resent that I will get out of this prison sooner or later and maybe they won’t.”

This small group of hostile prisoners poses a problem for Rev. Pinkney and could endanger his safety. “I try to avoid confrontations and de-escalate situations. But I don’t let them bully me. Several tense situations have arisen. Everyone here knows what goes on, and some of the Muslim brothers have taken to escorting me through the facility when I am done at the library each day. I told them I could take care of myself, but they insist,” said Pinkney.

“Another danger is that my friends and supporters might take it upon themselves to physically confront those who might threaten me — and that would also drag me into a situation involving the prison authorities. So I have to chill my friends out.”

Don’t sweep this injustice ‘under the rug’

Rev. Pinkney and his wife Dorothy have battled against the Whirlpool Corporation, which has decimated Benton Harbor with job loss and land grabs, for years.

Rev. Pinkney and his wife Dorothy have battled against the Whirlpool Corporation, which has decimated Benton Harbor with job loss and land grabs, for years.

Rev. Pinkney was looking forward to his appeal, which is being filed soon. His hope of getting an appeal bond and going home was strong. He has high hopes that he will be released soon because there was no evidence to convict him of felony crimes. But he also knows that there is a “criminal enterprise in Berrien County” that put him in prison in the first place.

The court officials, Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower and behind them the power of the Whirlpool Corporation headquartered there will be working overtime to try to stop him from returning home. “I am asking all my supporters to get the word out in the next 30 days after the appeal is filed. Get this out to the news media so that this injustice can’t be swept under the rug and the appeals court is forced to deliver justice,” Pinkney urged.

For information on how to help free this political prisoner, visit bhbanco.org.

Send letters (no cards, books or objects — only letters) to Rev. Edward Pinkney #294671, Lakeland Correctional Facility, 141 First St., Coldwater, MI 49036. Send a book to Rev. Pinkney only through Schulerbooks.com using this address and his prisoner number.

Order a “Free Rev. Pinkney” white T-shirt (sizes M, L, XL, 2X, 3X) for a $10 donation plus $3 shipping (proceeds go to his legal expenses) at moratorium-mi.org., or mail your order and payment to Moratorium NOW!, 5920 Second Ave., Detroit, MI 48202.

Print PDF

Also see:

  1. Racist court denies justice for Michigan Civil Rights leader
  2. Civil rights activist denied appeal bond
  3. Campaign builds to free Rev. Pinkney
  4. Rev. Pinkney jailed for fighting racist power structure
  5. Political prisoner’s health scare ignites mass action

Related VOD stories:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/04/07/fight-to-free-rev-edward-pinkney-from-prison-convicted-by-all-white-jury-with-no-evidence/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/01/28/rev-pinkney-now-in-marquette-prison-trial-motions-hearing-tues-feb-24-1-pm-st-joseph-mi/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/12/28/rev-pinkney-defense-campaign-builds-wife-says-they-remain-strong-despite-racist-imprisonment/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/12/16/rev-pinkney-gets-2-5-10-yrs-as-cops-wilson-pantaleo-walk-on-mike-brown-eric-garner-murders/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/11/30/rev-pinkney-lynch-mob-mentality-in-st-joseph-as-he-awaits-sentencing-dec-15/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/11/05/all-white-jury-convicts-rev-pinkney-of-5-felony-counts-pros-wants-life-sentence/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/10/29/free-rev-pinkney-frame-up-benton-harbor-trial-targets-nationally-known-freedom-fighter/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/07/13/drop-the-charges-against-rev-edward-pinkney-of-benton-harbor-trial-set-for-july-21/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/06/07/benton-harbor-rev-pinkney-to-face-trial-on-felony-charges-july-21-despite-no-evidence/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/06/03/rev-pinkney-in-the-mouth-of-the-beast-in-benton-harbor/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/05/27/dismiss-all-charges-against-rev-pinkney-court-fri-may-30-save-benton-harbor-boycott-whirlpool/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/05/10/rev-edward-pinkney-marcus-muhammad-battle-whirlpool-for-benton-harbor-pinkney-court-hearing-may-30/

 http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/04/26/free-rev-edward-pinkney-recall-whirlpool-stooge-benton-harbor-mayor-james-hightower/


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‘NO’ VOTE WINNING IN GREEK AUSTERITY REFERENDUM; 61% to 39% LANDSLIDE

Greeks celebrate projected “NO” vote on austerity.

AP logo 3

By MENELAOS HADJICOSTIS and NEBI QENA

July 5, 2015

Greeks voting overwhelmingly against banks’ demands for more austerity

Earlier polls had expected close vote

ATHENS, Greece — Greece faced an uncharted future as its interior ministry predicted Sunday that more than 60 percent of voters in a hastily called referendum had rejected creditors’ demands for more austerity in exchange for rescue loans.

Greek Prime Minister votes.

Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras votes.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who was gambling the future of his 5-month-old left-wing government on the vote, insisted that a “no” vote would strengthen his hand to negotiate a better deal with creditors, while a “yes” result would mean capitulating to their harsh demands.

The opposition has accused Tsipras of jeopardizing the country’s membership in the 19-nation club that uses the euro and said a “yes” vote was about keeping the common currency.

With more than half of the votes counted Sunday evening, the “no” side had about 61 percent of the vote, compared with 39 percent for “yes.” The interior ministry predicted that margin would hold.

Thousands of government supporters gathered in celebration, waving Greek flags and chanting “No, No, No.”

Greeks wave their nation's flag to celebrate 'NO' vote on austerity.

Greeks wave their nation’s flag to celebrate ‘NO’ vote on austerity.

“We don’t want austerity measures anymore, this has been happening for the last five years and it has driven so many into poverty, we simply can’t take any more austerity,” said Athens resident Yiannis Gkovesis, 26, holding a large Greek flag in the city’s main square.

Governing left-wing Syriza party Eurodeputy Dimitris Papadimoulis said that “Greek people are proving they want to remain in Europe” as equal members “and not as a debt colony.” The referendum was Greece’s first in 41 years.

Jubilant 'NO' supporter waves flag of governing left-wing Syriza party.

Jubilant ‘NO’ supporter waves flag of governing left-wing Syriza party.

Minister of State Nikos Papas, speaking on Alpha television, said it would be “wrong to link a ‘no’ result to an exit from the eurozone. If a ‘no’ prevails that will help us get a better agreement.”

Tsipras’ high-stakes brinkmanship with lenders from the eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund resulted in Greece defaulting on its debts this week and shutting down its banks to avoid their collapse. He called the referendum last weekend, giving both sides just a week to campaign.

“Today, democracy is defeating fear … I am very optimistic,” Tsipras said earlier in the day after voting in in Athens.

European officials had openly urged Greeks to vote against the government’s recommendation.

Greeks march with Syriza flag to support 'NO' vote on austerity measures.

Greeks march with Syriza flag to support ‘NO’ vote on austerity measures.

“I hope people say ‘yes,'” European Parliament President Martin Schulz told German public radio. “If after the referendum, the majority is a ‘no,’ they will have to introduce another currency because the euro will no longer be available for a means of payment.”

Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt was one of the first eurozone ministers to react to the initial results.

Large lines could still be seen outside ATMs all over the country, as worried citizens continue to withdraw their daily limit of €60 ($67), a restriction imposed by the banks. (Pictured) Referendum campaign posters that read "No" in Greek are seen as people line up at an ATM. CHRISTIAN HARTMANN/Newscom/Reuters

Large lines could still be seen outside ATMs all over the country, as worried citizens continue to withdraw their daily limit of €60 ($67), a restriction imposed by the banks. CHRISTIAN HARTMANN/Newscom/Reuters

“This likely ‘no’ complicates matters,” he told Belgium’s VRT network, but insisted the door remained open to resume talks with the Greek government within hours.

The vote was held amid banking restrictions imposed last Monday to halt a bank run, with Greeks queuing up at ATMs across the country to withdraw a maximum 60 euros per day. Banks have been shut all week, and it is uncertain when they will reopen. Large lines once again formed at ATMs on Sunday.

Daniel Tsangaridis, a 35-year-old Athens resident, said he didn’t expect banks to reopen soon, despite a government pledge that they would do so Tuesday.

“It’s not going to happen in the next 48 hours,” he said. “If the situation improves and we can have a deal, then the banks will open.”

Bank debt, ratings downgrades  are burdening  people of Greece and the world. CANCEL THE DEBT!

The Syriza party came to power in January after a six-year recession. Since then, the standoff between Athens and its international lenders has grown more bitter, and early signs of some economic growth and recovering employment in Greece have disappeared.

The debt-wracked nation also suffered repeated ratings downgrades and lost access to billions of euros after its existing bailout deal expired last week.

Polls published Friday showed the two sides in a dead heat with an overwhelming majority — about 75 percent — wanting Greece to remain in the euro currency.

“Today, we Greeks decide on the fate of our country,” conservative opposition leader Antonis Samaras said. “We vote ‘yes’ to Greece. We vote ‘yes’ to Europe.”

This bride told reporters, "The only time I will say YES today is to my new husband."

This bride told reporters, “The only time I will say YES today is to my new husband.”

The sense of urgency was palpable as Greeks struggled to decipher a convoluted referendum question after being bombarded with frenzied messages warning of the country’s swiftly approaching financial collapse.

Neither result on Sunday, however, would lead to a clear answer on what Greece should do about its overstretched finances.

Greece is no longer in a bailout program since its previous package expired last Tuesday. It now has to negotiate a new one with its creditors that involves even more money for the government and banks and new economic austerity measures.

Despite the Greek government’s assertion that a “no” vote will not lead to a euro exit, most experts agree it would open up more uncertain financial outcomes.

A number of European politicians, including Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the top eurozone official, have said a “no” vote would jeopardize Greece’s place in the 19-nation eurozone. Investors are also likely to believe a “no” win increases the chance of a so-called “Grexit,” where Greece returns to its own old currency.

Earlier, Greeks held massive protests against austerity, including pension cuts.

Earlier, Greeks held massive protests against austerity, including pension cuts.

Related:

http://www.workers.org/articles/2015/06/30/bankers-aim-to-strangle-greece-seeking-capitulation-and-regime-change/


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OUR WATER, OUR VOTE—BATTLE FOR REFERENDUM TO STOP REGIONAL DETROIT WATER TAKEOVER BEGINS

Our Water Our Vote

People of Detroit have rallied for the human right to water, which will be further endangered by the creation of a regional Great Lakes Water Authority

Referendum petitions seek people’s vote on 40-year SALE of DWSD property, $6 billion in revenues to regional Great Lakes Water Authority

15,000+ signatures must be turned in to City Clerk, according to state law 

GLWA would increase water shut-offs, rates, foreclosures resulting from water bills attached to property bills

Water quality crisis looms as Authority eliminates thousands of experienced City of Detroit workers, in addition those already gone  

Detroit City Council rejected water rate increase June 30, now set to re-consider it July 7; GLWA will take over that role in future 

#OurWaterOurVote; #WATERISLIFE#StandUpNow; @WeThePeopleDet; @Detroit2700plus; @DETWaterBrigade; #DetroitWater; #Right2Water; #Detroit2Flint@MCHumanRights; @PeoplesWaterDet; @ACLUofMichigan

 By Diane Bukowski  

July 3, 2014

DETROIT – A fight has begun to stop the takeover of Detroit’s $6 billion Water & Sewerage Department (DWSD) by the regional Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA), through a Detroit electoral referendum. The city’s “Mayor” Mike Duggan signed the takeover contract between the City of Detroit and the Great Lakes Water Authority June 12.

PB applause DB 6 27 15

Part of the crowd of people who packed Calvary Presbyterian Church for DAREA prayer breakfast fundraiser June 27, 2015.

The Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA) distributed the first petitions for the vote at its packed Prayer Breakfast June 22, held at Calvary Presbyterian Church, featuring Rev. David Bullock as its keynote speaker. DAREA’s membership includes many active and retired DWSD workers. DAREA first endorsed the campaign June 15, and has since been joined by many more organizations as members of “The Coalition to Save Detroit’s Water & Sewerage Department.”

The ballot language on the petitions asks for a NO or a YES vote on whether Detroiters “approve this contract which states it is a ‘BILL OF SALE’ of personal property and all revenues of the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department (DWSD) to a regional, unelected Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA), including a representative of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, for at least 40 years. It includes an option for GLWA to SELL DWSD real property.” 

GLWA’s six member board includes representatives from the State of Michigan, Oakland, Macomb and Wayne Counties, as well as Detroit. The counties of St. Clair, Lapeer, Genesee, Washtenaw, and Monroe, which would be part of the GLWA system, have no representation.

DAREA officers (l to r) Cecily McClellan, Yvonne Williams-Jones, and Bill Davis present one of six WARRIOR awards to Monica Lewis-Patrick of We the People of Detroit, during prayer breakfast June 27, 2015.

DAREA officers (l to r) Cecily McClellan, Yvonne Williams-Jones, and Bill Davis present one of six WARRIOR awards to Monica Lewis-Patrick of We the People of Detroit, during prayer breakfast June 27, 2015. We the People of Detroit is also a member of the referendum campaign.

“Each of us should be a warrior in this fight,” DAREA president Bill Davis said at the breakfast. “We have made tremendous progress. Each day is more promising than the day before. If we can fight, we can win.”

He referred not only to the referendum campaign,  but to DAREA’s U.S. District Court appeal of the Detroit bankruptcy plan, which includes the GLWA.

DAREA just filed a supplemental brief in that appeal, citing the Illinois Supreme Court ruling that pension protections in that state’s constitution, virtually identical to Michigan’s, cannot be abridged. The court ruled that pensions are considered more than just contracts, and that the constitution represents “the will of the people.”

“The Our Water Our Vote campaign is directly tied to the fight to stop water shut-offs, rate increases, and foreclosures caused by the attachment of water bills to property tax bills,” noted another DAREA member at the prayer breakfast. “The GLWA contract allows it to continue water shut-offs, while possibly spreading them throughout the region. It has no true water affordability plan. The GLWA will have the sole authority to increase rates to pay off the $5.2 billion DWSD debt. The debt is expected to skyrocket as board members, in particular from the State of Michigan and Oakland County, bring their contractor cronies on board.”

Rev. David Bullock of Rainbow:PUSH speaks at DAREA prayer breakfast. He said, "We have never lost a battle that we fought; we have never won a battle we didn't fight."

Rev. David Bullock of Rainbow:PUSH speaks at DAREA prayer breakfast. He said, “We have never lost a battle that we fought; we have never won a battle we didn’t fight.”

On June 30, Detroit’s City Council voted 6-2 to reject a water and sewerage rate increase for the City of Detroit June 30, but is now set to reconsider the vote at its next committee of the whole meeting Tues. July 7 at 10 a.m.  At least one Wall Street ratings agency must approve the GLWA contract before it is enacted.

Gary Brown, Vice-Chair of the GLWA and also the City of Detroit’s Chief Operating Officer under Duggan, told the Detroit News the Council’s failure to approve the rate increases may make Wall Street uneasy.

“The lease was signed, but it’s contingent upon bond holders consent,” he said. According to the contract, 51 percent of DWSD bondholders must approve the contract before it is enacted.  At least one Wall Street ratings agency must guarantee that it will not give the GLWA bond ratings lower than those currently in effect for DWSD.

Tom Barrow, former Detroit mayoral candidate and head of Citizens for Detroit’s Future (CFDF), said of the Our Water Our Vote referendum campaign, “This is HUGE.”

Tom Barrow, head of Citizens for Detroit's Future

Tom Barrow, head of Citizens for Detroit’s Future

CFDF has joined the “Coalition to Save Detroit’s Water & Sewerage Department #OurWaterOurVote.” The Detroit City Clerk declared May 28 that Barrow’s organization gathered sufficient valid petition signatures to put an “Election Reform” ordinance on the ballot, which would create an independent, elected city Election Commission.

Other initial endorsers of the OurWaterOurVote campaign include We the People of Detroit,  Moratorium NOW! the Detroit Water Brigade, StandUP Now, the Russell-Woods Sullivan Neighborhood Association, and Baxter’s Beat Back the Bullies Brigade.

Additionally, The Detroit People’s Water Board Coalition said it disagrees with the decision to transfer oversight of the DWSD to the GLWA for reasons including: “(1) the detrimental effect it will have on Detroit residents who continue to bear the burden of infrastructure costs without full system control; (2) the failure by local authorities to implement the 2005 Water Affordability Plan which provides for low income affordable payment plans and conservation efforts; (3) the circumvention of democratic proceedings in the development of the GLWA; (4)  the failure of all parties to protect water as a human right and as a public trust; (5) the continued threat of privatization of Great Lakes water, which should be held in common; and (6) the implicit entitlement  by the GLWA to assume DWSD ownership rights after the Detroit-paid water system was expanded at the request of suburban communities to serve their needs.”

The proposed takeover, which has a drop-dead date of Jan. 1, 2016, will also further endanger the quality of water provided to residents of the six counties. Hundreds of experienced DWSD workers, most of them Detroit residents, have already been laid off, including skilled trades workers. More cutbacks are expected under the GLWA’s plan to prioritize debt payments to the banks before good water service to its customers.

Drivers on Detroit freeway wade to safety Aug. 11, 2014, after massive flooding of roads and homes.

Drivers on Detroit freeway wade to safety Aug. 11, 2014, after massive flooding of roads and homes.

In 2014, DWSD workers reported that that workforce cuts enacted by consultant EMA, which now runs the Wastewater Treatment Plant, caused the massive flooding of metro Detroit freeways and homes Aug. 11 to Aug. 12, leading to three deaths and untold property damage, as well as Toledo, Ohio water emergency that began Aug 3. During the weeks-long crisis, 430,000 residents of that city and parts of southeastern Michigan could not use municipal water to drink, bathe, cook, or wash dishes as it was contaminated with toxic algae and other substances.

Mike Mulholland at informational picket outside DWSD Huber plant. EMA recommended that 81% of the DWSD workforce be cut, and has proceeded to do so.

Mike Mulholland at informational picket outside DWSD Huber plant in 2012. EMA recommended that 81% of the DWSD workforce be cut, and has proceeded to do so.

“They have reduced staffing to a skeleton crew,” AFSCME Local 207 officer Mike Mulholland said at the time.  “Although there was a torrential rain Monday, the sewage pumps already were not working properly due to minimal maintenance. It is EMA’s intention to strip the plant down and run it remotely as much as it can. Instead of 24/7 maintenance, they only check equipment every few days. The pumping stations at the plant, the incinerators, and other equipment are close to catastrophic failure.”

DAREA President Bill Davis retired after 34 years from DWSD, as a WWTP shift supervisor. He said at that time that at least three major WWTP sewage pumps were not operating.

“Monies that should have been allocated to improvements in our infrastructure and helped employ people went to the banks in illegal deals instead,” Davis said then. “That $5 billion going to the banks under the bankruptcy plan should instead be going to the people, to rebuild our system.”

At prayer breakfast, children to whom Detroit water is life: (l to r) Christa Dailey, 7, Alyse Dailey, 8, Amiah Sanders, 11; in rear, Ramona Hall and Tayla Dailey, 10.

At prayer breakfast, children to whom Detroit water is life: (l to r) Christa Dailey, 7, Alyse Dailey, 8, Amiah Sanders, 11; in rear, Ramona Hall and Tayla Dailey, 10.

The Our Water Our Vote referendum is allowed under Public Act 233 of 1955, cited in the first paragraph of the contract between Detroit and the GLWA as the state law which authorizes the contract. PA 233 of 1955, 124.288  Sec. 8(2), says,

“If within the 45-day period [after public newspaper notice] a petition signed by not less than 10% or 15,000, whichever is less, of the registered electors residing within the limits of the municipality is filed with the clerk of the municipality requesting a referendum upon the contract, the contract shall not become effective until approved by the vote of a majority of the qualified electors of the municipality voting on the question at a general or special election.”

The act specifies that the petitions are to be filed with the clerk of the municipality. The Our Water Our Vote campaign is therefore not being conducted under the Detroit City Charter, but under state law.

Click on Referendum language in PA 233 of 1955 to read portion of act related to this campaign. Click on mcl-Act-233-of-1955 for entire act.

One opponent of the effort said he believed it would “go nowhere” because of the bankruptcy ruling. However, while U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Steven Rhodes overruled Michigan’s constitutional  pension protection clauses with regard to Detroit retirees, he did not overrule all other legislation passed in the State of Michigan.

Flier for the Detroit Coalition to Save Detroit's Water & Sewerage Department.

FLIER FOR THE COALITION TO SAVE DETROIT’S WATER & SEWERAGE DEPT. #OurWaterOurVote

Click on BLOW THE GREAT LAKES WATER AUTHORITY OUT OF THE WATER 3 for PDF of front of flier; PDF of Instructions for Circulation is at INSTRUCTIONS FOR CIRCULATING (includes contact information to obtain petitions and turn them in.)

Download a copy of the petition itself by clicking on REFERENDUM ON CITY OF DETROIT CONTRACT PROPOSED BY INITIATIVE PETITION 4. It is permissible to make your own copies of the petition, as long as they are complete.

The Coalition needs to collect a total of 15,000 valid petition signatures within 45 days of public (newspaper) notice of the contract, meaning it must collect at least twice that to allow for invalid signatures. Signers must be Detroit residents who are registered voters. CIRCULATORS DO NOT HAVE TO BE DETROIT  RESIDENTS.

The Coalition’s Facebook Page is at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Coalition-to-Save-Detroits-Water-Sewerage-Department/1443509195955743?fref=ts

Related articles:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/06/16/authority-approves-bankruptcy-theft-of-detroits-water-system-retirees-begin-referendum-campaign/  

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/05/27/detroit-shuts-water-off-again-violating-un-declaration-when-will-city-rise-up/ 

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/05/22/stop-water-shut-offs-now-cancel-detroitwater-debt-ireland-demands-no-water-charges/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/10/26/we-charge-genocide-detroit-water-shut-offs-foreclosures-focus-of-un-visit/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/09/10/detroit-bankruptcy-great-lakes-water-authority-to-steal-largest-asset-of-largest-u-s-black-city-4/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/08/21/near-catastrophic-failure-of-detroit-sewage-pumps-caused-detroit-floods-toledo-water-crisis-city-retirees-say/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/03/02/detroit-long-term-debt-rises-300-in-bankruptcy-retirees-fight-back-with-protest-court-appeals/


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DETROIT COPS KEPT CHASE GOING AFTER 2 CHILDREN HIT, KILLED; THEN 3 OTHERS SERIOUSLY INJURED

Children's great-grandmother Marie Jackson speaks to news at vigil as neighbor hugs children's mother Alisha Jackson.

Makiah and MichaelAngelo’s great-grandmother Marie Jackson speaks to news at candlelight vigil April 26, as Darius Andrews, Sr. father 3-year-old Darius Andrews, Jr., who was injured during chase,  hugs Alisha Jackson, mother of the two children who were killed.

UPDATE: FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS (family Facebook post)

Black angel silhouettesThe WAKE is Wednesday July 1st @ Cantrell Funeral Services 22121 Kelly Road Eastpointe, Michigan, 48021 from 12-8

 The FUNERAL is Thursday July 2nd @ Burns Seventh-Day Adventist Church @ 10129 E. Warren Ave Detroit, Michigan 48214, family hour 10 services at 11

R.I.P. MICHAELANGELO & MAKIAH YOU ARE MISSED

“The police were right on their rear, bumped their tail a little bit, and the car flew up into the air . . . .When the car hit them, both of them just looked at me—it keeps re-playing in my head” — Eyewitness 

Police continued chase after 2 children killed into next block, where three others sustained serious injuries 

Candlelight vigil held June 25

DPD Chief Craig changes story at least 3 times 

GoFundMe account set up to fund funerals of  Makiah Jackson, 3, and Michaelangelo Jackson, 6, at http://www.gofundme.com/m-mcare

#PoliceBrutality  #StopPoliceChases  #JusticeforMakiahMichaelangelo

#policeviolence #blacklivesmatter #blacklivesmatterDetroit

#policechase #pursuit #saveourchildren #thisstopstoday #MMCare

By Diane Bukowski 

June 26, 2015 

Makiah Jackson, 3

Michaelangelo Jackson, 6

Michaelangelo Jackson, 6

DETROIT – “I told L’il Mama ‘give me a hug, I love you,’ and she said, ‘I love you too,” a friend of Alisha Jackson’s family told VOD two days after Makiah Jackson (L’il Mama), 3, and her brother Michaelangelo Jackson, 6, were killed June 24, in front of their home on Nottingham during a high-speed Detroit police chase.

“I’m the last one they talked to,” she said, as she sat on the family’s porch. “They looked at me, they were here, I saw their faces. L’il Mama thought I was going to take them to the park, so she came with me to the sidewalk. I told her I promise I’ll take you to the park tomorrow.”

In the next seconds, she said she saw a police car chasing what looked like a red Challenger.

“[The police] were right on their rear, the police car bumped their tail a little bit, and the car flew up in the air,” the friend said. “There was no need for the police to be that close. I yelled ‘WATCH OUT’ but it was too late. When the car hit them, both of them just looked at me. They screamed. It just keeps re-playing in my head.”

(L to r) The children's great-grandmother Marie Jackson, grandmother Nicole Jackson, and uncles Delvontie and Justin Thompson at memorial set up in front of Jackson home on Nottingham.

(L to r) The children’s great-grandmother Marie Jackson, grandmother Nicole Jackson, and uncles Delvontie and Justin Thompson at memorial set up in front of Jackson home on Nottingham. Children were playing in this front yard when they were killed.

She said she heard tire squeals indicating the car must have hit its brakes, but it was out of control and going too fast to stop. The police “tap” of the bumper, according to a report on a similar chase down 1-75, is what’s called a “precision immobilization technique,” or TIP.

“I ran down there, I yelled out their names, but they were gone. Makiah’s eyes were wide open, they died on impact.”

Lighting candles for 5 children killed and injured during police chase.

Lighting candles at vigil for 5 children killed and injured during police chase.

It appeared the car dragged the children part way down the street, the friend said. But the police car did not stop the chase even then. They continued until the car being chased ran across the front lawns of homes in the next block, and crashed into the driveway of one, hitting children and adults there as well. Then police finally put the Jackson children in their car to take them to the hospital.

Three children at the second home, Darius Andrews, Jr., 3, Isaiah Williams, 5, and Zyaire Gardner, 7, were critically injured. Gardner was flown to a hospital in Ann Arbor because his lungs had collapsed, according to media reports quoting his father.

A passenger in the car being pursued was in serious condition, and an adult, LaKendra Hill, 22, in the yard sustained injuries to her leg. A relative told VOD that she had been released from the hospital but went back the next day because her leg was still bothering her.

“(Zyaire) is the real hero,” Darius Andrews Sr. told the Detroit News. “He saved my son’s life. He grabbed him and tried to hold him.”

Children seriously injured at second house:

Children seriously injured at second house: Darius Andrews, Jr. 3, Isaiah Williams, 5, Zyaire Gardner, 7

As he ran down the street to a candlelight vigil being held for both families, Andrews, Sr. shouted out to VOD, “I say, Detroit police, when they see children on the street, stop your goddamn chase.”

Police reported that Lorenzo Harris, 29, who is on parole but has not been reporting, was the driver of the car being chased. They have not identified his passenger, or reported what charges they plan to bring.

Detroit police chief James Craig’s version of events keeps changing. On the night of the pursuit, he said that the three “Special Ops” police in the car had suspended their chase when they “lost sight of the car.” After numerous witnesses reported that was not the case, Craig said a supervisor had ordered them to stop the chase, but that has not been documented.

Family, neighbors console Alisha Jackson, being hugged by woman in blue-checked shirt, at vigil.

Family, neighbors console Alisha Jackson, being hugged by woman in blue-checked shirt, at vigil.

Craig said at first that the chase began when police saw an occupant in the car with a gun, then said June 25 that there was no gun, that the chase started when the police “made eye contact” with the two men in the car.

Evangelist Kim Stephenson organized the candlelight vigil, which included members of both families and neighborhood residents, many of them in tears. One young man collapsed to the ground in grief.

Mourner at vigil is comforted after he collapses to ground.

Mourner at vigil is comforted after he collapses to ground.

“We want no more chases,” Evangelist Stephenson told the families. “We’re going to fight back. You aren’t going to fight these battles no more by yourself. We are coming together to help both these families heal.”

Candice Paschall asked VOD, “Isn’t it against the law for them to pursue their chase when children are there? They need to enforce that. There’s no telling how many innocent bystanders are getting hurt and dying. It’s about the kids, not the police and the people they’re chasing. This is getting out of hand.”

In fact, DPD policy says,

“Members involved in a pursuit must question whether the seriousness of the violation warrants continuation of the pursuit. A pursuit shall be discontinued when, in the judgment of the primary unit, there is a clear and present danger to the public which outweighs the need for immediate apprehension of the violator.

Officers must keep in mind that a vehicle pursuit has the same potential for serious injury or death as the use of fatal force. . . .Officers must place the protection of human life above all other considerations.”

 (See full policy at dpd-vehicle-pursuit-policy)

Neighborhood kids remember police chase victims with candles.

Neighborhood kids remember police chase victims with candles.

VOD has requested the following information, among other items, from the Detroit Police Department Public Affairs Unit, whose Officer Donkowski said an investigation is ongoing:

  • The NAMES of the three officers involved in the chase. Are they on “restricted” duties” or “administrative leave,” as variously reported?
  • Are criminal charges and disciplinary action including discharge being considered?
  • Why is Police Chief Craig giving so many varying stories of the events?
Mother holds her child's hand tightly during vigil. Is it safe for Detroit's little children to be on the streets in front of their own homes?

Mother holds her child’s hand tightly during vigil. Is it safe for Detroit’s little children to be on the streets in front of their own homes?

No response had been received by publication time, so VOD will be filing a Freedom of Information Act request for that and other information.

VOD also sent a request to Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s office July 1, asking whether she will pursue charges against the three police officers who conducted the chase. The Michigan Supreme Court held in Robinson et al v. City of Detroit in 1998 that officers are not liable for chases unless the conduct amounts to gross negligence that is the proximate cause of injury or damage.”

An article in the Sept. 2000 issue of the Law Enforcement Agency Forum newsletter added that the Supreme Court ruled against Robinson because “The police vehicle did not hit the fleeing car or physically cause another vehicle or object to hit the vehicle that police were pursuing or physically force the vehicle off the road or into another vehicle or object. Therefore, there was no exception to governmental immunity.”

See VOD email to Worthy at VOD Email to Maria Miller of Prosecutor Kym Worthy office and LEAF newsletter article on Robinson case at police_operation_vehicles_9_00.

On June 24, Michigan State Police spun out a suspect’s vehicle on the westbound Davison ramp off I-75 after a dangerous 15 minute high-speed chase on the freeway.

Car from chase on Nottingham, where it ended on the block after where the Jackson home is located.

Car from chase on Nottingham, where it ended on the block after where the Jackson home is located.

On the Channel 7 news report, Lt. Michael Shaw of the Michigan State Police said,  “Troopers use the Precision Immobilization Technique or Pit Maneuver. Basically what that is we make contact with the front end of our patrol car with the back end of our car. It makes it easier for them to lose control of their car without putting anyone else in danger.” Ironically, the police chase began not far from the neighborhood where the Jacksons live, on French Road. See Channel 7 report at http://www.wxyz.com/news/video-police-spin-suspect-vehicle-in-dramatic-freeway-chase.

The PIT maneuver sounds precisely similar to that reported in the chase that killed little Makiah and Michaelangelo.

The family of Mikiah and Michaelangelo Jackson has set up a GoFundMe account to help with their funeral expenses, which they said they cannot afford. Click on http://www.gofundme.com/m-mcare to access the site.


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BRUSH PARK HISTORIC AREA — CAN WE TRUST THOSE WHO WRECKED IT TO RESTORE IT?

Fire in Brush Park

Homes of Black Brush Park residents burn in previous years.

Brush Park plan rendition

Plan for new Brush Park, controlled by Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate

Duggan has no right under state law to order Brush Park Plan

State and city bureaucrats destroyed BLACK Brush Park:

Historic homes and enterprises demolished, set on fire

At least 800 residents left homeless, with no relocation funds

By Ron Seigel

June 25, 2015

Cronies Detroit "Mayor" Mike Duggan and billionaire developer Dan Gilbert.

Detroit “Mayor” Mike Duggan, billionaire developer Dan Gilbert.

A few weeks ago Detroit Mayor Mike  Duggan held a well-publicized press conference about  an urban renewal project he claims will restore the historic Detroit area of Brush Park. That project is dominated by multi-billionaire Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate.

The problem is that it is against the law for the Mayor or any  city department to approve such a plan.  Any city council member who votes for the plan or for that matter any urban  renewal plans in any  area whatsoever will  be breaking the law.

State Act 344 Section (a)(6) states “A local commission,  public agency, [such as a city]] or legislative body of any municipality shall not approve any development unless there has been consultation between…the officials responsible for the development” and the citizens district council  (CDC) representing residents and  businesses in the area where the development is taking place.

Detroit's former EM Kevyn Orr with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder at side announces plan for bankruptcy which has destroyed Detroit, on July 19, 2013.

Detroit’s former EM Kevyn Orr with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder at side announces plan for bankruptcy which has destroyed Detroit, on July 19, 2013. Orr abolished CDC’s on Sept. 22, 2014.

This is impossible, because in his closing days as Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr, appointed by Governor Rick Snyder, abolished all CDCs.

Neither Orr nor the Snyder Administration had any legal right to do so.

It may be  arguable that under the  recent legislation rammed through by Snyder’s Republican Party,  Orr did have the authority to repeal every law in the  City of Detroit whenever he wanted to.   However, citizen district councils were established under state law.  Orr, as a creature of state government, had no more legal power to interfere with state laws than his boss Governor Snyder has to shut down the state legislature. One might ponder whether the former emergency manager and the governor behind him need a lesson in high school civics.

A more compelling question is whether they have something they are desperately trying to hide.

Orr’s spokesperson, Bill Nowling, justified Orr’s actions by saying “It was felt CDCs represented an unnecessary level of bureaucracy that was hindering future development by revitalization efforts.”

Gwen Mingo, formerly chair of Brush Park CDC, talks with Jimmy Cole at Call 'Em 'Out dinner Feb. 25, 2012.

Gwen Mingo (r), formerly chair of Brush Park CDC, talks with Jimmy Cole at Call ‘Em ‘Out dinner Feb. 25, 2012.

Actually citizen district councils had no power to stop or even delay any development whatsoever.  The law set them up as an advisory body so those in the area have a chance to voice their concerns about what the government was doing to their area.

They could in no way be considered a bureaucracy.

What probably frightened Orr and Snyder was that CDC’s could occasionally try to use  the influence of private  citizens with their elected representatives to prevent the real bureaucrats, the ones in government, from doing whatever they wanted whenever  they wanted.  Perhaps most frightening of all, under state law the private citizens had the right to know what the bureaucrats were doing.

Historically in past urban renewal projects it was the state and city bureaucrats which ruined Brush Park. As Father Norman Thomas, Pastor of the nearby Sacred Heart Church, said,  “It’s the most terrible thing I’ve ever seen.”

The government bureaucrats committed illegalities all along the way.  The Brush Park CDC’s asked for an investigation by a federal grand jury.  It seems clear why the bureaucrats may not want them around.  Looking at the  record:

STATE OFFICIALS DESTROYED THE AREA’S BUSINESSES

Paradise Theater in Paradise Valley.

Paradise Theater in Paradise Valley.

Several decades ago Brush Park had a prosperous business district  on Hastings Street and a popular entertainment district called Paradise Valley.  The owners just happened to be Black.

“It was a high period of Black culture,” Dorothy Robinson, a playwright and the owner of a theatrical  group, said regarding the area’s entertainment district. “There would always be excitement and a variety  of things going on. ”

She added, “When we had anything, white people came to see it.  They were not so prejudiced that they did not enjoy Black entertainment.” State officials just  happened to build the Chrysler Expressway (I-75) right in the middle of the Black business area.

455 Alfred

455 Alfred as it looks today. Formerly residence of Douglas Fuller.

In an interview 10 years ago William Worden, then Director of the Detroit Historic Advisory Board, stated, “The  common view is that  this was not done inadvertently.”

Douglas Fuller,  a lifelong Brush Park resident,  said, “The kids don’t know the pride we had or how it felt.  There is no more evidence of where we came from or what we did here.”

The businessmen authorized to  “revitalize” Brush Park are not the ones who were displaced, but a new group of outsiders.

The Orr-Snyder Machine may call this free enterprise,  but it seems more like free loading.

BUREAUCRATS ILLEGALLY DESTROYED HISTORIC BUILDINGS

City Cab registered logo for historic Black-owned Detroit cab company.

City Cab registered logo for historic Black-owned Detroit cab company.

While city bureaucrats may talk of restoring city buildings, it was the bureaucrats who were responsible for illegally destroying them.  Some were private houses. Some had significance in Black history, like the original stand for the first African-American taxi cab company in Detroit, and buildings  in the entertainment district.   They also destroyed one building that once belonged to the infamous Purple Gang.

On hearing about this, one man quipped,”They don’t even have respect for fellow gangsters.”

In 2003  state bureaucrats joined in the demolition with funds from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality  (MDEQ) under the pretext of its Clean Energy  Program.

The  Brush Park CDC  wrote to  MDEQ, “It is criminal, outrageous, and an abomination to demolish these  properties.”

Former Mich. Gov. Jennifer Granholm lays down the EM law in State of the State address.

Former Mich. Gov. Jennifer Granholm lays down the first  EM law in State of the State address.

At a time when so many neighborhoods were pleading in vain for the demolition of vacant houses that they considered eyesores or positively dangerous, why were taxpayer  dollars being used to demolish houses in the one area where residents wanted them to stay?

When spokespersons for state  and city officials were asked about this, they promptly passed responsibility to those on other  levels.  Liz Boyd,  spokesperson for former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, said this was a matter for  the MDEQ.

MDEQ spokesperson Patricia  Spetzley stated, “The City of  Detroit prioritizes what is torn down with state tax dollars.  The residents should go to the Mayor. ” Ironically, professed  concern from the Granholm administration  about  cities setting priorities did not prevent Granholm a few years  later from advocating that state appointed managers of local  governmental bodies be given powers  beyond financial issues and control all policies  — paving the way for the  reign of Kevyn Orr.

Call 'em Out Sambo award was presented to Kwame Kilpatrick.

Call ’em Out Sambo award was presented to Kwame Kilpatrick.

Just as ironically the spokesperson for Detroit’s mayor, then Kwame Kilpatrick, indicated that it might not be any use for residents to go to his boss.  Kilpatrick’s spokesperson Howard Hughey said the Mayor did not care to know where state environmental funds were going, but was leaving these things up to the city’s  Planning and Development Department (P&DD).

Hughey declared,  “It’s not a mayoral issue, but a P&DD issue.  The P&DD submits their plan for making the city cleaner.  The Mayor has perfect confidence in those he put in leadership positions.  It doesn’t go from the top down, but from the bottom up.”

This left voters who put Kilpatrick in office below  the bottom level with no place to  go.

When P&DD press secretary Lona Reeves was interviewed,  she promised  to look up the position of her department,  but  failed to call  back.  Actually appropriate officials substantiated the Brush Park CDC statement that the demolition of historically designated houses was  criminal.

William Worden today.

William Worden today/Facebook

Worden from  the Historic District Commission, said before  a historic building can be torn down, the commission had to hold a  hearing and grant a permit. The city’s own Historic District Ordinance said a private owner who did not follow such procedures would be subject to fines and imprisonment.

The  Detroit City Planning  Commission under the Detroit City Council said this violated federal law, Section 100 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

The Brush Park  CDC sent resolutions charging the  city with “perpetrating fraud for failing to carry out objectives listed in its own urban renewal plan to preserve historic buildings.”  It called for a criminal investigation over their use of funds.

In its 2003 letter to the MDEQ, the CDC speculated on  the reason for this historic vandalism of Detroit’s history. It said that if the historic buildings were preserved, as the law specified, developers could not take the land. With the buildings out of the way, the developers could  get the land “at low cost or no cost.”  In short, the taxes paid for such illegal  demolition  was assisting “rich developers” in “destroying a historic district.”

Looking at what the city and state bureaucrats have done to historic buildings, how much faith can we have  that the ones under Duggan and Snyder will preserve anything?

BUREACRATS TOOK BRUSH PARK RESIDENTS’ HOMES

Even more compelling, state and city bureaucrats took  people’s homes away.

Gwen Mingo lives in her Brush Park home to this day, despite terror tactics that drove most of her neighbors out.

Gwen Mingo lives in her Brush Park home to this day, despite terror tactics that drove most of her neighbors out.

Gwen Mingo, former head of  the Brush Park CDC, said,   “They tried to kill you from the inside just like they tried to destroy the  buildings . They threw the people out, smashing them to the ground like a piece of trash.”

Originally the stated legal purpose of urban renewal was to clear away slums and to “provide a decent home for every American family.”   It expanded to allow government to seize the property of the poor and middle class in order to bring in big  business and richer folks under a sociological process called  “gentrification. ”  This moved people into slums and created greater homelessness for many American families.

Homeless.

Homeless.

Jackie  Green  declared, “We became homeless for  a long time.  You had to sleep here and there in vacant houses.”

In this case too there have been violations of the law. Urban renewal programs have received federal funding from  the U.S. Department of  Housing and Urban Development (HUD ).  Part of the legal mission of HUD is to “address the challenge of homelessness,” and that would mean not creating homelessness. Another part of the legal purpose is   “to move people from renting to home ownership.” HUD-funded urban renewal  has moved people out of the homes they own into a place they can rent, if they can find one.

BLATANT RACIAL DISCRIMINATION

There have been other  violations. Continue reading


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WARRIOR AFSCME LOCAL 207 PRESIDENT JOHN RIEHL DIES AFTER LIFETIME OF STRUGGLE FOR THE PEOPLE

Heroic Detroit Wastewater Treatment Plant workers strike Sept. 30, 2012.

Heroic Detroit Wastewater Treatment Plant workers wildat strike Sept. 30, 2012: THE BATTLE FOR DETROIT BEGINS NOW!  John Riehl and Local 207 leaders had built for this strike for months, foreseeing what was to come if the people did not rise up in a general strike. Now, under the dictatorial emergency manager and illegal bankruptcy, Detroiters have lost their city, at least for now, including its most valuable asset, the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department. DWSD was the third largest municipal water and sewerage facility in the country, covering six counties and 137 communities. Local 207 was its largest local union.

 LABOR HERO DEVOTED HIS LIFE TO THE PEOPLE’S STRUGGLE, TO THE WORKERS AND RESIDENTS OF THE CITY OF DETROIT

HE WILL BE SORELY MISSED, BUT HIS LEGACY LIVES ON

Release from:

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO

AFSCME Local 207, Public Utility Employees of The City of Detroit, Michigan District Council 25

#BeatBackthebullies;  ;  

; !;

#‎StandUpNow;

June 22, 2015

John Riehl, Local 207 President, at funeral for another militant union leader, Leamon Wilson, Pres. of AFSCME Local 312, D-DOT Mechanics, on April 15, 2015. Leamon was only 55. John also lost his life too early, fighting for the people.

John Riehl, Local 207 President, at funeral for another militant union leader, Leamon Wilson, Pres. of AFSCME Local 312, D-DOT Mechanics, on April 15, 2015. Leamon was only 55. John also lost his life too early, fighting for the people.

John Riehl, president of AFSCME Local 207 from 2000-2012 has died. Detroit and the labor movement has lost a great and uncommon leader.

John worked at the Detroit Wastewater Treatment Plant for 34 years under difficult and dangerous conditions. During most of that time he served as an elected union steward for AFSCME Local 207 which represented Detroit Water& Sewerage Department workers.

He headed the rank & file militant caucus City Workers for Justice (CWJ). He helped lead countless fights both inside and outside the union for the rights of workers, Detroiters and the oppressed in our society. He helped make Local 207 a symbol of labor’s fight for civil rights.

He served as the elected President of AFSCME Local 207 from 2001 through 2012.

During that time John steadfastly stood against the tide of concessions being demanded of Detroit’s public workers, even if it meant being the only union president to do so. City workers always knew that John could be trusted to defend them when no one else would. John laughed when the press sometimes referred to him as a “union boss.” His members knew him as their elected and accountable leader who administered their union democratically and with integrity. Based on this reputation he was later elected to represent all city employees on the Detroit General Pension Board.

WWTP workers guard back of plant during strike.

Facing an imminent takeover of Detroit by the Emergency Manager, John led a strike of Local 207 in the fall of 2012, openly defying a federal court order and threats of arrest. When no one else would fight, John would.

John was a supporter of the civil rights organization Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN).  Below is a Face Book posting by a leader of BAMN.

“RIP John Riehl: socialist, champion of working class and oppressed people, former proud “union boss” and president of Detroit sewage workers, head of City Workers for Justice, loved and admired by so many people for your courage, strengths, and very human weaknesses. You taught us that the measure of a person isn’t only what side they’re on, but the actions they take on behalf of their side to win. Never to be mistaken for a liberal, you were a true militant who stood by and acted on your principles. You made a huge impression on everyone who ever met you and for those fortunate enough to call you friend. Your light went out too soon. I am honored to have called you comrade and one of my personal inspirations and heroes. You will be dearly missed.”

Local 207's signs were prominent at every city union action.

Local 207’s signs were prominent at every city union action.

Funeral Arrangements for John Riehl, former president AFSCME Local 207

Riehl consults with local union members including Local 207 VP Lakita Thomas during protest Aug. 2, 2012.

Riehl consults with local union members including Local 207 VP Lakita Thomas during protest Aug. 2, 2012. When John spoke at City Council meetings and rallies, he never gave long rhetorical speeches. He spoke like a worker, in short militant sentences. It was obvious that his experience representing individual workers over the years had given him a deep understanding of their concerns.

Desmond & Sons Funeral Home 32515 Woodward Ave. Royal Oak, MI 48073

VIEWING: Tuesday, June 23  10m – 8pm  

SERVICES: Wed., June 24 10am

Expressions of Condolences can be mailed to:

C/O Mrs. Pattie Riehl @ above funeral home address.

 

Please keep the Riehl family in your prayers.


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