THE FIGHT FOR DETROIT

 

"Fascist:" Snyder on his way into Benton Harbor, the first victim of Public Act 4, on May 7, 2011. Hundreds protested.
“Fascist:” Snyder on his way into Benton Harbor, the first victim of Public Act 4, on May 7, 2011. Hundreds protested.

 

 

By Anthony Williams

(Williams video of DAC protest v. Snyder,story above)

Thanks to Mr. Williams for the pingback to provide his story to VOD. Please patronize his website at http://www.3angelswatch.com.

March 10, 2013

http://www.3angelswatch.com/the-fight-for-detroit/ 

Protester at DAC March 8, 2013, as Snyder speaks inside.

Protester at DAC March 8, 2013, as Snyder speaks inside.

Many citizens of the city of Detroit are against having an emergency financial manager that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder decided to appoint after a response to a scathing report on the city’s finances from a “Financial Review Team” (FRT) appointed by Snyder, which concluded the city’s Black leaders cannot run Detroit. According to Voice of Detroit.

According to the Michigan Chronicle, The fight is not nearly over for EFM opponents who rallied on Friday, Mar. 8 outside the Detroit Athletic Club where Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was speaking inside.

Rev. David Bullock of Ranibow PUSH spaeks with other pastors including Rev. Charles Williams II (at his left) and Rev. Edward Pinkney (far right) during protest outside Snyder;s house MLK Day, 2012.

Rev. David Bullock of Ranibow PUSH spaeks with other pastors including Rev. Charles Williams II of NAN (at his left), Rev.Charles Williams Sr. (top) and Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor(far right) during protest outside Snyder;s mansion MLK Day, 2012.

Members of the National Action Network and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, whose local leaders said Gov. Rick Snyder’s decision to appoint an emergency financial manager represents a blow to civil rights and voting rights of African Americans in the nation’s largest city with a black majority, according to Detroit Free Press, led the protest.

“According to the Daily Press, the city of Detroit is citing a $14 billion mountain of debt, $327 million budget deficit and other issues, a state-appointed review team submitted a report to last month to Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.

City councilwoman Joann Watson said,” Many people here have their lives connected to the blood of the city, and they will never say die.”

Councilwoman JoAnn Watson at session March 4, 2013.

Councilwoman JoAnn Watson at session March 4, 2013.

At the rally, mayoral candidates Krystal Crittendon, the city’s former Corporation Counsel, and Tom Barrow, an accountant and financial expert, stressed that even under Public Act 72, there is no legitimate financial or legal reason for the takeover. According to Voice of Detroit

Crittendon earlier sued the state to void the Consent Agreement, saying “the state of Michigan owes Detroit over $300 million, including $224 million in revenue-sharing dollars.” The state itself is currently running a large surplus but has refused to provide financial help to Detroit, even withholding most of a $137 million state loan the city took out in April, to force the city to agree to Treasurer Dillon’s conditions. According to Voice of Detroit.

Detroit community leaders and residents have called on U. S. President Barack Obama and the entire nation to join them in their battle. They blockaded a city freeway March 7, stressing the need to affect commerce, and have been rallying throughout the city. They say they plan to educate and organize the city’s people, particularly the youth, by taking the battle to its neighborhoods, According to Voice of Detroit.


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

KILLER COP WEEKLEY TO STAND TRIAL FOR KILLING AIYANA JONES, 7. BUT FAMILY SAYS JUSTICE STILL DENIED

 

Aiyana Jones; aunt Krystal Jones (r) weeps as the child's grandmother Mertilla Jones (in hoodie) speaks at rally outside Frank Murphy Hall March 8, 2013. Other family members are (in front of Mertilla, Aiyana's mother Dominika, and (rear) Aunt  Dee Dee Williams and grandfather Jimmie Stanley. At left are Aaron Petkov and Ron Scott.
Aiyana Jones; aunt Krystal Jones (r) weeps as the child’s grandmother Mertilla Jones (in hoodie) speaks at rally outside Frank Murphy Hall March 8, 2013. Other family members are (in front of Mertilla, Aiyana’s mother Dominika, and (rear) Aunt Dee Dee Williams and grandfather Jimmie Stanley. At left are Aaron Petkov and Ron Scott.

 

By Diane Bukowski 

March 9, 2013 

DETROIT – The family of Aiyana Jones said after a hearing March 8 that while they are glad Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway refused to dismiss charges against Detroit police officer Joseph Weekley for killing the 7-year-old child, justice has not been served. 

Charles Jones with his only daughter Aiyana Jones before she was killed by Detroit cop.

Charles Jones with his only daughter Aiyana Jones before she was killed by Detroit cop.

“Because he has a police badge he can walk free and go home to his children,” Aiyana’s grandmother  Mertilla Jones. “But my sons Charles and Norbert are in jail for crimes they did not commit, and two of my sisters have died from the effects of grief since Aiyana was killed. Charles has been locked up for two years and can’t see his six little sons, and they miss him.  Every time we come to court for hearings we have problems getting in the courtroom and are abused by the police.”

Weekley, of Grosse Pointe, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless use of a firearm in the death of the little girl. He was the lead man in a military-style raid on the little girl’s home. One cop threw a “flash-bang” grenade through the front window of the flat on Detroit’s east side  shortly after midnight May 16, 2010.  Seconds later, Weekley stepped inside the door and shot Aiyana in the top of the head as cameras from A & E’s “First 48” reality show rolled. The little girl was sleeping with her grandmother on the couch in front of the window. 

Charles Weekley as "Brain" on previous A $ E Show Detroit SWAT.

Charles Weekley as “Brain” on previous A $ E Show Detroit SWAT.

Weekley, who starred as “Brain” on The First 48, was earlier involved in another case where he shot two family pets to death in front of young children during a similar invasion.

During the hearing on a defense motion to dismiss charges for lack of sufficient evidence, Judge Gray Hathaway said she said read thousands of pages of documents related to the case. She said they were not decisive for either side, and set a jury trial, which is listed with dates of both April 8 and May 29, 2013 on the court’s website.  

She also ruled that the jury could watch an actual demonstration of the use of a “flash-bang” grenade during trial proceedings. Weekley’s defense attorney Stephen Fishman has said that Weekley was disoriented when the grenade went off.

Protesters marched in front of courthouse before press conference. Aiyana's aunt Krystal Jones is at front.

Protesters marched in front of courthouse before press conference. Aiyana’s aunt Krystal Jones is at front.

This was the Weekley’s eighth pre-trial hearing since Nov. 2011. Judge Gray Hathaway has said repeatedly in court that Weekley’s case is tied not to that of his previous co-defendant, A & E producer Allison Howard, but to that of Charles Jones, Aiyana’s father.  She said  she is waiting for Jones and his sister’s fiancé Chauncey Owens to be tried before Aiyana’s admitted killer goes to trial. 

Jailhouse snitch Jay Schlenkerman, a six-time felon and woman beater, testifes against Charles Jones at preliminary exam last year.

Jailhouse snitch Jay Schlenkerman, a six-time felon and woman beater, testifes against Charles Jones at preliminary exam last year.

Jones was charged with first-degree murder one and a half years after a separate incident during which JeRean Blake, 17, was killed, two days before police stormed the Jones home. Police leaked Jones’ name to the daily media within a week of Aiyana’s death, claiming he gave the gun to the shooter in the Blake case. They were evidently trying to  justify the invasion of the Jones home, for which they did not have a warrant. But court records show that no one except “jail-house snitch” Jay Schlenkerman has confirmed that.

Jones’ next pretrial hearing is set for April 29, 2013. Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Richard Skutt has rescheduled that hearing several times, after barring Schlenkerman’s hearsay testimony against Jones. An appeals court overturned Judge Skutt’s ruling, and the State Supreme Court has not yet decided whether they will hear Jones’ appeal of that opinion. 

Aiyana's grandmother Mertilla Jones weeps as she shows the child's photo after earlier hearing Oct. 29, 2012.

Aiyana’s grandmother Mertilla Jones weeps as she shows the child’s photo after earlier hearing Oct. 29, 2012.

The brief hearing March 8 was disrupted outside the courtroom by cries of grief and anger from family members who were not allowed inside, including Aiyana’s aunts Krystal Jones and Dee-Dee Williams, and her grandfather Jimmie Stanley. At least eight deputy sheriffs came to the courtroom to keep them out, and later packed the freight elevator with them as they left.

For the first time, many of the seats in the courtroom were occupied by uniformed police officers. There was sufficient seating for family members left outside. This reporter was threatened with expulsion after bringing that to the attention of the sheriffs. 

 “You did not see my niece’s brains all over the porch,” Krystal Jones wept during an impromptu press conference and rally outside the court afterwards. “My brother has been locked up for over two years. He’s not even allowed to grieve for his only daughter. They refused to give him medication to help him sleep until we insisted.”

Asst. Prosecutor Robert Moran is prosecuting both Weekley and Charles Jones.

Asst. Prosecutor Robert Moran is prosecuting both Weekley and Charles Jones.

Mertilla Jones said the family still objects to the fact that Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Moran is prosecuting both Weekley and Charles Jones. Previous hearings 

Members of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) and the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, Inc. helped the family organize the turn-out. 

Noting that one Black person is killed by law enforcement officials every 36 hours in the U.S., according to a recent study, Aaron Petkov called for justice for the Jones family and put their extraordinary ordeal into a broader contect. 

“Police harass and terrorize Black communities–often in the name of a war on drugs-a senseless campaign that not only systematizes racial profiling, but stupidly wastes resources on imprisoning young Black men,” Petkov, of the ISO, said. “Those resources could be put into schools, healthcare, after school programs, local employment, rehabilitation centers, and so on.” 

He said the real criminals laying waste to Detroit and calling for an emergency manager are Wall Street banks and corporations.

Artrell Dickerson

Artrell Dickerson

Killer cop Kata-Ante Taylor.

Killer cop Kata-Ante Taylor.

Ron Scott of the Coalition against Police Brutality said that not only Weekley, but the entire police team which raided the Jones home, along with those in command, should be charged with murder. The cop who ran the little girl’s body out of the house before family members could hold her in her dying moments was Kata-Ante Taylor, who shot 18-year-old Artrell Dickerson to death in an incident outside the Cantrell Funeral Home in 2007. Witnesses at the scene said that Taylor shot him in the back twice, as Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s office confirmed. But the witnesses told this reporter that Taylor shot Dickerson in the back as he lay on the ground, already wounded.

Aiyana Jones' family and supporters demand justice for the little girl and her father Charles Jones outside the Frank Murphy Hall after hearing March 8, 2013,

Aiyana Jones’ family and supporters demand justice for the little girl and her father Charles Jones outside the Frank Murphy Hall after hearing March 8, 2013,


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WAR DECLARED ON BLACK DETROIT; NEXT PROTEST SUN. MARCH 10, 12 NOON DTE

 

On March 7, dozens of Detroiters conducted a blockade of southbound !-75 beginning at Eight Mile. Here they are stopped by state troopers close to downtown, pulled over and ticketed, but their point was made. SAY NO TO AN EFM! INTERRUPT COMMERCE!

On March 7, dozens of Detroiters conducted a blockade of southbound !-75 beginning at Eight Mile. Here they are stopped by state troopers close to downtown, pulled over and ticketed, but their point was made. SAY NO TO AN EFM! INTERRUPT COMMERCE!

 

State Governor Snyder to appoint emergency manager next week

Residents fight back, call on nation for support 

By Diane Bukowski 

March 8, 2013  

State cops pull cars protesting EFM over near downtown March 7, 2013.

State cops pull cars protesting EFM over near downtown March 7, 2013.

DETROIT – Detroit, the world’s largest Black-majority city outside of Africa, is battling for its right to self-determination and home rule. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced March 1 that he will appoint an “emergency financial manager” (EFM) to take control of the city’s assets, land, finances, services, workers, and residents. 

Sources say the appointment will come in the latter part of next week. 

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder

Snyder called his action a move for “a bright and shiny new future” for the city. It was a response to a scathing report on the city’s finances from a “Financial Review Team” (FRT) appointed by Snyder, which concluded the city’s Black leaders cannot run Detroit. The team represented corporations such as Miller Buckfire, now part of Stifel Financial, and Pricewaterhousecoopers, which face lawsuits for fraud across the nation and the globe. 

“Detroit of all cities,” City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson said at a public hearing March 6. “Detroit is the center for Black national pride, the home of the Nation of Islam, and the Shrine of the Black Madonna. Many people here have their lives connected to the blood of the city, and they will never say die.” 

Detroit, the birthplace of the Nation of Islam in 1930, needs its own Million Men, Women and Children March. Shown here, the NOI's Mllion Man March Oct. 16, 1995.

Detroit, the birthplace of the Nation of Islam in 1930, needs its own Million Men, Women and Children March. Shown here, the NOI’s Mllion Man March Oct. 16, 1995.

The Detroit City Council voted March 6 to appeal Snyder’s declaration, at a hearing conducted by Snyder or his designate, to take place March 11 in the state’s capital, Lansing. Detroit Mayor Dave Bing refused to join them. 

If the Council loses, it can appeal to the circuit court. However, the body’s majority has colluded with both Snyder and State Treasurer Andy Dillon since 2012, meeting with them in secret in Detroit and Lansing. They passed a draconian “consent agreement” last April that gave the power of the city’s elected leaders to a “Financial Advisory Board” and Snyder-appointed officials, agreed eventually to turn over many city assets including the fabled Belle Isle, and trashed union contracts. 

NO EFM blockade reaches Davison Freeway March 7, 2013,

NO EFM blockade reaches Davison Freeway March 7, 2013,

Detroit community leaders and residents have called on U. S. President Barack Obama and the entire nation to join them in their battle.  They blockaded a city freeway March 7, stressing the need to affect commerce, and have been rallying throughout the city.  They say they plan to educate and organize the city’s people, particularly the youth, by taking the battle to its neighborhoods.

Rev. David Bullock of Rainbow PUSH calls on Pres. Obama and AG Holder to intervene to save Detroit outside-federal offices March 7 2013.

Rev. David Bullock of Rainbow PUSH calls on Pres. Obama and AG Holder to intervene to save Detroit outside-federal offices March 7 2013.

“Detroit is Ground Zero,” said the Rev. David Bullock of Rainbow PUSH at a rally outside the Detroit offices of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at the conclusion of the freeway blockade. “If they get away with this attack here, they will come to the rest of the nation’s Black cities.” 

Snyder has appointed emergency managers almost exclusively in Michigan’s majority-Black cities. Rainbow PUSH and the National Action Network are calling on Holder to investigate whether the governor’s actions violate the National Voting Rights Act. An earlier appeal to Holder by U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit), made in Dec. 2011, was ignored. 

Councilwomen Brenda Jones and JoAnn Watson at NO EFM rally March 6, 2013, Councilman Kwame Kenyatta was ill.

Councilwomen Brenda Jones and JoAnn Watson at NO EFM rally March 6, 2013, Councilman Kwame Kenyatta was ill.

Snyder appointed the FRT under the provisions of Public Act 72, which the state’s website says is “repealed” and “outdated,” after Michigan voters overwhelmingly repealed the hated Public Act 4 at the polls in November. 

 “There exists irrefutable evidence that EFM’s imposed by the state of Michigan and municipalities and school districts predominated by people of color have not solved financial deficits,” Councilwoman Watson declared earlier. “EFM’s have actually increased deficits, deepened fiscal crises and de-stabilized governmental infrastructures, while robbing citizens of assets, services, access to decision-making, voter representation and accountability.” 

Tyrone Travis and former School Board member Marie Thornton at rally against EFM March 6 2013.

Tyrone Travis and former School Board member Marie Thornton at rally against EFM March 6 2013.

During the March 6 rally, one resident demanded, “If an emergency manager comes to town, arrest him and put him in the Wayne County Jail with the rest of the fellows.” Long-time activist Tyrone Travis and many others demanded, “Take it to the streets,” particularly to the city’s impoverished youth. 

Attorney Jerome Goldberg of the Moratorium NOW Coalition against Foreclosures said,
“The emergency manager laws’ sole purpose is to guarantee the city’s debt payments to the same racist banks which drove 250,000 people out of Detroit through predatory lending and foreclosures, at the expense of necessary services for the people. Detroit paid $600 million in debt to the banks last year. It’s time to take our city back from the banksters who are calling the shots.” 

UBS_cover_090604_Euro-228x300The global bank UBS AG holds one of the city’s largest debts, a predatory $1.5 billion loan taken out in 2004 before the global economic collapse of 2008. The U.S. Department of Justice just fined UBS $1.5 billion for interest-rate rigging related to the LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate) scandal. 

Wall Street ratings agency Standard and Poor’s sent a representative to the Detroit City Council table to push the UBS loan. Standard and Poor’s now faces a $5 billion fraud lawsuit brought by the USDOJ, but neither UBS nor Standard and Poor’s are being forced to pay reparations to Detroit. 

At the rally, mayoral candidates Krystal Crittendon, the city’s former Corporation Counsel, and Tom Barrow, an accountant and financial expert, stressed that even under Public Act 72, there is no legitimate financial or legal reason for the takeover. 

Rally to save Belle Isle Sept. 22, 2013.

Rally to save Belle Isle Sept. 22, 2013. BELLE ISLE IS BLACK LAND!

“Just because a city is economically depressed does not mean we do not have the right to self-determination,” Crittendon said. “People owe us money and they must pay it. We stand on the shoulders of thousands of others, many of whom faced down police dogs and the lash of the whip.” 

Crittendon earlier sued the state to void the Consent Agreement, saying the state of Michigan owes Detroit over $300 million, including $224 million in revenue-sharing dollars. The state itself is currently running a large surplus but has refused to provide financial help to Detroit, even withholding most of a $137 million state loan the city took out in April, to force the city to agree to Treasurer Dillon’s conditions. 

Mayoral candidates Tom Barrow and Krystal Crittendon joined forces at rally against EFM March 6, 2013.

Mayoral candidates Tom Barrow and Krystal Crittendon joined forces at rally against EFM March 6, 2013.

After Crittendon declared that she could not ethically recommend the Council vote for the state’s demands, calling them extortion, she was ousted from office. 

Councilwoman Watson has compiled other figures showing that major corporations among others owe Detroit $800 million in taxes and other fees. 

Barrow took part in a meeting with Councilwoman Watson and Dillon earlier in the week, to defend the city’s handling of its finances. 

Speakers line up at rally against EFM March 6, 2013.

Speakers line up at rally against EFM March 6, 2013.

“After reviewing the city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the Financial Review Team report, and other documents, I find that the State of Michigan is using misdirection and a contrived financial emergency,” Barrow said. “I wholly reject the existence of such an emergency in either the short or the near term.”

May 7, 1963: Birmingham Police arrest Parker High School student Mattie Howard in front of the Carver Theatre. Youths became an integral part of the civlil rights movement when the Children's Crusade began on May 2. The plan was for college and high school students to demonstrate, but many came with their younger brothers and sisters. Howard’s arrest came during Day 6 of the Children’s campaign. Photos of her arrest appeared in several publications outside of Alabama. (Norman Dean, Birmingham News file)

May 7, 1963: Birmingham Police arrest Parker High School student Mattie Howard in front of the Carver Theatre. Youths became an integral part of the civlil rights movement when the Children’s Crusade began on May 2. The plan was for college and high school students to demonstrate, but many came with their younger brothers and sisters. Howard’s arrest came during Day 6 of the Children’s campaign. Photos of her arrest appeared in several publications outside of Alabama. (Norman Dean, Birmingham News file)

He declared earlier, “In the spirit of Frederick Douglass, I call upon my fellow Detroiters, activists and citizens alike, to let’s meet to plan our actions to combat this abrogation of democracy. It may require civil disobedience in the name of all Americans who love freedom and democracy; it may require us to choose economic targets to boycott; strategic locations to disrupt; facilities to protect symbolically, and a plan of communication to our nation to show our outrage.”

The attack on Detroit comes in the wake of the legislature’s conversion of Michigan to a “Right to Work” state in December. Many at the time called on the state’s unions to conduct a general strike in protest, but that has not happened. 

Sitdown at GM plant in 1930's.

Sitdown at GM plant in 1930’s.

The United Auto Workers was born in Detroit and Flint, another majority-Black city which has been under an EFM since 2008 But the union’s reaction to the pending takeover of Detroit has been virtually nil.

It issued a statement declaring, “The governor’s announcement last week of his planned appointment of an emergency financial manager for Detroit was disheartening to say the least. Frankly, it is further evidence of his intent to erode democracy for the citizens of Michigan in general, and the city of Detroit in particular.” 

Some UAW members participated in protest against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker when he came to Troy, MI, but protests have not stopped the devastation of Detroit, the poorest city in the country. It's time to "disrupt commerce" as UAW workers did in the 1930's.

Some UAW members participated in protest against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker when he came to Troy, MI, but protests have not stopped the devastation of Detroit, the poorest city in the country. It’s time to “disrupt commerce” as UAW workers did in the 1930’s.

It called for no action whatsoever, let alone a general strike, to defend the interests of at least half of the state’s Black residents who have been disenfranchised, as well as public workers who stand to lose their jobs and pensions under emergency managers. 

Earlier, it took no action on behalf of tens of thousands of Michigan families Snyder permanently cut off public assistance in 2011. Neither did Rev. Jesse Jackson of Rainbow PUSH, who told this reporter that an economic boycott of the state in response was out of the question. 

Campaign against PA 4 EM law succeeded.

Campaign against PA 4 EM law succeeded.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 25, which represents most municipal workers, led the campaign to repeal Public Act 4 and is currently active in pursuing a federal lawsuit against its successor act. However, when workers at the city’s mammoth Water and Sewerage Department, which serves six counties, struck Sept. 30, 2012 to protest an ongoing takeover of the department, Council 25 representatives sabotaged the strike, passing out a federal judge’s “back-to-work” order on the picket lines and telling workers to return. 

During the March 6 rally, however Local 207 secretary-treasurer Mike Mulholland, one of the strike’s leaders, said, “We fought back against the takeover of Detroit’s largest department, hoping the rest of the unions would grab it and spread it. They did not, but there will be other opportunities. Imagine what would have happened if the rest of the union movement had walked out when we did.

DTE rally

DTE Energy owes millions to the City of Detroit.


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

SAY NO TO SNYDER AND DETROIT EFM! MASS RALLY WED. MARCH 6, 4 PM CAYMC

 Town Hall flier

 

 Councilwoman JoAnn Watson to lead rally as mayor and Council dally

Civil rights groups call for “prayer vigil” at federal courthouse Thurs. March 7, appeal to US AG Holder despite his earlier silence

EFM’s and EM’s have greatly increased deficits of cities, schools 

By Diane Bukowski 

March 5, 2013 

City of Detroit water department worker on strike at Wastewater Treatment plant Sept. 30, 2012.

City of Detroit water department worker on strike at Wastewater Treatment plant Sept. 30, 2012.

DETROIT – Detroit City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson has announced a public town hall meeting to educate residents about, and rally them to oppose, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s imposition of an Emergency Financial Manager on Detroit. She said at today’s council meeting that the rally will be held Wednesday March 6, 2013 at 4 p.m. in the Erma A. Henderson Auditorium of the Coleman A. Young Center at Jefferson and Woodward Avenue. 

Speakers are to include mayoral candidates Krystal A. Crittendon and Tom Barrow. Former Detroit Corporation Counsel Crittendon is to explain the legal implications of such a takeover. Noted accountant and activist Barrow will address the city’s finances, explaining why Detroit has NOT violated Public Act 72, the law to which the Snyder administration reverted after the Michigan’s voters overwhelmingly rejected PA 4. 

“There exists irrefutable evidence that EFM’s imposed by the state of Michigan and municipalities and school districts predominated by people of color have not solved financial deficits,” Watson said in an earlier statement. “EFM’s have actually increased deficits, deepened fiscal crises and de-stabilized governmental infrastructures, while robbing citizens of assets, services, access to decision-making, voter representation and accountability.”

Councilwoman Joann Watson.

Councilwoman Joann Watson.

The chart below focuses on deficits, but at the same time, EM’s have sold off huge chunks of city assets, shut down services, laid off thousands of public employees, and virtually wiped the cities affected from the map. Wall Street banks have campaigned during the past decade to drive municipalities further into debt to profit from staggering interest rates. Standand and Poor’s, currently being sued by the Department of Justice for fraud, and other ratings agencies have increased that debt by downgrading those cities’ ratings.EM chart 

Watson’s announcement came in the wake of foot-dragging by Mayor Dave Bing and the City Council majority regarding their right to appeal Snyder’s announcement that he intends to impose an EFM. The Council is to discuss a resolution to appeal the action Wed. May 6 at 9 a.m. and may vote on it Thursday. But Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown expressed reluctance to act without Bing. Council members and the public called on Bing to come to the table to present a united front. 

Councilmen Charles Pugh, Gary Brown

Councilmen Charles Pugh, Gary Brown

Brown and Council President Charles Pugh reportedly campaigned unsuccessfully for a revised consent agreement during meetings with Snyder and State Treasurer Andy Dillon yesterday. Many Detroiters have said, however, that it was the Council “Fatal Five’s” cave-in on the first Consent Agreement April 4, 2012 that opened the way for the current situation. 

Crittendon said earlier, “The Financial Review Team Report provides no justification for the appointment of an emergency financial manager, especially when it makes no mention of $800 million in accounts receivable owed to the City as confirmed by State Treasurer Andy Dillon.” 

Tom Barrow

Tom Barrow

Krystal Crittendon

Krystal Crittendon

“In [the spirit of Frederick Douglass] I call upon my fellow Detroiters, activists and citizens alike, to let’s meet to plan our actions to combat this abrogation of democracy. Barrpw said in a statement. “It may require civil disobedience in the name of all Americans who love freedom and democracy; it may require us to choose economic targets to boycott; strategic locations to disrupt; facilities to protect symbolically, and a plan of communication to our nation to show our outrage.”

Dozens of Detroiters and supporters from outside the city again packed Council chambers to tell their elected leaders to stand up for Detroit, the largest Black-majority city in the world outside of Africa. 

CC Dawn DeRose 3 5 13

Dawn DeRose

“I ask the mayor to authorize collection of the taxes we’ve been discussing, and I want the Council to request this from the Mayor in writing,” said Dawn DeRose. “Also ask him  ask him to pursue collections of money from the state as I understand he’s the only one that can do that. Mayor needs to start doing what he needs to do for the citizens rather than making deals with the Governor behind closed doors. We do not need an EM.” 

Valerie Glenn

Valerie Glenn

Valerie Glenn of Free Detroit No Consent sajd, “”We are asking you again, not to go along with this apartheid plan where we are treated like second-hand citizens. How long are you going to continue to create an underclass in Detroit? You have already laid off qualified people that would have had jobs today, contributing to the city’s tax base.”
She said she is concerned that the City Charter will be nullified, the remainder of city departments privatized, the water department taken over in toto, and Belle Isle given to the state. 

Rachel Maddow (see video below) discussed the failure of Michigan’s draconian EFM and EM laws  on her national TV program on the Current Channel Monday night, asking why more attention is not being paid to the situation nationally.  

Pres. Obama and AG Eric Holder.

Pres. Obama and AG Eric Holder.

Rev. Charles Williams II of the National Action Network, and representatives of Rainbow PUSH and the Detroit branch of the NAACP said they are planning a prayer vigil Thursday, Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. outside the federal court building on Fort Street in downtown Detroit. They said they will ask U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to initiate a federal investigation of Snyder’s actions regarding violations of the National Voting Rights Act. 

However, an earlier appeal by U.S. Representative John Conyers (D-Detroit), to Holder fell on deaf ears. Conyers wrote Holder on Dec. 2, 2011 to ask him to investigate the effect of Public Act 4 on Michigan’s majority Black cities, saying it was disenfranchising most of the state’s African-American voters. 

Both Holder and Obama have remained silent on the question of Detroit, with Obama failing to make campaign stops here last year, although Detroit residents turned out to the polls in huge numbers to re-elect him, as well as repeal Public Act 4.


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

RACHEL MADDOW: MICHIGAN GIVES UP ON DEMOCRACY IN DETROIT ALTHOUGH EM LAW HAS NOT WORKED

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

DETROIT OVERCOME

2011 MLK Day march in Detroit at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. High School: Detroit Public Schools have been destroyed by state takeovers.

2011 MLK Day march in Detroit at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. High School: Detroit Public Schools have been destroyed by state takeovers.

By Detroit City Councilmember JoAnn Watson

(VOD: Councilmember Watson’s article is particularly appropriate since Gov. Rick Snyder said on the Mildred Gaddis show March 4 that he is likely looking for a revised consent agreement, thus using the threat of an EM to bludgeon Council once again.)

Feb. 28, 2013

Councilwoman JoAnn Watson was part of delegation that demanded PA4 be put on the ballot at State Court of Appeals.

Councilwoman JoAnn Watson was part of delegation that demanded PA4 be put on the ballot at State Court of Appeals.

Detroit’s structural deficit, which has set the stage for serious financial challenges, is driven by root causes, which will not be mitigated by the imposition of an emergency financial manager (EFM) — a post created by a law that Michigan citizens overwhelmingly repealed four months ago. EFMs not only subvert the Republic form of government — the right of citizens to be represented by officials whom they select — their existence also turns the Voting Rights Act of 1965 on its head.

Furthermore, there exists irrefutable evidence that EFMs imposed by the state of Michigan in municipalities and school districts predominated by people of color have not solved financial deficits. EFMs have actually increased deficits, deepened fiscal crises and de-stabilized governmental infrastructures, while robbing citizens of assets, services, access to decision-making, voter representation and accountability.

Maureen Taylor carries sign re: DPS during protest against banks' role in decay of Detroit and its schools May 9, 2012.

Maureen Taylor carries sign re: DPS during protest against banks’ role in decay of Detroit and its schools May 9, 2012.

For example, Detroit Public Schools had a $93 million surplus in 1994 and 180,000 students when the state take-over of the schools was put in place — not coincidentally following citizen approval of a $1.5 billion school improvement bond, which was immediately seized by state operatives who removed local elected and appointed officials, while rewarding contracts to political cronies.

With the state takeover in place for 16 of the last 19 years and a governor-appointed EFM still in place, the Detroit Public Schools’ fiscal status has plummeted to a $300 million deficit, the student enrollment has decreased by 140,000, dozens of schools have closed (threatening the survival of neighborhoods) and the state of Michigan is currently seeking, once again, to remove local members of the elected school board who have taken sworn oaths to govern the district.

Pontiac, Flint, Benton Harbor, Highland Park and other predominantly Black cities have also had EFMs appointed for the alleged purpose of addressing fiscal crises — but in these cases the financial deficits have grown much worse, populations have downsized, assets have disappeared and the dissolution of Union contracts and public safety have been the order of the day.

Detroit Project Management Director Kriss Andrews and Mayor Dave Bing at press conference Dec. 7, 2012. Andrews, appointed under the consent agreement, can override decisions of Mayor and City Council.

Detroit Project Management Director Kriss Andrews and Mayor Dave Bing at press conference Dec. 7, 2012. Andrews, appointed under the consent agreement, can override decisions of Mayor and City Council.

On April 4, 2012, Gov. Rick Snyder implored Mayor Dave Bing and the Detroit City Council (in a controversial 5 to 4 vote) to approve a consent agreement deal (under the auspices of the EM Law, Public Act 4, which was repealed by the voters Nov. 6, 2012), which authorized Snyder to exercise authority over the city of Detroit; including the appointment of a program manager, a chief financial officer, a financial stability agreement review board, the power to impose sanctions on existing bargaining agreements and other measures that would purportedly arrest the financial crisis.

Revenue-sharing-breakdownUnder Gov. Snyder’s oversight via the consent agreement/state control, the city’s crisis has worsened. One of the most significant cost-saving measures addressed by the mayor, City Council and the city’s bargaining units was an agreement to achieve $105 million in concessions. But, this historic, unprecedented accord reached by the city and all of its labor unions was disallowed by the governor, inexplicably, in early 2012.

The bottom line? Neither consent agreements nor EFMs have any credible record of “stabilizing” budgets and there have been no successful reports of EFMs addressing root causes like the issues that drive Detroit’s crisis. Examples of root causes:

– Michigan’s $700 million reduction in revenue-sharing allocated to Detroit, during the last decade

– State of Michigan’s $224 million default on a revenue-sharing agreement reached by Gov. John Engler and Mayor Dennis W. Archer

Detroit Police Academy graduates: most Detroit cops are no longer residents.

Detroit Police Academy graduates: most Detroit cops are no longer residents.

– Population exodus from the city of Detroit and the private sector exodus from the city of Detroit has eroded the tax base, catalyzed in part by a state-imposed law in 1999 prohibiting the city from mandating the residency policy for city employees. The tax base loss annually has been $8.82 million per year since ’99, impacting neighborhoods, schools and small businesses

– The foreclosure crisis that has gripped the state and the nation has hit the city of Detroit in epidemic proportions; as mortgage firms have prospered and tax-paying families have been victimized by predators who have largely not suffered consequences, while decimating many of the city’s neighborhoods. There must be a moratorium on foreclosures issued statewide

Mike Illitch, owner of Red Wings, Detroit Tigers, and numerous other businesses in Detroit, owes large sums to Detroit.

Mike Illitch, owner of Red Wings, Detroit Tigers, and numerous other businesses in Detroit, owes large sums to Detroit.

– State Treasurer Andy Dillon has acknowledged that more than $800 million is owed to the city. A collaborative effort between the state, the city and key partners could garner these resources to stabilize the fiscal shortfall while structural cost-saving measures are mandated to insure that the city is not over-spending

– The city must attract new citizens, respect and retain its current citizens; attract new businesses, respect and retain existing businesses and foster a climate (including expanded rapid transit), which promotes Michigan’s largest municipality. Twenty-first century reinvention of cities requires not just cost-cutting but demands strategic investments for long-term growth and development. EFMs can point to no success toward that end. In fact, they present barriers to growth

– The city’s debt must be re-negotiated so the city’s operating budget is not prioritizing corporate, private sector firms, while employees and citizens bear the brunt of the sacrifice. 

 


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

PACK THE COURTROOM TO CONVICT COP WHO KILLED AIYANA JONES, 7, FRI. MARCH 8 9 AM

Pack courtroom


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WE WILL FIGHT EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT! — CONCERNED CITIZENS COALITION OF DETROIT


We Will Fight Emergency Financial Management! A No Struggle, No Development Production! By Kenny Snodgrass.  

Kenneth Snodgrass

Kenneth Snodgrass

Our City doesn’t need an “Emergency Financial Manager!” We, the City of Detroit have “NOT” missed any payroll, we have “NOT” failed to make any of our bond interest payments, or principal payments. We the city of Detroit have “NOT” drawn down our cash being held by the State of Michigan. Showing we have adequate cash to operate, we are paying our bills, and working towards resolving our deficit. Finally that our State Treasurer Andy Dillon has affirmed that the state owns Detroit $800 million in accounts receivable, and over $224 million in outstanding Revenue Sharing to Detroit.

Activist, Photographer, Videographer, Author of 1} From Victimization To Empowerment… www.trafford.com/07-0913 eBook available at www.ebookstore.sony.com
2} The World As I’ve Seen It! My Greatest Experience! {Photo Book}
YouTube: I have over 375 Video’s, over 128,612 hits averaging 4,000 a month on my YouTube channel @ www.YouTube.com/KennySnod.

CONCERNED CITIZENS COALITION OF DETROIT

Press Release- March 1, 2013

Cecily McClellan- We the People of Detroit; Rev. D.A. Bullock – 13th Congressional Dst.Chair & Delegation; Rev. Charles Williams- National Action Network (Detroit Chapter); Valerie Glenn- Free Detroit-No Consent; Theo Broughton- Hood Research; Tom Barrow- Mayoral Candidate & President of Citizens for Detroit’s Future; Krystal Crittendon- Mayoral Candidate;  Russ Bellant- Detroit Public Library Commission, Chair; Stephen Boyle, Occupy Detroit; Fellow Citizens and Friends of the City of Detroit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
  T. Henry (313) 868-1859 

City Charter 2012We the People of Detroit, under the united banner of Concerned Citizens Coalition of Detroit, demand to be treated with respect and fairness equal to ALL citizens in the State of Michigan.  We invoke our rights as Americans and Citizens under the U.S. Constitution, State of Michigan Constitution and the City of Detroit Charter.

The Financial Review Team and Governor Snyder have misrepresented the facts in their report relative to the City of Detroit. We DO NOT NEED AN EXPANDED CONSENT AGREEMENT nor do we need a SECOND CONSENT AGREEMENT!  We DO NOT NEED AN EMERGENCY FINANCIAL MANAGER for the following reasons:

Tom Barrow
Tom Barrow

 

  •  The City of Detroit has NOT missed a payroll
  • The City of Detroit has NOT failed to make a bond principal payment
  • Detroit has NOT failed to make a bond interest payment
  • The City of Detroit has not drawn down on the cash being inappropriately held by the state signaling it has adequate cash to operate and is paying its bills and working towards resolving its nominal deficit.

(Paraphrased statements by  Tom Barrow- Mayoral Candidate, CPA & Municipal Finance Expert)

Detroit Mayoral Candidate and former City of Detroit Corporation Counsel -Krystal Crittendon released a statement February 25, 2013 as a response to the Governor Snyder-appointed Financial Review Team findings (excerpts):

Krystal Crittendon

Krystal Crittendon

“The bottom line: the (Financial Review Team) Report provides no justification for the appointment of an emergency financial manager, especially when it makes no mention of $800 million in accounts receivable owed to the City as confirmed by State Treasurer Andy Dillon.”

 According to State Treasurer Andy Dillon, $800 million is owed to the City in accounts receivable and he also admitted on a local talk show that the State of Michigan still owes the City of Detroit over $224 million in outstanding Revenue Sharing that is owed.  However, according to the City Charter, the Mayor is the only official that can authorize the City Corporation Counsel to seek recovery of these owed dollars.”

We strongly recommend that Governor Snyder work in concert with Mayor Bing to collect these outstanding debts and that the State of Michigan pays what it owes to the City of Detroit.

Cecily McClellan

Cecily McClellan

 “The Financial Review Team criticized the City’s Charter …………… It must be noted that the City’s Charter was required to be, and was, actually, approved by the State of Michigan before it was placed on the ballot to be voted on by Detroit voters. It appears that the state-appointed review team is unaware that the State of Michigan signed off on the 2012 Charter for the City of Detroit before it was adopted by the residents of Detroit.” 

We demand that the State of Michigan affirm their review and approval of the 2012 Charter for the City of Detroit prior to it being placed on the ballot for a vote by Detroiters. 

Chris Griffiths, Monica Patrick, Sandra Hines of Free Detroit No Consent after repeal of PA 4.

Chris Griffiths, Monica Patrick, Sandra Hines of Free Detroit No Consent after repeal of PA 4.

“The City of Detroit negotiated over $150 million dollars in cost savings with the City’s labor unions in December of 2011. These savings were verified by the accounting firm the State of Michigan forced the City of Detroit to retain to assist in deficit reduction measures. After the contracts were negotiated, the Governor then advised the Mayor NOT to submit these contracts to the City Council for approval. Had these contracts been approved in January of 2012, the City would have realized $150 million dollars in costs savings in 2012.”

Rev. David Bullock, Rainbow PUSH

Rev. David Bullock, Rainbow PUSH

The Financial Review Team’s criticism of the City regarding whether the City has a plan in place to address its financial problems and the slow progress the City has made in implementing cost-saving measures is, therefore, the fault of the State of Michigan, and not the City. We recommend that the State of Michigan assume responsibility for their failure to support this cost saving measure with revenue generating capabilities.

“The Financial Review Team criticized the City for failing to have a plan to address the cash crisis, or the City’s $13.6 billion in long-term liabilities (25 year period). The Financial Review Team’s report contains a table of figures that supposedly comprise the City’s long term liabilities. The table includes lines for ‘Non-General Obligation(s),’ ‘Other Post Employment Benefits Unfunded Actuarial Liabili (ties)’ and ‘Other.’ These three categories total just under $12 billion.

Rev. Charles Williams II of NAN

Rev. Charles Williams II of NAN

“We know these are not ‘General Obligations, or ‘General Retirement System Unfunded Actuarial Accrued Liabilities’, or ‘Police and Fire Retirement System Liabilities’, because those figures are found on other lines in the table. If they are obligations of the Water Department, they are funded by Water Department revenues, which are not part of the City’s general revenues, nor are they debts of the City. Rather they would be debts of the Water Board, which Federal District Court Judge Cox has declared to be an entity separate and distinct from the City.

Theo Broughton, Hood Research

Theo Broughton, Hood Research

“This finding is problematic for several significant reasons. First, the long-term liabilities referenced in the report include debt which is not attributable to the general fund. Less than $2 billion is general fund debt; the rest is attributable to “other” sources, such as DWSD bond debt which is secured. Second, the State had to, and did, approve of the bond transactions which the state-appointed Financial Review Team now criticizes. Troubling is the fact that now the State will not give the City all of the money it borrowed—$50 million is being withheld from the City in escrow. We strongly urge Governor Snyder and the State of Michigan to cease and desist with any further reference to the $12 billion dollar pension obligation cost, due to this misrepresentation being used as a justifiable reason to impose an unelected dictator(i.e., Emergency Financial Manager) over the Citizens of Detroit.  We also demand the immediate release of the $50 million dollars barrowed by the City that the State of Michigan is holding from the City in escrow.

Russ Bellant, Chair Detroit Library Commission

Russ Bellant, Chair Detroit Library Commission

Even more troubling is the fact that the City cannot utilize the money it has received to help pay down any debt!  The State of Michigan has required the City to spend tens of millions of dollars on experts (Miller Canfield, Milliman, Miller Buckfire, Ernst & Young and the like) selected by the State to tell us what we already know: the City of Detroit is experiencing financial difficulty. This is actually what we are paying the appointed Financial Review Team to tell us.

“Finally, the State made it necessary for the City to have to borrow money in the first place. The State eliminated revenue sharing for all Michigan cities, causing all cities, not just Detroit, to experience financial distress. Moreover, the State used approximately $2 billion in Federal stimulus dollars to bail itself out, and now enjoys a billion and a half dollar surplus, while cities across the State are suffering.”

Valerie Glenn

Valerie Glenn

“[We] urge the Governor to take all of these factors into consideration as he weighs his decision regarding the appointment of an emergency financial manager for Detroit.”

“WE DO NOT CONSENT,  WE WILL NOT BE DENIED EQUAL PROTECTIONS UNDER the LAW and WE WILL FIGHT EMERGENCY FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT in any and all forms!”     


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

“IT MAY BE TIME FOR CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE TO STAND UP FOR DEMOCRACY”—IN WAKE OF SNYDER EM ANNOUNCEMENT

 

Mayoral candidate Tom Barrow, with supporters including son in front, at Appeals Court hearing two years ago as he contested the election of Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. Nearly 60 percent of the ballots cast, including all absentee ballots, were deemed "unrecountable" by the Wayne Co. Board of Canvassers. Bing stole that election; now Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is stealing Detroiters' right to elect their leaders, in the wake of Bing's collaboration with him and State Treasurer Andy Dillon.
Mayoral candidate Tom Barrow, with supporters including son in front, at Appeals Court hearing two years ago as he contested the election of Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. Nearly 60 percent of the ballots cast, including all absentee ballots, were deemed “unrecountable” by the Wayne Co. Board of Canvassers. Bing stole that election; now Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is stealing Detroiters’ right to elect their leaders, in the wake of Bing’s collaboration with him and State Treasurer Andy Dillon.

 

  Citizens for Detroit Future

  • Tom Barrow, President
  • Contact: 313-5-detroi(t) 533-8764, Opt 4

STATEMENT BY TOM BARROW, PRESIDENT, CITIZENS FOR DETROIT’S FUTURE

On Governor Snyder’s Appointment of an Emergency Manager for Detroit

Pillow talk Snyder and BingI am sickened by Michigan’s Governor talk about my city and my people as if Detroit is the human dump of the state, as if real Detroiters are incapable of running our own city. I became nauseous because we have been led to this position by an inept, unconcerned and disengaged Mayor who knew from day one that a Detroit mayor’s job IS way beyond his abilities. I believe he was recruited from Franklin as his steel business went bankrupt, recruited to do the bidding of conservative interests that covet our city’s assets for private profit.

As I listened, I reflected on my life having been born in a Detroit which I have so come to love and feel protective over. I listened to a man, who has never had a relationship with my city except from afar but who described my home based on a distorted perception created as a result of a inept non-Detroiter masquerading as one of us after being selected as our Mayor.

Tom Barrow (l) and supporters at Board of Canvassers recount hearing, Dec. 23, 2010.

Tom Barrow (l) and supporters at Board of Canvassers recount hearing, Dec. 23, 2010.

My fellow Detroiters, back in the election of 2009, I was left empty and drained after the mayor’s race because I saw the seals placed on the cases by election night workers had been changed. The fraud was such that the Wayne County Board of Canvassers voted unanimously not to recount the entire 41,215 Absentee Votes and still another 18,736 ballots from the polls where only 9,501 ballots would have changed the outcome.

This discovery was an unprecedented event in the electoral history of this nation, yet not a single major media outlet sought to investigate. I knew with certainty that the process had been rigged but I also knew that it would be too foreign for the public’s minds to get around. But it was only today that I came to realize the “why”.

Family picnics on Belle Isle with gorgeous view of downtown Detroit. BELLE ISLE IS BLACK LAND AS IS DETROIT!

Family picnics on Belle Isle with gorgeous view of downtown Detroit. BELLE ISLE IS BLACK LAND AS IS DETROIT!

Now Belle Isle, my childhood playground, will be taken from us as Detroiters. The “Cadillac Harper” bus route I remember as a kid and which I took to get downtown to Hudson’s will become a suburban dominated regional authority no longer under my city’s control. Our Water System, the prize of prizes, will be removed from our control and given over to private investors for personal profit and our city’s union contracts will be abrogated. I expect to witness an unprecedented firing of Detroit residents as the city privatizes it functions.

I must say that the city’s longest serving Mayor, Coleman Young, will likely sit up in his grave knowing that what he often referred to as “outsiders”, “doomsayers” and “naysayers” will now be running our city. It is so sad and I am deeply remorseful. I cannot but feel that an outsider’s hate, indifference and disrespect towards Detroiters has caused the loss of my city even before we had a chance to build bridges I knew we could build.

My friends, the great 19th century abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, declared in a famous speech that “Power concedes nothing without a demand, it never has and it never will.” On his death bed in 1895 Douglass’ last words were said to be that “we must continue to Agitate! Agitate!”

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass

In his spirit, I call upon my fellow Detroiters, activists and citizens alike, to let’s meet to plan our actions to combat this abrogation of democracy. It may require civil disobedience in the name of all Americans who love freedom and democracy; it may require us to choose economic targets to boycott; strategic locations to disrupt; facilities to protect symbolically, and a plan of communication to our nation to show our outrage.

Sadly, we may no longer be able to just provide commentary on our plight; we will likely have to execute action meant to demonstrate our resolve to save our city from its looters and the opportunists who wait patiently in the wings. My friends, the enemy has devised and has implemented its initial long-term plan of disenfranchisement, its “quiet war” of propaganda and manipulation, all with collaborators from within our own ranks. For the sake of ourselves and our beloved city, we must be prepared to make this a noisy and visible war for our own survival.

Our ancestors who built this city demand no less from us than what they themselves invested for the good of our city and for democracy itself. Let us now go forward!


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

RACHEL MADDOW: SUPREME COURT HEARING ON VOTING RIGHTS ACT

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment