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Sat Dec 20, 2014 at 04:52 PM PST

#PrivateProperty VS #Commons

by Fuzzytek

Mall of America notice of Private Property
The Mall of America was under protest Saturday December 20, the biggest shopping day of the year. The protest brought the #BlackLivesMatter conversation around to questioning the fuel of capitalism and the resulting systemic oppression -- that being PRIVATE PROPERTY.
Soundcloud audio clip from the protest, captured by MPR News

Private property, but its not, When $250 million dollars of public money goes to the expansion of MOA (Mall Of America) - this is OUR PROPERTY.

It's time to demand an end to police violence and the murder ...

The organizers called out the use of public funds toward expansion of private property.  The mall's policy posted indicating it is private property. Security and police operated on the basis it is private property. However, tax payers, the public, should have claim on this property and have rights surrounding it - having bought into a stake in the privately claimed property through paying taxes allocated to its expansion. We live in a country that believed that taxation without representation was wrong and we went to war against an "oppressive regime". (Yes a Tea Party link)

This call out at the event is extremely significant as our current culture examines injustice and how it is having an impact in many lives. United our voices carry much farther, however our current culture is one predicated on division. Revolution would be uniting through our differences, discovering love and equality, and understanding the price to pay could very well be a whole lot of ego and "stuff" that gets in the way toward unity.

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Wed Dec 03, 2014 at 07:10 PM PST

#DetroitLivesMatter

by Fuzzytek

The night before Thanksgiving, last Wednesday, I visited a very close friend who is dying from cancer. On Thanksgiving, I saw the article "Thanksgiving Day and the Powerful Play" in TruthOut. An excerpt is given below.

Hold tight to who you have in this world, even if you're down deep in a ditch. I hope someone sets a place at table for you on Thanksgiving, but if not, remember that you're still here, and if you're here, it means matters can change for the better,because you're here. Hold tight to who you have, and tell those who are your heart you love them. Do not let the grass grow under the last conversation you had with one who is a part of who you are. I am here to tell you, from the well of my soul, that it is a savage, brutal shock to lose that chance forever.

We live in a world of shrinking margins, of narrowing visions, a world ruled and ruined by fools. This is the fact of our time, and no one is going to fix it today. Tomorrow, perhaps, but in the meantime, hold close what you hold most dear, and give thanks for the chance of that holding. If you truly appreciate what you have, no matter how mean or meager, you are doing it right. On this day of all days, remember where you came from, contemplate where you are, imagine where you can be, stand stock still a moment, and be thankful that you are here.

My visit to Mark Anderson was a bit difficult to arrange given the pace of my life at present and upcoming winter. I've handled house repairs including frozen water pipes as Michigan's winter approaches quickly. I also am a bus rider and the city of Livonia has cut access to mass transit through its predominantly white occupied streets. Fortunately there is a significant size community of activists and Dave brought me over to see Mark. Two of Mark's daughters stayed at the house to provide immediate care and call for hospice when needed. Additional family and community members made visits each day.

Mark learned October 17 that he was dying from terminal cancer of the bile duct and liver. A Doctors stated then he had a few days to live. He was seemingly incoherent when I stepped in to see him. Then I grasped his hand and I gently squeezed and received in return slight movement of his fingers and his facial expression changed a bit.

#ShutItDown - protesters in Detroit shutdown I-75 northbound traffic on the day after #FergusonDecision #BlackLivesMatter #DetroitLivesMatter

I told Mark of the uprising in Detroit last night following the #FergusonDecision. That our fellow activists got out there and #ShutItDown blocking two highways I-75, I-94, along with Gratiot and other streets. It was a #PeacefulProtest there was no violence, just civil disobedience. Seven were arrested during the shutdown of I-94. Last night I was told a third highway, US-10, was attempted in the middle, but didn't deliver a full shutdown before the protest group scuttled the activity.I pulled the stories, tweets, photos, videos together to share comprehensively.

I realized on that visit that it would be my last, and while I didn't hear him speak, I did find closure and knew he had as well. Mark's life passed to spirit a few days later. Monday night around 8pm he died while the activist community he is held dearly by was holding a potluck event to discuss what is happening around Detroit. We have a benefit event planned for Friday.

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Sun Oct 26, 2014 at 06:38 AM PDT

Foreclosure King for Congress?

by Fuzzytek

Freedoms Defense Fund video
You might think it sounds like a shameless joke, but "Foreclosure King" is the moniker for David Trott - Michigan's Republican Party candidate in the 11th Congressional District. His firm proudly boasts of pushing 80,000 homes through the foreclosure mill in the past year. He openly states that he no longer has a significant presence in the operations of Trott & Trott, however he still is on the board and is paid by the company.
"He built the machine that was made to feed off of human misery," said Curtis Hertel Jr., register of deeds for Ingham County, Michigan, who tangled with Trott's law firm on a number of cases. "I've had kids crying in my office. I'™ve seen terrible human tragedy, and frankly they didn't care." --- New Republic
Detroit Eviction Defense Street Hearing
Those present discuss their personal histories of dealing with Trott & Trott. After which a street hearing is held questioning the interrelated businesses of David Trott.
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Detroit pensioner protesting water shutoffs
What's been going on with Detroit's created water crisis? Plenty! And the entire shade of bankruptcy seems to be deteriorating.

Stepping back to last month, on July 15 in Bankruptcy Court:

One of the objectors asked the judge to halt water shutoffs that have been taking place as the city's water department -- which is responsible for a large portion of Detroit's debt -- takes a more aggressive approach to collecting on overdue bills.

Rhodes asked a city attorney to prepare an explanation of the water shutoff process, but said he isn't sure whether he has any jurisdiction in the matter --- Mlive

Detroit's Emergency Manger Kevyn Orr, acting on behalf of Governor Snyder found Bankruptcy Court Judge Steven Rhodes wasn't too impressed with the Water Shutoff Program and ordered a halt to the program for 15 days from July 21 to August 4.
“We need to time to make sure our aggressive communications efforts reach customers,” the deputy director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, Darryl Latimer, told Detroit’s bankruptcy judge, Steven Rhodes, this morning in federal court. --- Detroit Free Press
In turn the Emergency Manager passed the situation to Mayor Mike Duggan, an elected official on July 29.
Emergency Manager Order 31 grants to the Mayor authority to manage DWSD and make appointments to the Board of Water Commission. The order amplifies the authority given to the Mayor to manage City operations and make appointments as outlined in Order 20. --- Tell Us Detroit
As the end date for the hold on water shutoffs came around on August 4th, an extension to August 25 was announced through the Mayor's office. Additional details regarding collecting overdue water bills was provided today, as discussed further in the article.

The shut-off program is working to collect $91.7 million in residential overdue accounts (about 52%). Adding overdue commercial accounts (about 55%) to this brings the amount over $175 million.

The Detroit Water Board approved a $5.6 million, 730 day contract with Homrich Wrecking April 24, Contract No. DWS-894, “Water Shut-Off/Turn-On Project,”according to the Board’s minutes.

“The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) is initiating this project to reduce DWSD’s delinquent water accounts,” DWSD Director Sue McCormick said in a letter to the Board. “As part of the overall plan to increase DWSD’s revenue collection, the Department will increase its efforts of water shut-offs for customers with a 60-day or more past-due balance. . . This project will target approximately 70,000 residential accounts throughout the City of Detroit over a period of two (2) years.” --- Voice Of Detroit

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Water bill picked up at DWSD office

DWSD bill picked up at center billed amount differs

Water bill sent to house

DWSD bill sent to house billed amount differs

The Detroit Water Project has an open Github with information on what is being done. Tiffani Ashley Bell is a Code For America fellow leading the effort from San Francisco. I'm a few days late in looking into this and the project has growing press coverage. The claim is they have matched up 1,700 donors to residential accounts in arrears. They have tracked $15,000 in bills paid in the short time the site has been live, which I believe was July 19.

I've been on the front line looking at the water shutoffs as a SYMPTOM of a greater root CAUSE that isn't being addressed. If in fact people are paying those bills it simply is treating the symptoms... the greater cause remains to be addressed that puts people into the situation of needing assistance.

And then there's this... is the bill even correct??

Billing Errors by DWSD Revealed

Moratorium Now! has been on the front line assisting those in need. Their Freedom Fridays series was early in the fight to bring awareness. This Friday at 4:00 is Freedom Fridays #11 gathering in front of the Water Board Building at 735 Randolph between Bates and Farmer.

Today Moratorium Now is providing proof of billing problems with Detroit Water & Sewerage Department's (DWSD). The problem lies mostly with houses going through the conversion from the old meter systems to these new smart meters. One bill sent to the house indicated usage of 1,800 cubic feet of water. A visit to the billing office requesting the statement indicates 1,100 cf. There's a significant difference between 13,464 and 8,228 gallons = 5,236 difference or 63.6% increase.

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Thursday July 24 from 4-6pm Detroit will be welcoming the Canadian Water Caravan at the Spirit of Detroit, located on Woodward between Jefferson and Larned, at the Coleman A Young Municipal Center. The Peoples Water Board Coalition and Council of Canadians will have speakers discussing the situation faced, the solutions which have been proposed, and the future direction being sought. Speakers announced thus far include Maude Barlow (Council of Canadians) and Maureen Taylor (Michigan Welfare Rights Organization).

Demands of those rallying include:

  1. MWRO proposed a Water Affordability Program in 2006 this program needs to be brought into service with the water department.
  2. The coalition also rejects the notion of privatization as a fix to any problem being faced by the water department.

The coalition has prepared a document providing the "History and Facts: Water Affordability in Detroit" which can be viewed and downloaded.

This is a follow-up to the May 22nd event "Great Lakes Need Great Friends" held at Wayne State University. Maude Barlow, Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, author of Blue Future along with Jim Olsen, film maker of FLOW: For the Love Of Water, and local representatives selected by the Peoples Water Board Coalition spoke and held discussion. On the heels of that event the speakers and organizers worked together in filing a complaint to the United Nations regarding the water shutoffs as a Human Rights Violation. Three officials with the UN acknowledged the complaint and issued a warning statement to the City of Detroit, Detroit Emergency Manager, and Governor Rick Snyder.

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Tue Jul 22, 2014 at 03:32 PM PDT

Reporting Abandoned Water in Detroit

by Fuzzytek

iPhone app - link to iTunes for installing:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/detroit-delivers/id879463277?mt=8

QR code for installing iPhone app "Detroit Delivers"

Detroit Water and Sewerage Department rolled out a mobile app offering the ability for anyone to report abandoned buildings with running water. The app is available for iPhone and Android smart phones through SeeClickFix. These QR codes can be scanned to take you to the application for downloading to your phone. Or you can click on the link given in the caption.

You'll want to register an email with the site for issues reported to get status updates sent to you. There is an anonymous reporting option, the result is the report appears to be generated by DWSD.

Android app - link to Google Play for installing:  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.seeclickfix.detroitdelivers.app

QR code for installing Android app "Detroit Delivers"

Taking a photo for reference will help work crews know specifically which building they are to visit. When I first used the app I typed in the address after finding it through Google Maps with GPS turned on. Oddly the app placed a map pin 6 blocks away from my location as entered. I edited the address to correct it, but I couldn't get the pin to move through my iPhone4 interface.

There is a website interface as well at the bottom of the Detroit Delivers webpage -  http://www.dwsd.org/...

One effective way to guide work crews would be to use blue spray paint and put the number for the building on the curb and make a note in the comment where to find the address on the building/lot.

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Protesting in front of Homrich, a DWSD contractor performing the Detroit Water Shutoffs. Nine persons were arrested.
Homrich is a demolition company working on a $5.6 million contract to shutoff water on residents
Nine persons were arrested at the entrance to Homrich, a demolition contractor working on a $5.6 million deal to perform the water shutoffs on residents. The rally outside the gate started at 6:30am and went for seven hours before arrests were made. Police believed the group would disperse and head to the rally downtown at Hart Plaza. The group however showed their commitment holding the gate after that rally had started. This is the second week of arrests at the entrance and the second time in the last 10 years protesters were arrested in Detroit. Last week 10 persons were arrested and released on bail awaiting trial for disorderly conduct.


Baxter Jones, leading the effort to
The first arrested of the group was Baxter Jones, a former Detroit Public Schools teacher wrongfully dismissed is in a wheelchair. Baxter had put himself on the front line during last week's blockade which had 10 arrested as well, but the police chose not to arrest him and dragged his chair out of the way.

The group doesn't appear to be letting up on the pressure. During the protest several televised interviews were shown. One of which was with Valerie who spoke of her household and her neighborhood going through mass shutoffs as Homrich moved through a three block area. She mobilized in the moment, saving her house from being shutoff and opened up a neighborhood water location. In our worst of times community becomes very essential in getting through.
Broadcast video from activist.



Military Weapon Deployment


A LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) was used to disperse a rally at Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit on Friday, July 18, 2014 at 2:43pm. There has been previous use of an LRAD in Detroit on May 1, 2012 when Occupy Detroit gathered on the public sidewalk outside Grand Circus Park after park closing hours of 10pm. The use in 2012 was as a public address. The use in 2014 was to cause distress to those hearing the sound.

You can hear the sound emitted in the video footage at 50 minutes into this clip (the final minute of the clip). Those who were on the platform to speak felt vibration throughout their body and some clutched at their chest during the deployment which last about 2 minutes.

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Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 05:25 AM PDT

Detroit Watershutoffs Thursday CheckIn

by Fuzzytek

Neighborhood kids helping with water crisis in Detroit
The shutoffs are happening all over the city and it will affect about half the occupied households here in Detroit. Monday I heard from a friend in Northend that numerous houses in a 2-3 block area were being shutoff. She went out to the water access and stood over it refusing to move. The contractor from Homrich, a demolition company, said he'd call the police and Valerie told him go ahead. Detroiters know the police take hours to show up and often just don't unless there's blood leaking out of a body. So he moved along shutting off other houses. Her house was spared because she defied and then contacted her network about what to do. Working through Michigan Welfare Rights Organization a 30 day stay on Valerie's shutoff was reached with a plan for payment. Valerie has five children under 12 at home and her husband is out working various jobs often for 12 hours a day. Valerie seeing the plight of the neighborhood contacted the Detroit Water Brigade and Peoples Water Board Coalition, then she started cooking a huge pot of chili to feed everyone on the block and offer water to all. Yes Valerie is another activist in the street like myself. We're kindred spirits with connections all over the city.

Monday I also called a friend in South Schafer neighborhood, "The wHole" as its known by the locals. Homrich was down near the Marathon refinery making those ill from the air pollution even worse off by shutting off water there. I asked my friend to please get the Water Hotline number circulating 844-42WATER for people to get assistance.

Another activist friend Diane Feeley wrote the article "Detroit's Crisis Deepens as Water Shutoffs Hit Thousands", with her personal account of water shutoff threatened. A 3 month bill for $511 at a four apartment building was leading to shutoff for four families, one with small children and Diane is elderly. Activists do confront and Diane asked if any notice had been delivered - there hadn't been. She contacted the property owner and ensured things were getting cleared up BEFORE the water was shutoff.

Last night Amber called and her neighbor across the street had a DWSD truck shutting water off. A blue DWSD van followed and when she went over to give the Water Hotline number the DWSD worker insisted she wasn't around as he spoke with the neighbor, who has two small children and no vehicle. I told Amber there's a DWSD meeting tonight, Thursday July 17 from 6-8pm regarding the Master Water Plan being rolled out by Detroit Water & Sewage Department. I've looked through the slideshow presented May 14, 2014 and it'll probably be used tonight.

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Tonight the Detroit Light Brigade and DCATS (Detroit Coalition Against Tar Sands) will be holding a candlelight vigil at the old train station in Detroit. There will be performing talent, speakers and discussion.
On Thursday July 10th from 8:30 pm – 9:45 pm, folks from Detroit and all across SE Michigan will come together to “shed light” on the unjust water shut-offs in Detroit and stand alongside vigils and actions happening all across North America this week for the 1 year anniversary of the oil train derailment in Lac-Megantic .  The same explosive Bakken oil trains are heading to MI and refineries in Detroit in the next few years unless we the people say otherwise.
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Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 12:22 AM PDT

Tyranny At Any Cost in Detroit

by Fuzzytek

Detroit pensioners protesting giveaway of their personal savings
Michigan's Emergency Manager Law has led to the destruction of life for long-term Detroiters.[1] What the subprime mortgage crisis couldn't erase these days of feudalism are taking care of the rest. City of Detroit retirees are being told by their representatives that they have negotiated the best deal possible. What these representatives haven't said is that its their job to negotiate such a deal, even if it means recommending pensioners give up their rights to file legal protest. If the greater mass of votes coming back says the retirees are in favor of gagging those that say NO - then that's what is going to happen.

Can you imagine working on a deal that you really don't want to participate in? One that your legacy as a representative will tarnish your reputation. Emergency Management is like holding out an ice cream cone that's got strawberry ice cream and being told to choose it, even though you are allergic to strawberries. There's no alternative choice altered through these dictates. The retirees are going to hurt like it or not. But there is hope and it happened in reverse already - so a double reverse could bring back the question of justice.

This is what happens when the mainstream media chooses or is TOLD not to reveal the story in full depth. Some people are going to get hurt in the process and it will certainly include the innocent dragged down by insufficient reporting.

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Tue Jul 08, 2014 at 07:40 PM PDT

Detroit Water Shutoffs

by Fuzzytek

The past few months I've been rallying with the Peoples Water Board Coalition, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, and the Detroit Water Brigade. I've been digging into information posted by the various groups, published news, and government agencies. Last week I also attended a session to learn more about filing Human Rights Complaints with the United Nations. I can see there are a number of complaints needed and one of the issues is "has the United States endorsed" the article(s) of concern. This is one reason I blog... I just hope people see the posts.

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