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First off...a hat tip to WizardKitten for info and to Eclectablog for some long term and holistic reporting on the Benton Harbor issue. See the bottom of the page for further articles from them on the topic.

My friends...

...we need to talk about Benton Harbor, Michigan. The city we've heard a lot about lately in terms of Michigan Republican Governor Snyder's new "Financial martial law" because of the latest actions of an Emergency Financial Manager.

Back in May 2010, Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm, on the recommendation of a committee,appointed an Emergency Financial Manager for the city of Benton Harbor. His name was Joseph L. Harris.

He's been the Emergency Financial Manager ever since.

He still is today.

As for the now notorious golf course development planned for St. Joseph and Benton Harbor according to Rachel Maddow...that's been an idea on the burner for a very long time. Years before Snyder and the Teahadists were even a twinkle in old man Koch's eye. Which old man Koch? Take your pick.

From an article in 2010 about the Harbor Shores golf resort in Benton Harbor

"What the Harbor Shores development does is help redefine the area in terms of the word 'vacation,' " says Marcus Robinson, president of the Consortium for Community Development. "This is a non-profit effort. The basis for this was to use this economic enabler to drive real change in the neighborhoods and communities. All the net gain from the development effort goes into a community chest that is reinvested into the community."

Successful example

Benton Harbor hopes to mirror the success of its neighbor. St. Joseph, a city of 9,000, is now a retirement community and a tourist destination with its beachfront property. Property values have increased 28% in the last five years, according to city manager Frank Walsh. Unemployment, he says, has fallen to 3%. A decade ago, the downtown vacancy rate was 22%. Today, it is 0%.

"What Benton Harbor and Harbor Shores have done is only going to enhance both communities," Walsh says. "This can only be beneficial for the entire (Berrien) county and area. This just doesn't happen very often in Small Town, America, but it's happening here."

One may find the grasping onto a private-public partnership and use of prized public land by the lakeshore for much needed city revenue as horribly desperate...possibly even foolhardy.

But one thing it is NOT is a new concoction of the Snyder administration.

I'm behind the recall of Rick Snyder.

But this whole thing from Rachel Maddow about a State takeover of the City of Benton Harbor to procure public lands to make a golf course for the rich...'s simply not true.

It's just not.

The sad fact is, Benton Harbor has been in dire straits for over two decades...and because of that, the city itself was party to this golf course thing.

In 2003 the city was literally on FIRE with race riots.

June 20, 2003

It's been called the longest bridge in the world. Not that the St. Joseph River is particularly wide, but the gulf of status, stereotypes, and distrust it represents needs more than steel and cable to cross it.

On one side lies St. Joseph, an Eden-like beach town, brimming with barbered lawns, boutique coffee shops, and summer art festivals. Cross to Benton Harbor, and everything changes. White becomes black, and affluence turns to poverty. Frustrated residents sit on sagging stoops and walk by boarded-up businesses.

When Benton Harbor erupted in violence this week, the trigger was ostensibly a high-speed police chase through a residential neighborhood. It was the second such pursuit in three years, and the second to result in the death of a young black.

Just 7 years later, Governor Granholm would appoint an Emergency Financial Manager for the city.

Benton Harbor is not a convenient story of 2011 Teapublican overreach.

It's an ongoing, long term story of deindustrialization, racism, injustice, desperation, white flight...

It is not a story about how Rick Snyder is handing public land over to some golf course developer.

I wish it were that simple.

But it's not.

Here's a sad fact about the Western Michigan Lakeshore...closer to the Lake it's white and more prosperous, and on the other side of US-31 is African American and significantly less so.

In Muskegon, it's:

Norton Shores near the lake: white people and money.

Muskegon Heights seperated from the lake by a highway: African American people and very little money.

And I can't count on my fingers how many public-private partnerships of questionable nature the cities have taken up to save themselves.

This isn't a easy story...I'm hoping Maddow will do a more intensive investigation about it.

Please refer to two diaries about this issue -->

How Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is Quietly and Intentionally Creating More Benton Harbors by Eclectablog


The Real Reason Behind the Expanded Powers of the Emergency Financial Manager Law by Wizardkitten

"Fear will keep the local systems in line, fear of this battle station", a wise villain once said. And that's is what is happening with the expanded powers behind the EFM law. The locals are stepping up as quick as they can, because they are afraid the Empire will visit them next. Last night, they held a training session...

    More than 300 people attended the training on Michigan's tough and controversial new emergency manager law for local governments and school districts. Fewer than one-third of them were looking for jobs as emergency managers or as consultants to oversee consent agreements for less seriously distressed local units. Most were local government and school district officials interested in making sure they never need an emergency manager.


In the meantime, the fear of law will drive your locals to make some horrific cuts to public safety and schools - focus on the outrage of THAT, not on something that you can't prove is happening. Take the very tangible results of these budget cuts - lost jobs, increased classroom size, less police and firefighters on the street, loss of health care services in your community - and carry those into 2012.

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  •  Alms (tips) (289+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladypockt, ninkasi23, gchaucer2, Louisiana 1976, tardis10, begone, Julie Gulden, James Allen, Dburn, Kathy S, outragedinSF, VClib, Quicklund, wot bot, fumie, bythesea, AZphilosopher, krllos, Empty Vessel, bsmechanic, SoCalSal, KVoimakas, Simplify, Mike S, jeffinfremont, Anton Bursch, Jimmm, LaFeminista, ZedMont, Lorikeet, Jeff Y, MaryinHammondsport, CalBearMom, cap76, Lujane, BruinKid, peachcreek, Jim P, camlbacker, oldliberal, blueoasis, philipmerrill, kaliope, bronte17, markthshark, Question Authority, kurt, S C B, Actbriniel, libnewsie, doe, frankzappatista, dkmich, tgypsy, Roadbed Guy, mofembot, Egalitare, wizardkitten, JimWilson, WI Deadhead, Eclectablog, LeighAnn, sallyfallschurch, yuriwho, ban nock, dadadata, FrY10cK, rogereaton, drewfromct, marykk, emmasnacker, IreGyre, teabaggerssuckbalz, cnmbfa, marina, jeannew, MartyM, monkeybox, CaliSista, French Imp, cama2008, Fossil, OleHippieChick, marleycat, HylasBrook, dance you monster, Grumpy Young Man, Cedwyn, Rich in PA, SneakySnu, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, highacidity, joynow, WisVoter, Victor Laslo, matx, CoExistNow, jcrit, panicbean, boatwright, djMikulec, angry marmot, ItsSimpleSimon, sfgb, Habitat Vic, sodalis, madmsf, bigrivergal, ruleoflaw, cskendrick, Vatexia, some other george, mr crabby, JTinDC, Imhotepsings, Cat Whisperer, Via Chicago, interguru, RLMiller, sydneyluv, irmaly, VictorK, JanL, psnyder, TomP, dougymi, WiseFerret, good intentions, jabney, arlene, Marihilda, sewaneepat, claude, skralyx, MKinTN, SB in GR, progressivebadger, Matilda, Curt Matlock, djtyg, Sun Tzu, mikeconwell, skymutt, gsbadj, happy camper, Clytemnestra, Hedwig, filkertom, DBunn, h bridges, jamess, BeerNotWar, dirtfarmer, FG, tomjones, Gowrie Gal, stegro, EricS, frostieb, Catte Nappe, DanielMorgan, Gabriel D, Orinoco, briefer, GeorgeXVIII, Xtatic, Renee, avadoria, No one gets out alive, Jaxpagan, SouthernBelleNC49, MJ via Chicago, DianeNYS, lcrp, Denny in Seattle, Nag, BadgerGirl, squarewheel, mhanch, MsGrin, dotsright, pdrap, rockhound, JanetT in MD, devtob, Mentatmark, chimpy, dmh44, greengemini, Statusquomustgo, moose67, TooFolkGR, Mimikatz, RLF, BCO gal, joe shikspack, terabytes, DeadB0y, cpresley, operculum, RainyDay, gardenkitty, awcomeon, NormAl1792, Regina in a Sears Kit House, Naranjadia, 88kathy, freeport beach PA, Marie, Involuntary Exile, ColoTim, SingerInTheChoir, Sylv, 2laneIA, Nespolo, greycat, AnnieR, roystah, Jim M, Mother Mags, millwood, Bensdad, fuzed, Wee Mama, Jay C, myadestes, MaizeandBlue, thea lake, bubbanomics, Haf2Read, ogre, llbear, AllanTBG, Shockwave, CarbonFiberBoy, ER Doc, bnasley, sawgrass727, Bmeis, lissablack, Viceroy, understandinglife, BrowniesAreGood, Andy30tx, ThirtyFiveUp, where4art, Matt Z, Deep Harm, TokenLiberal, GoldnI, roses, Its a New Day, damfino, SadieSue, Triscula, BalanceSeeker, pacotrey, Odysseus, UncleCharlie, greenomanic, Bluesee, Josiah Bartlett, nickrud, Ender, ZappoDave, stevenaxelrod, Ooooh, An Affirming Flame, suzq, fiddler crabby, surelyujest, Rick Aucoin, Pat K California, brentbent, trivium, soros, JVolvo, HoosierDeb, eeff, palantir, wonmug, Bluefin, ferallike, Larsstephens, samddobermann, NoMoJoe, Observerinvancouver, Oh Mary Oh, Dr Squid
    •  agree...Benton Harbor is now functioning (41+ / 0-)

      better than when they had meetings where nothing was accomplished because of the yelling and egos of some of the players.  It does upset me that they took part of Jean Klock Park and made it part of the Hagar Shores Development.  I went to Jean Klock Park as a kid and it was the people's lakefront park for Benton Harbor.  The land was donated to be the children's park by the Klock family.  I know they say it will be better now, but we'll see.

      Benton Harbor has had corrupt and incompetent leaders for decades.  Most of the people of the area support the work Harris has been doing to get the cities financial house in order.

      •  From california (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bluefin, Larsstephens, Oh Mary Oh

        Whenever i hear of this sorta private-public relationship being forced onto people, i cant help but remember the summer of Enron brownouts. The ones they manufactured to steal money.

        Just FYI. Republicans and CEOs are wililng to cut off electricity to nursing homes, iron lungs, hospitals, etc. all in order to make a shiny new nickle. Feh!

        exaggerations ends here

        Still, its a bit funny to watch. Since this was the party that spent the last 2 years screamign about government takeovers -- the only government takeovers have been orchestrated by republicans! 100%! And then they accuse US.

        a bit off topic, but it goes to a point: the rightwingers positions and ideals are SO VILE that they hide behind names that arej ust dartboard buzzwords sprinkled wiht overt false patriotism.

        Does anyone fall for this nonsense? but the point is, their ideals are so horrible, they wont talk about them. Boehner ran on decreasing the deficit totally. The day after he was elected, before being seated, he announced he'd be raising the deficit.

        Once he saw that the rightwing fanatics didnt battern down the senate doors in rage, the republicans knew their followers would accept any lie of any scope.

        "Rosebud... yes, Rosebud Frozen Peas! Full of country goodness and green pea-ness. Wait, that's terrible. I quit! "

        by kamrom on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:33:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Been asking for some facts now (15+ / 0-)

      for some time, appreciate the background.

      Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

      by dadadata on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:31:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have to ask... (55+ / 0-)

      What happens to the people of Benton Harbor when their town becomes gentrified? Where will they go? And where will their children play?

      While I will grant that from what I have read their city IS in financial difficulty for various reasons... but just taking over the town and giving free rein to corporate development and exploitation sounds a lot like what we fought the American Revolution over... Taxation without representation and the exploitation of the British Mega Corps of the times....

      •  It's a good question... (20+ / 0-)

        Everybody should have easy and hassle free access to the beach.

        Though this problem isn't one we can neatly pin on Snyder's administration.

        •  - (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          burlydee, XajaX, dfe, caul

          this response from the diarist makes me wonder whether he/she doesn't ever worry about family economic issues more serious than "free access to the beach."

          I thought the chief executive of MI is the one who implements this outrageous, anti-democratic program which can seize local control away from local voters. Since Snyder is in office, I don't see at all why we can't "pin" it on him. Granholm may have sat on a "pin" or two administering this racist, anti-citizen program also, but I don't believe that vindicates Snyder.

          I suggest the state sharply increase taxes on private golf courses and use that money to improve schools, medical clinics, and art in communities like Benton Harbor. If the golf course tax isn't enough, well how about increasing taxes on those making multiple millions??

          Your purposeless nuance is just trying to cloud the issue. There is an ongoing and massive wealth transfer from the working and middle-class people of this nation into the hands of the top 1% -- the ultra-rich. It is a crime. It is the issue in Benton Harbor just as Rachel Maddow's reporting suggests. I think the diarist presents no evidence to back this thinly-veiled attack on Rachel's great reporting on this story.

          -- Ryvr
          END THIS WAR NOW

          by Ryvr on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:39:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I, for one (5+ / 0-)

            am drowning in the overworked, repetitive comments regarding the top 1%. I'll bet about 1% of those commentors actually do a damn thing, anyway...or maybe they donate $5 to a candidate and then shout about being betrayed year after year. Yeah, not all of them, thank God.

            This diary is not about the top 1%. It's about another topic completely.

            And thinking it's a "thinly veiled attack on Rachel's great reporting" is, well, just weird

            •  *Reality* is about that 1% seizing wealth (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              burlydee, caul

              I know you don't want it to be about that.

              But Rachel Maddow (did you see her report?) made a very factual and strong case about what is happening and what this represents. The diarist is short on facts, but Rachel did include all the main factual points in this diary. Her conclusion was different because it was a smart, helpful analysis that was trying to solve a problem. But the diarist and you, just want to say "oh, stop blaming the rich" "it's not snyder's fault" ... whatever,  the blurry "it's complicated" commentators are not making a case for anything in particular other than trying to take this off the table, which is unhelpful.

              But this whole thing from Rachel Maddow about a State takeover of the City of Benton Harbor to procure public lands to make a golf course for the rich...

    's simply not true.

              It's just not.

              This isn't a easy story...I'm hoping Maddow will do a more intensive investigation about it.

              That's why I say the diarist is attacking Maddow. Why would that be weird???

              -- Ryvr
              END THIS WAR NOW

              by Ryvr on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 10:51:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  But you don't answer the question (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              burlydee, caul

              Where do the people of Benton Harbor go?  No one is suggesting that Snyder created the problem.  He didn't.  But he has created an awful solution.

          •  What exactly does (0+ / 0-)
            that's been an idea on the burner for a very long time. Years before Snyder and the Teahadists were even a twinkle in old man Koch's eye. Which old man Koch? Take your pick.

            mean ?

            I would say what is simply not true is someone writing a diary implying that something  being on "the burner for a very long time" is the same thing as something becoming reality due to the push of new political forces ?

            The Repugs have had destroying Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Unemployment Benefits "on the burner for a very long time" now that they are actually doing just that, does that mean that this new pack of GOP House fucks bear no responsibility for what they are doing ?

            Under Granholm  what were the powers of the EFM ?  What powers did the Benton Harbor local City Commission retain when Granholm was governor ?  Has nothing changed from Granholm to Snyder ?  Everything is exactly as it was, eh ?  Well, aside from the park going from public domain, to private gated golf course condo $5000 membership fee, I guess that's really not a chage, eh ?

            Benton Harbor is not a convenient story of 2011 Teapublican overreach.
            It's an ongoing, long term story of deindustrialization, racism, injustice, desperation, white flight...
            It is not a story about how Rick Snyder is handing public land over to some golf course developer.
            I wish it were that simple.
            But it's not.

            Did Rachel's report say anything about Snyder "handing public land over" ?  That implication is simply not true.

            Did Rachel's report say anything about Tea Bagger overreach as related to this park ?  No it did not, that simply is not true.  If you want to add to this story why don't you tell us about the State Rep from Benton Harbor and his ties and interest in this land steal?

            What is quite simple and quite true is the donated to the public Lake front park of Benton Harbor is being stolen from the people of Benton Harbor and the public in general by rich, politically powerful fascist forces who have ties to the Snyder MI State House.  This is quite simple and quite true.

            the US MSM, enemy of informed democracy

            by XajaX on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 02:35:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  difference = not working W/elected officials (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Exactly my thoughts.  The difference is that this EFM can now simply decide on his own what to do re: the golf course. Previously, the EFM was supposed to work WITH elected officials.  Now, he can unilaterally decide what to do.  How convenient.

               It ALSO stinks that the same rep who instigated this somehow pawned off the brownfield onto the town to clean up after his family's corporation did the damage?  Correct me if I'm wrong in that understanding - and maybe that didn't have to do with Snyder's new rules re: EFM either... but it sure makes the Benton Harbor situation even worse than it already appears.  

              Add to that, as it is my understanding, Snyder & Co. have cut revenue sharing to cities - which makes it even more likely for some to be vulnerable to this EFM scenario.

              Even if the diarist is correct about the feasibility of a Snyder recall (I have no idea)... and even if the story of Benton Harbor is not so simple and this project dreamt of years ago... The EFM no longer has to deal with such pesky things as the Benton Harbor citizens or elected officials to get it done.  

              That is one helluva difference.

      •  What happens *anywhere* when it gets gentrified? (42+ / 0-)

        Take for example Berkeley CA. Because if it can happen there, and it did, it can happen anywhere.

        I lived in Berkeley in the 1970s when it got so gentrified. First the risk takers, god bless 'em, created truly great resources for their own community where there had been nothing before. Restaurants, shops, cultural venues, plus pushing hard to get the government to support making it a really livable place.  This was hard, up to the early 1970s Berkeley was run by Republicans (yes really). But the cultural and community pioneers had a parallel in the good community-focused Berkeley Citizens Action (BCA) insurgent faction of the Democratic party, which was the political side of what created the Berkeley we think of today.

        So far so good, all great stuff, and nobody in their right mind would have done anything differently (well, some things, sure, but that's another post). Berkeley became a more and more attractive place to live, for all the right reasons. But then what?

        As a place becomes more attractive, it ... attracts. People want to move there. Cool people, good people, to be where the good stuff is. Then come the yuppies (and the very word yuppie was coined in Berkeley by the wonderfully snarky Alice Kahn), quickly followed by everyone else, pushing up property values in this now-more-desirable area ... and, yes, pushing out the very people who created all this in the first place.

        To be fair, the Berkeley government and community tried hard to mitigate this, and they get full marks for trying. They tried all the anti-gentrification strategies we've seen discussed here on DKos and elsewhere. But property values and rents soared anyway, populations transitioned, and people got pushed out. I certainly did.

        But looking at those steps, which of those would you have changed? The decent food stores? The concert venues and community spaces? BCA and progressive politics? The non-enforcement of cannabis laws?

        That's gentrification. It happened in Berkeley and it happens everywhere. What's the alternative?

        •  Urban Pioneers follow the artist community (4+ / 0-)

          that's been happening in NYC for forever. Artists need big cheap loft space to work. so they go to where they can afford it. Then us hangers on love to hang with the artists, so we move next to them. then, next thing you know, there is a starbucks on the corner, your rent has doubled, and you have to look for a new place.

          Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

          by jam on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 08:23:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  'Urban pioneers'? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Seriously? That term is offensive on a great many levels; so many I don't even know where to start...

            Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

            by awesumtenor on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 10:14:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I never thought of it that way (0+ / 0-)

              but I guess it certainly could be. It was not my intent to offend. Apologies to all.

              Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

              by jam on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 12:31:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  In Chicago gentrification followed the gays. (5+ / 0-)

            I was one of those gays. When I moved into the rehabbed building at Cornelia and Fremont, Cornelia was overrun with gangs with guns. My neighbor across the hall was also gay. Two months after we moved in about 1/2 the building was rented - and all of us were gay. Within 6 months almost all of the apartment buildings on Cornelia were bought by rehabbers and the gangs were gone.

            A straight rehabber friend of mine always wanted to put together a company called Rent-a-Gay. The "employees" would get free rent and moving, but could only stay in the apartment until the neighborhood changed.

            Bring them home now. It's time.

            by llbear on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 10:22:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  But the gays followed the artists ... (0+ / 0-)

              My impression as a Chicagoan is that the artists always started the movement (looking for cheap rent), the gays (with income) followed the artists, and the restaurants, Starbucks, et al followed the gays and their incomes -- at which point the straights moved in and drove the rents through the roof and thus chasing the artists off to a new neighborhood.

        •  I don't think you've accurately described (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          caul, vintage dem

          what is happening in Benton Harbor or the type of gentfrication this is.  Your Berkely example does not fit.   The preceding event is very much different here than in Berkely.  The first step in Berkely was the introduction of a bunch of young, white educated liberals into a formerly poor community.   Businesses came into cater to them, property taxes increased, rents increased, low income people were pushed out.

          What this is a targeted economic redevelopment that purposely strips the residents of power and gives it to a select few developers.   There aren't any "first stage" gentrifiers moving to Benton Harbor for cheap rents.  This is about changing the character of a town purposefully for the benefit of a select few.   Basically you have state officials pursuing policies that will help business people but not anyone who currently resides in that area.  How is that okay?

          •  No, that's not what happened (0+ / 0-)

            You said

            The first step in Berkely was the introduction of a bunch of young, white educated liberals into a formerly poor community.

            No, that's not what happened. In Berkeley the first step was for the people who were already living in the community to try and change the community they were already living in for what they perceived as the better.  Your word "introduction" implies carpetbaggers. Yes, there was certainly an influx of people who moved to the area, as I mentioned previously. But that wasn't the first step. That was later, after the people who had lived there all along worked to improve the place where they themselves lived.

            Businesses came into cater to them,

            Again, you've got the sequence wrong. Sure, some (and even there, relatively few, considering) businesses came in, later in the process. The initial element was when the people who had been living there all along created businesses in their own communities. Chez Panisse comes to mind as a good example. Now a very successful and influential restaurant that has literally changed the way the entire country eats, it started off as a local-focused neighborhood joint, intended simply to serve its own community. I mention Chez Panisse because people have heard of them but there were lots and lots of other such places. Smoky Joe's cafe comes to mind (''Where the Elite Meet to Eat No Meat"). Or Nabalom Bakery, or the Cheese Board, which are both collectively (so, by definition locally) run, and have been from the beginning.

            At that stage, there wasn't any "targeted economic redevelopment" because the people who wanted things (re)developed were the people living there. Did outside developers show up? Yes, of course - but that was later. And by then the local progressive government was in power and tried to do things in the most humane way they could. As I mentioned in my original comment, they weren't entirely successful by any means.

            But they tried. For example take the whole Fourth Street development.  I knew one of the main developers, he lives right in Berkeley and always has, and they designed that area as a local-oriented resource, with the local community in mind. In fact, the whole Fourth Street project came about because through the 1960s the (then-Republican) Berkeley city government had been trying to attract outside businesses to that part of town for years, and failing. Local boys Denny Abrams and Richard Millikan picked up the pieces of this failed bring-in-outsiders attempt, and created a local-oriented resource. Now, Fourth Street was at the tail end of this "first wave" of the local bootstraps process, but it's the community attitude I'm focusing on here.

            Or look at College Avenue south of the UC Berkeley campus. This was a hugely lucrative area that served the large campus population, any chain store's wet dream. You can imagine the pressure they exerted to try and get in there. Yet there was a concerted and largely successful effort to keep out the chain stores. Much later in the process, the chain stores won access, but for quite a long time they were largely excluded due to the efforts of the active and involved community.

            My point was that even with all this community focused activity and energy Berkeley still gentrified. And, if it can happen in this kind of community focused environment, it can (and does) happen anywhere. I'd love to hear of a successful alternative but so far haven't. Do you have one?

        •  I Don't Agree With Your First Assumption (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          burlydee, Bluefin

          All of these "great places" that "risk takers" were opening were places for affluent people to use who lived outside the community, which is the entire point of genterifcation. It is not really about helping the people who live in a blighted area to improve the area for their own use at all. Instead it is about people who want to open businesses that they generally can't afford to open in "nice" neighborhoods that are willing to take the risk of opening in an undesirable area and hope that will end up being big winners in the end when others follow. The fact that they get to pat themselves on the back for being so awsome about the whole thing is just an earlier adopter plus. The goal is always to create an enviroment that draws in people with money and eventually push out all of the "undesirables" meaning the people who actuall live there.

          Genuinely improving an area has nothing to do with building new yuppy hangouts. It is about spending money and resourse to clean up the area, to offer real police protection and make the streets safe again, to force slum lords to follow the laws and renovate their propertys and to get businesses to open that provide goods and services for the people who live there.

          Benton Harbor's problems, like most rundown areas stem from it being home to people who have very little income. And while  it is certainly a worthwhile goal to make an area more liveable for its residents, it doesn't address the issue of chronic poverty. Whirlpool shut down the factorys that provided most of the jobs for the residents. Now it wants to build its world headquarters there and a golf course? I doubt that the former factory employees will be welcome in either.

          The reason Rachael described this as a resource-grab is because that is exactly what it appears to be.  Just because this resource-grab has been on the table for years and has had many powerful backers, doesn't change what it is. It is so not about helping the local residents that nobody is even talking about the potential for new jobs for them as part of this venture.

          •  Not so (0+ / 0-)

            You said

            All of these "great places" that "risk takers" were opening were places for affluent people to use who lived outside the community

            In Berkeley that's not what happened. There, the leading edge "risk takers" were people already living in the local community, and their intent was to create a resource for the people who, like themselves, already lived there. The places I'm referring to were not targeted at "affluent people" but rather at regular folks who were already part of the community.

            I mentioned a few examples in my reply to burlydee, above, but there are many more. One of my favorites is the Jabberwock at Telegraph and Russell. I lived near Telegraph and Russell for some years (and, sigh, still miss Nabalom, who make the best cheese danish in the universe).  The Jabberwock  was a local music club, for local musicians and local audiences. After it closed it was succeeded by other clubs but none of them were focused on "outsiders", they were for the local musicians and listeners. Well, arguably the new downtown incarnation of the Freight & Salvage is, given the size of the place they have to be. But that's a much more recent development.

            But please don't lose sight of my point here, which is that even with all this local focus and own-bootstraps work by the people who lived there, for the people who lived there, Berkeley still gentrified. And if it can happen in that kind of environment, what environment is immune?

            •  What I've Seen Elsewhere (0+ / 0-)

              I don't know the particuliars of Berkely, but what I've seen elsewhere, is that the people you refer to as the ones building for themselves are not the original locals but the educated, artsy people who move into a what is usually a poor, overwelmiingly minority area. Generally it is a bunch of White young kids from middleclass backgrounds roughing it on their own in poor Black areas because that is where they were able to find affordable rent.

              At some point the number of young White artsy people living in what is/was a predominately Black area, reaches a critical mass and they start to get big ideas about remaking the neighborhood into a cool place for them, which will of course all make it into a cool place for people just like them, who don't live in the neighborhood. Bingo, gentrification starts, because suddenly banks are willing to finance loans in this area because they know that if the businesses succeed they will push out of the original poor Black residents.

              In the end it is not about poor Black people being helped, but the story of the next generation of conquers who found their piece of land and made it their own by forcing out the natives.

              •  I wasn't describing "elsewhere" (0+ / 0-)

                You said

                I don't know the particuliars of Berkely

                Yes, it's pretty clear that you don't. (Hint: stop repeatedly misspelling the name of the city.)

                I was describing one place, which I know extremely well, that has a well-deserved reputation for progressive politics, an active community, and a humane government infrastructure.

                I described in detail the gentrification process this progressive, humane place went through, in detailed steps.

                And I showed that, even in this progressive, humane place, gentrification was unstoppable.

                My point is this: if there is any place in the country that would be able to resist gentrification, this would be the place. Yet, gentrification could not be stopped. Not even here.

                So my bottom line was (and is): if gentrification can't be stopped in this supportive and progressive of an environment, where every factor is on our side, can it be stopped anywhere? And so far my answer is: no, it cannot be stopped anywhere.  

                Apparently your answer is the same.

                Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly, and expecting different results. My question all through this series of comments has been, since gentrification cannot be stopped anywhere what's the 'different thing' that can be done?

      •  I Can Tell You... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I'm familiar with the area...

        they won't be welcome on the more affluent side of town.. i.e. St. Joseph. there are clear racial boundaries here-- Benton Harbor is for the blacks... St. Joseph is for the whites.

        "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

        by Superpole on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 10:12:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Benton Harbor has had issues for years (0+ / 0-)

      of economic and racial varieties.

    •  Hey...nice blog! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joel Spinhirne

      Always enjoy your diaries, MC.

  •  Thank you. (55+ / 0-)

    I have been following this story and thought that Harris was a new appointment.  I did discover that Benton Harbor had serious problems.  My concern is --- is there a movement towards improving the plight for the citizens so that their abject poverty can be reversed rather than marginalizing them more for the benefit of the wealthy.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 10:41:26 PM PDT

  •  asdf (28+ / 0-)
    It's an ongoing, long term story of deindustializtion, racism, injustice, desperation, white flight...

    In other words, much of the country since the 70s.

    "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau -6.38, -4.15

    by James Allen on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 10:47:37 PM PDT

  •  Reality is a bitch sometimes (33+ / 0-)

    I recced this, as it seems reality has a funny way of being dismissed when it doesn't fit the narrative.

    We all need a dose of truth now and again.

  •  Thanks, MC. (18+ / 0-)

    Based on your blogging history, I trust your take on this.  I'm from Racine, WI, a city not without its issues on the other shore of Lake Michigan, and this rings very true.

    "A liberal is a man or a woman or a child who looks forward to a better day, a more tranquil night, and a bright, infinite future." - Leonard Bernstein

    by outragedinSF on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:00:35 PM PDT

    •  I love Racine's North Beach (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      One of the most stunning urban beaches I've ever seen.  I'm giving serious consideration to moving to the Racine lakeshore.

      I'm aware of the many issues facing Racine.  I read the city-data forums and people's attitudes can be appalling.

      But the cultural institutions (symphony, zoo, art museum) and great architecture make it very appealing to me.  I'm a complete beach bum, and would love to have a house with a view of North Beach in Racine.

      •  NB is a treasure, to be sure (0+ / 0-)

        I grew up on the lake about 5 blocks from North Beach.  Thanks for the kind comments on my hometown!  It does have a lot to offer in its way.  The legacy of being a booming industrial town up until the '70s has left a lot of assets, as you mention.

        "A liberal is a man or a woman or a child who looks forward to a better day, a more tranquil night, and a bright, infinite future." - Leonard Bernstein

        by outragedinSF on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:38:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I did think it odd that so many Kosians (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster, caul, soros

    preferred to see a majority minority community abandoned to corrupt officials. Well, actually, I didn't think it odd.

    •  I kept mentioning that BH had a long history (9+ / 0-)

      They had delegations of commissioners/employees going to conventions and spending all kinds of money that they didn't have.  BH has had a  history of not making wise financial decisions

      •  Wall Street has a history of not making (14+ / 0-)

        wise financial decisions.

        Retirement villages and golf courses are the signposts of the more benign version of human husbandry, a lesser less-than-lethal alternative.  Think of the witch in "Hansel and Gretel" fattening the children before she consigns them to the oven.  The human impulse to exploit our own kind is ever present.  The only thing that varies is the timing of the lethal.  Sooner or later, the victims of human husbandry are terminated.  Lucky are those who don't have to wait for the plug to be pulled.

        by hannah on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 01:26:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Um (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sydneyluv, Imhotepsings

          What? What does this have to do with any of this?

          Opening a golf course in hopes of raising town revenue and cutting unemployment is exploitation?

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 02:01:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We're not talking about a municipal course (17+ / 0-)

            here where the working class can recreate after work and on weekends.  We're talking about providing an outlet for the herbicide and pesticide industry and the consumption of fresh water to flush the excess into the lakes.  We're talking about making the maintenance of young retireds a profit center, keeping them in the equivalent of milking parlors with piped in music and automated waste disposal.  We're talking about trying to keep young retireds closer to home instead of having move to Florida or Arizona to be exploited until they reach the point of having to be cared for 'round the clock in the communities they originally came from.  We're talking about the reality that Florida, for example, lured young retires to become temporary residents and failed to provide the social infra-structure that the frail aged and medically needy eventually require.  Which is why, for the first time ever last year, more people moved out of Florida than moved in.
            The problem with the baby boomers isn't that they're all retiring; it's that they've been encouraged to retire in places that aren't prepared to actually look after them in the long term.

            Single family residential development has taken a nose-dive.  So, of course, builders are looking to produce multi-use facilities and suckle at the public teat.  That's what American enterprise always does when there's a down-turn in the economy.  Indeed, that's one of the reasons money for maintaining public facilities is always stinted.  The sooner the facilities become worn out, the sooner there's an excuse to issue a bond (pleasing the bond clippers) and build something new.  There's no trickle of income from properly maintained and preserved public facilities.  And now profit margin for developers, architects and engineers either.


            by hannah on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 02:43:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Also, "the road to hell is paved with (13+ / 0-)

            good intentions" because people tend to assume that being well-meaning makes up for doing wrong.

            It is wrong to deprive our own kind of the necessities of life under the guise of making them obedient.  Indeed, in a society in which some people have been granted exclusive use of the land and its resources (private property), there's an obligation, in exchange for that privilege, to insure that others are not deprived as a consequence.  It is shameful that in a land as bounteous as North America "no free lunch" is proclaimed as a virtue.


            by hannah on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:08:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  My question is (12+ / 0-)

            How much actual income and benefit will the community receive?  The jobs will be jobs well needed but will they be living wage jobs?  Unlikely.  Cleaning, maintenance, food service jobs, will not build a community.  Franchises will move in and there will be service jobs but no worthwhile jobs for the current residents.  This could be a great way for a community to begin again but I doubt it will turn out that way especially with the residents out of power and the big guns in power.  We have all seen this before.  I also want to know if during Granholm's time the EFM had the power and abilities it has now.  Was the program run differently than what is happeneing now?

            And she's good at appearing sane, I just want you to know. Winwood/Capaldi

            by tobendaro on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:57:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, very often it is. If you follow the $$ I bet (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joe shikspack, SadieSue, caul

            you find a few well-connected Real Estaters using political levers to reap private profits at taxpayer expense.

            By the time the public really understands what has happened they've taken the money, the politicians are long gone and the locals will continue to pay forever.

            Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

            by Catskill Julie on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 08:00:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I think that is an odd thing to say. So you think (6+ / 0-)

      most here who are offended when they hear about some big takeover would know the place has been in the hands of corrupt officials? Do they say "I prefer they stay abandoned to corrupt officials?"

      Or do they not really understand the back story and react to the grab that they see?

    •  It's Kossacks, not Kosians, and you (0+ / 0-)

      need to remove the HR you gave me on Monday in light of the fact that I acknowledged my mistake.

      Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

      by JTinDC on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 05:29:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  IT is (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ivan, stagemom, Marie, Matt Z, soros, Larsstephens

        Kossaks, Kossians, Kosers, Kosmopolitans or whatever the hell we want to call ourselves, since 2003.

        You and your buddy need to take it out in the hall and duke it out personally, not in this thread.

        don't always believe what you think...

        by claude on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 06:46:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is relevant to the conversation. (0+ / 0-)

          I made a comment in another diary without realizing that Granholm had appointed the BH czar. Wotbot HR'd me for "a falsity" which I corrected on finding new information. Classless to leave the HR. Based in the info in this diary I suppose there aren't enough HRs in the world to cover the misinformation on the topic over the last week.

          Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

          by JTinDC on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 07:25:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Good. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    caul, goinsouth

    I'm glad Snyder's takeover of Benton Harbor is on the up and up.
    And that Snyder is not contributing to the "..deindustrialization, racism, injustice desperation and white flight..." that is plaguing the area. Glad we got that cleared up. Thanks.

    "...on the (catch a) human network. Cisco."

    by hoplite9 on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:08:33 PM PDT

  •  New powers given to EFM's in Feb 2011 (13+ / 0-)

    House Bill 4214.

    Isn't that the 'new' issue and his use of these new powers?

  •  Honestly, (5+ / 0-)

    I thought when Rachel teased "City manager" and "politically motivated", she was going to talk about Detroit or even Dearborn (a favorite RW bogeyman).

    Development is always a tough issue (I say this as an Arizonan) especially when public goods are involved.  However, the only way municipal governments get more of a tax base is by having more development (whether via sales tax or property tax).  Someone's ox always gets gored when development is pursued.  The question is whether the economic development outweighs the loss of a public good.  I'm always split especially in this case because the AA community in BH will probably not see very much access to the shoreline after the development but people are really struggling and if it could get some people ANY job, you almost have to do it at this point.

    "Raise your hand if you think Social Security and Medicare are Socialism."-Lawerence O'Donnell

    by AZphilosopher on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:24:14 PM PDT

  •  I thought it sounded a little too snidely whiplash (11+ / 0-)

    I love Rachel's show, but she doesn't always know what she's talking about.  And in all fairness when she finds out that she's wrong she says sorry.  Hopefully, she'll find out that there's more to this story than she understands.

    Thanks for writing this diary.  

    take away god's omnipotence and he's basically an ex hippy who sold out in his 30s to work in commercial real estate - me

    by Anton Bursch on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:39:30 PM PDT

    •  Rachel usually knows what she is talking about (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Anton Bursch

      I would be surprised if she is plain wrong on this one. Maybe there are shades of gray in how she has reported it though.

      Apparenly I'm a sanctimonious purist!

      by mattinjersey on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 06:35:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Rachel's point (0+ / 0-)

        as I remember it was the way the take-over was done by preventing the elected officials from being able to hold meetings with discussions.  We had a town, Vallejo, near me in CA go bankrupt.  The elected officials remained.  The emergency advisor can advise, but this take-over was done Scott Walker style with obvious corrupt connections between the author of the bill and Whirlpool.  Rachel did a great job on this story and the main point is still true:  corrupt over-kill in line with current GOP theft.

  •  I nice blend of authoritarianism and racism (15+ / 0-)

    I wonder where that could lead....sigh

    "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

    by LaFeminista on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:52:15 PM PDT

  •  I suspected something like this. But my knee (8+ / 0-)

    jerked nonetheless.

    I hope Rachel picks her battles a little more judiciously from now on.  She's too good at what she does to poison her own water.

    The community of fools might be small if it were not such an accomplished proselytizer.

    by ZedMont on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:53:30 PM PDT

  •  I also appreciate (23+ / 0-)

    the clarifications about the history of the EFM in Benton Harbor. But it seems important to also see the corporate entanglements of recent developments, the connections to Whirlpool, the expanded powers being introduced by the Congressman for Benton Harbor, who is closely aligned with a Whirlpool heir.  There is a really big whiff of the fix is in in how this looks to be playing out.  And I agree with the commenter above, that there wouldn't need to be expanded legislation if they were interested in keeping to the same parameters of action.

    The expanded powers read as profoundly undemocratic, rather than as corrective within a system, as limited previous EFM's operated if they operated effectively.  That level of local power should never reside in the hands of one person, either at the deciding level, the appointing level, or the EFM level.

    I guess we will have to see how this plays out with other locales.  The mayor of Lansing reported on how other localities are being helped toward failure by Snyder policies and actions. We will see if he is right as things play out.  There either will be other takeovers or there will not.

  •  Call me suspicious (12+ / 0-)

    Two things jumped out in Maddow's report - 1, St. Joseph is 90+% white and Benton Harbor is 90+% African American.  It makes sense then that St. Joseph 'could' become a retirement community and summer resort for Chicagoans escaping the heat.  Would these same (I'm presuming essentially white) Chicagoans want to retire in an almost black community of Benton Harbor?  Too, Maddow pointed out that membership in the new development/golf course would be $5000.00, while the average income in Benton Harbor is ca $10,000.00.  How is this new development going to help Benton Harbor African Americans?    

    •  Re (6+ / 0-)
      Too, Maddow pointed out that membership in the new development/golf course would be $5000.00, while the average income in Benton Harbor is ca $10,000.00.  How is this new development going to help Benton Harbor African Americans?    

      You don't think that a bunch of people coming into the town and spending $5000 a pop (probably a lot more if you take into account ancillary purchases) is going to help the residents of the town? Especially when a good chunk of that $5000 will directly employ local residents (food service, landscaping, possibly construction, etc)? Not that these are jobs designing precision laser equipment or anything, but they are jobs in an area desperately ravaged by unemployment.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 02:09:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  so, you buy the trickle down theory (15+ / 0-)

        of economic development? you seem to think that the AA community NEEDS white development to come in and put the AAs to productive work in order to save them from themselves. that seems rather patriarchal to me.

        how much do you want to bet that the higher paying 'boss' jobs go primarily to shoreline residents?

        blink-- pale cold

        by zedaker on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 02:58:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Consumption theory is slightly different than (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stagemom, labradog, zedaker, Odysseus, soros

          trickle-down.  Actually spending the money in the community is different than assuming that a tax break for the rich will translate INTO spending.

          Witness tourist communities centered around resorts or in our local case, the Biltmore Estate.  Asheville has quite an eclectic population and a lot of employment (admittedly not much more than $11/$12 an hour) because of the Grove Park and the Biltmore Estate and about 30 golf courses in WNC.

          (We're a lot more than that, btw.)

          So if that money actually gets SPENT in the community, that is a lot different than a tax break (which just gets hoarded or invested in the market).

          Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
          I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
          -Spike Milligan

          by polecat on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 06:32:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  IF the money ACTUALLY gets spent there, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LillithMc, caul

            you would have a better argument. i agree that 'trickle down' was a reach as a descriptor, but i'll lay long odds that very little of the money used to develop the area will stay in the area. i'll bet the contracts don't go to locals and that the majority of the labor used is imported with the bulk of the labor costs taken outside the area when the work is done.

            speaking of when the work of development is done; how many post-development dollars do you think will actually be spent within that community? sure there will be some subsistence level support jobs that in a northern state like MI can't really be much more than seasonal. do you think that the resorts or retirees will be shopping in BH or spending elsewhere and having their goods trucked in?

            as for your aside that Asheville is a lot more than that; ask yourself if all that other stuff Asheville is came before or after the golf courses and Grove Park/BE. if all Asheville had was those things what would it be like?

            i don't think that a 21st century version of 19th century paternalistic plantationism is a good thing  whether it's justified under trickle down theory or consumption theory.

            it just isn't.

            blink-- pale cold

            by zedaker on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 10:37:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  LOL That's Not Trickle Down Theory (0+ / 0-)

          That's tourism, and it's a law, not a theory.

      •  At issue is the park donated by (9+ / 0-)

        a family in their daughter's name.  I don't have any idea how big the park is, where the intended golf course/resort is in relation to the park, but Maddow's point was the children's park/beach front is endangered by encroachment.  And the jobs of which you speak are minimum wage jobs and wouldn't go far restoring the infrastructure of the town, if the pictures Maddow showed are any indication of the sorry state of affairs in Benton Harbor.  

      •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        erush1345, soros

        Normally I am against this sort of thing, but the city needs jobs and I don't see Google or any closed shop Union places riding in on their white horses with $18 an hour jobs.  

        The same thing is happening on the Southside of Chicago.  Alot of the Aldermen and Union leaders are fighting against Wal-Mart coming to town, yet they offer no opprotunities of their own.  

      •  they aren't comingq (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        until the area is ethnically cleansed, improved so that crime, vagrancy, homelessness, burned out houses and store fronts, etc are not right across the street from their new condo overlooking the golf course.

    •  thats an interesting way to frame it.. (0+ / 0-)

      Its true that 99% of BH residents will never play a round of golf there but neither will I, the fees are just too expensive, and I'm white.  Should I be getting angry about this situation?

      "To you I'm an atheist; to God, I'm the Loyal Opposition." - Woody Allen

      by soros on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:35:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The shield of money makes it possible (10+ / 0-)

    to engage in the same exclusionary tactics that kept populations separate and unequal before segregation was declared illegal without leaving any fingerprints.  The people of Benton Harbor are being exploited, but nobody knows who the villains are.  Most likely, their dens are on Wall Street or in Little Rock.  The people who allocate credit are the powers behind the throne.  
    Money has the potential of being a great equalizer, as does the law.  However, both are just as easily converted into tools for human subjugation while the culprits remain unidentified.  Of course, they know who they are.  They don't have to be known since the perception of the misery they cause is reward enough. Those that step forward to be identified are inartfull dodgers.

    by hannah on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 01:38:08 AM PDT

    •  And, BTW MI is one of THE most residentially (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hannah, Marie, caul

      racially segregated states in America.  Not only do I know this as a life-long resident, but there are many studies that support this, here's one:
      (We are, after all, the place where Phyllis Schlafly "made her bones" when she headed the anti-busing brigade, and supported the "separate but equal" racists that were responsible for a vast amount of "white flight" from Pontaic and Detroit, thus creating an island of AA's surrounded by richer, much whiter communities (sound familiar, Benton Harbor?)

  •  I don't get the criticism of the Maddow story (35+ / 0-)

    She mentioned that the golf course idea went back to 2006 and that Granholm washed the state's hands of the scheme.

    Seems like the old idea is now on a steamroller into town, now that local opposition is neutralized by the Big Government measures of Snyder and with a local representative connected to the resort developers.

    That appears to be the point of the Maddow story, titled Really Really Really Big Government, rather than whether Benton Harbor is a mess or not, or a parable of deindustrialization, although she touched on that.

    •  That's what I heard, too (21+ / 0-)

      Rachel was quite clear about the long-term interest in the high rent golf course. SHe was also clear about the high price of membership in terms of the low income of Benton Harbor residents.

      To me, this showed that the intent of the developers was to employ some Benton Harbor residents in low level jobs.

      I appreciate the diarist's reminding us of the riots that broke out in Benton Harbor in 2003. This is a very important event in the history of the area. It was only three years later that the golf course idea was getting promoted.

      What I see connected to Snyder's move is the streamlining of the process and the focus of authority residing in one person. More so than allowed in previous statues.

      I am also curious as to how Benton Harbor's fiscal "crisis" came about and totaled $13 million as reported in the recent news. Was this inflated or adjusted through some sort of legal maneuvering? Has the debt amount been in that range and relatively stable since, say, 2009? If so, what has the emergency manager been doing to resolve the debt?

      Way too many questions come to mind. I guess I'll do some more searching.

      What I really, really, miss is the Heath Company. I treasure the  Heathkits I assembled way back in the 60's and 70's. Everything worked perfectly last time I fired them up a couple of years ago.

      "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

      by GrumpyOldGeek on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 02:52:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for writing this diary (6+ / 0-)

    It does no one any good to go into hysterics about complex, multifaceted issues. I have serious problems with Republicans (mostly around their anti-science and bad economic positions), but it is important to choose one's battles appropriately.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 02:30:35 AM PDT

  •  I hope that there isn't an insinuation... (48+ / 0-)

    ...that my blogging on this has dumbed down what is clearly a very complex issue. I've never hidden the fact that Granholm appointed Harris (neither did Rachel Maddow) but pointed out that, thanks to the Republicans, he now has far more sweeping powers than ever before.

    I have certainly never tried to make it seem "so simple".

    It's not coincidence that Harris went immediately after the Planning Commission and the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. There is still plenty of shorefront property in the Benton Harbor area that could be retasked to help make rich developers even richer. It's also a good test case as for other such moves in the future.

    I will fault the Maddow Show for making it seem like this development isn't already done. It is. The golf course opened last summer while Granholm was still Governor and the people in the group trying to save Jean Klock Park are as upset with her as they are of anyone.

    At the end of the day, I have tried to cover this issue fairly and have always acknowledged the many underlying issues in Benton Harbor. But I think we'd be naive if we didn't take a hard look at what is going on there with the new powers granted to the EFM and keep very close tabs on how those powers are used.

    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
    -- Dr. Peter Venkman

    by Eclectablog on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:17:23 AM PDT

    •  No way...your reporting has been holistic (11+ / 0-)

      and detailed.

      The only reason I hesitated to write this diary was that there might be a perception of that, cuz you're one of my top 3 favorite bloggers of all time and I don't want to create that perception.

      I think your reporting has been fantastic. I'm a little annoyed that Rachel Maddow, who has such a vast audience and so many topics, seemed to choose to make this story mostly about this beach development.

      •  My take on it (10+ / 0-)

        Is here.

        Long story short, don't miss the big picture for the shiny park on the beach. This is going right off the rails all of a sudden - eyes back on the prize.

        There were some developments at the training session held last night - and here's a big one-

        The EFMs need permission from the (executive appointed) State Treasurer to break union contracts. That detail really hasn't been highlighted all that much, at least that I've seen.

        Well. Isn't that interesting. I don't see how that ever holds up in court - and my guess is they don't really want it to go that far, because they would lose. (which is exactly why people should sue - ha ha)

        Anyway, no time to argue on this here today - but go read iffin' you want.

        And be good to each other.

        •  wizardkitten is one of my heroes (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marina, wizardkitten

          Pay her good heed, folks. And read her blog.

          "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
          -- Dr. Peter Venkman

          by Eclectablog on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:23:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I'm coming at this from a different angle - yes, this is big activist intrusive government, as Rachel says, and I want them sued over it. Now.

            But don't overlook why they expanded what was basically a law designed to prevent a full-blown municipal bankruptcy filing. They want to use this as a stick. They have even admitted to it.

            I don't believe they want to take over cities at all. That's too much work, and they know they will lose the battle of public opinion when it happens. I believe they want to force locals to do the dirty work of making cuts/extracting concessions on union contracts for them - and this is all being done so they can pass more tax cuts for business interests.

            The park is an important issue too, don't get me wrong - but it's only a small part of the much bigger picture.  


      •  Stealing beachfront is the EXAMPLE of what happens (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VTCC73, caul

        when unscrupulous pols use draconian laws to usurp local democratic control.

        And Rachel Maddow has been crystal clear about that!

        Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

        by Catskill Julie on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:46:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There...just put in a hat tip to make that a bit (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanL, Imhotepsings, jennifree2bme, Matt Z

      more clear :D

    •  I Didn't Read it That Way (0+ / 0-)

      But you have to admit, the comment threads in a lot of your diaries have (not through your action) taken off in kind of an extreme direction.

    •  The MAIN point! (0+ / 0-)
      It's not coincidence that Harris went immediately after the Planning Commission and the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. There is still plenty of shorefront property in the Benton Harbor area that could be retasked to help make rich developers even richer.

      Highly recommend Eclctablog's diary today. This has been in the works a looong time. Check it out

      Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

      by Catskill Julie on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:44:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Let's put it this way... (0+ / 0-)

      ...I've been following this issue only casually. As I would imagine most have. It sounded outrageous on its surface, which is why the outrage I have heard expressed has not surprised me.

      But what always bothered me was that it just sounded to wild that something like this could happen over night. What I didn't understand at the time, but I do now, is that the EMs were not a new thing with the new governor. Nor did I know, until now, that the EM under discussion was actually appointed by the previous governor.

      I don't believe you tried to hide this. I read part of your blog post, but the level of detail was almost so overwhelming that I lost the track of the story. In other words, your level of detail made it harder for me to understand the story at the 30,000 foot level.

      I don't blame you for that. I blame me. But I also understand why I made these mistakes: because in most of the sturm-n-drang on this story, very little effort has been made to actually give the story context.

      This diary goes a long way towards meeting that need.

  •  Kinda sick how each entity with legal standing (0+ / 0-)

    is considered a party.

    Sorry, but I find the dissonance resonant.

    I hope no one puts their dick in the potato salad.

    we are but temporary visitors on this planet. The microbes own this place <- Me

    by yuriwho on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:18:33 AM PDT

  •  Any of you "careful thinkers" who are reductio-ing (16+ / 0-)

    this antidemocratic power grab to revisitist absurdam via a supposed take on Rachel Maddow's remarks remember a guy named L. Paul Bremer? Proconsul of Iraq? Lookie here:

    Yeah, the displacement of a duly Michigan township elected government by some proconsul from some Red governor in Lansing is justifiable on the grounds of "efficiency." What, is he going to make the trains run on time? Or like the push down here in FL, just make the world safe for every kind of "development," with the myth that there will be "jobs" (as grease trap cleaners, yard slaves and such?) as a result?

    Do you people have any idea what is being done to you? Our FL governor is another who is seeking this kind of power to displace and dismiss and centralize. Where you live, do you like the local government? Are you all ok with the increasingly Wrong/Red legislatures and governors saying your local experiments in democracy need to be replaced by some Really Smart (and inevitably corrupt) guy or gal from The Capitol, wherever it might be?

    What a bunch of....

    "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

    by jm214 on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:12:37 AM PDT

  •  Thank You MC (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL, cpresley

    for some perspective.  It's hard to know what's true or not these days, and this at least makes the story a little more understandable.  I love visiting St. Joseph, and every time I go through Benton Harbor it just makes no sense to me how completely different one town can be from the other, especially when they both have such a beautiful lake next to them.

    Sure, I'm grumpy, but I'm also a fun, fit, classy guy.

    by Grumpy Young Man on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:25:07 AM PDT

  •  It's the age old story (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigrivergal, JanL, Empty Vessel, Matt Z

    Racism leads to segregation and poverty and bad local government.  Then the same forces who supported the racism and segregation and poverty intervene against the bad government.  I can't really say they're wrong to do so, since bad government is especially damaging in already-marginalized communities, but obviously there's something perverse about it.

    It's better to curse the darkness than light a candle. --Whoever invented blogs, c.1996

    by Rich in PA on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:32:24 AM PDT

  •  were so simple (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Thanks (10+ / 0-)

    I was cringing as I listened to Ms. Maddow's show the other night.  I'm usually a big fan of hers, but in this case I feel she fell into the all to common journalistic trap of letting a pre-conceived narrative drive the story instead of the facts.

    Benton Harbor is a sad example in miniature of the problems plaguing many Michigan cities.  It was a one industry town, relying on Whirlpool Corp. for most of its good-paying employment.  These were union jobs, open to anyone with a high-school diploma.  They are now outsourced to Mexico and Asia.  As in other Michigan urban disasters, the folks left behind are living with crappy schools, an absent tax base, crime and addiction, and the town falling down around them.

    And not to be forgotten is the standard Michigan response.  Because the citizens who are left to try and make new lives out of the smoldering wreckage are mostly black, its always good old Michigan racist apartheid.  

    To the shame of all of us, but particularly our urban leaders, we are left with an oppressed, ignored, deprived, and hopeless underclass, living in conditions that resemble the bombed out cities of Europe after WWII.

    I love my state and it's prosperous farms, its stunningly beautiful lakes, and it's peaceful woodlands.  However we are never going to truly prosper until we face the naked evil of our racism and the moral rot at the heart of our lives.  Like it or not, we are ALL in this together.  Solving it together for EVERYONE, black and white, is the only thing that will save us.

    Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

    by boatwright on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:37:29 AM PDT

    •  It would really help, IMHO if we didn't insist on (0+ / 0-)

      electing the absolute worst of the worst Koch reps, like Engler (may his corporal self discover that his health insurance and pension and savings have ALL been appropriated by the vampire squid).

  •  Oh, but it is simple.. "I want what you have, and (12+ / 0-)

    I now have the means to take it from you".

    "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely."

    A very alarming story and one that should send shivers up the spines of many outside of the state of Michigan.

    Hey Boehner and the Republicans: WHERE ARE THOSE JOBS YOU PROMISED????

    by LamontCranston on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:44:05 AM PDT

  •  The longest bridge joke (18+ / 0-)

    I heard this story last night. We were discussing the issue of emergency managers in Michigan last night....

    My father-in-law used to do business with the town of St. Joseph as a rep for GM.

    One of locals was happy to share, in a business conversation, the local joke about the longest bridge in the world: "It reaches all the way to Africa."

    Not too cool, I thought. My father-in-law thought likewise.

    Since it was an over-the-phone conversation and he had as yet not met face-to-face with the person in question he said "Uh, you realize that I'm black right?"

    Dead silence ensued.

    This took place at least 30 years ago, which goes to show it is never too soon to box out (and box up) bad behavior.

  •  High end golf courses/housing developments (7+ / 0-)

    are a bad investment in the current  economy. I don't know the situation in Michigan but I would be surprised if it were much different than here in northern Arizona. There are six such developments (second home/vacation properties) that are similar to the proposed BH development in my area that are either in bankruptcy or close to filing for bankruptcy. The golf industry as a whole is in decline. Rounds and revenue are down across the nation. We all know the struggles of the housing industry.  It would be foolish to pursue this project at this time.

  •  I have come to the conclusion (5+ / 0-)

    that people who have little opportunity tend to do one of two things, they either fight twice as hard to succeed (with mixed results) or they find a way to steal from the system to survive.  We spend a lot of time pointing fingers at those who chose the second, easier (in our view) path.  

    You say the town has had corruption and bad management that has gone on for years?  I ask, what factors have contributed to that?  I don't excuse it, I just ask the question.  

    As for the town participating in the development plans for a long time, well of course.  It seemed to be their only lifeline.  Development brings jobs.  Are they good jobs when the project is a golf course and tourist business?  Some are, a lot aren't.  Some development can be good, but that does not make all development good.  Building a golf course doesn't benefit all of the people who live there, but what other choices did the developers offer?  My guess is none.  Take the shitty deal and we will cut you in on it, or get the shitty deal anyway.

    Just a few thoughts.

    Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world--and never will. Mark Twain

    by whoknu on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 06:22:50 AM PDT

    •  Sadly, the American Way™ is about stealing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina, caul

      from the system -- or gaming it.

      Whether we're talking about people writing "18" inside of their kids shoes so they could swear to a judge that they're "Above 18" in order to get 40 acres of land, or an elected official using his position or former position to influence events for money, it's all the same thing.

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      -Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 06:35:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Benton Harbor needs jobs. (6+ / 0-)

    Not seasonal tourist industry jobs, either. They need real, living wage jobs.

    Just like the rest of the state.

    Benton Harbor has always been the "other side of the tracks", but before the jobs left, it was at least possible to earn a living there. It may turn out that, even with Snyder's new and improved EFM, the problems will still refuse to go away. Turning it into a mirror image of St. Joe, if that is even possible, isn't going to help the people who live there.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 06:45:12 AM PDT

  •  the problems of Benton Harbor (13+ / 0-)

    go back a long way, and yes, the financial manager was appointed by Granholm, isn't one of Snyder's insiders, but also, let's face it,   Granholm nor Harris are in charge anymore.  

    If the replacement of the commissions hadn't been the first thing done, planning and brownfield, then maybe this would be part of an ongoing effort to put money back into the community.  But now it is a different ballgame.

    And yes, the golf course is non-profit, and its excess funds are to go into the community chest.  But all the land around it is not.   And non-profit doesn't mean benevolent.    Golf courses right now tend to be massive money losers, and end up needing public support or closing down.    These kinds of non-profits are set up in Georgia, cheap state funds to develop, private operators absorb all the money, and nothing is left, including all that expensive lake front property off the tax rolls, and now it is pay to enter and not a free park.

    My town had a portion of a donated park turned into a golf course,  the county subsidizes, and it isn't used predominantly by the locals.  Meanwhile, the other portions of the park don't get the upkeep and support the golf course gets (bankers/developers/politicians sit on the golf course board and the parks authority has just your ordinary citizens, the types just replaced in Benton Harbor).

    I have seen and litigated a huge chunk of land turned into a private golf resort, taken of the tax rolls, subsidized by state grants, and zero actually goes back into local hands as the course has its clubhouse and hotel, and pretty much nothing goes to the local businesses.

    This is a racket practiced everywhere.   It moves park money from state and local governments into the hands of the deserving few.

    Wanting to make Benton Harbor just like St Jo, is just so much code for moving out the black folks.  This is the area my racist Republican brother whom I mention from time to time is from.    Believe me,  this won't end up as good for Benton Harbor's current population.   But carry on with the we will make it better for the city stuff.

  •  could be that Benton Harbor was chosen (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    We Won, cpresley, Matt Z

    just because of its history.

    The city officials were compliant from the start and

    signed the required "Consent Forms" (under the new law)

    to grant the EFMs their many Authorities, to fix the local mess.

    Eventually the BH BrewHaHa would "blow over"

    making the follow-up planned Targets,

    all that more easy to pull off, with barely a blogland murmur.

    Could be?

    What Rick Snyder's EFMs are really Allowed To Do -- and How to Prevent it, Michigan.
    by jamess -- Apr 19, 2011

    thanks for the eye-opening post, Muskegon Critic, T&R.

    From what I learned yesterday, digging into the legalese,
    it is really the "local government's chief administrative officer"

    that we need to be targeting --THEY have to Consent to letting the EFM, in the first place, by signing on the dotted line.


    (I went back to Ohio -- but my City was gone!)

    Got Time?
    Take ten, to find something else informative and fun to read. Thx.

    by jamess on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 07:18:21 AM PDT

  •  And so, in the interest of business as usual we (7+ / 0-)

    should take the lakefront property from the black people and give it to the white people?  That is exactly what is happening.  It really isn't so complicated at all.  And I 100% guarantee that is exactly what will happen.  And the black people will not only lose their public jewel but receive absolutely no benefit whatsoever from the transaction.  Unless they are named Tiger Woods.

    Sorry MC, this Wolverine has lived in Michigan long enough to know the Westside is where the sucka greedheads and racists live.  They are going to take Klock Park and devastate the black community of Benton Harbor.  Because they are black.  Period.

    When the rose lies withered by the roadside don't try to negotiate the bloom.

    by Atilla the Honey Bunny on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 07:30:37 AM PDT

    •  Right But That's Not Happening (0+ / 0-)

      The only part of the park that would be "taken" is East of the Dunes, off the beach.  True, people would have to park further away from the beach... the development project would add paths to the beach, and the beach would still be part of the park, not the development.

      It's fine to talk about this, but KNOW what you're talking about.

    •  That may be...but it's not an EFM issue (0+ / 0-)

      The Emergency Financial Manager isn't part of that story.

      In Muskegon, a WHOLE lower wage neighborhood was literally leveled and handed over to Walmart to build a strip mall. The township condemned the homes of those unwilling to sell and kicked them out, then just handed the land over to WalMart.

      That was back in the 1990s.

      This issue with the lakefront developoment in Benton's a shame.

      But it's got nothing to do with new Republican overerreach from the Emergency Financial Managers changes.

      As both Wolverines, we both know that the rich people along the lake shore have NEVER had difficulties taking whatever they want along the lakeshore anyway, even without a State takover.

      This EFM thing is hype in this case.

      •  Why ignore the changes this EFM has already (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        burlydee, caul

        made to the planning and brownfields boards?

        But it's got nothing to do with new Republican overerreach from the Emergency Financial Managers changes.

        The takeover and reconstitution of those boards is directly related to development, land changes etc., approvals. If they're now just a rubber stamp for the EFM, he gets his way in law. Hard to overcome later by lawsuits, or elections.

        Ask anyone who has been involved with a local development issue that turned upon a local election. Control of those boards is often the whole point, and developers will spend large amounts to get there!

        Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

        by Catskill Julie on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:34:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  EFM is the instrument used to perpetrate the theft (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina, caul

        So, it is an  EFM issue.  The unanimity of the community is made powerless by the microminority of real estate thieves.  EFM is the smoking gun.  The black people lose their beach privileges and the whitest of the white are now granting to the black community the one thing the black people can call their own and keep and that is their distance.  Members only.  Blacks need not apply.

        When the rose lies withered by the roadside don't try to negotiate the bloom.

        by Atilla the Honey Bunny on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 10:25:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have to wonder about big money development in MI (5+ / 0-)

    The city of Petoskey has an unsightly  large city block size hole that was going to be luxury condos and shops until the developer lost his financing.  It has been there so long that trees are growing in the hole.  Also we have lots and lots of golf courses already.

    Tea Parties are for little girls with imaginary friends.

    by J Edward on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 07:32:20 AM PDT

    •  Yep. Boondoggles, white elephants and failed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      developments, many with taxpayer funding and tax incentives, that enrich for-profit developers but leave terrible scars, displaced workers--if they get that far, and local taxpayers holding the bag.

      Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

      by Catskill Julie on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:26:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This has been bothering me lately (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TooFolkGR, FlamingoGrrl, ebohlman, Matt Z

    I am so glad you posted this update.
    I have noticed that many liberal talk shows and blogs are falling into the same trap that their conservative counterparts have long been guilty of (hysteria,misinformation and vilifying).  

    Hysteria and vilification might be justified in some cases, but the information needs to be valid.

    Keep up the good work,

     BTW I love Michigan!

  •  stilll on clear on why, if the corruption was (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catskill Julie, Matt Z, burlydee, marina, caul

    so endemic, that the AG is not involved, and people are not going to jail.

    big badda boom : GRB 080913

    by squarewheel on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 08:09:34 AM PDT

    •  Because in all likelihood, this is PR used (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z, burlydee, peregrine kate, caul

      by the private developers to use a hopefully-short lived Republican political advantage to steal the Benton Harbor lakeshore park from the citizens, as they have been apparently planning for years. Be very careful when listening to Developer PR.

      See actual research in today's Eclectablog diary.

      Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

      by Catskill Julie on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:23:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks For Posting This (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Muskegon Critic, Matt Z

    There was some pretty crazy speculation going on in some comment threads.

  •  Longest bridge (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Muskegon Critic, Matt Z, marina

    I've seen the police cars, sitting on the St. Joseph side of the bridge, watching every car that crossed the river. According to my friend from St Joseph, that was pretty much standard.

  •  Yes, the situation is complex, but... (6+ / 0-)'s still possible to understand that and at the same time be aware that EFMs now have expanded powers (which have now been exercised in Benton Harbor) and that these expanded powers accrued to EFMs due to the acts of a majority-Republican legislature and a Republican governor.

    There's lots of work to be done in Benton Harbor, to be sure.  And it's a fair criticism to say that Maddow's report oversimplified the land development issue in this particular case.  But removing authority from elected officials is a big deal, even if it's in a long-suffering community.

    Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

    by Linnaeus on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:14:17 AM PDT

  •  To tell you the truth I though the repugs (0+ / 0-)

    would let this city totally implode and then sweep up the the valuable parts.  I guess this way is faster and more of a controlled demolition.  

    Preemptive war is like committing suicide for fear of death

    by thestructureguy on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:19:37 AM PDT

  •  Good diary. Another reason we need jobs. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z
  •  I wasn't familiar with Benton Harbor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, marina

    although I've lived in the state for a few years. Thanks for your perspective. It is good to know the many sides to this situation and that, in a push for recall of Snyder, the Benton Harbor story is not our strongest argument.

    The part of the story that shocked me was that elected officials could be removed from office and replaced by an appointee. I know that happens sometimes as an interim measure when the elected official can't fulfill his/her duties, but this kind of removal so someone else could be the decision-maker is something I didn't know was possible in a democracy.

    "We Don't Pay Taxes. Only The Little People Pay Taxes." -- Leona Helmsley

    by MaizeandBlue on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 10:01:27 AM PDT

  •  No Less Distressing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burlydee, Matt Z, marina

    This kind of thing has been happening too frequently across the country for the last decade or two. I hope Maddow exposes more stories like this.

    “The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway” ~ Henry Boye~

    by Terranova0 on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 10:27:01 AM PDT

  •  This diary... I don't understand this diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    juca, caul

    you add some perspective but you don't change the narrative.  We have public land be transferred to private hands and 99% of the benefits will accrue to people who do not currently live in the area.  You have EMFs with new added powers to override the powers of elected officials.  And you have widespread gentrification and the taking of land without just compensation.  

    Who appointed this particular EMF is besides the point.   Forest from the trees, forest from the trees...

    •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

      The narrative to date has been that the EFM is somehow responsible for, or involved in, the golf course development.

      The EFM was appointed in May 2010.

      The golf course opened in July 2010.

      Given that it takes a lot longer than 2 months to plan and build a golf course, it's pretty obvious that the EFM had nothing to do with this development. The things you mention

      public land be transferred to private hands
      EMFs with new added powers to override the powers of elected official

      are, in this specific case, unrelated. And I think that's the point the diarist was making.
  •  One of you geniuses (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Muskegon Critic, Jay C

    needs to write a meta on this diary. What a great discussion! The points of view are so sharply delineated. These differences of opinion go all the way back. All the way back to the founding of civilization. We saw them most sharply crystallized in the two decades before WWII, when it came down to street battles between philosophers.

    I thank everyone for staying civil. It's hard.

    Who's right? All sides. The only thing certain about the human condition is that there are no rules, no right and wrong. The ground shifts and the best thing to do today is not the best thing to do yesterday. There are lessons to be learned from yesterday, but they are not necessarily the lessons we are taught. We knew that in our youth. We need to remember it.

    We must always move forward, always re-argue the dialectic.

    Corruption is what keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why we win. -Syriana

    by CarbonFiberBoy on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 10:59:31 AM PDT

    •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Muskegon Critic, marina

      This comment thread, despite the many and varied opinions, is one of the most civil I have seen at dKos in a long time. Kudos to my friend Muskegon Critic for setting it in motion and mega-kudos (as opposed to mega-dittoes) to everyone who participated in a civil way. Great, great conversation.

      "Back off, man. I'm a scientist."
      -- Dr. Peter Venkman

      by Eclectablog on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:36:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What do the history of race riots have to do (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    with any of this stuff being discussed?  Its a complete distraction.

  •  Agree in part (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, caul

    The new law, that expands authorities for emergency financial managers, ostensibly was passed to deal with perceived problems involving schools and union contracts.  It's first use--not for schools or union contracts--but to replace the members of a brownfields board, automatically puts the law's purpose in question.  

    Harbor Shores and its parent development organizations are the big players in local brownfields development, so that  connection is impossible to avoid.  Although that development has been ongoing for years, the situation has reached a crisis point in terms of litigation over the park.

    Appeals by park supporters have exhausted all of the state judicial options, recently being rejected by the State supreme court, and just went to federal court for review. If the developers were worried that the federal court would not rubber stamp lower court decisions, they might be motivated to press for a law that would strengthen their legal argument.  Therefore, a law pushed by a Harbor Shores supporter, that was used immediately to reconfigure the brownfields board is an obvious place to look for mischief.

    That might prove to be a red herring, and the problems certainly are much larger than the park, but the park issue, in drawing national attention, might encourage better solutions to other problems.

  •  on a slightly off topic note (0+ / 0-)

    a few remarks on your (or wizard kitten's) Star Wars reference.

    "Fear will keep the local systems in line, fear of this battle station", a wise villain once said.

    Your "wise villain" was not Darth Vader, as many readers might assume from their hazy recollection of the original Star Wars movie - and who might have a shot at fitting that description.

    No, you actually quoted Grand Moff Tarkin, the Imperial technocrat who came up with the idea of the Death Star - and who perished with it soon after its completion.  In Star Wars lore, his principle is even known by his name - it's called the Tarkin Doctrine. Needless to say, it's considered a complete failure.

    I venture to guess this is a lesson taken from real life. Rulers have been forced to learn that again and againin the course of history.

    "The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."
        ―Leia Organa, to Wilhuff Tarkin

  •  Thank you so much. (0+ / 0-)

    The truth matters, and I hate it when Rachel gets stuff wrong, but it happens.

    An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail.

    by OllieGarkey on Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 08:42:09 AM PDT

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