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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R)
Enemy of democracy Rick Snyder
In a stunning reminder of how anti-democratic Michigan government is, Gov. Rick Snyder said Friday he would appoint an emergency financial manager for Detroit.

This is an affront to democracy on at least two levels. First, we're talking about replacing the elected government of the 18th-largest city in the United States with an unelected bureaucrat expressly to undo actions undertaken by the elected government. Detroit's population is larger than those of Vermont, North Dakota or Wyoming. But Michigan Republicans are fine with—eager to—take democratic local control away from that many people.

Second, the law Snyder is using to appoint an emergency financial manager is a replacement for the emergency financial manager law that Michigan voters repealed in November. Just over a month after that repeal vote, Republican legislators passed and Snyder signed an overwhelmingly similar version of the law during their notorious lame duck session.

It's fitting, I guess, that if you're going to deprive around 700,000 people of their elected local government, you do so with a law nearly identical to one that had previously been repealed by voters. If you're going to act against democracy, you might as well double down. But the whole thing is appalling.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 09:53 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, Michigan, My Michigan, Motor City Kossacks, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (129+ / 0-)
  •  Republicans Are About Taking Over. (31+ / 0-)

    I hope we can get attention to this before we've lost everything.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 09:56:37 AM PST

    •  Sadly, (6+ / 0-)

      I'm worried that won't be the case.  You'd be surprised at how much support there is for this outside of the city itself.  Look at the comments on the Detroit Free Press article about it, for example.

      •  What would you propose? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        oceanview, Sparhawk, Utahrd, fisheye

        Property taxes are, in some cases, as high as 7% of market value.  Sales and use taxes are also very high.

        Doesn't Detroit have an election soon?

        If so, what additional revenue streams are the candidates proposing.

        And if they're not proposing additional tax receipts, what expenses are they willing to cut?

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

        by PatriciaVa on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 12:57:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's not about what I'd propose. (14+ / 0-)

          It's about the fact that in a democratic republic, this kind of behavior, i.e., replacing entire city governments with bureaucrats answerable only to a governor, who can fire city employees and void contracts at will, should never be considered acceptable.

          Please explain to me why it's ok to deprive entire cities of the right to vote for people to represent them.  And I don't mean the explanation of "Well, they voted for people who didn't run the city well."  I mean, from a purely democratic and Constitutional standpoint, tell me why this is ok.  Because I can't see any possible argument for it.

          And if you think this is ok, then fine, why don't we have McDonnell (I assume from your username you're from Virginia) replace the mayor and city council of your town with someone with the powers I just described, who's only answerable to him.  Are you ok with that?  Because you shouldn't be.

          •  In fact, (11+ / 0-)

            if you're going to defend this, please also explain to me why it's ok that our state government re-passed a law THAT WE REPEALED by popular vote in November so that they could do this kind of thing.

          •  Thats not How Sovereign Power (11+ / 0-)

            works in the US.

            In the US, there are two levels of sovereignty - Federal and State - that's it.

            There is no constitutional right to have any local control at all - its up to the pleasure of the state.

            Now, if the state's constitution grants some local autonomy (sometimes referred to as "home rule") to the localities, then so be it, but if not, then you have NO local rights that the state legislature does not grant. The Michigan Constitution does not grant extensive sovereignty to local units, but gives the legislature broad powers to control home rule issues.

            I am from Detroit and watched the city slowly deteriorate at the hands of incompetent (and sometimes evil) leadership.

            Coleman Young was simply evil and power hungry. I don't even think it was the money (for his chief of police, Hart and several others, yes).  Young once quipped that he'd be mayor until he decided to quit and the people wouldn't throw him out since he'd just play the race card and rally people against those "white suburbanites" and that he'd defend them against the white people.

            What he did was to scare away the people with money and jobs (people who had jobs and also businesses) with his race-baiting hostility.

            My parents and grandparents grew up in a vibrant city that I saw fall apart before my eyes. In fact, as I grew, the city slowly collapsed, a bit more each year. I never knew the city my parents and grandparents once knew, only knowing Detroit as a has-been.

            Now, its not just bad leadership - we've had our share of bad luck - being a manufacturing town in the midst of globalization (a sell out to corporations). But, SO DID MANY OTHER INDUSTRIAL TOWNS and you can see that most of them didn't collapse into ruins like Detroit. It comes down to leadership that was inept, corrupt and just plain evil.

            We had a bit of light when Dennis Archer was mayor. He reached out to others and was conciliatory and almost immediately, some money started flowing back. In fact, the first real batch of new residential real estate developments in decades came back to the east side under his tutelage.

            Now on to unions. Sorry, but unions can also get greedy and ruin a city. Detroit has one of the most corrupt and militant civil service communities that I have ever seen.  People rail (and rightfully so) about corporations pillaging communities, but sometime unions can as well and that has happened in Detroit.

            So, the most powerful force in Detroit is the government unions (AFSCME, etc) and they organize and get out the vote. What do you think they want in return? Yup - they get whatever they want at the bargaining table. Problem is, the city would be bankrupt long ago if these concessions were current period wage increases of the magnitude they wanted, so they negotiated these sweetheart pension and medical benefits that VERY FEW PRIVATE SECTOR WORKERS HAVE.

            That's the $14.99bln in unfunded  liabilities that need to be voided out. They were obtained in a corrupt practice and should be eliminated.

            I'm all for collective bargaining rights, but the unions have to take responsibility for being as greedy as the corporations and as short sighted about how their actions will affect their community in the long run.  Both corporate and union greed and corruption cause destruction.

            I don't like Snyder and his type, and I'm sure that he and his EFM will do some stuff that is not necessary to fix Detroit, but is an imposition of conservative values against the will of the citizens, but something needs to be done.

            Detroit's problems are due to corruption and greed on the part of both politicians and unions that entered into an unholy alliance to line their pockets both with power and money. It is story of the dark side of human nature, but it has caused an acute problem in Detroit, mainly because its been around so long.

            This is (or shouldn't be) conservative or liberal because math isn't and this is math. The city is beyond bankrupt. It can either crash and burn in a very ugly way, or have a managed landing, while still unpleasant, doesn't lose everything.

            Some outside force has to step in and make decisions without having the evil influences of unions and other people involved in this decades-long alliance.  Its for the good of the city and its (remaining) people.

            Fight SPAM tyranny - Use Lion-Mail.NET for e-mail

            by takascar2 on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 02:18:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No one is arguing about the city's finances. (7+ / 0-)

              And I understand that the state constitution says this is technically legal.  But why is even that ok in a democracy?

              And I don't understand why you show absolutely no concern about the lack of accountability that EFMs have.

              •   (8+ / 0-)

                Accountability to whom? The same people who voted so stupidly and continued to do so for decades?

                Why do you think that its ok for the rest of the state to have to pay the bill for this corruption?

                Did they have a vote when they were put on the hook as co-signers for these bonds?

                Fight SPAM tyranny - Use Lion-Mail.NET for e-mail

                by takascar2 on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 02:34:01 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Because (7+ / 0-)

                  that's how a democracy works, goddammit.  You vote for your leaders to represent you.

                  Taking that away from anyone is authoritarian.

                  For that matter, what makes your money more important than those of the people in Detroit?  What makes the rest of us more important than them, that we get to vote for our local leaders and they don't?

                  This whole idea of "well, if you consistently vote for the wrong people you lose your voting privileges" is bullshit, and anti-democratic, and I can't fucking believe how many people on here are advocating for that.

                  •   (8+ / 0-)

                    The people of the state have the power to change their constitution anytime they want. They have not chosen to.

                    I get sick and tired of people claiming random rights that do not exist just because they "think they should have them".

                    Go out and advocate for the rights you "think" you have and if you can get your fellow citizens to agree in enough numbers, you can give yourselves those rights.  If not, you DON'T HAVE THOSE RIGHTS.

                    Why is everyone worried about RIGHTS more than RESPONSIBILITIES?

                    Fight SPAM tyranny - Use Lion-Mail.NET for e-mail

                    by takascar2 on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 02:47:42 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Why are you NOT worried (8+ / 0-)

                      about the fact that the state is replacing elected officials with people who are only accountable to the governor, and have the right to fire anyone they want and void contracts?

                      I would argue that as someone who lives in a democracy, and yet is advocating for disenfranchising an entire city, you're the one who's not concerned with responsibilities.

                      •  Deficit is 30% of Budget (4+ / 0-)

                        If I were a city worker, that's what I would be worried about.

                        City workers are one judge away from seeing their salaries and pensions cut by 50%.

                        Pensions were slashed in Central Falls, RI.  And they can be slashed in Detroit.

                        If I were advising Detroit city workers, I would ask that they coalesce behind a city consolidation effort.  That's their best bet.

                        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

                        by PatriciaVa on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 03:03:53 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  good question (0+ / 0-)

                        As I understand it from out of state, the law was repealed by initiative that was fought, tooth and font leading, but still passed repeal. Snyder, if he is a true small d democrat and especally if he is a smallr republican, should have had the goodsense to not exercise this power when the lege so  defiantly reenected the piece of shit law with crap written in that innoculates it from further initiative.

                        I had always thought the phrase "ballots not bullets" would always be  hyperbolic in my own ountry. Sadly, not only is this no longer the case. I have to struggle to think of reasons to give somene not to resort to the latter.

                        Have you heard? The vice president's gone mad. - Bob Dylan, 1966

                        by textus on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 02:01:17 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  the PEOPLE of the state (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      sethtriggs, moose67, The Dude 415

                      didn't vote to reinstall a stupid workaround. the GERRYMANDEREDD TEApig state legislature voted it and it was signed into law by a lame duck governor.  The PEOPLE of Michigan didn't vote to remove a law and then reinstate it.  the lame duck government did that.

                      I fart in your general direction. Now run away before I taunt you some more

                      by Adelante on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 02:06:23 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Lame duck Governor? (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        auapplemac, The Dude 415

                        Please check to see when he is up for reelect.  The governor is so worried about his reelection, why would he vote agains the majority of people who voted to repeal the EFM law?  Because his legislature is a bunch of racist Teapers who not only did this but want to to electoral vote allocation that would have handed the majority of Michigan's electoral votes to Romney even though Obama won by 9% and 300,000 votes.  This is democracy?

                    •  The people of Iran (or Saudia Arabia) have the (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      power to change their constitution anytime they want. They have not chosen to.

                      I get sick and tired of people claiming random rights that do not exist just because they "think they should have them".

                      Go out and advocate for the rights you "think" you have and if you can get your fellow citizens to agree in enough numbers, you can give yourselves those rights.  If not, you DON'T HAVE THOSE RIGHTS.

                      Why is everyone worried about RIGHTS more than RESPONSIBILITIES?

                      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

                      by Throw The Bums Out on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 03:40:25 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  I suggest you read the Constitution again... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      The Dude 415

                      I direct you to the 9th ammendment....

                      "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."
                      This means that ALL rights are guaranteed by the Constitution, even the ones that are not mentioned explicitly. None are ever GIVEN. You already have them.

                      "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~ Edward Abbey

                      by SaraBeth on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 02:40:02 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Many people believe that a bankruptcy judge (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    would salvage your precious democratic principles.

                    Your concern for the actual social and living conditions for the residents of Detroit is sorely lacking in your quest for local representational purity.

                    But there is absolutely nothing pure or democratic about the segregation along municipal lines of metropolitan Detroit.

                •  takascar2 - You wrote; (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  The Dude 415
                  "The same people who voted so stupidly and continued to do so for decades?"
                  By that logic someone should have taken Bush, Jr. out of office and the nation run by bean counters.

                  Of course, that is called a coup....  

                  Are you in favor of overriding the votes of the people if their choices are, as you said, "stupid" and vote for someone you don't approve of?

                  And, whom do you suggest should be judging what is "stupid" and what is not?

                  "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~ Edward Abbey

                  by SaraBeth on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 02:33:54 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  excuse me? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  The Dude 415

                  Your claim is that with other Detroiters I voted for deindustrialization? I voted for redlining? I voted to kick out white people? I voted to gut social programs from Reagan forward?

                  Take your eye off the local ballot box and look to the boardroom and to DC just a little bit more if you want to identify the causes of Detroit's decline.

              •  Actually, as much as I appreciate your comments (10+ / 0-)

                Dude and agree with them, as to finances, there are allegations by the mayoral candidates that a lot of the problem is that funds due to the City have been withheld.  I honestly don't know how accurate that is, but certainly important to take into consideration:

                From one of the Mayoral candidates:  "The validity of the EFM and EM laws notwithstanding, I am glad to know now that we have been joined by other civic leaders who agree with our assessment, that if the City were to collect the money it is owed by private corporations and by the State of Michigan, there would be no economic crisis."

                And you do NOT teach someone how to fish by taking away the pole.... and the lake.

                Snyder has got to go.  

              •  We are a Democratic Republic. We are not a pure (0+ / 0-)

                democracy. What do you do when an entity proves it cannot govern itself and is causing a drain on the rest of the system.

                It’s the Supreme Court, stupid! Followed by: It's always the Supreme Court! Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

                by auapplemac on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 12:49:05 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It hasn't proven it can't govern itself. (0+ / 0-)

                  Read some of the other comments here about the underlying causes of the city's problems.

                  To say "Detroit can't govern itself" is the equivalent of saying "Those damn black people don't know what's good for them", especially since almost every city this has happened in has been majority African-American.

                  You know what's causing a drain on the rest of the system?  The aforementioned taxes that are owed by some of the biggest corporations and wealthiest individuals in the state.  Should we allow the state to take them over too to fix this problem?

                  All one has to do is look at the history of what the EMs have done here to see this isn't really about helping the city or the state.

            •  Also, what about the 14th amendment? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              COBALT1928, textus

              The 14th amendment has been interpreted to mean that all rights provided in the constitution also be extended to the states.  How is circumventing democracy in certain cities but not others not a violation of equal protection?

            •  I live in Detroit and I vehemently disagree with (15+ / 0-)

              your essay. You sound real upset and bitter towards Coleman A. Young. But you fail to note why Blacks revere him. The racism that many Black folks felt from the Whites who kept  Blacks out of jobs and out of neighborhoods. Coleman A. Young organized suppressed Black Detroiters. Coleman Young represented the rise of Black political power and there are Whites who are still upset about that and how the "Blacks took over their city."

              Any way, Detroit's financial decline was decades in the making. When whites moved out of the city because of the growing Black population, the jobs moved with them. This started before Coleman A. Young. When the jobs left, tax revenue left and that left Detroit in a bind. Middle class Blacks moved as well and as a result, my city lost more revenue. This led to a lower quality of life for citizens who remain in the city.

              Also, you forget about revenue sharing which caused a deficit in Detroit's budget. As of today, Detroit's sales tax is 6% because the city went into an agreement with the state not to raise local taxes. In exchange, the state promised Detroit $200 million plus to cover taxes not collected. The state did not follow up on its end of the bargain. The city depends on these resources and when the state broke its word, then the budget deficit ballooned.

              Unions, I don't know anyone on Kos that would seriously call unions "greedy." AFSCME made a lot of concessions to make sure their members remained on the payroll only to be screwed by Governor Snyder. If you don't think that Al Garrett and Co. shouldn't fight for his employees, then you don't understand the purpose of unions.

              It's funny how folks who agree with this takeover are in line with Republicans who ram-rodded the EM Law, anti-choice legislation, and who continue to tax seniors at the expense of protecting big businesses.

              The overall vibe I am getting from supporters of Detroit's disenfranchisement, is that the EM law is okay as long as its for the Blacks. There is an undeniable racist element in this move if half of MI's Black population is under an EM.

              The EM is about taking away the democratic voice from the Democratic Party's most loyal constituent group, African Americans. This is a modern Jim Crow and the only difference between Jim Crow and his son, James Crow II. Esq. is that James Crow II Esq. bought and paid for by the Koch Brothers and that he won't call you a "n" word to your face.

              If you really care about Detroit, come back home and help make a difference! I live here and I take offense to anyone who wants to take my voice away.

              "If it's somebody from The Bronx versus anybody else... always vote on the person from The Bronx."- Keith Olbermann

              by shanay on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 03:27:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Also from Detroit (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sknutson415, auapplemac

                And I agree wholeheartedly with takascar2's comments.  Lots of cities in the country suffered in the 50's when white people all around the country decided to move to the burbs.  Detroit is different from all those other cities because it alone decided to elect a mayor who declared war with those white suburbanites and used the animosity he created to establish a corrupt fiefdom that slowly destroyed his city..

                Coleman Young's "legacy" is the single worst thing ever to happen to Detroit and the metro area surrounding it.  The corruption and pattern of horrendous voting decisions lives on to this day - this is a city whose last mayor will be in prison for decades because he openly stole so much from the city of Detroit.  AND not only that, but he was re-elected to a second term after the extent of his crimes was quite clear.

                I am extremely skeptical of the EM law and in favor of giving voters full control of their local government, but at the same time there is simply no constitutional right to electing your own city government.  And in the case of Detroit, I agree fully with taking away control from the people who have been running the city into the ground for 40 years.  The party is over - there are consequences to electing people who openly steal from the city and work to scare off its tax base.  The city will eventually go broke and have to take drastic action.  So here it is.

                Detroit is horribly, horribly broken in a way that is really hard to even comprehend if you haven't lived there.  I personally had to leave the area because I am simply not wiling to tie my personal fortune to a metro area whose anchor is the most incompetently run big city in the country.  They need to get the current government out of there, throw half of them in jail like the ex-governor they enabled, and burn down every tribute to Coleman Young in that wretched place.  Maybe then the next generation growing up might not have to leave in order to find real opportunity.

            •  I'm going to rec that comment (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              The Dude 415, umjm13

              with the caveat that Coleman Young did not chase and scare white people away from the city. He filled a power vacuum that was left by scared racists who abandoned this town to suburban development, end running Brown v Board of education, creating racially exclusive communities and continue to snub it to this day.

              You want to blame metro detroit's segregation on Coleman Young? That's as facile and false a scapegoating as this diary is to Snyder.

            •  Thanks, takascar. Sometimes it's hard to face the (0+ / 0-)

              truth when it's your icons that are being criticized.

              It’s the Supreme Court, stupid! Followed by: It's always the Supreme Court! Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

              by auapplemac on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 12:45:27 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Bullshit (0+ / 0-)

            It should never be acceptable only if a Republican governor is in office and the emergency is in a Democratic city.

            Thats the real deal.

            The Democratic party in Michigan is a clusterfuck mess. Hopefully that is about to change with Lon Johnson.

            This is not about your democratic principles. It's about people's lives being destroyed by an untenable city government.

            What's more democratic, a judges bankruptcy court, or an elected Governor's appointment? Those are the options.

            Unfortunately when we had a Democratic governor and an unchallenged emergency manager law, she was feckless about the plight of the city and the mayor was occupying the office with a criminal gang.  

            •  How about the state (8+ / 0-)

              paying back the money it owes the city?

              And it was wrong when Granholm did it too, and you will never hear me claim otherwise.

              Nor will I ever defend Kwame, because I don't really see how anyone could.  

              But what we've seen with the emergency managers in Pontiac and Benton Harbor is people's lives being destroyed by a bureaucrat who doesn't give a flying fuck about their well-being, since he's only answerable to the governor.  What reason do you have to believe this won't also happen in Detroit?

              And, really, how is the argument you're making any different than the arguments made by countless dictators?  

              •  Sry for my harsh reply but Joe Harris (0+ / 0-)

                Is not a careless person. And, I think that assumption about the managers is unfounded. The councils and mayors simply refuse to leverage their authority to balance books, because they are politicians. Bing could very well be EFM. And probably very effective.

                The law is the law. It's EfM or a bankruptcy judge. The city is defaulting.

              •  Elected city officials have to follow the state's (0+ / 0-)

                laws just like the rest of us. Detroit's elected officials seem to have a chronic problem with that.

              •  Money owed? (0+ / 0-)

                As a resident of a Detroit suburb, my understanding is that a good chunk of that money owed is based on the revenue sharing that the state cut off when the bottom fell out of the economy.  My city is also "owed" money by the state under that interpretation.  This does not speak to the larger issues but I do think that anyone who wants to understand what is going on here needs to be clear on the details.  As someone who lives in the suburbs and works in Detroit I am very ambivalent about this situation.  I did vote against the EM law and think appointing one is anti-democratic.  But I see utter devastation in Detroit every day on my commute with no plan to address that coming out of the current city government.

                •  Agreed on your last point. (0+ / 0-)

                  But considering the history of the city's problems, I also don't think it's right to say "well, the people of Detroit can't take care of themselves, so we need to do this."  It doesn't take into account all the ways Detroit has been fucked over in the last few decades.  Hell, even going back to the Depression, if I recall correctly, the black neighborhoods in the city got less benefit from New Deal programs because of redlining.

                  Detroit's decline started decades ago, and the problem is more complicated than just "Oh, the people in the city keep voting for shitty governments."

        •  What properties? (6+ / 0-)

          The acreage of vacant land in Detroit is greater than the total acreage of ALL land in the city of San Francisco.  You can drive down blocks within a mile of the Renaissance Center and find all houses torn down, with nests of pheasants in the fields.  All houses gone.  How much property tax revenue can you get from that?

          On top of it, there's no more business personal property taxes; the state doesn't need money, I guess.

          Um, as a suggestion, how about enacting a graduated income tax?  Or a graduated corporate income tax?

          I know there is no political will for any taxess, given that the GOP has both MI Houses and the Governorship. But cutting services further is going to devastate this place, not to mention the loss of money spent in the city by city workers who will be soon out of work.

          "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

          by gsbadj on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 03:35:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There's no room to tax in Detroit (0+ / 0-)

            To tax businesses, you have to have something to offer.  Detroit has very little.  Very few educated workers live there and there's little in terms of services  It usually has to go the other way and offer tax breaks to get anyone to set up shop there.

            As for income tax, you're talking about a city that is losing population at a rate unmatched by any other city in America.  Adding a new tax to live there will only accelerate the process.

            Honestly, I don't see any other solution for Detroit other than blowing up the government and starting over.  And making it known that if that new government doesn't do it's job, they'll just blow it up again.  At some point you lose the right to govern yourself when the metro area and the state are damaged so badly by the Detroit government's horrible incompetence and corruption.

            FYI - I'm from Detroit.  If you're not it really is hard to understand how awful it truly is.  

        •  There is no proposal for an alternative (0+ / 0-)

          This diary is an offensive opportunistic slap at Snyder with little if any actual concern for the residents of Detroit.

          This type of response to the city's plight is what is and has been appalling for a long long time.

        •  Michigan does not allow local sales taxes n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The ballot box must NEVER be used as a tool of oppression.

          by vikingrob on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 01:32:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The problem in Detroit at this point (0+ / 0-)

          is too  much real estate.  The physical size of the the city needs to be reduced.  In some neighborhoods, only 2 or 3 houses remain but with what the properties are now worth, buying them out only leaves the owners with nowhere to go on the amount of money they would get.  Remember, most of these people have been there for generations.  The size of the city physically, creates problems with the distribution of services.  It is one thing to send in an emergency "financial manager" but what the city really needs, unlike the other places Snyder has done this, is urban planners to solve the area of the city first.

          In Benton Harbor, one of the other places that wound up with one of these financial wizards, after 3 years, they replaced him and the city still had a big debt they can't pay because the residents can't pay the millage the guy put up for a vote.  Now they have installed a new manager.  They have also had problems in the other places Snyder has tried this.

          •  true, that (0+ / 0-)

            There will need to be a reduction in the footprint and service area in the city. That is a hard fact that will need to be addressed, ideally in a deliberative and democratic way over the coming two decades.

      •  If we get a strong candidate (0+ / 0-)

        and I'm hoping for Gretchen Whitmer, we can beat him.

    •  Rick Snyder is not a nerd (17+ / 0-)

      Rick Snyder is a energetic, persistent serial liar and a narcissistic, authoritarian sociopath.

  •  How does the saying go? (26+ / 0-)

    Taxation without representation, or something like that ...

    Citizens of Detroit are now being ruled by an overlord, a governing authority they didn't choose and have no way to remove.

    So maybe it's time to break out the Don't Tread On Me flags and toss a few crates of tea into the river and commence to protesting.

  •  Yeah, defeat him for re-election (14+ / 0-)

    It can be done.  Surely people in Michigan aren't that dumb that they want Rick Snyder re-elected in 2014.

    If we're going through so much on the fiscal cliff and sequester, I think we need to start focusing on defeating ALL these Tea Party Republicans for re-election.

  •  Everyone (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rogneid, carpunder, mofembot, Utahrd

    in Detroit should simply go home and refuse to work.

  •  Propose an alternative (5+ / 0-)

    Just saying the EM law is bad is not enough.

    It's not like the actions enacted by "democracy" have served Detroit terribly well.  


    •  The problem (12+ / 0-)

      is when people say what your second sentence did, and use it as justification for the EFM law.

      Also, there are more factors involved than just the elected city leaders.  The history of racism by the rest of Detroit played a large role.  Cities like Dearborn used to be extremely segregated, and my hometown, Livonia, was the whitest city in America at one time (and is still up there).  Because of this, poor blacks in Detroit haven't had much option but to stay there.  It's also made it extremely hard for city leaders to work with the leaders in the suburbs.

      There's also the fact that the auto industry has really fucked the city itself over in the last few decades.

      •  Black flight (0+ / 0-)

        There has already been significant flight of AA from Detroit to what was LILY WHITE suburbs like Warren, Redford,  Taylor and Dearborn.
        The era of the white first tier and even second tier burbs here is over.

        This area in integrating FAST.

        •  True, (0+ / 0-)

          but there are also the African-Americans who can't afford to move, and end up getting left behind.

          •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

            There is. However my point remains 100% valid. The collapse of
            the auto industry and general economy in 2007 - 2010
            had the unintended consequence of steamrolling the
            locking out of black families from the first tier suburbs and
            some second tier such as Roseville. I own a half dozen rentals in D Heights, Lincoln Park, St. Clair Shores & Warren. I have or am renting to black, brown and white. I have seen the flight first hand from Detroit. Its significant and its going to permanently change the
            landscape in the Metro area forever.

            You cant help everyone unfortunately but the integration is

    •  Well, at least we know what you think. (10+ / 0-)

      Texas has a budget problem, how about if Obama just replaces their state government with an appointee.

      Oh, would that be offensive?

      Why isn't offensive when it's done to a city with a large minority population?

      Dictatorship is not better than democracy. I recommend you not support it.

      "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

      by nosleep4u on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 12:09:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've got a great alternative -- elections (8+ / 0-)

      For instance, the one we had that got rid of the emergency manager law.  You know, the law that the lame-duck state government replaced as soon as they could, so that Snyder could use it today.

      You're not getting it.  We tried democracy, it succeeded, and then these fuckers did an end-run around it.

      Tom Smith Online
      I want a leader who shoots for the moon. The last time we had one, we got to the moon.

      by filkertom on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 12:44:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Is Detroit what success looks like? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PatriciaVa, Sparhawk, Utahrd, Midwest Meg

        The EM law is a problem.  But I think Detroit is the bigger problem.  Saying "no EM law" is fine, and I agree with that.  But a return to the status quo won't do much good for Detroit, not to mention the other cities with emergency managers.  They're going broke and there's dysfunctional government at many levels.

        •  How is there ever a bigger problem (4+ / 0-)

          than suppressing voting rights in a democracy?

          •  Would you be OK with a democratically elected... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Utahrd, Midwest Meg

            ..mayor who, upon ascension to the office, simply said,

            (i) I don't have enough tax receipts,

            (ii) taxes are already too high,

            (iii) I don't have a mandate to consolidate the city into 60% of its current area, and

            (iv) the public markets won't lend us a dime, so,

            I  am cutting city salaries and pension benefits by 50%, effective immediately.

            And if city workers resist, they can sue the city.  I will tell a judge that the money is simply not there.

            Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

            by PatriciaVa on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 02:22:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry, but what you're talking about (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              urnumbersix, Aquarius40, COBALT1928

              is not how democracy works.  It's not "people can vote for whoever they want to represent them as long as they do a good job."

              Why is it ok to take  that away?  You still have not answered that question.  Rather, you have responded to my question simply by asking other questions.

              Not once have you given any answer as to why you feel it is acceptable to do away with one of the fundamental principles of a democracy and disenfranchise an entire city.

              •  Detroit has a Mayoral election this summer (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Utahrd, Midwest Meg, nextstep

                What are the proposed solutions put forth by the candidates?

                Detroit has a budget deficit of over 30% of the 1.1B budget.

                How do the candidates propose to close that gap.

                They can't borrow money, as the markets are closed.

                So, do they plan to increase taxes by 320M?

                Or will they cut expenses by 320M?

                Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

                by PatriciaVa on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 02:33:28 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Again, you refuse to actually answer my question. (4+ / 0-)

                  In a democracy, why is it acceptable to disenfranchise an entire city of people because their elected government has failed them?

                  I have asked you this numerous times, and you have consistently failed to answer it.

                  •  My answer (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    It is acceptable because it there is no "right" to electing your city government, and taking away the city government's power seems to be the best solution to the problem.

                    The people of Michigan have been patiently waiting for 40 years for the people of Detroit to elect someone who won't continue to lead the entire metro area into economic oblivion, and that hasn't worked.  At some point you have to try another way.

            •  A democratically-elected mayor? Yes. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              COBALT1928, varro

              A state governor, acting through a lame-duck legislator's law?  No.  

              Technically, cities and towns exist at the pleasure of the state.  There is an issue called "subsidiarity", which was at one time in the heart of conservatism and that states that social issues should be taken care of by the smallest unit possible, be it the family, the neighborhood, the city, the state, the nation or an international body.  

              The remedies already exist in bankruptcy court.  Detroit would have to face an unelected judge chosen pretty much at random with the power to sell off assets.  The problem is that the Governor wants to choose who would sell off the assets, and that presents a grand opportunity for corruption.  

              Where's Mr. Fitzgerald when you need him?  

              "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

              by Yamaneko2 on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 01:52:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •   (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sparhawk, MGross, RationalistSF

            You don't have voting rights at the local level unless the state constitution allows it or if the legislature allows it. Remember: sovereignty only exists at the level of the federal and state governments.

            Fight SPAM tyranny - Use Lion-Mail.NET for e-mail

            by takascar2 on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 02:25:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  There was no return to the "status quo." (5+ / 0-)

          that's a right wing lie that's been used to justify the EM law. The Detroit City Council signed a consent agreement under the threat of an EM by Governor Snyder. The governor hired a financial board who was supposed to handle Detroit's finances without dissolving all of the duties of the City Council. The financial board did absolutely nothing because the goal was to put an EM in place anyway. If folks paid attention, throughout the whole ordeal, Governor Snyder kept moving the goal posts for Detroit to avoid an EM.

          So no, it's not the "status quo."

          Governor Snyder doesn't give a darn about Detroit's citizens. All he cares about is satisfying the Koch Brothers, ALEC and the DeVos family. Michigan is a test case for how to dismantle democracy and destroy the Democratic Party.

          "If it's somebody from The Bronx versus anybody else... always vote on the person from The Bronx."- Keith Olbermann

          by shanay on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 03:38:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not that I doubt what you said, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            as it's my general understanding of events, but since I haven't been as up on the details as I would prefer, could you post some good links about your first paragraph?

          •  Assume the EM law never existed at all (0+ / 0-)

            Would Detroit be in less of a bind than it is?  That's what I meant by "status quo".  Obviously, the EM law's existence led to actions by the city that might not otherwise have occurred, but I doubt that changed Detroit's vector much.  

            To reiterate, I'm not saying that the EM law helps matters any.  AFAICT, it's a money grab by monied interests, and it's being positioned as something along the lines of Mussolini making the trains run on time (a fiction, of course, but Rethugs are big on fantasyland).

            I am saying that Detroit has big problems, and just taking away the EM law amounts to squat for the burned-out cities that are the current subjects of the EM law.  When you think about getting rid of the EM law, think about replacing the law with some other action that actually HELPS the cities and isn't just the latest in an endless succession of bandaids.  Otherwise, it's "Democrats with no plan" vs. "Rethugs with a plan".  

          •  I heard a report yesterday that certain proposals (0+ / 0-)

            we're made an accepted by the city council, but never implemented.

            If the city government is moribund, what is the solution?

            It’s the Supreme Court, stupid! Followed by: It's always the Supreme Court! Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

            by auapplemac on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 01:25:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I don't know why people here in Michigan (24+ / 0-)

    are surprised by any of this.  I tried to tell people this kind of thing would happen when it looked like Snyder would win.  This is what happens when you elect a CEO to run a government.  He tries to run it like a CEO.  Which means he basically becomes a dictator.

  •  Detroit is a bloody mess... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Midwest Meg

    This might be tough medicine, but so be it.  I hope Snyder has an African American EM in mind though, otherwise it could get really ugly.  

    This move will help Snyder's re-election bid, because he wasn't going to get any votes out of Detroit anyways and the rest of the state knows Detroit is a impossible mess with a do-nothing city council and a Mayor who is at his wits end in Dave Bing.

    If you're not talking about what billionaire hedgefund bankster Peter G. Peterson is up to you're having the wrong conversations.

    by Jacoby Jonze on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 10:40:29 AM PST

    •  Do You (20+ / 0-)

      realize what you are saying?  Anytime a Democratically elected government struggles or worse f's up, a facist government should be imposed on the people?

    •  The problem is (23+ / 0-)

      that Detroit's problems are more complicated than just the city leadership.

      Also, normally I actually quite like your comments, but as a Michigan resident, I'm sorry, but I am disgusted by the fact that anyone on Kos would seriously be ok with this.

      We are talking about replacing democratically elected officials with a bureaucrat only answerable to the governor.  Who has the ability to fire any and all city employees they want, including elected officials.

      We're also talking about a law that was repealed by the people of Michigan in November, and then passed in a slightly altered form, circumventing the will of the people.

      Are you seriously ok with this?

      •  And before anyone points out (14+ / 0-)

        that the only change in the new EM law is that it gives the city council the decision to choose other options in 18 months, I feel the need to point out that the Emergency Manager also has the ability to fire the city council.

      •  What is the alternative? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Midwest Meg

        Completely write Detroit off and pretend it doesn't exist?  Let it completely crumble and fall in itself?  

        I would have loved for the voters to kick all of city council to the curb a few times over - but they will not.  Residents vote for the status quo and hope for a different result.  

        So what is the alternative?  

        If you're not talking about what billionaire hedgefund bankster Peter G. Peterson is up to you're having the wrong conversations.

        by Jacoby Jonze on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 12:01:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The problem (11+ / 0-)

          is that no one's even CONSIDERING an alternative.

          This isn't about helping Detroit.  It's just not.  This is about Rick the Dick expanding his power.  

          If you seriously think this is about helping these cities, look at the fact that just about every city and school district with an EM here is majority black, and tell me that's a coincidence.

          To endorse taking away rights from the citizens of an entire city goes against everything this site is supposed to stand for.

          •  the notion that (6+ / 0-)

            anything the EM might do would benefit the people of Detroit is magical thinking.  Now, selling public parks to developers, that's another story.  

            The city's not even as bad as it used to be.  

            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

            by Loge on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 12:19:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Another problem (14+ / 0-)

              is that if we keep saying "Well, Detroit's a shithole", and giving up on it, that won't improve anything.

              I'm tired of people acting like there's nothing there worth saving.  What about the Heidelberg Project?  The DIA?  Theatres like the Redford or the Fox?  The old Hitsville USA building?

              There's still a lot of culture in Detroit, and a lot of reasons to go down there.  The more we talk about it as some place where you'll get shot if you even set foot there, the more people will be afraid to go, and the less money will come in.

              Also, I apologize if I'm being a bit too aggressive in some of these comments (especially in another one where I swore).  I've lived just outside of Detroit my entire life, and I hate seeing this happen to it.  And I can't believe anyone on this site would advocate such a thing.  It betrays the very values this site is supposed to stand for.

          •  WHAT IS YOUR ALTERNATIVE? (0+ / 0-)

            You seem particularly concerned with the EM law, but have conveniently avoided this question no matter how many people ask it.  It's a pretty basic question, and the fact that you can't answer it speaks volumes.

            Right now, there's exactly 2 solutions on the table in Detroit.  1) Appoint an EM or 2) continue letting the city descend into insolvency.  I choose #1, unless you have a better idea.

            •  Chapter 9.... (0+ / 0-)

              ....letting experienced bankruptcy lawyers and a creditors' committee restructure the debt and let the free market invest in city assets, not Sndyer's cronies.

              9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

              by varro on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 06:49:24 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Well then Obama needs to launch a drone strike (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Dude 415

          on CONgress and take over as dictator. What is the alternative? Completely write then country off and pretend it doesn't exist?  Let it completely crumble and fall in itself?  

          I would have loved for the voters to kick all of the republicans in congress to the curb a few times over - but they will not.  People vote for the status quo and hope for a different result.  

          So what is the alternative?  

          You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

          by Throw The Bums Out on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 01:32:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Whatever the alternative it is the business (9+ / 0-)

          of the people of Detroit.  The emergency manager can sell off city assets, Belle Isle for example, and no one could stop them.

          One reason Detroit will never completely fail is that all of the people who fled Detroit still are dependent upon it's international airport, it's Great Lakes ports, it's interstate highways, its railroads, hospitals, museums, ball teams, television and radio, factories, in other words its infrastructure.  Detroit is the heart of Michigan.  Eventually the suburban conservatives will come around to see this.  They can't live without Detroit.  And they will cooperate instead of dictate.

          Yes the city is crumbling now, but the answer is not dictatorship.  The answer is racial reconciliation and economic development.  If you lived in Detroit you'd understand that.  The emergency manager will be racially divisive and plunder the city's assets.  I oppose any thought of state's overruling local governments.

      •  I was going to post a windy comment ... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jedennis, The Dude 415, urnumbersix

        ... about how we Michiganders deserve precisely what is happening because the proportion of incompetent assholes on the non-GOP side is far greater than one would want if change is the goal.

        The elected Democrat bench is paper thin, the self-appointed change-leaders are irresponsible, self-promoting morons and the talent drain in this state is like nothing I've ever experienced before.

        But, then, I saw the comment about how an EM is "just the right medicine, democracy be damned" and I decided to rest my case right there.

        And, someone needs to point out, Snyder and his posse haven't even begun to inflict real damage yet. Wait until they decide that those huge freshwater lakes surrounding us would make perfect wastewater retention ponds.

      •  It didn't circumvent anything. (0+ / 0-)

        It was quite clear that what we were repealing was the language of that version of the law.

    •  I agreee that Detroit is a disaster (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      There is more than enough blame to go around. Let's start with former Michigan Governor Granholm (D), who initially signed the Fiscal Emergency Manager legislation into law during her term as Governor of Michigan. Snyder followed her into the Governor's chair. Granholm had already started appointing Emergency Finanace Managers in other minority dominated cities with unclear results before she left office. Snyder however continued pushing implementation of the law up until its repeal. Now that it is back he is moving full speed on Detroit.

      Here's some blame for the African-American voters in these minority majority Michigan cities. Emergency Managers (EM) have been placed in Highland Park, Benton Harbor, Pontiac, and Hamtramck all with devastating results. One common factor can be found in each of these Michigan cities and that is the amount of internal corruption which has been masked out of sight over the decades by the sheer size of an existing vibrant expanding economy. The economies in these cities were heavily labor intensive, so that many of the voting residents gave little attention to the size of the ongoing fiscal mismanagement by city hall. However the decades old outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to overseas factories from these cities finally exacerbated the political corruption and fiscal mismanagement until it was no longer sustainable. The simple fact is that when the jobs ran out, the property tax income to the city shrank ballooning the municiple debt to astronomical levels, and the elected city officials had no plans or magic capable of resolving the exploding debt. Some cities simply jacked up real estate taxes along with increased taxes on water and sewer services. These measures immediately ignited a long and continous flight out of the city by upper and middle class tax payers.

      Representative John Conyers held a Judiciary Forum of the Legal implications of the Michigan Emergency Manager Law on February 21, 2012 in Highland Park Michigan. In the aftermath of this meeting the EM law was subsequently voted down at the polls. Currently the Michigan Legislature has passed a carbon copy of the EM law and Snyder has signed it once again into law.

      IMHO a lot of blame is quietly laying at president Obama's White House doorsteps. The president's blame goes back to his first term, and I recognize his repeated rhetoric that "he is the president of all the peoiple" has merit from a defensive point of view as the first African-American president. However, that does not excuse his lack of action when faced by the continuing dismal news of the rapid decline of major minority municipalities in America. I rather expect that Obama recruited Van Jones  to be the White House point man to explore the possibility of some sort of presidential intervention to aid these depressed urban areas. However, the GOP caught wind of Jones possibly being appointed to the White House staff and fired off a high powered media blitz against Jones branding him as a Communist. This caused the White House to drop Jones like a hot potato, and no further action has been taken by the White House regarding such a position since then. This is very curious since the SOLID African-American vote was not only critical but necessary for Obama to win his second term in the White House.

      Please do not misunderstand my assignment of blame to Obama. I did not expect the Obama administration to push for a new "model cities" program or even designate certain urban locations as new "enterprise zones". However, I believe that there is a lot that coulld have been done by establishing a functioning organizational connection between these failing city governments and the Obama administration. This was especilally true when one considers that not one thin dime of stimulus money was given to ANY major minority municipality for construction work out of all of the money that was in the original stimulus package.  

  •  The (Third) Reich Local Government Law of 1935, (8+ / 0-)

    The three legs of the National Socialist reengineering of German civil society:

    1) Crush the unions via The Enabling Act to choke off support for the Social Democrats (Right to Work, eh?)
    2) Regulate marriage with the Nuremberg Laws (DOMA anyone?)
    3) Abolish local governments

    under pressure from the Reich Interior Ministry under the Nazi Wilhelm Frick, a new law abolished all the federated states, from Prussia downwards, along with their governments and parliaments, and merged their Ministries into the corresponding Reich Ministries. Thus the federal constitution which inone form had characterized the German political system for over a thousand years, and was to do so again after 1945, was swept away. Characteristically, however, some elements of federalism remained, so the process of dissolution was incomplete. The Party Regional Leaders retained their position as regional Reich Governors, and continued to occupy powerful positions within the Party hierarchy. They wielded considerable influence over local and regional affairs, though here the Reich Local Government Law of 1935, in abolishing local elections, placed the appointment of mayors largely within the competence of the Interior Ministry in Berlin. This in turn aroused the hostility of the District Leaders (Kreisleiter) of the Party, who often exploited the right of participation accorded them by the law in the appointment of local officials to interfere in local government and place their cronies and clients in offices for which they were often quite unsuited.

    Richard J. Evans, The Third Reich In Power

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 10:52:32 AM PST

  •  One simple question - will the EM (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    avsp, blueoregon, urnumbersix, IreGyre

    have any control over number or location of polling locations, early voting or hours the polls are open?

    Just asking

    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it - Samuel Clemens

    by tjlord on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 10:53:44 AM PST

  •  I thought a court ruled against doing this? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I guess I heard wrong?

    The struggle of today, is not altogether for today--it is for a vast future also. - Lincoln

    by estamm on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 11:03:58 AM PST

  •  Laura, (10+ / 0-)

    thank you so much for posting this.  We need to be more up in arms about this, because I am firmly convinced this is part of the Republican plan for the future.  After all, they're the ones advocating running the country like a corporation.

  •  Another aspect.... (6+ / 0-)

    of this is that basically the Mayor's office and City Council can stop each other from doing anything which has lead to gridlock for decades.  I'm not terribly interested in which entity should have more power but there are long overdue structural changes that would have helped along the way.

    We'll all work hard to replace Snyder next cycle, but in the meantime, the citizens our state's largest city have had their voting rights stripped from them.  This is a new, darker day for Detroit.  

  •  Forget Neoconservatism - try Neofeudalism (3+ / 0-)

    The Baron of Detroit will put those rabble under control.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 11:45:57 AM PST

  •  The problem here (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PatriciaVa, Sparhawk, Midwest Meg

    is that manager or no manager, Detroit, like many other rust belt cities, will never again be fiscally self-sustainable. Detroit should vote itself out of existence and force a merge with the country government.

    •  City county mergers have generally (0+ / 0-)

      worked well where they have been tried: Indianapolis IN;  Lexington and Louisville, KY; Nashville, TN; Jacksonville, FL.

      •  The money's in the wrong county (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoregon, Aquarius40

        8 Mile is both a city and county boundary.  There's no way it'd do anything but drag the county down.  

        Any meaningful merger would have to include Oakland and Macomb counties and, well...good luck with that.

        •  They pulled it off in New York (0+ / 0-)

          New York City prior to 1898 consisted only of Manhattan Island, and the part of what is now the Bronx that is west of the Bronx River. All of New York, Kings and Richmond Counties, the western part of what was then Queens County (the part not included became Nassau County) and the southern part of Westchester County were all consolidated. It worked spectacularly.

    •  Bingo!!!!!! (0+ / 0-)

      That in large part will be the solution.

      That, or relocating families from sparsely populated areas to more thriving enclaves, thereby not having to provide city services to a large part of what today is Detroit.

      Cities depend on economies of scale.

      And you don't have economies of scale when you have to send a garbage truck to a block with four families, when that same block once had 40 families paying property taxes.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

      by PatriciaVa on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 01:42:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And how are these families (3+ / 0-)

        supposed to live in more thriving enclaves, assuming you're referring to higher-income areas?

        •  Not necessarily upper income areas (0+ / 0-)

          I imagine there are, relatively speaking, better areas of Detroit, with a few boarded up homes in each block.

          It would be cheaper for Detroit to rehab those homes, then relocate families from more marginal areas.

          Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

          by PatriciaVa on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 01:48:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Aquarius40, COBALT1928

            and the "better areas", while not necessarily "upper-income" areas, are higher-income areas than where you're talking about.  It may still be harder for them to afford living there.

            •  So the city... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Utahrd, MGross

              ...has to keep sending, say, $10k in services per year to people who pay $4k in taxes?

              (-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 Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 03:18:14 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Did you happen to see ShoshannaD's comment? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                There are also allegations that the state actually owes the city money.

                And your suggestion is what?  Letting the people who can't afford to live in those areas become homeless?

                •  Re (0+ / 0-)
                  And your suggestion is what?  Letting the people who can't afford to live in those areas become homeless?
                  I am always opposed to endless, open-ended subsidies. Everyone else in the city has to pay taxes that cover the cost of services. Why not these people also?

                  (-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 Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 05:24:51 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  So you would rather (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    COBALT1928, RockyMtnLib

                    let people starve and die in the street then let the government provide them with services so that that doesn't happen.  How compassionate of you.

                    •  That's the Libertarian way! (3+ / 0-)

                      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

                      by Throw The Bums Out on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 03:50:47 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Exactly. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Throw The Bums Out

                        The ideal, utopian Libertarian world that most Libertarians I've met have described is either a lie or a complete disconnect from reality.

                        They would have us believe, for example, that in the world they desire, instead of people's money being "taken" by the government, against their will, to pay for services for people who cannot provide for themselves, everything would be fine and dandy if we just let private charities do all that.

                        The reality is that charities can only do so much, based on how much they take in.  Surely all the people now who blame poor people for being poor and for bringing it on themselves wouldn't change their tune suddenly, and be willing to donate money to a charity.  And some libertarians wouldn't either.

                        The reality of the libertarian utopia in the case of social services is that it would lead to the poor and homeless starving and dying in the streets because charities lacked the funding to provide adequate care.

                        However, most libertarians won't acknowledge this.  I'm not sure if this is because they're lying to themselves, or to other people.

                        •  The ones who are lying to themselves (0+ / 0-)

                          ...are those who believe that unsustainable situations can continue to exist for a long period of time.

                          The city of Detroit cannot manage its own affairs. It is uneconomical to continue to service these areas. You criticize "libertarians", but does economic serviceability even enter your thoughts? Is it right that people in that depressed city continue to endlessly subsidize other people?

                          (-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 Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 09:25:29 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I just don't understand how (0+ / 0-)

                            that makes it any more right to say that those people shouldn't be allowed to have any say in their own situation.  Would you advocate that at a state level too?  Should the feds take over Mississippi, since they're dead last at everything, but keep electing the people who helped make that possible?

                            Besides, it seems to me that sending in an emergency manager answerable only to the governor is exactly the kind of tyranny that libertarians complain about.

                            Oh, right, it's only "tyranny" when it's done at the federal level.

            •  It might also be more affordable (0+ / 0-)

              to live in those areas -- particularly given that more reliable transit would be practical in a more concentrated city, and that access to things like decent grocery stores is dependent on population density.  No one's talking about moving the entire city into Palmer Park.

              Besides, the City has more resources to make housing affordable than it does in a lot of other areas.

    •  Not sure how well that would go (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The other communities in Wayne County probably wouldn't want to consolidate with the city.

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

      by Linnaeus on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 03:29:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Probably? (0+ / 0-)

        Try "certainly".  

        One "attraction" of the Indianapolis expansion was that it was ambitious enough to keep the white flight leaving the central city within city limits.  It also helped greatly that Marion County received disproportionate funding from the state legislature;  unlike other parts of the state like Lake County, its legislators spoke with one voice when directing pork toward the center of the state, and got the pork.  And to be really, really cynical, the Indiana Republicans rather liked having the largest city in the state under their control, and they only way to retain that control was to expand to the Marion County line.

        To repeat an Indianapolis event, Detroit would have to expand 26 miles north to 34 Mile Road, west to Ann Arbor and south to the Huron River.   That would make for a very interesting, if ungovernable city.  

        "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

        by Yamaneko2 on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 02:10:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Indianapolis now has split control (0+ / 0-)

          the Mayor is Republican; the City Council Democratic.

          New York City is 309 square miles, Indianapolis 372 square miles, San Diego 372 square miles, Los Angeles is 469 square miles, Nashville 526 square miles, Houston 656 square miles, and Jacksonville 747 square miles, so a large city can function.

          •  Metro Detroit (0+ / 0-)

            The area of metro Detroit that I describes is 60 miles north-south and 15 - 30 miles east-west.  That would make it twice Jacksonville's size.

            The Indianapolis suburban flight has crossed the county line, particularly the Hamilton County line to the north.  

            "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

            by Yamaneko2 on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 10:51:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  the people of Detroit need ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Dude 415, urnumbersix, Aquarius40

    ... look no farther than Benton Harbor for what can happen when Gov. Helium and his developer pals set their sites on seizing publicly owned land they covet.

    Anyone ever been to Belle Isle?

    I hope you took photos.

  •  Are we discussing Detroit or DC? (0+ / 0-)
    It's fitting, I guess, that if you're going to deprive around 700,000 people of their elected local government, you do so with a law nearly identical to one that had previously been repealed by voters. If you're going to act against democracy, you might as well double down. But the whole thing is appalling.

    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 12:10:42 PM PST

  •  Pretty sure this is what the real tea party (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Man from Scene 24

    started over?

    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 12:11:37 PM PST

  •  I live near Detroit... (0+ / 0-)

    ...and have gone there several times in the past few years.

    I grew up there in the 50s and 60s.

    It's 1/2 boarded up, 1/4 looks like a war zone and much of the rest is likely abandoned.

    Yes there a few enclaves left.  Some are pretty cool to visit.

    What we need is to cut off our emotional attachment to it, and just bulldoze a lot of it.  We keep the very few thriving neighborhoods and use the remaining couple of square miles to resettle the citizens, getting them a lot of help...and maybe rebuilding what's left.

    But even all that will take much more money than is available, probably.

    Boehner Just Wants Wife To Listen, Not Come Up With Alternative Debt-Reduction Ideas

    by dov12348 on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 12:11:59 PM PST

    •  I bet there is more there... (0+ / 0-)

      ...than I know.  This is just from limited personal observation.

      Boehner Just Wants Wife To Listen, Not Come Up With Alternative Debt-Reduction Ideas

      by dov12348 on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 12:15:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm sure there is more there... (0+ / 0-)

      ...than it appears to me. Maybe a lot more.  My comment was from limited personal observation.

      Boehner Just Wants Wife To Listen, Not Come Up With Alternative Debt-Reduction Ideas

      by dov12348 on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 12:16:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Mortgage-free retirees (7+ / 0-)

      The huge elephant in the room to relocating people is sparse neighborhoods are the type of people who live in them.

      My Mom's 6 bedroom, well-kept, fully-paid-off-30-years-ago, home is becoming isolated.  Of the four blocks adjourning hers, there is ONE home left on each block -- all well maintained -- where there used to be six.  She is typical of a lot of who is left in the actual neighborhoods in Detroit.

      Some of the abandoned homes have been torn down, some have not.

      The problem is that these retirees worked hard to have No Mortgage or rental costs.  They earned it.

      So how do you convince people living in 14-room homes with leaded glass, arched entryways, French doors and large yards to move "Downtown" or "Midtown" into a 5-room Condo and THEN assume a large housing bill that they worked hard, for so long, Not to pay?

      Even if you gave my Mom the Condo for free, she would feel put-out because of the downsizing of space.  You'd have to give her an Indian Village home for free for her to move.

      There is not enough money.

      I don't know what to do, but we need different solutions than "consolidation."

  •  The alternative is bankruptcy (0+ / 0-)

    Some think that is a preferable path vs. an EM. One interesting note: Allen Park (a fairly white suburb of Detroit) is nearing an EM of their own. So, we may see how people feel about it happening outside the limitations of a majority-black populace.

  •  The fact that there are people on here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    urnumbersix, COBALT1928

    advocating this is exactly why there are people turning against the Democratic party.  If we won't even stand for the principle that in a democracy, people get to vote for their leaders and representatives, then what DO we stand for?

    •  Again, specifically, what are you recommending.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Utahrd, Midwest Meg solve the problem.

      Let's say that Detroit has no EM, and that a democratically elected mayor takes the reigns.

      What will he do to solve the problem?

      Will he/she propose that 50% of Detroit be bulldozed, and the remaining families be relocated to the other half?

      Will he/she propose that all city employees sustain a 40% wage cut to make numbers square?

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

      by PatriciaVa on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 01:45:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why does (5+ / 0-)

        half of the city need to be bulldozed?  You do realize there are culturally significant things in Detroit, and it's not a complete wasteland, right?

        Also, again, you're not answering the questions I asked you before.  You are not telling me why it's ok to infringe on rights that are inherent to citizens in a democracy.

        Every time I ask someone this question in this discussion, the only thing they say is "what's your alternative?"  That's not what I'm talking about though.  My point is that this shouldn't be acceptable in a democracy under ANY circumstances, and I'd like some answers as to why some of you feel it is.

        •  Because half of the city is empty. (0+ / 0-)

          And it makes it ungovernable, as you still have to provide services for blocks that contain one occupied residence.

          Nobody is talking about bulldozing culturally relevant things, and downtown and midtown's turnaround in the last 15 years has been quite impressive.

          •  Depends on what culturally relevant things. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            What about things like the Heidelberg Project?  Would that be in danger (again) of being bulldozed along with the parts mentioned?

            •  Probably not. (0+ / 0-)

              Previous mayors have wanted to bulldoze it, but the current mayor is flogging it as a tourist attraction.  

              "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

              by Yamaneko2 on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 02:14:05 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  And if you tear down everything in that half (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            COBALT1928, indie17

            You'll wind up with squatters, tent cities, large enclaves of homeless, rats, disease, etc.

            Even if there's no housing there, you STILL have to monitor it, maintain something, even if its just fields.

            Why not turn those areas into farms? There are plenty of people who would jump on that, likely a lot of Amish who've been priced out of farmland close to where they currently live.

      •  You dodged the question (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        COBALT1928, apimomfan2

        Let me repeat it for you.

        If we won't even stand for the principle that in a democracy, people get to vote for their leaders and representatives, then what DO we stand for?
        Maybe we should ask your hero Robert Rubin - the disgraced shill for Citigroup.
  •  Correct this non-Michigander if I'm wrong, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    urnumbersix, COBALT1928

    but there has been NO instance of an emergency manager being appointed to any locality that is majority-white, has there?

    If the motivation for the EM law were any more blatant, the legislature would be wearing white hoods.

    The last time the Republicans were this radical, they were working to elect former slaves to Congress. What a difference a century and a half makes!

    by jayjaybear on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 01:33:27 PM PST

  •  "Fuck what the people want." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Dude 415

    can't they recall him?

    People, not corporations. Democracy, not totalitarian capitalism. Fuck the NRA.

    by democracy is coming on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 01:51:52 PM PST

  •  Thanks for the diary. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Dude 415, Capt Crunch, COBALT1928

    "Let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation....It's how we are as Americans...It's how this country was built"- Michelle Obama

    by blueoregon on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 02:15:30 PM PST

  •  Eisenhower. Go figure. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    When the Little Rock School Board proved to be incompetent at integrating their school system, Eisenhower sent in some Emergency Managers called the 101st Airborne.

    Let's face it, the intent of most of the Little Rock voters was ignored in this case.

  •  This is where if I'm mayor I have a police chief (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Dude 415, RockyMtnLib

    who is loyal to me.

    They remove me over my dead body.

    If I'm mayor I stay mayor and NOTHING will change that.


    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 02:49:33 PM PST

  •  It was all so democratic when our previous (0+ / 0-)

    Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm was appointing emergency managers.

    Where the fuck has anyone with the nerve to criticize this action been before now.

    Can you tell me if you would bother bother giving Detroit and it's resident's the passing sniff of concern or recognition that this piece is, if not for an excuse to gratuitously hammer a Republican governor and current legislature that have fuck all to do with how the city got to this point?

    Thanks for nothing. You don't know what you're talking about.
    And your commentary on the "appalling" (oh my gasp) anti-democratic Republicans of this state is an opportunistic slap in the face to the people actually struggling to survive in Detroit and have been completely failed by so called liberal politicians they vote for time and time again.

    •  I haven't heard anyone here say (5+ / 0-)

      that it was ok when Granholm did it.

      Nor do I see anybody claiming that Snyder or the current legislature had anything to do with how the city got to this point.

      But I fail to see how the remedy for a city that has, indeed, been failed by its politicians time and again is to replace them with an oligarch who may or may not try to sell things like the waterworks (they tried it in Pontiac), Belle Isle, etc.

      Unfortunately, you're correct that many of the elected leaders in Detroit have not had the best interests of the citizens at heart.  But neither would anyone Snyder appointed as Emergency Manager, because they'd have no accountability.

      •  The history of "less than ideal" governance... (0+ / 0-) Detroit predates Coleman Young becoming mayor. Anyone who's lived in Michigan for more than a few years (this Virginia native raises his hand) knows that, certainly less so than many of the native Michiganders who have posted in this diary.

        When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Egalitare on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 02:53:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Re: (0+ / 0-)

      I didn't think much of Granholm as a governor, and certainly didn't think much of her or her predecessors use of the provision, and not because of some over the top fear for democratic rule.  Suburban and rural voters may get a kick out of appointing hard nosed budget hawks kicking the hides of cities in profligate failure, but what's the result?  How's Benton Harbor doing?  I don't care how corrupt and/or incompetent Detroit's leadership, they have miles more purchase with the community and bureaucracy than some no-name sent down from the capital.  They will drag their feet, resist wherever, and generally make a mess out of the whole effort because it was something rudely imposed on them by a state that is increasingly isolated to them.

      On the other hand, Detroit is a mess, a drain on the state, and the resentment goes both ways.  

      When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

      by Patrick Costighan on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 01:34:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No name Joe Harris sent down from the (0+ / 0-)

        capital, Benton Harbor's EFM, actually went there from being Detroit's CFO, and is more competent for the job than any politicians squabbling between the mayors office an council.

        Don't know who you are talking about but I've been a Detroit proper resident my entire life. And my resentment goes toward any shit kicker who perpetuates the antagonisms in your comment and this diary instead of working for actual solutions to my long suffering city.

        Imo, Maddow, this diary and comments like yours are prodding and poking a long smoldering fire of racial antagonism just to watch sparks dance.

        You are wrong about it being rudely imposed. It's been the law of the land here since 1990. The ballot repeal was purely partisan reaction to the election of Snyder, as was the proposal to constitutionalize unions. All ballot proposals were rejected en mass. Both proposals were political disasters pushed by incompetent Democratic Party and union overreach.

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

          I'm neither from Detroit nor have I lived in Michigan for some years.  I have no skin in the game beyond what any American has watching a once great city fail.

          I think it's pretty clear I'm talking about the law's invocation, not its enactment, and I'm making no judgment as to whether its justified or not.  Only that it is viewed as rudely imposed by city leadership that enjoys considerably more legitimacy with its constituency and the city bureaucracy than a financial manager.  And my question remains, how's Benton Harbor doing?

          When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

          by Patrick Costighan on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 02:51:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Seems to me (0+ / 0-)

    that any random person from the phonebook would be better than the status quo.

    Detroit has a $327 million budget deficit and faces more than $14 billion in long-term debt. It has been making ends meet on a month-to-month basis with the help of bond money held in a state escrow account. The city has also instituted mandatory unpaid days off for many city workers.
  •  The people voted down the law yet voted back GOP (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Listen, if you vote the same people back into office that created the law you just voted to get rid of, why would you be surprised that they just passed the same law all over again?  Maybe the voters learn something and 2014 will be different, but with all the gerrymandering, don't hold your breath.

    The voters of Michigan need to put forward a voter initiative to redo the districts in the state so that they better represent the will of the people.  Until the root of the problem is dealt with, this stuff is going to continue, both on the state and national level.

    The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones! - John Maynard Keynes

    by Do Something on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 01:28:59 PM PST

  •  It seems (0+ / 0-)

    There has to be some violation of the Constitution here. Right?

    by DAISHI on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 01:41:40 PM PST

  •  Is the New Statute being Challenged? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indie17, bluezen

    Is anyone in MI challenging the implementation of a new law that is identical to the law just overturned? I would think the state courts would likely find strike the law down because if this is allowed to stand then the right to overturn laws by MI voters is absolutely meaningless.

  •  Who is surprised (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    when the repubs do these kind of things? We've seen over the past few years that they are the most undemocratic party that this country has ever seen. Voter suppression, gerrymandering, killing women's rights, and now the EM is all part of their plan to lie, cheat, and steal to stay in power. The really disheartening thing to me is that people here in Michigan love this stuff and keep voting for these idiots. One of the problems that many cities here have is that revenue sharing from the state has been drastically reduced to give tax cuts to corporations that have not created one job for it...I just wrote a check of over $900 to the state to pay the new taxes on my retirement income...$900 dollars that went right into the pocket of a CEO....

    That is what this EM thing is about to me, not just to Detroit but the damage that is being done to democracy here...look at the school district in Muskegon where the entire district was dissolved and the contract to run the schools given to a private corporation whose other schools consistently score much lower that the public schools in the same areas but serves the repubs purpose of eliminating public education...I really fear for my Michigan...and my country...

  •  Pro Emergency Manager (0+ / 0-)

    commenters here need to read at this link, e.g.:

    Crittendon, the former Corporation Counsel for the City of Detroit Law Department released another statement today that said, in part:

    I urge the Governor to consider the many flaws and inaccuracies contained in the Financial Review Team’s report.

    The validity of the EFM and EM laws notwithstanding, I am glad to know now that we have been joined by other civic leaders who agree with our assessment, that if the City were to collect the money it is owed by private corporations and by the State of Michigan, there would be no economic crisis.

    We continue to ask for transparency in the resolution of this fiscal matter. We need to have a full review of everything which is owed to the City, as well as everything that the City must pay.

  •  These days, Republicans aren't republicans. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They're fascists.

    "We see things not as they are, but as we are." - John Milton

    by Jasonhouse on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 03:53:44 PM PST

  •  Its Piritazation plain and simple. Take away (0+ / 0-)

    the local government and strip out the resources. Just like the fossil fuel industry works in other countries.

  •  Detroit is dead. Light a candle and (0+ / 0-)

    Move On. If anyone posting "Republicans are fascists" or equating the take over with the fossil fuel industry's stripping out resources has read about the city's decline or can read a balance sheet, they are clueless ideologues.
         Detroit went on life support after the 1967 riots. The decline of the Big Three and their crappy cars hit the fast forward button.White flight to the suburbs put the decline on warp speed. A succession of criminals, buffoons and incompetents in city admin prompted the Last Rites.
         I despise the current governor and the Republican party anywhere at any level of governance. The cold hard truth is that Detroit as it presently exists is not economically or politically sustainable. It's gone, and it needs to be gone. That's not ideology, that's hard cold truth.

  •  This is actually not a terrible thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Detroit is so dysfunctional, and the elected government has no capacity to save the city.  If you want to see Detroit succeed, then you should be behind this.

    Source: long time Michigander.

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