Sign the PETITION
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
Mrs. Marie Washington, age 95, of 692 Highland St. in Benton Harbor, was sitting on her porch one night recently when a fight broke out down the street. A police officer came to Mrs. Washington's house and told her that her grandson was involved. She said, "No, two families were fighting." THE POLICE OFFICER MACED HER IN THE FACE AS SHE SAT IN A CHAIR. This shows you are never to old to suffer police brutality in Benton Harbor.
Police chief almost kills a woman for smoking
On June 11, 2007 Ms. Masseline Cleve was given a karate chop to the throat by Benton Harbor chief of police Al Mingo. The blow was so hard it knocked the air out of her and she felt as if she might not recover. He walked over to her in a park thinking maybe she was smoking a marijuana cigarette but found it was a regular cigarette. Police brutality rolls on in Benton Harbor. It matters not if you are a black man or woman: you better beware.
Whirlpool runs Berrien County in every way: BOYCOTT WHIRLPOOL & OUST UPTON
LEGAL FEE DONATIONS
1940 Union St.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Sunday July 01 2007. A shore thing$500 million investment designed to jump-start economy in struggling Michigan town
Megan Brody Staff Writer
"Developers of the 530-acre Benton Harbor, Michigan resort-style community forwent the traditional shovels in the ground photo-op and instead hosted a kickoff party with style." (Resort style community means a seasonal community - that's what defines a resort community). The 300-plus-guest party transformed an auditorium at Lake Michigan College into a spectacle ( At what cost? Who was paying? Harbor Shore? Taxpayers?). Gold and silver balloons adorned tables; speakers, including Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, addressed the crowd in front of a golden Mylar balloon backdrop; and guests nibbled on hors d'oeuvres and sweets while sipping cocktails.
City of hope
The celebration was indeed warranted. The announced $500 million project took three years to plan and required the cooperation of countless public and private entities. After riots in 2003 garnered international attention, it was obvious to local leaders that the Lake Michigan community was in dire need of change. The town has remained popular as a traditional summer destination, but many year-round residents never reaped the benefit of those seasonal dollars (remember resort communities are the equivalent of a seasonal community, and a "resort community" means seasonal occupations).
“We’re using economic development to change people’s lives,” (that means changing their biology) says David R. Whitwam, trustee and chairman of Harbor Shores Redevelopment Inc., the project’s nonprofit developer (Except for members of the Alliance - banks and such. Where is the money from the Harbor Shore Real Estate going? Is it nonprofit? How about the Banks? Will they profit?). The hope is it will bring temporary construction jobs, permanent jobs and an increased tax base to the community (hope is the key word). It is expected to generate over $630 million in new consumer spending and $30 million annually in new tax revenue. ($630 million as a project total or annually?) The project is predicted to boost the local tax base by 75 percent for Benton Harbor, 30 percent for neighbor St. Joseph and 3 percent for Benton Charter Township. (How will these newly generated public funds be distributed? Who is responsible for allocating the money? Harbor Shores? The State? The City? Will they be used to pay for more prisons? More war? Do current residents of Benton Harbor have control over this influx of funds?)
The community is counting on this development to give a boost to the city where 42.6 percent of individuals fell below the poverty line in 2006, according to the US Census Bureau. Money generated from the development will go towards programs like job training (Of what type? Training for Walmart?), literary classes (Daycare development classes like "Junior Achievement?") and small business development (ie. Franchises- see Cornerstone news). The local economic development corporation (ie. Cornerstone) expects to have a better shot at luring factories and other lucrative manufacturing opportunities to the community. (False, manufactures are looking to decrease their operating costs, while the Harbor Shores plan, by definition, will increase a manufacture's operating costs (taxes, cost of living, etc.). Then again, the proposed manufacturing sites maybe part of the planned tax free Renaissance Zones- see Cornerstone website. Why don't current BH resident have tax free Zones?). The EDC is hoping the completion of Harbor Shores will allow the town to shed its depressed image. (EDC = Cornerstone).
Upon completion in 2013, Harbor Shores will have redefined 530 acres along and adjacent to the Lake Michigan shoreline (including Jean Klock Park). At the heart of the project is an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course (Since you can't play golf in the winter in Michigan, the "heart" of this plan stops functioning in the winter. Nicklaus also happens to be a frat brother of a Whirlpool executive and the Evergreen Inc. Founder), which includes a 60,000 square foot lodge (which presupposes a primary customer, or user base of people who aren't here in the winter); by 860 residential units (Only 10% of which are slotted for the economically oppressed. Even those people that will benefit must obey by hopelessly strict rules of conduct to stay in the house. Every resident who doesn't have a prior judicial history, never misses a payment, keeps their lawn green, has no violations or neighbor complaints, can stay as long so long as everyone staying within the house can pass a drug test on command. Once their is no one who fulfills these criteria what happens to the land? Does Harbor Shores Development take control?); 27,000 square feet of retail and commercial space (shops which will mainly be seasonal thanks to the "heart" not working in the winter) ; a 350 room hotel/conference center; and a 60,000 square foot indoor water park-hotel (Paid for by taxpayers and currently listed by La Salle- a close Whirpool corporate partner).
Harbor Shores began as the pet project of Whirlpool Corp., the largest home appliance maker in the world, which also calls Benton Harbor home to its global headquarters, employing about 3,000 workers. The company controls several key parcels in the heart (heart = golf course, which includes, in part, Jean Klock Park) of the development and had always vowed to use the land in a way that would benefit the entire community (Residents of Benton Harbor, MAKE THEM KEEP THIS PROMISE). Whirlpool, a company that operates a bus for its employees who would rather make the two-hour jaunt to Chicago each day, has serious concerns about being able to attract the talent required for an operation its size (Their saying local residents aren't competent enough. This means that the jobs created will not be for local residents, which is why they need to bus workers in from other states).
“We’ve been thinking about this to benefit the community (Who's community? What current residents of Benton Harbor will benefit?). That decision was already made,” says Whitwam, who also served as Whirlpool’s CEO from 1987 to 2004, when asked why he and the other developers chose to pass on a lucrative money making opportunity.
Whirlpool Foundation, the charitable arm of the company; the Alliance for World-Class Communities, a community improvement group catering to Southwest Michigan; and Cornerstone Alliance, an economic development organization for Southwest Michigan make up Harbor Shores Redevelopment Inc., the master developer. Evergreen Development Co. LLC (the owner is in a frat with a Whirlpool executive and the golf course guy) is responsible for the master plan of Harbor Shores (the Frat Club they've always wanted). Chicago’s Related Midwest Co. LLC will serve as the residential portion and will profit from the venture (I am forgetting the connection between Chicago Related Midwest Co. LLC, Evergreen Developer LLC and Whirlpool right now, but I'll post the relation soon).
“This is not your typical ‘We’ll build a stadium with tax dollars,’ ” says Mark Mitchell, trustee and vice president of Alliance for World-Class Communities (Right, because Harbor Shores is an unprecedented example of local and state exploitation).
Harbor Shores Redevelopment Inc. required the collaboration of even more factions—local, state and federal government bodies are all scheduled or have already financially contributed. The project required the acquisition of 175 different land parcels with 90 different owners. It took just three years of negotiations to garner control of all the land (control is the key word here), and about one-third of the site is contaminated. Much of the property was at one time home to either manufacturing or served as dumping grounds. So far, $26 million has been spent on clean-up efforts. The sheer scope of Harbor Shores allows the developers to tackle projects, such as some of the environmental remediation that would have been economically unfeasible on their own (That means Benton Harbor residents are not themselves worth the cost associated with cleaning up toxic sites. Only after the planned arrival of new residents is the poisonous land worthy of detoxification).
“Without Harbor Shores, that area would remain contaminated,” says Whitwam.
The massive redevelopment will start with the golf course in July, which will sit on land with weak soil concentration, making constructing anything of significance virtually impossible or extremely expensive. (They just said that the Lake Front Park, given to the children of Benton Harbor lake and used for baptisms is, "virtually insignificant.") The course will serve as a draw for the development and will open in 2009.
Other current construction includes the public infrastructure and removing asbestos from the just under 30 homes Harbor Shores Redevelopment Inc. had to purchase to move forward with the project. (Thanks for removing the asbestos after you took control of Benton Harbor's homes). Two Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes within the redevelopment parcel will be saved.
The most visible public amenity will be the $1 million redevelopment and 47-acre expansion of Jean Klock Park (The expansion property proposed is currently contaminated. Thus, they are taking a non-contaiminated lake front park and giving the residents contaimed parcels. I'll post the public relevant documents as soon as I make it to a scanner) an underutilized Lake Michigan beachfront gem. The property is fairly isolated and when it developed a reputation as a site for dogfights and drug deals, most of Benton Harbor’s residents stayed away. The redevelopment of the park has remained controversial, however, because its removes the property from public control.
“There’s more times when you see people park their boats and swim to the beach than residents using the beach,” says Wendy Dant Chesser, trustee and vice president of the Cornerstone Alliance. (She just indicated that the since residents of BH don't use the park, the interest of non residents -those who swim to the beach from the boats - supersedes the interest of Benton Harbor residents because they use the park more often).
The beach will continue to be open to the public (but, look at their development maps), and Harbor Shores residents are expected to also utilize the property. And as the ground breaking commences, the impact is set to begin.
Return on investment
“The market will drive development. Speculators are knocking on doors everyday,” says Dant Chesser of home owners with property surrounding the slated development. (Maybe Dan Chesser stands to profit and has a relation to the Wendy Chesser that made the remark about the park?). This project fits in with Michigan’s attempt to diversify its economy away from automotives by capitalizing on its natural resources and tourism, said Gov. Granholm at the kickoff party. Graholm dripped sugar onto her description of Michigan’s woes, labeling the state’s economy simply as “challenging,” despite its state of recession.
“Part of our strategy is to lure people here to take advantage of our geography and diversity.”
Harbor Shores has set out to achieve an ambitious ripple effect. Tony McGhee, of the Cornerstone Alliance, is certainly optimistic when he describes Harbor Shores as “a boomtown waiting to happen.” (That means increased property taxes. I ask again, who will determine the distribution of these funds?)
Like this article, everything release from the Harbor Shores group contains information where they tell you they are lying.
The Benton Harbor Election is fast approaching. At the very least, demand from the people you vote for that they establish legal property rights for all current BH residents and a participatory city budget for the influx funds. But, I wouldn't accept this proposal in its current form. After all, we want Whirlpool to live up to its promise that the development will benefit the whole community. Well, benefiting the entire community means that every Benton Harbor resident will share in the fruits of this "altruistic adventure." Will they under the current plan?
I advise carefully examining just what the developers say. Ask if these plans are consistent with the current reality. East Lake, Atlanta, for example, is their model. What happened in East Lake with property values? Who was left out of the benefits? Isn't the Atlanta economy quite different from the Southwest Michigan economy. Why does the East Lake project have 50% mixed income housing and Harbor Shores only 10%? Just ideas
The researchers concluded: 1.that diverse juries deliberate longer,
2. cite more case-relevant facts during deliberation, 3. make fewer factual errors, 4. and are better at correcting inaccurate statements by jury members, than all white juries.
In short, racially diverse juries are more comprehensive and remain truer to the facts of the case then all white juries. Importantly, the author explains how these finding presuppose that the mere expectation of deliberating with people from different races positively effects how trial information is processed.
The findings are directly applicable to Rev. Pinkney’s legal situation in multiple ways.
1. Explains why a racially diverse jury wouldn’t convict him in the first trial
2. Since the prosecutor preempted 4 potential blacks during jury selection, in closed session mind you, the competency of the jury was compromised.
3. The role of juror expectation in trial processing:
A. Since, one juror accused Rev. Pinkney attorney of making drug deals in the Berrien County Court house parking lot (one aspect of biased jury motion), it indicates the jurors expectations were negatively biased by providing evidence of the jurors’ hostile state of mind. His attorney also failed to demand that the juror be dismissed (the ineffective assistance of council motion).
B. The researchers also documented empirical studies demonstrating how negative pretrial media coverage increases the probability white jurors find a black person guilty. All the local media reported that the recall election was thrown out because of fraud. Since evidentiary standards for civil proceedings are lower then for criminal trials, questionable “evidence” was publicly taken as fact before Rev. Pinkney ever had an opportunity to defend himself. This study demonstrates that these factors would produce juror expectations that negatively affect their capacity to process trial information.
Friday, July 20, 2007
View Current Signatures - Sign the Petition
(Do web search on “Jena six” to get more info.)
To: Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice
We respectfully request that the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice review events surrounding the prosecution of six Black students in Jena, Louisiana, to determine whether the civil rights of Jenaresidents have been violated.
In a May 20, 2007 Chicago Tribune article titled "Racial Demons Rear Heads," Howard Witt reported that the six students faced prosecution for charges including second degree attempted murder -- and possible prison sentences of up to 100 years -- for allegedly participating in an unarmed school brawl that resulted in no serious injuries. The alleged brawl followed months of racial tension after hangman's nooses were hung from a tree at the students' school.
From the same Chicago Tribune article:
“There’s been obvious racial discrimination in this case,” said Joe Cook, executive director of the Louisiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, who described Jena as a “racial powder keg” primed to ignite. “It appears the black students were singled out and targeted in this case for some unusually harsh treatment.”
The prosecution of these young men represents a gross miscarriage of justice, punishing Black students for opposing segregation of their schools while ignoring the threatening and provocative acts of those engaging in segregation.
We respectfully request that the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice launch a full investigation into events in Jena, Louisiana, beginning with the noose incident of August 31, 2006, and culminating in the alleged fight of December 4, 2006 to determine whether the civil rights of Jena residents have been violated.
View Current Signatures
The Jena Six Petition to Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice was created by and written by Thomas McNamara(firstname.lastname@example.org). This petition is hosted here at www.PetitionOnline.com as a public service. There is no endorsement of this petition, express or implied, by Artifice, Inc. or our sponsors. For technical support please use our simple Petition Help form.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
will be held on Aug. 24 at 1pm. It will focus on the
illegalities of Rev. Pinkney's trial. A 12 noon rally
will be the same day at the corner of Riverview and
Main, BH - the Michigan Works building. (There will
be a second hearing and rally on Sept. 21 also
beginning at 12 noon.)
The whole country is needed for support. Corruption
is not only out of control in Berrien County, but in
all 50 states.
It is important for you and your group to come and
support Rev. Pinkney who is undergoing an enormous
struggle for justice in Benton Harbor. It is the
struggle of a lifetime....a man fighting one of the
biggest international corporations presiding over a
county where human abuse is occurring every day.
Abuse which many Americans think can't happen here.
There will be six motions heard on Aug 24:
 Motion to dismiss for failure to arraign
 Motion for new trial based on ineffective assistance
 Motion for new trial based on the lack of public
 Motion to dismiss based on jury bias [juror
contaminated the jury]
 Motion for denial of a fair jury trial under the
fifth and six amendment based
on the denial of the challenge to systematically
 Motion to dismiss for failure to allow due process
The poor are forced to fight for a new America, free
of want with justice and cooperation. If
all Americans unite around the struggle of the poor,
their vision of a new world can be won.
We should give Iraq our constitution. It was written
by intelligent people, it has worked reasonably well
for over 200 years, and we're not using it anymore.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
The Empire Avenue project in Benton Harbor will be the next step in the take-over by Whirlpool and Harbor Shores Development.
Businesses will receive a face lift, and not one city resident will be employed to renovate the old houses. (When they tore down the Vineyard Projects several months ago, residents were told they would be hired at $17/hr.....in reality, not one resident was hired. Mexican workers did the job for $5/hr.)
The old abandoned houses and the renters will be removed from the city, renters having no opportunity to make the refurbished homes their own. These residents are literally "kicked out" of BH. Period. Gone. Whirlpool cares not where or how. Remind you of something out of a corporate futuristic fascist nightmare?
Pete Mitchell, BH city manager, said he has been working hard to help Whirlpool and Harbor Shores Development take over Benton Harbor. "I am super excited about this project - now i can retire!"
The Empire Ave. plan was unveiled at a Whirlpool/Cornerstone Alliance meeting on Wednesday, June 27 by Mitchell and Tony McGhee, Whirlpool's Cornerstone VP of Physical Development. Mitchell has worked extremely hard with Whirlpool and the governor to drive blacks out of BH.
In 1996 Pete Mitchell said the city joined with the BH Housing Commission and several local banks (who were red lining the residents of BH.) They allocated $250,000.000 for residents to buy and/or improve homes. Instead, this entire sum of money is going to a white contracter to buy the homes of black residents.
Tony Mc Ghee said the Empire Ave. project will be the first phase in a three phase initiative to take over the city. The same plan is on tap for Pipestone St. next year, and Main St. the following year. This will be the last phase of the take over of the whole city - to finally drive all blacks out.
The fed. government has of yet refused to issue a permit for the Jack Nicklaus golf course, but Whirlpool has announced that they will continue without a permit (ILLEGAL). What's inconveniently getting in the way is an endangered plant species which thrives in Jean Klock Park. Rep. Fred Upton, heir to Whirlpool, went to Washington DC several months ago to convince cronies to pressure the gov. to issue the permit. Environmentalists are engaged in a year-long investigation of the plant species in the park. Too long for the Berrien County good old boys to wait.
LEGAL FEE DONATIONS
1940 Union St.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Thursday, July 05, 2007
This could be the strangest story to emerge from the Berrien County courthouse in a long time. It's getting almost impossible to believe that our governor or the DOJ doesn't intervene.
Addie Kyle, a forty year BH resident was sitting at a table outside the courthouse, taking a break as court observer last week. A juror, also on break, walked by and had a friendly conversation with Ms. Kyle. She commented to him that the courthouse is racist and Black people need to stick together more.
The next day two police officers showed up at her door wanting to know what she said to the juror, so she told the truth. They immediately issued a warrant for her arrest.
Ms. Kyle hired an attorney who went to the courthouse asking judge LaSata to recuse himself from the case since the attorney may have to call him as a witness. The judge said, "If you say another word I will send you to jail." A back-and-forth ensued with the atty. asking repeatedly if he was being threatened, and the judge yelling, "shut up."
Addie Kyle's hearing was this past Monday, July 2, in the morning.
A few hours before her hearing a cross was burned in her front yard at 4am. In court, the juror she spoke to last week defended her by saying she did not talk about the trial she was observing, he was in no way intimidated by her, and she was not "jury tampering." The judge and prosecutor became angry (because the juror didn't lie), and Judge LaSata pronounced Ms. Kyle guilty of jury tampering. He sentenced her to 60 days in jail, 1 year's probation, and she may not enter the courthouse ever again. She will be tried in October and could be sentenced for up to 10 years on a felony charge.
It seems that the intelligent men of law who run the courthouse have figured out recently that "jury tampering" may just be an easy way to jail more BH residents: about two weeks ago a woman was laughing in the courthouse parking lot when the bailiff called her into the building and escorted her into a courtroom where she was charged with jury tampering. For laughing in the parking lot. After she hired an out-of-county attorney, the charge was dropped.
Part of the success of the Berrien County thugs is that they have operated in isolation for years.
Is this the worst courthouse in the US? It sure seems like a distinct possiblility.
As for cross burning --
The Supreme court ruled in April 2003 to uphold a state law banning cross burning carried out with the intent to intimidate. Cross burning is an instrument of terror and not a form of expression protected by the first amendment.
Cross burning in the United States is inextricably intertwined with the history of the KKK which, following its formation in 1866, imposed a reign of terror throughout the South, whipping, threatening, and murdering blacks.
Wilson Chandler's household was a good place to enjoy yourself on Thursday, June 28, 2007. Shortly before 10pm Wilson Chandler was selected in the first round of the NBA draft by the New York Knicks. Wilson Chandler went to New York for the draft and is a 2005 graduate of Benton Harbor High School. That year he was selected as Mr. Basketball in Michigan. Chandler is the first player from Benton Harbor to be selected in the first round of the NBA.
What was Berrien County's response? Several people called him with death threats, i.e., "Mr. N-----, you will never sign that million dollar contract."
When will the people of Berrien County admit to the worst racism since earlier last century in the South?
LEGAL FEE DONATIONS
1940 Union St.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Monday, July 02, 2007
1. Beginning on Thursday June 28, 2007 the Berrien County Clerk's Office may no longer process passport applications from people who's birth certificates were issued by the same office, and who have never before applied for a passport. This new process has been ordered by the State Dept. for a reason.
"I have no intention of complying with the rules and the change of law from the U.S. Department of State. This is my final stand," County Clerk Louise Stine told the Berrien County Board of Commissioners and the Herald Palladium newspaper on Thursday. Stine is the same person who was over the jury clerk when Rev. Pinkney's jury was rigged. She took the stand, committed perjury, and she walked away like nothing had happened. Berrien County players believe they are above the law.
2. Absolutely incredible: One cleared, one jailed by a Berrien County judge in jury tampering that never happened. ( Recently, Judge LaSata sentenced Ms. Holloway and her sister to jail for 45 days without a hearing. The judge realized his wrong doing, and changed the "crimeless" sentence to a 75 thousand dollar bond.)
Several days ago Judge LaSata called Cora Holloway in for a hearing where she stood in her own defense. She told the judge that on the day she was charged with tampering with the jury she was in the courthouse parking lot telling friends that she was glad not to have to testify in the "Monk trial." She also stated that she told her friends the prosecutor wanted her to give false testimony (lie), that she was very nervous and scared, that if called to the stand she would probably say Monk was innocent, and that she knew she was not tampering with any juror. The judge pronounced her guilty for the second time and gave her 30 days. This is double jeopardy and illegal. It is "justice" in Berrien County.
The entire incident so far is another way for the Berrien County courthouse to intimidate and harass Benton Harbor residents. It instills the belief that simply by entering the building one can be thrown in jail without a hearing, and also be made financially destitute. The county justice system has now declared war on all BH women.
LEGAL FEE DONATIONS:
1940 Union St.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
(if everyone reading this made a small donation,
Pinkney just might have his fees paid off!)