Rev. Pinkney Arrested AGAIN, supporters: Lynn Stewart, Voice Of Detroit, EXPOSED,

What's really happening to the people of Benton Harbor:
The thrust [of the Berrien county courthouse] is to physically remove and destroy families through the use
of the criminal justice system. Every person they can put in jail; every person whose voting rights they can
revoke with a felony conviction; every person they can cause to lose their job by putting them on probation;
every person they can cause to lose the ability to pay for basic necessities through imposing ruinous court
costs and probation is all part of the process. In the 1960s, it was called Negro removal. In Bosnia, it was
called ethnic cleansing. It could be called genocide, the removal of the minority population for the purpose
of redevelopment of the land. That’s what’s happening in Benton Harbor and the foremost leader
of the resistance is Rev. Edward Pinkney. --Civil rights attorney, Hugh "Buck" Davis

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Berrien County: Cop Land

The front page of a newspaper, and signs posted in a town's shopping district, can communicate the culture of a place. In downtown St. Joseph, Mich. there are many signs affixed to lamp posts, etc. bearing the message: "The Downtown Area May Be Under Police Surveillance." Those, and the following cover story in today's Herald Palladium, speak for themselves. (Plus,
scroll down to the June 19 photo...)
Top Stories for Sunday, June 29th:

Don Campbell / H-P staff
Berrien County Sheriff’s deputies (from left) John Hopkins, Mike Moore, Justin Hopkins and Roger Johnson run through tactical response drills during training exercises at Niles High School on Wednesday.

Harbor Shores’ love affair won’t stand test of time

June 28, 2008

Editor,

Let’s be realistic, Jean Klock Park was doomed from the very moment that Harbor Shores waltzed into the boardroom waving its fat checkbook. So it is, in retrospect, that I would encourage all Benton Harbor residents to examine the contract for themselves to ensure that all codicils and fine print coincide with expectations. Be aware that any loopholes or flexible language could very well be manipulated in the future (reference the original trust by the Jean Klock family).

Jean Klock Park is but another of the many pristine environments that have been violated by corporate America under the guise of public interest. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that development in its various forms eliminates 6,000 acres of natural land every day. In point of fact, Bush administration policies have to date opened up countless acres of public land to oil and gas exploration, logging and other commercial devastations.

I would liken what has just happened in Jean Klock Park to a courtship between Harbor Shores and representatives of the Benton Harbor city government. As is the case with most courtships, wooing Harbor Shores was very solicitous of the wants, needs and egos of the greater Benton Harbor community at the onset of their relationship.

This was with a narcissistic heart and a lecherous eye on the overall goal, which was to lure city officials into bed with them so that they could ravage the body, Jean Klock Park, to their selfish gratification.

Alas, citizens of Benton Harbor, I fear that this deal ultimately will not turn out as promised. Like many roguish suitors, it is extremely doubtful that Harbor Shores will respect you in the mourning (pun intended).

Robert D. Groenewoud Baroda

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Harbor Shores Awaits NPS Reconsideration

Invaluable information: http://www.savejeanklockpark.org/NationalParkService.html
You will see proof of how public opinion was and is controlled in Berrien County.



Cheri Miller, Benton Harbor Business Owner
Cheri Miller, Benton Harbor Business
Owner

exerpts:


In consent calendar item #1, the City approved, 7-1, a revised park maintenance and lease agreement, and Jean Klock Park conversion and mitigation proposal for submittal to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and National Park Service (NPS).

Residents voiced differing degrees of frustration with the commission's decision –

Monday's vote marked the second favorable decision on the project. Cooke joined Mayor Pro Tem Ralph Crenshaw and Commissioners Rahim Abdullah, James Hightower, Ricky Hill, Eddie Marshall, and David Shaw in supporting the agreement. Commissioner Juanita Henry cast the dissenting vote, and Commissioner Bryan Joseph was absent. Attorney Donald Schmidt -- who helped the negotiate the new agreement -- began by explaining how staff answered more than 300 comments it received during a 45-day public comment period. The centerpiece of the $500 million project focuses on using 22 of Jean Klock Park's 73 acres for three holes of a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course. The NPS – which has the final say – rejected the project last fall, after it deemed the public comment period insufficient. The agency also ruled that the parcels offered to make up for the land being lost were an unfair trade.

Not every question earned a response – such as to those who wrote, “good project,” or the opposite, Schmidt said. Also, several questions that tackled similar subjects were combined to cover the most ground, he added.

Schmidt estimated the city received 400 comments that ran 7 to 1 in favor of the project, which were condensed to 104 responses. Those responses now go back to the DNR and NPS, not to the individual commentators, he added.

Schmidt said only minor wording changes were made to the overall proposal, so the conversion, mitigation and trailways areas remain the same. The biggest changes came in the lease agreement that governs Harbor Shores' use of Jean Klock Park, he said.

Schmidt cited 16 key changes in the lease agreement. For example, the commission could now appoint three members to a Golf Oversight Board to set rates, and the winter use of the golf course, Schmidt said. Both powers were only advisory under the previous agreement.

Harbor Shores must restore the property to its original condition, and both sides may terminate the lease, if the other breaches it, Schmidt said. Additional changes came from the Attorney General's Office, which wanted it clear that Harbor Shores cannot recoup its $18 million investment through the golf course fees, he added.

Harbor Shores also accepted a 1-year warranty for any improvements it makes on the park, the trailways, and mitigation parcels, Schmidt said. “The changes really give the city more control over the park – it's a better agreement for the city,” he said.

Henry commended Schmidt and City Manager Richard Marsh Jr. for their negotiating efforts, but stopped short of a total endorsement, as well. “If it wasn't for the National Park Service denying it in the first place, it (control) would all have been given away,” Henry said. “At one time, we had no out of this at all.”

Henry still considered the process flawed, saying that residents deserved another week to review a report that wasn't finalized until last Friday. “I can say -- for a fact -- some of my questions have not been answered yet, and I'm a commissioner,” Henry said.
Henry would have liked to have seen the commission go over the responses before taking up the agreement. “We've voted on a lot of things that have not benefited city government -- as well as citizens in this project -- and we all know it,” Henry said. “Some of us don't want us to say that, but it's a fact.”

Cooke felt comfortable with the changes, but asked if another week will unduly delay the project. Marsh responded the city went the extra mile by extending the comment period for 14 days, and offering to deliver copies of documents to anyone who couldn't visit City Hall, the police station or the Benton Harbor Library to review them.

The city's responses would not be considered part of the process, but would be made public, too, Marsh said. “Again, we went beyond what the minimum requirements were, and we think we complied,” he said.

Other commissioners felt an additional week would serve no purpose, such as Marshall, who thanked the Friends of Jean Klock Park for its aggressive scrutiny. “This commissioner is grateful for the things that you have done,” Marshall said. “We have done everything feasible and possible to make this thing work. At this point, I think it's time to move forward.”

Residents voiced differing degrees of frustration with the commission's decision – including a meeting structure that did not allow any comments until after the vote. “We should have a chance to say something before you pass anything that would give something of ours away,” James Duncan, resident of Benton Harbor for 52 years, said. “Until I know that you're going to listen to the citizens in this town, I won't feel good about anyone up here.”

Cherie Miller, CEO and President of New Products Corporation located in the City of Benton Harbor for 86 years, with approximately 25 acres east of Eight Street addressed the commission regarding certain safety problems. She gave them a copy of a four-page letter she sent to the National Park Service requesting to deny the grant.

The cover letter attached to her letter to the NPA was to “request your help in resolving the outstanding problems regarding New Products Corporation and the mitigation plan proposal. Unsafe design features in the plan impact the company, its employees, and the citizens of Benton Harbor. The conflicts between pedestrian trails and golf cart paths colliding with vehicular and truck traffic exist, and are not addressed. No attempt to contact me or improve the public safety has been made. The concerns addressed are legitimate and real. Please consider my requests and postpone your decision until all the citizens concerns have been addressed through specific plan changes.”

Nicole Moon,of Benton Harbor, took issue with past characterizations of the opposition. “I'd like to point out that Harbor Shores are all outsiders – they're not from here, they're not from the city of Benton Harbor,” Moon said.

Bill Cheatham suggested the commission look into tax free municipal bonds to generate money for worthier projects – such as infrastructure improvements. “You cannot afford to continue to give away your taxes, and not doing anything for the city.” he said.

"Just leave the beach alone. I really do not see a great deal for our community. Why couldn't we think of a project that serves everyone, not just a certain segment of people, like an amusement park. That would draw more people and also stimulate our economy than a golf course. Bring a Six Flags or Cedar Point here. An amusement park would afford us more entertainment -- especially for our youth and bring our city money and it would be something we can afford. Plus, it could help build entrepreneurs from our citizens. The citizens could create businesses that could hire our own people. The only businesses we see growing from this development are outside companies coming in making money. Just leave our beach alone." stated Cheatham.

Marsh acknowledged that mistakes have been made, some resulting from inexperience. “Honestly, what I would have done at the beginning of this process – I would have had the citizens at the table in the planning (stages),” he said, after the meeting.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Letter to Gov. Granholm - shared on the web

Dear Guv:
Bob Dole spoke of the 'Democrat Party': its leaders often were/are not democratic. I do not see how you can support taking land given to the people of Benton Harbor to build a golf course accessible only to the rich.
This is worse than the Boston eminent domain case. It is class warfare against the poor. The donors of that land clearly intended otherwise. They must be writhing in their graves. What does this do to the practice of charitable giving land for public use 'in perpetuity?' Will those few wealthy persons who donate land to the public be discouraged from doing so?
Republicans REPRESENT the wealthy class, but when Democrats sell out is it surprising that many folks simply don't show up at the polls?

B.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Berrien County Sheriff’s Department’s controversial shooting range



Don Ames photo, Herald Palladium, 6/19
This is the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department’s controversial training and shooting range facility on 14 acres off Angling Road in Coloma Township. The Michigan Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the five shooting ranges are not permitted under the township’s zoning ordinance. The facility opened last year.

State OKs privatization of Benton Harbor waterfront

How to help save Jean Klock Park:
http://www.savejeanklockpark.org/HowtoHelp.html


State OKs privatization of Benton Harbor waterfront
by Eartha Jane Melzer, Wed 6/18/08
http://www.michiganmessenger.com/showDiary.do;jsessionid=4CD46F82D19638263D5B1446BA469061?diaryId=1423

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has approved a controversial plan to build a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course on Benton Harbor's waterfront park.

This is the second time the state has approved the project, known as Harbor Shores, which was re-proposed after the National Park Service (NPS) rejected the plan last year.

State and federal approval is required for the project because it involves the conversion of a public park which has been improved with taxpayer money.

Last Monday night, the Benton Harbor city council gave its approval to the proposed conversion.

"We are predominantly a poor African-American community," said city commissioner Ralph Crenshaw, who voted to approve the park conversion. "Some people don't want our people to have any kind of quality of life. We are trying to provide the maximum opportunity for the majority of people considering the circumstances that we are in."

Jean Klock Park constitutes 75 percent of Benton Harbor's parkland and some believe that signing much of it over to developers for a golf course -- even if the project could bring jobs -- is unfair to the people of Benton Harbor because it would take away a large chunk of the city's public recreation space and there would be less space for people who can't afford golf.

LuAnne Kozma of the park preservation group Defense of Place said that the state erred in approving the proposal so quickly.

In 1989, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund gave Benton Harbor $375,000 to protect the "delicate dune ecosystem," she points out, but no environmental impact study has been done to determine whether building a golf course on the dunes would damage them.

"The state has also failed to follow its own guidelines in approving the conversion," Kozma said.

Any transfer of parkland requires that new parkland of equal value be created. In the case of Jean Klock Park, developers have had the 22.11 acres of dunes and lake-view property appraised at $900,000. In compensation, they are offering a package of parcels including a 1.47 acre parcel of land on the Paw Paw River. An environmental assessement of this parcel conducted by Wetland and Coastal Resources Inc. states that it consists partly of an abandoned asphalt roadway and is located next to the city water tower. This piece was donated by the Whirlpool corporation and appraised at $714,000.

State law requires that two appraisals be done for parcels valued at over $500,000, Kozma said, and only one was done in this case.

Jim Wood, director of DNR grants management, said that the state required no further information about the plan, and that there was no need for review by the Natural Resources Trust Fund, which reviewed and approved a similar Harbor Shores proposal in October 2006.

"We found that the city addressed all of the issues that were raised during the public comment period," Wood said.

The NPS will now decide whether to allow the park conversion to move forward.

Opponents of the golf plan are planning a federal suit to block the park conversion should it gain approval from the NPS.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Newspaper article with commentary

Larger Than Local (re: Harbor Shores)
Herald Palladium, May 23, by Kevin Allen

excerpts & commentary:

"There are issues that are sort of universal in nature, about the battle over where we draw the line of what is appropriate economic development," said Hugh McDiarmid, spokesman for the Mich. Environmental Council. McDiarmid said the Nat'l. Park Service would set a dangerous precedent if it allows Harbor Shores to lease 22 acres of the 73-acre park, which was given to Benton Harbor as a gift in 1917.

"From our standpoint, the visibility [publicity] is important, that it be seen as something larger than just a local issue," McDiarmid said. "Some of the principles involved transcend the immediate issues that are of concern to people in Benton Harbor and Berrien County." [Berrien County "players" & developers would disagree with McDiarmid, much preferring to operate in isolation, doing things the "Berrien Way" as they have for decades. Secret meetings without documentation, etc.]

Carol Drake, vice president of Friends of Jean Klock Park: "This is a huge controversy and is precedent-setting, and I'm not surprised at all that people from all over are watching this," she said. "It is more than just a local story."

Drake said the organization's Web site receives a sharp increase in traffic after a newspaper article appears in another market. "We get e-mails from people all over who say how important it is to not let this park be used for these purposes," she said. "A lot of people are paying attention to this."

Cindy Arch, who works in Novi as exec. director of Defense of Place: "Vulnerable places are going to be the first ones to go down." [to corporate land destruction]

Jeff Noel, a Harbor Shores trustee and Whirlpool's vice president for communications and public affairs, said the media attention suggests that Harbor Shores developers are creating a good product. [PRODUCT? humanitarian and ecological disaster as "product?" Read: Whirlpool propaganda. It sounds like Jeff "the Gangsta" - Whirlpool's nickname for him - may not have read the various media reports referred to here if he thinks thinks they're "good."]

"It also sends a message that the not-for-profit organizations developing Harbor Shores are on to something," he said. [What they are "on to" is how to provide cover for the mother ship Whirlpool, in it's mega-greed theft & destruction of land which is deeded to Benton Harbor for eternity. Those non-profits like Cornerstone are sucking all kinds of funds right out from under Benton Harbor. Whirlpool's ethical founders, Louis, Frederick, and Emory Upton are turning in their graves.]

Jeff Noel said the Twin Cities' struggles with the economy and race relations reverberate around the nation. [There's no question about that. People, especially people of color, are on the edge of their seats to see how the next grand land theft and population displacement will go down.]

"I'm a big believer that when an issue is as complicated as this one, that if the reporters take the time to write about it, it helps people make informed decisions," Noel said. [Sure, Jeff.
This issue is as complicated as any Hollywood heist movie. Just one big robbery. And, like in the movies, the bad guys could care less about the human and environmental ramifications. You told Uof M Business School that to prevent anyone from getting in your way, you give them some washing machines. We know you'll stop at nothing, Jeff "the gangsta".]

Friday, June 13, 2008

THE TRUTH BEHIND THE PARK STRUGGLE

Mrs. Pinkney's mail is not being delivered to her husband. This is harassment by Sheriff Paul Bailey.
* *

THE TRUTH BEHIND THE PARK STRUGGLE
By Pastor Mary Gault

http://www.peoplestribune.org/PT.2008.06/PT.2008.06.12.html

The opinions written by citizens of Berrien County in the local newspaper reveal how few understand the real issues at stake in the Jean Klock Park struggle. They don't see the larger picture -- that the take over of the park is but one issue surrounding the Harbor Shores project. Do these citizens realize what was the first thing to happen when Rev. Edward Pinkney was accused of tampering with the votes for the recall of City Commissioner Glenn Yarbough? It was the invalidation of the whole election when there were still enough valid votes for the recall.
This dangerous precedent set by Judge Maloney (now a Federal Judge) opens the door for any judge anywhere to throw out any election they desire regardless of the votes of the people. It is about a system that allows the rich to get anything they want even if at the expense of the majority. This is a story of the system continually bulldozing over the rights of the citizens in the name of progress and jobs. The hundreds of jobs for Benton Harbor citizens highlighted as a reason to support the project by our Gov. Granholm has now been narrowed down to nine seasonal jobs that fall in the minimum wage category.
The high priced condos will only benefit the rich by increasing their property values (this includes U.S. Representative Fred Upton, Whirlpool CEO Jeff Fettig, and Judge Butzbaugh) while the poor will be forced out by high taxes and increased expectations on upkeep of their property -- expectations that can lead to condemned property and loss of homes.
Rev. Pinkney was right about the negative impact the Harbor Shores project will have on the citizens of Benton Harbor and the United States. He has paid the ultimate price for trying to stop the rich from taking over Benton Harbor through organizing the recall election of Glen Yarbough. He now sits in one of the filthiest, most inhumane county jails in the country, a jail where Berrien County prisoners are harassed, where the food is substandard, and contracting a lethal staph infection is highly possible.
This is all for the crime of seeing Whirlpool's land grab coming, and speaking truth to power. Rev. Edward Pinkney has repeatedly stated that Harbor Shores will provide few jobs or benefits for Benton Harbor residents. He said that fascism is the merging of the corporations (business interests) with government. No starker example than Berrien County can be found.

* *

Re: Harbor Shores: "Perhaps some of you do not own a foot of ground.
Remember then, that this is your park, it belongs to you," said John Klock,
a local newspaper publisher, when he gave the land to the city of Benton Harbor
in 1917 in honor of his daughter.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sounds Like Whirlpool

http://americasmexico.blogspot.com/2008/06/no-rest-for-working-poor.html

10-jun-2008 by Laura Carlsen

No Rest For the Working Poor

Globalization continues to break down its own myths, especially in developing countries.

In Mexico, the promise of more jobs withered shortly after NAFTA went into effect, when it became clear that displacement outpaced job generation. Now, its twin promise--that globalization would create better jobs and improve standards of living--has finally committed public suicide as well.

Ford and General Motors changes in their operations in Mexico. Ford announced a major investment in Mexico of over $2 billion dollars this week. Alongside the self-congratulatory remarks of industry representatives and government officials, was an interesting tidbit of information. According to an AP report, at the Ford plant to be expanded in Cuautitlan--on the outskirts of Mexico City where the cost of living has been going up sharply-- workers' wages would be cut in half from their current level of $4.50 an hour. Mexican union leaders stated that this was necessary to compete with China.

The same week, General Motors announced a $1.3 billion dollar investment in its Coahuila, Mexico plant and the creation some 875 jobs (note the low job-to-investment ratio). It also announced the eventual closure of plants in Janesville, Wisconsin and Morraine, Ohio. The Mexican press noted that the company first hinted at the closure of its plant in Toluca, which elicited an immediate promise from the union leadership to accept wage reductions. It soon after announced it will remain open but cut back on operations and lay off some of the workers. Although the new contract terms were unavailable at the time of this writing, the trend is written on the wall.

The companies justified further gouging into the fragile economy of working families by pointing the finger at global competition. As long as China offers wages of as little as $2.00 an hour, Mexico has no choice but to follow suit if it wants to attract investment.

The only legal floor to this race to the bottom is Mexico's minimum wage of about $5 per day. And the same week, the Mexican government made it clear it has no plans for relief in that area. In classic patriarchal style, Sec. of Labor Javier Lozano explained that raising the minimum wage would trigger "a salaries-prices race and it would be an illusion for workers, it would be deceiving them, since while they might think they have more money to purchase goods, these (prices) would keep going up."

The problem is that prices are already going up--the price of the basic food staple, the tortilla went up from 5 pesos at the end of 2006 to 12 pesos in some parts of Mexico today. That alone places Mexico in the growing camp of nations threatened by the global food crisis, where even full-time workers find it difficult to assure a basic diet.

In a June 9 speech at the International Labor Organization in Geneva, Lozano expounded on the perils of granting living wages to the working poor: "the legitimate aspiration of higher wages for workers should come about through increases in productivity and not artificial measures such as generalized price controls or emergency wage hikes." As Sec. of Labor, you'd think that Mr. Lozano might have seen just one of the dozens of studies that show that Mexican manufacturing has experienced a marked increase in productivity accompanied by a fall in real wages. But the use of the word "artificial" belies his conviction that anything outside the dictums of the neoliberal market is "unnatural". So whatever reality serves up that contradicts these dictums continues to be treated as an inconvenient anomaly or ignored completely.

Funny that raising substandard workers' salaries is presented as the villain in the crusade to control prices for the good of all, whereas other causes--such as monopoly market control--receive no mention whatsoever. Funny, but not in a laughable way. Mexican workers are being urged to resist their lower instincts of wanting to eat regularly and provide a future for their families, and to have faith in the same macroeconomic policies that have failed them for years. That's a tough order in a society where the cost of basic items rose 47% between December of 2006 and May of 2008 while wages went up a little over 4%.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Instead of incarceration, why not explore Restorative Justice?

by Natalie M. Holbrook, Ypsilanti resident working for the American Friends Committee, afsc.org

[one woman's story of how she helped get a program started in Wisconsin where a judge was the initiator, and a personal story: http://www.restorativejustice.org/editions/2008/june08/startingaprogramme]

...Ninety percent of men and women incarcerated return to our communities, often facing numerous obstacles to becoming upstanding, fully participating citizens. The more we rely on incarceration as the main tool for dealing with social problems in our communities, the more problems will arise.

We are living in economically depressed times. People are struggling to find work. Some suffer from severe drug and alcohol addictions in our community. Do we think by sending someone to jail for a week or two (or months on end) we are going to make the problems in his or her life go away? Or is it safe to say that going to jail for a stint may actually exacerbate some of the circumstances that may have compelled a person to commit a crime in the first place? I assert that sending people to lock up will lead to job terminations and will increase the need for some people to commit property crimes.

Ypsilanti Police chief Matt Harshberger says that the same folks are continually arrested but turned away because of jail overcrowding and that they keep on committing crimes becasue there is no punishment issued. But what if we looked at alternatives to punishment and actually assessed what it was that lead to the commission of various crimes? The American Friends Service Committee has published a book intitled "Beyond prisons: A New interfaith Paradigm for Our Failed Prison System," by Magnani and Wray.

In synthesizing experts on restorative justice, Magnani and Wray state, "For communities to claim authority, they must solve their own problems. Resources need to be redirected to education, health, recreation, and social-service systems, and the hard work of conflict resolution must be practiced between people at the neighborhood level.

Rather than relying on police as mediators, volunteers can be trained to help conflicting parties resolve differences. The community justice and restorative justice movements have shown that family conferencing, circle sentencing, and other group processes can provide mechanisms for communities to solve problems without undue reliance on threats and sanctions. [these practices are working all over the country]

As a community, I think it would benefit us to explore restorative justice and community mediation concepts. We could truly become a community dedicated to developing innovative tools and mechanisms for dealing with deep-rooted problems - joblessness, poverty, racism, drug and alcohol addiction, illiteracy, cyclical violence, and more.

Jailing people is a short-term, inadequate solution to long-existing, complex social problems. According to the authors of "Beyond Prisons," restorative justice - also known as transformative justice - "shift(s) the definition of crime from a breaking of legal codes to an act of harming another person of a community of people. The question becomes, 'How do we heal the harm?' not 'How do we punish the criminal?' Implementation of restorative justice practices would shift the goal of the justice system away from punishment and retribution (or revenge) and replace it with a healing approach that addresses the needs of survivors, offenders, and the community."

Besides exploring alternative ways for dealing with harms committed in a community, it would also be beneficial to develop a task force dedicated to evaluating existing resources and social service agencies that offer comprehensive drug and alcohol treatment for low-income people. If there are no comprehensive programs, then they will need to be created - jail should not be used as a drug-treatment center.

I hope that we can expand community conversations on crime to include alternatives to jailing people and to develop lasting solutions that begin to heal the complex harms impacting all of the people living in our community.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Benton Harbor park controversy draws national attention; city commission faces hard choice

by: Eartha Jane Melzer

Monday (06/09) Michigan Messenger


A controversial plan to develop Benton Harbor's waterfront park as part of an elite golf course could be in trouble. Critics say it's being pushed by "predatory" developers, won't help the impoverished small town and might hurt low-income and minority residents. The city commission meets Monday to consider the proposal.

The plan, called Harbor Shores, is backed by the locally-based Whirlpool Corporation. The governor's office has offered total support (and $120 million in economic incentives) and the project has also benefited from the federal New Markets Tax Credit program. The 530-acre project would include 860 residential units, a 350-room hotel conference center, 27,000 square feet of commercial and retail space and an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course.

Billed by the state government as a public-spirited, grassroots plan for community redevelopment, the project was blocked by the National Park Service (NPS) late last year for failing to involve the local community in decision-making and offering inadequate parcels in trade for the waterfront.

Developers resubmitted the plan, and the NPS-mandated public hearing and comment period, which concluded last month, revealed deep concerns about the plan and its purported benefits to the town. Over 300 written comments were submitted to the city.

Jean Klock Park is the only Lake Michigan waterfront owned by an African-American community and the proposed golf development has emerged as a national environmental justice story with pieces in The Washington Post, and Chicago Tribune. Last month, Michigan Messenger revealed that two top backers of the project, Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) and Whirlpool CEO Jeff Fettig, live just down the street from the planned cour


The golf project is dependent on public financing and therefore requires the approval of local government. It is not certain the project will receive that approval. In the time since the proposal was originally submitted through the city of Benton Harbor, the city commission itself has changed, in large part due to concerns over Harbor Shores. Three new commissioners have replaced some who supported Harbor Shores in the last go-round, and recall efforts have emerged against three others. The project must get five of the nine commission votes to advance to the required state and federal review. There is also a new city manager since the project last passed through city government.

The changing attitudes of city government can be seen in a special strategy and goals workshop held by the city last month.

Staff, city commissioners and citizens emerged from facilitated workshop discussions with a statement that read:

"We will reevaluate the Harbor Shores agreement concerning community benefits."

Commissioner Juanita Henry, who is the chair of the Public Safety, Public Works, Parks and Recreation committee, said, "I took that to mean we are going to reevaluate the whole project … not just the community benefits package."

Henry said the workshop pulled the city together. She called it a "great process.

"We got to tell the truth to each other, set a timeline and be transparent."

Beyond just reevaluating Harbor Shores, Henry said, that group determined that the city needs to develop a master plan.

"We have put the [development] cart before the horse," she said.

"We are trying to slow it down and put everything we would like to see for the next five, 10, 20 years in a plan and work the plan. In the past, we have just been going helter-skelter as Cornerstone [the local economic development agency and a partner in the Harbor Shores project] has come and insisted that we rubber-stamp things. That will stop because we will have a plan."

Mayor Wilce Cooke told Michigan Messenger that he needs to see more data to show the economic viability of Harbor Shores before he can consider approving the plan.

Cooke said that he feels he must leave no stone unturned in researching this project because Benton Harbor residents are struggling with severe economic problems and past developers have taken tax breaks and left the community, never fulfilling their obligations. In some cases, the cash-strapped city has not been able to hold them responsible.

If the city approves the plan to lease the public park to Harbor Shores, the proposal will go to the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for review, and if approved, it will be sent on to the NPS for reconsideration.

Opponents of the plan have pointed out that in the last application to the NPS, the state failed to correct the claim that the conversion will not disproportionately affect the city's low-income and minority communities. They say that the park conversion will mean less recreational space for local residents.

DNR spokeswoman Mary Detloff said that back in 2006 the agency determined there would be not disporportionate affect on these communities (Benton Harbor is more than 90 percent African-American) because developers planned to build a new access road to the Lake Michigan beachfront, which would make it easier for area residents to access the water.

In appeals to the DNR, area citizens have asked that this be re-examined. A Clinton-era executive order requires stricter environmental review of projects that have a disproportionate effect on low-income and minority communities.

"This isn't really a project that aims to seriously take a bite out of the malaise in southwest Michigan," said attorney Terry Lodge who has been consulting with Harbor Shores opponents.

"Developers have taken a predatory approach to this small impoverished town," Lodge said.

If the state passes the proposal through to the NPS without carefully examining it, he said, it may have trouble defending its actions when challenged in court.

Wendy Dant Chesser, spokeswoman for Harbor Shores, said that even if the golf course is not built, the expansive project will have benefited Benton Harbor by clearing tons of debris from other parcels slated for development.

So far, Whirlpool wins (big)

BENTON HARBOR 6/10/08
Commission approves new Harbor Shores deal

Marsh says revisions in Jean Klock Park agreement give city more control over the development


By KEVIN ALLEN

H-Palladium
BENTONHARBOR—The Benton Harbor City Commis­sion voted Monday to approve an agreement with Harbor Shores for the use of Jean Klock Park.
The agreement will be sent to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which will review it and decide whether to forward it to the National Park Service. The NPS will make the final deci­sion about whether 22 acres of the 73-acre lakefront park may be used for three holes of a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course.
This is the second time the city has approved an agree­ment with Harbor Shores for the conversion and mitigation of Jean Klock Park.
The prior agreement was re­jected by the NPS last year, in part because the city did not hold a sufficient public-com­ment period and the parcels proposed to mitigate for the loss of the Jean Klock Park acreage were deemed an un­fair trade.
City Manager Richard Marsh said the new agreement is good for Benton Harbor and the revisions give the city more control over the devel­opment.
Sixteen changes were made to the original agreement. Among the major changes are that Benton Harbor now has the power to terminate Harbor Shores’ lease if the developers breach the agreement, and Harbor Shores will be obli­gated to return the parkland to its original condition if the golf course ceases operation.
Another major change is the city will appoint the only three voting members on the five­member Golf Course Over­sight Panel, which will audit the course’s finances and have oversight over its operation.
“Many times when I’m ne­gotiating on behalf of a city with a developer, I’m fighting tooth and nail,” said Don Schmidt, special counsel for Benton Harbor. “Harbor Shores was very accommodat­ing.”
Juanita Henry was the only city commissioner that voted against the agreement. She said the public needs time to review the report, which was finalized Friday.
She said the city manager had said in several meetings that citizens would get an­swers to their comments.
“So far, it hasn’t happened,” Henry said. “I can say for a fact some of my questions haven’t been answered and I’m a commissioner.”
Citizens sent hundreds of letters to the city during a 45­day public comment period. Those comments were boiled down into 104 core questions about the development and re­sponded to in the report re­leased Friday, Schmidt said.
Marsh said the city has gone above and beyond what the DNR requires for public in­put. He said citizens were given 45 days to ask questions about the park conversion and mitigation and the city does not need to give them more time to “comment on the com­ments.”
“We’ve delayed it and we’ve slowed it down because we wanted to give citizens more time to comment,” he said.
“At this point, I don’t think any more delays are appropri­ate,” Commissioner Eddie Marshall said.
He thanked Friends of Jean Klock Park for the organiza­tion’s involvement in making the agreement better.
A handful of citizens stood up to tell the commission they were disappointed in the deci­sion, especially that they vot­ed on the agreement before the public had a fair chance to review it.
“Until I know you’re going to listen to the citizens in this town, I’m not going to have any confidence in any one of you,” Benton Harbor resident James Duncan said.
City resident Nicole Moon said the mitigation parcels of­fered in exchange for the Jean Klock Park land are not a fair trade for the city.
She asked the commission if the park land could be sold if Harbor Shores moves off the land. If that land is miti­gated with new parcels in other parts of the city, she asked, is there any guarantee the 22 acres would remain a public park?
The commission did not an­swer her question.
“They say it will revert back to the city, but they didn’t say it will revert back to Jean Klock Park,” Moon said after the meeting.
The agreement on the con­version and mitigation pro­posal for Jean Klock Park is available for the public to view at City Manager Richard Marsh’s office, at 200 E. Wall St. Additional copies will be made available at the city clerk’s office and the police department, Marsh said.
Contact Kevin Allen at .






Photos by Don Campbell / H-P staff
Benton Harbor City Commissioner Juanita Henry said some of her questions about the agreement to let Harbor Shores use part of Jean Klock Park for three holes of a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course still haven’t been answered. She was the only commissioner to vote against the agreement. City Manager Richard Marsh said the city has gone above what the state requires for public input on the question. “We’ve delayed it and we’ve slowed it down because we wanted to give the citizens more time to comment,” he said.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

They Shoot Black Men, Don't They?:

Sean Bell and the Internal (and Eternal) "Logic" of Racism, TimWise.org

[excerpt]...White boys don't get blown away at traffic stops, and they don't get shot in the back of the head like Arzuega was in Brooklyn over a decade ago, after which crime the cops didn't even report the incident for three days. They aren't felled in a hail of bullets reaching for their cell phone because police naturally and "reasonably" assume
that the object to which they will soon be clutching is a firearm.

And the benefit of the doubt--the presumption of innocence and the assumption that white lives count for something--is why white folks get to keep breathing, even when they do pose a threat to police, unlike Diallo, or Dorismond, or, in the instant case, Sean Bell.

So, for instance, how long do you think cops would wait before opening fire on a black man who was throwing bricks at them? If you're looking for an answer, you might want to ask Lorenzo Collins. Only you can't, because he's dead, his last moments spent encircled by fifteen of Cincinnati's finest, while holding a single solitary brick, and merely threatening to throw it their way. On the other hand, there have been literally dozens of riots by drunken, white college students since 1995--mostly because of such earth-shattering events as the outcome of a sporting event or crackdowns on underage drinking--during which white males (and pretty much only white males) have chucked bricks, bottles, chunks of concrete, frying pans, rocks, frozen beer cans, and entire beer kegs at police. And not once have the cops shot a live round at anyone....

My husband, the Rev. Edward Pinkney, is still sitting in the Berrien County Jail


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San Fransisco Bay View Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Image
Dorothy Pinkney points to where her husband, Rev. Edward Pinkney, is jailed as Maureen Taylor and Marian Kramer of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization look on during a demonstration outside the Berrien County Jail.
I want to personally thank the Bay View for the many articles you have published in reference to my husband, Rev. Edward Pinkney, who is truly a man of God and who has made the supreme sacrifice, not for himself, but for the people. We share the Bay View with many residents in Benton Harbor. Once again, we need your help to get the word out.

What makes my husband’s fight so courageous is the Goliath he faces. Whirlpool, the world’s largest producer of home appliances and the economic force here in Benton Harbor, is a pioneer in designing new ways to rip off the poor.

The takeover of Jean Klock Park and the city of Benton Harbor

Jean Klock Beach Park, located on the shore of Lake Michigan, was left to the residents of Benton Harbor, Michigan, which is 96 percent Black. Whirlpool is attempting to steal all the beautiful lakefront valuable land in the city for a whites-only $1 billion project called Harbor Shores.

This project does not include Blacks. My husband, being the man he is, chose to fight this manipulation at whatever cost or level he could.

There is no documented evidence of the KKK in St. Joseph, Michigan, where most of the judges and prosecutors live, but it is a fact that the KKK is there, right across the river from Benton Harbor, a city that is almost entirely populated by Black people. Looking at the perfect, sterile beauty of St. Joseph and the boarded-up broken promises of Benton Harbor, it’s hard not to wonder what force keeps them separated. If you consider some out of place actions by the government, such as overturning a legitimate recall election, firing a competent city clerk and jailing my husband, the Rev. Edward Pinkney, activist church leader, then things get even more strange.

Judge Alfred Butzbaugh, the racist and corrupt judge who sentenced my husband to a year in jail, stands to make a huge profit from the development of Harbor Shores. He and Judge Paul Maloney knew the only reason for the phony recall election trial and my husband’s criminal trial was to legitimize the illegal overturning of the election recalling Benton Harbor City Commissioner Glen Yarbrough.

The recall couldn’t be allowed to stand, since point man Glen Yarbrough would then be gone and the whole Harbor Shores deal would fall through: the Jack Nicholas signature golf course, the fabulous multi-million dollar resort, condominiums and control of the water treatment plant. All that is included in the sweetest land grab since Manhattan Island, the complete takeover of the City of Benton Harbor by Whirlpool.

Judge Butzbaugh is the president and major shareholder of a large real estate brokerage firm that owns land in a planned development. He has a partner in this business who is a member of the family that controls the largest business in town, Whirlpool, which is owned by the Upton family, led by U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, a right-wing Republican.

David E. Upton is vice president and Judge Butzbaugh is president and director of the Law and Title Realty LLC, which has numerous aliases, including Ship Street Realty, Counselors Ship Street Realty in St. Joseph and Benton Harbor, the All American Group LLC and four or five others.

When judges abuse their authority, we are all victims

Judges operate with greater power and independence than any other public official. When judges engage in improper conduct or abuse their authority, citizens suffer. The offending judge or corrupt judge does not.

My husband, the Rev. Edward Pinkney, was charged with four felonies and a misdemeanor after a witness was pressured to say he’d been paid $5 for his vote. Rev. Pinkney was also charged with “attempting to influence absentee voters” and helping voters who couldn’t read to fill out their ballots.

He never received a fair trial. The trial was riddled with corruption, before a judge who is notorious for his pro-prosecution leaning. The all-white jury was motivated by something other than the truth. Rev. Pinkney is a victim of a frame-up by Berrien County Court and Sheriff Department, which has a national reputation for police brutality and racism.

On March 21, 2008, as my husband, the Rev. Edward Pinkney, sat in jail for a crime that was never committed, there was a shakedown of his cell by 10 to 20 sheriff deputies when only one deputy was needed. The sheriff of the county was there. He took legal documents, papers, briefs and notes prepared by my attorney and papers about the horrible conditions of the jail and my husband’s treatment.

The sheriff violated Rev. Pinkney’s constitutional right to the First Amendment. Consequently, no matter what writing the sheriff finds in my husband’s papers and so long as they do nothing more than express his opinion about corrupt police and judges and conditions of the jail, even in terms most offensive to the judges, they are protected expressions and cannot be subject to penalty or confiscation.

The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable seizures of persons or property. Although constitutional rights are diminished during incarceration, they are not completely abrogated. Under the First and Fourth Amendments, the sheriff has a right to look through my husband’s papers for contraband but not to read them for content. To seize some of them because of the beliefs they express, on the grounds they contain improper content, was a violation of the Fourth as well as the First Amendment.

The sheriff copied the notes and delivered them to Judge Wiley, who gave them to the corrupt Judge Butzbaugh. My husband, Rev. Pinkney, had made notes on his thoughts before, during and after his hearing. These communications are privileged and either reading them or seizing them violates the Sixth Amendment attorney-client privilege and right to counsel. Under no circumstances should those papers be submitted to the court without my husband’s permission for any reason.

I believe the decision to attack and harass my husband, the Rev. Edward Pinkney, came from Judge Alfred Butzbaugh to attempt to intimidate and harass him. My husband is a true warrior, a knight in every sense of the word. He is my friend and personal hero. He calls me the force on his side. I am completely, unabashedly proud of that.

These days I feel like I am never doing enough, because my husband, the Rev. Edward Pinkney, has been sitting in the Berrien County Jail since December. My husband and I want people to know: YOU BETTER KEEP YOUR MIND ON YOUR FREEDOM AND FREEDOM ON YOUR MIND. You can write to my husband: Rev. Edward Pinkney, 919 Post St., St. Joseph, MI 49085.


Berrien County Jail

A supporter of Rev. Pinkney writes: “Mrs. Pinkney took three white t-shirts and six bars of soap to the jail for her husband. He was given one of each.”

Recently, at 3 a.m., Deputy Thompson “awoke Rev. Pinkney for the second time. He asked why the soap was placed in a certain position.” He had awakened the reverend an hour earlier to write him up for an empty potato chip bag set out for trash pickup. “Dep. T. keeps trying and failing to get Rev. P. into a fight.

“Deputies are now using the N word in the jail. It seems that Sheriff Bailey has authorized this word usage. Inmates live with continual personal humiliation, intimidation, no tissue, cold and tasteless food, sour and lumpy milk, bugs crawling on the wall, dirty uniforms, no soap, and soiled sheets and towels.”

The People’s Tribune writes: “In a waiting room for prisoners’ families and friends at the Berrien County Jail in St. Joseph, Michigan, visitors discuss the condition of the jail – the MRSA virus and the filth. Most disgusting, families say little black worms come out of the prisoners’ shower-head, the shower drain and around the toilet. They say it’s like sewage that was never cleansed.

“Everything inside the overcrowded jail is dirty, with poor air ventilation and inmates sleeping on the gym floor, meaning there is no daily exercise for the prisoners. GED degrees and even doctor visits are too costly for the poor who make up the jail population.”

How you can help

Boycott Whirlpool and all its brands: Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Gladiator, GarageWorks, Inglis, Estate, Roper, Magic Chef, Acros and Supermatic in the U.S. and Bauknecht, Brastemp, Consul and Eslabon de Lujo abroad. Let Whirlpool know that’s what you’re doing: Whirlpool Corp., 2000 N. M-63, Benton Harbor, MI 49022-2692, (269) 923-5000.

Make a donation for Rev. Pinkney’s Legal Defense Fund at http://bhbanco.blogspot.com or send a check payable to BANCO, 1940 Union St., Benton Harbor MI 49022. Donations are tax deductible.

Call Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey and inquire about Rev. Pinkney’s well-being at (269) 983-7141 or email him at Pbailey@berriencounty.org.This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Demand that the governor pardon Rev. Pinkney or commute his sentence: Gov. Jennifer Granholm, P. O. Box 30013, Lansing MI 48909, (517) 335-7858.

Demand an immediate investigation into this injustice: Congressional Black Caucus, 2264 Rayburn House Office Bldg, Washington DC 20515, (202) 226-9776.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Klock Park belongs to the children

Excerpts from a June 6 letter to the editor:

Editor,

...according to Harbor Shores’ maps, the proposed 22.11 acres for conversion purposes consists of most of the available park, hardly a small portion.

Mr. and Mrs. Klock gave the park to all the children, using his own treasure. These children will be deprived of the park that was given to them. For what? In Harbor Shores’ proposal, 75 percent of the 40 acres of the proposed mitigated parcels are wetlands and floodplains. Pristine sand dunes and other parkland areas are being considered as an exchange for contaminated wetlands and floodplains. Some trade, eh?...

The City Council’s 1917 resolution accepting the gift of Jean Klock Park states in part: “Resolved further, that in behalf of the people, especially the children of Benton Harbor and vicinity, that this council extend to Mr. and Mrs. Klock their appreciation of this valuable gift, together with the assurance that this council will cooperate to make this park the blessing to the community to which the givers intend it should be.
“Resolved, also, that since Mr. and Mrs. Klock have given this largely for the benefit of childhood and as a memorial to their deceased infant child, Jean Klock, that this land shall be named and
shall forever be known as ‘Jean Klock Park.’”

It is not named “Jean Klock Beach” or “Harbor Shores Golf and Beach Club” as indicated on one of the many maps, or “Harbor Shores Resort Beach and Signature Golf Resort Community in Harbor Shores, Michigan,” as advertised in
Golf Now Chicago.

Clellen Bury Benton Harbor

The Ever Thickening Plot in Berrien County

by Pat Foster wmnc.biz

How does a government agency like HUD (Dept. of Housing and Urban Development) help the citizens of our country? First, they designate a blighted area like Benton Harbor where the people are having trouble making it on an average of $9,000/year, and their congressman, Fred Upton gets a law passed to help these people. The whole process is completely above board, because after HUD writes the check to the City of Benton Harbor, all expenditures from this specified money must be open to public inspection.
Benton Harbor is completely controlled by the Whirlpool Corporation by using Diebold voting machines that can be hacked. Whirlpool's people largely control the City of Benton Harbor. Now the check arrives at the city, but Whirlpool doesn’t want them to control the spending of HUD money, because they just might spend it on housing for the poor residents. That of course is not what Fred Upton of the Whirlpool family who founded the corporation wants for this money.
They created a nonprofit called Cornerstone Alliance to handle just this function. Well that may be OK because after all, the HUD rules say that all expenditures from this HUD money must be open to public inspection.
A Berrien County resident who uncovered the major conflict of interest in their judiciary system went to Cornerstone Alliance and asked to see the actual records of what this money was spent on. You would expect that Cornerstone Alliance would just say “yes” and make an appointment for him to come in and look at those records. That is not what happened. They refused to allow him to see the records, and hired a very expensive attorney from a major law firm that specializes in “crisis management” to keep him from seeing them.

It appears that the new casino in New Buffalo (Berrien County) wants to add a signature golf course to their business. This presents a problem for Rep. Fred Upton, because he is trying to make the case that his new “signature golf course” being built on the public park stolen from the residents of Benton Harbor will be the key to bringing prosperity to Berrien County. The existence of two signature golf courses in one county, one with a casino and hotel with water park will make his deal for Jean Klock Park look exactly like it is: a theft from the poor people of Benton Harbor to create a nice golf course for the executives of Whirlpool. This of course looks very bad for Fred who is running for congress again in November.
The people in the township in New Buffalo did not want a golf course, so they signed a petition to stop it. The township rejected the petition because some signatures do not agree. According to the law, signatures are not supposed to be checked on a petition, only the voters registration. Attorneys have filed a Writ of Mandamus to require the township to accept the petitions.
OK, that is just following the law and what is wrong with that? Nothing, except the people of Benton Harbor have signed a Recall Petition to remove one of Whirlpool’s city council members, and guess what? You guessed it. It was thrown out by the county clerk because she said signatures did not match.
I wanted to help, so I came up with the idea of going to each Benton Harbor person who had their signature voided by the clerk, and I took evidence of their identity, asked them to view their signature on the petition, and if it was valid, I had them sign an Affidavit of Identity to confirm their signature and then I notarized it. Not one person who I questioned said it was not their signature. Everybody agreed except the county clerk, who is forcing the petitioner to file exactly the same Writ of Mandamus that was filed in New Buffalo to take the heat off of Fred Upton in his November bid for Congress.
(Evidence of corruption: The county clerk threw out signatures on a recall petition initiated by Rev. Pinkney and the signatures did match. Same thing happened just recently with a Recall Petition of another Whirlpool BH city councilor - in fact, the county clerk refuses to even look at the petitions or Affidavits of Identity. But, when Whirlpool decided to stop a competing golf course, a lawsuit mysteriously appeared forcing citizen signatures IN ANOTHER TOWN to be counted - even though they don't match.)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Why Reverend Edward Pinkney is so Important to Black America

Keeping it Real by Larry Pinkney (no relation)
June 5, 2008, BlackCommentator.com

It has been said that nothing worth having comes easy. The ongoing struggle of Black Americans in this nation for real vs. fake democracy and justice attests to this fact. Indeed, the struggle for economic, judicial, political, and social justice and justice has intensified in the 21st Century. The year of 2008, is a year of hypocrisies and increasing injustices for oppressed Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, and White peoples in the United States of America.

Nevertheless, we still have our unabashed warriors. One such warrior is the Reverend Edward Pinkney (no relation) of Benton Harbor, Michigan. The words of the courageous former Congresswoman and current U.S. Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney in her June 2, 2008, communiqué are exactly correct. She wrote regarding Reverend Pinkney: “I’ve met some wonderful folks along this journey…rallied with Reverend Pinkney of Benton Harbor who is in jail because he fights to protect that city from the greedy clutches of gentrifiers bent on stealing the people’s land.” Indeed.

On December 14, 2007, Reverend Pinkney was wrongfully jailed for having dared to exercise his human right to free speech when he explicitly, boldly, and correctly referred to Judge Alfred Butzbaugh as a “racist and corrupt Judge.” Reverend Pinkney had already been falsely prosecuted in retaliation for having dared to have led a successful effort to unseat one of the City of Benton Harbor’s influential power brokers who supported the selling out of the economic and land rights of the majority Black residents of Benton Harbor, Michigan. Yet, this was not enough for the racist white power structure and their negrodian surrogates. No. Pinkney had to be discredited and silenced! Reverend Pinkney had “led the fight against official corruption and corporate greed in his impoverished and predominantly Black community of Benton Harbor, Michigan.” This was, and continues to be, all about “the giveaway of Benton Harbor’s prime waterfront property to Whirlpool Corporation.” The majority of Black and other poor people in Benton Harbor, be damned, or so the story goes and has gone thus far.

The nefarious business dealings of Judge Alfred Butzbaugh have been repeatedly exposed by the BANCO blog and West Michigan News Company (wmnc.biz) from Michigan. Moreover, the conflict of interests, coupled with white racism, equals the U.S. in the 21st Century, notwithstanding the (so-called people-of-color) collaborators with the U.S. Empire in this nation.

This is absolutely unacceptable.

Why does Reverend Pinkney matter? Why does any of this matter? It matters because it demonstrates the wanton disregard of this nation for human rights and justice. It matters because even as a certain negrodian surrogate seeks to head the U.S. Empire, the vast majority of Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, and White peoples of conscience and consciousness are having to struggle against sustained efforts to utterly eliminate them / us. It matters because we are about the building of a NEW PERSON. It matters because Reverend Pinkney’s struggle is our struggle. [Reference: Reverend Pinkney Arrested For Exercising Free Speech, BlackCommentator.com, Issue #258.]

Every single day that Reverend Edward Pinkney languishes in jail is a scourge upon each and every one of us. Where is U.S. Congressman John Conyers of the State of Michigan? Reverend is after all in Michigan. Oh yes, and where is Senator “Respect the Judge” (re the Sean Bell case) Barack Obama? Finally, where is the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus? The answer is that these people and entities are nowhere. They are playing opportunistic and crass political games with the lives of the majority of our peoples, and most importantly with the lives of our freedom fighters.

Time to tell the collaborators to stop pimping the people.

Virtually every form of physical and/or emotional harassment is and continues to be utilized by the state and jail authorities against Reverend Pinkney in an effort to break his spirit. Yet, this is not merely the spirit of Reverend Pinkney that is being sought to be broken. It is the spirit of all justice and freedom loving peoples. We will not allow this to take place. Reverend Pinkney is one of our true freedom fighters.

We must not and cannot turn a blind eye to the struggle of Reverend Edward Pinkney; for, like Assata Shakur, Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abul-Jamal, and so very many others; this brother represents our very essence in opposition to the mental and physical chains of the corporate / military / and prison of this nation.

As we organize for a better and more humane world outside of the decadent and politically bankrupt Democratic and Republican Parties [i.e. the Republicrats], let us remember our brothers and sisters. Let us remember Reverend Edward Pinkney, for he represents a part of our heart and soul in this struggle.

Onward…“Forward Ever. Backwards Never!”

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Whirlpool Controls City Commission

BENTON HARBOR
Commission votes to let Harbor Shores use BH rights of way

Developers commit to raising $1 million to improve Hall Park
By KEVIN ALLEN

Herald Palladium, Whirlpool Company paper
BENTON HARBOR —The Benton Harbor City Commis­sion voted Monday to allow Harbor Shores to use the city’s rights of way to bury irrigation pipes and build paths for the development’s Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course.
Six commissioners voted in favor of the agreement, while Mayor Wilce Cooke and Com­missioner Juanita Henry voted against it. Commissioner By­ran Joseph was not at the meet­ing.
Cooke wanted to delay the decision until next week’s commission meeting to scruti­nize the agreement’s wording.
City Manager Richard Marsh said the document has been before the commission for more than a month and had been discussed at two prior meetings. If commissioners had any additional questions, Marsh said they should have asked him before Monday.
“I think it’s counterproduc­tive to discuss these issues here on the floor,” Marsh said.
Marsh recommended that the commission approve the agreement. The commission’s Planning and Economic De­velopment Committee also recommended approval.
“We’re not giving up any­thing,” Marsh said. “They’re using our right of way and that’s it.”
Commissioners Ralph Cren­shaw and Ricky Hill voiced support for Marsh and the agreement with Harbor Shores.
“If people had a problem with it, you had (the document) and could have raised those concerns before tonight,” Hill
See HARBOR SHORES, page A6 (website doesn't allow)

Jean Klock Park was given to the children & residents of Benton Harbor. Period.

Jean Klock Park belongs to BH residents

Herald Palladium ,June 4, Letter to Editor

Editor,

Enough already. Even if you have lived in St. Joseph, Berrien Springs, Hagar Shore, Coloma, Hartford, Bridgman, Watervliet or even Benton Township or any other areas surrounding Benton Harbor for your entire life, Jean Klock Park was not given to you by the Klock family. It was given to the children and residents of Benton Harbor. Period.

I am in agreement with Scott Elliott when he pointed on WBBH 105.3 FM on May 15 the hypocrisy of St. Joseph residents who denounce Benton Harbor residents for their desire to keep their Jean Klock Park intact but were in an uproar when a few trees were cut down at Tiscornia. What a double standard. How dare they praise the destruction of Jean Klock Park dunes for three golf holes but become incensed when a few trees were cut down at their Tiscornia Park.

Although my family members were no “visionaries” who left for future generations and taxpayers large amounts of polluted lands, they have been land owners in the area since the 1800s and lived in the city of Benton Harbor since 1930, paying taxes, which have contributed to the upkeep of Jean Klock Park. No lifelong resident of any surrounding area has contributed as much.

The long and short of it is: Jean Klock Park belongs only to the children and residents of Benton Harbor. Unless your tax dollars go to the city of Benton Harbor, you have no horse in the J.K.P. race.

Shirley Stinson Benton Harbor

Monday, June 02, 2008

Harbor Shores disaster makes NPR

Lake Michigan Golf Course Plan Stirs Controversy
To Listen - 4 minutes:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91041039

Information and videos on vote rigging and other election problems

This info is provided for those who aren't aware of the serious election issues which exist - also for those who are and would like to know more. This is a sampling of the immense amount of
info out there. Amazon.com and YouTube are overflowing with books/videos on the topic.

50 States Sued to Block Computerized Vote Counting
http://wmnc.biz/LawsuitPressRelease.htm

Recount
http://www.hbo.com/films/recount/

Stealing America: Vote by Vote
amazon.com

Ohio election workers convicted for rigging http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070313/NEWS24/70313029





4 minute video on police harassment, media, Rev. Pinkney, etc.

http://wmnc.biz/PhilBassett.htm (scroll down to video)