Thursday, August 29, 2013

Meet Danny Glover in Benton Harbor

Justice Fund Dinner
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Benton Harbor, Michigan
Sponsored by Black Autonomy Network Community Org. (BANCO)

Special guest speaker will be actor and political activist Danny Glover, the famed "Lethal Weapon" and "Color Purple" star who is also a UNICEF goodwill ambassador.


Admission $50 - BANCO, 1940 Union St., Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Dinner 7pm, doors open 6pm
Lake Michigan College, 2755 E. Napier Ave., Benton Harbor
Info: Rev. Edward Pinkney,

The dinner is a fundraising event to enable BANCO to continue helping people in Benton Harbor and across the country. 

Director Rev. Edward Pinkney and BANCO members:

  • Led the 2012 “Occupy the PGA” protest against Benton Harbor’s loss of self-autonomy under an appointed emergency financial manager who set aside all duly-elected city council members and began selling public lands
  • Lead a quest to stop gentrification - the attempt to drive out African Americans
  • Helps clear innocent people from serious criminal charges and oppose courthouse corruption that unfairly targets African Americans and indigent Anglos for imprisonment
  • Promotes mutual respect, personal and public accountability by individuals in the community, government, and organizations   

Danny Glover

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A New Model of Black Leadership Needed

Press Release  

On Saturday August 24, 2013 scores of African-Americans and others are expected to attend the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. 

Fifty years ago on this date, nearly 300,000 people on the National Mall heard the legendary oration given by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:  I Have A Dream.

Millions were inspired and it was the high point in the struggle for Civil Rights. However, other voices, in particular that of Malcolm X, saw another America that remained a nightmare. He derided the march on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
It is the intent of Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, and the NAACP to make it clear that this is just another nostalgia visit, not a commemoration. That his is a continuation and not a call for action.
The NAACP, Al Sharpton, and Jessie Jackson have refused to do anything constructive about the violence within many African-American communities. The Black Community should take on the NAACP, Rev. Jessie Jackson, and Rev.Al Sharpton all worthless to African-Americans during the last decades.  These
organizations and leaders refuse to go into our communities, roll their sleeves up, and help. 
The NAACP, Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton galvanize us to march on Washington and then disappear afterwards.
Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO) will protest during the 50th Anniversary of the I Have A Dream speech in Washington. 
We need  a new model of Black leadership that's not based on non-economic liberalism. That was the trick played on us 50 years ago. We need a model of  
Black Leadership that's based on fighting, for the interests of the poor of all color, and against the interests of the wealthy no matter what their color, I would like to see the people move forward gearing our actions, toward the uplifting of blacks and all the poor.  I would like to see the people move forward, gearing our actions toward the uplifting of Black people.        
We will continue to protest!
Rev Edward Pinkney

Thursday, August 08, 2013

New Products Corporation Announces Offer for 2014 Senior PGA Championship

Aug. 8, 2013

(Marketwired via COMTEX) -- New Products Corporation (NPC) has announced that it is offering to lease its property, which is part of the 18th hole on the Harbor Shores Golf Course, for one dollar during the Senior PGA Championship to be held May 20 - 25, 2014.
NPC's manufacturing operations are located at 448 North Shore Drive, surrounded by the Harbor Shores development in Benton Harbor.

"We want to demonstrate our support for the Senior PGA and its efforts to create an enjoyable tournament for players, guests and the community," said Cheryl Miller, NPC's president and CEO. "We're an industrial facility located just across the street, and even though we'll be running a three-shift operation during part of the week, this is an important opportunity for our community to shine."

According to Miller, the NPC property offered for lease is part of the 18th fairway and is pending litigation.

About New Products Corporation New Products Corporation (NPC) was founded in 1922 in Benton Harbor, Mich., by Walter Miller, an electrical engineer and prolific inventor. For more than 91 years, NPC has become a global supplier of custom, precision die cast aluminum and zinc parts for thousands of applications in a variety of industries, including automotive, military, industrial machinery, medical instruments, household appliances, transportation equipment, furniture and fixtures, and more. Today, NPC is a TS 16949 certified, woman-owned small business, recognized for its "world class" quality. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
        Margaret Blohm, APR
        Margaux & Associates, LLC
        313-406-3467 phone
        Email Contact

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Income Tax passed 6-3

Commission votes 6-2 to put income tax on November ballot

'Let the people decide'

Tuesday, August 6, 2013 
BENTON HARBOR - Applause exploded in the standing-room-only audience after the Benton Harbor City Commission approved the city income tax ordinance 6-2 with one abstention.
City voters will decide whether to impose the tax.
"Enough is enough. It's simple. Let the people decide," said Commissioner Trenton Bowens, who spearheaded the idea, before the vote on the ordinance.
The wording that will go on the Nov. 5 ballot was approved 6-3. The ballot will ask voters if they approve of imposing a 1 percent tax on corporations and residents and a 0.5 percent tax on nonresidents who work in the city.
Voting for both items were Commissioners Bowens, Juanita Henry, Marcus Muhammad, David Shaw and Dennis Knowles. Voting against both items were Mayor James Hightower and Commissioner Duane Seats. Commissioner Sharon Henderson abstained from the first vote and voted "no" on the second measure.
Ten citizens also spoke about the city income tax idea before the vote, nine in favor and one opposed.
"It's an excellent opportunity for the citizens of Benton Harbor to get control of some funds so they can move the city forward," said Ralph Crenshaw, a former city commissioner.
"It potentially gives new life to Benton Harbor," said another resident.
"There's nothing more profound than an idea whose time has come," said former Mayor Wilce Cooke. "... Put it on the ballot. Let the citizens vote it up or down."
Resident George Moon said Benton Harbor is flooded by people who come into the city every morning to earn their living.
"None of them are staying in Benton Harbor. The money is going out with them," he said. "Why shouldn't we get a piece of that money?"
Former City Commissioner Eddie Marshall said that according to the city's master plan, 90 percent of the people who work in Benton Harbor don't live in Benton Harbor.
"Benton Harbor's problem can't be fixed with cutting alone," he said. "I asked (former Emergency Manager Joseph) Harris a couple of years ago what he was doing to generate income, and I'm still waiting for that answer."
One resident who spoke against the city income tax said most residents are on a skeleton income.
"If you have no more meat to give, you take bone. And when you take a bone, then I'm crippled," he said.
Seats said he is opposed to the city income tax because most of Benton Harbor's residents are poor.
"I don't have a problem paying it, but I do have a problem taxing poor people," he said.
Hightower said he is opposed to the city income tax because the residents just approved a millage rate hike in May, giving Benton Harbor the highest tax rate in Berrien County.
"I'm not going for it at this particular time," he said. "It's too much for citizens to bear ... 22 cities have a city income tax, but none of them are as poor as Benton Harbor."
If the city income tax is approved in November, the city will start collecting it on Jan. 1.
Bowens has said an impact study on the income tax will be ready later this month.
Muhammad has estimated that a city income tax would produce $2.5 million a year for Benton Harbor.
Twitter: @HPWrege

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Benton Harbor Income Tax!

Most important news to emerge from Benton Harbor in decades.  It looks like the city commission may actually pass this on Monday night.  However, Whirlpool strikes fast and hard, so nothing's certain until the vote is taken.  The mayor and 3 commissioners are  "Whirlpool people."  None of them were present at the public meeting.

Benton Harbor income tax proposal moves forward
Muhammad:  If tax passes, advisory board will help manage how money is spent

Thursday, August 1, 2013 
By Louise Wrege
BENTON HARBOR - If residents in November approve a city income tax, an advisory board of residents, nonresidents and business people will help manage the money, Commissioner Marcus Muhammad said.
His remarks came Wednesday evening during a meeting of the City Commission's Legislative Committee, which endorsed the income tax plan.
Muhammad, the committee's chairman, said a link on the city's website would be set up to show exactly where the revenue from the city income tax would go.
Committee members agreed to send the city income tax ordinance proposal and ballot language to the City Commission, which is expected to take up the matter Monday. All six city commissioners at Wednesday's committee meeting spoke in favor of the proposal.
For the proposal, the committee set the tax rate on corporations and residents at 1 percent and on nonresidents who work in the city at 0.5 percent.
"This (the city income tax) is a mechanism that allows everyone to do a little so no one has to do a lot," Muhammad said.
He said several businesses that receive tax breaks would have to pay the city income tax because there are no loopholes. Those businesses include Whirlpool, Atlantic Automotive and New Products.
He said the city income tax would also include money from the television revenue generated from the Senior PGA tournaments, which are scheduled to be at Harbor Shores in 2014, 2016 and 2018.
"This is not a 'go after business' legislation, because I also will be paying 1 percent as a resident of Benton Harbor," Muhammad said. "I have a wife. Six children at home. I have a lot on my plate.
"I work at Benton Harbor Area Schools, where I receive a skeleton salary. However, out of my love for Benton Harbor I'm willing to sacrifice more because my personal sacrifice falls into oblivion compared to the greater gain the city would capture," he said.
Mayor disagrees
But not all nine of the city commissioners agree that a city income tax is a good idea. Mayor James Hightower was not at Wednesday's committee meeting, but he posted on his Facebook page Tuesday he did not support a city income tax.
When contacted by phone after Wednesday's meeting, he said he doesn't like talking about a city income tax, because even talking about it puts the city in a bad light and may dissuade developers and investors from coming to Benton Harbor.
"I just don't want to see another barrier put in place to disincentivize more development in Benton Harbor, when you can go just on the other side of the bridge and can do business for less," he said.
Hightower said businesses have choices and, when given a choice, they may decide to locate in a community that has lower water rates and doesn't have a city income tax.
The commissioners who support the city income tax proposal said they want businesses to think of it as a partnership with the city.
Commissioner MaryAlice Adams said at the committee meeting she is willing to sacrifice for the greater good.
"My husband and I own several pieces of property in Benton Harbor," Adams said. "We pay our fair share of taxes and are fully knowledgeable of the sacrifice that we're going to have to make. It's no secret that Benton Harbor is sitting on a sewer system that is over 100 years old. If we don't start doing something, the streets of Benton Harbor, well, they're not too far from looking like Third World countries that are less fortunate than we are."
After the meeting, Muhammad estimated that a city income tax would generate $2.5 million annually for the city. A study outlining the impact a city income tax would have on the city is expected to be done sometime in August.
"Monday will probably be the most important, crucial vote that the city of Benton Harbor has ever made in decades," said Commissioner Trenton Bowens, co-chairman of the Legislative Committee. "I believe this is only the beginning. The best is yet to come."
Twitter: @HPWrege

Comment:  The Mayor is not showing the leadership needed for Benton Harbor when he does not show up a for a crucial committee meeting where he can publicly express his position on the city tax proposal. Instead, the Mayor has decided to write a letter on Facebook? This is not the leadership needed for Benton Harbor to move forward. 

But Committee Co-Chairs, Commissioners Marcus Muhammad and Trenton Bowens are providing the necessary leadership and vision that will contribute to not only the economic development of Benton Harbor, but move the city forward and allow BH to become financially viable!