Saturday, April 05, 2008

Speech is Stifled at City Commission Meeting

Get ready for an imagination stretch (this actually happened last week):

The National Park Service rejected Cornerstone Alliance's lease agreement for Benton Harbor's pristine Jean Klock Park for the Harbor Shores development. (Cornerstone is one of several developers, the major developer being Whirlpool in Berrien County, Michigan.)

At the Benton Harbor City Commission meeting last week (3/25/07) Cornerstone fired back at the federal government by announcing a different lease agreement, changing some of the language that was previously unacceptable to the National Park Service. (Rep. Fred Upton has been aggressively pulling strings in Washington to force the Park Service to reverse their decision.) Technically, the city of BH is resubmitting the document, but Cornerstone is in charge of and paying for the attorneys writing it.

During the Commission meeting a former Commissioner, Hurley Wallace, took his turn at the podium during the "Open Meeting" segment. He began reading the 1917 document which deeds Jean Klock Park to Benton Harbor residents for eternity. After he got through maybe two sentences, a current commissioner ordered him to stop, and he was escorted out by police chief Mingo; Cornerstone "officials" were in attendance to make their presentation.