Friday, June 06, 2008

The Ever Thickening Plot in Berrien County

by Pat Foster

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.)