Thursday, May 29, 2008

Voting machines are now rigged: will this election be fair?

Foe promises Upton ‘all the debates he can handle’

Don Cooney, a Kalamazoo city commissioner and former priest, hopes to unseat 21-year GOP congressman

By DAVID WARFIELD, Herald Palladium Staff Writer

BENTON HARBOR — Kalamazoo City Commissioner Don Cooney vowed Wednesday to give Fred Upton all the debates he can handle in a race for the U.S. House seat the St. Joseph Republican has held since 1987.

Cooney, a social work professor and former Catholic priest, formally announced his candidacy for the 6th District House seat in a meeting with Berrien County Democrats at the Benton Harbor Public Library.

“This campaign is about bread-and-butter issues, basic human issues,” said Cooney, who teaches at Western Michigan University. “... We have to end this war, we have to change this economy, provide universal health care and a decent environment to our children.”

Cooney spoke repeatedly about the need for “a living wage” to bring people out of poverty.

“We need to get back to what this country is about: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” he said. “... Martin Luther King said, without good jobs that give people living wages, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is an illusion.”

Cooney said he would end tax breaks to wealthy Americans as a way to reduce federal budget deficits and lower the national debt.

U.S. House hopeful Don Cooney talks to those gathered for his formal campaign launch Wednesday in Benton Harbor. The Kalamazoo city commissioner and Democrat wants to unseat St. Joseph Republican Fred Upton.

“Fred Upton has identified himself with (the Bush) administration time and time again.”

He said he would challenge Upton on his support of the Iraq war and what he called “an economic policy where 5 million people have fallen into poverty and 8 million more people are without health care than before.

“We hope to engage Fred Upton in a number of debates. As many as he can handle. We look forward to that.”

Cooney, 71, is in his sixth term as a Kalamazoo city commissioner. He has taught 31 years at Western, and has served as a priest in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Philadelphia.

He and his wife, Kathy, have one son, who is grown.

Michigan’s 6th Congressional District covers all of Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties, most of southern and eastern Allegan County and a part of western Calhoun County.

Cooney and Upton are unopposed in their Aug. 5 primaries. The general election is Nov. 4.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mail to Pinkney returned

Yesterday, May 27, Berrien County resident Lenette Evans found a returned letter in her mailbox bearing bold letters, "UNAUTHORIZED MAIL." It contained Herald Palladium newspaper articles and devotional booklets she sent to Rev. Pinkney. This is the third incident of mail to Pinkney being returned to her which had been opened by the jail. Lenette believes people in power do not want Pinkney to know what's going on in his community, wishes they would stop the harassment of Pinkney and his supporters, and since the jail is opening the mail she thinks they should include a note explaining what classifies it as "unauthorized."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Whirlpool/Upton Land

The Yarbrough family is in favor of the takeover of Benton Harbor, and have for many years been in a "special status" position with Whirlpool. The following is a short report just received from a Benton Harbor resident:

"Two weeks ago a friend of mine heard on his scanner (who he believed to be) a Benton Harbor police officer who had pulled over (who he believed was) Charles Yarbrough for drunk driving. When the officer called (who he believed was) Chief Al Mingo and asked him what to do, Mingo said, "Let him go". The officer said to Mingo, "But he is very drunk and unable to drive." Mingo got angry, yelled at the officer, and said to let him go. Now, had this been any of us regular citizens, we would have been thrown in jail! But here in Berrien County the authorities play favorites. This is so wrong and so messed up. There is NO JUSTICE in Berrien County!"

(Charles Y. is ex-mayor of BH and brother of Glenn Y., former city commissioner who Rev. Pinkney initiated the recall of. Judge Paul Maloney, who George Bush recently appointed to the W. Michigan federal bench, reversed that election. Charles' wife, Mamie, is on the board of county commissioners.)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Book Review - especially pertinent to Berrien County

Prison Profiteers: Who Makes Money From Mass Incarceration
By Tara Herivel and Paul Wright
Complete review at by David A. Love, JD


Incarceration is perhaps America’s leading method of social control. With 2.5 million in the nation’s jails and prisons - 7 million people when you include people on probation and parole - a quarter of the world’s prisoners; world’s largest prison population.

...fuelling the alarming growth rate of America’s prisons is the profit motive. Making money, rather than deterring crime or promoting rehabilitation, determines why and how many prisons are built...$186 billion taxpayer-funded industry.

Punishment for profit is a sordid, unethical and immoral enterprise, and no other nation places more prisoners in the custody of private corporations than America. Consequently, this system produces winners and losers:

Primary winners: politicians, prison corporations, Wall Street banks benefit from private prison funding schemes that lie outside of the public purview....Telephone companies benefit from an unregulated marketplace and charge exorbitant rates for prisoner calls...prohibitive for inmates to communicate with families...stifling the rehabilitation process.

Badly needed educational, rehabilitation and drug treatment programs are cut to realize cost savings...Correctional officers’ unions advocate for more draconian sentencing that will maintain their rightly argues, there is no relationship between crime and incarceration rates.

...some localities charge prisoners for their own incarceration, including room, board, healthcare, food, etc... Inmates, usually lacking resources, are further punished through court and administrative fees. Probation may be conditioned on the ability to pay restitution and fees, and failure to pay could result in a “go to jail card.” Thus, Neo-Dickensian debtors’ prisons are created.

...And Prison, Inc. is particularly cruel towards the young and the ill. Private youth facilities, staffed with...untrained and underpaid staff in order to maximize corporate profit and executive pay, are rife with child abuse. ...indifferent to human suffering, purposely deny medical care for the sake of the bottom line.

...required reading for students of the criminal justice system, civil liberties advocates, and those who desire an understanding of the underbelly of our nation’s prisons-for-profit system.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

More media picks up the Harbor Shores disaster story

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.

Chicago Reader
May 22, 08

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Destruction of the Earth in Berrien

Readers keep in mind that all of the organizations mentioned in the following article are "arms" of Whirlpool Corporation.

To a certain extent, this includes the Benton Harbor city commission.

Rep. Fred Upton is heir to the Whirlpool fortune.

Please consider boycotting Whirlpool and all of it's subsidiaries. This invasive, permanent attack on some of the most gorgeous land in Michigan is beyond disturbing. Please see the two photos. Primary motivation for this action against the earth is golf-playing for Rep. Fred Upton, Whirlpool execs., county judges and attorneys, etc etc and their cronies.

Remember Gov. Granholm's promise to Whirlpool before she was elected: vote for me and I'll get you that golf course. Both the Washington Post and now the Chicago Tribune have weighed in on Harbor Shores. The recent Tribune article tells us that the governor has offered an "incentive" package of 120 million to Harbor Shores.,0,4447538.story

While Benton Harbor starves and endures years of police harassment and severe legal system abuse. One of the richest corporations in the US is given 120 million by the governor.

Much to say about Harbor Shores
Public comment period ends with 300 written responses, a representative of the city manager says

Herald-Palladium Business Writer

Now that the public com­ment period for Harbor Shores is closed, the next step for the controversial development plan rests with Benton Har­bor. The six-week comment pe­riod ended Saturday. A repre­sentative of Benton Harbor City Manager Richard Marsh said some 300 written com­ments were received by the city. Marsh did not return calls asking for comment. The controversy surround­ing the Harbor Shores plan – and the need for the public comment period – centers on Jean Klock Park.

The proposal calls for leas­ing 22 acres of the 73-acre park for three holes of an 18 ­hole Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, the centerpiece of the $430 million project. Developers have proposed adding more than 40 acres to the park system throughout Benton Harbor as mitigation and will pay for maintenance at the park. The city must respond
to any substantial new facts that surface in citizens’
comments, said Wendy Dant Chesser, president and CEO of
Alliance. Cornerstone is one of three nonprofit orga­nizations organizing the Har­bor Shores development.
If the city commission
does not find anything that needs more investigation, it will send the matter to the Michi­gan
Department of Natural Resources, which will
submit its findings to the National Park Service for consider­ation.
Those opposing the park conversion have said a golf course is not an appropriate use of public land and that the
economic benefits of the
de­velopment will not benefit the city’s poor.
Harbor Shores supporters say the project will pay to re­vitalize the park and will drive an economic rebirth in the area,
with new jobs, homes and hotels
to go along with the golf course. The NPS can reject the plan and did so last year, in part because there was no official public comment period.

The Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, the linchpin of the Harbor Shores
development, is under construction. The road on the left is North Shore
Drive, and the Paw Paw River is at the top.

“From Harbor Shores’ per­spective, the ball is pretty much in the city of Benton Harbor’s court,” Chesser said. She
expects the City Com­mission to decide next week
whether to send the matter on to the DNR. The commission is
sched­uled to meet Tuesday instead
of Monday next week because of the Memorial Day holiday. Chesser said she
was not aware of any
regulated time frame during which the NPS needs to respond. But she noted that the agency is
familiar with the proj­ect. “I feel pretty good that they’ll be able to turn this around expeditiously,” she said.
Harbor Shores is a coopera­tive effort of three nonprofit organizations – Cornerstone Alliance, the Alliance for
World-Class Communities and the Whirlpool
Founda­tion – and the cities of St. Jo­seph and Benton Harbor, Benton
Township, Berrien County and the state.
The project is designed to encom­pass 530 acres in Benton Har­bor,
St. Joseph and Benton Township.
Contact Kevin Allen at

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Judge Butzbaugh Implicated

Court Hearing, March 17, Berrien County

On St. Patrick's Day, '08, Judge Butzbaugh heard the motion to remove the entire Berrien County Judiciary from the Rev. Pinkney case. This hearing was important for not only what was said, but what was not said, but known.

What was not said, but known is quite damaging to both the honorable judge and possibly many within the Judiciary system in Berrien County. The Reverend Pinkney was sentenced for his actions in a recall election that he initiated to save Jean Klock Park from developers. One of the major developers of the area is Ship Street Realty, which was merged with the professional corporation of Butzbaugh and Ryan on March 9, 2006 after the Pinkney conviction. Back in 2004, took the name Law & Title Realty, LLC taking the assumed name of Counselors-Ship Street Realty. The word "counselors" assumes that the ownership is by members of the legal profession. Why is the defense attorney worried about getting a fair hearing in Berrien County? That certainly may be one of the answers.

Benton Harbor Jean Klock Park Public Comments Meeting 4/17

Testimony hinged largely around the fact that the donor of this park, Mr. Klock, had made this gift to the City of Benton Harbor in memory of his daughter who had died at a very young age. It was in her memory that the park be used by the children of Benton Harbor, not to be turned into a golf course for the wealthy. If this happens in Benton Harbor, it will set a precedent that could affect every public park in our state. Do the wealthy and powerful have a right to steal from the citizens of this state? The voice of people needs to be heard, or one day every one of us will wake up some day and find our lives completely shattered by the powerful few.

For 3 revealing videos, one of Butzbaugh on the bench, go to

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Must Read if you care about democracy

Since we're on the topic of media, a seminal book on the topic is The New Media Monopoly
by Ben Bagdikian. The following description from applies to all areas in the US including Berrien County:

The New Media Monopoly describes the cartel of five giant media conglomerates who now control the media on which a majority of Americans say they most rely. These five are not just large — though they are all among the 325 largest corporations in the world — they are unique among all huge corporations: they are a major factor in changing the politics of the United States and they condition the social values of children and adults alike.

These five huge corporations — Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch's News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS) — own most of the newspapers, magazines, books, radio and TV stations, and movie studios of the United States.

These Big Five (with General Electric's NBC a close sixth) do not manufacture automobiles, or clothing, or nuts and bolts. They manufacture politics and social values. The media conglomerates have been a major force in creating conservative and far right politics in the country. They have almost single-handedly as a group, in their radio and television dominance, produced a coarse and vulgar culture that celebrates the most demeaning characteristics in the human psyche — greed, deceit, and cheating as a legitimate way to win (as in the various "reality" shows).

It is not just national economics that is at stake — though their power has led to the government's somnolence of anti-trust action. Nor is it just the neglect of broadcast media giantism by the government agencies that by law are still required to operate "in the public interest." The public interest is to have the country's largest broadcasting system in the world provide diversity in news, opinion, and commentary that serves all Americans, right, left, and independent, as well as access to their local stations as well as true choices in national programs.

What is at stake is American democracy itself. A country without all the significant news, points of view, and information its citizens need to be informed voters is risking the loss of democratic rights. Voters without genuine choices and without the information they need to choose what meets their own needs and wishes has produced something alarming: on Election Day our voters are forced to vote for what is the narrowest political choices among all industrial democracies of the world.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Another Benton Spirit Letter to Editor

Spreading Misinformation Makes Me Angry
To read entire letter, click on "Harbor Shores", then the Letter to Editor section

There’s not much else that makes me angry than the spreading of misinformation. Specifically, the recent letter to the editor where the author claimed that the “original” Friends of Jean Klock Park were a group of Higman Park residents trying to prevent the housing development at the north end of the beach and that the current group of people fighting to save the park were not part of the “original” group. For the record, there were 6 plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

One lives on Higman Park.

Other plaintiffs incorporated (Friends of Jean Klock Park) and are still trying to save the park. The ensuing Settlement Agreement that was reached not only prevented further development of Jean Klock Park, but also the sale of any part of the park. The City of Benton Harbor has blatantly ignored and violated this agreement by approving a 105-year lease of most of the park to Harbor Shores. A lease of this duration does constitute a sale and the City is breaking their word and the law.

Another huge piece of misinformation is the claim that Harbor Shores will bring new jobs to the area. Already one hotel and the water park have backed out of the deal. What sort of jobs does that leave? Seasonal, minimum wage at best. Another golf course is not the answer...

...All the City has to do is clean off the roads like they promised in 2004 and open it up to the public. They could have easily done that instead of spending money to send the entire city council to Las Vegas for a week. Instead of selling out to big business, the City should get another grant and restore the beach the way the public obviously wants to see it and also keep their word to open up the boulevard. That means the entire boulevard, not just the middle portion. Recent public opinion is for the restoration of Jean Klock Park, not the golf course.

I grew up in an era when Jean Klock Park was the absolute best beach in Southwest Michigan. If they (BH) give up control of this priceless piece of property, they will be making a huge mistake not to mention violating the Consent Judgment which states “The Court permanently enjoins the City from using any portion of the property depicted as Jean Klock Park in Exhibit C to this Consent Judgment for any purpose other than bathing beach, park purposes, or other public purposes related to bathing beach or park use…”

Letter to Editor of the Benton Spirit

The following is a section of a letter from 4/23/08 entitled What Constitutes Progress in Berrien County
To read entire letter, click "Harbor Shores", then the Letters to the Editor section.

...So, it is with great dismay that I have witnessed St. Joseph and Stevensville residents recently talking about why it is beneficial to all of them for the Harbor Shores development to take over 22.11 acres of Benton Harbor’s Jean Klock Park to be used for an unaffordable golf course in a county saturated with golf courses. And, I cannot understand why it is okay for the St. Joseph and Stevensville communities to have their beachfront parks in their entirety, but it is not the same right of the Benton Harbor residents to keep the gift of Jean Klock Park in its entirety as it was given. Why is it okay for them to sacrifice a portion of their park so those citizens in St. Joseph and Stevensville can continue to get rich off of the backs of the poor?

The excuse of the lack of the City of Benton Harbor’s financial ability to maintain Jean Klock Park was cited.

However, we cannot understand where the park revenues have been going. We know that the park rental fees, previous and future grants would definitely cover maintaining the park. So, was the declining appearance by design? Whose design? If they allowed the park to look rundown, would it be easier to sell the idea of relinquishing part of the park for more motives of greed? And, if they allowed the ridiculous under appraisal of the land, that would certainly justify the lease agreement for the promise of questionable benefit, right? As far as the current illegal driving on the beach and dunes at Jean Klock Park, if that cannot be successfully monitored and patrolled now, how will it be controlled once Harbor Shores is in charge? If those drivers suddenly stop their destruction, that raises other dubious motivations.

The Native American civilizations managed to live in North America for thousands of years valuing the land. Those cultures believed in using no more than they needed, cherishing all with which they resided and returning the environment as they encountered it so that it would continue to thrive as they had found it. For thousands of years, the land, water and air remained beautiful, clean and cherished.

Then the European explorers and settlers arrived. In a few hundred years their legacy, which continues today, has steadily worked to destroy the environment—all in the name of “progress”! Through greed, wasteful and exploitative hunting, excessive use and waste of natural resources while going for bigger and better machines, buildings, etc., we have managed to over-develop and pollute the land, water and air of our great continent and contributed to the over-development and pollution of the earth.....

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Township planning to build its own water system

Read between lines in this revealing article from the Whirlpool company paper.
This is the beginning of the article - good luck finding the rest on their site.

BENTON TWP. 5/7/08
Board’s resolution says reliability of Benton Harbor system is in doubt
By SCOTT AIKEN and JULIE SWIDWA Herald Palladium
BENTON TOWNSHIP — Concerns about the reliability and capacity of Benton Har­bor’s water system have prompted Benton Township officials to begin planning the construction of a new wa­ter plant and distribution sys­tem.
The township board took an initial step in the process Friday by approving a reso­lution asking Berrien County for an easement through Rocky Gap Park to build an intake pipe to draw water from Lake Michigan.
The county board is ex­pected to consider the request in the next week or two.
Benton Harbor supplies water to about 20,700 cus­tomers, according to a state report. They include 11,218 in the city, 6,700 in Benton Township, 2,700 in the Fair­plain section of St. Joseph Township, and 78 in Hagar Township.
In taking action to break from Benton Harbor and build a separate water sys­tem, the Benton Township Board said in its resolution that a recent state survey “raised serious concerns” about the city’s ability to reli­ably provide water. Greg Ali­menti, director of utility ser­vices, said the city has developed a plan to fix the problems and address needs far into the future.
The survey conducted by the Department of Environ­mental Quality listed numer­ous system deficiencies found by inspectors and said the water plant no longer has the capacity to meet peak summer use. The survey of the water system listed 30 ar­eas of deficiency, including nine violations of the Michi­gan Safe Drinking Water Act. It recommended 20 improve­ments.
The City Commission is seeking $14.5 million in loans to fix or replace equip­ment, including filters and water clarifiers, to install an emergency generator and correct other problems. Al­though the city’s water treat­ment plant is rated at 12 mil­lion gallons per day because four filters are out of service, the capacity is limited to 8 million gpd, the DEQ found.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Harbor Shores: The Rich Get Richer

Sam Thomas of Ann Arbor is another wealthy corporate developer looking to cash in on the Harbor Shores humanitarian and environmental disaster of monumental proportion. On Feb. 28, 08 he applied for permission to build residential property on Lake Michigan just north of the planned Harbor Shores development. He owns Star Development & Financial Corporation. Also, Sam Thomas owns many low income rental buildings in Benton Harbor.

(Sam Thomas, Star Develolpment & Financial Corp., 1900 West Liberty, Ann Arbor, MI 48103)

* * *

Dorothy Pinkney reports that Berrien County jail visitors are not permitted to give anything to the front desk. Upon arrival visitors face a dark glass which they are viewed through. During a recent visit Mrs. P. rang the service bell 3 times and was finally dismissed by an intimidating voice saying, "We're busy." She traveled to the jail and was unable to have $2.90 deposited into Rev. Pinkney's account.

* * *

New Style of Policing in America

A new “military-corporate” paramilitary style of policing has been introduced in American society. As automation eliminates jobs permanently, workers find themselves homeless, denied access to health care, and education and other necessities. The state is responding by reorganizing itself as an unrestrained apparatus of force to control the poor who are considered potentially explosive and must be held in check.
While most sharply and unjustly targeting minority communities, police state tactics are becoming common wherever the poor are found, particularly against homeless populations of all colors. As the jails and prisons become harsher hellholes of terror, and as indigent prisoners are routinely denied due process, conditions are in place for the sacrifice of democracy itself.
These conditions are being instituted by and for the corporations. Corporate interests are taking precedence over the interests of society as a whole. Any social program that interferes with the making of maximum profit is being eliminated....

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Wealth: An Explanation

How Billionaires Buy Their Toys by Pat Foster West Michigan News Company,

They use your money. That is why they are billionaires.

The Upton family that started Whirlpool Corporation wants to build a private golf course for themselves and their friends. Since a lot of their friends live out of town, they also need a hotel to put them up in when they come to play golf.

Since Fred Upton is the Congressional Representative from the 6th District, they pass legislation and with the help of Governor Granholm they put together a taxpayer giveaway of $120,000,000 to finance the deal.

They decided that they needed a public park owned by the City of Benton Harbor which is right on the sand dunes so their friends can have a nice lake view. Now this park was given to the City of Benton Harbor with a reverter clause that would take ownership away from them if they convert it from public to private use. No problem for them. They just bring judges and whatever they need to get the right kind of decision into the deal through ownership in Ship Street Realty and Law & Title Realty LLC. Both companies have a major interest in the profits of this development. We don't know exactly how many judges, lawyers, and prosecutors may have ownership in these entities, but we do know that Judge Alfred Butzbaugh, the Chief Judge of Berrien County is a major player in Ship Street Realty, besides owning a good deal of property which will directly benefit from this development. He is also Chair of the Michigan Bar Association's Ethics Committee.

What you have at this point is an inside tap on your tax dollars while you're trying to figure out where you're going to get the money to fill your gas tank. If you don't like it, they always tell you that you can take it to court. What court? Why, of course, Berrien County's Courthouse. You might even get Judge Butzbaugh to hear your complaint. Good Luck!

What do the people of Benton Harbor get from this deal? Harbor Shores guarantees 22 seasonal maintenance jobs on their golf course. Forty percent of those jobs go to Benton Harbor, or 9 jobs. Government money is supposed to create one job for each $35,000. These jobs cost you $5.45 million each. What does it cost you to fill your gas tank?

Don't forget to vote for Fred Upton in November. It doesn't really matter if you don't like him. If you vote against him, there is a high probability that your vote will be given to him anyway. Do you think that just might be one of the reasons they don't let us count the ballots after an election? [This is outrageous and true in Mich. See the following.]

* *

From Currently, the MERA Legislative Committee is working to develop an election audit bill for Michigan. It will be based on the new standard for state election audit legislation, exemplified by a New Jersey bill that recently was signed into law. MERA hopes to have its audit legislation introduced in a few weeks. When a draft proposal is ready, it will be made available here for review and comment.

* *

One man sits in one of the filthiest, most inhumane county jails in the country 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 no jobs for Benton Harbor residents. He said that facism is the merging of the corporation (business interests) with gov. A starker example than Berrien County cannot be found. And Gov."If you vote for me I'll get you your golf course" Granholm is behind it all.

Write to Rev. Pinkney, #10017670-IS04, Berrien Cty. Jail, 919 Port St., St. Joseph, MI 49085
Send articles you think might be of interest to him if you like.

BOYCOTT WHIRLPOOL & SUBSIDIARIES (Amana, Estate, Gladiator Garage Works, Insperience, Jenn-Air, KitchenAid, Magic Chef, Maytag, Roper, Acros, Inglis, Bauknecht, Brastemp, Admiral, IKEA appliances, some Kenmore)

Monday, May 05, 2008

More police abuse in Benton Harbor

It has been reported this morning that mounted police "went at" onlookers in BHarbor yesterday at the Blossomtime parade.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Washington Post article, Sunday May 4

Go to this site for today's Washington Post article on "Harbor Shores" and a list of many other articles on this topic.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


(comment from Michigan Messenger site)
Butzbaugh's father was law partners with former Berrien County Judge Chester Burns. Mr. Burns' wife is Priscella Upton-Burns, who, if I'm not mistaken, lives on Ridgway.

Interesting to note that David Upton and Judge Alfred Butzbaugh are business partners. A Law & Title entity (MI DLEG ID # 824077) maintains the ties between the Butzbaugh's and the Ridgeway gang. A mural of Mr. Burns is proudly displayed at the building co-owned by Butzbaugh, Upton et al, located at 811 Ship Street.

Ship Street Realty, who is currently selling Jean Klock Park land, is also located at 811 Ship Street. Department of Labor and Economic Growth (DLEG) documents show multiple and direct ties between Judge Butzbaugh, the Upton clan and a principle Jean Klock Park developer, Charles Ammeson.

Public Deeds, Private Title Companies, political assigns and developers all tightly connected.

Residents Demand Environmental Impact Study

I received this a few weeks ago, it documentation for residents requesting an environmental impact study for all of Harbor Shores. Download the (PDF)

Friday, May 02, 2008

Whirlpool's Fettig paid $13M for 2007

CEO Jeff Fettig received a compensation of $12.94 million last year, the Associated Press reports.

Fettig’s pay reflects a 36-percent increase over that of 2006, when he received $9.54 million. Last year, Fettig, also chairman of Whirlpool, led the company to a 48-percent profit increase despite higher energy and materials costs. He also earned a salary of $1.8 million, a performance-based cash bonus of $6.96 million, and received $138,226 in other compensation, including $95,429 for personal use of company aircraft, according the AP.
Additionally, Fettig’s restricted stock awards and options were estimated at about $4.66 million when issued in February of last year.

Rep. Upton, Whirlpool CEO would gain easy access to privatized park

Friday (5/02) via the

by Eartha Jane Melzer

Prominent backers of Harbor Shores project live just minutes from proposed golf course

Supporters of the Harbor Shores luxury housing development say the $500 million project will create jobs and spark the renewal of the city of Benton Harbor, now the poorest city in Michigan.

But for two prominent backers of project, Republican Congressman Fred Upton and Whirlpool CEO Jeff Fettig, the benefits of the project hit closer to home: the proposed development will put a private golf course with spectacular views of Lake Michigan just a short drive from their family residences.

According to county property records, Upton and Fettig, both residents of Benton Harbor's more affluent neighboring municipality, St. Joseph, live on Ridgeway Avenue, a residential street that dead-ends in the south end of Jean Klock Park. The park is a public recreation area owned by the city of Benton Harbor that would lose 22 acres of beachfront terrain to the Harbor Shores development. If the project is approved, dunes in the park would become three holes of a private Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, open only to those who could afford a daily fee expected to be in the range of $200.

Both men have taken action to promote the project.

Upton, 55, a personable moderate Republican who has represented Michigan's 6th District since 1986, intervened last fall with the National Park Service to hasten official approval. When the Park Service objected to the transfer of park land to developers for the golf course, citing lack of public view of the proposal, Upton sent a handwritten letter to regional director Ernest Quintana, insisting the agency allow the project to move forward.

"Ernie," Upton wrote on Nov. 19, 2007, "… the Michigan Attorney General's Office makes the point 'the proposed use of a part of Jean Klock Park as part of a larger public golf course serves a purpose as a public park' … I'm not a lawyer but doesn't that allow us to move forward without getting additional approvals?"

Quintana disagreed and and ordered a public comment hearing that was held last month.

Fettig, 49, has been CEO of Whirlpool, the world's largest home appliance manufacturer, since 2004. Under his leadership the company has invested in Harbor Shores by donating 40 acres of property (estimated value $20 million) and agreeing to loan the project $12 million and cover $3.6 million in "front-end development costs." A Whirlpool spokesman told the Business Review Western Michigan that the investment will help the company attract and retain talent.

If the project is built, Fettig, known to colleagues as a decent though not outstanding golfer, would be living about six-tenths of a mile from the golf course, a three-minute drive. Upton lives a few houses down the street from Fettig.

Other members of the Upton family would also enjoy close proximity to the private golf course. Aubrey McClendon, the CEO of Chesapeake Energy and a real estate developer, is married to Fred Upton's cousin Katie Upton McClendon. Last May, McClendon played alongside course designer Jack Nicklaus at the Morgan Stanley Pro-Am Invitational. The McClendons own four lots on Ridgeway.

Both Upton and Fettig are wealthy. Upton, whose grandfather was a co-founder of Whirlpool, owns between $1 million and $5 million worth of the company's stock, according to his financial disclosure statement. Fettig earned almost $13 million in 2007, according to Directorship magazine.

One local real estate agent says residents of the street where Fettig and Upton live can expect financial benefits if Harbor Shores is built

"Ridgeway has been the gold coast of the Midwest for a long time," said Loren Gerber of Core Real Estate in nearby Stevensville. "I expect Harbor Shores to cause property values to rise along Ridgeway and everywhere around the course."

The public comment hearing, held April 17 in Benton Harbor, attracted a standing-room-only crowd that was evenly divided between supporters and opponents of the project. The public comment period for the Harbor Shores project is open until May 17.

The state is backing the project with a promise of $120 million in tax breaks. Liz Boyd, a spokeswoman for Gov. Jennifer Granholm, told Michigan Messenger, "Our goal is to work with all of the parties to make sure that this project can go forward."

Neither Upton nor Fettig responded to Michigan Messenger requests for comment on how they would benefit from the Harbor Shores development. END

comments on Michigan Messenger website:
--well, maybe Fettig can improve his game now...this stinks badly! fairly soon, the working class will need security passes to enjoy a swim/day at the beach. too bad whirlpool didn't invest that money instead in keeping jobs here, and improvements to working conditions/employees betterment, education, health issues, etc..damn them all for their greed.Living on the shores of Northern Lake Michigan my whole life,(from Empire to climes farther north),I've seen countless acres gobbled up by the affluent, emplacing condos or "McMansions" on every square foot of sand. Makes me wanna pray for a tsunami...

--What I want to know...
Does Judge Butzbaugh round out this foursome?

--The rich get richer While average people sees their home prices fall, these wealthy men can expect to reap considerable financial benefits. Why am I not surprised? This is completely opposite of what the Klock's would have wanted. The gave tangible property that was of intangible value for everyone in Benton Harbor to enjoy. They must be spinning in their graves at the thought that these wealthy men stand to gain from their generous and unselfish gift.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Unbearable Berrien County Jail

Rev. Edward Pinkney has been in lockdown again since April 23 for no apparent reason. Prisoner Nelson Melvin in the next cell was kicked twice as he slept by Deputy Wall.

Rev. Pinkney has been denied medical treatment by Sheriff Bailey for a serious cold and bug bites. Bugs are rampant in the jail.

There is a deadly fungus in the jail for which there is no cure. It enters the blood stream through the respiratory system and can progress through stages creating skin lesions, staph infection, and then attacking the lungs, bloodstream, bones, spine, and brain. Your chances of survival are slim.

The toilet continually runs over so that human beings are eating food, living, and sleeping in filth.

BOYCOTT WHIRLPOOL & SUBSIDIARIES (Amana, Estate, Gladiator Garage Works, Insperience, Jenn-Air, KitchenAid, Magic Chef, Maytag, Roper, Acros, Inglis, Bauknecht, Brastemp, Admiral, IKEA appliances, some Kenmore)