Tuesday, February 16, 2010

When will the people of this area wake up?

Editor, (letter to ed., HPalladium, 2/6/10)

Someone should tell Ron Carter, Benton Harbor's new city manager, that you can't clean a house with the roof caving in. The city's budget problems pale in comparison to the private commercial takeover of the lakefront, its only major asset.

Someone should tell Gov. Jennifer Granholm that if she really wants to fix Benton Harbor she is going to have to risk irritating the mighty Whirlpool Corp., which has been exploiting the city for decades. What would she have to lose, now that she doesn't have to worry about reelection?

Someone should tell Harbor Shores and Cornerstone, Whirlpool's offspring, that they should be careful what they wish for. The more scrutiny Benton Harbor undergoes, the riskier it may be for them. Can they account for all the state and federal money that has been entrusted to them over the years?

Someone should tell the leaders of St. Joe to stop trashing up their streets with Bojangle-eyed gorillas, tearing down their finest buildings and jam-packing their beach with everything but sand and water. The "Twin Cities" are becoming a sideshow in more ways than one.

Someone should tell Art Cotter, the Berrien County prosecutor, to stick to the job he was hired to do and leave the governor, the parole board and corrections professionals to do theirs. Prosecutors are supposed to seek justice, not merely convictions. We pay the price for their mistakes, and the consequences of shoddy law enforcement are far greater than most people realize or can even imagine. Cotter should be held accountable for spending taxpayers' money on things that are not in his job description. The entire county should not have to be held hostage to his inability to grasp the concept or possibility of rehabilitation.

Someone should tell the mad Tea Partiers that they are wasting their energies working against their own interests and for those of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. After all, what do we have Fred Upton for?

And finally, someone should tell the people of Southwest Michigan to wake up before it's too late and stop letting the corporate elite run our lives. In the words of the late, great Howard Zinn, "If there is going to be change, real change, it will have to work its way from the bottom up, from the people themselves. That's how change happens."

Scott Elliott, Benton Harbor