Monumental Miscarraige of Justice Continues in Berrien County, Rep. Fred Upton's and Whirlpool's Oligarchy (Land controlled by a group of people who pass their influence from one generation to the next. Oligarchies have been tyrannical throughout history, being completely reliant on public servitude to exist.)
When the Herald Palladium, known to locals as the Hell Pollution, publishes articles about Benton Harbor, the comment section can fill up with many phrases reflecting the racism, control, and abuse used by the good ol' boys and girls to get the land they want (Benton Harbor). The article below is a good example. If you can get to the article online before the paper makes it disappear, you'll see plenty of these comments. It's been suggested that they are written by only a small group. (Prosecutor's office? Whirlpool? Hell Pollution?) Here we include a few comments by citizens who understand what's going on.
1 step back, 3 forward
City commission approves Whirlpool tax breaks but rezoning is on hold
By Kate Genellie - H-P Tuesday, October 19, 2010
BENTON HARBOR - Though it stumbled at the Benton Harbor Planning Commission meeting Monday, the Whirlpool Corp. headquarters project took a jump forward after the City Commission approved four resolutions that will allow the company to take advantage of tax breaks.
With no discussion before the vote, the City Commission voted 8-1 to approve a property tax break for the company, with Commissioner Dennis Knowles voting no. Mayor Wilce Cooke and Commissioners Marcus Muhammad, Eddie Marshall, James Hightower, Juanita Henry, Duane Seats II, Bryan Joseph and David Shaw voted yes.
The commission approved four other resolutions, all by 7-2 votes with Knowles and Henry voting no. Two of the resolutions will provide tax breaks for personal property at the headquarters. In another resolution, the city agreed to vacate part of River Street in Benton Harbor, a section of road between the St. Joseph River and the proposed site of the headquarters. The park along the river will remain open to the public.
The city also agreed to rezone the proposed project site, conditional on the approval of the City Planning Commission. In order for Whirlpool to go ahead with its plans for the project, the triangle of land along Main Street, between River Street and Riverview Drive, needs to be rezoned from D-2 commercial to an E-business district, which would allow for a higher maximum height for buildings.
But the Planning Commission at a meeting earlier in the evening rejected a motion to accept Whirlpool's site plans. The vote was 4-3 with Planning Commissioner Robert Hansey abstaining. Chairman Robert Taylor and Commissioners Susan Flowers, Emma Kinnard and Ronnie Whitelow voted no. Commissioners Wilce Cooke, Eddie Marshall and Ron Carter voted yes.
After the vote, Whirlpool representatives got up and left the meeting en masse. The Planning Commission meeting continued as Whirlpool representatives spoke in the hallway outside the commission chambers. After the meeting was adjourned and several planning commissioners had left, other commissioners tried to get them to return for another vote, but they were not able to convene a quorum before the City Commission meeting.
After the planning commission meeting, Jeff Noel, Whirlpool's vice president of communication and public affairs, said the actions of the Planning Commission "speak volumes."
"Tonight's action clearly sets this community back," Noel said. The planning commissioners "have indicated it's not about the project" but that there are "other issues."
Whitelow said that the Planning Commission can't just accept concept drawings provided by Whirlpool, because they are not specific enough.
All of Whirlpool's plans need to be on paper, Whitelow said. "Suppose they change their mind, well, we're already committed."
After the commission approved the tax breaks, Noel struck a more conciliatory tone and said Whirlpool is prepared to provide blueprints, although that is outside the norm for what most municipalities require.
"We knew going in it would be a process," Noel said. He urged planning commissioners to be specific with their questions and said that the resulting plan would be stronger for the input.
In response to the City Commission's vote, Noel said it showed they "overwhelmingly want this project."
"It was time for leadership to go forward," Noel said.
The headquarters is part of an $85 million plan to consolidate 15 Whirlpool facilities in the Twin Cities area into three, one each in Benton Harbor, Benton Township and St. Joseph. The Benton Harbor complex will house 1,100 workers and is planned to be completed in five years.
In his closing statements to the City Commission, Cooke talked about the $200,000 yearly donation the city will receive from Whirlpool, as part of the headquarters project. After three years, the amount will go up to $300,000 for nine more years.
The donations have been part of the plan from the beginning, Noel said, and will go toward areas affecting public education, parks and recreation and public safety, such as police or fire department equipment.
Cooke said he would like to see new community development built around the headquarters project, and added that much of that development should mean work for Benton Harbor locals.
"We need to put that money in areas of employment for our citizens," Cooke said.
"I feel good about it," Cooke said after the meeting. "The project's going to fly. We need them, they need us." kgenellie@TheH-P.com
Gerald wrote on Oct 19, 2010 1:33 PM:
" Sounds like the Whirlpool cry babies did a bit of thumb sucking and pouting because they didn't get their way last night. That action, in and of itself, shows their true colors! Cookes comment about "they need us" makes just about as much sense also!
LET THE DEBATE AND COMMENTS CONTINUE! "
EDWARD wrote on Oct 19, 2010 2:24 PM:
" Whirlpool please move out of Benton Harbor. I WILL PAY YOU ! WE DO NOT WANT YOU OR NEED YOU. MOVE OUT. "
Muse wrote on Oct 19, 2010 4:30 PM:
" Why don't they use some of the money to keep jobs in this country? Why do they need a palace in this economy? Sends the wrong messgae. "