Saturday, July 30, 2011

Who is Roger Fraser?

The Herald Palladium, Whirlpool media arm, reported on a meeting held 2 days ago:

A meeting of the managers
Gov. Snyder to address city managers convention in St. Joseph Thursday

By John Matuszak July 27, 2011
St. Joseph - For the first time, St. Joseph is hosting a gathering of around 100 city managers and other government leaders from across the state and, also for the first time, Michigan's governor will speak to the organization...The highlight of the workshop event will be a "State of the State" address by Gov. Rick Snyder from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m. Thursday at the Heritage Center. Snyder is scheduled to review his first six months in office and talk about issues crucial to local governments.
...Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Joseph Harris will be part of a panel discussion Thursday morning on "Public Act 4: The Local Government and School District Responsibility Act of 2011,"...Harris will be joined on the panel by Roger Fraser, (emphasis added) deputy state treasurer for local government services and former city manager of Ann Arbor...

Who is Roger Fraser? This is extremely important info for Michigan residents:

Snyder Treasury Appointee Who Implements EM Takeovers Abused City Credit Card,
Ignored Auditor Warnings & Plunged Town into Deep Debt

...the choice [by Gov. Snyder] of Roger Fraser for this very important role stands out as highly questionable at best. The fact is that the City of Ann Arbor was nearly a half billion dollars more in debt after his time [9 years]as City Administrator. This should be enough to raise some red flags. However, when you dig into the details of how these debts arose, the red flags begin to flap more vigorously. The shifting of funds, sloppy record keeping and irregularities associated with the use of credit and purchasing cards, some by Roger Fraser himself, call his credentials into serious question. Under Fraser’s guidance, the City of Ann Arbor was guilty of some of the very actions that the cities of Benton Harbor and Pontiac, both of which now have EMs, have been criticized for.
...He’s the last person Michigan residents should have expected to see evaluating which cities in our state will be taken over under the auspices of Public Act 4. Full story:

Friday, July 29, 2011

Whirlpool to Cut 20-25 Salaried Jobs in Fort Smith
By Lance Turner 7/27/2011

Whirlpool Corp.'s Fort Smith plant will cut 20-25 salaried jobs before the end of the year, according to a statement from the appliance manufacturer. "Demand for major appliances in the U.S. is at recessionary levels," Kristine Vernier, a spokesperson for Whirlpool, said. "Whirlpool has confirmed that a salaried reduction in force at its Fort Smith plant is necessary to better reflect current demand and volume.

"Approximately 20-25 salaried positions will be eliminated by the end of the year through layoffs or retirement," she said.

Vernier said Whirlpool employs about 1,055 people, including 105 salaried and 950 hourly positions.

The layoffs are the latest at the appliance-maker's Fort Smith plant, which has laid off and rehired workers as demand for its products rises and falls. The company had also shifted production of some of its Fort Smith products to a plant in Mexico.

As recently as 2007, Whirlpool was reported to be the ninth largest employer in Arkansas, with 4,200 employees at the company’s Fort Smith plant. But the number of employees working there has since declined.
Click here to find out more!
Click here to find out more!

A year ago, the company said it employed 2,150 people in Fort Smith.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

All in the Family

Fred Upton, heir to Whirlpool, has a cousin named Aubrey McClendon. Upton and Whirlpool take Lake Michigan lakeshore from the public for a resort for the wealthy; McClendon copies his cousin Fred on nearby lakeshore land. In both cases, local residents cooperate with the corporation (in Berrien) and the two billionaires.

When a billionaire wants lakeshore land, a show of law enforcement must be brought in to intimidate the commoners.

Despite vocal opposition, Saugatuck Township accepts dune settlement with Aubrey McClendon July 23, 2011

"...Board members took less than 30 minutes to agree to the settlement deal.

'I think the whole thing tonight was a sham. They simply ignored the people who spoke who were overwhelmingly against the development and the settlement,' said Harris.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Whirlpool swings to $161m loss

By Jeremy Lemer in New York, July 21, 2011

Whirlpool, the US household-appliance maker, swung to a loss in the second quarter as it settled a legal dispute and struggled to cope with a “difficult economic environment” characterised by higher raw material prices and volatile demand.
Jeff Fettig, chief executive, said consumer demand was being hurt by “high unemployment, low consumer confidence, and recessionary housing levels” in North America and Europe while high inflation was starting to hit emerging markets...
Whirlpool’s sales in North America slid 7 per cent to $2.4bn, but rose 14 per cent to $841m in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and gained 25 per cent to $1.3bn in Latin America.
Whirlpool shares closed down 3.8 per cent at $72.78. Over the year to date, the stock price has fallen about 17 per cent on fears that a sagging economic recovery would dent consumer demand.
The Benton Harbor, Michigan-based company reported a loss of $161m, or $2.10 per share, in the three months to the end of June compared to a net profit of $205m, or $2.64 per share, in the same period last year.
Much of the loss stemmed from $522m in expenses to settle a long-standing dispute with Banco Safra over an unauthorised loan undertaken in 1989 by an employee of a company that later became part of Whirlpool.
Excluding non-operating charges, Whirlpool earned $2.76 per share compared to $2.82 in the same period in 2010. Sales rose 4 per cent to $4.7bn, thanks largely to currency effects, but global shipments of white goods rose year over year.
Whirlpool, which makes the Whirlpool, Maytag and Amana brands of home appliances, employs about 71,000 people and had annual sales of about $18bn in 2010.
Mr Fettig said he expected “global economic volatility to continue in the near term”, and said the company was now forecasting record full-year raw material and oil related costs of between $450m and $500m – double the company’s estimate in early February.
But he added that the company would aggressively pursue margin improvements by raising prices, introducing new, less material-heavy products and by optimising its supply chain to reduce freight and warehousing costs.
Whirlpool reaffirmed its full-year guidance for operating earnings per share of between $12 and $13 and free cash flow guidance of between $400m and $500m, but said that the current environment meant it would likely hit the low end of the range.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Judge: No triple bill for ex-EM Blackwell -
Former Highland Park official may yet have to pay state's legal costs

Doug Guthrie/ The Detroit News, July 09. 2011

Detroit—A Wayne County judge rejected a Michigan attorney general's request Friday for triple damages against Highland Park's former state-appointed emergency financial manager.

But Arthur Blackwell II may be required to cover the state's legal fees for the civil lawsuit trial, where he was found liable for improperly taking $264,000 from the cash-strapped city, said Wayne County Circuit Judge Robert Colombo Jr. -Full article:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Another in a long line of disappointments

Let me be blunt: Benton Harbor residents suffer in ways that a civilized society would never allow. Sometimes Rev. Pinkney practically shouts for help. Some in BH believed the arrival of Heartland Revolution and John Waltz would make a difference.
Waltz needed Recall Rick and "end the EFM law" petitioners and claimed he had a $60K budget. He said he'd hire BH residents. Small jobs like this are needed badly in BH. (As are substantial employment...)

Mike Williams and Donna Rosman were interested in working on both efforts, but lost trust in Waltz when he hired a St. Joe resident for the job. It looked to them like Waltz never intended to hire BH residents -- to this date he has hired none. Mike Williams reports telling Waltz to stay out of BH, and also telling Commissioner Dennis Knowles that he will no longer associate with him because of his connection to Waltz and Heartland, and because Knowles voted in favor of bringing EFM Harris to BH.

Traverse City and BH sources have reported receiving emails from John Waltz advising people not to work with Rev. Pinkney. Waltz's reasons are not known, but we wonder if Pinkney being a thorn in Whirlpool's side has anything to do with it. We hope Waltz doesn't disapprove of Pinkney's daily court watching, attempting to stop juvenile and innocent convictions, daily counseling of residents at the soup kitchen and library, and various other justice related activities. (His goal of getting 1000 residents registered to vote has just been achieved.)

John Waltz turned out to be another in a long line of disappointments for BH residents. When will sincere and genuine help come to this long-suffering and isolated community?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Whirlpool has destroyed the city of Benton Harbor by buying
Black people and bringing in the Emergency Financial Manager
by Rev. Pinkney

When we look in the mirror we sometimes fail to see our flaws and strengths. Whirlpool has blinded residents by dividing and conquering. The corporation uses the Boys and Girls Club, Band of Brethren, First Chance, Inc., and the Consortium for Community Development to make it appear as if the Black community supports the Harbor Shores project and Whirlpool's takeover of Benton Harbor. It’s devastating what money can do. Whirlpool also controls the BH school board, and every sizeable board in Berrien County.

Whirlpool Corporation was one of the first to outsource jobs to countries with weak or nonexistent labor and environmental standards which in some cases have child workers. Congressman Fred Upton, heir to Whirlpool, voted for NAFTA. What is most important about outsourcing, it permanently eliminates jobs, destroying communities in the process.

Thanks to Whirlpool and congressman Upton, Benton Harbor is now under a dictator. They would like us to believe that checks and balances in government are not important. Benton Harbor doesn’t matter enough for that. We don’t need checks and balances -- multiple governing branches to ensure that a single force doesn’t dominate. All BH needs is EFM Joseph Harris to make every single decision for us.

That is the message inherent in the EFM legislation proposed by state Rep. Al Pcholka and Gov. Rick “the Rictator” Snyder and given speedy approval by the legislature. We must say no to Pscholka and Snyder. We must say no to Whirlpool. We must say no to Harbor Shores. We must say no to the PGA. We must say no to the hostile take over of Benton Harbor.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

About those Whirlpool layoffs in Iowa we reported yesterday (look below)...
The Des Moines Register tells us that just last year the Iowa state and county government gave MILLIONS to Whirlpool, the corporation that never stops taking

"Last year the Iowa Department of Economic Development approved a $6.5 million forgivable loan to Whirlpool. Iowa County also granted the corporation $1.5 million. The money was expected to be invested in upgrading equipment, improving production processes and making the plant more energy efficient."|head

Saturday, July 16, 2011

[Profit over people] Whirlpool Lays Off 315 at Amana

Whirlpool announced on Thursday that it would be cutting 440 jobs at the plant as a result of the downturn in the economy.
By James Steward

AMANA, Iowa - Whirlpool Corp. announced plans Friday to lay off about 315 workers at its refrigerator plant in Amana due to the slow economy.

The layoffs were posted at 10 a.m., workers said, and affect much of the third shift except specialists such as tool and die makers and mechanical maintenance workers.

Randy Krewson, business agent for Machinists Local 1528, said the layoff included 250-260 permanent and 55-60 temporary workers.

The layoffs affected workers with seniority back to June 30, 2008, including many summer employees who are enrolled in college during the remainder of the year.

Whirlpool “geared up in early spring to make a lot of units,” said Randy Mumm, a 33-year member of Machinists Local 1526 from Walford who saw the layoffs posted at about 10 a.m. Friday, July 15. He said it appeared that the demand simply didn’t materialize.

Whirlpool Corp. did not immediately return messages left after normal business hours on Friday, July 15.

The company manufactures French door refrigerators at the plant and last year added a line of 50-pound icemakers.

Employees said layoffs were anticipated, but the company is limited in its work force reductions by terms of a state grant it received when it added the icemaker line, formerly housed at a plant in Evansville, Ind., that has since closed.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Another unbelievably greedy and selfish person in the Fred Upton clan wants to destroy gorgeous lakefront beach and untouched habitat in Saugatuck, Michigan, up the lake from Benton Harbor. He's Aubrey McClendon. Google his name for more info... The meeting this Monday has been moved, most likely to cut down on attendance. Wear red if you don't support the piranha, McClendon.

Limited seats for dunes hearing July 18

By Scott Sullivan, Editor, Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Saugatuck Township board and planning commission will hold a joint public hearing Monday, July 18, to consider a proposed settlement of litigation with Singapore Dunes LLC.

The session, first announced as being in the Saugatuck High School gymnasium, has been moved to the smaller, 200-seat cafeteria due to building scheduling conflicts including a school board meeting, basketball games and a goat rodeo that night, said officials. The hearing starts at 6 p.m.

Singapore Dunes owner Aubrey McClendon is suing the township in U.S. district court claiming it rezoned his Lake Michigan-fronting property illegally.

The Oklahoma billionaire has announced conceptual plans to develop land north of the Kalamazoo River with a 66-slip marina, nine-story inn, high-end homes, nine-hole golf course and equestrian area, leaving most of its 320 acres in their natural state, but has not submitted formal plans to the township.

His suit claims the township illegally down-zoned his land in 2006 to prevent development and has been corrupted by taking more than $30,0000 in payments from the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance, a local nonprofit land-preservation group.

The township counters that McClendon has not submitted formal plans for development nor followed procedures with the planning commission and/or other boards to do so.

The proposed settlement, much discussed in letters and ads on ensuing pages, may be reviewed under “Breaking News” on the township’s Web site,

Supervisor Bill Wester told persons attending the July 6 township board meeting he expected Singapore Dunes to begin Monday’s public hearing with a presentation.

“Afterwards anyone can speak, not just township residents,” he said. “But we will ask speakers if they are residents.

“We want to take residents’ temperatures regarding the proposed settlement. We may or may not vote on it.

“It’s not a slam dunk,” he said.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Benton Harbor city commissioners recently gave Whirlpool a FIFTY MILLION DOLLAR TAX BREAK. Yes, a starving town gives it up for the filthy rich greed-based corporation. Why? One can speculate: over decades, WP money has found it's way into cooperative BH residents' pockets and commissioners could assume that will continue to happen. So what's fifty million for a few thousand in hand? Keep in mind that commissioners mostly voted "for Whirlpool" until their power was removed a few months ago. Below WNDU tells us that WP so very generously donates 3.8 million to BH. Kudos for mentioning in the same sentence that WP spends 60 million on their new riverfront BH office complex. Of interest also is that WP money will teach boxing to BH kids. In St. Joe they fund tennis. If you check out the comments after the article's online version, you get a feel for the current state of Berrien County racism, or maybe St. Joe racism...

Benton Harbor decides how to spend Whirlpool donation

After much back and forth between Benton Harbor's leaders, the city has decided how it will spend its donation from Whirlpool


After much back and forth between Benton Harbor's leaders, the city has decided how it will spend its donation from Whirlpool according to our reporting partners at The Herald Palladium.

Emergency Manager Joe Harris, Mayor Wilce Cook and Mayor Pro Tem Marcus Muhammad have signed an agreement.

The money will go toward new emergency response vehicles, equipped with hoses and water tanks, a summer jobs program for kids, parks and swimming and boxing programs for kids.

In all, Whirlpool will invest $3.8 million in the community, as it builds its new $60 million office complex downtown.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

[We have a question for Ralph Crenshaw and Ricky Hill, Benton Harbor Housing Commissioners:
Where's the $87,000.00?]

HUD audit finds fault in state's Neighborhood Stabilization payouts

June 21, 2011 |
Related Links
* HUD audit of Michigan's use of Neighborhood Stabilization Fund dollars

Michigan State Housing Development Authority got some red marks on the way it implemented its Neighborhood Stabilization Fund dollars, according to a recent audit.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of Inspector General audited the state’s handling of the program’s first round of funding. In its report dated June 3, it found the authority missed some deadlines to allocate funds and lacked documentation in other areas...

...• MSHDA may have allocated nearly $87,000 for Habitat for Humanity Michigan and the City of Benton Harbor for administrative costs that lacked documentation.|head

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

[Whirlpool: $17 Billion Annual Profit]

[Whirlpool] Hoover retirees ponder options in wake of health insurance change

...Whirlpool has told workers it will end supplemental medical and pharmacy coverage for Medicare-eligible retirees who are 65 or older. The plan will be replaced by a stipend of up to $50 a month to help pay for a Medicare supplemental plan and $35 per month to help cover the cost of a Medicare Part D supplemental pharmacy plan.

Younger retirees will be offered a health savings account plan and wellness-focused program instead of current company-provided health care. The new plan matches one now offered to Whirlpool employees...

...Retirees contend planned changes violate contracts that Hoover and its employees approved over the years.

“This is supposed to be vested for our lives,” Kassey said. “I don’t know how anyone thinks that this is even close to what they promised us when we retired.”

Repace said Local 1985 routinely negotiated contracts that covered the needs or retirees, including health insurance benefits. He said the proposed change does away with the negotiated plan. “They cannot do that.”

John Zawaski Jr., who retired after 36 years, said it doesn’t seem right for Whirlpool to change health insurance plans.

“We gave up wages in order to get better insurance coverage, so it wasn’t exactly free,” he said...

$17 Billion Annual Profit:
Happy birthday Whirlpool ... and many more

...Whirlpool has grown to number 67,000 employees [how many in foreign countries where labor & environmental laws are non-existent?] and sales of $17 billion annually.

Construction of a new $85 million campus of three office buildings on the riverfront in downtown Benton Harbor is under way. Maintaining Whirlpool's global headquarters and administrative offices in Benton Harbor is a major commitment to the area's tax base and employment.