Monday, April 30, 2012

Pinkney warned about "practicing law" without a license

Rev. Pinkney does the gallant service many of us are unwilling to do. He's a DAILY court observer in the Berrien County, Michigan courthouse - the one with many, many years of arguably the state's highest juvenile and innocent incarceration rates. Today Pinkney was approached by a probation officer who said, "I've received a report saying you're practicing law without a license here in the courthouse." Pinkney said he gives spiritual advice, not legal advice. (We wish he had told the officer that SOMEONE needs to be giving legal advice in Berrien County!)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Occupy the PGA in Benton Harbor, May 23-27

Join thousands of local and national activists as we "Occupy the Senior PGA Golf Tournament" that is coming to Benton Harbor, Michigan, from May 23-27, 2012. We will meet at Benton Harbor City Hall (200 Wall St) at 10am each day and march to the golf course! We will have speakers and food.

The PGA will be played on a $750,000,000 resort on over 530 acres near Lakeshore with a Jack Nicklaus designer golf course, with $500,000 condominiums. This is the same public land that was STOLEN inside Jean Klock Park.

Emergency Financial Manager Joseph Harris must go!! We have a dictator in Benton Harbor. Democracy is non-existent in Benton Harbor -- they're stealing our homes and lives! We are committed to escalating the Occupy Movement to support human rights.

For more information, contact Rev. Edward Pinkney (269) 925-0001

Download the PDF flier

Whirlpool loses appliance 'dumping' case

April 17, 2012 BENTON HARBOR, Mich.—Whirlpool Corp. has lost the latest round in its battle with competitors over imports from South Korea and Mexico. The U.S. International Trade Commission found Tuesday that Whirlpool and other U.S. appliance makers were not harmed by competitors importing bottom-mount refrigerators from South Korea and Mexico. Whirlpool filed a complaint last year that alleged competitors such as Samsung Electronics Co., LG Electronics Inc. and other foreign companies were violating international trade laws and "dumping" their appliances in the U.S. by selling them at less than fair value. The company asked U.S. regulators to impose extra duties on its competitors for these actions. The U.S. Department of Commerce determined in March that the competitors were selling the products at less than fair value and issued a preliminary decision in Whirlpool's favor. That then went to the International Trade Commission for review, where the commissioners issued a unanimous decision against Whirlpool. Whirlpool said it is reviewing the decision and determining whether it will appeal to the U.S. Court of International Trade, part of the federal court system. Samsung and LG applauded the decision and criticized Whirlpool for launching a "baseless investigation" that was costly to U.S. taxpayers. Whirlpool, based in Benton Harbor, Mich., makes appliances under its namesake brand as well as Maytag and KitchenAid. Its shares fell $3.03, more than 4 percent, to close at $68...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Stolen Water post updated

UPDATED: Benton Harbor's Water Stolen by Harbor Shores/Whirlpool - scroll down to April 20 post.

...public parks were usurped by private interests, with the collusion of bought-off politicians...

From comments

Frankie says: April 19, 2012 Wasn’t derelict land reclaimed and used to create something that gives people a reason to come to Benton Harbor? A trophy golf course brings money in from other areas and helps create jobs. Didn’t the same private money that paid for the golf course also pay to have the beachfront re-done, and is now a cash generating enterprise? I can not explain how poorly your angst is placed. Get a life.

Reply - occupythepga says: April 20, 2012 @ Frankie: Thank you for your comment. It gives an opportunity to clear up some misconceptions. The golf course was not built on “derelict land”, it was built on land occupied by a beautiful beach and factories. Harbor Shores promised 2,000 jobs for the community (initial projections were over 4,000) and have failed to produce meaningful jobs. Most of the jobs created will be short-term construction jobs anyway, not the kind that will provide lasting employment in the community.

But the community will change, because the golf course will bring gentrification. As land values and rent rates rise, Benton Harbor community members already living in poverty will be forced out to make room for more wealthy residents. The integrity and future of the culture and community are at stake.

You’re correct that there was some derelict land involved–the scattered parcels that Harbor Shores offered in unfair compensation for the pristine 22 acres of Jean Klock Park stolen from the public. After the give-away was approved by federal agencies who failed to do their job, it came out that several of the parcels, previously industrial sites, are so contaminated with toxic heavy metals that they’re unsafe without remediation.

Having the beachfront “redone” included clearing 8 acres of trees, stripping the dunes of vegetation, brush-cutting wetlands, and removing 900 truckloads of dune material to shape the course. This occurred despite lawsuits against the development being unresolved, so that by the time they reached decision on appeal, they were considered moot points. Pollution from the greens is reported to be running into the park via drainage ditches that were not indicated in the plans.

You may continue to believe Harbor Shores’ promises if you choose, but they have failed to meet many of their commitments already. They have been caught illegally stealing water from Benton Harbor’s Paw Paw River. According to Harbor Shores themselves, over two-thirds of the projected tax revenue, assuming the project doesn’t fail in this era of declining popularity of golf, will benefit St. Joseph and Benton Township, not Benton Harbor. Likewise, the 2004 land grab that took four acres from the park for development has not translated to jobs or meaningful revenue.

We stand for the human rights and self-determination of the people of Benton Harbor. The democratic processes that should have allowed them to have a real voice in what happens in their community and to their public parks were usurped by private interests, with the collusion of bought-off politicians.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Benton Harbor's Water Stolen by Harbor Shores/Whirlpool

It looks like Whirlpool's Harbor Shores organization has behaved again with incredible irresponsibility and arrogance.

The extraordinary control that the Whirlpool Corporation has taken over the community of Benton Harbor, Michigan must have emboldened them to believe they could act with impunity.

Three years ago, Harbor Shores tapped into the municipal water supply of Benton Harbor to irrigate their developing Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course. It is difficult to imagine how the excavation necessary to accomplish this could be done secretly. On the other hand, with so much land destruction and development happening, maybe it was easy to conceal.

Somehow, Harbor Shores drew on this water without paying the city, although the residents of BH were metered and paying for water usage. This was happening while the city was bankrupt, and was being run by a despotic emergency manager, Joseph Harris, who answers only to Gov. Rick Snyder.

About a year after this tap-in began, a water main break necessitated excavations for repairs, and the Harbor Shores splice was discovered. (Water discoloration which forced BH residents to boil their water and many to notify local gov. forced the hiring of a company to come in to do the repair work.)

Back payment for a year of heavy water usage was sought.

Harbor Shores responded by drawing irrigation water directly from the Paw Paw River. The audacious Marcus Robinson admitted in a meeting that "they" bought a pump.

Over the past two years, water rates for a typical household in Benton Harbor have burgeoned from $30/mo. to more than $100/mo. Apparently, the emergency mgr. has decreed that the water distribution deficit resulting from Harbor Shore's pilferage would be paid for by BH residents. It's almost unthinkable what the corporation has put this town through in the past decades.

Whirlpool Watch believes that the Whirlpool Corp. financed the recent separation of Benton Township from Benton Harbor in order to further destroy BH. BT now has it's own water system. Water provided the second largest source of income for BH, next to property taxes. St. Joe and St. Joe Twnshp. separated some years ago. The DEQ says it's absurd for such small towns situated in a close area to have different water supplies. It's all about gentrification, Whirlpool's resort, and the racist genocide of a population.

This information is still being researched by a member of Whirlpool Watch; check for updates and corrections.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Victory in Court


Rev. Edward Pinkney, Benton Harbor, filed a $100,000 lawsuit against the state and national NAACP and its leaders for attempting to oust him as president of the Twin Cities NAACP branch contrary to organization bylaws.

Atty. Elliot Hall represented Pinkney on
Wed. Aprill 11, 10am
Location: Courthouse at 2 Woodward Ave., Detroit
Wayne County Circuit Judge Brian Sullivan presiding

Pinkney asked Sullivan to halt today's (Sat.) election in Benton Harbor, organized by the state NAACP. Pinkney called it an attempt at a hostile takeover.

Whirlpool Corporation employee Marcus Robinson, the person who most likely contacted and "persuaded" the NAACP to force an election on Benton Harbor, told the Detroit Free Press that Pinkney obstructs efforts to revitalize Benton Harbor. In actuality, Pinkney is fighting for Benton Harbor's self-determination, the rights of citizens to retain control over their land, and much more.

Atty. Hall said Pinkney tried to resolve the dispute over the state imposed election internally, but was ignored by the state and national organizations.

Pinkney and Hall agreed, in the judge's office, to delay the election until after a May 10 hearing before Sullivan. The state NAACP was forced to agree, having no legal stand to do otherwise.

Pinkney said, "The state and national NAACP have met their match in the Twin Cities' branch. We're not going down without a fight."

For more than a decade Pinkney has been battling insane racial injustice, police brutality on steroids, and corporate control in Benton Harbor. Honest reporting on Berrien County is needed (understatement). Most citizens in the county, of any race, are not willing to take action for justice in their courthouse, law enforcement agencies, etc. The county mantra is "don't get involved." After talking to many Berrien County residents over the years, it's easy to see that fear of Whirlpool looms large. The corporation does not play a benevolent role in the lives of those in the county. Quite the opposite. It goes so far as to have people fired from any Berrien County job if they take a stand and become active. There are quite a few people ready to testify to "political" job loss.

Rev. Pinkney 269-925-0001

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Exposing the NAACP

It's crucial to expose the state and nat'l leadership of the NAACP for having strayed from their purposes to become the defenders of corporations and the 1%. Instead, the main objective should be to advocate for justice for African-American people. This is stating the obvious. The organization will resist you with all their might if you expose it for allowing corporations to gain control. The NAACP is thoroughly contaminated by greed and corruption. When will people say enough is enough?

Pinkney v. NAACP
Activist alleges hostile takeover of Twin Cities chapter

April 5, 2012, By Kate Genellie, Herald Palladium
BENTON HARBOR - Vocal community activist Edward Pinkney says he is suing the heads of the Michigan and national NAACP because they are trying to wrest control of the organization's local branch away from him.

Pinkney, who has been president of the Benton Harbor/Twin City NAACP branch since 2009, posted a press release to his blog Tuesday that said he is suing NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, Michigan NAACP President Yvonne White and Michigan NAACP Vice President James Gill for being part of a "hostile takeover" of the local NAACP branch.

The press release further names Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower, Benton Harbor schools Superintendent Leonard Seawood, Whirlpool Corp., the Senior PGA Championship and the Golf Course at Harbor Shores as part of the takeover, but doesn't say they are defendants in the lawsuit.

Pinkney said he is suing the state and national NAACP officials for entering into a joint agreement with Marcus Robinson, the president and CEO of Consortium for Community Development, to take over the local NAACP branch.
Pinkney said the case's preliminary hearing is in Wayne County Circuit Court on April 11.

Pinkney said he would present, at that hearing or at a later one, an email circulated by Whirlpool stating that national and state NAACP officials were persuaded to reorganize the branch, and that members should contact Robinson, rather than local branch officers.

"This was an attempt, a hostile attempt, to take over the local NAACP branch," Pinkney said by phone Wednesday.

Jeff Noel, Whirlpool's vice president of communication and public affairs, said Wednesday he is not aware of any formal action or an official statement by Whirlpool regarding the local, state or national NAACP.

Many Whirlpool employees are active in community organizations, Noel said, and the corporation does support some organizations with funding, but those organizations have their own boards.

Pinkney said part of the plan to unseat him is offering free memberships to those who would vote against him in an upcoming election. Membership dues in the local branch are normally $30 per year.

"We had to file a lawsuit in order to bring the truth to the table," he said, adding this could be the first of many lawsuits, including some against Whirlpool and the PGA.

But Pinkney said he will take it one step at a time.

"We don't want to go out there and sue everybody. That wouldn't be logical," he said.

Robinson and state NAACP officials were not immediately available for comment.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Consortium (Corruption) for Community Development Board

From Trenton Bowens facebook page:

How many of that group of 9 are on the Consortium for Community Development's board? Count below and inform the people.

Board of Directors:
David Whitwam, Whitwam Family Foundation Chairman
Marcus Robinson, President, Consortium
Wendy Dant Chesser, Pres. Cornerstone Alliance
Ken Kosminsky, Pres. APC Printing
Greg Roberts, Governor's Office
Maybel Mayfield, Berrien County Judge
Jeff Noel, VP Whirlpool Corporation
Rev. James Atterberry, MI Parole Board
Todd Gustafson, Exec Dir., MichiganWorks!
Anna Murphy, Pres. SWM United Way
Rev. Ken Gavin, 2nd Baptist Church
Lisa Cripps, Exec. Dir., FS Upton Foundation
Dan Hopp, Chairman, Lakeland Healthcare
Mike Mortimer, Director, Berrien County Health Dept.
Dr. Robert Harrison, Pres. Lake Michigan College
Joerge Fierro, Dean, Western Michigan University
Dr. Leonard Seawood, Supt. Benton Harbor Schools
Dr. James Ivers, Pres. Berrien RESA
Alloyd Blackmon, Director, Whirlpool Corporation
Dr. Sid Mohn, Pres. Heartland Alliance
Joe Antolin, EVP Heartland Human Care
Kathy Miller, Director, Berrien County Human Services
Jeffrey Booker, Dir. Upward Bound J
oe Harris, Emergency Financial Mgr., Benton Harbor
Lee Reed, Pres. Band of Brethren
Doug Schaffer, Pres. Boys and Girls Club
Rev. Melvin Burton, Pres. SWM Ministerial Alliance
Art Fenrick, Pres. SWM Community Action Agency
John Egelhaaff, SWM Planning Commission

Thursday, April 05, 2012

"The tragedy here is how funds are used by Kitchen Aide/Whirlpool in Benton Harbor"

The following was rec'd today by Rev. Pinkney. It's a reponse to an article called Benton Harbor blowback; Mayor joins pastors in blasting PGA vote

Response to article: The tragedy here is not how people voted and not the direction the leaders are taking against the PGA - it is more about how funds are used by Kitchen Aide/ Whirlpool in Benton Harbor. You and the leaders you gathered are not representative of the citizens of Benton Harbor - who are living in a state of serious deprivation with regards to city services. Why would a PGA tour and upscale housing, golf services and art galleries for the wealthy be serving the people of Benton Harbor? You are the leader who needs to step down and let a person who, in God's name, understands the needs of the community. Where are the following (that are provided in any other city in Michigan by the biggest corporations of those community):

Municipal swimming pool (should be provided by KitchenAide as opposed to a PGA tour)
Tennis courts
Basketball courts that are maintained by the city
Ice Skating Rink
Art Museum
Children's Museum
Concert Hall
Summer Programs with tennis, golf, swimming as city recreation
Community Gardens
Corporate sponsored scholarships for the graduates of Benton Harbor High School
City Recreation Programs for the disabled
Senior Services and programs such as Meals on Wheels
and the list could go on and on as to what communities are getting throughout Michigan per the corporations that support those communities.

Nearby Kalamazoo (with over 50% living in poverty) has a scholarship for all high school graduates, a library with literacy Saturdays, a baseball team, an arts program with an International Piano Festival, an arts center and a nationally recognized library - not to mention a host of other services for the residents of Kalamazoo. Jackson, Battle Creek, Flint and all the other communities of Michigan have corporations that provide not divide the citizens. But, none of the corporations have a racist agenda and none have an adjacent community that is all white and diverts the community funds along with having signs that state "Police Surveillance" post around the downtown.
Why would you, as a leader, allow Benton Harbor to be treated this way? Why would you let the majority of convictions in the St. Joe Courthouse be Benton Harbor residents? What kind of a leader are you? Where is your leadership for a Drug Court and diversion programs to avoid any Benton Harbor resident from being locked up? This is what leadership helps the citizens with - as opposed to working to provide a golf tournament for the wealthy!

What does Whirlpool do for Benton Harbor?

Polarize the citizens and divide them right behind their backs through strategic infiltration of churches, NAACP, etc.
Create a housing development for the wealthy
Attempt to push out the residents by creating a gentrification plan
Fund select programs geared toward the gentrification plan
Steal the land from the citizens despite anger/frustration
Push for artists to get the downtown cheaply to create coffee shops and galleries to appeal to the hip Chicago
Blame the residents for this polarization and divide
And much more

Whirlpool is not stupid, they are after their own interests right down to having the Fred Upton's family get featured as a pornographic image on the cover of a national magazine - the family is without morals.

You are jumping right on board the train and helping the build the planation. You have forgotten the people: the children are paying a price for your ignorance, the elderly are paying a price for your greed, the parents and the renters and the disabled are paying a price for your need to take care of your own. When will your group stand up to Whirlpool? That would be resurrection.

Stop blaming the citizens for your greed; that is sinful.

Whirlpool Watch

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Pinkney filed lawsuit against NAACP

Press Release

On April 2, 2012, Rev. Edward Pinkney, president of the Benton Harbor/Twin City NAACP branch, filed a lawsuit against Ben Jealous, nat'l NAACP president, and state president Yvonne White and Vice Pres. James Gill.

Defendants White and Gill knowingly and willfully entered into a joint agreement with Whirlpool employee Marcus Robinson (Whirlpool's Consortium for Community Development, and Band of Brethren) to take over the BH/Twin City NAACP, and to suspend membership fees for new people Robinson brings to NAACP.

Whirlpool Corp. circulated an email stating the nat'l. and state NAACP offices were persuaded to undertake the reorganization of the branch - with the specific intention of revitalizing the leadership. It stated that members should contact Marcus Robinson rather than the branch elected officers or executive officers. This is an attempt at a hostile takeover of the local NAACP branch by the defendants and the following: James Hightower, Leonard Seawood, Whirlpool Corp., the PGA tournament, and Harbor Shores.

The lawsuit will be heard on April 11, 10am
Judge Sullivan's courtroom, 2 Woodward, Detroit.

Breaking: Last night the BH city commission, 4 to 2, carried out a
Vote of No Confidence in the PGA tournament to be held in BH, May 23-27.