Friday, August 03, 2012

Whirlpool merges with government: Fascism in Berrien County

Mlive and the Herald Palladium report that Benton Harbor/St. Joe power players are doing some fanagling and switching places. Facism can be a delicate business at times.

Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Joseph Harris says he is in the dark about the state's plan for his job. Will the town move back to local control, or will someone new be appointed and the emergency manager law remains in place?

Harris said he's being forced out by political adversaries at Whirlpool. But for the past 2 years, Harris has been working with Whirlpool against the community. He told that a meeting of five Benton Harbor area "community leaders" took place in Lansing and sparked the state's desire for transition.

Attending the meeting were:

James Hightower, Benton Harbor Mayor
Dave Whitwam, retired Whirlpool CEO
Al Pscholka, State Rep.
Jeff Noel, Whirlpool vice-president of communciation and public affairs
Marcus Robinson, then-president of the Consortium for Community Development, recently fired by Whirlpool (word on the street)

It was a stark example of fascism: government and corporate interests making public policy decisions.

Each of them gave a slightly different reason for the meeting's purpose:

*Pscholka confirmed that he attended the meeting, but said, "That meeting and the fiscal accountability act (emergency manager law) is really not about politics and personalities."

*Whitwam said the meeting was about trying to understand the transition process to return the city to local control.

*Noel said, "For me, the discussion was more around what can be done to help the city, how do we rebuild the city, create partnerships, etc., for the city to be self-sufficient."

*"My impression was that it (the meeting) was about...being the new mayor, we needed to discuss how to reset," Hightower said.

*Robinson said the Lansing meeting was about bringing the city back to local control, but that wasn't a reflection on the job Harris has done.

EM Joe Harris said Lansing has not brought him into the discussion. He stated that it was "interesting" that Al Pscholka went to Lansing with Jeff Noel and Dave Whitwam and that "Whirlpool's finger prints are all over this." Who does Harris think his boss has been for the past 2 years?

Harris questions why, if the meeting was about a transition plan back to local government control, he was not included in the meeting.

"I am not accusing anybody of anything," Harris said, "I am trying to figure this out." Right. As if you're just now waking up to what's been going on in Berrien County (for decades.)

One would have to be living in a cave for the past fifty years (or more) to be unaware of Whirlpool's control of city and county government, and that they are one of the major corporate players dominating state of Michigan policies and laws.

Facebook comments:

Catherine Sanders Phillips
LOL what paper was this in?
July 26 · Like

Denise Ringler Nash
Wow, he makes himself sound like "man of the year" or something. Yet he sold property he had no business selling! I'm sure all that JOY expressed was by the 1%.
July 27 Like · 1

Marion Townsend
I guess political reasons means he sucks at his job?
July 27 Like · 2

Jan BenDor
And he thinks he got his job for nonpolitical reasons? Whirlpool wanted him to get that whole city dismantled and sold off by now. No wonder they want him out. Too slow.
July 27 Like · 3

Carl F. Brooks
MY TWO CENTS: Joe Harris attracted too much state and national media attention with his brazen attitude and actions. The Republicans and corporate CEOs want to replace him with a quiet, sneaky, conniving, nerd like Snyder.
July 27 Like · 7

Kelly Weaver
It proves that keeping the spotlight on these little dictators works. The more we keep it up the harder it is for them to conduct their backroom deals.
July 29 Like · 2