Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Struggle Escalates

In 2009, residents who wanted to challenge corporate control of Benton Harbor, became the majority on the city commission. As the city's economy continued to deteriorate with the global economic crisis and corporate neglect, its financial situation worsened. Then  Gov-Jennifer Granholm appointed an emergency financial manager( EFM )under Public ACT 72 to assume control over Benton Harbor finances. This EFMs was one of a number appointed across Michigan in the 2000s. The EFM had limited power in early 2011, the legislature passed Public Act 4, which turned the EFMs into emergency managers EM with broad powers to overrule elected officials and take dictatorial control of cities and school districts. Benton Harbor was one of the first cities to have an EM. When the people of Michigan overturned Public Act4 by referendum in 2012, the legislature thumbed its nose at the people and promptly passed a new version of the law, public Act 436, which is not subject to referendum.

The emergency manager law allows , the EMs to take over cities and school districts and replace local officials, sell public assets, privatize public services, dismantle collective bargaining agreements and more, They are dictators in the service of the corporations.Between 2010 and early 2014. Benton Harbor had two different EMs, and they stripped city officials of their power, cut city spending and continued giving away public land Whirlpool.

In 2011 James Hightower a puppet of Whirlpool was elected mayor. When Benton Harbor residents proposed that the city enact by referendum a 1% income tax aimed at Whirlpool to help solve the city's financial crisis , Whirlpool and Hightower worked to defeat the measure through a massive misinformation campaign. In 2013 , Pinkney and others launched an effort to recall Hightower. They gathered the required numbers of signatures to force a recall election and turned them into the county clerk, who verified them. This is what you can do when you have unity and work together...