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A takeover by any name is a takeover

I think it would be productive for the citizens of Detroit to publicly have a conversation that is already taking place privately — the business class that left Detroit in the 1970s and ‘80s are back. No one is fooled by the talk of financial crisis and mismanagement; it is clear the way Public Act 436 was passed. It had the feel of an executive order. Even though other cities in the state have also been taken over by emergency financial managers, Detroit is the prize.

There are city assets such as Belle Isle and the water system that other communities have been trying to seize control of. They will be sold or given control to some one other than the people of Detroit. Think about it, if EFMs have sold assets or privatized them everywhere else, what makes Detroit different.

As I watched the press conference where an uncomfortable looking Dave Bing and an emotionless Gov. Snyder introduced emergency financial Kevyn Orr, I was amazed at how the talk was bout state and local collaboration, partnership, team and other commitments the state has failed to make to Detroit. Why now? Why not when the lights first went out? And why is that the first initiative? When does this collaboration, partnership, and team begin?

Kevyn Orr did not sit down with all the city officials, nor the struggling people of Detroit to allow Detroit to share with him their most immediate needs. He and the state are obviously coming in with an agenda that does not require input from the citizens or officials.

For a Washington, D.C. lawyer, Orr was extremely well versed in not only state law, but local law too. He was over-prepared for that moment. Not for one minute do I think that Orr had not known months ago he would be appointed czar of Detroit.

There is about to be a lot of money pumped into Detroit. Which means Detroit is going to bounce back. The problem is many of the current residents of Detroit will not be there to enjoy a new Detroit.

When Bing was attempting to so-called shrink Detroit by denying city services to certain neighborhoods, that was an attempt to push people out. When that was defeated, the plan became to end blight by mass demolition of houses. The plan wasn’t to build afterwards, just tear down. That is because if there is nothing there, there is no reason to be around. Neighborhoods were and are literally being turned into wide open fields.

You don’t take over, then declare there will be a partnership. Those are gangster-tactics, by a gangster-government that made a mockery of the democratic process when it rammed Public Act 436 through the legislature after the people had voted down PA 4, the very same law. Then attached an appropriations bill to it so that it could not be voted down again. The hand writing was on the wall from that point going forward.

This is not the time to sit on our hands and hope that the political situation will fix itself. Neither is this the time to be distracted with issues that don’t focus on the details. This is the time to show some solidarity and support for your fellow Detroiter. The time to fight for the level of democracy that places you in control of your life and future.

Lacino Hamilton, 247310
New Haven

 

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