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ORR’S CUTS DEVASTATE RETIREES

Belinda Meyers-Florence worked for the city of Detroit for 35 years. A licensed social worker with a master’s degree from Wayne State University, Meyers-Florence spent much of her tenure with the city fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS, treating drug addicts, and helping struggling and jobless Detroiters use federally-funded grants to keep their heat on during Michigan’s harsh winters. Detroit Emergency Manage ...

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Cost of state’s $9M theft from HP: Street lights and water plant

Over the last decade, the state of Michigan withheld $8.9 million in revenue sharing funds from the city of Highland Park. The state used the money to balance its own budget, according to a recent Michigan Municipal League report. Now Highland Park is fighting off the fourth state takeover in the last decade; struggling to provide basic city services; and currently amending a tightly stretched budget. ...

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House expands EAA

Only with the votes of two Detroit state representatives was the Michigan House of Representatives able to pass legislation March 20 expanding the statewide experimental district for failing students, the Educational Achievement Authority. The bill returns to the Senate for a concurrence vote. Fifteen Detroit Public Schools were taken in 2011 to form the district, which was created by an agreement between G ...

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Contracts and the Constitution

A Pontiac lawsuit, which could have far-reaching implications throughout Michigan, was heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati last week. The case was brought by city retirees who had their healthcare benefits slashed by then-Emergency Manager Louis Schimmel in December 2011. A federal lawsuit was filed on behalf of retirees in June 2012. Among other allegations, it was claime ...

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Questionable efforts

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and his high-priced attorneys fail to provide adequate representation for the city. They continue to fall short of basic responsibilities in protecting city interests. It seems Orr and company are determined to give tax money to bankers, no matter how questionable the banker’s claims. The initial efforts to settle debts with Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and USB were rej ...

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House approves expansion of failing district

LANSING –  Michigan’s Republican-led House of Representatives approved March 20, legislation to expand the statewide experimental district for failing students, the Educational Achievement Authority. The EAA was created in 2011 by an agreement between Gov. Rick Snyder, former Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Roy Roberts and Eastern Michigan University’s board of regents. Fifteen DPS schools were tak ...

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Duggan mum on state theft of city funds

While mayors across the state are claiming state actions to withhold revenue sharing funds from local governments are “unconstitutional” and “illegal,” Mayor Mike Duggan so far is silent on the state’s diversion of $772 million from the city of Detroit. It’s a loss experts say led to the consent decree, the appointment of emergency manger Kevyn Orr and the filing of bankruptcy. ...

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ACLU calls on state to ‘shed light’ on stand your ground laws

In response to the killings and subsequent verdicts in the deaths of Florida teens Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, and the killing of Detroit resident Renisha McBride, as well as countless nationally unknown cases, the ACLU of Michigan has called on state Attorney General Bill Schuette to commission research into the state’s “stand your ground” laws. “As the anguish surrounding these tragic deaths understa ...

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Value choices

Voices critical of Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s plan are growing. Basic assumptions fostered by Orr, the corporate-foundation elite and their media are being undermined. The criticisms of community and labor activists are spreading from the streets to the halls of academia as it is becoming clear the decisions we are facing are not only about Detroit, but also about the kind of country we will beco ...

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