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Own the land: Hip hop, EMs, land and love

It appears that spring has at last arrived in southeast Michigan.  Gardeners around the city are eying their backyards, the empty lots and thinking about seeds, greens and growing. The overhanging cloud is the emergency manager (EM); what will happen to the city’s vacant lots, empty blocks and existing community gardens.

This past year, residents unsuccessfully protested the Hantz land deal, a gift to corporate ownership. The community offered instead a vision of shared resources for community improvement, best use for the most people.

And that is what gardening is about: Use what you have and make your life better. On page three, readers can find out how valuable dandelions are, nutritionally and politically.  And as the article on page nine describes, the hip hop community has taken up that vision and provided an anthem for the gardening movement, self-determination and the creation of sustainable communities. The movement offers the vision and encouragement for Dr. King’s Beloved Community in Detroit realities.

We encourage readers to join that movement and with their neighbors create a community garden or till, plant and harvest a piece of the back yard. Thank the hip hop community for their love, get growing and peace out.

Importance of a ‘no’ vote for Jones Day

The Council Five should not have voted for the Jones Day contract. Only Members JoAnn Watson and Brenda Jones had the good sense, the dedication to the city and a sense of responsibility to vote no.

The two members articulated the reasons to vote no:

  • Conflict of interest. “How does the city hire the lenders’ lawyer to protect the borrowers?” Watson asked. Jones Day represents the banks that have lent the city money, at unfavorable rates.
  • Federal Law suit. The council supports the federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the emergency manager law. To vote for the contract means the Jones Day contract will stand even if the EM law is struck down.
  • The vote is meaningless. The EM has final say over everything in city government. No matter what the council votes, the last word and the final decision is what the EM wants. The Council five essentially did Snyder’s dirty work and provided the EM the sham of democracy to hide behind.

The council members did not express, but we will, what most Detroiters are thinking and saying. The Council Five simply wants to protect their paycheck, which depends on staying in the EM’s favor.

As the protesters shouted while being escorted out of council chambers and taken to jail: Shame! Shame on the council five! Shame!

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