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August 20, 2018, 06:04:34 pm
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Author Topic: "By their fruits ye shall know them."  (Read 1182 times)
Ed W
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« on: April 20, 2011, 03:39:09 pm »

This is a disturbing story, all the more so because the national media isn't running it.  Michigan's governor appointed an emergency manager to run Benton Harbor, replacing the duly elected officials with an un-elected bureaucrat.  The law permitting this was passed in the Republican majority legislature. 

The town government now has the authority to open a meeting, read the agenda, and close the meeting - nothing more.  All local power now rests with this unelected autocrat. 

I really don't care what the reasons were for this draconian approach.  I don't know and really don't care what problems the people and government of Benton Harbor faced.  It's their town, their government, and for the state governor to usurp their chosen officials is over reaching.  Short of malfeasance - a crime, by the way - there's no justification for this destruction of local government and local authority.  We're Americans.  We believe in democracy...except in Michigan, apparently.

http://michiganmessenger.com/48403/maddow-benton-harbor-is-ground-zero-of-american-politics
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Ed

"In a democracy, people get the government they deserve"...Joseph de Maistre
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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2011, 04:26:05 pm »

From the Detroit Free Press:
Quote
EFMs can be appointed by the state treasurer if a city or school district is declared a financial emergency, under specific criteria in the law. The law also allows the state to more quickly intervene in communities that are falling of a financial cliff and to take steps short of appointing an EFM.


Last week, Benton Harbor became the first local government to have its leadership nullified under the new law. Joseph Harris, appointed the city’s EFM in April of 2010, declared city officials could meet but not make decisions.

http://www.freep.com/article/20110418/NEWS06/110418040/More-than-300-attend-seminar-emergency-financial-managers-?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE%7Cs


http://www.thetimesherald.com/article/20110416/NEWS05/110416011/1002/rss


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Conan71
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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2011, 05:18:06 pm »

While draconian in nature, it's at least important to know what caused this in the first place before striking out that this was the work of nefarious Tea Baggers because Madcow says it's so.  FWIW, former Democrat Governor Jennifer Granholm signed off on privatizing the park in question when she was still in office if the OP's intention was to sully Republicans in the Michigan legislature.  Other articles question that this law is racially-motivated.  If cities with black majorities are not managing their funds properly or suffering from chronic malfeasance, they need to have someone come in and put an end to it. Otherwise, the citizens are being ripped off.  I don't believe nullifying the decision-making powers is a permanent solution but it does allow some way to put a lid on incompetent local government.

From the article cited in the OP:

"I am extremely concerned about the future of this maneuver. But, there are some concerning circumstances that have made this either a necessity or to watch BH slide into the canal.
first: the city council voted for the use of the park by the golf course. It was contested, and I was concerned for that as well...but the park was not cared for. It was dangerous, and I do mean dangerous, to go there. The addition has been a boon for BH, even if it came at a very difficult price.

a: the area is cleaned up. It was a trash-heap. That is not conjecture, not hearsay....I was there. It was shameful. People would dump trash and other household things, like beds, appliances, etc. It was an area rife with drug and violence, houses falling down, despair.

b: a very low tax base, BH desperately needed revenue. The loss of numerous companies...AutoSpecialties, Whirlpool's production factories, Clark Equipment, Bendix....Bosche, and numerous others. There are no jobs, no taxes being paid, and the area is in worsening ruin. Something needed to come in, and only rich people own factories. Do the math.

second: the BH city council has repeatedly been a thorn in the side of the EFM. Ms. Maddow says that the EFM was to work alongside the locals, but there has been nothing but grandstanding and blockades by the BH local govt.

third: The history of financial abuses, inept and possibly even criminal decisions and actions by the BH local government has placed this area in such a situation. Such need to be investigated, in my opinion. Situations like repeated firing of conracted workers only to have to continue to pay them while hiring someone new...even actually hiring that person back to give them 2x pay. Not funding the pensions. Overdraft fees of over $100,000. Numerous state and federal grants seeming to disappear into nothingness. Exhorbitant wages and fees paid to "consultants". Tax dollars going into the money pit that is/was BH.

I don't know if the use of the EFM is right or wrong. It should be remembered that he was sent there under Dem. Gov. Granholm. It should be remembered that it was necessary because the local government was not doing its job. BH was once the pride and jewel of the area....it is now the embarassment, and that has nothing to do with the EFM and everything to do with the manner in which the people of BH have managed themselves and thier town. That's why I don't live there anymore."
« Last Edit: April 20, 2011, 05:21:44 pm by Conan71 » Logged

"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first” -Ronald Reagan
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2011, 05:24:40 pm »

My take is that of an auditor/trustee to oversee the financial goings on, much as you would have some placed in a bank by the FDIC, or a trustee appointed by a bankruptcy court.

As a guess i think they are doing this to try and help towns avoid going into bankrupcty.
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Conan71
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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2011, 05:31:55 pm »

My take is that of an auditor/trustee to oversee the financial goings on, much as you would have some placed in a bank by the FDIC, or a trustee appointed by a bankruptcy court.

As a guess i think they are doing this to try and help towns avoid going into bankrupcty.

And in a similar manner, a trustee often times can make the board sit on their collective hands until they have unwound the financial mess or started the clean up.

The inference I get is this is a way to say Republicans and the Tea Party are all about taking away sovereignty and liberty.  What other mechanism is there for the people, in this case, to protect themselves from runaway malfeasance?
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"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first” -Ronald Reagan
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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2011, 06:21:09 pm »

What other mechanism is there for the people, in this case, to protect themselves from runaway malfeasance?

The vote.
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Red Arrow
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« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2011, 06:44:49 pm »

Taking over a town with an appointed person just isn't right.   Let them go bankrupt and figure out the cure themselves.

No bailout either.
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Conan71
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« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2011, 08:46:23 pm »

The vote.

Yes, that's working so well on the local, state, and national level isn't it?  So the voters just sit on their hands for anywhere from months to a couple of years to vote those responsible out when it's really that effed up?  Have you guys read the kinds of things going on in Michigan which are the reason for this bill?  
« Last Edit: April 20, 2011, 08:48:15 pm by Conan71 » Logged

"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first” -Ronald Reagan
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« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2011, 11:37:05 pm »

For me, I'm so tired of the wheel of spin doctors from CNN, MSNBC, FOX, Huffington, Rush, Beck, Hannity, Hartman, Rhodes, etal, that it just makes me want to projectile vomit everytime one of them opens there mouths. I would rather find local media to the area that the story is coming from. Guess I'm old fashioned and just to dang cynical anymore.
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Conan71
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« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2011, 12:21:56 am »

Something else to examine is we don't seem to have a problem with abdicating important responsibilities like education, health, environment, energy, national security, etc. to unelected bureaucrats who can change and make policy without so much as consulting the people's representatives.  They make national policies which don't even come close to examining local needs or nuances prior to their implementation. In other words, they can have a far greater influence over every single American than an elected official, yet this is considered acceptable and normal.

Why the sudden horror over a temporary position like this in a local government?
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"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first” -Ronald Reagan
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« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2011, 12:36:09 am »

Something else to examine is we don't seem to have a problem with abdicating important responsibilities like education, health, environment, energy, national security, etc. to unelected bureaucrats who can change and make policy without so much as consulting the people's representatives.  They make national policies which don't even come close to examining local needs or nuances prior to their implementation. In other words, they can have a far greater influence over every single American than an elected official, yet this is considered acceptable and normal.

Why the sudden horror over a temporary position like this in a local government?

With me none. The city gov't I work for needed this about four years ago, and especially in the last two years during a major financial crunch and terminations, threats of layoffs, 20% paycuts and screaming they have no money, then turn around and spend $50 million on land for parks that won't be financed for almost twenty years, and then turn around and lease the land back to the dairy farmer that owned the land for $1.00 per year. So the dairy farmer sold his land, get to keep his dairy business and pay nothing for the land for at least five years.

I think that we have lost control of the one thing we are supposed to have control in is the gov't. The genie has been let out of the bottle and we want wishes granted by the genie. It's the pendulum therory, and it just swings wildly.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2011, 12:40:14 am by dbacks fan » Logged
Conan71
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« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2011, 07:51:49 am »

Our over-dependence on government is the exact reason there's so much graft, corruption, and outright ineptitude in our leadership. 
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"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first” -Ronald Reagan
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