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Monday, November 4, 2013

Op/Ed - Ten Reasons Why Detroit Residents Must Vote Tuesday, November 5th

Vote (Photo credit: Vaguely Artistic)

The word is out. It's predicted the number of Detroit residents voting in Tuesday, November 5 General Election will be between 20-25 percent. According to City of Detroit Clerk Janice Winfrey, participation in Tuesday's election over August 6 primary 17 percent turnout, would only increase sparsely by 3 to 8 percent points.

Detroit is in crisis mode. The crisis is economic in nature. Targets are pensioners and City citizens, old and young alike. Following Michigan Governor Rick Snyder ultimatum, Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr mission is keenly focused upon leaving pensioners in breadlines and City assets privatized.

The City's Election 2009, seating a Mayor and City Council in Detroit have effectively been nullified as E.M. Kevyn Orr controls nearly all the power. Detroit's citizens must openly question if voting is worth it.

Of course voting is important.

Governor Snyder signed into Public Act #436 of 2012 a mere three weeks after voters across Michigan nullified Public Act #4 of 2011. The purpose was to send a message. Power and control over the future of Detroit along with Michigan by extension, sits directly in Snyder's hands.

Meanwhile millions of dollars in no-bid Pay for Play contracts are handed out like old Halloween candy to CVS, Jones Day, the Manhattan Institute and more by the Governor's man on the job, Kevyn Orr.

The dirty little secret or fly on the wall is complacency is good for Governor Rick Snyder's long-term vision. Complacent Detroit Residents equals in return voters who stay home on election day.

Not exercising a right to vote speaks volumes in denying the most valuable means for express grievances about dysfunctional governmental unit, with an unwavering goal of suppressing dissension.

Thus, Detroit Residents must vote in larger numbers than the predicted 20-25 percent. Here are ten reasons why:

1). Belle Isle has been taken over. Once a jewel gifted to the City of Detroit for life, this City Park is now leased by the State of Michigan for at least the next 10 years -- if not longer.
"The deal council approved by a 4-2 vote will be one of two lease agreements a state panel will consider over the next 30 days. The other is a 30-year lease proposal emergency manager Kevyn Orr and Gov. Rick Snyder approved earlier this month. The council unanimously rejected that plan on Monday," the Detroit Free Press reported October 15.

2). Detroit Mayor and City Council power to decide the City's future is 
neutralized by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.
"Orr's sweeping powers allow him to reverse most actions taken by the mayor and city council. As a result, Mayor Dave Bing and the current council have become mostly bystanders to Detroit's turnaround effort, including the July bankruptcy filing, the largest Chapter 9 municipal filing in U.S. history," Reuters cited on November 4.
3). A former Wayne County Prosecutor and CEO of the Detroit Medical Center, Mike Duggan is vying for Mayor, despite moving Motorcity in 2012 - to run for Mayor. And that's not all:
"In a recent interview Michigan Chronicle, Snyder chief of staff Dennis Muchmore admitted Duggan was asked to become the Emergency Manager of Detroit Public Schools in 2011.

"In a rare interview published Wednesday by the Michigan Chronicle, Snyder chief of staff Dennis Muchmore also was quoted as saying Duggan wasn’t considered for the Detroit EM slot.  
According to the interview, the Detroit Public Schools emergency manager job was discussed with Duggan," the Detroit Free Press reported on November 2.
4). City of Detroit Pensioners stand to lose a practical, necessary from of income by current and future retirees by the monthly revenue reduction of $.10 on the dollar. Retirees receiving a $2000 a month pension guarantee could end up struggling to live on $200 a month or less.
“I might have $1,400 or $1,500 and then you have to pay rent, lights, you have to pay the telephone bill, all those other things,” Smith said. “I might be living off of $200 a month by the time all of those deductions are out. Can you live off of $200 a month?” retiree Donald Smith, 68, told MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes program in October.
5). Billions of dollars in no-bid privatized contracts waste City revenue which should be spend on revitalizing Detroit, paying liabilities and protecting retiree pensions. CVS Caremark gave $1000 to the former NERD Fund.

E.M. Orr then awarded the Company a $60 million dollar contract.  Orr's long time friend Stacy Fox was given a $175,000 contract to become Detroit's Deputy Emergency Manager. Conway McKenzie, who suggested hiring Orr in the first place hit the jackpot with a $4.2 million dollar contract, just to name a few.

"Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson today called on Gov. Snyder to disclose all donors to his secret NERD Fund, including any additional donors with conflicts of interest in the wake of a report that a subsidiary of CVS Caremark, the only known contributor to the NERD Fund, had received a $60 million no-bid contract," a October 31 press release detailed.
6). Detroit residents have subject to repeated disrespect by the process of Governor Rick Snyder Emergency Management solutions. 

While E.M. Kevyn Orr interviewed with a New York based financial publication, Orr called Michigan residents "Dumb, Lazy, Happy and Rich", E.M. CFO Gary Brown turned the City lights off to "teach a lesson" and former CFO Jim Bonsall evoked negative remembrances of the tragic Trayvon Martin murder case.

Former Deputy Emergency Manager, now Chief Financial Officer Gary Brown turn off the City power downtown on hot afternoon in September 2013. Just last month former C.F.O. Jim Bonsall expressed his desire to "shoot someone in a hoodie" on Angel's Night in Detroit. 
According to Brown, "We did start calling our customers prior to taking them down and asking them to turn off air conditioners, but they weren't responding as fast as we would like them to so we had to send them a strong message by turning the power off."
7). Questions continue on if Detroit's August 6 Primary Election was counted fairly and ballots boxes stuffed. 
A writer at Daily Kos named CLCFLM wrote October 3, "I was at the Cobo Hall Conference Center on Thursday, 09/19/13, during the Manual Recount for the Detroit Primary Election 2013. With my own eyes, I saw duplicate handwriting on at least 100 ballots, for the write-in candidate (Mike Duggan), and these ballots came from two different precincts in the City of Detroit.

In addition, there were 40-50 other people examining ballots over a 10-12-day period at Cobo Hall and these democracy-loving folks challenged thousands of ballots because of duplicate handwriting."
8). Governor Rick Snyder could have saved retiree pensions from possible reductions in Detroit's Chapter 9 Bankruptcy Case, affirming the defined pension protection clause in Michigan's Constitution but, declined doing so. Governor Snyder is Michigan's first Executive elected official in the Great Lakes states 176 year history to challenge a key provision of the Great Lakes state, Constitutional document.  
"I believe I am following the constitution and the constitution of the United States, which treat pensions as a contractual obligation," Snyder testified on October 28 in Detroit's Federal Bankruptcy case.
Michigan Constitution of 1963 states the following in Article XI, Section 24:
"§ 24 Public pension plans and retirement systems, obligation.
Sec. 24. The accrued financial benefits of each pension plan and retirement system of the state and its political subdivisions shall be a contractual obligation thereof which shall not be diminished or impaired thereby."
9). Detroit's Water, Lighting and Public Works departments are set to fall victims of Governor Snyder's version of hyper-privatization, along billions of dollars in Public Art Works at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
"The privatization of public services can erode accountability and transparency, and drive governments deeper into debt. “Governments at all levels are just desperate to balance their budgets, and they’re grasping at privatization as a panacea,” says Susan Duerksen, director of communications for In the Public Interest, a project that examines privatization and contracting to December 2010. “But there’s evidence that it often is a very bad deal with hidden costs and consequences when you turn over public service to a for-profit company.”
10). Detroit, Michigan largest City must start the effort to Governor Rick Snyder a message. Michiganders will stand in unison to remove Koch Brothers funded Corporate-Privatization and Wall-Street over Main-Street policies and take back our State from his control in 2014.

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