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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A' 'Yes' To Detroit's Grand Bargain Means Things Will Get Ugly

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This post is written by Detroit's Based C.P.A, President of Citizens for Detroit's Future and First African-American Appointed to Michigan's Board of Accountancy under former Governor William Milliken (R) - Tom Barrow. 
Listen to Independent Underground Radio LIVE groundbreaking March 12, 2014 interview with C.P.A. Barrow on Detroit's Bankruptcy at the following link.

From C.P.A. - Tom Barrow:

A number of Detroit pensioners have asked whether they should vote "Yes" or "No" on the so-called "Grand Bargain". While as CFDF president, I explained that I nor several of  our members are not city retirees, I explained that my mother and others in my family were and are. For that reason, our organization has agreed to go record telling what I and the membership of CFDF believes would have been in my mom's and my family's best interest.

I begin stating that I have read the voluminous 3" thick document (no average senior citizen will likely ever read it or understand its complex legalese). As CFDF president, I also reviewed the proposed ballot received, as well as its so-called "claw back" amount seeking repayments of some heretofore unannounced debt due from city retiree's .

Having said that, we are convinced that the "Grand Bargain" would not have been a bargain for my mom no my family, further that its so-called "claw back" provision is entirely arbitrary and an overall horrible deal for the city's retirees. Instead, we see the "bargain" as a proposal which shifts responsibility onto the most vulnerable as if somehow retirees are responsible for the city's "phony" malaise.

The first glaring anomaly is that the "bargain" requires retirees to waive essential constitutional rights to sue the State or City forever. Cleverly, this means that even if currently pending federal lawsuits are successful and the EM law struck down as unconsitutional, retirees will have consented not to sue and will have assented to cut their own income and eliminate their own generationally promised benefits.

Why, because the pension obligation is a state constitutionally mandated obligation. This provision alone should cause any rational retiree to question how grand the "Bargain" truly is.

Next, its so-called "claw back" provision (mandate to repay some out-of-the-blue overpayment allegedly received by select pensioners) is arbitrary and selectively designed to co-op a particular group of city retirees. The truth is the "bargain" is really a subliminal deal made necessary to get the state money necessary to fund the transfer of the DIA and its art assets into others hands thus allowing it to spin off from the control of the City and into a private non-profit and away from the people of Detroit.

Finally, the "bargain" provides for draconian reductions in benefits and virtually eliminates the meager cost-of-living raise for retirees who are barely living and already choosing between food and medicine. In short, it will be a license for the elderly to impoverish themselves. It is no secret that Citizens for Detroit's Future has long taken the open position that this entire bankruptcy was phony, contrived and intended to transfer the wealth of the City.  This last piece, asking pensioners to impoverish themselves, takes advantage of those who trusted and had relied on the city's promise for decades.

Conservatives want seniors to consent to cut their own throat, a request which in our view, is absurd.  It is for these and a bevy of other unspoken reasons too numerous to list , I would have urged my own mother and have, in fact, told my family members to vote "NO" as the "Bargain" is no bargain at all. If city officials want to consent to transfer the city's wealth, it should not be on old people's backs. In my view, conservative extremists are going to do what ever they want no matter what you do...they would just would like to have your consent to later point to it and say "well you agreed"!

Citizens for Detroit's Future,
Tom Barrow, President

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