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Mon Oct 19, 2015, 06:02 PM

 

How Michiganís Emergency Management Law Poisoned Flintís Children



Wed, 10/14/2015 - by C. Robert Gibson, occupy.com
Flint may have finally reconnected to Detroitís water infrastructure, but the damage done to its population by the ill-advised connection to the Flint River is irreversible. If Michiganders are looking for someone to blame for the travesty in Flint, they need look no further than Governor Rick Snyder and the emergency manager Snyder appointed who unilaterally made a decision that put thousands of children and adults at serious risk.

Emergency Management Enforces Inequality

In 2011, one of the first actions of the Snyder administration and the Republican-controlled Michigan legislature was to pass Public Act 4 (PA 4), which strengthened the stateís controversial emergency manager (EM) law. To clarify, the EM law effectively erases the sovereignty of local governments by installing a state-appointed autocrat whose decisions can override city councils and mayors.

But PA 4 went a step further by allowing EMs to dissolve hard-won collective bargaining agreements between public sector unions and the state, cut pensions, and unilaterally decide to privatize public assets. PA 4 was so unpopular that the stateís unions successfully banded together, organized a ballot referendum to abolish the law, and got rid of it by a 52 to 48 margin. Just a month later, Snyder signed an entirely new EM bill into law, thumbing his nose at democracy.

While Snyder maintains the EM laws are necessary to save financially-insolvent municipalities from themselves, itís worth noting that Snyder only enforces the laws in Democratic-voting, predominantly-black communities, even though some white, Republican-leaning cities and towns are in equally dire financial straits. The 2010 Census data shows that just 14.2 percent of Michiganís residents are black Ė yet 80 percent of Michiganís black residents have lived under an EM while Snyder has been governor.

For example, in Handy and Livingston counties, Cindy Denby and Bill Rogers Ė two Republican state representatives hailing from those districts, respectively Ė took on millions in debt to build expensive housing developments. After realizing these bad financial decisions put their lily-white districts at risk of being taken over by an EM, Denby and Rogers co-sponsored a bill that would allow a bailout of their towns with state tax dollars should insolvency be declared. Effectively, this means that the EM law creates two governments Ė sovereign ones for white, Republican-voting towns, and banana republics for majority-black communities, with a state-appointed dictator to make financial decisions on their behalf. Flint falls into the latter category. And thatís ultimately what led to the water crisis that poisoned Flintís population.

Lots more

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Reply How Michiganís Emergency Management Law Poisoned Flintís Children (Original post)
antiquie Oct 2015 OP
Demeter Oct 2015 #1

Response to antiquie (Original post)

Mon Oct 19, 2015, 06:44 PM

1. We will probably have a special tax to pay for all the civil lawsuits

 

Even if it puts an end to Snyder, it's too high a price.

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