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Fiat Chrysler, Just Buy the Land and Do the Right Thing by Detroiters

Fiat Chrysler, Just Buy the Land and Do the Right Thing by Detroiters

On Thursday, May 16, 2019, the benefits package and land transfers were moved through the Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee. There are still many questions that city council members and community need answers to. We anticipate the benefit package and land transfers will be voted on by the full council tomorrow, Tuesday, May 21, 2019.

  • Council Members have openly stated FCA needs to bring more money and benefits to the table, we all agree. Pay your way!
  • Put funds in public libraries and recreation center upgrades and renovations in the impacted are.
  • FCA should buy the land and not demand valuable land and resources from taxpayers. A solution would be for FCA to purchase the land needed for the plant expansion rather than demand the city of Detroit spend millions of dollars to purchase land and GIVE the land to this multi billion dollar corporation. Just buy the Land!
  • Not just Planning Rather than put money into actual construction and renovations, the package only puts money toward planning. FCA needs to put more money into our public Libraries and Recreation Centers.
  • There are still questions about how the Environment Great Lakes Energy (EGLE) permit requirements for additional monitoring and community benefits will be reflected in the deal. FCA have 180 days to work with residents and come up with a plan. We have recommended an Environmental Amendment to the FCA CBA. Residents must be included in the planning of the ELGE permitting requirements.

DPP and Equitable Detroit Coalition thank all Detroiters who care about this issue and for reaching out and making hundreds of calls to elected officials and making the demand for a stronger Community Benefit Agreement.  We also want to acknowledge the support of dedicated volunteers and canvassers who have outreached to more than 5k residents in FCA impact area. Thank you.

Take Action:  Continue to educate your family and friends about how unjust and how unfair this deal is for Detroiters, The benefits package and land transfers for the deal will be voted on by the full council on Tuesday, May 21 2019 at CAYMC on the 13th floor. Please continue to call council members.

A note on Tuesday’s “Committee of the Whole” meeting:
While DPP encourages participation in public comments and value the power of speaking into the public record, next Tuesday’s meeting will most likely be the crowning finale of this episode of political theater.

Let’s make a final call for city council to delay the vote until there is a bigger and better deal for Detroiters. 

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Detroit City Council hits pause on Fiat Chrysler Project

Detroit City Council hits pause on Fiat Chrysler Project

May 9, 2019 Detroit – Today, City Council Planning and Economic Development Committee took the first step toward regaining the confidence of Detroiters by putting our health and welfare first over that of large multi-national corporations like Fiat Chrysler.

As a result of 100s of phone calls to council expressing alarm around the impact of the plants expansion on the quality of the air our children and seniors need to breathe and the lack of transparency and community engagement around the land deals, the PED committee hit pause on this rushed project.

Thank you to all Detroiters who reached out the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), the Planing and Economic Development Committee and Detroit City Council about the Fiat Chrysler benefits package and land transfers.

Today, both the EDC Board and the PED Committee failed to move the land transfers and benefits package forward for a final vote by the committee of the whole. 

By hitting the pause button City Council Members have an opportunity to hold FIAT Chrysler accountable around the environmental and health impacts relations to their planned expansion. 

Fiat Chrysler is a global corporation that earned $4.1 billion in 2018. They have only committed 8.8 million dollars in community benefits on a project that will use up to $280 million in public investment. 

Next steps: 

Continue to keep the pressure on Detroit City Council, demand that Fiat Chrysler not only address environmental health impacts and negotiate a bigger and better CBA. There will be opportunities for public comment around these aspects of the project:

Economic Development Corporation Regular Meeting
Tuesday, May 14, 2019 8:30AM 
DEGC, 500 Griswold, Suite 2200, Detroit 48226

Planning & Economic Development Committee
Thursday, May 16, 2019 10:00 AM
CAYMC, 2 Woodward Ave, 13th floor

Detroit City Council Contact Information

Brenda Jones, Council President, At-Large
313-224-1245 – @DetCouncilPres 
bjones_mb@detroitmi.gov

Janeé L Ayers, At-Large
313-224-1027 – @Ayers4Detroit 
ayersj@detroitmi.gov

James Tate, District 1
313-224-1027 – @CouncilmanTate 
councilmembertate@detroitmi.gov

Roy McCalister Jr., District 2
313-224-4535 – @RoyMcCalisterJr
councilmemberMcCalister@detroitmi.gov

Scott Benson, District 3
313-224-1198 – @Scottinthe3rd 
bensons@detroitmi.gov

André Spivey, District 4
313-224-4841 – @AndreLSpivey 
councilmanspivey@detroitmi.gov

Mary Sheffield, President Pro Temp, District 5
313-224-4505 – @MsMarySheffield councilmembersheffield@detroitmi.gov

Raquel Casteñeda-Lopez, District 6
313-224-2450 – @Raquel4Detroit
councilmemberraquel@detroitmi.gov

Gabe Leland, District 7
313-224-2151 – @GabeLeland 
lelandg@detroitmi.gov

More Details: 

FCA CBA Update 2
http://detroitpeoplesplatform.org/2019/05/fiat-chrysler-cba-update/

FCA Call to Action #1
http://detroitpeoplesplatform.org/2019/05/call-to-action-vote-no-on-the-fiat-chrysler-cba/

FCA EGLE Permit to Install Approval
http://detroitpeoplesplatform.org/2019/04/fiat-chrysler-air-permit-approval-with-additional-monitoring-and-community-benefits/

FCA Environmental Concerns and Demands
http://detroitpeoplesplatform.org/2019/04/fca-expansion-environmental/

FCA CBA Update 1
http://detroitpeoplesplatform.org/2019/04/fiat-chrysler-expansion-community-benefits-update/


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Fiat Chrysler CBA Update

Fiat Chrysler CBA Update

Yesterday, May 7th, 2019, Residents from the Impact Area, two NAC members and Detroit People’s Platform and Equitable Detroit Coalition representatives attended Detroit City Council. Public comments were made demanding Council Members vote “No” on on the Fiat Chrysler Community Benefits Package and for a new CBA. The two Neighborhood Advisory Council members who were voted in by the community also made public comment demanding that Council Members vote “No” and renegotiate the benefits package. 

NAC Member Public Comment

Michelle Jackson Public Comment Video: https://youtu.be/gK0lBsCnFv8

This statement from NAC member Rhonda Theuss was read into the public record:

“My name is Rhonda Theus and I was voted as a member of the FCA Expansion NAC by the community.

The FCA NAC was put in an extremely difficult situation under impossible time constraints.  In addition, we were not provided critical information by the City of Detroit and FCA with regard to the full amount of tax and land benefits which would have a direct impact on the community benefits.

There were changes made to what the NAC agreed to on Wednesday and what was presented for signature on Thursday.

The community deserves better than this. I am asking that the Detroit City Council not sign the current agreement and allow the FCA NAC to renegotiate better benefits for the community.”

The Issues

Last Friday, May 3, the city disclosed the details of the Fiat Chrysler deal. The city revealed that an additional $43.5 million of public money would be spent to assemble the land Fiat Chrysler needs for the deal. This includes allowing Moroun to purchase 117 acres of land in Southwest Detroit. 

This is NOT what the Neighborhood Advisory Council agreed to. In support of what is best for the community we need council to stop thisland transfer for Fiat Chrysler and address resident concerns. 

Today’s Call to Action:

Please call Council Members Tate, Benson, and Leland, who are on the Planning and Economic Development Committee and tell them you don’t agree with accepting this CBA as it is and that residents need a voice in the transfer of land around the deal. 

Tell them to vote NO on the land transfers and the benefits package. The residents of Southwest Detroit were not engaged around this deal and the city added additional public money AFTER the initial agreement between the NAC on the Lower East Side and Fiat Chrysler. 

Before going to Planning and Economic Development the land transfers will be voted on by EDC at 8:30 am tmrw morning. 

Economic Development Corporation
Board of Directors Special Meeting 
Thursday May 9, 2019 8:30 am
DEGC, 500 Griswold, Suite 2200, Detroit 48226 

It will then move to the Planning and Economic Development Committee at 10am on the 13th floor of CAYMC.

Public Comment can be given at both meetings. 

James Tate, District 1
313-224-1027 – @CouncilmanTate councilmembertate@detroitmi.gov

Scott Benson, District 3
313-224-1198 – @Scottinthe3rd
bensons@detroitmi.gov

Gabe Leland, District 7
313-224-2151 – @GabeLeland  
lelandg@detroitmi.gov

Plan to take Action again this week and next!


We anticipate the final vote on the Community Benefits Package and the final land transfers to take place next Tuesday, May 14th at the 10am Detroit City Council Committee of the Whole meeting.

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Call to Action: Vote NO on the Fiat Chrysler CBA

Call to Action: Vote NO on the Fiat Chrysler CBA

UPDATE May 7, 2019 3 pm
Thank you to everyone who joined us at City Council today and have made calls. We had feedback of over 100 calls into council by COB yesterday. Please keep up the calls and stay tuned for future actions. $8.8 million in community benefits on “up to $280 million” in public investment is not enough. #FCACBA

On Friday, May 3, in a large press conference downtown the details of the Fiat Chrysler deal were finally disclosed. The city revealed that an additional $50.6 million of public money would be spent to assemble the land needed for the deal.

Morouns get $43.5 million and 117 acres for 82.2 acres that will be given to FCA for free!

Total land costs are $107.6 million, with $50.6 million coming from city and the rest coming from State loans and grants.

DO THE MATH
The original public investment $160 million + additional $50.6 million for land deals = $210.6 million + the value of the land swapped (???) vs. $8.8 million* in community benefits from FCA for Detroiters.

*As Council Member Spivey pointed out in the Planning and Economic Development Committee on May 2, if you take $5 million from the state for workforce development that FCA added to their totals, their contribution to the benefits package is only $8.8 million

This is a losing proposition for Detroiters any way you slice it.

We want a New CBA!

Call to Action:

Today, reach out to friends, family and community to share these details.

Monday, May 6 – contact all Detroit City Council members and tell them to vote NO on the Fiat Chrysler CBA. We want a New CBA!

Tuesday, May 7th – join us at 9:30 am at City Council for public comments.

Detroit City Council will vote on the benefits package next Tuesday, May 7th. The land transfer will have to go to Planning and Economic Development Committee next week with a full council vote on Tuesday, May 14th.

  1. Demand City Council to vote “No” on the FIat Chrysler Community Benefits package. We want a new CBA.

  2. Demand City Council to support an Environmental Amendment to the Fiat Chrysler CBA that will support additional air monitoring and community benefits specific environmental health. (read our environmental one-sheet)

Detroit City Council Contact Information

Brenda Jones, Council President, At-Large
313-224-1245 – @DetCouncilPres
bjones_mb@detroitmi.gov

Janeé L Ayers, At-Large
313-224-1027 – @Ayers4Detroit
ayersj@detroitmi.gov

James Tate, District 1
313-224-1027 – @CouncilmanTate
councilmembertate@detroitmi.gov

Roy McCalister Jr., District 2
313-224-4535 – @RoyMcCalisterJr
councilmemberMcCalister@detroitmi.gov

Scott Benson, District 3
313-224-1198 – @Scottinthe3rd
bensons@detroitmi.gov

André Spivey, District 4
313-224-4505 – @AndreLSpivey
councilmanspivey@detroitmi.gov

Mary Sheffield, President Pro Temp, District 5
313-224-4505 – @MsMarySheffield councilmembersheffield@detroitmi.gov

Raquel Casteñeda-Lopez, District 6
313-224-2450 – @Raquel4Detroit
councilmemberraquel@detroitmi.gov

Gabe Leland, District 7
313-224-2151 – @GabeLeland
lelandg@detroitmi.gov

Background:

On Wednesday, March 13, The Community Benefits process for the Fiat Chrysler project was introduced to residents in the “impact area” around the project.

Only seven weeks later, On Wednesday, April 24, the Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC) approved the community benefits package. The vote was met with silence and disapproval from many of the residents.

In April, the NAC approved the package based on Fiat Chrysler’s stated request for up to $160 million in public investment from the city and state. Fiat Chrysler’s contribution to the benefits package is only $8.8* million. This is not enough.

*As Council Member Spivey pointed out in the Planning and Economic Development Committee on May 2, if you take $5 million from the state for workforce development that FCA added to their totals, their contribution to the benefits package is only $8.8 million

On Friday, May 3, in a large press conference downtown the details of the Fiat Chrysler deal were finally disclosed. The city revealed that an additional $50.6 million of public money would be spent to assemble the land needed for the deal.

The negotiations with the NAC were based on $160 million in public investment when they should have been working from $210.6 million. $8.8 million for community investment on $210.6 million of pubic investment is even more unacceptable.

This ‘reveal’ of an additional $50.6 million after the NAC’s approval comes on top of a litany of issues with the community benefits process.

Detroit City Council will vote on the benefits package next Tuesday, May 7th. The land transfer will have to go to Planning and Economic Development Committee next week with a full council vote on Tuesday, May 14th.

We demand city council to vote “No” on the FIat Chrysler Community Benefits package. We want a new CBA.

We are also demanding city council to support an Environmental Amendment to the Fiat Chrysler CBA that accommodates the State of Michigan’s permit approval conditions for additional air monitoring and community benefits specific to environmental health. (See EGLE press release)

Timeline

Wednesday, March 13
CBA process begins

Wednesday. April 24
NAC approval of benefits package

Friday, April 26
EGLE permit approval with additional monitoring and community benefits

Saturday, April 27
Missed deadline for land assembly

Friday, May 3
Land transfer press conference where 50.6 million in public investment is added to the deal.

Tuesday, May 7
Council vote on Fiat Chrysler benefits package

Tuesday, May 14
Council vote on final land transfers for the deal

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Fiat Chrysler air permit approval with additional monitoring and community benefits

Fiat Chrysler air permit approval with additional monitoring and community benefits

On Friday, April 27, 2019, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) announced the issuance of Fiat Chrysler America (FCA) air permits with additional monitoring and community benefit requirements. 

In addition to land assembly, approval of the a community benefits package by the Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC), zoning approvals and other planning, these EGLE permits are one of many moving parts to finalize the Fiat Chrysler expansion. 

  • The permits are for the installation of a new assembly line and emissions increase in Detroit’s Lower East Side and a reduction in emissions at their existing facility in Warren.
  • Both plants are within an EPA designated nonattainment area for ozone, which means that ozone levels are above national, health-based air quality standards.
  • Detroit’s Lower East Side has some of the highest asthma rates in the city.

Many impact area residents and environmental justice advocates submitted comments at the April 19th public hearing hosted by EGLE (then named MEDQ) at Southeastern High School. 

In the closing days of the negotiations around the community benefits package with Fiat Chrysler, resident concern about the environmental and health impacts of the plant and other pertinent issues came to the forefront.

The EGLE press release states; “As part of the public comment period and public hearing… there were several requests for air monitoring near the facility and for additional work with the community to identify projects that would have local benefit.” 

Mary Ann Dolehanty, EGLE Air Quality Division Director is quoted; “Those comments led to the inclusion of both additional air monitoring and community benefit requirements in the permits that were issued today.”

While we are still learning details about the planning and implementation of these aspect of the permits, we want to recognize the residents of the impact area who organized around these issues and spoke out about the reality of public health in their community to influence outcomes here. 

Along with residents and the environmental justice community, Equitable Detroit Coalition and Detroit People’s Platform will continue to monitor developments as this deal moves forward.

On April 24th the NAC approved $13.8 million in community benefits from Fiat Chrysler. We thank the NAC for their service. This phase of the CBA process with the NAC has ended, it now moves to city council. The committee of the whole is expected to vote on the Fiat Chrysler community benefits package approved by the NAC on Tuesday, May 7th.

The status of the land deal with the Moroun Family for the final 80 acres needed to assemble the land is still unknown.

Read the full EGLE press release: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MIDEQ/bulletins/2412a2c

Read Equitable Detroit Coalition and Detroit People’s Platform info sheets on the public tax incentives http://detroitpeoplesplatform.org/2019/04/fiat-chrysler-expansion-community-benefits-update/ and the environmental concerns http://detroitpeoplesplatform.org/2019/04/fca-expansion-environmental/ around the Fiat Chrysler expansion.

Thank you to Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition and Breathe Free Detroit for support. 

Detroit People’s Platform is the host organization for the city-wide Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) coalition, Equitable Detroit. EDC emerged from the struggle for a CBA around the M1-Rail project in the  North End. We represent the overwhelming majority (80%) of Detroiters in the Fiat Chrysler impact area who voted for Proposal A in the 2016 election.

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FCA Expansion Environmental Concerns and Demands

FCA Expansion Environmental Concerns and Demands

The MDEQ has extended the public comment period through Tuesday, April 23, 2019.

Details on submitting public comment and more details about the permitting process: http://www.deq.state.mi.us/aps/cwerp.shtml?fbclid=IwAR3gbkBhslPQABUxZmbcndxRdmKSyUqU28jd7kdHdhXnjAG2BSrNBI3iHAsE

Fiat Chrysler Expansion Environmental Concerns

The air pollution in the FCA Impact Area is comparable to Zip Code 48217, one of the most polluted in Michigan.

Our neighbors in Southwest Detroit have been infamously impacted by poor air quality around Marathon Petroleum and other industrial facilities. Based on the EPA’s EJScreen Reports we’ve found Environmental Indicators in the FCA Impact area that are comparable in value to those in Southwest Detroit.

https://ejscreen.epa.gov/mapper/index.html?wherestr=48215

The population of the FCA Impact Area has some of the highest Asthma hospitalization rates in the city. 

https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdhhs/Detroit-AsthmaBurden_516668_7.pdf

In 2016, FCA’s Jefferson North nearly doubled the tons of VOC produced by Marathon Petroleum!

Volatile Organic Compounds react with nitrogen oxides in the air to create ozone, or “smog.” Ozone can cause respiratory-related health impacts, including the aggravation of asthma.

https://iaspub.epa.gov/triexplorer/tri_release.chemical

FROM Great Lakes Environmental Law Center

4444 2nd Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201 (313) 782-3372 www.glelc.org

1. Why is FCA US LLC seeking a new permit to install? 
Fiat Chrysler currently owns and operates the Mack Avenue Engine Plant complex at 11570 Warren Avenue East in Detroit. They are seeking a “permit to install” from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to modify the plant to operate a new assembly line instead of an auto engine manufacturing facility. To operate its new assembly line, FCA US LLC must repurpose the existing plant and construct a new paint shop.

2. What air emissions will be result from the FCA US LLC’s proposal? 
While it will emit other pollutants, it is estimated that the new assembly line will have the potential to emit a major amount of volatile organic compounds and greenhouse gases:

  • Volatile Organic Compounds: The new assembly plant would have the potential to emit 382.5 tons of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) per year. VOCs are a class of chemicals, and are one of the ingredients for the formation of ozone, or “smog.” The VOC emissions from the new assembly plant would be caused by the new paint shop proposed by Fiat Chrysler.
  • Greenhouse Gases: The new assembly plant will also have the potential to emit 118,876 tons per year of greenhouse gases.

3. How do volatile organic compound emissions relate to ozone? 
Volatile organic compounds react with nitrogen oxides in the air to create ozone, or “smog.” Ozone can cause respiratory-related health impacts, including the aggravation of asthma. Wayne county, along with several other counties in southeast Michigan, were recently designated as “nonattainment” area because an air quality monitor detected levels that were above the national, health-based air quality standard for ozone.

4. What regulations does FCA US LLC have to comply with to receive their permit? 
Since the assembly line will emit a significant amount of VOCs, and is located in an area that is failing to comply with the national air quality standard for ozone, FCA US LLC must satisfy a number of regulations, including the following:

  • Must demonstrate why the proposed location and methods are superior to alternatives.
  • Emissions of VOCs from the facility must comply with the “lowest achievable emission rate” based on existing pollution control technology and methods.
  • Must offset the increase in VOC emissions with a reduction in emissions from another source in the nonattainment area.

FROM Great Lakes Environmental Law Center
4444 2nd Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 782-3372 www.glelc.org

Thank you to GLELC!

Impact Area Resident Demands

An exhaustive Health Impact Assessment of the FCA Impact Area and all related projects made available to the residents.

Residents need to have a full report on the impact of this project  on our health and well-being. 

Installation of the best filters on stacks that will help to reduce hospitalization rates based on Asthma.

With some of the highest hospitalization rates in the city, we demand the best filtration systems available. We are worth it. 

Specific targeted community health funds for vulnerable people dealing with asthma and other health impacts. We also want air filter installation in local schools, churches and community centers along with specific funding for home air HEPA filters. 

The creation of an Community Air Monitoring Project and Environmental Community Council for ongoing monitoring and advocacy around environmental impacts on community health.

Based on the “48217 COMMUNITY AIR MONITORING PROJECT” See: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-aqd-amu-48217_air_monitoring_report_621859_7.pdf

Detroit People’s Platform
http://detroitpeoplesplatform.org

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Fiat Chrysler Expansion Community Benefits Update

Fiat Chrysler Expansion Community Benefits Update

In February, Mayor Duggan announced the proposed expansion of Fiat Chrysler on the city’s east side. Due to the size of the project and the use of public tax incentives there must be a Community Benefit process as defined by Detroit’s Community Benefit Ordinance,the first of it’s kind in the US. 

Where are we at in the process?
Meeting 1 Project overview and intro to CBO Process. 
Meeting 2 Resident vote on NAC.
Meeting 3 NAC appointments were announced, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation presented on local Tax Incentives only, expanded FCA presentation.
Meeting 4 NAC members presented recommendations for projects and other opportunities to be included in the CBA.

Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC)

Residents voted for
Rhonda These
Michelle Jackson
City Council Members appointed
Jerry King
Juliette Okotie-Eboh
Jay Henderson
Planning and Development appointed 
Darnell Gardner
Henry Williams
Curtis Perry
Thomas Hardiman

FCA has shown up unprepared
– FCA has failed to state to community ALL of the public incentives they have received or public incentives they have applied for including Detroit local incentives, State of Michigan, and possibly from the federal government. MEDC: https://www.michiganbusiness.org/services/incentives-and-taxes
– FCA has failed to bring to the table many items that are needed like an Environmental Impact Study and a plan for traffic.

Michigan: Leader in Mega Tax Deals to Corporations
Good Jobs First considers deals that include more that $50 million in tax subsidies ‘Mega Deals’. Michigan is ranked #3 in the nation with  Mega Deals totaling $15.4 billion! Of 399 Mega Deals nationwide, FCA’s  $1.3 billion deal in 2010 for the Sterling Heights plant ranked #15.
www.goodjobsfirst.org/megadeals

This is why we need to know how big of a tax deal FCA is asking from the state of Michigan for this proposed expansion.

FCA’s History of Taxpayer Support
In 1977 Chrysler received a bailout with a $1.5 billion loan that the taxpayers via the US government were the co-signers on. This was a good investment and taxpayers made money on the deal. But, remember the taxpayer bailout of Chrysler in 2008?

Public Investment Borrowed $12.5 billion
Paid Back to Taxpayers $11.2 billion
Taxpayers Lost              -$1.3 billion
Date Bailout Ended May 2011
https://www.thebalance.com/auto-industry-bailout-gm-ford-chrysler-3305670

FCA, remember taxpayers invested in you when the chips were down. Now is the time for you to match our commitment. The community deserves a strong Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) with you!

Get Involved!
– Attend the weekly meetings at UAW, 2600 Connor St. Wednesday’s at 6:30pm until the end of April.
– Call for FCA to share information on ALL the public incentives they are seeking for the expansion.

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AMAZON HQ2 UPDATE: Beware Robber Barons Bearing Gifts

AMAZON HQ2 UPDATE: Beware Robber Barons Bearing Gifts

The Amazon pull-out from New York City reminds us to beware of 21st Century Robber Barons bearing gifts. 

What they Promise:
– Jobs, Jobs and more Jobs!
– Opportunities for Community
– Support for Local Business
– The Sun, Moon, Stars and Tree Farms!

What they ACTUALLY DO FOR US:
Not as much as we deserve, let alone need. Basketball Courts and game tickets are not the benefits Detroiters are looking for. 

AMAZON HQ2 UPDATE: Beware Robber Barons Bearing Gifts http://detroitpeoplesplatform.org/2019/02/amazon-hq2-update-beware-robber-barons-bearing-gifts/

DPP is a part of the national coalition to demand good jobs and community benefits from Amazon no matter where they land. We celebrate the efforts of activist and communities across the country who organized  around Amazon’s HQ2 competition.http://ourhq2wishlist.org  

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos abruptly announced that they would be pulling out of their proposed new headquarters in NYC. The company created a national competition between locations for their “HQ2” project last year. In the past, Bezos threatened to move jobs out of Seattle when their council voted on a corporate tax policy to ease their housing crisis. (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/may/15/amazon-threatens-to-move-jobs-out-of-seattle-tax-council-vote-homelessness)

Here in Detroit, Dan Gilbert led the proposal for Amazon HQ2 with a pitch of $4 billion in public subsidies. At the same time, the Mayor and majority of City Council have resisted a real Community Benefit Agreement Ordinance while facilitating the transfer of public resources to wealthy corporations.

The perspective being pushed in Detroit is that if we don’t give huge tax abatements, or if community asks for too much, developers will go elsewhere. Amazon’s pull-out in NYC came amidst resistance from groups and public officials concerned about workers rights, resident displacement, and the strain on existing infrastructure. The organized resistance in NYC reflects a level of compassion and commitment to real progress instead of corporate interest. 

Duggan says that if he told developers they had to negotiate with community they would “take their money to the suburbs.” (Visit our YouTube channel) It’s a disrespectful narrative that recasts racist stereotypes and undermines potential power from community.

Myths of corporate fragility and resource scarcity are perpetuated and create a fear of economic loss. This fear keeps residents complacent and complicit in the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks and public subsidies to white billionaires. All this in the nation’s largest majority black city, with some of the highest poverty rates anywhere.

This strategy for economic development perpetuates the superiority of the Mayor and his administration’s policy above the community’s needs and values, ignores calls for racial equity and inclusion, and justifies putting potential profits over people. 

AMAZON HQ2 UPDATE: Beware Robber Barons Bearing Gifts http://detroitpeoplesplatform.org/2019/02/amazon-hq2-update-beware-robber-barons-bearing-gifts/
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What to watch for at Detroit City Charter Commission meetings

What to watch for at Detroit City Charter Commission meetings

There have been two public meetings of the new Detroit City Charter Commission. The meetings have been well attended by community members who have been vocal about their concern over external influence on the commission. The commission is currently determining how to organize themselves and developing the process to go about the important work of revising our city’s “constitution.”

  • Watch for preference for proposals from corporate interest. 
  • Watch the process for submitting proposals. Demand transparency!
  • Watch for efforts to thwart the commissions independence.
  • Watch for efforts to muzzle the voice of community through paternalistic rules and sanctions.

The next Detroit Charter Commission Meeting will be Saturday, January 26 at 12pmS

SAMARITAN CENTER
5555 CONNER
DETROIT, MI 48213
Lower Level Kilpatrick Room

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City Charter Revision Commission Candidate Night

City Charter Revision Commission Candidate Night

In the August Primary Detroiters voted on whether or not to “open” and revise the City Charter. The City Charter can be likened to the U.S. or Michigan Constitution. Proposal R was successful by only a slight margin of 184 votes. Since it passed, Charter Revision Commission Candidates will be on the ballot in November. There will be 16 candidates on the ballot for this 9 seat commission. Learning as much a possible about these candidates before the election is important because they will shape the 3 year revision process. Vote Tuesday, Nov 6, 2018!

All Charter Revision Candidates were invited to attend.
We were joined by 7 candidates:
Chase Cantrell, Cindy Darrah (write-in),  Karissa Holmes,  Denzel  McCampbell,  Tracy Peters,  Nicole Small, and Joanna Underwood.

The Detroit People’s Platform does not endorse candidates.

Please note that the video was captured from the live stream of the event and is not production-quality. Drops in the signal are noted.
The video is intended for election education purposes only and is part of DPP public education work.