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This week! Vote in the Primary Tuesday, Thursday Duggan Community Meeting

This week! Vote in the Primary Tuesday, Thursday Duggan Community Meeting
Community Benefits on Mildred Gaddis today.
This morning, Mildred Gaddis will host Council President Brenda Jones on her radio talk show at 11 am. President Jones has been asked to speak on the Community Benefits Agreement issue. If you are near a radio tune into WCHB 1200 AM and, if you can, please call in and show support for the council president and the People’s Community Benefits Ordinance.
Citywide Community Meeting
Mayor Duggan will be hosting a Citywide Community Meeting at 6:30 PM on Thursday, Aug. 4. The meeting will be held in the Erma Henderson Auditorium on the 13th floor of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, 2 Woodward Ave.
Vote in the Primary Tomorrow!
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
You can view a sample ballot here: https://webapps.sos.state.mi.us/MVIC/
Find your polling place: http://www.vote411.org/

Detroiters will be voting for:

REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS
REPRESENTATIVE IN STATE LEGISLATURE
DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE
WAYNE COUNTY PROSECUTING ATTORNEY
WAYNE COUNTY SHERIFF
WAYNE COUNTY CLERK
WAYNE COUNTY TREASURER
WAYNE COUNTY REGISTER OF DEEDS
WAYNE COUNTY COMMISSIONER
CITY COUNCIL MEMBER AT LARGE
DELEGATES TO COUNTY CONVENTION
DPS SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS

Tuesday! – Night Out for Safety and Liberation Detroit
Detroit Public Library – Main Branch from 5pm – 8pm
What is safety to you? Freedom from harm, illness, violence, poverty? #SafetyIs more than a conversation about crime and policing. Let’s redefine what #SafetyIs and how we can build equity, power, opportunity, and prosperity in our communities. Join us for Night Out for Safety and Liberation on August 2 from 5-8pm at the Detroit Public Library – Main Branch and help change the conversation. Light refreshments and child care services will be available.

To kick off the event, the the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights will host a 1 hour TweetChat on Tuesday, August 2nd at 2pm EST. The TweetChat is an online conversation that will take place on Twitter. Participants can tweet their questions to @EllaBakerCenter using the hashtag #SafetyIs and or #NOSL16. Organizations can register for the TweetChat in advance here.

Thursday! Constitutional challenge to Michigan’s Emergency Manager law
Oral argument will be held in the constitutional challenge to Michigan’s Emergency Manager law (PA 436). The argument will take place at the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. The court is located at (100 E 5th St., Cincinnati, OH 45202).

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Update: The People’s Community Benefit Ordinance moves to Election Commission for vote on ballot placement

Detroit City Council votes to NOT VOTE on People’s Community Benefits Ordinance as two other CBOs move to committee.

On July 12, 2016 Detroit City Council voted unanimously NOT to vote on the People’s Community Benefits Ordinance and to send it to the Election Committee. The Council also heard public comments on a counter ordinance brought forward by District 3 Council Member Scott Benson. Benson’s ordinance, referred to as the anti-community benefits ordinance by many residents was moved to Council Member Gabe Leland’s Planning and Economic Development Standing Committee that meets on Thursday. In a surprise move, Council President Brenda Jones re-introduced a revised version of her Community Benefits Ordinance that was also moved to Leland’s committee.

MEDIA HITS! For more details visit:
Detroit News http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2016/07/12/detroit-community-benefits-initiative-moves-forward/87006218/

Free Press
http://www.freep.com/story/news/2016/07/12/detroit-official-eyes-alternative-development-ordinance/87001626/

VIDEO POSTS to SHARE:
#RiseTogetherDetroit #CBO VIDEO Benson’s Anti-Community Benefits Ordinance – Lila Cabil, Pub Comment July 12, 2016 https://youtu.be/2e9bQCZydpM

#RiseTogetherDetroit #CBO Benson’s Anti-Community Benefits Ordinance – @RashidaTlaib, Pub Comment July 12, 2016 https://youtu.be/QW4-Z9ypDyI

Detroiters deserve a seat at the table when large projects use public $$$ #RiseTogetherDetroit VIDEO https://youtu.be/15PGJ1xljQE

NEXT STEPS: The People’s Community Benefit Ordinance, the one with 5400 certified signatures from voters city-wide, moves to the Elections Committee next. The three person committee of Corporation Counsel Butch Hallowell, City Clerk Janice Winfrey and Council President Brenda Jones will vote as to whether the ordinance will be on the ballot in November. We anticipate that Council Member Benson’s Anti-Community Benefit Ordinance and Council President Jones’ revised ordinance will be discussed and possibly acted upon in this Thursday’s 10am Planning and Economic Development Committee.

Know your CBO History: The original Community Benefit Ordinance presented by Council President Brenda Jones was held in Council Member Gabe Leland’s Planning and Economic Development Committee for nearly 2 years. This delay along with other obstructions lead community members to organize around a Community Benefits ballot initiative. What To Watch: It will be informative to witness how quickly committee members Leeland, Sheffield and Benson act on the two ordinances introduced yesterday.

Again, this has been a tremendous effort and an important act of citizen-led democracy on display. The CBA Coalition partners want to thank the members who have supported and made this all-volunteer grassroots effort possible. Detroiters from every corner of the city have stepped up to help move the CBA Ordinance to a vote by the people.

Please visit http://risetogetherdetroit.com/ for more information and updates on the efforts to gain a Community Benefits Ordinance for all Detroiters.

Recent Timeline

On July 7, 2016 Rise Together Detroit received word from the Department of Elections. After a review by their office, the challenge to the Community Benefit ballot initiative  signatures has been denied. The petition certification STANDS! This means enough signatures have been gathered and certified to move the Community Benefits Ordinance forward toward placement on the November ballot.

On July 5, 2016 Detroit City Council members heard public comments about the Community Benefits Ordinance. Though the Community Benefit Ordinance was not on the agenda of the meeting, many came out to speak in support of the ordinance due to a challenge to the ballot initiative petition signatures. Videos below.

On Monday June 27, 2016, the City of Detroit Department of Elections certified the Community benefits Agreement Coalition had collected enough signatures to place the long-sought Community Benefits Ordinance on the ballot in November. As required by law, a letter was sent to City Council thereby giving them 60 days to pass the ordinance as written or refer it to the Election Commission for placement on the ballot in November.

Within 48 hours efforts to challenge the Community Benefit Ordinance were underway.  On Wednesday June 29, 2016 CBA Coalition members learned of a legal challenge filed against the ballot initiative. One of Detroit’s leading corporate law firms, working on behalf of an unidentified, anonymous client, has challenged the validity of signatures collected.

Please visit http://risetogetherdetroit.com/ for more information and updates on the efforts to gain a Community Benefits Ordinance for all Detroiters.

“If we have to pay, we get a say!”
Join the conversation: #RiseTogetherDetroit #CBO

Learn more, spread the word!

#RiseTogetherDetroit VIDEO Angy Webb “People want this. They wouldn’t have filled out petitions if they didn’t” https://youtu.be/tBmWt-_YAqo

#RiseTogetherDetroit VIDEO Lila Cabil “we’ve given a lot, but we’ve lost a lot” https://youtu.be/bMbwt6472sA

#RiseTogetherDetroit VIDEO Ron Turner: “Detroiters are capable of working with developers for a win/win situation.” https://youtu.be/itIQ3kl6Tu

#RiseTogetherDetroit VIDEO Bro J Smith @CapSoupKitchen “people served by the kitchen don’t benefit from development” https://youtu.be/mea29FE-uiI

#RiseTogetherDetroit 7 VIDEOS of Public Comments on Community Benefits from #DetroitCityCouncil’s July 5th Meeting
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLy5aqxoFbwK1t5-eMBGFeQ7cD0PaxuLxC

Detroiters deserve a seat at the table when large projects use public $$$ #RiseTogetherDetroit VIDEO https://youtu.be/15PGJ1xljQE

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Update: Community Benefits Ordinance petition certification will stand!

Challenge to ballot initiative signatures denied by Detroit Department of Elections.

On July 7, 2016 Rise Together Detroit received word from the Department of Elections. After a review by their office, the challenge to the Community Benefit ballot initiative  signatures has been denied. The petition certification STANDS! This means enough signatures have been gathered and certified to move the Community Benefits Ordinance forward toward placement on the November ballot.

This has been a tremendous effort and an important act of citizen-led democracy on display. The CBA Coalition partners want to thank the members who have supported and made this all-volunteer grassroots effort possible. Detroiters from every corner of the city have stepped up to help move the CBA Ordinance to a vote by the people.

Please visit http://risetogetherdetroit.com/ for more information and updates on the efforts to gain a Community Benefits Ordinance for all Detroiters.

Recent Timeline:

On July 5, 2016 Detroit City Council members heard public comments about the Community Benefits Ordinance. Though the Community Benefit Ordinance was not on the agenda of the meeting, many came out to speak in support of the ordinance due to a challenge to the ballot initiative petition signatures. Videos below.

On Monday June 27, 2016, the City of Detroit Department of Elections certified the Community benefits Agreement Coalition had collected enough signatures to place the long-sought Community Benefits Ordinance on the ballot in November. As required by law, a letter was sent to City Council thereby giving them 60 days to pass the ordinance as written or refer it to the Election Commission for placement on the ballot in November.

Within 48 hours efforts to challenge the Community Benefit Ordinance were underway.  On Wednesday June 29, 2016 CBA Coalition members learned of a legal challenge filed against the ballot initiative. One of Detroit’s leading corporate law firms, working on behalf of an unidentified, anonymous client, has challenged the validity of signatures collected.

Please visit http://risetogetherdetroit.com/ for more information and updates on the efforts to gain a Community Benefits Ordinance for all Detroiters.

“If we have to pay, we get a say!”
Join the conversation: #RiseTogetherDetroit #CBO

Learn more and help spread the word!

#RiseTogetherDetroit VIDEO Angy Webb “People want this. They wouldn’t have filled out petitions if they didn’t” https://youtu.be/tBmWt-_YAqo

#RiseTogetherDetroit VIDEO Lila Cabil “we’ve given a lot, but we’ve lost a lot” https://youtu.be/bMbwt6472sA

#RiseTogetherDetroit VIDEO Ron Turner: “Detroiters are capable of working with developers for a win/win situation.” https://youtu.be/itIQ3kl6Tuw

#RiseTogetherDetroit VIDEO Bro J Smith @CapSoupKitchen “people served by the kitchen don’t benefit from development” https://youtu.be/mea29FE-uiI

#RiseTogetherDetroit 7 VIDEOS of Public Comments on Community Benefits from #DetroitCityCouncil’s July 5th Meeting
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLy5aqxoFbwK1t5-eMBGFeQ7cD0PaxuLxC

Detroiters deserve a seat at the table when large projects use public $$$ #RiseTogetherDetroit VIDEO https://youtu.be/15PGJ1xljQE

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Update: Detroit City Council hears public comments from Community Benefits Ordinance supporters

Update: Detroit City Council hears public comments from Community Benefits Ordinance supporters

attention

On July 5, 2016 Detroit City Council members heard public comments about the Community Benefits Ordinance. Though the Community Benefit Ordinance was not on the agenda of the meeting, many came out to speak in support of the ordinance due to a recent challenge to the ballot initiative petition signatures last week. Please check and share the videos and media links below.

On Monday June 27, 2016, the City of Detroit Department of Elections certified the Community benefits Agreement Coalition had collected enough signatures to place the long-sought Community Benefits Ordinance on the ballot in November. As required by law, a letter was sent to City Council thereby giving them 60 days to pass the ordinance as written or refer it to the Election Commission for placement on the ballot in November.

CBA Coalition partners expect to hear more from the Department of Elections regarding the challenge in the next few days and will share more information as it becomes available.

Please visit http://risetogetherdetroit.com/ for more information and updates on the efforts to gain a Community Benefits Ordinance for all Detroiters.

“If we have to pay, we get a say!”
#RiseTogetherDetroit #DetroitCBA

massMEDIA

Media Round-Up

Michigan Radio
http://michiganradio.org/post/would-proposed-community-benefits-ordinance-give-voice-detroit-residents-or-slow-development#stream/0
Would proposed community benefits ordinance give voice to Detroit residents, or slow development?
Stateside Staff

A petition drive to get a proposed Detroit city ordinance on the ballot has hit opposition. The ordinance would require that new, large developments that use public money or land return some benefits to the local community. Benefits could include things such as employment preference for neighborhood residents, or health and safety measures.

Detroit Free Press
http://www.freep.com/story/opinion/contributors/2016/07/01/tax-credits-land-benefits-detroit/86559318/
Plans with tax credits, land should include benefits
Brenda Jones, Free Press guest writer

“Time and time again, we urge our neighborhoods in Detroit to do their part, to be engaged. The fact that Detroiters collected over 5,000 signatures to support this effort speaks volumes. This proposed ordinance, along with executive orders that direct local hiring and contracting goals, gives our neighbors a chance to partner with developers to bring true benefit to their neighborhoods.”

Crain’s Business Detroit
http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20160705/NEWS01/160709933/detroit-tax-break-requirement-sought-to-involve-residents
Oakland Press
http://www.theoaklandpress.com/general-news/20160705/detroit-tax-break-requirement-sought-to-involve-residents
Detroit tax break requirement sought to involve residents
Associated Press Syndication

Efforts are taking place to pass an ordinance that would require some developers seeking tax breaks from Detroit to negotiate with residents about the impact of their project on the environment, affordable housing and other issues.

A group, called Rise Together Detroit, collected 5,460 signatures to put the measure on the November ballot, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The petition has been certified by the city clerk, but a newly formed group called the Committee for Detroit Jobs challenged the petition’s certification, saying that nearly 2,000 of the signatures are invalid. A decision on the challenge is pending.

Detroit News
http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2016/07/05/community-benefits-group-targets-november-ballot/86717232/
Detroit community benefits group targets Nov. ballot
Christine Ferretti

The ordinance, submitted by Rise Together Detroit under the name Committee for Community Benefits, would require developers who get tax breaks in Detroit to guarantee jobs for local residents, and commit to other forms of community investments. The plan mirrors a draft ordinance previously introduced by Council President Brenda Jones.

A week ago, a group called the Committee for Detroit Jobs filed a challenge to the validity of some of the signatures. The clerk’s office is reviewing the objections, officials say.

Detroit Free Press
http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/detroit/2016/07/04/detroit-developers-tax-breaks-residents/86598784/
Detroit neighborhoods want say in development deals, tax breaks
Joe Guillen

With the proposed ordinance stalled, a coalition of community organizations and other groups began collecting signatures to put the law on the ballot. Rise Together Detroit lists the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce as one of its partners.

The Detroit city clerk’s office late last month certified that the petition contained 4,583 valid signatures out of 5,460 submitted — exceeding the required 4,054 signatures needed, or 3% of votes cast in the most recent mayoral election.

Michigan Radio
http://michiganradio.org/post/detroit-ballot-proposal-faces-anonymous-challenge#stream/0
Detroit ballot proposal faces anonymous challenge
Sarah Cwiek

Mark Brewer, attorney for the coalition supporting the ordinance, says the challenge, which “alleges all kinds of defects” with the petitions, should not be anonymous.

“The law in Michigan is very clear that a group which supports or opposes a ballot proposal is supposed to file a ballot question committee with the local authorities,” said Brewer. “They’re supposed to disclose the source of their funding, what they’re spending their money on.

 

socialMEDIA

Social Media YouTube Round-Up

Tweet Link: https://twitter.com/DetroitPeoples/status/750526946660929536

#RiseTogetherDetroit VIDEO Angy Webb “People want this. They wouldn’t have filled out petitions if they didn’t” https://youtu.be/tBmWt-_YAqo

Tweet Link: https://twitter.com/DetroitPeoples/status/750526707312914432

#RiseTogetherDetroit VIDEO Lila Cabil “we’ve given a lot, but we’ve lost a lot” https://youtu.be/bMbwt6472sA

Tweet Link: https://twitter.com/DetroitPeoples/status/750526184924934144

#RiseTogetherDetroit VIDEO Ron Turner: “Detroiters are capable of working with developers for a win/win situation.” https://youtu.be/itIQ3kl6Tuw

Tweet Link: https://twitter.com/DetroitPeoples/status/750525680589299712

#RiseTogetherDetroit VIDEO Bro J Smith @CapSoupKitchen “people served by the kitchen don’t benefit from development” https://youtu.be/mea29FE-uiI

Tweet Link: https://twitter.com/DetroitPeoples/status/750527734200369152

#RiseTogetherDetroit 7 VIDEOS of Public Comments on Community Benefits from #DetroitCityCouncil’s Tuesday Meeting
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLy5aqxoFbwK1t5-eMBGFeQ7cD0PaxuLxC

 

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Transit Alert! Join us on Social Media this morning! #RTAMasterPlan

Transit Action Alert!

Join us on Social Media this morning!

Today the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan (RTA) will finally release the long-anticipated Regional Master Transit Plan.

Read more about the plan here

The plan will affect and change our public transit system for the next 20 years. The plan’s release will not take place in Detroit, where a majority of bus riders use the system on a daily basis. Detroit bus riders will be greatly impacted by the plan. Instead, the event will take place at Lawrence Technological University on May 3st, 10am.

Lawrence Technological University
21000 West Ten Mile Rd., 48075, Southfield, MI
The meeting will be held in the University Gallery, Room. 210

This meeting is being held on a weekday morning and Lawrence Tech isn’t in a transit friendly so we want to get the word out this morning!

A group of Detroit People’s Platform Transit Leaders and Bus Riders are going to the meeting and will be tweeting live to bus riders across Detroit.

Bus riders in the city of Detroit need to be aware that this event is taking place. Detroiters need to be a part of this meeting in order to respond to the proposals being made in the Master Plan. It is crucial that Detroiters are aware of what services will be offered to us over the next 20 years.

Questions we’re asking
“Is this the system designed with our needs in mind as bus riders?”
“Will we be able to rely on proposed routes and services in years to come?”
“Will this plan be worth our vote?”

Join the Discussion by using these hashtags
#DetroitPeoples #RTAMasterPlan #DetroitTransit

Follow and make comments to the RTA on Social Media
@RTAmichigan
https://www.facebook.com/rtamichigan

TransitNewsletterTimeline

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Good Friday Court Date for Nonviolent Water Justice Defendants

Good Friday Court Date for Nonviolent Water Justice Defendants

Good Friday Court Date for Nonviolent Water Justice Defendants 

Activists employ legal defense of preventing “obvious harm” to Detroit families 
DETROIT –Members of the “Homrich 9” will spend Good Friday in court facing charges from nearly two years ago when they put their bodies on the line to allow low-income Detroit families to have access to water. The defendants who blocked water shutoff trucks of the private contractor Homrich Wrecking Company have a legal defense that rest on their preventing the very obvious harm that comes when people have no access to water.
“As a Christian pastor, my heart today is in the events of Good Friday. We remember Jesus’ trial before the Governor, his sentencing and execution. He speaks the truth in freedom and exposes that all the authorities have, all they stand on, is the power of death. It’s a Good day to be in court on behalf of the people of Detroit.” said Pastor Bill Wylie-Kellermann of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and one of the Homrich 9.
The defendants have been blocked by Detroit Prosecutors at virtually every turn from using the perfectly legal “necessity defense” based on the prevention of harm from denial of access to water. Prosecutors have used strange and unprecedented means to keep the trial from going to the jury.
“This entire process, from the moment of our clients’ arrests nearly two years ago to now, has exposed the underlying political motivations of the City of Detroit and its Law Department,” saidJulie Hurwitz, attorney for members of the Homrich 9. “The prosecutors’ goal has been to block our clients from having their day in court because justice would expose the real issues of the mass water shutoffs and the public health emergency from getting a hearing in court and the public. The actions of the Law Department and the complicity of the Wayne County Circuit Court bench is evidence that our local government is willing to expend tens of thousands of taxpayer money to keep these defendants from having a fair trial.”
Ironically, the defendants are proponents of the Water Affordability Plan (WAP), an income-based water payment plan that would prevent water shutoffs and thus preclude the need to pay Homrich $6 million dollars to shut off water to Detroit families. The WAP was established by the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization that includes Homrich 9 defendant Marian Kramer.
“We’re confident the jury was going to find that we were not guilty of disorderly conduct, even though City prosecutors maneuvered to prevent them from reaching a verdict. The jury heard testimony about the unconscionable conditions families in Detroit are facing, how a water affordability plan could solve these issues, and why it was not disorderly conduct to stop business as usual by using nonviolent direct action,” said Marian Kramer of Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and a Homrich 9 defendant. “A verdict in our favor would have been devastating to the government’s already tarnished credibility, and a rallying cry to everyone willing to stand up for a Detroit where we all can live, not just the wealthy.”
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DO the DOOE, Avoid Foreclosure!! March 18th Deadline

DPP Members and Partners,

We have an urgent item we’d like your help with.

There is a deadline fast approaching that, if made, allows a person to remove their home from the foreclosure rolls for a year. Anybody who submits an accurate and complete Distressed Owner Occupant Exemption form (DOOE) by March 18th can pull their property out of foreclosure for one year.

It is an easy to fill out form and this video our friends Kate Levy and Halima Cassells made last year tells you everything you need to know about it.

Get out of Tax Foreclosure/Lower Your Taxes from Kate Levy on Vimeo.

Please share widely through all of your networks and feel free to post on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Thank you for helping us share the word so we can keep our neighborhoods in tact and ensure that our neighbors and friends get the information they need to stay in their homes. There are currently over 65,000 homes scheduled to go into foreclosure on March 31st. Each conversation you have and post you make could be the difference between a family keeping and losing their home.

Thank you for all you do,
-Detroit People’s Platform Homes 4 All Team

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Detroit People’s Food Co-op Community Engagement Meeting

PeoplesFoodCoopInfoSession

Part of our Food Justice series!

Detroit People’s Food Co-op Community Engagement Meeting
Thursday January 28, 2016
People’s Platform
7700 Second Ave
Detroit, MI
6:00pm-8:00pm

Detroit People’s Platform Members and supporters please join us to learn more about the plans for the Detroit People’s Food Co-op and how you can become a member/owner.

In keeping with the principle of Ujamaa (cooperative economics) and the definition of a co-op provided by the International Co-operative Alliance, the Detroit People’s Food Co-op will be a community institution that has the following general goals:

To provide access to high-quality, healthy food options for Detroiters, particularly for African-Americans most impacted by
poor access.

To model community-ownership and generate and circulate wealth in Detroit’s African-American community.

To model community-based food sovereignty and food justice strategies.

To serve as an incubator for start-up community-based food businesses.

To provide jobs for members of our community.

To serve as a community education center for information on health, well-being, justice and resilience.

The member/owner fee is $200. It can be paid in one lump sum, or in six installments ($30 for the first and last month and four $35 payments). We have limited Empowered Assistant Scholarships made available for those who live in the North End neighborhood. You can begin your membership at the community engagement meeting or do so in person at the DBCFSN office. Become an owner today!

For more information and updates on other community engagement meetings, please contact us at:

Detroit Black Community Food Security Network
3800 Puritan
Detroit, MI 48238
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/detroitpeoplesfoodcoop
Website: www.detroitblackfoodsecurity.org
Phone: (313) 345-3663

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Video #FlintWaterCrisis Protesting Gov. Snyder’s State of the State

Video from the Building Movement YouTube Channel:

Last night’s State of the State Protest:
https://youtu.be/ejujdMGBlZA – Approaching the Capital – East Entrance
https://youtu.be/WaS_QPq-naY – West Entrance
https://youtu.be/vSEC1ld1Wv0 – North Entrance
https://youtu.be/l5wZnOIn1OE – #FlintLivesMatter
https://youtu.be/cX1eY-PP4po – #SnyderMustGoToJail

Democracy Now (clip) http://www.democracynow.org/
https://youtu.be/rpa5iFqPTYE – Thank you Kate Levy!

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Disrupting Denial by Shea Howell

Thinking for ourselves
By Shea Howell
 
Disrupting Denial
December 12, 2015
 
This week the corporate elite celebration of the Detroit bankruptcy was brought to an abrupt halt. Gathered on the campus of Wayne State University, the Governor, Mayor, bankruptcy judge, and members of the mainstream media left the stage in the face of protests. Governor Snyder, who was greeted by boos from the audience, left in a huff. Judge Rhodes was drowned out. Mayor Duggan never appeared. Host Stephen Henderson admonished the audience saying, “This is not Detroit behavior.”
 
The Detroit Journalism Cooperative, a media collaborative that provided coverage of the bankruptcy and its aftermath, sponsored the event.  The gathering was billed as a public meeting to assess the city in the wake of bankruptcy.  
 
“Detroit Bankruptcy: One Year Later,” however, was put together without any consideration of those who objected to the process or who are being harmed by it. Only one viewpoint was allowed from the stage. If you weren’t willing to say the bankruptcy was a success and everything in the city is better than ever, you were not invited to speak.
 
That is not a true assessment of the state of our city, which is becoming increasingly divided by race and class, and increasingly impoverished in most neighborhoods.
 
This event was little more than a public relations stunt, marked by soft questioning from interviewers, canned responses by politicians, and efforts to reduce citizen perspectives to twitter feeds. No one should be surprised that the audience decided to challenge these constraints.
The organizers did not invite anyone who has challenged the bankruptcy, emergency management, the decisions to pursue aggressive water shut offs, the give away of revenue streams and assets, and the decision to use federal money to tear down houses rather than fix up homes.
Henderson defended this decision by resorting to name-calling. In a twitter exchange he said, “Protesters were not on program cuz it’s not the Springer show. They don’t want to discuss; they want to shout down.”
Of course, when people are not on the program, when the destruction of lives are rendered invisible, there is little left to do but to shout. In fact, our humanity requires it.
 
This defensive response by Henderson and the corporate elite to the disruption of their little show reflects how out of touch they are with the most of the people in the city.
 
The reality is that the direction set by this bankruptcy has resulted in a boom for a few neighborhoods. It has increased the number of young whites in midtown at the expense of elder African Americans and opened a kind of land rush in neighborhoods as foreclosures force out long-term residents. These contradictions of race and class are increasing tensions all over the city. The Mayor, Governor, and the Judge refuse to talk about them. But they are real.
 
According to U.S. Census Bureau between 2009 and 2014, median household income in Detroit fell by 20 percent from $32,493 to $26,095. The poverty rate increased from 33.2 percent to 39.8 percent. On any given day almost half the city is behind on water bills that are not affordable. Nearly 3,000 customers were threatened with water shutoffs last month alone.
 
We should applaud all those who raised their voices to disrupt the denial and evasion of the real questions facing our city. Pretending that our future is measured by bond ratings and buildings, rather than the quality of life of all our people and the care we show for one another, will lead to disruptions far beyond those of a simple meeting.