UPDATED: Rachel Maddow shows how Emergency Managers in Michigan don’t exactly have the best track record


“Alright, let’s cue the Michigan tape…”

The Rachel Maddow Show takes on Michigan’s Emergency Financial Manager situation again: “THE most radical Republican experiment in the 21st Century. Why this is not a bigger national story still blows my mind.”

In her segment, Rachel shows how ineffective Emergency Financial Managers & Emergency Managers have been as solving the problems they were tasked to solve, something I have been talking about for the past year.

UPDATE: Yesterday I talked about how at least three of the four people who are running for mayor in Detroit claim the Financial Review Team that declared the emergency in Detroit presented wildly-inflated deficit numbers and painted a situation much more dire than actually exists. If that’s true, it suggests that the Snyder administration has done this intentionally so that they can come in with their Emergency Financial Manager and “save the day” for Detroit, making it the only success story with an Emergency Manager Leading Man outside of the teeny, tiny town of Three Oaks (population: ~1,600.)

This sounds very conspiratorial and tin foil hat, I know. But consider this: the Snyder administration’s policies, from stripping money out of our schools to eliminating revenues that cities formerly relied on, have created a situation that INCREASES the likelihood of a financial emergency, not decreases it. Looked at through that prism, it’s easy to be a conspiracy theorist because it all begins to look very, very deliberate.

UPDATE 2: NBC’s Brian Williams reported on this last night as well:

    • Ramona

      Thanks for your link, Charles. I’ve passed it along, too.

  • Now I totally agree the EM will fail and the whole thing is a sham, but one thing I do see is that Detroit has a ton of debt on their books and some screwed up systems. How to fix it is beyond me. I just don’t think they can provide basic services and service their debt at the same time, not gonna happen.

  • Ramona

    Passed this on, as usual, but Rachel is right–this is one of the most under-reported stories we’ve seen in this country in a very long time. Don’t know why the MSM hasn’t leaped on it. (BTW, Chris, there are a couple of typos in your last paragraph.)

  • Look at the dates a democrat can’t appoint another democrat and expect good results. I think Snyder’s man/woman can do it.

  • wavingcrosser/Lynn

    Krystal Crittendon writes her critique of the financial review by the state. The Water Board revenue/debt being lumped into report even though they are a separate entity seems suspect. MAYORAL CANDIDATE KRYSTAL CRITTENDON: “NO JUSTIFICATION FOR DETROIT EM” http://shar.es/jZ6Bg via @sharethis I felt the reduced revenue sharing to MI cities and cuts to K-12 education would inevitably lead to more takeovers as many had already made severe cuts and were running close to the edge. Snyder doesn’t seem to want to address these concerns when asked.

  • ConservatusCarnifex

    We’re going to be getting really serious about removing the Ricktator before his term is up- by all means necessary. He’s absolutely shredding our rights, and when we- as a state- voted away his emergency manager law, in typical conservative fashion he didn’t receive the message clearly spoken by the people- he simply rewrote the power grab in another format.

    His removal of our voice at the local/state level, as well as his unconstitutional removal of our vote at the local and state level will not be allowed. Any actions taken on behalf of an EM- who was not elected by the people- are null and void, and are to be ignored by the people of Detroit and the rest of the state.

    The conservative attempt to split our electoral college votes will also be met with failure on their behalf. We will not stand for a state that is always blue, but rewards conservatives with half the electoral votes against the will of the people. Conservatives will abandon this approach that is in alignment with their redistricting to gerrymander votes, or there will be consequences.

    • I agree the Emergency Mgmt law is undemocratic. In NJ, we have one town (the capital, Trenton) where the Mayor’s hiring for key positions was based on choosing from resumes submitted to State government. This is a more workable system in terms of overseeing cities without replacing elections, or at least the elected leader.

      AN ASIDE: I might add that gerrymandering is done by both parties, and an “all electoral votes” to the leading candidate disenfranchises the 45% who didn’t vote for that person.

      Proportional electoral awards counteract the current extreme. The problem is how to be proportional when 1 electoral vote equals a different number of voters in a district.

  • pati heinz

    Damn straight Snyder’s GOT TO GO! But, so do a few other “key players”, like Fred Upton, and let’s not forget the (partial)Father of Act 4- Aldon Pscholka–when it’s time to vote again for the one’s who are responsible for the Hell this state has gone through, use your power at the polls, and get them out once and for all!!
    The E.M. appointed by Granholm in 2010, Joseph Harris has FINALLY stepped away from Benton Harbor, our “new” E.M. Tony Saunders is young and very accomplished professionally/financially, that’s good, but I pray he uses his heart too. The people of Mi. are HUMANS, not just something to be shoved aside like a bother!

  • Thom Susie

    Bottom line for Michigan is more jobs. So Gov., what is your track record for bringing jobs to Flint, Benton Harbor, Detroit and the suburbs? What has your admin done to keep people in their homes, and used your connections to help homeowners who are underwater obtain better financing for their homes? EM story is the tip of the iceberg. Union busting, charter schools, selling off public landmarks and ending democracy is, well, just wrong. And the target of communities with high minority populations is the story. In Flint, after GM bailed in order to bust the Unions, those who could left, and those who couldn’t are still here, now dealing with a hinky Gov who tight with the tea party right. Come on journalists, tell the story. Where’s our deep-throat?

    • HopeforAmerica

      He doesn’t care about Jobs or the people. He works for the Koch Brothers and alike. His only concern is to drown government sell off public assets.

    • All the corporate giveaways Snyder has put in place were with “no strings attached” meaning corporations cash in on the “rewards” but are under no obligation to create jobs to get the handouts. It’s vile and it is time that Michigan demand Snyder release his financials, I promise he is making a fortune off his actions in office, and so are his buddies, starting with Chris Rizek, former Snyder partner at Ardesta LLC (his company is building the bridge and Snyder is very likely still heavily invested with Rizek) Unless we demand to know, he’s going to rob us blind

      • PS what I wouldn’t give for Rachel to start digging into Snyders financials, Ardesta LLC, Ardesta Ventures 1, Rennessaince Capital (Rizeks venture capital firm) Snyder has very close connections to many firms that are getting contracts, buying up public lands and more.

  • HopeforAmerica

    BEWARE… Schneider will pick a manager who’ll gladly sell of Prime Public Lands such as beautiful Belle Isle.

  • Disgusted with dictator

    Michigan is unfortunately under a dictatorship. Snyder is a power seeking control freak. He needs to be taken back down to his corporate job and go to china, where he sent those jobs. Sad times in store….

  • It is deliberate. They just divert state funds away from where they were supposed to go, blame local government, come in and takeover. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s a FACT. Look at the budgets he’s passed and you’ll know it’s a fact. Start with the billions he diverted from the Michigan education budget.

  • jtownjohn

    You never hear about this on CNN or FOX News. The majority of us that do hear about it feel powerless to be able to do anything about it. But people in other States headed by Republicans and the cities are struggling like in Pennsylvania, This can happen to us. Heck it is better than succession it is just take over the entire State. This is a situation where all the people living and working in the city may have to sacrifice to elevate their situations. The unions and the workers may have to take less wages. The doctors and the hospitals may have to charge less. The educators may have to take less pay and the real estate and banks may have to restructure their loans and payments. The government may have to find some new revenue tactics and get assistance from the fed. There has to be a solution to this problem without the Republicans taking over the city , the land , the businesses, jobs , and homes from African Americans to make a city more prosperous for white people like they did in Benton Harbor. They took the area where African American were enjoying life there so they could have a golf course.If this EM system has failed so many times what is the purpose of continuing using the is type action. What is the federal government saying about Snyder taking away Democracy from the people. This allowing people to vote in whom they choose but them having no power is worse than what George Bush and Jeb Bush did in Florida. We the People of the United States of America need to get this information out to the rest of the Country,so people will see what is happening to our way of Government. These are the same people that say President is a socialist while at the same time they are creating a feudalism.

    • I would suggest one of the approaches that you left out in your list is actual INVESTMENT in Detroit, Benton harbor, Flint, Pontiac and the other struggling urban centers that are facing these emergencies. You can’t build armed only with implements of destruction.

  • And She laughed at Atlas Shrugged. And here it is playing out in front of you.

  • Michigan is a failed State. Forget the cities. Its a dead state walking. 70 years of liberalism and unions have made them what they are today.

  • xequar

    This whole thing puts me in a really tough spot. I hate the idea of losing a democratic process. But then there’s Detroit. I’m normally a big fan of Rachel Maddow, but I feel like the reporting on this issue has glossed over a lot of glaring issues in order to further a political point. There are 700,000 real people that are really hurting out here because our city can’t get its act together.

    Frankly, what the state giveth, the state can taketh away, as the SCOTUS affirmed in very plain language in 1907 with Hunter v. City of Pittsburgh. Cities are merely convenient creatures of the state, and the residents of a city do not have any right or claim to that city if the state decides to manipulate or even destroy the municipal corporation. Plaintiffs in Hunter tried nearly every constitutional argument in the book (at the time), and the SCOTUS basically laughed them out of town.

    As a property owner in Detroit, I will flatly state that something needs to be done. I literally have had one of my properties taken over by drug-selling squatters (it was vacant at the time), and the police tell me it’s a civil matter, that I have to go to court to file for a legal eviction. The cops won’t even show up. Hell, they won’t even take a breaking-and-entering report from me, as they tell me I have to go through the house and assess the damage before they can made the report. UM, HELLO, THERE ARE DRUG DEALERS SQUATTING IN THERE!! DO YOU REALLY THINK I’M JUST GOING TO WALTZ IN AND SAY HELLO?!? Crime reporting in Detroit mostly amounts to a basic transaction, where you report a crime, and if they can be bothered, they’ll give you a report number that does nothing more than confirms that you reported it.

    Beyond that, the parks are almost all closed. The city doesn’t usually plow side streets. Buses take over an hour to show up. Our ambulances break down en route to calls. Our firefighters aren’t getting the re-certifications and training they need because the city’s broke.

    The thing is, the city government is structurally unable to make changes that could improve the situation. The city charter does not allow departments to be eliminated, so the city still has, as an example, a forestry department. A city that can’t afford to put cops on the street is still paying people to go around and trim trees because the city cannot legally eliminate the department. The union contracts prevent eliminating certain positions as well, and they lead to stupidity like a file clerk with seniority being given the job of administering federal block grant money. This person didn’t want the job, didn’t have the training for the job, didn’t have a clue how to do the job, but was given the job because she was at the front of the line in seniority. (shock and awe, it turned out to be an utter disaster!)

    And then there’s the matter of the Council, one of the most useless batches of human beings ever to inhabit elected offices. At this point they’re much like national Republicans-they argue with the mayor just for the sake of argument. It’s to the point where the council maintains a legal department and the mayor maintains a legal force because the animosity at this point is structural. It runs from mayor to mayor, council to council. The faces change, but the council goes on fighting the mayor and vice versa. I mean, these frickin’ idiots couldn’t even get the Belle Isle lease done, and that was a complete no-brainer of a decision to make! The Hantz Woodlands proposal took four years for the city to finally come to a decision.

    At the end of the day, Mayor Bing (who I largely feel has done a good job) has been whining about the money the state owes the city. That might be true, but Dave, that boat’s sailed long ago. Get over it. Instead, where has been the effort to modernize the workings of the city? Why did I have to go to two different offices to pay my property taxes (one to tell me I couldn’t pay there without the paper bill, the other to print me paper bills, and then back to the first to pay the taxes). Why does the city have six different payroll systems running on technology made before I was born?

    I voted for Bernero in the last election. I voted to repeal PA4. I’ve been a member of two different unions in my life, and several members of my family are still union members. At this point, I say “ALL HAIL OUR NEW EMERGENCY FINANCIAL OVERLORD!” I don’t like the idea of removing the voice of the people, but an EFM is the only entity that will have the ability to make the necessary structural changes that need to be made in the city of Detroit. If nothing else, the new EFM law at least allows the elected officials of the city to vote out the EFM after 18 months if they want him/her gone.

    I realize there are much larger structural issues at work, as well (suburbanization, numerous federal policy areas, et cetera), but I feel like we need to at least make the city run as effectively as it can in the meantime. Yeah, we’re playing a rigged game, but let’s at least try playing it with healthy players.

  • The questioning mind

    Is this legal? to eliminate all democratically elected officials in an area and to appoint an emergency manager? I thought the Constitution of the United States was written to include, ” no taxation without representation”? If democratically elected officials have no say in their area (meaning, city, rural area, district, etc.), are we not having representation?

  • The questioning mind

    Regarding the attempt to rewrite electoral college vote counts, again is that legal? I realize that states have the power to right their own election laws but in regard to the Electoral College, I believe that has a Federal connotation and if section five of the Voting Rights Act stands, can this be challenged as a way to depress or mitigate votes?

  • Karen Mauti

    I certainly agree that Snyder is a one-term gov. But is anyone addressing the horrible problems Detroit is facing while under a democratically elected City Council? Yes, the means might not support the end, but really, someone has to come in and take charge of the mess that Detroit is. The Council has proven they CANNOT do what they were elected to do and the corruption that has been evident for years will not be swept away by another democratic election because the cronies are waiting in the wings to get their share of city money (what’s left of it.) Yes, the Benton Harbor EM and the Detroit Public Schools manager have had their difficulties, but what else can be done to save a venerable city? I laud Dave Bing for doing his best but I know he keeps running into ignorant obstruction. P.S. This is not a racial bias on my part. I don’t care who runs the city as long as city services are returned, the housing blight is removed and all citizens can go to jobs and events safely. If that means putting in an EM, I’m for it.

  • LadyBlueberry48

    I’m a longtime watcher of TRMS, but get your facts straight. The Emergency Manager concept didn’t start with Republicans or even Gov. Snyder.

    • (A) Few people know the facts better than I do.
      (B) this disenfranchising aspects of this law are completely unique to the laws passed by the current batch of GOP legislators and Gov. Snyder.

    • ghost1

      Detroit Public Schools had an EM appointed under Engler. Not to mention they had a Surplus at the time and the citizens of Detroit had just passed a millage to build new schools. When the State turned it back over to the district they had a deficit. Whom do you think they blamed for the deficit?

  • Michigan Artist

    This is typical Rachel Maddow. She’s accusing this of being a radical Republican idea and take over. Yet almost EVERY example she gives of an E.M. was during the Granholm Administration. They failure’s she talks about were appointed by a DEMOCRAT! Snyder did not take office until 2010.
    Snyder appointed a new E.M. to Pontiac to replace Granholm’s appointment. Look at their economy now. Look at the changes and improvements taking place in Flint.
    You can not just blinding accept everything that the media tells you as truth. I mean come on EVERY citizen should at least know who their Governor is and WHEN they took office.

    • Sounds like you’re admitting that Emergency Managers aren’t working so that’s a start. Who imposed them in the first place is irrelevant. We’re trying to figure how to proceed in a way that doesn’t disenfranchise half of the black people in Michigan and doesn’t due away with local democracy.
      When it comes to the facts about this law, the Maddow Show is as likely to get information from me as I am from them.

  • Frat House Philosophy

    God, at least some people seem to care about Detroit… http://www.frathousephilosophy.com/2013/03/detroit-new-economics-of-21st-century.html

  • Pingback: PROGRAMMING NOTE: Eclectablog to speak to Livingston County Dems this THURSDAY | Eclectablog()