Detroit, Emergency Managers — September 15, 2013 at 9:53 am

Detroit’s dictatorial administration intentionally cut power during heat wave, stranding people in elevators


Treating people with this level of disdain will lead to no good end

[Photo by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog]

Last week on Wednesday, September 11th, during a 90+ degree heat wave and just two days after an escaped prisoner terrorized the city, Detroit Chief Compliance Officer Gary Brown intentionally and without notice cut power to major buildings in downtown Detroit to avoid cascading blackouts. According to Brown, seen in the video below gleefully and derisively recounting his decision, he had asked the buildings to reduce their energy consumption but, when they didn’t do so quickly enough, he cut power to “send a strong message”.

That message was heard loud and clear by the people trapped in elevators without air conditioning on one of the hottest days of the year so far. It was also heard by the woman on an upper floor of one of the affected buildings and in her 8th month of pregnancy who couldn’t use the stairs and had to be rescued by EMTs.

Watch Brown. His laughing and derision is offensive:

Fox 2 reporter Alexis Wiley: Did any of the customers get any notice that the power would be cut?

Gary Brown: We did start calling our customers prior to taking them down and asking them to turn off air conditioners, but they weren’t responding as fast as we would like them to so we had to send them a strong message by turning the power off.

The ‘message’ has Judge Craig Strong fuming. Strong works at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, which was shut down on Monday after a prisoner knifed a Wayne County Sheriff’s deputy to escape. The event started a man hunt that left many people in the downtown area stressed. Strong says,”We’re in a building that’s already on high alert after what happened on Monday, we don’t need any more mistakes. If they we’re going to do this they should have given us notice so we could plan around it.”

Wiley to Brown: What do you say to the people who were stuck in elevators in 90-degrees?

Brown: I say we’re working very hard to get them out of the elevators. I’ve turned the power on the building we’re standing in front of (City County Building) to get people out of the elevator. I made sure people got out of the City County Building, turning the power back on.

Of course, they wouldn’t have had to work so hard to get the people out of the elevators if they had given them notice the power was being cut ahead of time so they could have avoided using them in the first place.

Gary Brown is a former Detroit City Council meeting who resigned when Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr offered him a job as Chief Compliance Officer and an increase in salary from $73,000 as a Council member to $225,000 as a member of Orr’s staff. His patronizing attitude fits in perfectly with the attitude that has been displayed toward Detroit by the Snyder administration from Day One. Patriarchal officials treat Detroiters as if they are naughty children who deserve everything they have coming to them. That includes, it appears, the completely innocent citizens who were trapped when the power went off without any warning whatsoever.

I see no good coming from this approach. If Snyder, Orr, and Brown are trying to push Detroiters to and then over the edge, this is exactly the right approach. I’m just not so sure they should be hoping for that. It may come back to bite them.

  • TeacherPatti

    I’m sorry, what? He decides to teach them some sort of lesson…by cutting the power?!?! So will the cell towers be turned off next? Then the Internet? Heat? Water? What? Who in the HELL thought this would be a good idea? What the hell is wrong with them?? And how does he have the power to turn off the power in the first place? Is he like Oz or some shit? What the hell?

    • ballen1133

      He is an employee that now makes $225,000 which is $125,000 too much for hard hit Detroit.

  • judyms9

    What did the Detroit Fire Chief have to say about this? Brown seems almost like a prankish teenager or big time attention seeker. Hope there was separate circuit lighting in those stairwells.

  • Concerned Citizen

    Being stuck in an elevator is bad enough. If you had to walk out the emergency exit door on a People Mover car stopped mid-route, you would have to walk along a sky-high cement plank until you got to the next People Mover station! I hate to think about how any disabled people or people with balance issues must have felt. This is what happens when Emergency Managers are put in charge with Absolute Power and no regard to the ramifications of their decisions and the effect on not only Detroiters, but suburbanites who work in the city.

    • Robert Lanham

      Gary Brown :this ‘powerful message” of yours in my opinion was a bad mistake. Apparently your purpose was intended to send a message because the people did not respond and turn off their air conditioners as hoped,since the people didn’t take warning ,its true they should have tried to comply, where they could, but your decision to shut off the power upset the applecart ! their is a lesson to learn from this .a couple of them .by shutting off the power ,policemen were isolated directing traffic, because the traffic lights are does taking policemen who have the job of protecting the city and forcing them to direct traffic,help save energy ?Do the criminals stop and wait for the policemen to come back to their regular jobs? it could take a cop out of a situation when he needs to be on his job !.but you must have considered this in you thinking this decision over ,right? number two, there is a people mover , did you consider the elderly? and others? on the people mover if caught when the power goes out , how do they get off safely?what if they are disabled?that sky high cement plank can be pretty intimidating to a older person! number 3, i heard about a pregnant woman, trapped in a elevator , thank God she was rescued! this emergency manager idea appears to have some serious flaws,when you make decisions that put at risk peoples lives and their welfare, you are not there to Lord over the people, you are to do your job in a responsible way ,was this a responsible decision? i think the main lesson here is that something will have to be done to make sure this kind of mistake does not happen again, the welfare of the people should always be the first concern ,should it not?

  • Mark O’Brien

    Gary Brown should be arrested and charged with being a public menace.

    • vocqueen

      Amen, Mark! His total disregard for human life is absolutely disgusting!

      • notbarkingdog

        I agree: put him in jail and he can pay his “fair” share of the cost.

  • Yet another Sleaze Bag. – why am I NOT surprised?

  • TonyT

    Heckuv a job Browny.!

  • wildmother

    Reminds me of Philadelphia. The disdain toward the citizens drips in City Hall.

  • kitty56

    We do NOT have money for work on our Infrastructure, LOL. This is just one more problem that proves we can NOT afford to NOT work on our infrastructure. Investing in America and Americans SHOULD be number ONE on our list of things to do.

    • kurtsteinbach

      They’ll get the point when another bridge collapses during rush hour and 30 people are killed like happened on the Minnesota bridge in 2007. If Bachman or other GOP leaders are on a bridge when it collpses, maybe they’ll vote to do something about it, but I’m not going to hold my breath…. Vote the GOP obstructionists out! I can’t believe we didn’t learn the lesson from 2010-2012….

  • Andersizzle

    Wednesday was September 11th, not the 12th.

  • james bernard

    Well!!! Thank GOD we are “THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!!!” Because if we weren’t, I would be OK with this!! What a Cluster-fuck of “The Greatest Country in the World!”

  • Art

    Brown is an asshole who is drunk with his new-found wealth.