Another one bites the dust: Highland Park schools to get an Emergency Manager

Not unexpected, just another drop in a torrent: Governor Rick Snyder has declared a financial emergency in Highland Park, and will appoint an Emergency Manager.

Gov. Rick Snyder today said he would appoint an emergency manager to oversee the financially troubled Highland Park School District – just hours before state officials announced they are reluctantly giving the district a $188,000 cash advance so the district could cover payroll Friday.

The latter, State Superintendent Mike Flanagan and State Treasury Andy Dillon said, is being done in order to avoid the district’s financial crisis affecting children.

“Most troubling to me is that this is a temporary fix,” Dillon said of the cash advance, which he said will carry the district through Feb.

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Think Emergency Managers are only for “black” cities & schools? Think again.

Much of the outrage about Public Act 4, the Emergency Manager law centers around its disparate impact on minority school districts and cities. But this law may be coming to city or school near you even if it’s not a so-called “majority minority” area. Take a look at the data that was assembled by Progress Michigan to see how obvious that is.

This week, Perry Schools announced that it will run out of money before the end of the year. According to an article in the Argus-Press (not available online without a subscription), Perry Schools face a $1 million deficit in their budget.…

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GOP seeks to end limits on ALL corporate campaign donations including to parties & candidates

At the moment, as egregious as the Citizens United Supreme Court decision was, it’s still illegal for corporations to give directly to candidates or political parties. If the GOP has its way, that will end.

The century-old ban on corporate donations to federal political campaigns should be junked as unconstitutional, the Republican National Committee argued in a legal brief filed Tuesday that could lead to new attacks on the GOP as beholden to corporate money.

The GOP brief filed with a federal appeals court contends that the ban which became law back in 1908 violates the First Amendment in light of recent Supreme Court rulings, including the 2010 Citizens United decision which allowed unlimited donations to independent-expenditure groups.

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Has the GOP given President Obama the “out” he needs to reject the Keystone XL oil pipeline?

There were some interesting revelations in statements made to day by Jay Carney, President Obama’s Press Secretary relating the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Recall that in the bill to extend the middle class income tax break, Republicans put in a requirement that he give his ruling on it by next month. Follow me over the orange squiggledegibbet for what went down at this afternoon’s presser.

QUESTION: Jay, this morning the U.S. Chamber had a big event where leaders spoke about their policy positions, calling on the administration to pass Keystone as quickly as possible to create as many jobs as possible.…
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Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Joe Harris replaces critic Mayor Pro Tem Marcus Muhammad

It’s not often that I’m scooped in the blogosphere on news about Michigan’s Emergency Managers but, if I’m going to get scooped, I’d rather have it be by Laura Conaway at The Maddow Blog than anyone else. Today she reports that Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Joe Harris removed Marcus Muhammad as Mayor Pro Tem and replaced him with Sharon Henderson. His order is HERE (pdf).

Screenshot courtesy of The Maddow Blog

Conaway talks about why he did this and how freaking weird it is.

At first blush, you might think Mr. Harris was moving autocratically to sideline one of his critics.…
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More on Emergency Manager Louis Schimmel’s decision to forfeit millions in HUD funds for Pontiac

Yesterday, I wrote about how Pontiac Emergency Manager Louis Schimmel signed an agreement with Oakland County to manage monies from a substantial HUD grant. This boneheaded decision, it turns out, would have resulted in a loss of upwards of $800,000 per year for Pontiac. Thankfully, Congressman Gary Peters stepped in to prevent this from occurring.

Federal and local politicians lined up Wednesday to announce they undid a move taken by Pontiac’s state-appointed emergency manager that would have cost Pontiac thousands in federal funds. While they were at it, they took time to slam Emergency Manager Lou Schimmel’s method of management.…
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Whirlpool and the theft of Benton Harbor

Generally speaking, the political writing I do is catharsis for me. It helps me to deal with the things that upset me in the realm of politics and government. But, every once in awhile, I write something that actually makes me more upset. My most recent piece for A2Politico is one of them.

The piece is titled Whirlpool Corp — A Michigan Job Creation “Success Story”: Dodging Taxes & Profiting from Poverty. In the article, I talk about how Whirlpool has been largely responsible for the traumatic decline of Benton Harbor and has spent (at least) the last decade profiting handsomely from it.…

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Recall effort for Senator Phil Pavlov underway

The effort to recall Senate Education Chair Phil Pavlov got underway on January 7th. The group working toward his recall now has a webpage,, and is actively seeking petitioners, petition signatures and financial support.

Senator Pavlov voted to support the odious “anti”-bullying bill that was not anti-bullying. He has supported legislation that reduces tax credits used by many Michiganders as well as the bill that became Public Act 4 – the Emergency Manager law. But, most egregiously, as Senate Education Chair, he has shown himself to be anti-teacher. He has even proposed privatizing the teachers of Michigan, saying “I look at it as offering options.…

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