Tag Archives | Czar of Benton Harbor

Emergency Financial Managers: A burgeoning industry

As I have written about recently, particularly in my piece The connection between Michigan’s EFM power grab, Rep. Fred Upton and Big Oil/Gas, my biggest concern about the use of Emergency Financial Managers (EFMs), particularly in areas where there are abundant natural (and other) resources to be exploited, is that they represent prime opportunities for businesses and corporations to use the economic crisis to line their own bank accounts and real estate portfolios with little regard with what’s good for the local community or the state.

These are reasonable fears. When you look at the training materials for the Emergency Financial Manager training session held in Michigan last February, you realize that this is indeed an industry.…

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Rep. Al Pscholka wants his day in court – errrr…on The Rachel Maddow Show

This should be fun. Al Pscholka is begging to be interviewed by Rachel Maddow.

The west Michigan lawmaker who sponsored emergency financial manager legislation that has been repeatedly pilloried by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow — especially for the way it has been applied in Benton Harbor — is asking Maddow to allow him to make a live appearance on her show to discuss the new law.

Rep. Al Pscholka, R-Stevensville, said Maddow’s program has “chosen a highly selected and skewed interpretation” of the Fiscal Accountability Act “as well as the circumstances surrounding Benton Harbor’s financial trouble.”

“Your program has displayed a blatant disregard for the facts,” Pscholka said in the letter.

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Benton Harbor EFM Joe Harris to rescind City Commission’s “unconstitutionality” resolution

As I reported yesterday, the Benton Harbor City Commission passed a resolution, declaring the takeover of their city by Emergency Financial Manager Joseph L. Harris to be unconstitutional. Joe Harris doesn’t give a damn.

He’s going to rescind their resolution.

Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Joseph Harris tells [WSJM] that he plans to issue an order rescinding this week’s city commission vote on a resolution to declare Michigan’s emergency manager law unconstitutional. Harris says that the vote has no legal validity, and notes that it was in violation of his directive to the commission that it may not vote on anything, other than to open and close meetings, and approve minutes.…
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The recall of Mich State Rep. Al Pscholka officially underway

A recall petition against Michigan state Congressman Al Pscholka has been filed. You can view the official letter HERE (pdf).

Here’s the text:

April 28,2011

Representative Al Pscholka
Michigan State House of Representatives
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, Ml 48909-7514

Re: Receipt of Recall Wording

Dear Representative Pscholka:

You are hereby notified that pursuant to provisions of Section-168.952 of Public Act 456 of 1982, that presentation of “reasons for recall” from your office of 79th District State Representative was made in this office on this date. The recall wording was filed by Mr. Dennis Knowles and a copy of said wording is attached.

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Benton Harbor coverage by Michigan Public Radio

I’ve been happy to see hear coverage of the takeover of Benton Harbor on Michigan Public Radio over the past three days. They’ve done a three-part story which is pretty balanced, on the whole.

Wednesday, April 27Benton Harbor called “ground zero” in fight over emergency manager powers
Thursday, April 28People in Benton Harbor disagree about what’s best for the city
Friday, April 29What’s next for Benton Harbor and emergency managers?

You can read the transcripts and listen to the audio at the links.

The reporting, as I say, is pretty balanced. I do think they underplayed the anti-democratic nature of the takeover but this quote from Reverend David Bullock addresses the issue very eloquently:

“You do have to keep your financial house in order, but the question is how do you do that?…
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Wow. Just wow.

Check out this Eclectagoodness from The Rachel Maddow Show last night:

Watch the full piece with Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero HERE.

I’m still stunned that most of the Michigan coverage is being done by me (and Rachel Maddow, of course) and that none of the major newspapers in Michigan is following this story.

I’m just sayin’……

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Jesse Jackson writes about rights

Jesse Jackson at the Counterpunch website:

Benton Harbor may become to economic justice what the small town of Selma was to civil rights. For in Benton Harbor, the powers that be now are wreaking the final indignities on the town’s beleaguered residents — stripping them not only of their schools, but of their democracy, taking away not only their jobs, but their public parks.

~SNIP~

[T]he new czar’s first act was to take over the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, most likely as a way to proceed with the development and sidestep the lawsuits. Why be suspicious? Because the law that the new czar is operating under was introduced by Republican state Rep.…
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Jesse Jackson announces lawsuit to be filed on behalf of Benton Harbor

Jesse Jackson was back in Benton Harbor yesterday, this time alongside Congressman John Conyers, Chair of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus Congressman Fred Durhal, Jr., Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, Benton Harbor Mayor Wilce Cook, and others. They announced that a lawsuit will soon be filed on behalf of Benton Harbor.

Jackson says they will now file a lawsuit, challenging the law’s constitutionality.

“It simply decimates democracy and gives dictatory powers in someone who does not live here but has the power to sit down officials and cancel contracts, but have power over assets selling off the properties of the city and its assets, that’s un-American” says Jackson.

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State Rep. for Benton Harbor Al Pscholka to face a recall?

I don’t have complete details at this time but it appears that there is an organized effort afoot to start a recall effort against Michigan State Congressman Al Pscholka.

Who is Al Pscholka? In addition to being the state Representative from the area that includes Benton Harbor, Pscholka is a former aide to Congressman Fred Upton, a man who has deep ties into shoreline development efforts all along Lake Michigan including in Benton Harbor. I wrote about this complicated web yesterday.

Pscholka himself was the president of the Board of Directors of the Cornerstone Alliance in 2008, the group that developed the Harbor Shores golf course and luxury residential development that snagged some of Benton Harbor’s public park for its own use.…

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Benton Harbor/Emergency Financial Manager news update

A few things to report today about Benton Harbor. First, Jesse Jackson made an appearance in Benton Harbor yesterday to highlight their situation.

“Clearly we must prepare to file a major lawsuit to restore democratic rights in Benton Harbor,” said Jackson. He encouraged church and city leaders to form a coalition.

~SNIP~

“You don’t solve an economic crisis by decapitating mayors and city council people. You don’t solve the economic crisis by replacing democracy with dictators in the name of emergency.”

According to one article, “Jackson plans to come back to Benton Harbor once a Rainbow Push Coalition group is formed locally.” Video HERE.…

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