Benton Harbor, Rick Snyder — May 8, 2011 at 9:34 am

Benton Harbor Blossomtime Grand Floral parade news round-up


In addition to my blogging, as well as my wife’s, a number of other bloggers were on the scene recording the day’s events at the Blossomtime Grand Floral parade in St. Joseph/Benton Harbor. Anne will have many more photos up later today or tomorrow so be sure to check out her blog over the next few days (and beyond, of course). One of the interesting things she’ll be showing is how the level of security ramped up as Governor Snyder entered Benton Harbor, particularly as he got into the section beyond the bridge where the mostly-white union protesters were the most-black residents of Benton Harbor lined the road. The visual evidence in her photos is astonishing and shows how frightened the Governor was of the citizens of Benton Harbor.

Something not mentioned in any of the reporting that I have seen was that, not only did State Rep. Al Pscholka chicken out of facing his critics yesterday, Congressman Fred Upton did as well, though he did not announce that he was pulling out in advance like Pscholka did. The two of them left Governor Snyder to face the music on his own. Courageous bunch, those Western Michigan Republicans, aren’t they?

So, on with the round-up:

Mark Miller has a great piece up at Daily Kos (cross-posted at, called I “Greeted” MI Gov. Snyder in Benton Harbor Today that covers the rally that took place before the parade, in front of Benton Harbor City Hall. He has video tape of State Rep. Fred Durhal Jr., and UAW President Bob King, both speakers at the event. I was gratified to see such a large union turnout at the parade and Mark’s photos and videos show the extent of that turnout.

Bruce Fealk has three good pieces up at Blogging for Michigan. Hundreds of Protesters Greet Governor Snyder in Benton Harbor with an interview with Bob King, president of the UAW, Governor Rick Snyder Gets a Benton Harbor Welcome in Blossomtime Parade with video of Rick Snyder entering Benton Harbor and being greeted by a large crowd of protesters, mostly in union red, and Citizen Effort Launched to Repeal Emergency Financial Manager Act with an interview with Betsy Coffia who is leading the effort to repeal the Emergency Financial Manager bill. All of Bruce’s work is also published at The Rochester Citizen.

Jim Schaub has photos up at Extreme Liberal’s Blog. Jim was also shooting video so watch his space for more in the coming days.

In addition to the blogosphere, there was a bit of coverage in the mainstream media outlets:

WNDU has coverage HERE.

UPI has coverage HERE.

WSJV out of South Bend, Indiana has coverage HERE. Interesting quote from that article, one that I found entirely nonsensical given the totally peaceful nature of the protesters yesterday:

Kim and Lauren Barker were there to watch a family member march in the parade.

“We’ve got a daughter in the parade, but you worry about the kids safety who worked hard to get here,” said Kim Barker.

The Daily Reporter out of Greenfield, Indiana has coverage HERE.

Remarkably, the Herald-Palladium out of Benton Harbor has nothing about yesterdays parade. No photos, no reporting, no video. Nothing. They still have a front page article from yesterday however, that has raised some eyebrows among activists in the Benton Harbor area. In it, John Waltz from Heartland Revolution says the focus in Benton Harbor should be on the EFM takeover and not Whirlpool. He also distances himself from Edward Pinkney, local Benton Harbor activist. He is supported in that opinion by the Rev. Alexander Bullock, director of the Michigan branch of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, and a group referred to as the “Save Benton Harbor Organization”.

Since the publication of that article, there have been some interesting comments on my blog along with a number of rather pointed emails in my inbox calling into question the veracity of Heartland Revolution. As I wrote yesterday, I have concerns that the main, effective organizing group in Benton Harbor is from out of state. However, to suggest that Heartland Revolution are somehow colluding with Whirlpool or that Whirlpool has some convoluted interest in the repeal of the EFM law is absurd and, in my opinion, a ridiculous conspiracy theory, easily dismissed.

This other group, Save Benton Harbor Organization, is apparently very new and has a very low profile. They have a Facebook page but the homepage listed there,, is a broken link. Given the level of professionalism on their Facebook page, one wonders at how serious they are. Perhaps they will improve over time. In an odd addition to an article in the Benton Spirit community newspaper, was this very strange postscript to the article:

A Message from “Save Benton Harbor” – via e-mail to the Benton Spirit Newspaper
The “Save Benton Harbor” Organization would like to make it professionally and publicly clear that our protest is NOT geared towards the Whirlpool Corporation, Harbor Shores Golf Development or Cornerstone Alliance. We, in conjunction with Heartland Revolution, are the sole organizers for these local rallies and are in no way shape or form affiliated with The Reverend Pinkney or Banco; nor are we a part of the Save Jean Klock Park organization. Our sole issue is with House Bill 4214/Public Act 4, also known as the Emergency Financial Manager bill.