Emergency Manager Law, Emergency Managers — December 9, 2011 at 7:36 am

Rachel Maddow: Mich Emergency Manager story “the most important & under-covered story of the year”


Last night, on his MSNBC show, Ed Schulz finished the evening with a piece about the Emergency Manager issue in Michigan. One particularly interesting point made by Rev. Alexander Bullock from the Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church of Highland Park, MI and also of Rainbow Push Detroit was that Emergency Managers can take control of the Clerk’s office when they take over a city. Since the City Clerks run the local elections, that has ominous portent for the future of democracy in our state.

During the hand-off from Ed Schultz to Rachel Maddow, it became clear that there was much more to come on the subject of Michigan’s Emergency Managers and indeed there was.

And Eclectablog was front and center in the reporting.

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I still believe the story of Michigan’s Emergency Manager law — of what’s being done to democracy in the name of fixing Detroit and Flint and Pontiac and Inkster and Benton Harbor — I still believe that this could be the most important and under-covered story of the year. I know my colleague Ed Schultz feels the same way.

It’s because along with the national story of Republican legislators making it harder to vote in this country, Republican lawmakers in Michigan have declared that your local vote could be rendered moot if your town falls on hard enough times.

I just want to say that not only was it fantastic to see this issue finally getting some national coverage but the reporting by Rachel Maddow was fantastic. Her staff are amazing journalists and Laura Conaway, in particular, who worked on this story, did a fantastic job of pulling in all the most salient facts about P.A. 4, from its beginnings right up to news from just this week. The denouement to Rachel’s segment was particularly excellent:

For now, the question in Michigan is who gets to have a local democracy? Who is considered worthy of being allowed to elect their own local officials? And why is taking democracy away considered to be a prerequisite for fixing a broken place? Should your vote matter, even if the state doesn’t like the decisions of the people you elect. Should your vote count?

This chart should rattle anyone who cares about that.

The Emergency Manager law has been a signature policy of Governor Rick Snyder’s administration, the one that he was willing to risk giant, Wisconsin-style protests over. A new poll this week shows that support for Governor Snyder has fallen by half since he was elected last year. It’s down by half even within his own Republicn party. You can’t say that what’s sinking Rick Snyder’s popularity is his Emergency Manager law just as you can’t say Michigan Republicans passed this law so that they could take democracy from more than half the African Americans in the state of Michigan. But you can say that Michigan Republicans are on their way to doing that whether they mean to or not.

The Ed Show segment is here:

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