Two Years Under State Rule

Gary Brown - 2012 Detroit City Council President Pro-Tem
Today the Michigan Citizen ran a significant article worth reading... "Selling Our City for a Paycheck", it begins:
There’s one group in Detroit city government that has been exempt from all the austerity measures leveled at others. This group has kept its salary intact; the auto is still free; the health insurance paid for; those two months a year of vacation waiting to be taken; the pension protected. Yes, their pension is protected. In fact, name any cut that has hit any other sector of city government and one group remains untouched: the city council.
Two years ago today (April 4, 2012) Detroit City Council voted to approve a Consent Agreement that gave the city over to fascist rule by the State of Michigan. A sufficient number of elected officials (6 vs 3) chose to allow SELECTED officials to run the city. They abdicated democratic rule.

Sadly three of those that voted in this manner won re-(s)election in November 2013. Detroit - you need to read the history book being created daily. If you blink you might not see the depth of matters.

When did it become OK to give large plots (or quantities) of land over for development without that land value being assessed?

  • Hantz Woodlands - holding the lands for future real estate sale?
  • New Red Wings Hockey Arena - the land baron has destroyed more than built and owes the city debts

Large corporations continue to request tax abatement in a system that desperately needs taxes paid by businesses. Who approves these requests? The legislative body of the City of Detroit, the City Council. Here are some of the practices of these corporate tax dodgers.

  • Their promises are half baked of employing residents. Most import talent into the city - setting them up in sculpted corporate-managed neighborhoods. Then these new Detroiters can claim their resident life.
  • Preferential land buying, lease arrangements, and insurance practices continue to squeeze long-term residents out of the city and out of Michigan. If that doesn’t work, then a reduced value buyout will transform ownership. Or maybe even condemn the place.
  • Our public parks become watched over by private security forces. All part of the tax abatement “giving back” to the city program of wresting public commons into corporate control.
  • Failing to put taxes into public government leaves the roads, utilities, and mass transit systems languish to be picked over for privatized service providers.

Who enables this system? Detroit’s legislative body, the city council.

Addressing White Savior Syndrome

We received a tweet requesting a follow and support for the  Save Detroit Project, which is aiming to launch on April 1, 2014. Looking through the string of promotional tweets we found this one…

— Save Detroit Project (@SaveDetroit1) March 13, 2014

Critique on WSS

White-Savior-SyndromeCan we have someone sit down with the organizers of this project and spell out a few things?

  1. You don’t represent the face which long-term Detroiters recognize.
  2. Most Detroiters would prefer seeing houses DECONSTRUCTED rather than DEMOLISHED. Reclaim Detroit has the right idea! [1]
    • The key is identifying where in the process of deterioration the property sits …
      • minor repairs (possibly owner doesn’t want/can’t afford),
      • major repairs,
      • structural problems (possible deconstruction),
      • beyond repair but holding resources to be deployed elsewhere (deconstruction), and lastly
      • demolition required
    • Informed owners can make responsible choices between deconstruction and demolition [1][2][3].
  3. Eradicating the culture of the city effectively white-washes the city leaving no texture or soul in that which replaces it.

  4. Repair of houses is needed to prevent their demise.
    • Sometimes putting a custodial resident into the property with the intent for community repair is best.
    • Potentially move the property through quit claim into a community land trust as an asset in the commons.
  5. A moratorium on foreclosures is needed, holding banks as responsible for derelict houses.

Occupy Detroit has been around a few years and some of those whom have been there longest have some advice to offer. For those wishing to “Save Detroit” is for you to first understand the various neighborhoods. Interview people and find out who they are and the stories that have happened in the neighborhood.

Also realize Detroit is “fixed” – those whom have influence and power are using it to change the city in their favor. Often they fail to dedicate moving forward as an opportunity to provide memory to the good times and  beauty which have happened across the city. These are the capitalist “occupiers” of Detroit set forth to make it what they desire. Its the same colonizing spirit that European settlers in the new world had when encountering first nations before there was an incorporation of the United States of America.

White-washing the memories of the city isn’t working and just creates more resentment and division when you occupy spaces and claim/colonize using outside wealth.

Cost of Snyderholes is Not Being Addressed and It is…

Cost of Snyderholes is Not Being Addressed and It is Rising

Excerpt from the Eclectablog article:
The cost of bad roads for the average driver is well over $300 a year:

Driving on rough roads costs the average Detroit urban area motorist $536 annually in extra vehicle operating costs, while the average driver in the Grand Rapids urban area loses $327 each year as a result of driving on deteriorated roads. In the Lansing urban area, the average motorist loses $305 annually due to driving on rough roads.

It’s gotten so bad that an astonishing array of different groups has banded together to demand lawmakers fix our roads. They have a website called The Michigan Association for Justice has set up a website called where you can report vehicle damage for reimbursement by the state. “We are trying to provide an easy place for drivers to report a pothole, get information on how to get money from the state if they qualify, and let the legislature know their frustration with the current road situation,” said Steve Pontoni, Director of Communications at MAJ.

(via As Michigan roads disintegrate, Republicans push for tax cuts – Don’t call them potholes, call them “Snyderholes” | Eclectablog)

Attorney Vanessa Fluker

Save Detroit – Save Our Homes

The campaign to “Save Detroit—Save Our Homes” (flyer attached) will soon have a chance to put our case directly before Mel Watt, the new director of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac– the federally operated mortgage giants that own two-thirds of all mortgages in the United States.

Watt was nominated by President Obama and confirmed over Republican opposition last December. Under his predecessor, Fannie and Freddie foreclosed on thousands of Detroit families who should have gotten assistance to keep them in their homes. Fannie and Freddie have declared moratoriums on foreclosures and evictions in areas devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and we need the same emergency assistance here, where a “Hurricane Without Water” has devastated Detroit’s tax base and forced the city into bankruptcy.

Attorney Vanessa Fluker - foreclosure/eviction legal defense

Attorney Vanessa Fluker – foreclosure/eviction legal defense

Our call for a moratorium on foreclosures and principal reduction to keep people in their homes has been endorsed by 70 organizations from across the city, including community groups, unions, faith-based organizations, and 30 neighborhood associations (list of endorsers attached). The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is arranging for a meeting with Watt, and our coalition will be represented at the upcoming gathering in Washington.

In the meantime, we’ll be taking our case to Detroit’s Congressional representatives this coming Wednesday, March 12, 11am – noon, as part of a national effort coordinated by the Home Defenders League and Occupy Our Homes. If you want to join our delegation or add your organization’s name to our list of endorsers, contact us via UAW Local 600 at 313-429-5009, or email For background info, go to

Printable Flyer

Click here to download

Endorsing Organizations

In Solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, Working in Detroit

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