Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:
Community and pro-democracy activists in Detroit have no intention of rolling over and playing dead for Kevyn Orr, the city’s new ‘emergency manager’ appointed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who will begin his contract to run the city as a one-person government on Monday.
Called a “bloodless coup” by some, the appointment of an ‘emergency financial manager’ (EFM) will allow Orr to take full control over the city’s resources now that the city council and school board have been stripped of their governing powers.
Justified as a tool to ‘bring the city bank from the financial brink’ by its proponents, critics of Orr’s position say the whole reason for the emergency manager is to further gut the city by carving off public assets to the highest private bidder.
“Emergency managers do not work. They are supported by big banks and by big business to steal public services.” – Gwendolyn Peoples, Detroit resident
“Over a decade of experimentation has shown that the emergency manager model is undemocratic and it hasn’t worked,” said John Philo, director of the Sugar Law Center, which has taken legal action against Michigan’s emergency management model. “The stated goal is to balance the books and the emergency manager model fails to deliver that in the long term. What it does do is force privatization of public resources and guts the public sector unions. But that hollows out your tax base and the city continues in a downward spiral.”
“The people of a city need to decide how to get out of a financial mess and how to prioritize necessary sacrifices,” he continued. “Do they want to sell a park or eliminate a tax break for some business? These are policy choices that residents, not technocrats, should decide.”
Read more here.