You ever have one of those days when you’re at the kitchen table, trying to do your monthly bills. And your teen-aged son or daughter is playing some God awful piece of crap like Madonna Live: The Broken Hip Tour or Let the Eagle Soar:Beiber sings Ashcroft at sound levels that could shatter marble. And you tell him or her to please turn it down a few notches or else they’ll stop payment on their braces and laugh when the Repo Man tries to pry them from their mouths. And they turn around and say, “Dad, stop being such a Fascist!’.
You might want to show them this bit of news out of Michigan Via Electablog at Daily Kos.
As you probably know, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder recently signed legislation passed by the Republican-dominated House and Senate that gives State-appointed Emergency Financial Managers (EFMs) historically broad and sweeping powers. These new powers allow the EFM to cancel or modify contracts (including with unions) and even to fire the municipality’s government.
Today, for the first time, a EFM did just that. According to a press release from the Michigan AFL-CIO, Joseph L. Harris, EFM for Benton Harbor, Michigan issued “an order prohibiting all action by all city boards, commissions, authorities and other entities, except as authorized by the emergency manager.”
Translation: Your elected officials can’t do anything unless given the green light by an unelected bureaucrat. From the AFL- CIO Press Release…
In the wake of a bill that was signed into law with high objection from the people, as it was a bill that threatened local communities, schools, townships, and municipalities, the first order has been officially issued in Benton Harbor. Joseph L. Harris has used his emergency manager powers to “exercise any power or authority of any office, employee, department, board, commission, or similar entity of the City, whether elected or appointed.” In addition, the Emergency Manager has the power to supersede any officer or entity and the power to act on behalf of the city.
“This is sad news for democracy in Michigan. It comes after the announcement of Robert Bobb in Detroit ordering layoff of every single public school teacher in the Detroit Public School system,” says Mark Gaffney, President of Michigan AFL-CIO. “With the stripping of all power of duly elected officials in Benton harbor and the attack on Detroit school teachers, we can now see the true nature of the Emergency Manager system.”
This is a real life instance of taking away our fundamental rights. In fact, the only thing City Boards, Commissions, Authorities or other entities may do without the approval of an Emergency Manager is to:
1) Call a meeting to order
2) Approve of meeting minutes
3) Adjourn a meeting
Everything else is under the Emergency Manager’s control. These new powers are taking away the will and voice of the people by stripping away the rights of public officials elected by Michiganders. By exploiting the current crisis situation, these emergency managers are able to ascertain unreasonable rules to completely control a city. This is a true case of political over-reach, and will simply add to the hardships of an already suffering populace in Michigan.
It’s at this point that you tell your teenager that is what Fascism looks like and now will you turn down your Goddamn stereo.
We elect people to Government to carry out our collective will. If we don’t like the job they are doing, we vote them out. At least, that’s the theory. But when The People no longer have a voice in how their Government is run. And when decisions are made by one man with no accountability to the public…well, you got a big old problem.
The ACLU is now on the case…(H/T again to Electablog.)
DETROIT — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan, April 7, filed 13 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests seeking records regarding Public Acts 4-9, the new emergency manager law passed in March.
In a press release, ACLU Director Kate Moss observed news reports that estimated over 100 local governments are potentially in a state of ‘fiscal watch’ and 40 school districts or charter schools are in deficit while another 150 are in danger of going into deficit.
Moss says the implications for the state are potentially enormous and questioned the passing of the law.
“Our elected officials have painted the issue with broad brush strokes and these FOIA requests seek the details,” she said.
Prior to the passing of the EM law, several questions to its constitutionality were raised and continue to be raised.
Councilmember JoAnn Watson began conversation with local attorneys to explore the likelihood of a lawsuit. There was also talk of filing a suit on the state level by some Democratic members of the legislature.
The ACLU of Michigan says their FOIA requests seek to understand the intent of the law, the scope of authority and oversight, the implications for cities and school districts and the involvement of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy (MCPP) — the drafters of the legislation.
Calls to MCPP were not returned by press time.
Spare a kindly thought for our brothers and sisters in Michigan. They are struggling in a way that no American should struggle.