Minehaha Forman is a freelance writer living in Detroit. Born on a farm in Belize, Central America, she moved to the U.S. to pursue higher education and a career in writing. Forman’s work has been featured in many metro Detroit publications including Dbusiness magazine, Hour magazine and Corp! magazine. She has provided event coverage for Real Times Media and The Michigan Chronicle for three years, covering the popular Pancakes and Politics speaker series and other events. Prior to working with the Chronicle, Forman was a blogger with The American Independent News Network where she covered Metro Detroit politics and the 2008 presidential election. She will continue to provide commentary and coverage of Detroit politics as a blogger and feature writer for The Michigan Chronicle’s website.
Website URL: http://truthordarestories.blogspot.com/
Detroit’s mayoral candidates were quick to express their opinions on Detroit’s impending emergency financial manager (EFM) after an announcement last week gave Gov. Rick Snyder the green light to appoint an EFM to Detroit.
Mayoral contenders, former DMC CEO Mike Duggan, Wayne Country Sherriff Benny Napoleon, and Lisa Howze, found various ways to sound off on the topic.
While Duggan and Howze are still fighting the idea of an EFM for Detroit, Napoleon has said it’s time for Detroit to accept the fact that an EFM is on the way.
Napoleon posted on his campaign’s Facebook page:
“The winds have changed. Let's partner with the Emergency Financial Manager (likely to be appointed) to swiftly address the city's finances, improve city services and then focus on a strong Detroit future with local elected leadership. As a partner in repairing city government and setting our future, we have a voice.”
So far, Napoleon is the only candidate who has retired his fighting words about the looming EFM.
Howze said in a recorded statement last week:
“I beg to differ with this public perception that only option for the City of Detroit is an emergency financial manager. What we need is strong senior and middle level management in areas of human resources, finance, and legal. Where the State can partner with us is in passing legislation that will allow Detroit to better collect its income tax revenue through withholding.”
Duggan took the fight to an op-ed, published in the Detroit Free Press.
In the piece he blasts Detroit Public Schools emergency management, calling it an example of failure.
“Turnarounds demand exceptional management talent. Without that talent, the greatest strategies in the world are just documents on a shelf."
He then he dissed the future EFM team, whoever that may be:
“What successful executive is going to make a career change to join a city of Detroit emergency manager with an expected tenure of 6-18 months?
While Duggan, Howze and Napoleon all have their opinions, they hold little sway with the state. Even current Mayor Dave Bing has declared any decision on a Detroit EFM on out of his control.
Does that mean that we should all keep quiet and leave the financial fate of the city in the Governor’s hands?
Not necessarily. But the real battle against an EFM was, in a way, already fought. Last year when voters rejected the emergency manager law, Public Act 4, it was thought to have been won. But a month later, the state passed a new, very similar law, PA436.
The silver lining to PA436 is that the governor can’t just snap his fingers and appoint an EM. The city would have a chance to opt out—they could offer up a restructuring plan of their own, ask for another consent agreement, file for chapter 9 bankrupty, or get a mediator involved. Another notable difference is that PA436 is referendum-proof, meaning it's protected from ever going to public vote.
Here’s the catch: PA436 doesn’t kick in until late March. Currently, the state is operating under Public Act 72, the earliest EFM legislation passed in 1990. If Snyder acts before March 27, the city would be grandfathered into PA72, where the city cannot, in a sense, pick their poison.
So, should Detroit opponents of EFMs accept their fate, or keep on fighting what seems like the inevitable?
After five months of sitting in court while federal prosecutors aired their case against him, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is waiting for a jury to decide his fate.
But in the meantime, Kilpatrick has been active on both social media sites Facebook and Twitter using the outlets as a form of inexpensive PR to restore his image as a God-fearing family man. Posting multiple pictures of his family along with praise of his loved ones and self-help quips, Kilpatrick is focusing on the positive—his family and God—and decrying the haters.
He posts regular inspirational nuggets for his Twitter followers:
“No Doubt! Sometimes through pain, darkness, tight spaces, u are pushed to rebirth. Just like the womb Bro! Blessings to u!” And: Guy just asked if "I was mad at everybody." No Sir! When I finally forgave myself, I knew I couldn't harbor unforgiveness of others. #newlife."
Kilpatrick, his father Bernard, and longtime contractor friend Bobby Ferguson face dozens of federal charges including extortion, bribery, conspiracy and tax fraud. The defendants pleaded not guilty and defense attorneys worked throughout the trial to argue that Kilpatrick and his co-defendants did nothing illegal, often hammering out the difference between law and ethics. During the trial, Kilpatrick was forced to sit through some of his closest confidants testifying against him in exchange for a plea deal.
Kilpatrick has made his facebook fan page a way to share his methods of getting through touch times:
“The thing that usually devours, now feeds u. The thing that tried to kill u, is now your stepping stone for new life. #digthat.”
Kilpatrick seeks to reclaim an image he had has a family man before the years he's spent in the spotlight amid scandal.
“My Family is Awesome! Through hell & high water, by grace, we have survived & even spiritually prospered. #footstool.” “Hello Family! Just wanted to thank you for your support, words of encouragement and prayers. I also want you to know that Joy is not a feeling, its a fruit of the Spirit. And by God's grace, I still have mine. Much Love Family!"
“Jonas just informed me that he'd earned an all "A" report card. He also told me that Cornell Univ was "back on the table." #mydude #blessed
Kilpatrick also has taken some chances to lash out at negative postings about him. He Tweets in response to his critics:
“What stealing money? Maybe, just maybe u are ignorant & misinformed. Forget supremacy 4 a moment. What makes u right?”
And: “Ppl hve been told 2 hate me for yrs. "It would be better when I left.' Hell followed my exit. Hate reigned."
Ultimately, Kilpatrick's advice to the world, and himself, is: “Don't pray and doubt. Its all in God's hands. Thankfully not the Media’s.”
DETROIT—After nearly three months of examining Detroit’s finances, a six-member state review team declared Tuesday that Michigan’s largest city is in a state of financial emergency.
“Certainly I am not surprised by the findings of the State’s financial review team” Bing said Tuesday in a statement. “My Administration has been saying for the past four years that the City is under financial stress.”
Now that the review has been completed, the findings leave whether or not to appoint an emergency manager to Detroit up to Governor Rick Snyder. Snyder has said he would act quickly once he got the results. Detroit could have an emergency manager by early March.
“If the Governor decides to appoint an Emergency Financial Manager, he or she, like my Administration, is going to need resources -- particularly in the form of cash and additional staff,” Bing said.
Under the new emergency manager law, Public Act 436, passed in December, the state is responsible for paying some of the costs of hiring an emergency manager and state-appointed staff. PA436 is similar to its predecessor, Public Act 4, which was voted down by a ballot initiative in November. Namely, allows the powerful emergency manager to break collective bargaining contracts.
Bing said he plans to keep working to address problems in the city.
“As I have said before, my Administration will stay focused on the initiatives that most directly impact the citizens of Detroit: public safety, public lighting, transportation, recreation and neighborhood blight removal,” Bing said.
Detroit faces a $327 million budget deficit in the current fiscal year, ongoing cash flow problems and a long term projected budget debt of more than $12 billion.
"The cash condition has been a strain on the city," said state Treasurer Andy Dillon, a member of the review team. "The city has been running deficits since 2005, masking over those with long-term borrowing."
All six members of the review team members agreed that their findings showed a case of financial emergency.
If Snyder decides to appoint an emergency manager, it still wouldn’t be an immediate appointment. A lot depends on timing.
The new emergency manager law taking effect in March gives local governments the choice between an emergency manager, a mediator, filing for bankruptcy or to offer their own financial restructuring plan to the state.
Am emergency manager would be responsible for all of the city’s finances. Once a manager is in place, only the EM can decide whether or not to file for bankruptcy.
Detroit would be largest city in Michigan to go under the supervision of a state receiver, but not the first. The cities of Flint, Pontiac, Benton Harbor, Ecorse, and Allen Park are in state receivership.
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