Condemn Michigan’s Government Takeover of Detroit

detroit

Target: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder

Goal: Condemn Governor Snyder for overriding the authority of Detroit’s democratically elected officials by appointing a temporary manager for the city

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder recently announced his intentions to invoke the state’s Emergency Manager Bill by appointing a temporary financial manager for the city of Detroit. This bill gives this appointed manager ultimate power over the city, overriding the democratically elected officials of the city. This bill originated in 1990, was modified to its current form in 2010, repealed in the 2012 elections, and then reinstated a mere five weeks after it was repealed. This law overrides the democratic process in Detroit, and is simply unacceptable.

The premise of this Emergency Manager Law is that the governor of Michigan can declare a town or school board “dysfunctional,” and take said town or school board over. This provision overrides the power of the democratically elected officials and, so far, none of the five other Michigan cities that were taken over by this provision was able to change the government’s position through a hearing against the action. Effectively, this law takes away the democratic power and voice of the people of these taken-over towns or school boards.

Despite this provision being repealed in the 2012 election, Governor Rick Snyder and the Republican-controlled legislature reinstated the law, this time outlawing the ability to repeal it. This is an egregious government overreach. The law even gives the governor the ability to abolish the town completely, and sell off its assets, completely without the consent of the citizens.

Not only is this law a violation of the Constitution, and the voting rights of the people of Michigan, but it is not a good plan. Recent government takeovers in Michigan have proven to be ineffective. Of the ten towns or school districts that have been taken over in the last two years under this law, only one has emerged from its financial troubles. There has simply been no correlation in Michigan between government takeover and financial turnaround.

Finally, this power grab by Governor Rick Snyder even has a racial element to it. Although a majority of the population of Michigan is white, a majority of people stripped of their voting rights by this law have been African American. If this takeover is allowed to go ahead in Detroit, one out of every two African Americans in Michigan will no longer have their elected representatives in power. Not only this, but until further notice, the people in these districts will have no say over the future moves by their town or school board.

This government overreach is outrageous. By signing this petition, you are letting Governor Rick Snyder know this power grab is unacceptable, and you are helping draw attention to this horrible loss of democratic process in Michigan.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Rick Snyder,

I am writing you today to ask you to reconsider your recent proposal to invoke the emergency manager law in the city of Detroit. Not only is this government takeover unwanted by the people, as evidenced by the repeal of the law in 2012, but these takeovers have proven to be ineffective in Michigan. Please reconsider this rash action, and work with the voters instead of overriding their democratic voices.

Since the law was amended in 2010, only one of the ten towns or school boards have emerged from their financial downturn under government takeover. This shows that these takeovers are not effective. In addition, the fact that the bill was repealed, and that there has been widespread civil disobedience as a result of your announcement regarding Detroit, shows that the people of Michigan do not want this drastic action to take place.

Please, listen to the people of your state, and stop this government takeover. Work with the people instead of ignoring and overruling their democratic voice.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Ian Freimuth via Flickr

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71 Signatures

  • James Thrailkill
  • Eric von Borstel
  • Frédérique Pommarat
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