Rachel Maddow talks Michigan emergency manager takeover
Rachel Maddow had a segment on her show last evening looking at the controversy over the Emergency Manager in Benton Harbor nullifying election results and forbidding elected bodies in that city from taking any actions whatsoever. She specifically cited the Michigan Messenger.
Maddow specifically mentioned the Jean Klock Park situation, a story that the Messenger has been following closely for years — and most of the media in the state have been ignoring. A large chunk of that park, deeded to the city on the condition that it remain a public park forever, was leased to private developers to be made into a golf course.
The land was swapped for land owned by Whirlpool, property that turned out to be highly contaminated; taxpayers are now paying for the cleanup of that land through a Brownfield redevelopment credit worth millions of dollars.
Though that situation took place before the new Emergency Manager law went into effect, this is exactly the sort of thing that an Emergency Manager would have the power to do. Faced with a deficit, the EM might decide to sell off public property to developers — and there’s nothing that local residents or their elected officials could do to stop it because, as this situation shows, the EFM can simply order the local elected boards not to do anything.
Local groups fighting privatization of the park here and here.
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