Tag Archives: Rick Snyder

We are not all Detroiters

As nice a sentiment as it is, we are not all Detroiters.

For years, Michiganders have looked at Detroit as a “problem” that needs fixing. An inconvenience. An eyesore.

And now that the city of Detroit is declaring bankruptcy – at the behest of our Governor – we’re all Detroiters?

For too many people across the nation and across the world, Detroit has become a sort of apocalyptic Babylon – the image of a once mighty empire in ruins. Many people are quick to gawk and let their mouths hang open in disbelief at the city’s fall, but few people are willing to make any headway on the problem.

Detroit is not the problem, however. Detroit is the victim.

So-called “experts” across the nation are lining up to speculate on how this iconic American city could have ended up at this point and in this process, local officials have become an easy scape-goat for much larger problems.

Corruption on the part of certain elected officials could never be as damaging to the city as losing over 60 percent of the city’s population in fifty years. It’s a long way to fall from nearly two million to just over 700,000.

Corruption could never do as much harm as shipping jobs to other states and other countries. People – and tax dollars – go where there’s work available.

Corruption has done far less to harm the city of Detroit than urban sprawl. There are still over four million people in Metro Detroit – only their tax dollars are going to other city governments rather than to Detroit’s coffers.

The real Detroiters are the ones living in Detroit right now, the ones dealing with the consequences of White Flight, the ones coping with the aftermath of our manufacturing jobs getting shipped overseas.

And it should be noted that these Detroiters are remaking the city today in revolutionary ways that are showing what a post-industrial society looks like. Vacant fields are being turned into farms. Neighborhoods are being converted into art galleries. The people of Detroit are pulling together, reclaiming the city through ground-level organizing – from biking groups to networking for transplants moving to Detroit for work.

And Detroit is adding jobs: Entrepreneurs are moving to Detroit to start businesses. The tech industry is posting huge gains in Detroit. As Quicken Loans and other companies set up downtown, housing is in high demand. A new bridge connecting Detroit with Canada will expand trade and manufacturing possibilities.

The state of Michigan could best help out the city of Detroit by speeding up the blight removal, by using some of the $500+ million in our rainy day fund to invest in the city and speed up its recovering. The city’s layout is in desperate need of an overhaul since it’s a huge place. Detroit is roughly the same size as San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Boston combined (139 sq miles vs the combined area of these cities standing at 156 sq miles).

To go back to Detroit’s French roots, Dépenser plus pour gagner plus. Spend more to get more. For Detroit to become economically viable, we need to reverse the city’s hemorrhaging population. Restructuring the city, investing in infrastructure and police, and speeding up blight removal are all crucial components to this.

We need some action. Detroit’s recovery is Michigan’s recovery – but that doesn’t make us all Detroiters.

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Mark your calendars

There are two upcoming events you should mark your calendars for if you’re here in Michigan.

1. UAW will be protesting Rick Snyder’s State of the State address tomorrow in Lansing and at other locations across the state. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it but I encourage everyone to make it out for an hour, two hours, or the whole time.

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2. On a lighter note, the 2013 Arab Film Festival is coming up in Dearborn, MI at the end of the month. I’ve never been, but I’m looking forward to going with my boyfriend. Tickets are $9 per showing.

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Union busting = Pure Michigan?

Union busting = Pure Michigan?

Ad that appeared in the Wall Street Journal this week linking the Pure Michigan tourism campaign to union busting legislation.

Ahh… that is… #pureBS

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11/01/2013 · 18:01

Why I oppose Right to Work

A lot of people are confused about what exactly Right to Work is which makes sense since the vast majority of Americans aren’t affected by Right to Work legislation.

What is Right to Work?

“Right to Work” legislation defunds unions by saying that union members cannot be required to pay dues as a part of their membership in the union – which sounds really great until you consider that this promotes freeloading.

Moreover, while big business is one of the largest supporters of Republican politics (Koch bros, anyone?), labor unions are one of the biggest supporters of Democratic politics. Defunding unions means less bargaining power, lower membership, and less political clout.

So what’s the big deal? Shouldn’t people have the right to not join a union?

You are not required to join a union in your place of work. It’s optional. However if there is a union at your place of work and you don’t join the union, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t benefiting from their work – so you still pay dues.

Wait. So you still have to pay even if you don’t want to join?

Yes. The union is still representing you to your employer on your behalf. You are still benefiting from their work.

Defunding labor unions is an attack on good jobs and hard-working Americans. The GOP, being in the pockets of big money and corporate America, sees paying workers less and having fewer rights in the workplace as the solution to our current economic woes. If employers can pay less, they can increase profit, maybe even expand operations in the U.S.

As Anne Savage said on Twitter today, “Snyder didn’t sign Right to Work bill so Michigan can compete with Indiana he did it so Michigan can compete with China.”

Corporate America and their GOP cronies are hoping that we’ll forget the advances made by the labor movement during the 20th century. And, you gotta give them credit, if there’s ever a time to do it, it’s during an economic downturn when any job is better than no job. Once we start repealing the advances in labor made during the 20th century, we can start competing with China, India and Mexico for the jobs that we’ve been exporting for the sake of their CEO’s and shareholders’ bottom lines.

Want a history on labor unions? Ezra Klein gave a quick overview last night (12/11) on TRMS.

Bottom line: The GOP is making a strategic attack on unions for their own gain and dressing it up like a Christmas present to working Americans. If the GOP cared about workers’ rights and “freedom”, they wouldn’t have chosen a lame duck session to push the legislation through here in Michigan at a time when no one was expecting it after years of Governor Snyder saying that this sort of legislation is wrong for Michigan.

By the way, Governor. You were right. Right to work is wrong for Michigan.

2014, here we come.

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The best of the best (protest signs 12/11)

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One of my favorites from today. Simple, straight-forward, and it was the only sign I saw all day that brought together the pro-union, pro-Planned Parenthood forces.

As things got started this morning, there was a giant banner hanging on the capitol. Protestors used their own signs to cover it up until someone could be found to cut through the iron cables.

As things got started this morning, there was a giant banner hanging on the capitol. Protestors used their own signs to cover it up until someone could be found to cut through the iron cables.

A myriad of protesters and among them... a myriad of Santas throughout the day.

A myriad of protesters and among them… a myriad of Santas throughout the day.

The mitten signs were some of my favorites.

The mitten signs were some of my favorites.

In most office windows, staffers and politicians could be seen peering out, taking photos of the protest with their smart phones. I commend Rep. Segal for taking the effort to show her solidarity.

In most office windows, staffers and politicians could be seen peering out, taking photos of the protest with their smart phones. I commend Rep. Segal for taking the effort to show her solidarity.

The simplicity in this just about sums it up.

The simplicity in this just about sums it up.

"Nerds have a union?"

“Nerds have a union?”

RIP MI Democracy

My favorite poster that I saw all day long.

My favorite poster that I saw all day long.

What do you think? I think this is one kick-ass teacher!

What do you think? I think this is one kick-ass teacher!

Classic.

Classic.

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This is what democracy looks like

Protesters march around the capitol.

Protesters march around the capitol.

 

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My favorite poster that I saw all day long.

My favorite poster that I saw all day long.

 

Protesters getting ready to march on the capitol from across the river around 9 am.

Protesters getting ready to march on the capitol from across the river around 9 am.

 

After 9 am, the eastern steps of the capitol building suddenly became a very crowded place.

After 9 am, the eastern steps of the capitol building suddenly became a very crowded place.

 

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The rat king coming home to his castle.

The rat king coming home to his castle.

 

Incident police HQ

Chants could still be heard blocks away from the capitol building.

 

I wish that the 27 had been in Celsius.

I wish that the 27 had been in Celsius.

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Today is the day

In a matter of a few short hours I’ll be down at the capitol building in Lansing, joining thousands of other protesters to let Governor Snyder and the Michigan GOP know how we feel about ramming through right-to-work-for-less legislation through out of the blue in the lame-duck session.

I’m trying out the Twitter thing – and I’ll be posting updates as often as possible on the blog. (Check out my feed on the sidebar.)

The plan is to take a lot of pictures, not get arrested, and scream until I can’t scream any more.

See you there.

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