Day of Wrecking: Michigan Busts Both Unions and Democracy to Boost Corporations


Michigan protesters and Detroit's czar Kevyn Orr

Michigan protesters and Detroit’s new unelected czar Kevyn Orr.  Nice democracy while it lasted.

Do you want to know why I worry far, far, far, far less about the influence of unions in politics than about anti-union actions?  It’s because I don’t want California to go the way of Michigan.  Michigan has peeled back the mask and now we get to look at the full anti-union agenda in its natural reptilian form.   It turns out that it does not give a damn about democracy, period.  From “EclectaBlog,” a progressive Michigan blog, from which I’ve snagged a full half of the article with only implicit permission (click the link to see more):

Today Michigan becomes 24th Right to Work state, Emergency Financial Managers become Emergency Managers

by  on MARCH 28, 2013

The fight to reclaim our state in 2014 starts TODAY

Today Michigan, the birthplace of the labor movement, becomes the 24th Right to Work state in the USA. It’s also the day that PA 436, the Emergency Manager law Republicans passed to thwart the wishes of Michigan voters, goes into effect. PA 436 transforms all Emergency Financial Managers to Emergency Managers (EMs), giving them powers above and beyond financial matters as they are the sole rulers of the schools and municipalities over which they have complete power.

Right to Work is being challenged by at least three different lawsuits. The Rev. Al Sharpton will join Rev. Charles Williams, President of the Detroit National Action Network (NAN), and other local community leaders to file a lawsuit in federal court in Detroit. A silent vigil is planned at the State Capitol building, as well.

The switch from Emergency Financial Managers to Financial Managers is being heralded in by action by Roy Roberts, the EM for Detroit Public Schools (DPS). He has announced that he will be firing DPS superintendent, John Telford.

Roy Roberts, the state appointee who runs the Detroit Public Schools, announced in a letter dated today that he will fire the superintendent that the school board hired and reverse decisions the board made since it acquired academic powers in August. {…}

Lamar Lemmons, the board president, said Wednesday that he was not surprised at Roberts’ first actions under the new law.

“We are essentially spectators,” he said of the board.

This action is a key component of PA 436. It allows the EM to assume control over academic decisions. In other words, a man with no experience or training will be running academic programs and usurping the power of the elected officials. Here’s a bit from his biography:

Roberts, former Managing Director at Reliant Equity Investors, has decades of managerial, financial and organizational experience, having served as the highest-ranking African-American executive in the U.S. automobile industry as Group Vice President for North American Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing of General Motors Corporation (GM). He also served as Vice President and General Manager in charge of Field Sales, Service and Parts for the Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing Group of General Motors Corporation.

He’s a finance and marketing guy. Nothing in his resume qualifies him to run academic programming in the DPS.

It’s a bellwether day for us in Michigan. It also marks Day One of the battle to reclaim our state from the misguided, drunk-with-power ideologues that are working so hard to crush unions, destroy our public school system, set women’s rights back decades and to privatize anything not nailed down to for-profit businesses that bankroll their campaigns.

If you aren’t actively engaged in replacing these Republicans in 2014, you should be seriously considering how you can get involved NOW. Everything we do between now and November 4th, 2014 should be aimed at that single goal. Get involved.

They got rid of elected officials and replaced them with what Republicans in other circumstances have liked to call “unelected czars.”  Detroit’s schools are now in the hands of a car salesman.  Michigan itself is not in the hands of, in effect, an elected government turned into a  junta.

“Paradise!”, I suspect some here in Orange County would say.  Well, say it out loud, folks.  We’ll take notes.  And if any Republicans — as well as, I hope, Democrats and others — would like to denounce this, right now would be a really good time to do it.  Is this what Orange County Republicans really want?

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)