John Conyers Asks Attorney General to Review Michigan Emergency Manager Law

Simone Landon, Huffington Post, December 2, 2011

As Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder plans a preliminary state review of Detroit’s finances, a legal challenge to his authority to do such an action may be on the way. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), who represents Detroit, has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking the Justice Department for an immediate review of Michigan’s emergency manager law.

A 30-day preliminary financial review is the first step toward a state appointment of an emergency manager for Detroit–an outcome Snyder has said he would like to avoid and members of Detroits’ City Council and Mayor Dave Bing have vehemently opposed. At a last-minute press conference called Thursday, Bing and City Council members, along with labor, religious and business leaders, announced their opposition to a preliminary review.

{snip}

A version of the emergency manager law has been on the books in Michigan since 1988, but Public Act 4, passed by the majority Republican legislature and signed by Snyder in March, grants further-reaching powers to the governor and appointees. Under the law, Michigan’s governor can appoint an emergency manager for any community or school district the state considers to be in a “financial emergency.” The conditions of financial emergency are left loosely defined.

Emergency managers have broad powers, including the ability to unilaterally dismiss elected officials, dissolve municipal governments, break collective bargaining agreements and sell public assets.

{snip} Conyers first spoke against the law when it passed the Michigan House in March.

“I do not often comment on the activities of the Michigan Legislature, but House Bill 4214 stands out as an unconstitutional swipe at minority communities and hardworking public workers,” he wrote in a March 27 Free Press op-ed. {snip}

In his Thursday letter, Conyers invoked the contract clause of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits states from “impairing the obligation of contracts.”

He also said the appointment of emergency managers “would appear to violate the Voting Rights Act.”

“While the law itself may be facially neutral, it would seem that it is being applied in a discriminatory fashion, as the impacted jurisdictions have very high proportions of African Americans and other minorities,” Conyers wrote.

Emergency managers are currently in place in four Michigan municipalities: Benton Harbor, Pontiac, Ecorse and now Flint, as well as the Detroit Public Schools district. They’ve been appointed previously in Hamtramck and Highland Park, among other municipalities.

{snip}

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  • dd

    Please, someone explain why whites should go into areas self-governed by blacks that are failed, and save them from themselves.

  • Anonymous

    The last thing Michigan should do is take over bankrupt Detroit. Blacks in Detroit are salivating to blame whitey yet again for Detroit’s failures.

    Black problems should have black solutions. Let them clean up their own messes!

  • BO_Bill

    Natural Law dictates that human evolution in the absence of metals and later gunpowder places bodily strength as the primary determinant of social order. This yields patriarchal systems of government, or Tribes.

    Natural Law further dictates that human evolution in the presence of metals and later gunpowder places Talent and Virtue as the primary determinants of social order. This yields Republics.

    Transplanting large numbers of Tribal people into a political subdivision within a Republic yields Benton Harbor, Pontiac, Ecorse, Flint, and Detroit. Natural Law gets even more fascinating when the welfare state necessarily fails in a multicultural wonderland.

    Thomas Jefferson on Natural Law: http://goo.gl/DDG3n

  • Robert

    “it would seem that it is being applied in a discriminatory fashion, as the impacted jurisdictions have very high proportions of African Americans and other minorities,” Conyers wrote.”

    Conyers forgot to support his racist accusation and name the bankrupt white majority towns in Michigan that justify having an emergency manager. I wonder why?

  • Seek

    Here’s a thought: Maybe the reason for putting black-run municipalities in Michigan under state receivership is because the black leaders in those communities are incompetent and corrupt. Gov. Snyder, of course, can’t say this openly, so he’ll utter those dreaded “code words” for racism. When he does, ironically, he will raise further suspicions about his motives, thus enhancing Rep. Conyers’ “civil rights” reputation.

    The 82-year-old Conyers, by the way, has led the effort in Congress for slavery reparations for blacks for the last 20 years or more. Frankly, I can’t wait to see him retire — or croak.

  • Anonymous

    Fascinating. Sounds like it’s a bankruptcy administered by the state government instead of by a Federal BK court. It’s exactly what needs to be done in many municipalities: exit the union contracts, lay off a large chunk of workers, and renege on absurd pension / healthcare plans. Detroit could be saved by this! Once they do all these things, blacks will have no reason to stay there. Cold winters and no AA “jobs”, why stick around? They’ll move back to Georgia.

  • Question Diversity

    In another article about this, one official with the city said that “Detroit should be run by Detroiters.”

    How’s that working out for you?

    Even if the state takes over, I fail to see what good it will do.

  • neanderthalDNA

    Do emergency managers have the power to set up a nice, humane, eugenics program? Offer tubal ligations and vasectomies in exchange for benefits?

    Better yet, can they sort of wall it in and require passes in or out?

    Black run = epic failure.

  • on the lam from the Thought Police

    With an average IQ of 85 it should come as no surprise that blacks are incapable of adequate self government.

    Blacks running a city are like dogs walking on two legs. The wonder is not that it is done poorly. The wonder is that it is done at all.

  • Jim

    Time to feign ignorance again! We’re bound to hear about the “studies” needed to determine how these cities failed. If only we could establish some commonalities … nope, I can’t. It’s all a big, unfortunate mystery, although it’s a safe bet that “structural racism” and “historical inequalities” played a role. I’ve said it before, and I’ll bore you with it again in the future: It’s as if we live in a large dysfunctional family in which the truth must not be spoken. We all know the truth, but we pretend we don’t. It’s kind of sick, actually.

  • Anonymous

    The overall effect of this in the news is to create some kind of white supremacy idea, or perhaps people of color should feel grateful the greater public is bailing them out? There’s always a first time.

  • Futura

    The Africanization of Detroit continues unabated. By the way, look up John Conyers’ wife on Youtube.

    http://theopeningeye.blogspot.com

  • Anonymous

    “Now most huns are hard-working, law-abiding citizens-I’m only talking about extremist huns…” The King (by Baloo)

  • madison grant

    Let’s give Conyers what he wants: no “emergency manager” to save Detroit from the blacks who destroyed it.

    But then let’s also refuse to bail them out financially. Let them go the way of Zimbabwe.

  • sbuffalonative

    Can’t have outsiders interfering with ‘business as usual’.

  • CDE

    “While the law itself may be facially neutral, it would seem that it is being applied in a discriminatory fashion, as the impacted jurisdictions have very high proportions of African Americans and other minorities,” Conyers wrote

    Yeah, that’s becuase black run cities are fiscal nightmares. Duhh!!

  • whirlwinder

    It seems that Conyers is sticking his federal nose into a states business that has established itself by precedent. It seems that the state has had to bail out several black run towns and school districts. Why should Detroit be any different. It has been bankrupt for many years now. Michigan should just get it over with, set up the bankruptcy proceedings, and get the state on a good financial footing. Perhaps we could take a lesson by looking in on these black run enterprises and obtain some wisdom therefrom.

  • mark

    I am sure Eric Holder will again try to help “his people” and attack the White Governor Snyder.

    For some of you who may not be aware of this, Rep. Conyers’ (black D-MI) wife and former Detroit councilwoman is currently serving a 3-year sentence for taking bribes.

  • rjp

    In his Thursday letter, Conyers invoked the contract clause of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits states from “impairing the obligation of contracts.”

    Morally bankrupt John Conyers makes use of the Constitution?

    I am going to have to assume that the Michigan emergency manager law must be at odds with his grift.

  • Dom

    Let them fall. Let blacks they take care of themselves. What do you care? Only let them organize theor own state. Detroit and the rest of Michigan separate. Don’t discriminate minorities 🙂

  • gary

    If Conyers and co. do not like the above mentioned law it is no problem. Let Detroit stew in it’s own juices. That means no dough.Let Detroit take it’s place next to Jo’berg as a monument to African civilization. This means no re-election of President Oscama or the election of the Whore from Ga. Either we, the people, rule this republic or the NY Times does. Step up to the plate, America. Get right with yerself and git on da beam.

  • Marc B

    I almost always support localism versus interference from larger political bodies (state, federal, global) seeking to centralize power and put local government under their thumb, and this case is no different. If the state has an issue with the way Detroit handles things it should cut off funds where it can and let the city residents fend for themselves.

    “This city is what it is because it’s people are what they are.” – Plato

  • Fritz

    I agree with the general concensus, let them wallow in their own mess. If there were only some way to keep them there until they clean up their own mess insted of allowing them to move on to defile the next unfortunate local where they land. In Chicago they have been closing down all they “projects” (affordable housing built for Blacks in the 60s) and relocating them into surrounding suburbs under section eight. And of course, everywhere they go, they bring the same mess they made of the last place they lived. Yes, Whitey should stay out of those Black hell holes and the people who messed those places up, should have to stay there for better or worse.

  • sharon

    Insults are supposedly off limits acc to rules….Why are so many racist remarks allowed, then?

    I grew up and attended college, and worked in Detroit, inner city, since a child (working in family biz). I saw Detroit inner city neighborhds, torn apart by freeways so whites could get downtown to jobs,while living in suburbs. Whites who have pensions from school jobs are continuing burden on Detroit. I am white.