More Michigan Mishigas

From neon tommy:

On March 16, 2011, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law a bill that would allow the state to appoint an “Emergency Financial Manager” (EFM) to essentially take over a city within the state when it is deemed that the city is in a state of “financial crisis.”

This state-appointed official has the power to void union contracts, remove elected officials, and can dissolve local authority completely, replacing it with the authority of the governor through the EFM.

The first city has fallen — Benton Harbor, Michigan. A few days ago, the powers of the local, elected government were dissolved, and elected officials were replaced by a state-appointed EFM, Joseph Harris. Public workers are being forced into concessions on their unionizing rights.

secretofdeepharborOriginal movie poster

The locals no longer have a voice in their own government.


The takeover of Benton Harbor marks a dangerous consolidation of power under one man, the governor of Michigan, that threatens the basic freedom of democracy that is to elect one’s own local government. True, city officials can still 1) call meetings to order, 2) approve of the meeting minutes, and 3) adjourn a meeting. But that’s not all.

They cannot make decisions. They cannot ensure that the voices of the people they represent will be taken into account in policy-making decisions made by a state-appointed official. They can, however, be removed by the EFM.


The bill impedes the democratic rights of the local communities it affects, under the guise of necessity. The EFM is only allowed to take power in a city in financial crisis; however, not only does the governor determine the definition of “crisis,” but the seizure of local authority presumes that the financial problem can be solved better and more effectively by one who does not necessarily understand nor wish to understand the needs of the local constituents who elected their own officials for a reason.


Filed under humor, Michigan, movies, parody, politics, Republicans, snark, Wordpress Political Blogs

39 responses to “More Michigan Mishigas

  1. sorry so late today, kids. just got home after a delightful day spent with blog buddies and then a town meeting with debbie wasserman-schultz. gonna go eat dinner now, and then i’ll be back.

    p.s. this poster’s for you and inspired, neon vincent! 😀

  2. I wish the Justice Department would stop them. I can’t believe it’s legal.

    • i can’t believe it either. however, i remember reading somewhere a few weeks ago that a similar law was already on the books. even if that’s the case, you can sure that the rethugs have pushed it just far enough so that the rethug governor can twist the wording so that he can do whatever the hell he wants.

  3. jean-philippe

    Time to pull out the blue make up.

    • i’d be more afraid of some of those ladies i saw in benton harbor than i would be of mel gibson. there was some righteous anger in that room, and i hope they channel it and get everyone they know out to vote next time.

  4. John Erickson

    Sorry, I must need new glasses – I read the dedication as being to Neon Tummy. I didn’t think you knew anyone from Three Mile Island….;)
    My wife’s from northern Indiana, and has always referred to the town as Benton Harlem – it’s been run down for quite a while. Yes, some desperate measures were called for, but this jumps right from desperate to lunatic! I agree with the others, how the heck can it be legal for a STATE official to meddle in LOCAL politics?
    That’s why you bribe the LOCAL guys, so the graft and corruption benefits your home town! (Oops, sorry, had a Chicago flashback there. I’m better now. 🙂 )

    • i can understand the state stepping in if the mayor and city council of a town were arrested or had to leave office for one reason or another or if there was some kind of desperate emergency. however, this is completely out of line.

      i remember reading that the criminal in tallahassee wants to take the floriduhhh state parks and make golf courses out of them, and the waterfront of benton harbor has been privatized and made into a luxury golf development. wtf is it with the golf courses? how many people play golf? everything decent is being taken over so that they can become playgrounds for the super-rich. i guess they need to find new places to spend their tax cuts.

      • John Erickson

        I think they seriously believe that their golf courses are a “win-win” proposition. You keep the same amount of green space (yeah, I know it’s not the same, but bear with me), you fence it in to keep all the “bums sleeping in the park” types out, then you bring in the uber-rich who employ dozens of minions per golfer. Other than the (obvious) shortcomings on the ecological front, the “jobs” they create are base-pay slave labour jobs – cocktail waitresses, caddies, groundskeepers, and if you’re lucky, maybe a snooty front desk clerk and club chairperson as frosting. Golf courses make LOADS of money in temperate areas (where nature waters the grass, as opposed to those obscenities out in Vegas!), they’re private so they can be exclusive, and if you allow houses, you can sell an average so-so house for 3-5 times what it would sell for nearby, because (gasp!) you have a house on a GOLF COURSE!! (Big fat fu…furry deal!) Kind of a 1800s robber-baron variation on “trickle down” economics. (And just ask anybody in the military or big business what is the only thing that EVER “trickles down”!)

  5. Friend of the court

    a hostile corporate takeover of states. how ironic that voters have elected people who are now making their votes meaningless.

  6. jeb

    Methinks it’s time someone dragged Gov. Snyder into court and where he can receive a good old fashioned judicial smack upside his head with the balance of powers. Douchebag two-bit tyrant. So much for the myth of rethugs being for small and local government.

  7. i agree, and the smack should be made with a gavel the same size as the one bronzo the clown has.

  8. I can’t decide if the EFM position is more like the Wizard of Oz…. all knowing & all powerful, working all those controls behind the curtain.

    Or more like Pottersville– You think the whole world revolves around you and your money! Well, it doesn’t, Mr. Potter! In the whole vast configuration of things, you’re nothing but a scurvy, little spider.

    Makes me wonder what EFM really stands for– looks like
    Entirely F@#king Michigan!

    • more like the wicked witch of the west…well, the north, in this case. well, snyder is the wicked witch, harris is one of his many flying monkeys.

  9. I heard the Benton Harbor story on NPR. The waterfront park was donated to the city many years ago by a well to do industialist in memory of his deceases child, who the park is named after. The locals used to work making appliances until the plant got shipped out to slave labor regions. So now, finally, dictatorship has come to America (better order more flags from China). The sad thing is the USSC will back this 100% because of that ’05 ruling that decided indidviduals no longer have property rights. The corporation rules supreme. Maybe they will go back to the old practices of a hundred years ago when dissent was dealt with in the form of murder squads of detectives hired by the company to send the message of death and terror to any who defy them. But in the end, their efforts will be for naught. I saw this reviewing some archive film of the dictator of Moronica-Moe Hailstone-who found himself in a conundrum after throwing a fit with a lot of German words in it, orders the release of the lions, only to be told by the Minister of Popaganda that they have no lions. “Why have I no lions” to which Field Marshal Herring replies: “Because there are no bones in ice cream”. See what I mean.

    • John Erickson

      (Squeals like a little girl.) Tex! A Stoogophile! AWESOME! “Hail, hail Hailstone! Wahoo!” Curly makes the PERFECT Goering/Herring – just check some of the Nazi propaganda shots of the Field Marshall, and then look at Curly in his role. “Moronica for morons!” 😀

      • Specifically, a Jeromist. I have studied his work since 4th grade and it has given me the inspiration to go on!

      • John Erickson

        While a bit of an afficianado of the original non-Horowitz family member, I was immediately drawn to our Saint Jerome, the original “wiseguy”. Due to my preference for crew cuts while in grade school, I was immediately tagged as looking like our Jerome. Of course, the fact I’ve always been a bit on the rotund side didn’t hurt, either!
        Did you happen to see the TV docudrama of Howard, Fine, and Howard? (Well, and Howard, and Besser, and DeRita, though I never cared for them.) Michael Chiklis made me almost believe in reincarnation. Almost! 😀

        • Did see the TV movie that starts out with the elderly Moe sweeping up at Columbia. It sure explained how Shemp actually put the act together and showed what a total asshole Healy was. Historical note: It was a Fort Worth independent station-KFJZ Ch11-that saved the Stooge library from destruction when Icky Twerp fourmulated an hour and a half show called Slam Bang Theater back in 1959. My mother hated it!

          • John Erickson

            Tex- Forgot about this until the episode came on. Remember the episode “A-Plumbing We Will Go”, when Curly “plumbs” himself inside the cage of pipes? They used clips of that on our Fox affiliate in Chicago, WFLD, in the days following the great 1992 Chicago Flood! (For those of you who don’t remember this ignominious event, a company was driving piles into the bed of the Chicago river to protect a bridge. Problem is, BENEATH the river is a network of old coal and cargo tunnels. They punched into one of the tunnels, and over the next several hours, flooded dozens of basements where computers, inventory, and records were kept. Greatest use of Stooge material relating to current events EVER! :D)

        • John Erickson

          Healy was a self-obsessed idiot. And for all the ribbing that many Stoogophiles (myself included) give Shemp, he was not only the one who came up with “team”, but also got them out from under Healy – otherwise, they would’ve been a footnote on Turner Classic Movies.
          If your cable/satellite provider offers IFC, they carry the shorts on Saturday morning, albeit with commercials. AMC also shows them, but they cut footage. And IFC will (rarely) show the WW2 ones, “You Nazty Spy”, “I’ll Never Heil Again”, and …. crud, my memory went offline again. (The price of too many meds AND too many years!) Anyway, if you want, I can recommend some books I’ve got around here on the boys. Good reading while you wait for the boys to show up on the tube! 😀

          • I found the nazi era episodes using Google last week. Moe said they were his favorite episodes to do. Being a “train guy”, I’m well aware of the illegal 2 foot guage electric railway built under Chicago, it goes everywhere and they still have no true measure of the system. It even showed up in the Blues Brothers movie in the famous fiancee’ scene. And that plumbing episode could be used for a training guide for the guys I did general contracting with!

    • but wasn’t democracy fun while it lasted? i’ll miss it. 😥

  10. Just another reminder that the GOP not in the business of busting unions.

  11. Probably Detroit, Flint and a few other cities, are on Czar Snyder’s take over list.

    • i think they’ll probably target smaller towns for now, because people are in the mood to protest, and they wouldn’t want large cities up in arms. give them time, though. they’ll target so many towns that it will become nothing out of the ordinary. then they’ll go after the cities.

  12. I heard that Rick Syndley also wants to sell the Detroit Lions ….. but no one wants to buy them…..

  13. Every state has laws that allow them to step in if a local municipality is in crisis. Michigan’s law overextends those rights. What Snyder has done is, indeed, lawful. It’s also quite despicable.

    • it may be lawful, but it’s not going to sit well in most people’s gut, especially when it looks like he’s just interested in a golf course for his rich friends. he’s not very bright for beginning with a town that’s overwhelmingly african-american either.

      • All of the jurisdictions under emergency financial managment here are majority African-American–Benton Harbor, Ecorse, Pontiac, and the Detroit Public Schools. Unfortunately, that may work out better than you think. I’ve learned never to underestimate the power of hatred for Detroit in Michigan politics.

        • even though people might not like detroit, i would think that a lot of them are uncomfortable with the idea of one guy having so much power. at least, i hope so.