Rally to Save Lipke Park Recreation Center
Saturday, July 26 from Noon to 1 pm
19320 Van Dyke, Detroit map
(between E. Outer Drive and E. Seven Mile Rd.)
All who oppose the stripping of public assets from public service and awarding them to private parties are encouraged to attend.
The City began secret meetings with the Salvation Army in 2012 to turn Lipke over to them. The City shut the Rec Center down in October. even though its operations were in the current budget. The plans were made public in December and the Lipke community has been fighting City Hall since. The Lipke area has the largest concentration of kids in Michigan.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, In re: City of Detroit, Debtor Objection to “Plan of Adjustment”
Testimony by Kristen A. Hamel, Detroit resident and homeowner
July 15, 2014
In recent weeks, Detroiters have been experiencing the inhuman austerity agenda of Gov. Rick Snyder and Emergency Dictator Kevyn Orr. Thousands of families have had their water cut off, and tens of thousands more face imminent shutoffs if a mere $150 is owed.
The situation is so outrageous that a United Nations commission has condemned Detroit’s water shutoffs as a violation of international human rights. Freedom Friday marches starting at the water department building have been going on for weeks because no one should have to face forced deprivation of water, the most basic necessity of life and health.
The Detroit Free Press reported Orr’s office calling the water shutoffs “a necessary part of Detroit’s restructuring.” The real agenda is to make the water department more attractive for privatization to union busters like Veolia Corp., known worldwide for its crimes against humanity, especially against the Palestinian people.
While the poorest Detroiters have their water cut off for owing $150, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, Loop Financial and Morgan Stanley were paid $537 million in termination fees on interest rate swaps out of $1 billion in bonds issued from 2010 to 2013, bonds that were earmarked to fund repairs of the water infrastructure system, not line the pockets of these four banks.
Orr, while cutting off water to the poor and raising water rates, has not taken one step to recover this $537 million giveaway to the banks. Orr and Buckfire were also ready to hand over hundreds of millions to Bank of America and UBS on the interest rate swaps associated with the pension obligation certificates. Because of community outcry against these swindles, they were forced by this court on two occasions to go back to the negotiating table.
As you have stated on prior occasions, Judge Rhodes, the buck stops with you in these bankruptcy proceedings.
Appeal to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
A Call for Assistance in the Efforts to Halt Racism, Racial Discrimination and Acts of Genocide Directed Towards the People of the City of Detroit in the United States of America
The following draft appeal was submitted and accepted by the United States Human Rights Network (USHRN) to be included in their report related to the gross human rights violations being committed inside the country. This appeal is an important contribution to the annual submission by the USHRN that is designed to point out the violations by the U.S. government of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). The appeal requests the direct intervention by relevant UN agencies including, but not limited to, the High Commissioner for Human Rights based in Geneva, Switzerland.
This appeal is directed towards the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and all other agencies of this international body concerned with the prevention and halting of institutional racism, racial discrimination and genocide. Two organizations which have played a leading role in opposition to the imposition of austerity, the racist denial of the right to vote and due process under the law in defense against the predatory actions of multi-national corporations and international financial institutions in the City of Detroit, the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI), founded in 2002 and the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shut-offs, founded in 2008, are making this appeal to the United Nations due to the failure of the local, state and federal governmental structures to uphold the fundamental civil and human rights of the majority African American population of Detroit, but not limited to this predominant segment of the people, and encompassing all those who are impacted by the current policies enacted by a system of emergency management, forced bankruptcy and restructuring of the City of Detroit.
We are charging that deliberate actions by the State of Michigan through its Governor Rick Snyder and majority right-wing legislative bodies are calculated and well-planned to foster the disempowerment of the African American people. This program is specifically designed to destroy the political and social gains made by the African American people, but also severely impacts negatively the labor movement, social justice organizations and all other historically affected groups facing national discrimination and class oppression in the United States.
The Nullification of the Elections of November 2012
The bills sent out to homeowners, particularly those with old meters, are likely to be very innaccurate. In fact, it appears that the DWSD even manufactures water usage numbers out of thin air. Recently, a Detroit family was in a billing dispute with DWSD over outlandish charges, and had their water shutoff.
Below are copies of two versions of a bill that she received from DWSD for the period 4/27/14 to 5/27/14. The first bill was received in the mail. A family member went to the payment center to pay the bill and requested a copy of the bill. The second bill, below, is the copy received at the DWSD payment center for the same billing period.
In the first bill, the familiy is billed for 13, 464 gallons or 1800 cf of water. In the second bill, the family is billed for 8,228 gallons or 1100 cf of water for the same billing period.
Remember, this family had their water cutoff!
Jones Day and the DWSD will be back in Bankruptcy Court on Monday to attempt once again to explain to Judge Rhodes the water department’s policy to help Detroitters who are unable to pay their water bills. The hearing starts at 10 AM.
Pack Bankruptcy Court
Monday, July 21, 9:30 AM
231 W. Lafayette, Detroit
From City of Detroit Retiree Cecily McClellan:
The issues related to DWSD and the pension are tie-barred. This is due to the 500,000 million given to the banks instead of maintenance of the water system infrastructure, which impacts the stability of DWSD. DWSD pays over 40 % into the pension system and has been identified as the major contributor to GRS pension fund in the 4th plan of adjustment. The stability of DWSD will affect all pensions, particularly future pensions. As Yvonne often states current pensions are not under funded (see pensions annual report and CARF- prior to the Dictator Orr’s manipulation of numbers) funds are there for current retirees. National media will be there in numbers, they expect the actual results to the vote to be published. Don’t be surprised or discouraged an immediate appeal is anticipated. See you at federal court and pass the word.
From City of Detroit Retiree Belinda Myers-Florence:
We need to be there in numbers.in front of the media to tell about the injustices being done to us. 1. The loss of our medical insurance. Which recently, by the way in Illinois, was upheld as a retirement benefit. 2 The loss of our cost of living for the future. 3. The 4.5% reduction in our pension checks. 4. The claw back of hundreds of thousands of dollars with 6.75 % interest rate attached to it. It is past time to speak up against these unconscionable acts aimed at retirees. No lights, no water for citizens what in the heck is next? They are attempting to steamroll civil servants to agree to contracts that are not fair nor in their best interest. We have got to rise and force this train to a screeching halt.
Detroit Freedom Week, July 11-18
By Ben Ptashnik and Victoria Collier, Progressive.com, July 8, 2014
Oh, make you wanna holler
The way they do my life
This ain’t livin’, this ain’t livin’
No, no baby, this ain’t livin’
No, no, no, no
–Marvin Gaye, “Inner City Blues”
On July 18 thousands of activists and dozens of organizations will converge on downtown Detroit to protest the privatization of the city’s assets and the disconnection of water to tens of thousands of low-income residents. The UN has called the shutoff a human rights violation. Demonstrators from around the country will rally in Hart Plaza at 1 pm, linking arms with the citizens of Detroit to protest the hostile corporate takeover by Wall Street banks and their ALEC-led political allies in the Michigan Statehouse, including Governor Rick Snyder.
July 18 marks the one-year anniversary of the announcement by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr that Detroit must file for bankruptcy—a decision that County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina immediately ruled violates the Michigan Constitution and state law and must be withdrawn. “I have some very serious concerns because there was this rush to bankruptcy court that didn’t have to occur and shouldn’t have occurred,” Aquilina stated. Orr and Snyder managed to circumvent her ruling, and the bankruptcy proceeded. The next few months will determine how successful they will be.
On July 4 the activist community of Detroit put out this call to action:
Tens of thousands impacted by emergency management, banks
By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Detroit activists concerned about the massive water shutoffs across the economically devastated city blocked entrances into the yard of Homrich, a firm given a nearly $6million contract to terminate services for hundreds of thousands of people. The firm was hired by emergency manager Kevyn Orr who was appointed by right-wing Gov. Rick Snyder in March 2013 who later forced the city into the largest municipal bankruptcy in United States history a year ago.
A picket line set up before 7:00 a.m. on July 10 blocked the entrance to Homrich for over an hour. Eventually police arrived and attempted to force demonstrators out of the driveway prompting resistance leading to ten arrests.
Protesters were taken into custody and charged with disturbing the peace. A hearing has set for July 21.
Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellerman of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Detroit said that he would gladly get arrested again in order to further the cause of stopping the shut-offs. Also arrested was Elena Herrada, a member of the Detroit Board of Education in exile and a candidate for Michigan state representative.