Thursday, December 01, 2011

One Emergency Manager for Detroit, Coming Up

As predicted, say goodbye to Detroit as you knew it.

Gov. Rick Snyder is expected as early as Friday to begin the process to appoint an emergency manager for the city of Detroit, the Free Press has learned.

Snyder is expected to call for a financial review, the first step in state intervention. Both Mayor Dave Bing and Detroit City Council have refused to initiate such a review.

Bing and Snyder had a conversation Wednesday, and Snyder informed the mayor he intended to start the emergency manager process.

Snyder also has been involved in conversations with the council and the faith-based community to gather support for state intervention, according to a source close to the situation.

I've seen too many editorials from locals like Riley and Lessenberry, too many nods from leadership that this is the way they prefer to go. Bing didn't want a consent decree because it couldn't extract major concessions from the unions, and that is the main goal here. Now it's going to happen, and it has to happen before that petition to repeal PA 4 hits the system.

But when you have rhetoric like this...

Anger and calls for unity set the tone for a Detroit City Council meeting this morning designed to solicit cost-savings ideas from labor unions to avoid insolvency and the appointment of an emergency manager.

Detroiters and some council members likened an emergency manager to a dictator and slave owner.

"We as a community and as a people can agree to disagree but at the end of the day we have to decide what our destiny is going to be before someone comes in as a master, as someone to control the plantation," Councilman Kwame Kenyatta said.

"We don't need someone else's consent to do the business that the people put us in charge of."

... you just have to pray for the city.


Not to mention that this has got to be shaking the Democratic political structure right to the core, too. Flint, Detroit, centers of public employee union power and money that will be very angry and/or discouraged, their numbers and influence slowly being whittled away. The MEA is under constant attack from the Legislature and fighting for their survival. The UAW is still standing and strong, but certainly not as numerous as they used to be.

The Republicans mean to break these working people - and along with them break the very base of their political opponent's power - and it sure looks like they are going to succeed.

Or, will this be enough to finally rally everyone to stand up together? Unknown at this point.

In the end, this may force the Democrats to break out of their cocoon and start reaching out to other constituentcies instead of being so insulated all the time, and ultimately that may be a very good thing, but it might be a very rough road from here to there.

Out of the ashes...

More: The Freep is adding to this story as it develops. Snyder's office is already back-pedaling on the idea:

“A preliminary review absolutely does not equate to an emergency manager,” Wurfel said today. “The governor is hopeful we can avoid an emergency manager for the city.”

Then perhaps this is just a threat to leverage those concessions? Sure. But anyone that looks at the books will probably come to the conclusion that expenditures cannot be sustained as they are, which is the conclusion that Bing and the Council have already made. Take it from there.

Even more: The DNews has Snyder as "undecided", but read between the lines:

"The governor has talked with the mayor …and basically what he was hoping, and was still urging, was that the mayor and the City Council can come together and come up with a shared viable solution to the fiscal crisis," spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said. A financial review would be the first step toward state intervention in Detroit's finances, whether through a consent agreement or appointment of an emergency manager.

Snyder told The Detroit News editorial board today that he has no immediate plans to pursue a consent agreement or emergency manager, although he is keeping close tabs on the situation.

Do it, or we will do it for you.