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  • Jesse Jackson, Ambulance Chaser, and the Shores of Western Michigan

    Posted by Dan from Madison on April 25th, 2011 (All posts by )

    I had to admit, a month or so ago when the protests were in full swing here in Madison I was surprised to see Jesse Jackson show up. Then I thought about it, and I wasn’t surprised at all. Jesse always shows up to events such as the protests to get his face on TV. Does anyone really listen to him anymore?

    Once again, I saw Jesse on the news today. The city of Benton Harbor has had its mayor (or is it city manager) and the entire city council tossed on its ear in the name of a financial emergency. The state of Michigan has empowered an emergency financial manager to run the place until it can get back on its feet. So who showed up? Jesse Jackson, imploring the people of Benton Harbor to sue the state (rather than showing up five years ago and imploring the people to fix the mess, but that is besides the point).

    On a personal note, I have vacationed with my family for the past decade on the shores of western Michigan and we absolutely love it. Every community there has cashed in on the warm summer waters of the Lake and developed their shores, and held nice festivals for the tourists such as myself and my family and the hordes from Chicago. Every community, that is, except Benton Harbor.

    We have stayed in neighboring St. Joseph, a tiny community just to the south of Benton Harbor, many times. Once we got lost and were driving through Benton Harbor and we all of a sudden had to lock the doors and zip through there. What an absolute dump. We could hardly believe that every small city we had visited was so nice, and Benton Harbor was so trashed. Something was clearly amiss, but we didn’t know what it was – we just wanted to get out of there.

    I am not surprised that Benton Harbor is in financial straits, nor that Jesse Jackson showed up to lead the “fight” to save their elected government that Democratic governor Jennifer Granholm declared to be such a basketcase that she had to appoint the emergency representative to rescue. I read a few documents on the situation and they didn’t even have basic accounting principles employed.

     

    16 Responses to “Jesse Jackson, Ambulance Chaser, and the Shores of Western Michigan”

    1. Andrew X Says:

      Jenny Granholm (who I knew as a very fetching 17 year old in San Jose, CA) is no longer governor of Michigan. Republican Rick Snyder is, who is yet another demon upon this earth (or at least the Midwestern US part of it), according to our leftie friends, hence his implementation of these policies.

      Truth be told, they do seem a tad draconian and dare I say, undemocratic, but as you yourself testify from driving through Benton Harbor, I am in no position to criticize what may be a desperate situation in Michigan as a whole. If he can bring fiscal sanity and a modicum of recovery to that state, I guess I’m for him doing pretty much whatever he has to do.

    2. Michael Kennedy Says:

      It’s an obvious racist statement to criticize Benton Harbor. Guess why.

    3. Dan from Madison Says:

      Andrew – I intentionally threw Granholm’s name in there because she started the emergency manager, not the new governor.

    4. John Wolfsberger, Jr. Says:

      They’re not alone. From The Detroit News: “Emergency managers are in place at Detroit Public Schools and in the cities of Benton Harbor, Ecorse and Pontiac.”

      From Crain’s: “A state review reportedly found that Benton Harbor’s pension system is underfunded by $4 million, the city hasn’t filed audit reports with the state on time for eight years and its cash reserves have gone from about $1.7 million in 2006 to roughly $300,000 in 2009.

      “The review also found that the city spends $80,000 to $100,000 annually in overdraft fees.”

      The level of corruption, stupidity or both is staggering. As Andrew writes, it is draconian undemocratic. But the only alternatives are continuing to fund the corruption on the backs of better managed municipalities, or let the city dissolve into chaos.

    5. Dan from Madison Says:

      For their water department, there was an estimated FORTY percent leakage, or water sent through that was not billed. The averages in the US are around ten percent. Pretty astounding.

    6. tomw Says:

      # Dan from Madison Says:
      April 26th, 2011 at 9:37 am

      For their water department, there was an estimated FORTY percent leakage, or water sent through that was not billed. The averages in the US are around ten percent. Pretty astounding.

      Dan, take a look at some of the ‘indy’ videos made in decaying Detroit, where the copper has been stolen, both wire and plumbing, and the water left to fill the basement. Freezing in winter cracks the basement walls, and the buildings start to cave. The water was left running for a year with no apparent involvement by water department personnel in one repeat visit to the same home. Talk about leakage…
      tom

    7. Dan from Madison Says:

      In the plan by the emergency manager, there are funds set aside to plow down many decaying structures in Benton Harbor.

    8. roadgeek Says:

      I just ran over and looked at the City website; my suspicions were confirmed after glancing at http://www.bentonharborcity.com/comm.html

    9. Andrew X Says:

      Dan.

      MyaApologies. And it is notabable that a Democratic governor saw a situation so dire that she did exactly what the left is caterwauling and hand-wringing about today.

    10. Anonymous Says:

      Look up basic demographics for Benton Harbor and St. Joseph on wikipedia, you will find that BH is 9% African American, SJ is 5%. there is your answer confirming why BH is a hellhole.

    11. John Cunningham Says:

      Look up basic demographics for Benton Harbor and St. Joseph on wikipedia, you will find that BH is 9% African American, SJ is 5%. there is your answer confirming why BH is a hellhole.

    12. John Cunningham Says:

      ACK!! correct numbers are
      BH 92% African American
      SJ 5% African American

    13. Art Says:

      Heathkit electronics kits used to come from Benton Harbor. They have been gone for a while. Any connection to the decline of the city?

    14. Michael Kennedy Says:

      The water was left running for a year with no apparent involvement by water department personnel in one repeat visit to the same home. Talk about leakage…
      tom

      Lake Arrowhead, where I live, has many weekend homes, in fact about 70%, and the owners often do not understand about pipes and winter (They’re Californians). The water system here has sensors that will detect leakage in less than an hour and the crew gets out to shut it off in little more than that.

      It’s amazing that a city would not have some sort of sensors for this.

    15. Dan from Madison Says:

      Andrew – exactly my point.

    16. John Wolfsberger, Jr. Says:

      Art, there is a vestigial company remaining that sells education/learn at home products: http://www.heathkit.com/

      The kit side died when electronics technology changed to the point that it was no longer practical or cost effective for the hobbyist to build anything.