Rachel Maddow Talks Benton Harbor Shoreline Takeover by White Govenrment and Big Business
Benton Harbor, mainly African American, low income, has a large park that was gifted to the town, and used to be a Whirlpool manufacturing plant. Whirlpool moved its factory, and jobs declined, while the new Emergency Financial Manager has given over the local gifted park to the wealthy managers. This white takeover was started by a Republican who has links to the former Whirlpool heirs, and he has links to the white takeover of former Benton Harbor gifted park to make a high scale golf partk. Of course, the white man stated that this was “for their own good.”
Another blog lists what Rachel Maddow missed on her show, namely that the park will be used by big business, appointed by Rick Snyder’s staff to develop in total white image, and was formerly unavailable to developer until Rick Snyder gave it to them.
We also learn that one of the best parts of Benton Harbor is Jean Klock Park, donated by wealthy benefactors years ago with the stipulation that it be used for the public good and that it remain “the children’s” park.
We also learn that Whirlpool, in an effort to recycle some old manufacturing land on the shore of Lake Michigan, a brownfield, if you will, decided to build a $500 million golf course & residential development, Harbor Shores, on its land, part of which would heavily impact Jean Klock Park. Note that Whirlpool pulled its last manufacturing out of Benton Harbor in March of this year, driving the final economic stake into the heart of this otherwise depressed area.
We also learn that the Emergency Financial Manager bill (pdf) that allowed Governor Snyder to take over Benton Harbor’s government was sponsored by Al Pscholka. Al Pscholka has some interesting characteristics:
- He is the former aid to Congressman Fred Upton who is a Whirlpool heir
- He represents the area that includes … wait for it … Benton Harbor
- He is the former vice-president of a development company responsible for building Harbor Shores.
- He was on the Board of Directors for a nonprofit involved in the Harbor Shores development
There is one dot, however, that Rachel Maddow did NOT connect. As I wrote about yesterday, one of the first things that Joseph Harris did was to fire a number of people on both the Planning Commission and the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority in Benton Harbor and replace them with people he hand-picked. These two commissions are the ones most intimately involved in decision-making about real estate development in Benton Harbor. They will decide who gets permits, what developments will look like and who gets to pick the ripe plums present in Benton Harbor. And they are now staffed largely by people chosen by the Czar of Benton Harbor.
This is where the rubber meets the pavement. If you are looking for motivations for Snyder and his Republican friends to take over Benton Harbor, watch who gets development rights of the Lake Michigan shoreline. They are already setting things up to ensure that it is not the local residents of Benton Harbor.
- Under New Emergency Financial Manager Law, They Start Dissolving Governments in Michigan (emptywheel.firedoglake.com)
- Maddow: Michigan governor thinks democracy is a ‘problem’ (crooksandliars.com)
- Benton Harbor Will Not Go Gently (lezgetreal.com)
- Time for an uprising in Benton Harbor (iflizwerequeen.com)
- MICHIGAN: Conservative Contradictions – a lot of explaining to do in 2012 (iflizwerequeen.com)