The Common Good
August 2012

Blame for Blight?

by John Judson | August 2012

The question that Bill Wylie-Kellermann failed to directly ask and answer in “An Assault on Local Democracy” (June 2012) is, why are some Michigan cities and school districts under the direction of an emergency manager? Certain cities/school districts have an emergency manager not because of their racial makeup, but because their elected officials were either unwilling or unable to make the difficult decisions to ensure the financial viability of the entities they were elected to govern. The City of Detroit was headed for bankruptcy. Without massive state aid and intervention, it would have run out of money and been unable to pay its employees or creditors. The Pontiac School District was more than $24 million in debt. All of the other political entities mentioned in the article were in similar dire financial straits. The emergency manager act was an attempt by the state to prevent cities and school districts from declaring bankruptcy, a move that would have dire economic consequences for the entire state.                     

John Judson
Birmingham, Michigan

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