Thursday, March 10, 2011

Massive Power Grab by State But You Wouldn't Know It by Reading Local Media

If you want to know why so few people bother subscribing to newspapers anymore, look no further than the Thursday (March 10, 2011) edition of the Detroit Free Press. Specifically, the article on Rick Snyder's bid to win the power to wipe out local governments.

For 15 full paragraphs, this bid to do away with any local government that the governor doesn't like is describied merely as giving "more power" to emergency financial managers and allowing the state to "step in" sooner when communities have financial problems and similar vague, reassuring phraseology.

Not until the 16th paragraph, does the newspaper get around to admitting that these powers include dissolving local governments and forcing them to merge with another entity. And even that shocking bit of the truth is followed by more reassuring talk that that is a worse-case scenario.

It all sounds so benign, until you realize that the state is training hundreds of financial managers to step in to communities, putting potentially hundreds of Michigan communities in danger of extinction.

This measure is usually described "merely" as a union-busting measure, but it affects far more than unions. It strips Michigan citizens of the right to representative local government anytime the state can manufacture a financial crisis for communities by cutting off funds or imposing unreasonable requirements.

Could an article miss the point more completely than this one?

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