Race and Democracy in Michigan

Race and Democracy in Michigan

In 2013, 52% of all African-Americans living in Michigan had their voting rights taken away by  Emergency Managers, compared to only 2% of whites. In November 2014 a federal judge concluded that the Emergency Managers law had been applied in a racially discriminatory manner. That law allows the state to appoint a manager to unilaterally govern a city. His decisions pre-empt and supersede decisions by city councils or mayors.  In a November 2012 referendum, the citizens of Michigan had voted to overturn the 2011 law but within weeks the state legislature enacted an almost identical law immune to the popular will.

Some argue the exercise of undemocratic authority was a key to the widespread lead poisoning of residents in the city of Flint.

 

(Photo: Jake May/ MLive.com)

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David Morris
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David Morris

David Morris is co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. His five non-fiction books range from an analysis of Chilean development to the future of electric power to the transformation of cities and neighborhoods.  For 14 years he was a regular columnist for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. His essays on public policy have appeared in the New York TimesWall Street Journal, Washington PostSalonAlternetCommon Dreams, and the Huffington Post.