Detroit bankruptcy

Congressman Dan Kildee
Photo courtesy of the Office of Congressman Dan Kildee

The Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing by the city of Detroit has some wondering if Detroit is not an isolated incident. Could other financially struggling cities be on the same path?

Yesterday on Stateside we spoke with Eric Scorsone, economist at Michigan State University:

Certainly other cities in Michigan absolutely face these same cost pressures, whether it’s Flint or Lansing or Saginaw. They absolutely face these same problems. And, again, they’re better off relative to Detroit than today. But, they’re still facing these problems and they need to make sure they’re proactive in managing to prevent anything like this.

With that in mind, we turned to Michigan Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee. Kildee represents two of the cities Scorsone mentioned: Flint and Saginaw.

Listen to the full interview above.

Patrick Gibson / Flickr

As Detroit moves into the process of Chapter 9 bankruptcy, one of the most powerful people in the city, arguably the most powerful person in the city, has become the judge to whom the case was assigned.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes will preside over the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history, so many eyes from around the country will be trained on him.

We wanted to learn more about Judge Rhodes and for that, we turned to Detroit Free Press reporter Brent Snavely.

Listen to the full interview above.

Detroit Regional Chamber

Now that the City of Detroit has filed for bankruptcy, everyone is speculating as to how the city got to this point. 

As a former member of the Detroit City Council, Sheila Cockrel says, "The tendency on the part of some people who don't live in the city, who are not African American, who live in the region, or live in the rest of the country, want to point to a deficiency in leadership. That is absolutely incorrect."

Cockrel, who is currently a faculty member in the Honors College at Wayne State University, tells her students that poor leadership is partly to blame, but she says there are a number of other factors: disinvestment, de-industrialization and the migration of capital out of Detroit which has caused a severe reduction in revenue.

"When you take a tax base out, you don't have a viable financial basis to provide services," she says.

Cockrel served on the Detroit City Council for 16 years and says bankruptcy has been the most likely scenario for quite a while.

Peter Martorano / Flickr

The Michigan Court of Appeals has blocked further action in three lawsuits filed in Lansing that attempt to stop the Detroit bankruptcy case. The decision comes on the eve of the first hearing before a federal bankruptcy judge.

The Michigan Court of Appeals has stopped any further proceedings in the Ingham County lawsuit while a three-judge panel looks into the case.

The appeals court stayed a judge’s order that the bankruptcy filing be withdrawn, and it ordered the next round of arguments to be filed no later than the close of business Friday.

But it’s possible U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes will order all lawsuits dealing with Detroit’s bankruptcy to run through his court.

Detroit city employees and pension funds say the bankruptcy filing is contrary to the Michigan Constitution. That’s because the state Constitution has specific protections for public employee pensions that could be reduced by a bankruptcy.

OfficialTDShow / Youtube

Yesterday, The Daily Show’s John Oliver did a short feature on Detroit and the city’s bankruptcy. 

In a bit entitled "Chapter 9 Mile," Oliver takes a humorous look at the slow emergency response in the city and his lack of surprise that the Emergency Manager, Kevyn Orr (a bankruptcy lawyer) declares bankruptcy.

But jabs at the media make for the greatest laughs. Oliver points out the abundance of bad puns about the bankruptcy and the amount of reporting on Detroit that actually takes place in Chicago.

Today and tomorrow are anniversaries of two of the most important events in Detroit’s history, events almost never mentioned in the same breath.

Tomorrow it will be exactly three hundred and twelve years since a hundred Frenchmen scrambled up the riverbank, started cutting down trees, and establishing a fort they called Pontchartrain du Detroit.

There was an immense celebration of that anniversary a dozen years ago, a celebration virtually forgotten today. Nobody celebrates today’s anniversary, though we grimly discuss it.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Buena Vista and Inkster school districts to be dissolved

The state is moving ahead to dissolve the Inkster and Buena Vista school districts. Both districts failed to meet a deadline yesterday to prove they could keep their doors open next school year. Now state officials say it could be a matter of days before the districts are dissolved, Michigan Public Radio's Jake Neher reports.

Protesters arrested at pipeline worksite

Enbridge energy is building a 285 mile pipeline across Michigan that will carry tar sands oil. The pipeline will replace the one that ruptured three years ago. Yesterday, protesters chained themselves to heavy equipment at a worksite southeast of Lansing. They say the new pipeline will present an environmental threat. Twelve people were arrested at a protest yesterday, Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reports.

Will Detroit retirees see pension cuts?

A federal bankruptcy court will now be the scene for some huge decisions about the future of Detroit which filed for Chapter Nine protection last week. One of the key issues is whether retirees will see their benefits cut. Michigan Radio's Sarah Hulett has more.

Union leaders say Detroit is in bankruptcy court because “that was the strategy all along.”

They accuse Governor Snyder and Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr of “sham” negotiations, saying they were never able to actually sit down and bargain with Orr before he filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy last week.

“We were disheartened by the fact that we were told negotiations were going to take place, that never took place,” says Al Garrett, President of AFSCME Council 25.”Instead, they ran to a bankruptcy court.”

Pages