DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Governor Rick Snyder was met by protestors minutes after he arrived to speak before the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity Tuesday at Bethel Baptist Church East in Detroit.
About half the crowd of several dozen people were speaking out against Michigan’s emergency manager law — the other half about Snyder’s plan for a new international bridge crossing to Windsor to Detroit.
The chanting, led by Minister Malik Shabazz, elicited a response from council president Reverend Michael Andrew Owens who asked the protestors to refrain from chanting in the church.
“…If it happens again, I’m going to ask the authorities to escort you out,” said Owens.
The emergency manager law lets the state put financial managers in control of communities and school districts that fail to balance their budgets. Opponents say it undermines local self-government.
A referendum on repealing the law is tied up in the courts in a dispute over the type size on the petitions used to get it on the ballot.
One protester asked Snyder if he would make sure the repeal gets on the ballot.
In his comments to the council, Gov. Snyder reiterated that Michigan’s long-term success is linked to a successful Detroit. He said his goal is not to run the city, but rather to be a supportive partner.
One challenge faced by the city, Gov. Snyder noted, is growing the population. Young adults ages 25 to 30 years old are a group that’s declining.
Present on Tuesday, 22-year-old Detroiter Dewaun Smith she he believes talk is cheap. He said action is what counts.
“You know, to grow things you have to tend to your garden – and as a leader I understand what he’s saying,” said Smith. “It’s a great vision, but as a youth (I know) we need tangible help.”
Snyder was escorted from the church after about 30 minutes.
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