DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The Rev. Jesse Jackson is calling for mass demonstrations and court action to oppose the appointment of an emergency manager over Detroit’s finances.
The civil rights leader told The Associated Press Tuesday that turnaround expert Kevyn Orr’s appointment by the state is a “constitutional crisis” because it usurps local control.
Jackson wants the Justice Department to get involved and take action against Michigan’s emergency manager law. He plans to meet this week with city elected leaders and clergy.
Jackson said he believes Orr will sell Detroit assets as he tries to fix Detroit’s budget deficit and long-term debt.
Local ministers are also speaking out about Orr’s appointment.
Members of the Detroit-area Council of Baptist Pastors say, while they realize Detroit may need some help from Lansing, this is just a step too far.
“Whatever the negative evaluation of the progress achieved by the consent agreement, we will not support a hostile takeover of the city of Detroit by the state of Michigan,” said the group’s president, Michael Andrew Owens.
Voicing what he called “fierce opposition,” to the EFM, Owens said they’re displeased by Detroit Mayor Dave Bing’s refusal to join city council members in fighting the state on this.
He said the Council of Baptist Pastors will partner with the NAAP, AFSCME, the UAW and other groups in a legal battle.
“In this current political climate of voter suppression and intimidation — especially where large numbers of an Africa-American electorate are being targeted — we can ill afford to have the city of Detroit to be a success story for those hellbent on our disenfranchisement,” Owens said.
A rally is planned for April 19.
Orr, a Washington D.C. attorney who assisted in a financial turnaround at Chrysler, stepped down as partner in the Jones Day firm after being hired by the state last week. He will start work in Detroit next Monday.
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