Home > Uncategorized > Which Michigan cities are in receivership?

Which Michigan cities are in receivership?

January 11, 2016

Yesterday at my Occupy meeting we watched a recent Rachel Maddow piece on the suspension of democracy in Michigan:

If it’s too long, the short version is that instead of having elected officials, some specially chosen towns have instead ‘Emergency Managers,’ who do things like save money by pumping in poisonous water.

So, as usual, my group had a bunch of questions, among them: what is the racial make-up of the towns who are in receivership?

Well first, here’s a list of towns currently under receivership, which I mapped on Google Maps:

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 7.47.53 AM

You can interact with my map here.

And next I looked at a census map of where black people live in Michigan:

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 7.47.12 AM

Taken from this website which displays 2010 census data

I also wanted to zoom into the Detroit area:

and compared that to the municipalities under receivership in the area:

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 7.45.46 AM.png

Take a closer look here.

Just in case you’re wondering, that teal spot on the left is exactly where the Inkster is. And Wayne County’s government is also in receivership, but it’s a county, not a town.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. January 11, 2016 at 9:33 am

    Michigan cities have been driven into bankruptcy by the State taking away their power to levy local taxes. When I came to Michigan in the 60s most of these cities had quality education and other services because they had major industries, public utilities, and they always passed ample millages. But major industries and big corporations no longer pay the taxes they used to because they bribed and blackmailed their way into property tax abatements and other big tax breaks. That is how Michigan got where it is today.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. January 11, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Thank you. Unsurprising and disgusting to see such blatant racism in action. Great work “outing” it – I hope it gets picked up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Michael Graf
    January 11, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Be careful: Correlation does not imply causality. I’m not saying it’s not racism, but that’s not in the data.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. sglover
    January 12, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    There’s racism in play here, but not necessarily in the sense that the Republican state government** is targeting majority black communities per se. The “managed” cities are the husks left after decades of white flight, and of course deindustrialization. Your Detroit map shows the pattern well. Flint is similar.

    If you looked into the pre-receivership histories of these towns, you’ll probably find a fair share of short-sightedness and mismanagement and outright fraud. For instance, Kwame Kilpatrick did nothing good for Detroit. On the other hand, Dave Bing was an honest, competent mayor. Local government is iffy throughout America. But in these Michigan cities even the sharpest, most honest civil servants are spitting in the wind, because there just isn’t much of a there there, any more. The tax base left with the white flight.

    The cities are broke, so there’s probably some accounting ledger rationale for dealing with the financial fallout. But in practice it’s really an opportunity to stick it to Labor, and do an end-run around pesky voters. Along the way certain favored constituents can scoop up distressed assets for pennies. These are what really get the Republicans salivating.

    ** Which, make no mistake, is odious, and wants to turn formerly progressive Michigan into Alabama North.


  5. AQ
    January 12, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    some specially chosen towns have instead ‘Emergency Managers,’ who do things like save money by pumping in poisonous water.

    I’m curious as I followed Amy Goodman’s coverage of Detroit’s bankruptcy last year. What impact, if any, did Flint’s decision to switch over the water supply have on the court negotiations over contracts and such?

    My memory thinks Flint decision was somewhere in April and that the Detroit unions negotiated their agreement at the end of May / June. (Sorry, I didn’t follow as closely as I should’ve so I could have a faulty memory.)

    Were there any other similar decisions made by other Emergency Managers that impacted Detroit’s financial position for purposes of the bankruptcy numbers?

    I remember a claim made by one of Amy’s guests that the numbers were being purposefully skewed/presented for political TINA purposes already in February I believe.


  6. January 13, 2016 at 5:56 am

    The Detroit map seems legit some there are people everywhere but the state map needs a “where white people live” map to show that is not just a map of where all people live. That is, the state is presumably sparsely populated and if that map was a fraction it would be missing the denominator.


  1. February 2, 2016 at 7:15 am
Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: