March 17, 2013

It's been tough week for the city of Detroit. The city has a $327 million deficit and owes $14 billion, says the Detroit Free Press. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said in March that he would appoint a emergency manager to oversee city finances. Detroit's City Council had 10 days to file an appeal, which they did, says The Detroit News. Then Thursday, the governor announced that Kevyn Orr, a Washington, D.C., attorney who handled Chrysler's bankruptcy, would take charge. Emergency management is a touchy subject in the Motor City; the appointment caused some local residents to protest a controller who will take over the city reins from elected officials.

To express frustration and draw attention to state-appointed emergency management, the otherwise peaceful protesters planned traffic jams that were organized in the city this week, says WWJ CBS Detroit. WWJ's Chopper 950, flying over the city on Monday, noted three cars on major highways crawling along (driving under 5 miles per hour). This caused traffic to back up. Slowdowns were staged on I-75, I-94, and the Lodge Freeway. One participant dubbed it a "freedom flash mob."

Meantime, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, is continuing to offer support to an emergency financial manager, whoever that may be.

The mayor posted on Twitter Monday morning, “An emergency manager can’t come in here and run this city without the help and support of teammates, I’ll be a teammate. My executive staff will be a teammate. What we need to figure out is not fighting the person but how do we get along to make wins for the citizens in the city of Detroit.”

Other demonstrations occurred at Detroit's City Hall and at the attorney general's office downtown in connection with the governor's EM announcement. Protesters have vowed to continue their efforts, and have a federal lawsuit prepared.

Further fueling protesters concerns, a report on Saturday evening revealed that the newly appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr has tax liens placed on his $4 million Maryland home. Full details here.

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