From The Grio — For one small black town near Lake Michigan, things are about to change drastically thanks to a controversial law that allows for an “emergency financial manager” to take over a city.
Emergency Manager Joe Harris was appointed by then Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm to “correct financial problems” and save the city from complete financial disaster. What Harris did was come to Benton Harbor – an 85.5 percent black town across the river from 89.5 percent white St. Joseph – and completely remove power from all the elected officials in the city.
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Officials can only call a meeting to order, approve minutes, and close a meeting. Any other action must have expressed written consent from the financial manager. In the mean time the future of Benton Harbor as a city is rapidly fading as Harris helps to make way for a new multi-million dollar public/private golf and residential redevelopment project – a project pushed by the Whirlpool company since the 1980s. Whirlpool’s corporate offices are in Benton Harbor.