Occupying the PGA in Benton Harbor, Michigan

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Beginning today – residents and community groups from Benton Harbor, Michigan will begin occupying the PGA – the Professional Golf Association. Later this week – the PGA will host a golf tournament in Benton Harbor – a city that was taken over by one Governor Rick Snyder’s financial managers.

As part of the takeover – 22 acres of a local public park were sold – without the say of voters – to a corporation to be developed into a golf course. Now, the PGA is hosting a tournament at this golf course – and residents of Benton Harbor are calling on the PGA to transfer 25% of its profits to the city. Demonstrations are scheduled for the remainder of this week, so if you’re in the area, drop by and lend your support.

Thom Hartmann Administrator's picture
Thom Hartmann A...
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Benton Harbor is one of those cities that Rick Snyder chose for wiping out the elected government and replacing with a private dictator, isn't it?

Art's picture
Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

The real story is

"The golf course was built largely on fallow, polluted land that was once crowded with factories: holes No. 4 and No. 5 were the slag pit for a company that made automobile brakes. Holes No. 14 and 15 were a former Superfund site once occupied by a company that used radium and mercury to manufacture components for fighter planes.

Given Benton Harbor’s unfavorable history and demographics, no private developer would likely be willing to take on such an ambitious project there. But there was another way: Robinson’s group, along with other nonprofits supported by Whirlpool, could secure enough federal and state grant money to help remediate the land, build the golf course and at least get Harbor Shores off the ground. The project’s complicated financing deal closed in May 2008, right around the time that the national real-estate market crashed.

In this context, the goings-on in Benton Harbor make a certain kind of sense — not just Harbor Shores, which was intended to lure weekenders from Chicago, roughly two hours away by car, but the other major construction project under way in town: a new, heavily tax-incentivized, $68 million, 270,000-square-foot corporate campus for Whirlpool."

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/18/magazine/benton-harbor.html?pagewanted=all

THISAA's picture
THISAA
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Dec. 16, 2011 5:49 am

Hardly Thom's point. The citizens of Benton Harbor were not given a choice. So much for being FREEEEEEE to have a voice.

Art's picture
Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Everything in that article seems to look at this as a very positive win-win for all. How much money enters the local economy as a result of this tournament alone? Would it have been better if the city had paid to clean up that polution mess out of their non existent over supply of money? Then what?

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THISAA
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Dec. 16, 2011 5:49 am

Here is a link to an earlier item on this topic that I posted on the board :

Solidarity with Benton Harbor, MI‏ ... message from Move To Amend to support "Occupy the Senior PGA Golf Tournament" in May

http://www.thomhartmann.com/forum/2012/05/solidarity-benton-harbor-mi%E2%80%8F-message-move-amend-support-occupy-senior-pga-golf-tournam

I wonder if the Golf channel will show any of the protests during the coverage, or if ESPN will. Not very likely that it makes the MSM news, unless pepper spray or tear gas is involved, or unless there is another round of mass arrests or suppression of the 1st amendment rights of the media and protestors. I hope it does not have to reach those levels for the protest to get air time or other coverage.

I also wonder if the media will mention the takeover of Benton Harbor by the 1% for the purpose of building this resort or park they want to build.

miksilvr
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Jul. 7, 2011 11:13 am
Everything in that article seems to look at this as a very positive win-win for all.
Everybody except the citizens who expect to have a voice in how their government is run. We've always known that Conservatives favor a dictatorship and hate democracy. This proves it.

Art's picture
Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Had the city got stuck with cleaning up a polution mess, you would have bitched that those rich executive elitist pigs from Whirlpool that sit around the pool and wait for the dividend checks to arrive left a toxic waste mess for a poor downtroden town in Michigan to clean up. Once again a business solution trumps a clumsy government non solution. Turning a tax loss into a tax generator is my idea of a successful operation. Thank you very much.

THISAA's picture
THISAA
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Dec. 16, 2011 5:49 am

And fuck the black workers whose park and legacy gets churned in your lovely corporate golf world. Such sleaze ought to make you puke, but it just leads to your gloating. Wow. I think I am beginning to get the depth and breadth of the pathology I deal with. Thank you for candor.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am
Quote drc2:

And fuck the black workers whose park and legacy gets churned in your lovely corporate golf world. Such sleaze ought to make you puke, but it just leads to your gloating. Wow. I think I am beginning to get the depth and breadth of the pathology I deal with. Thank you for candor.

So you are saying you want the "black workers" wallowing around in a mercury filled sump? That is very generous of you. You lefties have always been a group to snuggle up to.

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THISAA
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Dec. 16, 2011 5:49 am

No, I want them to have been left a clean and lovely beach like the benefactor intended. I want those who made money sticking them with pollution to clean up that mess. I don't want them to have their property stolen as "undesirable" by those who make big bucks on the development deal and enjoy the elite privileges of "the investment."

Had the "developers" had to deal with the rights of those who have lived there and taken into account the crimes of those who had sold these assets, etc., the people of Benton Harbor would not be being scraped off the shoes of "development."

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am

A city that is made up of 92.4% Afro Americans who will now have no place where they can afford to live or work (unless they can all be hired as caddies at that lily-white golf course). Somewhat reminiscent of the fate of New Orleans after Katrina.

This really is a win-win proposal - for golfers and Whirlpool executives. Ain't gentrification grand?

Art's picture
Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Direct Quote from "Larry, the Cable Guy"

"Even after the Super Bowl victory of the New Orleans Saints,
I have noticed a large number of people implying, with bad jokes,
that Cajuns aren't smart. I would like to state for the record that I
disagree with that assessment. Anybody that would build a city
5 feet below sea level in a hurricane zone and fill it with
Democrats who can't swim is a genius."

THISAA's picture
THISAA
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Dec. 16, 2011 5:49 am
Quote drc2:

And fuck the black workers whose park and legacy gets churned in your lovely corporate golf world. Such sleaze ought to make you puke, but it just leads to your gloating. Wow. I think I am beginning to get the depth and breadth of the pathology I deal with. Thank you for candor.

Do you talk to your mamma with that mouth?

rigel1's picture
rigel1
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Jan. 31, 2011 6:49 am

Although a state takeover may have been drastic and unfair, the city government has been struggling for years, as has the entire community, and the city was broke. Even before Synder was elected, I heard that the city could not afford to buy any new police cars, which they needed. I am not sure how Whirlpool ended up having their headquaters in a small town like Benton Harbor. I remember a Whirlpool manufacturing plant that was located down the road from the present corporate headquarters. That factory is long gone, having been torn down. A parts distribution center in Indiana has long been closed and "reoccupied" by another company. I remember that it was once called RCA Whirlpool, It somehow broke away and became a seperate company. I am surprised that they don't just move their headquarters to South Korea or China or the Philippines, or to wherever they moved most of their plants to.

Corporate executives behind closed doors often do plenty of swearing.

The fact that the residents of Benton Harbor are poor is more significant than that they are black.

The city is also going to have a new housing project, consisting of luxury condos.

I heard a report on the radio that there were much fewer Occupy protesters during the PGA tournament compared to the number of protesters who were there when the city government was taken over by the state manager.

While the average household income in Benton Harbor is $17,000, and the majority of residents cannot afford to play golf at a private golf course or join a country club, there are some well-off people who live in the area, many or most of whom work for Whirlpool.

The Voice of Music which made stereos, and Heathkit, which made electronic kits that people could assemble, were two companies that used to be located there but which no longer exist. My uncle, who was a physician, built his own Healthkit color T.V.

The city needs jobs, job training programs, and relevant social services for the low-income citizens of Benton Harbor. A greedy corporation is not going to be relevant in improving the economic and social climate.

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Robindell
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

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