Reposted from Motor City Kossacks by peregrine kate
Hey hey! For once, I actually have photos to post from a demo I attended! I hope you're as impressed as I am. ;)
Simple and to the point
The "Fight for $15" Demo last Wednesday, Tax Day, was very impressive and well-attended. Special thanks go to one of our own Motor City Kossacks, gregsullmich, who was very involved with the organizing for the event.
gregsullmich, clearly in his element
This demonstration was part of a nationwide effort to draw attention to the need for a higher minimum wage--an idea whose time has come.
I was happy to run into many of my union brothers and sisters at the event, including a local AFT activist who I met at Netroots Nation 14, of all things. Unfortunately, I did not ever find mideedah, who was there with many of her SEIU colleagues, though we traded texts afterwards. That's a good indication of how many people were there, not being able to find each other in the crowd.
The basic message is straightforward. With higher wages, we all do better. It was encouraging and uplifting to see so many people gather for the sake of promoting solidarity and economic justice.
Because it matters and we are worth it.
That's one part of the "good" in the diary title. I don't have a "bad" to mention at the moment. I do, however, have an "ugly" to reference briefly. That would be the preposterous plan by the city leaders, including Mayor Duggan, to recommence water shutoffs throughout Detroit beginning in May.
Curt Guyette, one of the best and most reliable reporters covering this story now for many months, has a recent update: "With Detroit's Water Payment Plan a Massive Failure Mayor Duggan Plans Changes."
From that report:
According to the most recent numbers provided by Detroit’s Department of Water and Sewerage, 24,743 residential customers are enrolled in a payment plan. Of that number, 24,450 are at least 60 days past due on their payments—meaning that their homes are in danger of losing water service once the city resumes shutoffs.
Stated another way, only 300 of the 24,743 customers put on the mayor’s payment plan were able to keep up with their payments and ensure their water will keep flowing.
“You didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out what the outcome would be,” said Maureen Taylor, chair of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization. “If people are already unable to pay their bills, how could you expect them to keep up if you add past-due payments on top of that? The plan was fundamentally flawed from the beginning, and we said that.”
Despite all evidence from the beginning pointing to just this sort of failure, the mayor persists in rejecting an affordability plan. This position is reflected in a recent Detroit Free Press article
about the issue:
Mayor Mike Duggan has remained adamant that water service cannot be provided for free without raising rates for all, and that the city has no way to create a system that charges for water based on household income, an idea advocates and some city officials have urged his administration to consider.
The city has tried to make it easier for residents to get on payment plans to get out of shutoff status. Water customers can do so by paying as little as 10% of their overdue bill on top of their regular monthly bill.
But that model of assistance is flawed....
"These assistance plans are Band-Aids. They are not a solution," said Lynna Kaucheck, a senior organizer with Food & Water Watch who has closely monitored shutoffs in Detroit. "If you can't afford to be on the assistance plan, it doesn't matter if you know about it."
There's much more to be said about this looming disaster, on top of many others (the collapse of Detroit Public Schools and the boom in foreclosures expected this year, to name only two). But I can tolerate posting only so much at a time. Please feel free to post your own input on this crisis in the comments, and let me know as well if you'd like to cover some aspect of the subject in an upcoming diary.
Below the orange wave, please join me for a brief review of our plan for a group outing to the DIA to see the Diego Rivera/Frida Kahlo exhibit.