Jesse Jackson Calls for Protest, Federal Action on Detroit Manager

The civil rights leader and two Michigan congressmen are seeking to stop Gov. Rick Snyder’s appointment of an emergency manager.

Posted: 03/25/2013 12:36 PM EDT
Jesse Jackson Calls for Protest, Federal Action on Detroit Manager

The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson has teamed up with two members of Congress from Michigan to call on the federal government to investigate the appointment of an emergency city manager for Detroit.

Jackson, along with Representatives John Conyers and Gary Peters, are asking the Government Accountability Office to determine the effectiveness of emergency financial managers in the state of Michigan.

In addition, Jackson has called for what he calls a “major mass nonviolent demonstration” in Detroit to protest the appointment of a manager, who has nearly limitless power to operate the city’s finances.

Earlier this month, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Kevyn Orr, a lawyer with a prominent law firm in Washington, D.C., as Detroit’s emergency financial manager. The governor said that the finances of the state’s largest city had been in dire condition and that a state takeover was necessary.

The move was harshly criticized by a number of elected officials in Detroit as well as many activists who complain that the move takes power away from officials who were duly elected by the citizens of Detroit to make decisions on behalf of the city.

"I certainly agree that we need and we seek federal intervention, but we must make our federal government do what they are supposed to do on our behalf,” Jackson said, in a video for a local television station.

Jackson said the march will take place on Friday, at Detroit's Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.

Many Detroit elected officials have complained about the role of the Republican governor and state legislature in the emergency manager decision. Specifically, they cite the fact that the law that allows for the appointment of an emergency manager was rejected in a public referendum by Michigan voters.

However, state legislators afterward approved a slightly altered act that can't be challenged by a ballot initiative. Orr started on Monday.

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(Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

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