A columnist with the Kalamazoo Gazette takes serious umbrage with our reporting on Benton Harbor, Michigan, this week. Julie Mack writes that the facts get in the way of a good story. Ms. Mack notes, as did we, that the golf development there preceded the emergency manager -- she says the two are separate stories. She also says you could see what's happening there as being for the betterment of Benton Harbor, which is a mess, and which we also reported. In the clip above, we reported that State Representative Al Pscholka told us much the same.
Part of what makes this such a compelling story is that it's filled with very difficult questions. Ms. Mack writes:
What's worse for Benton Harbor: A financial manager with dictatorial powers or an utterly dysfunctional city government? Are Benton Harbor residents better served by 90 acres of parkland, or 68 acres and a new source of revenue for cash-strapped city coffers? Is it insensitive to build an upscale development in a downtrodden community, as Maddow suggests? Or does it show that the business community hasn't turned its back on Benton Harbor?
No one disputes that Benton Harbor fell on hard times a long time ago and has not gotten back up. For us, the story of Michigan's emergency manager law remains one of government overreach. The question, as Ms. Mack suggests, is whether taking away the power of local elected officials -- and by extension the will of the voters -- is an improvement. The comment threads from you folks on this continue to be amazing. I recommend starting here, and then moving through the Michigan tag.