Regarding the idea that autocracy can't help Michigan's troubled towns, commenter @tra1215 writes from one town the state has taken over:
I live in Flint, and I haven't seen anything - NOTHING - that makes this city better. Police are still slow to respond (they don't even come for robberies anymore, unless they're in progress), potholes still dominate the roads, I wouldn't know about the schools because I pulled my kids out of them last year. For the sake of those children, I hope something is done soon.
So that's one view from the ground.
This week a former emergency manager of Pontiac has been arguing that the emergency manager law can't work because it takes away the civic structure and does nothing to build a new one. Governor Snyder replaced Stampfler last fall because, his administration told me, the governor believed it was time for a change and wanted "to move into the next phase." If you look back at Stampfler's exit, you'll see that he argued then, too, against the emergency manager law:
The restrictions placed on an Emergency Manager to control the City by the State Treasurer with little if any input from the Pontiac citizenry and the public perception of this control as an occupation of the City are severe impediments to achieving long term solutions for the chronic financial situation in this community. Long term neglect – many years of neglect – in both financial terms and community planning terms has virtually sealed the fate of the distressed community represented in poster child fashion by Pontiac. This is a sad and almost hopeless endeavor considering the absence of democratic process and lack of support or involvement by competent local elected leaders.
Stampfler is speaking next week about this issue at a Rotary Club lunch in Wyandotte. It's looking like this might be kind of a big deal, at least a big enough deal that he gets heard.
(Image: Elementary school in Pontiac by @dvd_garvin/Flickr)