btw Stephen Henderson’s ‘Rally ’round Kevyn’ editorial column was probably one of the most ridiculous pieces of shit ever published in a daily paper… read on as Darrell Dawsey challenges it well!
com/articles/7413/dawsey_orr_ is_snyder_s_hammer_not_an_ advocate_for_detroit#. Upyl5ieQNZ8
Sure, he and Gov. Rick Snyder may be doing a vicious, legally questionable, cynical end-run around the state constitution in order to rip off pensioners.
And yes, he may be dragging Detroit into Chapter 9 as part of a pre-planned, politically motivated (and arguably unnecessary) bankruptcy petition.
And OK, so he may be overpaying a bunch of cronies, doling out reams of no-bid contracts, wading in over his head in municipal operations issues and pretending to “represent Detroit” in backroom negotiations with the very same avaricious creditors/bankers his old employers still serve.
But the Detroit Free Press nevertheless contends that, in spite of all of this, Kevyn Orr is still Detroit’s best friend in bankruptcy.
In the bankruptcy proceeding, Orr is the city’s best possible advocate, the buffer who is standing between the buzzards and the city’s future. He’s here to make sure that there’s a functioning Detroit left behind, ready to rebuild and move forward. He is the antithesis of the creditors, who are just trying to get paid.
Kevyn Orr doing Gov. Snyder’s dirty work.
Is Orr perfect? Absolutely not. I’m as frustrated as anyone at the slow pace of change, the big dollars going out the window to consultants whose work has yet to pay off in big ways, and by his harsh treatment of pensioners (who are not at fault for their funds’ shortfalls) and the DIA.But where Orr is trying to balance the hit that pensioners take with the needs of city residents, the unions are aggressively trying to raid every dollar they can, no matter the cost to Detroit.
It would be a great narrative—idealistic lawyer fighting valiantly against the soulless banks that want to squeeze a dying city til it pops—if only it were true.
Kevyn Orr doing Gov. Snyder’s dirty work.
But it ain’t, and all the Pollyannaish attempts to soften Orr’s image and redefine his presence will not make it so.
Kevyn Orr isn’t an advocate for the city at all. Kevyn Orr is an appointee working for a governor who has paid him out of secret slush funds, who harbors obvious disdain for even the basic rules of transparency and who thinks of things like the vote, collective bargaining agreements and even the state constitution as inconveniences to be circumvented.
Orr is Snyder’s hammer, an unelected bureaucrat whose sole job is to carry out the marching orders of the people who installed him. Far from trying to “balance the hit that pensioners take with the needs of city residents,” Orr has blown in to Detroit to do exactly what he has done: Take the city into bankruptcy.
We’ve already seen more than enough emails and heard more than enough testimony to know that Detroit’s Chapter 9 request was in the cards long before Orr even arrived in Detroit. If
Detroit is, as the Free Press piece describes the city, “a wounded animal laid prone in a field of financial buzzards,” then consider Kevyn Orr the butcher whose job it is to decide which chunks of that animal’s carcass will be doled out to which predators.
There is nothing honorable about Kevyn Orr’s job, nothing heroic, nothing friendly. He rubs elbows with those same bankers who helped suck Detroit into the same toxic deals that have drained our collective pocketbook.
If Orr were such an “advocate,” why does he seem so doctrinaire in his denial of so much of the underlying cause for Detroit’s fiscal woes, and why does he depend on such a short-sighted, historically inaccurate analysis of the problem? (“Gotten lazy, stupid and rich” much?)
If Orr is such the last line of defense between Detroit and the buzzard banks, then why hasn’t he even considered options that could hold the big banks responsible for their role in creating and exacerbating Detroit’s woes?
Kevyn Orr may have the job of go-between, but let’s be real: He isn’t the “antithesis” of the bankers who are trying to get every last cent out of Detroit. He rolls with them, speaks their language and shares their view that their obligations should largely trump the state’s promise to its retirees.
Orr is still part of their team. He just plays a different position.
While it may be bothersome, it’s not a particularly shocking reality to embrace. It just shows how serious Snyder et al are when it comes to consolidating power and controlling resources.
What irks me at least as much is this overarching, almost child-like need some Detroiters seem to have for someone or the other to rush in and play the role of the city’s “savior.” Like wide-eyed kids at an animated action flick, we’re constantly craving an easily defined “hero,” a good guy, a municipal messiah.
And even when he doesn’t exist (usually the case), we’re all too eager to affix a white hat to someone’s head anyway.
But there aren’t many good guys in this mess, mostly just agents of one interest group or another—with some concerns being more socially palatable than others.
Orr doesn’t have to be cast as the baddest guy in this story. But he certainly is no more noble in his cause than, say, a union lawyer fighting to secure a promised pension for an elderly ex-librarian, bankruptcy claims be damned.
And no matter how much editorials may want to conflate big banks with unions fighting for $19,000-a-year pensioners and lump them all under the rubric “creditors,” we know good and well that there’s a significant difference between the two on the ground.
And Kevyn Orr knows that difference too—and he has crafted a financial plan that, while of questionable long-term benefit to the city, surely reflects those values.
Frankly, there’s no telling what Kevyn Orr will leave behind once he and the governor have had their way with the pensions and municipal assets.
But I do know that when our “best possible advocate” does finally depart, he’ll be flying away right along with the rest of the shameless scavengers who came here to feed.