Archive

Note: This page contains archived information from the old MWRO website between 2002-2009. The links may no longer work nor is the content being updated. We will slowly add more archived information here as we transition away from the old website.

MWRO Get Involved/Community Calendar

Learn more about current and past
Welfare Rights Actions
Are you
being denied your human right to water?
Are you
in danger of having your water shut off?
Have your
overdue water bills been put on your property taxes?

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

COME JOIN WITH OTHERS AND TESTIFY AT THE

TRUTH COMMISSION FOR WATER
RIGHTS
§Come and
share your story with others in the same boat

§Testimony
will be heard by nationally-known activists

§Help
create documents to be presented to the United Nations about our lack of
Economic Human Rights

SATURDAY, MAY 3, 2008

10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Central United Methodist Church

23 E. Adams, 2nd floor, Detroit
(Corner of Woodward and
Adams, across from Fox Theater)

Michigan
Welfare Rights Organization, 23 E. Adams St., 4th floor, Detroit, MI 48226
(313)
964-0618
Cost of the War in Iraq
$833,413,526,711

 

You’re
invited….

OUR WATER, OUR CITY
 Let’s
make it a law that the City of Detroit must
make water affordable

and
stop shutting off the water
of
low-income people!
(pdf
flyer
)
 Join
our petition campaign

Kick-off gathering:
Saturday, March 7

10 a.m.-12 noon, Central United Methodist Church, 4th floor,
23 E. Adams  (at Woodward), Detroit

 FOR
MORE INFORMATION:

Michigan Welfare Rights Organization
23 E. Adams, 4th Fl., Detroit, MI  48226

(313)
964-0618   www.mwro.org

The next meeting of the MWRO UTILITIES
COMMITTEE

(pdf flyer)

Will be Monday, March 2,
2009, 5:30 p.m.
Central United Methodist
Church, 4th floor, 23 E. Adams (at Woodward), Detroit, MI
Come and help us get ready for
our petition campaign, which kicks off on Saturday, March 7, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Call the Detroit Water and Sewerage
Dept!

Help us fight for fair water rights!

bullet

Call,
write, or e-mail Victor Mercado, Director of the Detroit Water and Sewage
Department
and tell him to turn on the water for Detroit’s low-income families and seniors,
and disabled customers!  (313) 964-9460 Public Affairs Division, 735
Randolph St, Detroit, MI 48226
mercado@dwsd.org
bullet

Demand that the Water Dept hear
our concerns and deal with this crisis in a fair and humane manner!
Contact George Ellenwood, Public Affairs Manager of DWSD at (313)
964-9460 Public Affairs Division, 735 Randolph St, Detroit, MI 48226
ellenwood@dwsd.org

 

Call,
write, or e-mail the
Detroit Board of Water Commissioners:
 735
Randolph St, Detroit, MI 48226

(313) 964-9460 Public Affairs Division

Mary
Blackmon, President

Detroit
Marilynn
Gosling, Vice President Oakland Co.
Hilliard
Hampton, Commissioner

 


Wayne Co.
Carla
Walker-Miller, Commissioner
Detroit
William
Westrick, Commissioner

 


Macomb Co.

Gregory Terrell,
Commissioner Detroit

Kenneth R. Daniels, Commissioner Detroit

Operation: Fresh Start

In 1998, Michigan Welfare Rights convened a meeting
to address the thousands of Wayne County residents who were surviving the cut
off of either gas, lights, or water. We called such a meeting because it was
clear that the Work First project initiated by the Family Independence Agency
[formerly Dept. of Social Services] was at the root of why so many welfare
recipients were in trouble with their utilities and someone needed to raise the
flags of outrage.

What has happened is that Work First demands that
recipients secure employment from any other source as a condition of continuing
to receive benefits. The client finds work and after thirty days, loses the
vendor protection from utility shut-off provided through the FIA. The utility
company issues an in-total bill covering the entire amount the client owes over
the protected vendor amount that may have accumulated for years. These bills are
hundreds and even thousands of dollars and the utility company asks for payment
within thirty days. Impossible!!!  The terrorized client appeals to FIA for
assistance in paying this outrageous amount, but the Dept has rules. If the bill
is high, the answer is no. The bills are high, so these recipients are told that
they are not entitled to receive any assistance. Next, the utility company
interrupts service. Now this recipient and her family try to live in a place
without heat, or without electricity, or without water, and still continue at
her minimum wage job. Two months pass, and of course she is struggling against
all odds to make this unworkable situation work. In the third month, she loses
the job, and now because of FIA rules, she is not categorically entitled to
immediately begin receiving benefits. The situation further deteriorates as she
is asked to continue to look for yet another minimum wage job without utilities
as they are off because she can’t pay the bill, and the welfare office which
started this catastrophe will not assist.

Welfare Rights called the parties to the table
to discuss Operation: Fresh Start, a concept that asks if the FIA is mandating
recipients to enter the work market, they must be prepared to either eat the
accrued bills alone or share the “meal” with the appropriate  utility
company. If the client presents a $1,200 electric bill that was not paid in full
by FIA for the six years the client received straight assistance, then they
should forgive all of the bill and pay the company directly, or ask the utility
company to pay for half so that the client has a FRESH START!

Housing

Property
tax lien evictions on seniors and the disabled are in full swing in Michigan!
Carl is a
Korean War veteran who has been emotionally challenged for more than twenty
years.  He had been presenting letters to the Wayne County Tax Division for the
last fifteen years at least, prepared by a series of lawyers, asking for waivers
exempting him from tax payments because of his condition.  A few years ago, he
was given incorrect info and believed he no longer needed such verifications,
and you can guess what has now happened.  REMAX through North Park Enterprises,
LLC, snatched his home for a few pieces of gold from the State of Michigan, and
had an eviction court date set for Monday, Aug. 21, at 8am at the 36th District
Court in Detroit.
The “new owners” of Carl’s
home fully intended to ask that he be thrown out on the streets. However, lovers
of justice met up with Welfare Rights members at court and stood in support of
this frail little man who was prepared to commit suicide a few weeks ago. These
devils at REMAX and North Park Enterprises tried to circumvent the system by
planting a threat.  They leaked to his neighbors their intention to illegally
evict him, alleging they had the right to do this, knowing that his friends in
the community would relay this false info to him and they did. Faced with
considerable support from the community, the “new owners” agreed with our
minimum demand to give Carl 60 days before he would have to vacate the premises.
The presiding Judge agreed to the additional 50 days–her parameters would have
called for 10 days–in recognition of the significant community support.
This battle is not over! THOUSANDS of seniors, working
families, and other low-income people across the State of Michigan are losing
the homes they’ve PAID FOR or nearly paid for because of property tax liens from
local cities and counties. We must put an end to this epidemic creation of
homelessness!

CALL TO ACTION!

MICHIGAN WELFARE RIGHTS ORGANIZATION

SPRING OFFENSIVE/2007

December 9, 2006
State
of the Community
Dear Colleagues;
            As we approach
the end of the year, we should reflect on where we stand today, and ask that
obligatory question, “Are we better off today than we were last year?”  If we
are still on this side of the living, the answer is “NO”!
            The country is
in turmoil from coast to coast.  Pockets of poverty have now turned into regions
under the watch of these mean-spirited Republicans and their liberal sounding
Democratic friends.  The national press is careful to select what areas they
find to highlight when it comes to the rising, invisible economic climate
reports they feed us on the nightly news.  People are poor, are hungry, are
unemployed, are afraid, and are aware that the world as we know it has changed.
We are not confused, and we understand that if you are a working person, your
“stuff” is in trouble.
            In Michigan
along with Hurricane Katrina states, we are hardest hit, so we have seen the
misery up close and personal for a longer stretch than others, but the nightmare
of economic pain is coming to visit us all.
            For the first
time in decades, we have fulltime workers with no benefits!  We have fulltime
workers in shelters.  We have seniors dying before their time, cut down early by
the stress of being threatened with impending poverty because their pensions and
fixed incomes can’t cover the rising costs of living.  We have babies finding
loaded guns that accidentally go off, killing or wounding one or more.  We have
street crimes being committed by misguided persons who act more like savages
than our neighbors.  In Detroit, we have 25,000 public school students who have
no healthcare coverage today. We have unprecedented poverty worldwide, and even
America has not been spared.  US News and World Report writes that 2% of the
total world population OWNS 55% of the world’s resources.  Scandalous!
            Practically
everything we know is under attack and there are few voices raised to demand a
change.  The time has come to draw that line in the sand.  We are either going
to live as free people in this country, with access to all the implements of
survival regardless of the ability to pay, or NO ONE can live free and
contented.  Let’s work for a change.
            To that end,
Michigan Welfare Rights is issuing a “Call to Action.”  For the
spring of 2007, we must be ready to emerge from another harsh winter, organized
for change.  Most critical to the survival of thousands, is access to free and
clean drinking water, a requirement for life.  The Water Affordability Plan has
been mired in bureaucratic madness since it was submitted for review and passage
by the Detroit City Council. The Water Dept. administration has hijacked the
Plan by various treacherous methods, and cannot get on the same page with the
rest of the city as they question this sentence this week, and another sentence
the next week.  Endless memos and empty correspondences have been issued and
responded to week after week while the Dept. continues its diabolical pattern of
cutting water off at thousands of homes, month after month.
Many of our fellow community neighbors
will not survive this winter.  Death by poverty is not a new phenomenon where
our lives are concerned, and we are all too complacent as we see what is certain
to occur again and again.  A fire will take the lives of some children and some
seniors who were using alternate ways to heat themselves after their utilities
were turned off.  Right after the news reports on the losses sustained, they
will go on to report the sports outcomes as if our lives and our deaths mean
nothing. Some argument will develop because we are too poor to pay for
something, and another person or persons will lose a life.  Domestic abuse will
rise, elder abuse will occur, hearts will give out, strokes will be commonplace,
and no one will see the connection between our poverty, our suffering, our
sicknesses, and our early demise.  Welfare Rights will organize the community
toward enrollment into the Water Affordability Plan so we can stop water shut
offs.
            The second part
of the “Call to Action” involves the other great crisis we suffer, which is the
rising homelessness in our region.  What sense does it make to have 14,000
homeless people in our area, and 44,000 vacant properties also standing, many of
which are livable, owned by the State of Michigan?  We are proposing direct
action of both these fronts…we will be organizing efforts to move homeless
people into these properties, and will also organize the escrow accounts to pay
for our occupancy.   We need carpenters to help restore these homes.  We need
plumbers to help restore these homes.  We need seniors to help sew curtains and
bake casseroles to help feed these families when they first move in.  We need
lawyers to help get Welfare Rights members out of jail when we defy the banks
and move our people inside.  We need Judges to release us.  We need Police
Officers to refuse to arrest us.  We need students to ring the properties and
help kick in doors.  We need locksmiths to help us install new locks on these
doors.  We need organized homeless providers to get on this page and work to end
this scandalous condition.  We need the clergy who truly believe in a higher
power, to forsake the safety of their warm, inside pulpits to be the barrier in
front of us when the forces of evil come to bring us pain.
            In closing, let
us remember the words Jack uttered in the movie, “TITANIC.”  Remember, when he
looked at the situation and saw that the ship was about the sink, he stood on
the forward ledge as it rose, ready to plunge into the sea, he screamed,
“Alright Rose, this is it”!!  This is it.  We organize to save of community, our
people, our city, our state and our country, or we stand watch as slow and
consuming death picks us off, one by one.  Let the courageous and the spiritual
among us step forward and prepare for change.  Stand with us, and let us not
fall for systematic suffering not another damned moment!
Maureen D. Taylor, State
Chair
Michigan Welfare Rights
Org.

TENT CITY: 15
YEARS LATER

Detroit, Lansing,
Flint, Ann Arbor

On November 11th,
2006 it will be 15 years since we organized the fight back against poverty and
homelessness by erecting “Tent City” in Detroit, Lansing, Flint and Ann Arbor,
Michigan against Governor Engler, the State Leaders and certain local leaders in
their attacks on the citizens of Michigan by eliminating and cutting badly
needed programs, such as General Assistance. These protests were organized by
the Detroit-Wayne County Homeless Union, the Michigan Up and Out of Poverty Now
Coalition (including MWRO), and several other community groups.

Michigan was one of the first state’s to cut
General Assistance to adults—over 100,000 Michigan residents—and contributed to
additional homelessness and poverty for single persons. Meanwhile, in 1991, the
City of Detroit had a 42% vacancy rate in its public housing units and was
failing to make repairs in HUD apartments.

We would like to
invite you to the gathering on


Saturday, November 11, 2006 at 4:00pm


Central United Methodist Church


23 E. Adams,
2nd Floor (at Woodward), Detroit

We need to
come together and look at the past and understand what we

must do for the
future.

Homelessness has increased, more people’s utilities are shut-off (water, lights
and gas), education means no-education, people are not able to feed their
families and the housing question is a joke, fewer and fewer people are without
health care and children are being taking away from their parents because they
are poor.  Further, we cannot find good jobs with benefits.

President Bush is implementing his corporation agenda.  He is implementing laws
to enact Fascism.  We owe our children a better future. Please come out and see
friends, bring your family, friends and find out what is going on.  We need you
to bring some of the following for the homeless hygiene kits we
are putting together for the homeless for Holidays at CUMC.  We need items such
as toothpastes, toothbrushes, soap, lotion, deodorant, face towels, socks,
gloves, etc.

You
can call for more information at (313) 964-0618 or 965-5422, or leave a message.
We are looking forward to seeing you.
Organized by the Michigan
Welfare Rights Organization, League of Revolutionaries for a New America, Metro
Detroit Labor Party, National Welfare Rights Union, and the peace and
environmental community.

Elections


ELECTIONS 2006
An Open Letter Written by a MWRO
Member and Supported by the MWRO
Dear friends;I am writing this because this is one of the darkest periods in history our
country has experienced and because I have never failed to vote in any local or
national election since I was old enough to vote. This is a tradition I inherit
from my grandparents and parents, who firmly believed that it is our right and
responsibility to vote in all matters. Thus, I have raised my daughters in this
tradition. Now that the twins are eighteen years old, they have registered to
vote and our block of four votes comes out of this tradition. I hope that the
dreams of my grandfather will be realized before the end of our lives: That the
money that rules politics will be removed from the equation by the efforts of
those who struggle for democracy. The groups like Common Cause, Michigan
Campaign Finance Reform, The League of Women Votes, Smart Voters, etc, all have
an eye on this corrupted process which has entirely hijacked our votes and
subordinated the common good far below corporate greed. From the sentencing of
our young people into private prisons, to the criminalization of undocumented
people who come here escaping the policies of NAFTA, CAFTA and their historical
predecessors, our “leaders” have made slaves of workers around the world and
pitted us against people we don’t know or have no quarrels with. What do we know
of Iraqi children? What do we have against Honduran and Salvadoran and Mexican
farm workers or displaced professionals or any other ordinary men and women?
What would we do if we had no way to feed our children? What is required of us
as Americans who have the right to vote?

Governor:
I have to say that despite a
fine anti war candidate on this ticket, we support
Governor Granholm for reelection. Her positions on stem cell research,
women’s right to choose, affirmative action and the very real threat of a
reactionary opponent taking this seat if she loses. We have been pushed back so
far that we cannot afford to lose any more ground on this.3rd District County Commissioner:
We support Fred Vitale for the County
Commissioner seat on the East Side of Detroit. He is the Green Party candidate
for the Anti War Slate.

State House District 1:
Kristen Hamel, Grosse Pointe for State Rep on the
Green Party. This is the Anti War Slate.

Wayne State Board of Governors:
Michael Merriweather Green Party, Margaret
Guttschall Green Party

Michigan State University Board of Trustee:
Loren Spencer Green Party

State Board of Education:
Kevin Karey Green Party, Jacob Woods Green Party

The Michigan Supreme Court is very important to
us!! This is the court that ruled that workers injured and maimed on the job are
not eligible for comp if they have no social security number. This encourages
employers to exploit our people and cheat others out of their work. This has to
change, and we can change it!! We asked our best legal minds for advice on this:
Beckering is a trial lawyer out of Grand Rapids who is for the people. Support
Beckering for the Michigan Supreme Court. Diane Hathaway for court of Appeals.
They are running against reactionary Republicans.

Remember that Debbie Stabenow voted to build the wall along the Mexican Border.
She voted for the bankruptcy act written by corporations against poor people who
are losing their homes; she voted for the Habeas Act, which allows the president
full power to lock up anyone for anything without any due process. She voted for
the war. There is a good candidate running on the Anti War Slate for the
Senate seat of Debbie Stabenow:
David Sole. Many people seem conflicted about
voting against her. This is baffling to me. These are people who apparently have
no one on the other side of the border and don’t come from folks from the other
side of the border; they come from people who will never have to file
bankruptcy, and come from people who will never be accused of a crime. That is
not us, friends. We are all those people and she is not a friend to us. There is
absolutely no ambiguity here. I am not confused and I do not know why others
are. The rationale that a vote against her is a vote for Republican challenger
Bouchard is odd to me. Do we want to be lead to our demise by a Democrat who
votes against us on every important issue, or a Republican who votes against us
on every important issue to us? Electric chair or lethal injection? You choose,
or say NO to both of them. Who cares which one wins if they are the same?
Frankly, I am angry that people would ask us to vote for her anyway, while we
are being attacked they ask us to support their candidate who attacks us. What’s
up with that? HOW DARE THEY ASK US TO VOTE FOR OUR ENEMY?

In this election period, we must look carefully at what is really being said to
us and why we are being pitted against our own class. We are the same class as
all the people around the world who do not own anything that makes money. If you
own a factory or a retail chain, or massive acres of land that produces food, I
am not directing this missive to you. If you wish you owned those things, I am
still talking to you because you are still working class. Every single election
counts and every vote counts while we have no other process available to us. We
saw that in the last City council elections, Maureen Taylor, of the Michigan
Welfare Rights Organization would have won had the opposition not put up someone
with a very similar name. Dirty tricks abound when rich people are threatened.
Maureen is the candidate who can organize people to resist the privatization of
water and the shut offs of utilities. We are talking about forces who organized
against her to keep people from their basic human rights. These are people who
would see children freeze to death under viaducts and be taken from their
mothers because they are poor and have no utilities in their homes. The money
spent to defeat her could have kept thousands in their homes, warm for the
winter. But the battle was not lost; the city clerk who resided over years of
such thefts was ousted from office and replaced by a little known challenger,
whom we believe is much more honest. Maureen Taylor will be back to run on a
slate of several challengers to the thieves on the council so that we have some
comfort and rest and backing from our warrior councilwomen, Brenda Jones and
JoAnn Watson.

There is a
little publicized race for a seat on the Wayne County
Board of Trustees. Leonard Monroe, a
longtime employee of the college, now retired, is running for one of the seats
on the Board. Having worked with Mr. Monroe for many years, I would certainly
cast my vote for him knowing that he understands the terrain and is known for
his integrity. WCCC Board of Trustees, Leonard Monroe.In our (12th) district, State House Rep
Steve Toboccman is running unopposed. He is in his
last term and has done a good job for us. I would vote for him for any office he
runs for because I have found him to conduct himself as a statesman, looking to
the best interest of his district for generations to come. He is a young
attorney, I expect him to be around for a long time in politics. This is,
though, hopefully the last time we have no Latino representation in our
district. We need a good candidate, who is honest, understands the issues and is
Raza. We can say here, to be Latino for this and other seats, it is necessary
but not sufficient. This is a call for candidates. Latino/Latina, sane,
qualified and an eye to the public good. All applicants welcome. Keep in mind
that as Latinos, we are voting on behalf of the millions who are good enough to
work here but not good enough to vote, so step up and do the right thing. The
people working without rights and incarcerated are still human beings and
members of our families, so even if the State does not recognize them, they are
children of God, counting on us to help them claim their inheritance. Be aware
of this awesome responsibility when we go to the polls.

On the proposals, there are some confusing issues and wording.
YES on Proposal 1: Money held for conservation can
only be used for their intended purposes. It sounds like these items could be
moved around for other things if there is no ballot initiative that mandates
their protection. The land, like people without the right to vote, depends on
people of good will to vote on its behalf. Vote YES ON Prop 1.

A Vote on Proposal 2: VOTE NO on 2!! Liars, thieves
and outsiders want to take away what little is left of affirmative action,
before we get past a 50% dropout rate of students in Detroit Public Schools, 47%
illiteracy rate of Detroiters, what else do they want? A return to the good old
days of institutionalized segregation, riots and mayhem.

No on Prop 3: Mourning Doves. Mourning Doves never
did anything to us. This is an odd proposal. Important to hunters (yes for them)
and animal rights people (no for them), not too many others care. They can’t
vote, either. Do the right thing.

NO on Prop 4: Eminent Domain for whoever wants your
land…All Detroiters know about being displaced by freeways, big businesses,
bridges, and any other powerful force that wants the land you occupy. What
possible reason would we have to agree to give it up without a fight? We are
beleaguered, but not completely colonized. Vote NO ON 4

YES! Proposal 5: Yes to School Funding. The
opposition says it goes to teachers’ pensions, administrative support, etc. That
is how you get the best people in the schools, and in Detroit, where teachers
are overworked and underpaid, only ignorant haters would vote against this. I
say YES to Prop 5, and hopefully all parents of any kids anywhere will do the
same, and all workers who think pensions are a good idea, vote YES on 5! Support
teachers!!! Our future depends on this!! They are with our children!! Why would
we want to deny them a decent wage and pension?

We hope this is some help to you. We thought about the issues, researched some
answers and proposals and decided on these positions. Thank you for your
attention to this. We cannot change the world overnight, but we will struggle
for justice and freedom for as long as we breathe. This is what is required of
us.

Hasta la Victoria Siempre,
Elena M. Herrada
Latinos Unidos

 

Tuesday, 11/7/06
Election Day–VOTE! See
Open MWRO Member Letter for more thoughts.
Saturday, 11/11/06
Tent City: 15 Years
Later–Detroit, Lansing, Flint, Ann Arbor. Central United Methodist Church, 23
E. Adams (at Woodward, near Comerica Park), Detroit, 4pm.

On November 11th,
2006 it will be 15 years since we organized the fight back against poverty and
homelessness by erecting “Tent City” in Detroit, Lansing, Flint and Ann Arbor,
Michigan against Governor Engler, the State Leaders and certain local leaders in
their attacks on the citizens of Michigan by eliminating and cutting badly
needed programs, such as General Assistance. Join us as we discuss these protests organized by
the Detroit-Wayne County Homeless Union, the Michigan Up and Out of Poverty Now
Coalition (including MWRO), and several other community groups.
Saturday,
11/11/06

Eyewitness Report on Venezuela and Colombia.
 

International
Institute of Metropolitan Detroit

111 East Kirby,
Detroit 48202 (313) 871-8600, 5-7:30pm.
A delegation from the US recently visited Venezuela
and Colombia and had the opportunity to experience the dramatic changes that
have been taking place in Latin America in the last few years.
In Venezuela
the delegation observed how
the Bolivarian revolution is unfolding. The main protagonists, the Venezuelan
people, through the “Misiones or projects” have brought unprecedented changes in
health care, education, housing, culture and sports to the majority of the
population. In Colombia,
despite what the Colombian people call the “state of terror” unions, mass
organizations are organizing to help provide minimum necessities, like food,
childcare, education, to the poorest people of society. They are also organizing
to put an end to the repression by the Colombian government and the U.S. through
“Plan Colombia” that has killed 7, 000 people a year for political reasons.
Includes showing of the film “Bombing in Santo Domingo Arauca, Colombia” a 15
min. short DVD documenting the bombing of the community of Santo Domingo,
Colombia. Presented by
Justice for Cuba Coalition & US/Cuba Labor
Exchange
.

WATER NEWS

A BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT: We Welcome the
Water Affordability Plan!By Maureen D. Taylor
Michigan Welfare Rights Organization

Reposted from the
Michigan Citizen 8/27/06 

Dear Detroiters! Finally, the “little” one is about to arrive after so long
a wait, and we are happy to announce this birth! This has been a complicated
pregnancy, requiring the entire city to go on bed-rest to guarantee a live and
healthy delivery. Questions of paternity, and even maternity were and still are
being raised by those who want to claim this delivery, but we know who it
belongs to!“Baby-daddy” concerns are not new, but we have been able to over-look these
distractions and stay focused on this coming birth, and the water has started to
break.

The three mid-wives on Detroit City Council, nurses [JoAnn] Watson, [Barbara
Rose] Collins and [Brenda] Jones, have led the process to sign off on the Plan,
and despite attempts to harm this infant development by the Water Dept., we are
close to the roll-out date.

Now, this is not the child we were praying for, but it is the one that we are
delivering. It’s not as tall, or as deep, or as wide as we wanted, but it is the
one that survived all harmful attempts. It’s a Caesarian birth, because a
natural process was prevented. Here is what your baby looks like.

The “birth” announcements are starting to surface in your homeowner water bills,
and the language is alarming on purpose. The birth-parents agreed to ask each
bill payer to agree to a $1/month extra charge, or $12/year which would go into
a fund. The Water Dept. has already put in $5 million dollars to start this
fund, and will put in that same minimum amount every year.

What you contribute is that $12 per resident household which is the foundation
of the Water Affordability Plan. Here’s what happens next.

All residential water customers who earn up to 175 percent over the national
poverty level are eligible for enrollment into the Plan. These households would
be entitled to pay a monthly, small amount, which would be matched (in part)
from the foundation dollars and that amount would be their water payment.

Those who have no water service, would be reconnected, and there would be NO
MORE mass water disconnections in Detroit because people are too poor to pay.

Those who earn more than 175% over the poverty level would be offered entry into
the program at a slightly higher rate per month.

There is a similar structure set up for schools, for churches, for small and
large businesses as well, as baby is inclusive. In the next few weeks, we will
print the telephone number in the Michigan Citizen where residents can call for
enrollment steps.

The Water Affordability Plan took many years, many months, many anxious moments
along the way. We have parted company with old friends and made new ones while
we stood and protected this new initiative.

Soon, we will be the proud parents of a newborn and all should stand in wonder
at what Detroit has done. This birth is being announced all over the state, so
cloning is on the way. Marianne would be so happy.

Congratulations, Detroit!

 

Tuesday, 6/13/06
Michigan Women United, a coalition
group of One United Michigan (for Affirmative Action) Dinner Meeting. 5:30-8pm,
Community Room, lower level, Northland Shopping Center in Southfield (9
Mile/Greenfield, off Lodge Fwy, park in Lot E).

Inspire your children, grandchildren, nieces, and mentees with this evening of
empowerment and strategy. The Honorable Brenda Lawrence, Mayor of Southfield,
will assist in this organizing effort. To reserve a space for your organization,
call by June 10th (313) 965-9582.
Tuesday, 6/13/06
Water for Life: The Detroit
Series–Detroit’s Water System: Looking Into Detroit’s Past to Find Justice in the Future.
7-9pm, Barth Hall, Cathedral Church of St Paul, 4800 Woodward, Detroit.
A panel of environmental and
community experts will discuss the complex history, politics, and race relations
among residents who share Detroit’s water system, and issues across the region
related to water pollution, shortage, diversion, and rates. Speakers include:
Russ Bellant (Detroit Historian), Dave Dempsey (author & environmentalist), Lucy
Harris (American Indian Health & Family Services), Kurt Metzger (United Way), Sylvia
Orduño (Michigan Welfare Rights);
facilitator: Josephine Powell; music: Joe Reilly.
Flyer (pdf).
News Advisory (MS Word).
News Release (MS Word).
Wednesday, 6/14/06
Picket in support of new UAW card
signers at Hope Global of Detroit. 9am, 25215 Glendale, Redford (one block south
of I-96 and 2-3 blks east of Beech Daly).
A majority of the Hope Global
employees signed cards to become members of the UAW and filed a request with the
NLRB to have elections. Please join employees and supporters for a SECOND
PICKET. For more info, contact Rosendo Delgado, Coordinator, Latinos United/Unidos
of Michigan (313) 887-1849 or rosendo@luum.org
Wednesday, 6/14/06
Meet the Venezuelan Ambassador!
3-5pm, International Institute, 111 E. Kirby (at John R, north of DIA), Detroit.
 

Please
join us for an unprecedented and historic visit to Detroit by the
Ambassador of
Venezuela, Bernardo Alvarez. We will be extending a warm welcome to the
Ambassador and his delegation with a PEOPLE’S MEET & GREET
CELEBRATION! Admission: A Potluck “Taste of Detroit” Dish. Let’s treat
our guests to a
variety of good Detroit favorites! Please bring something to share with
others,
preferably in a disposable dish. (No one turned away.) Capacity is
limited to approximately 300 people.
Please help us prepare by calling in your RSVP to the MWRO office at
(313)
964-2500 or e-mail at info@mwro.org
Flyer (pdf)
Spanish flyer
(MS Word)

Saturday, 6/17/06
Call ’em Out & The People’s State
of the People Town Hall Meeting. 6:30pm, Let Them Come Missionary Baptist
Church, 10320 Hamilton (between Calvert and Collingwood).
All elected
officials, candidates for elected offices, and community leaders and ministers
are invited to attend. The intent of this meeting is to give elected officials
and candidates information and instructions from the people such as
accountability to the people, lack of employment and recreational opportunities
for our youth, loss revenue sharing for the City of Detroit, home loss due to
tax foreclosure, fee for trash pick up, access to water and other utilities,
mistreatment o seniors and the disabled, and more. RSVP to Call ’em Out (313)
874-2792 or Callemout@aol.com
Now-6/28/06
Help pass stalled lead testing bill
in Michigan House sponsored by State Senator Martha Scott.

This bill would
require all children participating in the Women, Children, and Infants (WIC)
program to be screened for lead poisoning. Failure to pass the bill by October
will result in the loss of major federal HUD funding for lead. The bill follows
a 2003 State of Michigan report that found up to 20,000 children under age 6 may
be affected but three-fourths of them are never tested or diagnosed. Children
living in low-income and older homes and apartments may be particularly exposed
to lead paint or plumbing. Please urge House Speaker Craig De Roche
craigderoche@house.mi.gov (517)
373-0827 and House Floor Leader Rep. Chris Ward
chrisward@house.mi.gov to take up
Scott’s Senate bill SB1198 for a full House vote. For more info:
House analysis summary
 Senator Martha Scott (517) 373-7748.
Saturday, 6/24/06
Breaking the Travel Ban to Cuba:
Panel Discussion and Potluck. 1-4pm, Central United Methodist Church (Woodward
at Adams), Detroit.
Meet Shane Gasteyer from Pastors for Peace, NY, and
National Caravan Coordinator who will be speaking about his experiences with the
Caravan medical and food donation program to Cuba. Also speaking will be
attorney Kurt Berggren who represents religious activists who resist fines for
traveling to Cuba. Panelists will also discuss the free medical school program
available to interested U.S. students. Donations of medication and medical
supplies that don’t expire before 2/7/06, powdered milk, soy milk, Ensure,
infants formula, and/or potluck items are appreciated. For more information:
(313) 561-8330 or laborexchange@aol.com
Wednesday, 6/28/06
Detroit Water and Sewerage Dept
Board of Directors Meeting. 2pm, DWSD, 735 Randolph at Lafayette, Detroit.

The DWSD agreed with MWRO and the Detroit City Council to implement the Water
Affordability Program by 7/1/06 but there are no contracts in place to do
this. In addition the DWSD is cutting hundreds of water worker jobs although the
DWSD has received millions of dollars in water rate increases. Come to this
Board meeting and voice your concerns about the Water Affordability Program and
water worker jobs. For more info: MWRO (313) 964-2500
info@mwro.org or John Riehl AFSCME Local 207
(313) 965-1601
afscme207@sbcglobal.net
Wednesday, 6/28/06
Community Impeachment Training:
Impeach Bush (and accomplices)! 6:30pm, Barth Hall, Cathedral Church of St Paul,
4800 Woodward, Detroit.
Speakers will outline reasons for impeachment and
provide tools to build support for impeachment in your community. Come discuss
strategies to kick George W. Bush et. al. out of the White House–starting with
a City Council Resolution! For more info, contact the Detroit and Michigan
Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild at
www.michigannlg.org or (313) 963-0843
or ImpeachBush@michigannlg.org
Thursday, 6/29/06
“Media and the Urban Community”
Symposium and Book Discussion. 6pm, Detroit Main Public Library, 5201 Woodward
Ave, Friends Auditorium-Level 1, Detroit.
Hear from author and journalist,
Bankole Thompson, Ignoring the Underprivileged: A Journalist’s Indictment of
Mainstream Media
and City Editor of The Michigan Citizen, along with a panel
of journalists, community leaders, students, and media. Moderated by Cliff
Russell. Free and open to the public, books available. For more information,
(313) 833-4042.
Saturday, 7/1/06
Michigan Peach Festival. 2pm-??,
Belle Isle Park, Pavilion 18.
Come join us for this family event, food, DJ,
clowns, face painting, children’s activities, information tables, and fun! For
more info: www.mecawi.org
Flyer (pdf)
Saturday, 7/1/06
Michigan Welfare Rights
Organization Anniversary Celebration with an Awards and History Presentation,
4-7pm, Eastern Michigan University, McKenny Union Alumni Room, Ypsilanti.

Keynote Speakers: Alma Wheeler Smith, Michigan State Representative in Washtenaw
County; and Marianne Udow, Dept Human Services Director. Donation: $5 low income, $15 non-low income.
Flyer (MS Word). RSVP to (313)
965-2500 or info@mwro.org
Thursday, 7/6/06
Midwest Social Forum–Celebrating
Water for Life: Great Lakes Caucus on Water Privatization & Environmental
Justice, 1-6pm, Milwaukee, WI.
The purpose of this workshop is to outreach
to individuals and organizations concerned with Great Lakes Water communities
confronting water pollution, shortage, diversion and rate issues such as in
Highland Park residents are experiencing water shut-offs; Mecosta County’s
ground water is being freely siphoned and sold by a corporation; Monroe County
residents must ship in water because their water supply has been contaminated by
quarry operations. Organized by: East Michigan Environmental Action Council,
Boggs Center for Nurturing Community Leadership. For more info:
director@emeac.org  Midwest Social
Forum runs 7/6-9/06 www.mwsocialforum.org

Thursday, 7/6/06
Prostitution, Trafficking, and
Women presentation by Andrea Lavigne. 7pm, 5920 Second Ave (1 blk west of Cass),
Detroit.
A discussion on the psychosocial impact of prostitution and sexual
trafficking, the consequences of legal prostitution, and an examination of
current movements to liberate women. Free, light refreshments provided. Held by
Detroit Feminist Meetup. For more info:
socialphysics@yahoo.com
or (313) 300-2518.
Tuesday, 7/11/06
Water for Life: The Detroit
Series–Town Hall Meeting, 7-9pm, Barth Hall, Cathedral Church of St Paul, 4800 Woodward, Detroit.
Bringing the community together to discuss the
future of our water and action-oriented solutions. Topics include: Detroit Water
Affordability Program, water privatization, water as a human right. Youth
especially encouraged to participate!
Co-organized by several
environmental and community groups, including MWRO. For more info, see
www.dwej.org/csaej.htm.
Flyer (pdf).
Saturday, 7/15/06
National Truth Commission.
9:30am-8pm, Lincoln Park (W. 14th St & Starkweather), Cleveland, OH. Hear the
stories of resistance of those whose economic human rights have been violated
here in the richest country in the world. Get on the bus with MWRO: leave 7am,
return midnight, $25 roundtrip, food and beverages included! Sponsors needed for
low-income participants. MWRO Bus Flyer (MS Word). Organized by the

Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign
. Truth
Commission Flyer

(pdf).
Saturday, 7/29/06
Affirmative Action-Community
Action Day.
8am-6pm, Wayne State University. This November, a ballot
initiative known as the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative is looking to ban
affirmative action in Michigan. Come to this Community Action Day to learn about
the MCRI, to discover what you can do to help, and to develop the skills you
will need to fight the MCRI. For more info, University Students United:
www.usumichigan.com

CAN’T AFFORD YOUR UTILITY BILLS?
HAVING PROBLEMS WITH YOUR UTILITY SERVICE?

Come out to the
Michigan Public Service Commission
Consumer Forum

Oct. 10, 2006 @ 6:00P.M. at the Downtown Campus of Wayne
County Community College District, 1001 W. Fort St.

If you have problems with your utilities and need some help with some answers
or just need to let your voice be heard by the Michigan Public Service
Commission about the problems with utilities, then come out to the Consumer
Forum.

Commissioner Peter Lark, Chair of the MPSC will be leading the meeting. You
need to be there so Lansing will start doing something about the problems we are
facing with our utilities.  If your utilities are shut-off, I know you will be
there, if you have a shut-off notice or are mad about the high cost of
utilities, then you need to be at the Forum.

Tell your neighbors, your Church members, club member, your family or get the
school to send leaflets to the parents about the meeting.

WE WILL SEE YOU AT THE MEETING! MICHIGAN WELFARE RIGHTS ORGANIZATION


Status of the Water Affordability Program:
At the May 3, 2006, Detroit City Council meeting, Council Members reviewed the
Roger Colton’s Proposal for the Design of the Water Affordability Program.
Councilman Kenyatta spoke on behalf of the Council and agreed that Mr. Colton’s
proposal should be supported and acted upon. City attorney Robert Walter
informed Council Members that he is still writing two legal opinions about the
Program: the “check-off” option; and the other about the use of misc. revenue
sources (e.g. late fees and savings) to fund the Program.
On June 14, 2006, the Detroit Law Department submitted to the City Council
Research and Analysis Division its opinions that the check-off option and misc.
revenue sources are acceptable methods for revenue collection in the Water
Affordability Program.
6/26/06: This is the final week before the scheduled
implementation of the Water Affordability Program, however, Victor Mercado
has not
initiated the contract with the third-party, non-profit
organization, or utility expert, Roger Colton! Please contact Director Mercado’s
office:
Write or e-mail Victor Mercado, Director, Detroit Water and Sewerage
Dept.:
Help us implement the Water Affordability Program in Detroit! Cut and
paste
this text into your e-mail or U.S. postal letter and send it to:
Victor Mercado, Director, DWSD, 735 Randolph St, Detroit, MI 48226,
mercado@dwsd.org
Dear Director Mercado:
I support the Michigan Welfare Rights
Organization’s WATER AFFORDABILITY PROGRAM! I urge you to implement this plan by
July 1, 2006, as you have agreed to with MWRO and the Detroit City Council.

This plan includes:

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