The Essence of Politics

Monday, September 07, 2009

Detroit’s Last Stand

This is truly Detroit’s last stand for better or worse. It is clear that the status quo won’t do in Detroit and many Detroiters’ want change but not all change is good change. Therefore as I read an article from the Michigan Citizen entitled “Bing Gets Big Ol’ Watermelon” I begin to wonder what really is going on in Detroit. I really wasn’t upset about the title of the article but the information within the piece. The information read:

Gov. Jennifer Granholm gifted Detroit Mayor Dave Bing with a watermelon during an announcement Aug. 27 to expand the fresh food initiative begun by Peaches and Greens on Third Ave. where trucks tour the neighborhoods selling vegetables.

After Bing’s opinion piece was published by the Detroit News (see editorial), his proposed bus cuts, his failure to provide a forensic audit, his refusal to debate or campaign before community groups, many Detroit city workers and residents aren’t surprised he wouldn’t understand the irony of being handed a watermelon.

Now for some people they might be upset with the irony of a black political leader getting a watermelon from a white political leader and those that are upset and feel it plays to racial stereotypes should be upset. However what I am upset is about is the fact Mayor Bing who has to get elected in November to serve the citizens of Detroit for the next 4 years has refused to debate or campaign before community groups like he did when he was running to fulfill the rest of Kwame Kilpatrick’s term as mayor. Now when I heard this, I quickly wondered are Detroiters going to accept this from Bing.

Now I understand that many in the news media as well as many Detroiters don’t believe the mayoral race is a race ain’t all because Bing is taking on Tom Barrow who has some character issues and Jerroll Sanders is reportedly doing a write-in campaign for mayor. Nonetheless, it makes me wonder with Bing tough talk on television lambasting union leaders and workers for not negotiating in good faith as well as his criticism of city residents for being more upset about bus routes and services possibly being cut but not upset about the increase in city violence. This is why this is Detroit’s last stand because if Bing really felt that Detroiters didn’t care about city violence than he should host town halls across the city to get the residents feelings about various city issues. Now Bing has only been in office for a little over 100 days or a little over 3 months but for him to speak about Detroit residents not caring about city violence or caring more about bus routes and services being cut more so than violence is just not true.

Bing seems to have lost his memory or just doesn’t recall all the community hearings regarding violence in the city for the last couple of decades but most importantly all the complaints from residents the last couple of years regarding the lack of police presence and slow response times which by the way still exist to some degree today. However no one can blame Bing for not nothing considering who wasn’t a resident of Detroit until last October. I’m not saying that to be funny or to attack Bing because I welcome anyone who moves into the city but people who visit the city or do business in the city wouldn’t understand many of issues that city residents face on a daily basis. It’s easy to read about many of these issues that plague Detroiters but reading about and experiencing are two different things.

Thus, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Dave Bing doesn’t understand or get many residents of Detroit. Also it shouldn’t surprise union leaders and their members that Bing uses the press to portray them as evil since before Bing won, he was labeled a union buster any way. Therefore it shouldn’t surprise us Detroiters that Bing doesn’t know that we have protested city violence for years but our pleas for help seem to get ignored time in and time out. Nonetheless it makes me wonder will we as Detroiters fight for wants ours. It makes me wonder if the Bus union fight against Bing and will other city leaders particularly unions fight against Bing. Since Bing seems unwilling to meet with community groups and residents, the very ones who he tried to woe in the first place in order to obtain the mayoral seat, what are we as Detroiters suppose to do? It seems as if Bing doesn’t want to debate Barrow because he doesn’t see him as a real contender but regardless if Barrow is a threat or not, I think that Detroiters should have the opportunity to see a debate in order to see where Bing stands as well as where Barrow stands.

For instance, the Detroit News or Free Press wouldn’t even run Tom Barrow’s op-ed regarding what alternatives to Bing’s bus cuts. I think these are the type of issues that Bing should be debated with at least Barrow if not Barrow and Sanders. For the whole summer, Bing wasn’t challenged and the news media didn’t hold his feet to the fire and neither did any of the unions as well as political groups who gave endorsements who got in bed with Bing by endorsing him for mayor without even considering or vetting or the other mayoral candidates. Bing simply ran all summer without holding any political forums or debates where we the citizens could hear his views, opinions and ideas. Even when Bing ran to fulfill Kilpatrick’s first term, Bing offered little substance and ideas to what his administration would look like. In fact Bing was more critic of Cockrel than actually putting out his own ideas.

Now with Bing in office, it seems that much of city government hasn’t changed from Bing to Cockrel to Kilpatrick to Archer because many of the same people who worked in those 4 administrations still work in city government today. Therefore where is the real change that Bing promised and on top of that, where is the real change in delivering better city services when many of Bing’s top officials make 6 figures plus in a city where the quality of life gets farther and farther away from city residents. Than to add to that, Detroit’s unemployment rate is the highest it has ever been since 1970 and there are talks of cutting routes and services for those who are one paycheck away from being in poverty.

So where is the outcry and where is the movement to unseat Bing. What unions or city residents will work for the less than 2 months to unseat Bing and his administration in order to save the city from disaster? Still Detroiters have choices outside of Bing and while I am not a supporter of Tom Barrow, he has some good ideas but I just hope Detroiters write-in Jerroll Sanders personally but nonetheless, below are Barrow’s alternatives Bing’s bus cuts.

Mayor Dave Bing is considering cuts to bus service in an effort to cut the city’s $300 million deficit. A series of public hearings took place between August 24-27 to allow for citizen comments on the proposed changes. Mayoral candidate Tom Barrow issued a statement at Tuesday’s hearing on August 25th on the reductions during the hearing at Rosa Parks Transit Center, 360 Michigan. Barrow said, “The purpose of a public hearing is to inform the citizens of policy initiatives that affect service delivery and to solicit input from the people to help shape that policy. In a democracy, it is the people and their elected leadership working together that ensures the proper utilization of tax dollars. In times of crisis, when elected leadership call for sacrifice from the public, it is expected that it will be shared sacrifice; not the people to sacrifice while you continue on with an elite lifestyle. It means we all take a hit temporarily until we can, together, fix the problems we are endeavoring to correct.”

Barrow went on to say, “Unfortunately, you as the city’s leadership, have already made a drastic decision to eliminate our bus service, fire drivers and leave our people to fend for themselves. Our leaders will sever the arteries of our city by cutting bus service, and just let the city bleed. How can we heal wounds self-inflicted by the hand of our own government? Who clots the cut? What soothes the pain? How do we heal? How will I be able to leave my home? Why wasn’t a modest increase in the bus fare considered? Surely paying 25 or 50 cents more per ride is better than a $30 daily taxi cab ride. There has not been a word from the Mayor or City Council on a fare increase in these times of crisis, why not?”

Still that is where Barrow and I disagree because paying 25 or 50 cents more is not an option until the bus services improve. Wait times are still entirely too long and the rudeness of bus drivers is a problematic issue as well as the fact that buses are running on time like they are suppose to. Until those issues are properly resolved than a hike in bus fare is just not acceptable in these already tough economic times. Many of the bus riders already riding the bus have to save as much as they can and hiking the bus fare will force many riders to adjust their already tight budgets as is.

Nonetheless Barrow went on to say, “The state is still holding up tens of millions of our dollars awaiting the delivery of mandated audits that are now approaching three years overdue. What is happening that we cannot file our audits on time to get desperately needed funds to our city? The answers to these questions are simple: Our leadership has failed and is continuing to fail us and it is that leadership that should be fired. Norm White, the city’s Chief Financial Officer, and former head of the Transportation Department, did nothing to find better solutions than cutting bus service and he is the one whose incompetence has deprived Detroit of on-time audits. He needs to go and go right now!

Now Barrow is right when criticizing recycled leadership that continues to plague Detroit and even when I say this to many people in the city I respect, they say who else will fulfill these positions, it’s no one else around but as I tell them, how do you know until you vet other young leaders to the place of the old regime that continues to sell old aged ideas to fix the city’s plaguing budget. Barrow goes on to say, “Mr [Charles]Beckham, you have been around for a long, long time. You are our city manager and Chief Operating Officer; you headed up many of our departments over the years. You now come before us to say we must suffer for your mistakes of the past 20 years in city government. You must go, you have done enough damage. Do the right thing and just resign. You can no longer blame bad economic circumstances on others. We blame you.

Barrow is again right because one of the major papers wrote a full article about Beckham where many consider him Mr. Mayor and perhaps the man behind Bing or at least the last voice Bing hears before he makes any decisions regarding city government. Still Beckham is still the old guard of Detroit and while I agree that you have to keep a few gray hairs around in city government but even the most knowledgeable and experienced leaders need to understand the changing of the times and they should be trying to adjust the city to go in that direction. However Barrow’s sharpest criticism was for Bing where he called him an interim mayor. Barrow said, “And Interim Mayor Bing, you moved here from Franklin to tear our city apart, to regionalize its resources and marginalize our people. This attitude must end. Stop blaming the economy and not your decisions. When you kill bus service, you kill hurt families, you cut off access to churches, recreation and services and you kill commerce.

Barrow wrapped up his statements by saying, “In short, you are making us a shell of a city. You are planning for shrinkage, not planning for growth. We want to aspire to be great again, not conspire to take our resources away. You have failed to have imagination when the city wants a visionary who will lead us out, not back us up. Retreat and retrench is not an option for Detroit. We choose to move forward and restoring and improving bus service is at the heart of it. Here are the key decisions that must be made to get us back on track:

- City managers who have take-home cars with free gas must surrender their vehicles immediately to save money; take the bus to work;

- A financial audit must be executed to ascertain cost savings;

- Zero-based budgeting must be implemented to stem cost-overruns;

- We must inventory assets to see what can be capitalized and amortized so that all of the people will know exactly where the D-DOT stands.

Norm White is incompetent to perform these important tasks and Mr. Beckham, you cannot do it. To restore public confidence as a result of cutting bus services, the people who have presided over the demise of our great city should not remain to continue the destruction. A wise man once said that in life you must know where to draw the line and where to hold the line, to know what you will tolerate and what means you will use to protect what’s yours. Here today, we have drawn the line with our leaders, this far and no further; we will hold the line, no cuts in bus service, bump the fare to keep buses rolling, drivers driving, mechanics fixing and the people on their way back and forth to work, to church, to family and to the parks.”

Still I don’t agree with all of what Barrow said but at least he is speaking to the people and giving us his ideas rather than using the media to criticize the unions and residents of this city for caring about bus services and routes. So while a new mayor with no experience in city government or municipal finance suggests bankruptcy is near, others say Detroit has cash but the administration must better manage and audit its finances. Both agree cuts signal more change for a city already suffering under disinvestment and a poor economy. “Bing plans to lay-off 110 mechanics, 30 coach service attendants, 25 storekeepers and ten body men Oct. 2,” says Leamon Wilson, president of Local 312 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) “That’s nearly half our workforce. Even if he decreases the numbers of drivers laid off, they won’t have anything to drive because there will be no one to repair, fuel, and clean the busses.”
Wilson represents bus mechanics and other D-DOT workers. Wilson said that in addition to $37.5 million in federal economic stimulus funds given to D-DOT while Ken Cockrel, Jr. was Mayor, the department has also received a $5 million grant for mid-life bus rebuilds, and $9 million for preventive maintenance, from the Federal Transit Administration. “That money is to pay the salaries of our workers, who are protected by the Urban Mass Transit Protection Act,” said Wilson. “But D-DOT plans to use it to pay vendors that it owes for engines and other parts, not to maintain the workforce. We’ll still install the engines, but half of our people will not be there to do it.” While union officials suggest private contracts and mismanagement are the cause of the deficit, Bing continues to point to workers salaries and benefits.

In a Detroit News commentary, he denounced the senior citizens, youth and workers who protested the lay-offs and bus cuts, including the complete elimination of Saturday night and Sunday service. “More citizens have turned out to oppose proposed bus route changes than they have to decry the violence that holds our community hostage,” Bing said. “Hundreds of people have called my office to complain about these possible changes, while the lack of calls turning in known criminals leaves police lines silent.” Bing temporarily withdrew 113 driver lay-offs planned for Aug. 28, but announced he still plans to lay-off at least 1,000 other workers, including bus mechanics and Recreation Department “grass cutters,” whether or not the unions take concessions.

On August 31, Bing laid off 50 bus drivers, after drivers called in sick to protest the attacks on workers and riders. He also said he will restore reduced weekend service, but still plans route reductions, including more driver lay-offs by Sept. 14. While union and city face off, riders suffer. Thirty-year bus rider Michael Olshan remarked, “The Mayor’s position is incredibly naïve and typical of suburbanite thinking,” he said. “He is uninformed. He should have moved back into the city sooner.” Another bus rider said he experienced route slowdowns when drivers called in sick the weekend of August 29th & 30th.

Meanwhile, Detroit City Council President Pro-Tem JoAnn Watson asked the Council’s Research and Analysis Division to draft an emergency ordinance to prevent lay-offs of bus workers and up to 1,000 others Bing plans to send to the chopping block by Sept. 26. However Detroiters shouldn’t trust the city council to solve the bus issue either although it is an election year and many of them want to get re-elected so they should be trying to do any and everything to appease us the people. Still although the city council should be for us the people and preserving city assets, the Detroit City Council voted 5-2 on August 25 to approve the transfer of the Oakland-Macomb Interceptor, a Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) complex with miles of massive pipes and four pumping stations, to those counties. The transfer was part of a May 18 settlement agreement between Detroit, the U.S., the State of Michigan, and “all communities under contract with the city of Detroit for sewage treatment services.” The Council earlier approved the agreement itself.

But Council President Pro-Tem JoAnn Watson said the sale violates the City Charter, which requires a vote of the people on transfers of both water and sewerage and transportation department assets. “Why wasn’t this put on the November ballot?” she asked. “We have the right to maintain ownership since we built and paid for the Interceptor at the demand of the State of Michigan. This is an asset and its transfer will constitute a negative legal precedent for the rest of the Water Department.” She cited Sec. 7-1504 of the Charter, which reads, “The city shall not sell or in any way dispose of any property needed to continue the operation of any city-owned public utility furnishing water and sewerage service, unless approved by a majority of city voters voting on the question at a regular or special election.”

The charter also notes, “All contracts, franchises, grants, leases or other forms of transfer in violation of this section shall be void and of no effect against the city.” Only Councilwoman Martha Reeves voted with Watson. Council Pres. Ken Cockrel Jr. and members Sheila Cockrel, Brenda Jones, Kwame Kenyatta, and Alberta Tinsley-Talabi voted to approve the transfer. DWSD director Pamela Turner, Law Department representative Robert Walters, Council Research and Analysis Division head David Whitaker, and the Council’s Fiscal Analyst Irvin Corley claimed that the Interceptor is not “needed to continue the operation of any city-owned public utility.” They said that operations within the city would continue as usual, and the city would continue to receive revenues from processing sewage from Oakland and Macomb Counties. DWSD, however, owns and operates facilities in Genesee, Lapeer, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne Counties, which service a total of 138 cities and townships.

They also argued that the Interceptor is a “toxic asset” which collapsed at 15 Mile in 2004, and needs $125 million in immediate repairs. They said Macomb County will assume the outstanding bond debt on the property in addition to floating bonds for the repairs. AFSCME Local 207 President John Riehl, who represents water department workers, agreed with the officials that all other counties built and own their own interceptors, but also said that the transfer without a popular vote will set a bad precedent. Former City Charter Commissioner Joyce Moore was instrumental in getting the language preserving water and transportation department assets into the 1997 Charter. “I was displeased that they did not bring the issue to the people,” she said. “It represents the beginning of the dismantling of the Water Department. If we sell one part, who’s to say we can’t sell the rest?”

She and Tyrone Travis, who spoke at the hearing, also argued that the transfer violates the State Constitution. Travis cited Article 7, Sec. 25 of the Constitution, which says, “No city or village shall acquire any public utility furnishing light, heat or power, or grant any public utility franchise which is not subject to revocation at the will of the city or village, unless the proposition shall first have been approved by three-fifths of the electors voting thereon. No city or village may sell any public utility unless the proposition shall first have been approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon, or a greater number if the charter shall so provide.”

The remainder of the settlement agreement will cost the City of Detroit and/or DWSD at least $37.2 million in capital costs, attorney fees and rate adjustments, in addition to other rate settlements, and millions in contract fees paid to the Infrastructure Management Group and to the chair and legal counsel of a “Business Leadership Group” set up by U.S. District Court Judge John Feikens to resolve the suit. Mayor Dave Bing was part of that group. The agreement also sets up a Director’s Council consisting of Detroit’s Mayor or designate, the DWSD Director, the Macomb County Public Works Commissioner, the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner, and the Wayne County Executive. Other communities serviced by DWSD may also be invited to attend meetings. The agreement says the Council’s purpose is to resolve disputes and cooperate in seeking outside funding, but falls short of turning control of DWSD over to a regional authority, which many had feared.

Thus with Council voting to sell off city assets as usual and only a select few there to stand up for city residents even during an election year, what is to come to Detroit. Then when you equate that with the fact the council blocked cuts to their vacations and increase in duties back in July before they voted on the sell of DWSD to Monroe and Oakland counties. One of the final acts of the Detroit City Council before taking its month-long summer break was to block nine proposals that would have made changes to the city charter. Among the measures council rejected was the effort to reduce their two-months-a-year vacations and a requirement to work an eight-hour-day.

At the July 23 meeting, Councilwoman JoAnn Watson unsuccessfully presented nine proposals for council approval. Had the measures earned the three-fifths required vote margin they would have gone on the Nov. 3 ballot seeking voter approval. With three years and four nays, council rejected reducing their vacation time — one month in the winter, one in the summer — to two two-week vacations. Currently charter requires council to hold its first meeting in the first week of January and during 10 months of the year. That allows council recesses from Thanksgiving until after New Years and for the month of August until after Labor Day. Voting to keep the current two-months of paid leave were Ken Cockrel Jr., Martha Reeves, Alberta Tinsley-Talabi and Sheila Cockrel.

Barbara-Rose Collins was absent, Monica Conyers had resigned for her involvement in the Synagro scandal. Voting to reduce vacation time were Watson, Brenda Jones and Kwame Kenyatta. Lame ducks on the council include Sheila Cockrel and Collins, who did not seek reelection, and Martha Reeves, who in the August primary failed to make the final 18 slots for the November ballot. One measure requiring council members to be “full-time” officials and one demanding they “maintain office hours for eight hours during each business day,” failed by the same vote margins and alignments.

Other measures council rejected included:

--Clarification of dismissal and forfeiture proceedings for elected officers of the city.

--Changes in the council committee structure adding law and audit oversight and fixing and expanding the number of committee members to five or seven from the current practice which is “as determined” by council.

--Establishment of a Youth Commission.

--Expanding the current department of Environmental Affairs to include Alternative and Renewable Energy and Recycling.

--Adding the responsibility for management, collection, and disposal of solid waste including curbside recycling to the department of public works.

--Requiring the mayor and Budget Director to report deficits in writing to the council immediately and request a council hearing within 10 days for action to remedy the situation.

Nonetheless Corporation Counsel had approved each resolution as to form before presentation to the council. Had the council approved the measures, the Governor and Michigan Attorney General were required to approve as to compliance with the Michigan Home Rule Cities Act and the Detroit Election Commission would have to certify the language before going on the ballot. Because council went on its August break, efforts to reach Cockrel Jr., Tinsley Talabi and Watson were unsuccessful and still even until now, many of them are still unwilling to comment. However the proposals planned by Watson seemed more of a political stunt than her really being sincere to increase council duties as well as making sure council members worked 8 hour days and received less vacation times.

It is an election year people and many of the incumbent council candidates seem to have had a political revival since they see their chances of getting re-elected to council is slim to none these days. Nonetheless, the council along with Bing seem bent on destroying Detroit not for the better from many of their actions. Still to add to the misery of Detroit’s last stand, Mayor Dave Bing appointed Jill Alper to serve as Detroit’s delegate to the National Democratic Party committee. The position is Detroit’s representation in the National Democratic Party. Alper works at Dewey Square Group, a Washington D.C.-based political consulting company. She also serves as a political advisor to Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Political insiders say her appointment is problematic because of her position with Dewey Square. In the past, the spot has gone to mayoral staffers and, by extension, the interests of the city. Instead, Alper, who is a principal at the multi-client consulting company, works for herself.

Maurice Badgett responded to the appointment in an email to Detroit Democrats: “In his day the Hon. Coleman A. Young fought, that Detroit would have African American Detroiters to fill these positions.” He also said former mayors Dennis Archer and Kwame Kilpatrick maintained the tradition. Badgett believes Bing is weakening Detroit’s political position within the state and national parties. Appointments are based on an understanding between Democratic Party insiders. Typically the Mayor, Governor, other elected officials and UAW would be afforded spots. Thus with Bing doing this, why aren’t many Detroit Democrats upset because both the 13th & 14th Democratic Congressional Districts endorsed Bing for mayor.

With so many issues and much debate about the tearing down of Detroit, why aren’t the rallying cries to defeat Bing getting louder. Why aren’t the unions working together to defeat Bing and why aren’t Detroiters more upset at the fact that Bing won’t even debate his mayoral candidate yet alone host a town hall to present his ideas and changes to the resident of Detroit. Some city residents like John H. Henry think the city is being set up. Henry says, “If one looks at the big picture, the City of Detroit is being set up by the powers-that-be, including the news media, for the same treatment as the school system — a financial dictatorship, with Wall Street and its agents ripping off the City workers and people in Detroit. A big part in this set-up is the years-long project of portraying the elected officials of the City, Mayor and City Council, as so bad that the masses will accept a non-elected financial dictator to “clean up the mess” of these oh so foolish people elected by the citizenry.”

Henry goes on to say, “Whatever faults they have they are no worse than the dozens of white men who exclusively ran Detroit City government for so many decades. It is no coincidence that once the City Council became majority Black and female the forces that shape public opinion turned them into a bunch of fools in the minds of so many suckers and naive ones among us. Detroit financial problems are not due to City officials’ bad decisions, but the disinvestment from and failures of corporate America in Detroit, and the related long-term depopulation begun 60 years ago. The last thing the City needs is “CEO thinking” in leadership. CEO thinking has bankrupted all of Wall Street, GM, Chrysler ! No exaggeration.”

“At any rate, the effect of brainwashing so many citizens ignorant of Detroit’s history and current events has brought just such a CEO-style Mayor, who has all the appearances of someone who will facilitate handing the City over to a financial dictator, or emergency financial manager, as has the DPS,” said Henry. Henry says, “ Critically related to this looming financial right-wing coup, within the last several months, Wall Street bond holders tightened the noose through a swithcharoo perpetrated by Wall Street giant AIG’s failure, lowering Detroit’s bond rating, triggering and threatening an emergency financial manager, i.e. a financial dictator. In the end Detroit was forced to let a Wall Street firm get its teeth deeper into the City’s jugular vein/revenue stream from a casino. Then AIG was bailed out, Detroit was not, by the federal government.”

“Rushing Detroit to bankruptcy is very much about enriching Wall Street, the nation-wide financial sector of America, at the expense of City workers and the people of Detroit. The financial dictator selected will be an agent of that finance capitalist class,” said Henry. Therefore it is clear that this is perhaps Detroit’s last stand for better or worse. Will Detroit lay down without a fight or will we stand up to save the city that many of us love so much. Detroit now is the time to see what we are really made of. No longer can we elect a mayor who isn’t willing to meet with us and no longer can we put people on city council who like to grandstand and political posture when it is an election year in order to appeal to us the people but when it really counts, they are nowhere to be found.

For far too long, we have been beat down, tore down and shut out of government Detroit. Now we have the opportunity to create real change and the real question is will we finally work with unions, political organizations, religious organizations and other community groups to finally put people in political offices in the city who understand the issues of the city and are willing to bring in new political leadership in city departments in order to weed out the old aged ideas of city government and bring in new innovative ideas that will bring Detroit back to its former glory. Detroit we can’t take all of this without a fight. We must stand up and we must fight to save the city of Detroit from the brink of disaster and perhaps bankruptcy as well as the strapping of Detroit assets while Detroit get nothing of it.

Bing gets big ol’ watermelon from The Michigan Citizen

No comments:

Jay-Z - History

(Jay-Z - History)Jay-Z - History with Lyrics

LYRICS : [Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
And the battle's finally won
(Gimme a lighter)
Victory (Lighters up) is finally ours
(Lighters up)
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 1: Jay-Z]
In search of victory, she keeps eluding me
If only we could be together momentarily
We can make love and make history
Why won't you visit me? until she visit me
I'll be stuck with her sister, her name is defeat
She gives me agony, so much agony
She brings me so much pain, so much misery
Like missing your last shot and falling to your knees
As the crowd screams for the other team
I practice so hard for this moment, victory don't leave
I know what this means, I'm stuck in this routine
Whole new different day, same old thing
All I got is dreams, nobody else can see
Nobody else believes, nobody else but me
Where are you victory? I need you desperately
Not just for the moment, to make history

[Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
And the battle's finally won
Victory is finally ours
History (yeah), so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 2: Jay-Z]
So now I'm flirting with death, hustling like a G
While victory wasn't watching took chances repeatedly
As a teenage boy before acne, before I got proactiv I couldn't face she
I just threw on my hoodie and headed to the street
That's where I met success, we'd live together shortly
Now success is like lust, she's good to the touch
She's good for the moment but she's never enough
Everybody's had her, she's nothing like V
But success is all I got unfortunately
But I'm burning down the block hoppin' in and out of V
But something tells me that there's much more to see
Before I get killed because I can't get robbed
So before me success and death ménage
I gotta get lost, I gotta find V
We gotta be together to make history

[Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
(Lighters. Up.)
And the battle's finally won
(Lighter. Up.)
Victory is finally ours
(Lighters. Up.)
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 3: Jay-Z]
Now victory is mine, it tastes so sweet
She's my trophy wife, you're coming with me
We'll have a baby who stutters repeatedly
We'll name him history, he'll repeat after me
He's my legacy, son of my hard work
Future of my past, he'll explain who I be
Rank me amongst the greats, either 1, 2, or 3
If I ain't number one then I failed you victory
Ain't in it for the fame that dies within weeks
Ain't in it for the money, can't take it when you leave
I wanna be remembered long after you grieve
Long after I'm gone, long after I breathe
I leave all I am in the hands of history
That's my last will and testimony
This is much more than a song, it's a baby shower
I've been waiting for this hour, history you ours

[Chorus: Cee-lo (2x)]
Now that all the smoke is gone
And the battle's finally won
Victory is finally ours
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

Man in the Mirror--By Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson - Man in the mirror

I'm gonna make a change,
for once im my life
It's gonna feel real good,
gonna make a diference
Gonna make it right...

As I, turn up the collar on
my favorite winter coat
This wind is blowing my mind
I see the kids in the streets,
with not enought to eat
Who am I to be blind?
Pretending not to see their needs

A summer disregard,a broken bottle top
And a one man soul
They follow each other on the wind ya' know
'Cause they got nowhere to go
That's why I want you to know

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)
(Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah)

I've been a victim of a selfish kind of love
It's time that I realize
That there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan
Could it be really me, pretending that they're not alone?

A willow deeply scarred, somebody's broken heart
And a washed-out dream
(Washed-out dream)
They follow the pattern of the wind ya' see
'Cause they got no place to be
That's why I'm starting with me
(Starting with me!)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Change his ways - ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make that..
(Take a look at yourself and then make that..)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror - Oh yeah!)
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
No message could have been any clearer
(If you wanna make the world a better place)

Michael Jackson - Man in the mirror

A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cook

It's been a long time coming but a change is surely going to come in America and the World! I am the Future of America and the World and that is the message that each of us must carry with us each and every day that we wake up on Earth! I am the Future! You are the Future! We are the Future of America and the World! That is way every election is important--primaries, special elections and general! So vote every year and hold our politicians accountable. Hold our political officials accountable by writing them, calling them and making sure they attend meetings that we the people have. "The Time for Change is not Now but Right Now!"

"EmPOWERment By Any Means Necessary" should be our anthem and should be our creed as we make the positive differences in America and the world that so many people beg for and hungry for year after year! A Change is Gonna Come, A Change is Gonna Come, that's what we must say as we say "God grants us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, Courge to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference" each morning before we go about the task of making a positive change in America and the world a reality.

Born In The U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen

“When will people realize that we are Americans first and foremost, not Democrats or Liberals, not Republicans or Conservatives, not Independents or moderates. We are Americans. Stop putting a political party above America and stop putting any politican above America. America succeeds because of us the people holding our government responsible no matter the political party because the main two political parties are to blame for the condition America is in."—Hodari P.T. Brown

America with its flaws and all is a country I am proud to have been born in. America is not perfect but my love for it is perfect. That’s why all Americans must realize that we are all Americans. In fact we are Americans first and foremost. We are not Democrats or Republicans. We are Americans.

We are not Muslims, Christians or Jews. We are Americans. Too many times we recognize our differences with others rather than appreciating our similarities which are, we are Americans. We are Americans first and foremost, no matter if we were born here or moved here legally. We are all Americans, here in this country to make not only our lives better but the lives of other Americans better so future Americans can enjoy the rights and freedoms that make us all Americans.

We are all Americans. We are one party united under God. We are Americans and this is the only political party that matters. We are Americans and this is our country so let’s make sure that we make America better than how we found it so future Americans can live prosperous and joyous lives. We are Americans and must not ever forget that.

America will prosper as long we make sure we are doing our part to make it prosper and that means we can’t put any political party or politician above America. Long live America forever and long live America’s service to the world. Together, America and the world will prosper for future generations to enjoy America and the world we live in.

Lift Every Voice and Sing

This video of the ' Negro National Anthem' was originally screened at the historic African-American Church Inaugural Ball in Washington, DC on January 18th, 2009. Many of the esteemed individuals featured in this video in attendance and we presented with the ' Keepers of the Flame' award for the monumental contributions to social justice.

This version of the song was performed by the Grace Baptist Church Cathedral Choir, conducted by Derrick James. The video was produced and donated by Ascender Communications, LLC ( at the request of The Balm In Gilead, Inc.

If I Was President--Wyclef Jean

If I was President that is the people's anthem. We all have ideas of what we can do as President and through this website, we will fulfill our deam as a people!

Somethings Gotta Give--Big Boi ft Mary J Blige

Somethings Gotta Give people and it begins today for all us to make sure that something is us. We the people are sick and tired of suffering. Where is our piece of the Dream that so many people dead for so that we all could see today. This is our time people to change America and the world so that the Next Generation has a better future than the past we inherited.

This is our call to service. This isn't about one political candidate or one political figure. This is about us as people coming together to finally leave up to our potential and achieving the great feats that those before us have achieved. This is our moment to lead our nation and our world to greater heights.

Somethings gotta give people and it starts with us the people making it happen. We have to improve our education system in America. We have to rid the world of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We have to go to the streets and lift a hand to another in order to decrease poverty in this world. We have to take a stand today and make sure that the future of America and the world is brighter than it has ever been.

Somethings Gotta Give and that is why we must "Remember Each One, Reach One and Teach One so America's future and the World's future continues to prosper."

John Legend - "If You're Out There"

If you're out there than you need to get started in helping to change America and the world. The world and America won't change until you get involved in making the changes you want to see in this world. If you're out there, than you must know that tomorrow started now and today started yesterday so you are behind in helping to the change. If you are tired of hatred, racism, poverty, war, and violence than the time to change it is now. If you want universal health care, world peace, democracy for every nation, equal rights, and happiness for all than you must get involved now to help the save world.

You must believe in the change that you want to see and you must act on making that change a reality. If you're out there than say it aloud and show the rest of America and the world that you're out here to make a real positive change in the communities we stay in. If you're out there than get involved now. I'm calling every women and men to join me as we take back our country right here, right now. If you're out there than the future started yersterday and we are already late so we have lots of work to do but I know we can do it together as one.


Yes We Can accomplish anything that we set out to do! We don't need charismatic or inspirational leaders to believe in ourselves and to take responsiblity for our own faith, we just need each other. Yes We Can build a new America and a new world if each of us would take action now to make the changes that we want to see in the world. Yes We Can control government by holding our political officials accountable for their actions by calling them out when they don't pass legislation that supports the common good of all man and by voting in every election to ensure that we have people representing the people locally, state wide, nationally and in the world.

Yes We Can be great! Yes We Can be what we want to be! Yes We Can be glorious in not only America but the world! Yes We can put action behind our worlds and change the world starting right here, right now! Yes We Can as Republicans, Democrats and Independents become one as we freely think about our fellow men and women and make decisions that will be in the best interest of all people and not one single group.

Yes We Can be the change that we want to see in the world! Yes We Can show the world that the youth are ready to lead! Yes We Can put our egos, our social economic statuses, our religions, our educational statuses and our skin color to the side for the better good of the world! Yes We Can be Greater than we have ever been and help others be Greater than they have ever be!

YES WE CAN and YES WE WILL BE VICTORIOUS IN ALL THAT WE DO! YES WE CAN, no matter what others may say, we will be glorious! YES WE WILL and YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN!

YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN is what will be sung from every mountaintop, every riverbank, every household, every school yard, every factory, every sporting event, every college campus and even every place you can imagine in the world is where YES WE CAN, will be said and heard!


Keep On Pushing - Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions

Wake Up People! No matter who is elected to any public office, we have to “Keep On Pushing” as a people to make sure they don’t leave us in a worst state than what they inherited. We as a people have to “Keep On Pushing” to make a difference in the lives of others. We have to have an “EmPOWERment By Any Means Necessary” attitude as we continue to push our agenda that we the people deserve and want better. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change in a positive way that will benefit all Americans no matter their age, their religion or skin color. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change that will improve our education system, improve our military, improve our national security, improve our healthcare system and improve our economy. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change that will leave America’s future in a better than how we found it and that will leave the world’s future in a better state than we imagined we could live it. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to make life better for our neighborhoods, our families and even our quote on quote enemies. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to inspire, to uplift and to guide those who need help spiritually, physically and mentally. We have to “Keep On Pushing ” so that our lives, our future generation’s lives and the lives of those who came before us does not die in vein.

“Keep on Pushing”

A War For Your Soul

A War For Your Soul-regular version from Erisai Films on Vimeo.

The moment has come for us as a nation of people to finally wake up and realize that our destiny and fate in society has rests on our shoulders. We cannot allow the forces of evil and darkness to drain us out. We have to continue to overcome all odds in order to make the future of our nation better and the future of future generations of Americans better. We have to continue to pray to our Lord and we have to continue to uplift each other in prayer as well as take action against those things that are trying to destroy us. We have to stand up once and for all and be the future that we want to be. Now is our time and we shall do together by any means necessary.

This video was created to inspire young African-Americans not to fall prey to some of the problems they face in society. The use of the voice "Master of Darkness" represents evil, which is where the blame of all problems should be placed, and not on any one group of people. This video should not to be used to divide people (Black & White), there are images of heroes that are white in this video, and there are images of Black & White coming together with the words of Dr. King in the background. Some of the images from the past can be unsettling, but they are used to show all Americans how far we have come, and how far we still have to go. This film is being strategically placed in school systems, churches and youth orgs around the country, in hope of helping a lost generation of kids that we as Americans have forgotten. As fellow Americans we must continue to love each other, and take that love and spread it to the rest of the world. **THIS VIDEO IS NOT FOR SALE & I AM NOT ACCEPTING DONATIONS FOR THE FILM, I ONLY WANT THE MESSAGE TO REACH AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE WITHOUT ANY HIDDEN POLITICAL OR FINANCIAL AGENDA.

Sitting On the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding

"The time for sitting is over! The time for action is now! The time for hope without action is hopeless! The time for change without a positive attitude is a change that we can't believe in! We need change that is positive of helping all people! Our time for action is now, our time for hope is now, our time for change is now and our time to believe that we can do whatever we set our minds to is not now but right now!"


The Star-Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key

O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming;
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream;
'Tis the star-spangled banner; O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave,
From the terror of flight and the gloom of the grave;
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land,
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just.
And this be our motto— "In God is our trust; "
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

Black President

Our Time is not now but Right Now! Our Time has finally come to change the world not now but Right Now! If you don't believe that we can change the world than watch as we do it by changing your mind into believing in us and what we can do! This is OUR TIME RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!


We got to FIGHT THE POWER! We can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch injustices take place. We can no longer sit by and allow our right to vote to become unexercised. We must FIGHT THE POWER for our past, present and future! We can no longer allow our rights to be oppressed and our voice to become drained by the powers at be. We must FIGHT THE POWER and show that we have a lot to say that needs to be heard by the mainstream media. We must FIGHT THE POWER and live up to our potential as dynamic, unbelievable and phenomenal people.

We must not believe the hype but we must become the hype. We are not Harriett Tubman, Marcus Garvey, MLK, Malcolm X, Booker T. Washington, Carter G. Woodson, W.E.B. DuBois, the Black Panther Party, SNCC, or any other activists but we are the fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, uncles, aunties, and relatives of those who came before us to pave the way for us to FIGHT THE POWER! We are not next Generation of leaders who will not be honored and praised until they die but that’s the fight we accept. We are not fighting the power for glory or fame but we are fighting the power for just causes that most men and women will not understand until years or decades later.

We are fighting for our sisters and brothers in Darfur, Georgia, Iraq, Iran, China and Mexico. We are speaking for those who are poor and have no food or water. We are fighting for those who are sick and dying. We are fighting for universal healthcare across the world and human rights for all people. We are fighting for rich and poor! We must FIGHT THE POWER no matter how hard and tough the road may be. We must FIGHT THE POWER for a better today and an even greater tomorrow!



“People Get Ready” our time is coming! We have come too far to turn back now. Our train is coming and it is coming in waves. “People Get Ready”, we don’t need a ticket but we need faith and the Lord will help guide us as we take back America and the world. “People Get Ready” our moment is now and we are ready to see the change we want in America and the world. All we got to do is have faith, hope and prosperity. “People Get Ready” to face your fears. “People Get Ready” to face your demons and the challenges of yesterday because today and tomorrow we will conquer & be victorious. “People Get Ready” a change is coming and our actions will make sure that change is a real positive change that lasts forever.

“People Get Ready” because we have had enough of just talking but now is our time to show action. “People Get Ready” to take back America and the world. “People Get Ready” to take back our communities and to make our streets safer and schools better. “People Get Ready” to make all our dreams come true. “People Get Ready” to see a better present for everyone and a better future for future generations. “People Get Ready” to live up to your potential and to help others live up to their own potential. “People Get Ready” to move past hatred, bigotry, racism and sexism. “People Get Ready” to fulfill the dreams of those who came before us and those who will come after us.

“People Get Ready” as we make our actions speak louder than our words. “People Get Ready” to make words mean something again as we put action to back up our rhetoric. “People Get Ready” as we embark on a new journey that will re-write America’s history as well as the world’s history. “People Get Ready” as we make the lives of others better and the lives of future generations better. “People Get Ready” because all we need is faith, hope and action to make this world a better place. “People Get Ready” to make a difference. “People Get Ready” to fulfill the American dream. “People Get Ready" to live out the American Dream as our founding fathers wanted us to live it. “People Get Ready” because our time is now, our moment is now and our moment in time to change America & the world is not now but right now. “People Get Ready” because a change is coming!

(Let me tell you now)
People get ready, there's a train comin'
You don't need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin'
You don't need no ticket, you just thank the lord

People get ready, for a train to Jordan
Picking up passengers coast to coast
Faith is the key, open the doors and board them
There's hope for all among those loved the most

There ain't no room for the hopeless sinner
Who would hurt all man kind just to save his own (believe me now)
Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner
For there's no hiding place against the kingdoms throne

[Alicia & Lyfe]
So people get ready there's a train coming
You don't need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels humming,
You don't need no ticket, you just thank the lord


God Bless the U.S.A. by Lee Greenwood

Lee Greenwood-god bless the U.S.A