Tuesday, April 13, 2010

When the Community Leaders Don't, We Must

With the recession, that has been almost as bad as the one in the late 70's and early 80's, Flint has been dealt another heavy blow. It's gotten so bad that they are now tearing down empty houses and leaving the lots empty. They are going back to gravel roads in some areas of the city. They just can't pay for the upkeep of some of those streets.

On March 24, the city of Flint laid off 23 firefighters and 46 police officers. That's when the trouble began. Fires were started across the city. In the week that f0llowed more than 40 fires were fought in Flint. Five of them from midnight on the 25th of March until after daylight.

Suspicion is being floated that this is union thugs starting the fires. Mayor Dwayne Walling held a press conference about the fires and hinted that the fires were set because of the layoffs. In addition to the fires, the city has another problem.

There is a system called Mutual Aid where communities in surrounding areas help each other out when there are fires. Flint has help from Flint Township and the township gets aid from the city. Clio, Mt. Morris, Burton and others are in on this mutual aid to assist their neighbors. Some of them are now refusing to assist Flint since the layoffs. In particular, the city of Burton refuses to assist. The fire chief and the Mayor of Burton are in agreement that they will not assist any longer.

The City of Flint cannot afford to pay for the firefighters that they had, so they had to lay off police and fire to save money as they face a budget deficit in the millions. These layoffs add to the list of unemployed in the Flint area which has already suffered for years since the decline of the General Motors plants in the 80's.

The response of some of the surrounding communities is shameful to say the least. Especially if those cities are refusing to help because of the layoffs. It would be one thing if the mutual aid was heavily favored for one community over another. It's not fair to the taxpayers of Burton to pay for their firefighters to always be in Flint. However, that's not the case. Burton seems to be refusing to help because of Flint's choice to layoff Firemen. If this is what the City of Burton is doing, they are not taking into consideration the people that the firefighters are paid to protect. The citizens!

If these fires are in fact being started by union thugs or those in their employ, then it just shows they are no longer an organization to be proud. You may remember that it was a sit-in by a union in 1936 that caused the unions to realize that they are better served by banding together rather than being a bunch of local union groups. It would be another example of the unions trying to grab too much power but they aren't doing it by just refusing to work because they think their membership is being treated unfairly, but now they are putting the people they are hired to serve, at risk. Some of those houses that caught fire were occupied homes. Luckily, the people that lived in those homes escaped unharmed physically. However, two firemen have been injured in those fires.

When the unions put their concerns ahead of the safety of the people, the unions have outlived their usefulness. Their concern for wages, benefits and days off mean nothing when they are involved in hurting those they are supposed to be doing their jobs for.

This is just the beginning. This is just happening in a community right now. What happens when it starts happening on a national level? Perhaps it's time for people to start hooking up their garden hoses and watching out for their immediate neighbors. Keep an eye on your neighbors to ensure their safety and help out when they are in need. It's becoming more and more apparent that those entrusted with the public safety are too busy worrying about themselves and trying to prove their worthiness. Unfortunately, the tactics they seem to be using is only showing how worthless they are.
Many have probably heard about Flint and about the problems it's had over the years. But it's not going to end with Flint. It will happen in other areas that become depressed if the economic times don't change or return to the problems of last year. The next story could be in any State in the country. Including your own. When the Communities leaders and elected officials are looking out for themselves rather than those they are supposed to serve, it's time for people to start re-thinking their priorities in the leaders that they elect.

You're welcome to comment.


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