By Henry Teutsch
In one week the citizens of Michigan will vote on a range of local and statewide topics and for people hoping to be elected to public office. Each election is supposed to offer a chance to choose leaders or representatives that can perform better than those they are replacing. The elelections is supposed to allow voters a voice in policy that governs the state and affect the lives of residents and visitors alike. While this is how the process is supposed to work, the reality is very different.
State Representative Harvey Santana, Democrat from Detroit, and several neighborhing cities, has broken the trust given him by those who put him into office. Santana has been wrong on several issues while holidng public office. He was wrong on the process, execution and implementation of the constitutional provision called Immediate Effect. Santana has done little to nothing while in office and has tried to use a paltry amount of funds for Rouge Park as an election stunt to help his candidacy. Santana has voted against public education and in so doing, working against public sector unions with his support of the EAA, or Educational Achievment Authority.
Santana’s lapses in gaining money for Detroit could be forgiven. The Republicans have claimed austerity while secretly siphoning state money for their pet projects and base of constiuents, corporate businesses. Santana is not alone is his failure to properly state the acts of the opposition. But since Santana has used his leverage against the citizens of Detroit has a means to get rare funding for his own political advantage, his failures are heigtened over those of his Democratic colleages.
Santana held a large press gethering for Rouge Park and failed to tell the press and audence that the pool cannot be used later this year nor next year unless new funding is allocated from either the city or the state. By then Santana may be relected and therefore immune to any negative feedback based on his empty promises.
Santana’s biggest error and act against the people of the State of Michigan, including those who have voted for him in the past, was his support for the the right wing initiated EAA, or Educational Achievement Authority. The legislation he supported appeared harmless as representated by the in state media. A new state based educational system would be created to compete against the existing local school districts. The selling points and purpose was reported to be a method of helping low performing schools and students, however the legislation did not address student needs and the definition of a low performing school changes based on the school and the authority making the assesment.
The EAA is a means that the far right see as a way of ending traditional public education. Further, the EAA is a method by which the right-wing state political forces can greatly weaken teachers and other public sector unions and the influence the unions have over political policiy in the state. This is the sole goal of the EAA as backed by Governor Rick Snyder and every single Republican political leader across the state. Including Harvey Santana and John Olumba.
The other local communities in the state, many led by or with the majority being republican, do not want the EAA to locate schools or absorb their schools. These other local jurisidictions recognise the danger a statewide authority poses to eliminating local control over education. The EAA is BIG government. Never before in Michigan’s history has such as wide raging and huge authority been created. Republicans have betrayed their ideals for small government by supporting this legislation and Harvey Santana has betrayed those who used to support him for office by backing the anti-union measure.
The unions which have a huge influence over political actions in the city of Detroit support Santana’s opponent Hussein Berry. The grass roots activitist who in prior elections supported Sanatan also now support Berry for State Rep in Distict 10. Santana has greately angered his former supporters and has felt the political pressure.
The state news agency MIRS has quoted Santana stating;
“After I win, organizaed labor and myself, we’re going to have to sit down and have a come to Jesus meeting. And by the way, my name’s Harvey. Jesus forgives. I don’t.”
Sanatana has become the wounded politician who like others across the nation, seek out those few supporters for an audience regardless of their views or strength of their voting block. Some of Santana’s supporters have strong right-wing views on children and the local community.
In Santana’s remarks regarding Rouge Park, he stated his intent to have the city tear down the tennis courts and replace them with basektball courts so that the children who go there to play basektball can be better watched by the police. Sanatana clearly referenced how he felt about those who play basketball, that they are at best delinquent while those who play tennis are not. That is a strong cultural reference that should not go un-noticed. There are tennis courts all over the city, but why do those who play basketball need to be watched?
When Santana made these statements, during a local community meeting where he is strill trying to look for support, he did so after his event at Rouge Park. The event which was supposed to earn him enough political points to overcome his support for the EAA. Santana tries to clawback supporters despite his walking away from supporting Detroiters. The EAA has not yet gone into effect, the immediate effect clause is conveniently followed when bad legislation is passed into law. The right-wing leaders this time next year will implement the largest increase in state government in recent Michigan history in 2015. If Santana is successful in swaying enough supporters that he deserves to be again elected to office, he just may be able to get an appointment or two onto the statewide EAA board.