News Hits laughed (not out loud) when about 30 whippersnappers — and a handful of city workers — delayed a public hearing in southwest Detroit last week with claps and chants. What gave us a giggle was the contrast between the body-pierced crew protesting and the few white men in starched shirts who quietly listened.
The starched shirts, on behalf of their employer Detroit Minergy LLC, applied to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for a permit to build a $100 million solid waste incinerator in Detroit. A public hearing on the issue was about to begin when the chanters marched in. For about 25 minutes they belted the refrain, “Minergy can go to hell, Detroit is not for sale.”
A couple told News Hits that they were protesting the city’s plan to replace the Water and Sewerage Department’s waste incinerator with the Minergy plant and the possible loss of union jobs. John Riehl, president of AFSCME Local 207, who headed the rally, told News Hits that the 200 workers were promised jobs elsewhere in the water department. But Riehl says he doesn’t have much faith in the city’s word, hence the rally.
About eight cops showed; the protesters eventually left along with some residents tired of waiting. Before the hearing began, the DEQ said it will likely hold another one since many residents who came to testify left. We’ll keep you posted.
As for the starched shirts, they reported no hard feelings about the protest.
After all, said Bill Jahnke, Minergy project manager, “This is America.”Ann Mullen contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or firstname.lastname@example.org