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Stephen Boyle is the 2014 Green Party candidate for US Congress Michigan 14th District. |
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Register on Eventbrite for International Day of Peace in Detroit

  1. Congregation signup - information page
  2. Community & Individual signup - information page


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Facebook event:


Detroit, September 18, 2014 -  Detroit will be recognizing the United Nations International Day of Peace through a full day of activities on Sunday, September 21st. We need to address the social constructs of violence, separation, and how these are present daily in our conditioning, thoughts, and systems.

Congregations and communities around metro Detroit are asked to start the day offering a sermon about peace, break bread together, and sending worldwide intentions and blessings of peace. All communities are invited to recognizing a moment of peace by joining the international wave of peace held at noon in each time zone.

Actions communities can take include breaking bread which encourages peace among family, friends, neighbors and community; and planting a peace pole, representing the grounding of peace within ourselves and the community. Orders for peace poles are being taken by Cities of Peace Detroit for future delivery and planting.

The Day of Peace will culminate in a gathering on Belle Isle at Shelter 12 from 6:30-9:00pm. Ringing the bell for peace will open the evening activities which will include a candlelight vigil. There will be drumming, a dance circle, music, and speakers. A few of our speakers are Lila Cabbil from the Rosa Parks Institute, Kim Redigan from Meta Peace Team, Honorable Judge Frank Szymanski, and Elena Herrada of the Detroit School Board. We are engaging in speaking the truth in peace and offering solutions through building our beloved communities.

Cities of Peace is a non-profit organization supporting the shift of consciousness from separation to unity. Building community through educational forums for individual healing and co-creating conscious systemic transformation. Our website is


References includes signup forms and descriptions for congregations and community/individuals


My first Slow Roll Monday in Detroit

I’m definitely getting started late this year. It was a good ride from MOCAD into Northend via Beaubien (through Boston-Edison) and back down John R.

Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has been in federally mandated restructuring for more than a decade. The Emergency Manager setup a plan to shutoff residential and commercial accounts that were delinquent. Residents that were 60 days or more overdue by $150 were subjected to shutoff. They were told to come to the office and work through financial plans if they were in difficult times. However the plans required significant down-payment for many of those owing. The question of what was in the bills has also come under scrutiny because DWSD was passing past due amount from owner to owner as property transferred. A large number of residents are also renters and the water bill often is included in rental contracts, however some landlords didn’t take care of the bills in a timely manner. Detroit’s billing practice was once every three months. It is now monthly and the cost is higher than the national average, even though the city sits next to 21% of the world’s fresh surface water supply.

Today’s addition to the collection of documents is the announcement of the Great Lakes Water Authority.

From the Michigan Chronicle (the paper with a contract to print the news from the Emergency Manager, yes we have a bought press).

Rebuilding 1% (30 miles) of its system each year at a cost of about $25 million would have put the city on par with the national average.  However, DWSD has spent nomore than $3.4 million in each of the last three years to rebuild its mains. 

Dedicated assistance to help customers struggling to pay bills

The agreement creates for the first time a fund dedicated to providing financial assistance to water customers in throughout the region who are struggling to pay their water bill.  The fund – established at $4.5 million – will be replenished annually.  Today, DWSD sets aside only $168,000 annually to assist its customers.

At this time Mayor Duggan, Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, and Governor Rick Snyder have approved the GLWA. What remains is for the Detroit City Council and the County Executives from Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb to approve.

Updates from Reuters


The residents rallied in communities and they sought larger audiences, gaining attention worldwide. It takes a group of dedicated people pushing for justice to ensure a broken system gains needed attention. 


I think the U.S. government is going to die in its own quagmire of brutality, its own quagmire of hatred and discrimination and the brutality that it has committed over the years and the honors given to people for committing those acts. For instance, for the massacre at Wounded Knee the U.S. government gave out Medals of Honor for killing women and children and that’s a disgraceful, disgraceful chapter and those are the kinds of thing that America is going to die from. Native people will still be here and the good people of America will be here too, but the federal system that has sponsored all these things, that’s endorsed them and still endorses them will die of all that stuff.” - Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Movement

I highly recommend picking up a copy of “Ojibwa Warrior” by Dennis Banks - essential reading! 

(via volunteeractivistnetwork)



Sorry if this Offends You. Video Shot/Edited by: Brandon Sloan Instrumental by: DJ’sNeverEndingStory Prince EA // @PrinceEa

This video by  is a must watch. 
We need to question where society is taking us.
This is #WageLove as we carry it in our day to day lives. 
Will you join a community that listens to each other more than criticizes and makes wrong?



Veolia’s Other Offenses

Different names, same games…
Originally named Compagnie Generale des Eaux in 1853, the French multi-national Vivendi Universal had over a third of the directors of its main board under investigation for corruption in 1996. Vivendi Universal sold off a majority stake in its water subsidiary, Vivendi Environment and renamed it Veolia in 2002 after a decade-long merger spree.  The company sought to jettison its debt load with their credit rating reduced to ‘junk’ status and the forced resignation of former CEO, Jean-Marie Messier. He was convicted and fined a million dollars for fraud by the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission, and denied a $25 million severance package in addition to fines and a conviction in France.  Veolia has hundreds of subsidiaries in dozens of countries; various names for Veolia exist under the same umbrella: US Filter, Apa Nova, United Water, PVK, General-Des-Eaux, Onyx Environmental, Dalkia, Veolia Water North America, Connex, etc… See a 2005 report by Public Citizen titled Veolia Environment: A Corporate Profile and a 2011 report by Food and Water Watch titled Veolia Environnement: A Profile of the World’s Largest Water Service Corporation for more information on Veolia’s history as a corporation. 
Profits over people…
Veolia is the largest water privatization business in the world, and has come under attack by water rights activists for many of its contracts that reveal consistent prioritization of private profit at the expense of the environment and public interest. See the 2011 report by Food & Water Watch for more information. While public facilities are accountable to the public, often creating increased transparency and efficiency, private facilities are not. If a company chooses to abuse its privilege by hiking up price rates or cutting costs in ways that are detrimental to the public, it is much more difficult to fight.  Worldwide, consumers report that Veolia consistently charges high rates, provides poor service, and fails to make promised improvements. 
As highlighted in a report prepared by Novato Friends of Locally Operated Wastewater as part of their campaign against this company, Veolia has additionally shown a lack of care for public welfare by: 
  • Cost-cutting and lack of proper oversight 
  • High staffing turnover and failure to attract experienced staff 
  • "Regional Response" plans slow down emergency responses
  • Liability assignment provisions skirt full responsibility 
  • Contract fee schedules encourage maintenance deferrals & substandard equipment use while discouraging water conservation efforts
Veolia contracts gone bad…
***These examples from the United States are compiled from the 2009 report by Food & Water Watch titled Money Down the Drain: How Private Control of Water Wastes Public Resources, a 2010 Food & Water Watch Factsheet titled A Closer Look: Veolia Environnement, a 2011 report by Food and Water Watch titled Veolia Environnement: A Profile of the World’s Largest Water Service Corporation, and a report prepared by Novato Friends of Locally Operated Wastewater titled Veolia and the Environment: A Bad Fit for Novato.  
Burlingame, CA
Veolia settled out of court when sued under the Clean Water Act for dumping more than 10 million gallons of wastewater and untreated sewage over a 5 year period into the San Francisco Bay after creating an inadequate improvement project.
Richmond, CA
Veolia and Richmond settled out of court when sued for dumping more than 17 million gallons of sewage into tributaries after initiating a capital improvement project.  Voters approved a $20 million bond to pay for sewer repairs, which Richmond used to privatize its sewers over three years and then sign a 20-year, $70 million contract with Veolia.  
Taxpayers had to shell out $500,000 annually to compensate for related property damage. In 2008, the plant had 22 spills of more than 2 million gallons of sewage.
Bridgeport, CN
Mayor convicted on 16 counts including taking kickbacks, bribes and extortion, along with 8 other defendants over a PSG (Vivendi) contract proposal. 
Danbury, CN
In a short-sighted attempt to balance its municipal budget, the city leased its sewers in exchange for a $10 million upfront payment, at $22 million overall expense.
Wilmington, DE
Failures to upgrade and repair, have resulted in years of sewage spills; environmental violations; state fines; horrendously foul odors; sewage overflow outlets which annually send over a billion gallons of contaminated wastewater into area waterways; and contract disputes over a 55% rate hike.
Burley, ID
In 2009, after cancelling its wastewater contract with Veolia, the city had to make thousands of dollars in repairs to the treatment plant because of the company’s neglect and poor maintenance. 
Indianapolis, IN
Veolia has been sued for breaking state contract law, and for overcharging 250,000 residents.  Non-union employees have had pension, health care and benefits cut $50 million over the 20-year contract.  With the second worst drinking water in the country, a grand jury has subpoenaed four Veolia employees for allegations of falsifying water reports amid accusations by city and county officials that Veolia was skimping on staffing, water testing, maintenance and chemicals.
Tama, IA
In 2011, the city sought to end a 20-year contract with Veolia because it believed the city could save money with a public operation. 
New Orleans, LA
Consideration of a bid containing uncertainties, inadequacies, and omissions cost the city $5 million. Failure to take action on a known equipment problem resulted in an electrical fire.  Raw sewage backed up into the East Bank Sewage Treatment Plant and was diverted into the Mississippi River for two hours. An executive was convicted of bribery in seeking wastewater contract extension and fined $3 million.
Lee, MA
Lee rejected a bid that seemed to be a scheme to turn the city’s wastewater treatment facilities into a regional waste plant/Veolia profit stream.
Lynn, MA
The city was forced to end a weak contract that left it liable for expenses due to sewer overflows and flooding as a result of poor design or workmanship of system upgrades and an expired letter of credit. The city lost $22 million.
Rockland, MA
A forensic audit led to a contract termination amid embezzlement charges involving a sewer department official and a local company executive, charged with embezzling more than US$300,000.
West Carrollton, OH
An explosion at Veolia Environmental Service’s plant injured two workers, damaged over a dozen homes within a mile radius from the blast, caused $50 million in damage to the plant itself.
Meadville, PN
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) fined Veolia ES Solid Waste of Pennsylvania Inc. $160,278 for violations related to vehicle licensing and failing to abide by the terms of its  permit and more than $11,200 for residual and municipal waste violations amid complaints a Veolia truck driver draining an estimated 100 gallons of dilute coolant and rust preventative into a storm drain leading to the Driftwood Branch of Sinnemahoning Creek.
Cameron and Centre Counties, PN
Veolia was also fined by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for municipal and residual waste violations in Cameron and Centre Counties.
Rhode Island
Woonsocket, RI
Years of serious sewage spills, violations and fines followed kept the city’s plant out of Clean Water Act compliance including seven informal enforcement actions and five formal actions and the plant’s manager had to attend a remedial training program, sponsored by the state.
Angleton, TX
Failure to maintain adequate staffing levels, submit capital project reports, and charging expenses properly led to a contract termination a lawsuit for breached contract.
Houston, TX
A federal investigation into the financial transactions of high-profile consultants hired to lobby city officials in unsuccessful bids.  After a legal battle with Veolia’s competitor, the city expects to save 17%, or $2 million in public operation.
Fighting back against Veolia…
Even throughout Veolia’s home base of France, communities have begun taking back their water systems from Veolia mismanagement. In its home city of Paris in 2009, after a 25-year contract,  the city decided not to renew its contract with Veolia in order to stabilize water rates and save money—which it has. In Belgium, Germany, Romania, and around the world, municipalities are taking back their water systems from Veolia and restoring public control to improve operations. 
Locally, campaigns have sprung up against the company as well; for instance, in Novato the Committee for No on F organized in 2010 to veto Veolia’s privatization of their wastewater treatment plant. They were ultimately unsuccessful by a very narrow margin, yet are noteworthy for the impressive coalition that joined around this issue - including the Sierra Club, Green Party, Marin United Taxpayers Association and California Healthy Communities Network. See here for their report, titled: Veolia and the Environment: A Bad Fit for Novato
The end of an era…
Veolia’s offences are beginning to be reflected in their profit margin, which has plummeted since 2008, especially in the area of water. As this articleexplains, Veolia is expecting a downturn, and has lost more than half its market value this year. Veolia has already experienced economic slowdown for several years, due to contract losses in Paris, Italy, and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the implementation of a cost-cutting program. The current CEO has pledged to sell $1.8 billion of its assets in 2011 and to stop operations in at least 37 countries. Another article adds that Veolia has disclosed accounting fraud in the U.S. from 2007-2010 amounting to $120 million, which took place in their Marine Services unit in the Gulf of Mexico. As of August 2011,  Veolia shares had dropped 28% since the issuing of their profit warning. 

Detroit Bankruptcy in 1st Day of Bankruptcy Court

D Alexander Bullock from Change Agent Consortium speaking on Close of business is coming up and a rush of stories will be bursting regarding #DetroitBankruptcy.