Opinion

The CP Edit: Make it emphatic: Vote Democratic

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Six days away from the most consequential election of our lifetime. Six days before a national reckoning that will change the course of American history.  Six days left to remind everyone you know that their vote matters. For those who may have missed our endorsements, we urge your support on Tuesday, Nov. 3, for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for president and vice president, and we strongly recommend that you vote for Democrats across the board in partisan races. The surest path to returning our state and nation to some semblance of sane governance is to put Democrats back in charge of the Michigan House, the U.S. Senate and the White House. If you plan to vote by absentee ballot, it’s too late to risk sending it through the mail. Drop it off at the City Clerk’s office at City Hall or use one of the convenient drop boxes located around the city.

Unmasking Michigan

If you need yet another reason to vote against every Republican on the ticket next Tuesday, consider the refusal of state Republican leaders in the Michigan House and Senate to enact a statewide mask mandate. Even as the coronavirus spirals out of control in rural areas represented by Republicans, one might think that some basic level of human decency would compel party leaders to act quickly and decisively to protect the people they serve. Sadly, all we get is the raw partisanship and science-denying propaganda of a party that has sold its soul to Donald Trump. You can help right the ship by throwing the Republicans overboard next week.

Sticky fingers

For the past 19 years, the City of Lansing has set aside 1.25% of its general fund budget to support nonprofit organizations across the city who work in the trenches to support basic human needs like food, shelter and clothing. It’s not an optional allocation — city ordinance requires the funds to be disbursed to “community-supported organizations.” Now comes a proposed ordinance revision that would allow city departments and agencies to access these dedicated funds for the first time. In other words, the funds would no longer be restricted to supporting community work by nongovernmental agencies and could be siphoned off for use by city departments. It’s a dangerous precedent at a time when the city should be dedicating more resources to community agencies that support basic human needs and who have also been hit hard by the COVID pandemic. The proposed ordinance would also modify the process for distributing the funds. We support those administrative changes, but reject the language that would make city departments eligible to receive the funds.

I Can’t Breathe

A month before George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police, touching off nationwide protests against police brutality, Lansing resident Anthony Hulon died in the Lansing city jail after detention officers apparently restrained him in a fashion similar to Floyd. According to allegations contained in a lawsuit filed this week by his family, Hulon said “I can’t breathe” as officers pinned him to the floor of his jail cell for more than five minutes, then refused to perform CPR after it was clear he had stopped breathing and had no pulse. The lawsuit claims that the county medical examiner has ruled Hulon’s death a homicide due to positional asphyxia and cardiac arrest. The complaint further alleges that the Michigan State Police have recommended to Attorney General Dana Nessel that the detention officers involved in the incident should face criminal charges. If true, these allegations are deeply disturbing and give rise to serious questions not only about the conduct of the city’s jail staff and supervisors, but also about who knew what and when, and why the details of this incident were made public by the law firm representing the plaintiffs rather than by city leaders. Statements made by LPD at the time of the incident suggested that Hulon had succumbed to a medical condition and that jail staff had attempted to save his life. If the allegations in the lawsuit are true — that the detention officers actually killed Hulon in the same manner that ended George Floyd’s life — these statements may prove to be false, which will raise even more questions about the city’s handling of this tragic incident. City Pulse is working diligently to get to the bottom of this case.

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