The Norman Transcript

Headlines

October 24, 2013

Can they do that?

DETROIT — An attorney representing Detroit urged a judge Wednesday to allow the city to fix staggering financial problems through bankruptcy, arguing that without it about 65 cents of every tax dollar eventually would be gobbled up by debts and other obligations.

The extraordinary trial, expected to last days, brings the bankruptcy case to its most crucial stage since Detroit in July made the largest public filing in U.S. history. If a judge finds certain legal requirements were met, the city would get the green light to restructure $18 billion in debt and possibly slash pensions for thousands of people, the most controversial target so far.

Hundreds of protesters walked in a circle outside the courthouse with signs that said, “Bail out people not banks.”

In his opening statement, attorney Bruce Bennett said he “could stand here for hours” to describe the “mountain of evidence” that shows Detroit is insolvent. Without relief, he added, 65 cents of every dollar in residents pay in taxes could be needed to address the problem, leaving little for everyday services for 700,000 residents.

“This is one of those cases where the data speaks very clearly and persuasively on its own. It needs no gloss,” Bennett told Judge Steven Rhodes.

He was followed by a line of attorneys, representing unions, pension funds and retiree groups, who didn’t seem to challenge the ruinous condition of Detroit’s finances but zeroed in on a key test under bankruptcy law: Did the city negotiate with creditors in good faith before the Chapter 9 filing? No way, they said.

The judge stood to get a better view as Jennifer Green, an attorney for pension funds, used a screen to show months of emails and memos from state and city officials talking about bankruptcy preparation, not fruitful talks with creditors.

Sharon Levine of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said talks between Detroit and its unions should have lasted months not weeks. Another lawyer, Babette Ceccotti with the United Auto Workers, said the bankruptcy filing was aimed at using federal law to attack pensions, which otherwise are protected under the Michigan Constitution.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Human Rights Artist, activist-in-residence uses art to enlighten society

    La Puerta del Mileno, the Millennium Door, attempts to beckon travelers into the city walls of Ciudad Juarez, but the steel beams are abruptly interrupted as they reach for the sky by the eye of a child who sees the underlying message: the ...

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Oklahoma Water Resources Board grants Norman low-interest loan for facility upgrade

    Norman has been authorized for a $50.3 million loan from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to fund Phase 2 of the Norman Water Reclamation Facility upgrade. “It’s the single largest loan OWRB has made,” Norman Mayor Cindy Rosenthal said. ...

    April 17, 2014

  • Oklahoma’s superintendent attracts opponents

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The field of candidates running for state school superintendent is unusually large — a sign of broad interest in what observers say is sure to be a referendum on the incumbent, Dr. Janet Barresi....

    April 17, 2014

  • Women leaders announced

    The Norman Chamber announced the nominees for the 2014 Women’s Leadership Award, which honors female leaders who actively inspire other women to achieve their full potential.  Past recipients of this honor, formerly known as the ATHENA ...

    April 17, 2014

  • Organizers confident of safe race

    BOSTON — The arrest of a man with a rice cooker in his backpack near the Boston Marathon finish line led police to step up patrols Wednesday, while organizers sought to assure the city and runners of a safe race next week....

    April 17, 2014

  • Ducks Unlimited night set

    Cleveland County’s chapter of Ducks Unlimited will host its annual “Sportsman Night” at 6 p.m. April 25 at the Optimist Club Gym in Norman....

    April 17, 2014

  • Record number of NPS students selected for Duke program

    A record number of Norman Public Schools seventh-graders have been selected for Duke University’s Talent Identification Search for State and National Recognition. Fifty-one students were identified via a competitive testing process for ...

    April 17, 2014

  • Fed says no to business help

    LEXINGTON — The federal government has turned down the state’s request for an economic injury declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration following the Jan. 31 closure of the Lexington-Purcell bridge over the Canadian River....

    April 17, 2014

  • History group to host local book signing event

    Mae Davenport Cox will sign copies of “Red Dirt, River and Rails: Early-Day Settlers to Southern Cleveland County” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Lexington Senior Citizen Center during ‘89er Day festivities....

    April 17, 2014

  • OU Staff Week to include daily activities

    The University of Oklahoma Norman campus Staff Week, set April 21-25, will feature many activities. The theme is “OU Staff: The Real Superheroes.” Donations of canned food for Food and Shelter may be brought to all activities except the ...

    April 17, 2014