Brown’s Actions Placed Human Life and Detroit Credibility at Risk
On Wednesday, September 11, the anniversary of a horrible event in American history, City of Detroit Chief Compliance Officer Gary Brown, appointee for Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, shut power down to much of the city’s public buildings to send a message. This according to an interview he gave a local media TV station. What that message was, is unknown, but the message received by the many people trapped in elevators, on the People Mover or those who were unable to perform work for the city or the many other government offices affected by the loss of power was clear. Their well being was not important to Gary Brown.
According to the Detroit News, the loss of power forced hundreds of city workers to leave work early. Many students and Wayne State University could not attend class. Those at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center or 36″^ District Court could not conduct business. The 115 customers at 1,400 sites including many traffic lights were left without power so that Brown could send a message. People were trapped in elevators or in the dark in buildings so large that windows can’t provide enough light to safely walk to an exit. The Free Press later reported that the power lines from DTE Energy that feeds the city power failed. This is how what Brown stated in his interview. This is not the reason Brown gave for shutting down power. Brown stated that he wanted to send a message and therefore the city and many thousands of people suffered.
Browns actions put lives in danger. On a very hot day of over ninety degrees, people were trapped in elevators without an easy way to escape. It would have made sense to close the use of elevators before shutting down the power. People who were on the 13″ floor of the CATMC visiting their elected council members would have had to walk down to exit the building. How can those in wheel chairs, walkers or those who can’t traverse 13 flights of stairs be expected to cope with Brown’s message? The actions by Brown’s admission caused those doing business in these buildings to lose time and money. The employees cannot get paid for the time they missed. Brown did not ensure that emergency personal was in place nor did he notify those to execute any evacuation plan. Brown acted reckless by his own admission and the widely reported chaos that followed.
The EM’s spokesman stated, in several interviews, that there was an increased (electrical) load on the system due to the heat. However this explanation does not make sense. The local media has been reporting for years that over half of the cities street lights are not working, not using power. Those that are working are also reported to be using power from DTE, not Detroit. Many schools have been closed over the years. Many city buildings have reduced staff due to the cuts in the city workforce. There should be a significant reduction in power use for the city and the customers then existed under the previous mayor, less than four years ago. Additionally, these were not the first hot days this summer.
“We did start calling our customers prior to taking them down and asking them to turn off air conditioners, but they weren’t responding as fast as we would like them to so we had to send them a strong message by turning the power off.” Read more: http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/23415960/what-is-the-cause-of-detroits-power-outage#ixzz2f7PFswf3
If air conditioners in a large public building use so much power that it will cause a failure, then perhaps the city should return Mistersky to full production so that this never happens again.
There have been several hot days in a row this year many over ninety degrees. During this there were no outages or problems with the power lines from DTE or Detroit. Further why did the entire electric customers have to go without power if as was first reported, that the system was overloaded by power demands? Could Brown have reduced the demand by just turning off power to a few customers or just a few buildings? Why didn’t the city public lighting engineers locate a few buildings that could have been shutdown thereby sparing the loss of power to all users of the city’s electricity? It’s clear that Brown and his boss Orr are not being truthful of the exact reasons for the power shutdown. It’s clear that their actions did not take into account the best interests of the city and those people affected by this power shutdown. Was a message received?
It’s clear by Brown’s TV interview that he did not understand the impact of the power shutdown and did not feel concern for the consequences. What is not clear is why Brown was not fired for his actions. He placed lives at risk and placed the city at risk. People and companies may have cause to sue the city for these actions and they only need to play the interview of Gary Brown to show proof that the power was shut down, or turned off, as opposed to an act of weather or some other natural occurrence. If the city is in Bankruptcy, why do those who make these decisions not do so with everyone’s best interests? Brown should resign or be removed from his position as appointee with the city of Detroit. Send that message so that this historic event, the first for Detroit, does not repeat in our future.