Michael 23 1969-2023, Laughter and Light

I posit the reheard and remembered laughter of loved ones lost may lighten the load of our collective loss.

丰 23 I’ve written pages upon pages since Michael’s passing. His influence, which was almost always interwoven with others in our extended networks/currents, reached into my own design work, my ideas about cooperative living, framing ritual as public art, community engagement and so many other ways.

In the end, after reading through our broken correspondence over the years, my journals from the 90s when we first met, and the folder of mail art and flyers across time, I gleaned that at this stage in our collective grief this would be the joint to pass. This is the important research we got up to when we were supposed to be running electric and hanging drywall in the office in “Little Guyana”, 1992.

Brother Teacher is gonna be dearly missed. All love and strength from our little family to J and E. Fund them: https://gofund.me/969848d1

Strive Dreams,
Eden Bloom, fka Gregg,
fka G.O.D. For those who go back this far ❤️😜🔥23 丰

Things are getting heavy

May 9, 2023 – Things are getting heavy in my mind. It reflects the weight of the city and the world. I’m wracked with thoughts of guilt, not guilt itself.

I’ve been challenged to express myself, to find the right thread to pull that will get me a coherent thought in the end. Well, there are many coherent thoughts, but few with relevance. Who in the world would read anyone that whines endlessly. 
At what point in time do you stand in your space and say I have every right to do it this way? I am harming nothing but your dominance of the landscape with my existence and my willingness to desire a different approach.

Cringe, everyday I do

Did you figure out why they told you to stay away? That riff on evolution and revolution and a mean plate of food had them swarming the lab back in the day. I volunteered for reeducation, rightly so. I was misinformed and mistaken.

Did they say I was crazy, did they say I’ve hurt many? I’ve led a horrible, marvelous life of mishaps. I’ve been benevolent and malicious. I’ve been calculated and stupid as hell. I was drunk through most of it, that’s a fact not an excuse, oh enablers; you.

If you had the courage to look at yourself, you’d have the courage to look in my eyes too. To ask about, to hold me to account and get it out. What if I told you it was all true? I don’t want to own any of it but I have and I do. I even take the shit that’s been made up to. These shoulders shoulder what these hands do.

There are both consequences and what happens when you walk away. Without fighting back, without trying to set it straight or without making it worse struggling to make it all OK. It never will be. Not since that night, or that one, that morning, that time, that second of emergence till eternity. Easter Sunday, 1969.

I was made for this, breakable, disposable but not biodegradable; landfill material. As such I’ve yet to be impacted by the things being said, for too many now see what I try to do. It started with a simple premise, listening to what people say instead of what I want to hear or what I tell them to. That has made all the difference and is what has brought this conflict with you and you and you. It’s hard not to cringe, everyday I do.

DTE Public Hearing

March 8, 2023

Representative Helena Scott,

I’m writing this morning to insist that you use your powers as the Chair of the Energy, Communications and Technology Committee to call a public hearing and demand that DTE executives answer to their customers. I live in District 10 and over the last 9 years we have experienced not only poor service, but also personal loss of property. There is also the impact of trauma on our family, friends, and community.  More than any inconvenience or nuisance, repetitive long-term outages have deeply impacted our lives.

Where we live, we almost always retain power through the worst of the storm but lose power the next day. My assumption is that they turn us off to turn other areas on, but I’m not a line worker. It does create a loss of trust and a great sense of disparity. All efforts should be made to retain power for those who have it. My neighborhood is 90% Black and many of my neighbors struggle to make ends meet or are on fixed incomes. If this “after the fact” outage is the result of a decision being made, I wonder if this also happens in more white and affluent areas of DTE’s service?

We’ve lost lighting, ceiling fans, small appliances and (new) power strips in surges during outages or more specifically when the power comes back on. I’ve now learned to turn everything off at the box during an outage. Refrigerator and freezer food loss is also substantial when you have 3 kids. After losing refrigerators full of food, we decided to save up for a generator. We’re blessed to be able to do so as many of our neighbors cannot. Last week, once again I was running cords over fences in the middle of an ice storm to try to get some power to our neighbor’s homes. 

One of our elder neighbors lost heat last week. She was too concerned to leave her house over fear that a fire would start while away. I not only understand but share her fear. A few years ago, after a long-term outage, the power came back on and caused simultaneous house fires in the neighborhood. It was chaos with neighbors running hoses, bringing ladders, and holding down a house fire on the block until the overwhelmed Detroit Fire Department arrived on the scene. The house was so damaged that the family haven’t returned to the street.

I think what angers me more than anything else is the indirect impact of these outages on my kids, my elder neighbor, and the rest of my community. My kids don’t sleep well, sometimes even when there is a minimal storm, for fear of outages and fire. Our children and our elders have enough challenges with the state of our neighborhood, city, and world. That this level of trauma and abuse comes from a service that we pay for seems inherently unjust. 

Again, I’m writing to insist you do everything in your power to call a public hearing and demand that DTE executives answer to community.

Thank you for your time and for taking action.

Eden Bloom, Detroit Eastside Resident

To: helenascott@house.mi.gov
JoeTate@house.mi.gov

CC: JoeyAndrews@house.mi.gov
PaulineWendzel@house.mi.gov
kevincoleman@house.mi.gov
karenwhitsett@house.mi.gov
cynthianeeley@house.mi.gov
ErinByrnes@house.mi.gov
JaimeChurches@house.mi.gov
JennHill@house.mi.gov
SharonMacDonell@house.mi.gov
MikeMcFall@house.mi.gov
PatOutman@house.mi.gov
JosephAragona@house.mi.gov
BrianBeGole@house.mi.gov
JaimeGreene@house.mi.gov
DavePrestin@house.mi.gov

Ozone Redesignation EPA Public Comment

March 6, 2023
Eden Bloom – Public Comment
Docket ID No. EPA-R05-OAR-2023-0058
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Detroit Area attainment redesignation

Environmental Protection Agency,

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the request from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) to ignore ozone data. I will also comment on the related proposal for the redesignation of the Detroit area attainment of the 2015 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone.

My name is Eden Bloom, my family and I live on the eastside of Detroit in the impact area of the Stellantis Assembly Complex. I’m requesting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) DENY the request from EGLE to ignore ozone data from Detroit’s East 7 Mile air quality monitor.

Since 2019, I’ve been vocal in my opposition the expansion of the Stellantis expansion and have advocated for reduced emissions and better protections for our neighbors and ourselves. I’ve been vocal because I have 3 kids and because I do not believe that private projects should be financed with public tax dollars.

Over these years, I’ve witnessed the dangerous intersection of complacency and failure on the part of the regulators and most of our elected officials. I’ve also seen a lack of adequate compassion or concern for residents from repeat offenders like Stellantis, US Ecology, and others.

Living through ongoing violations and a non-responsive enforcement order, many of us have zero confidence in the perpetrators or regulators of the pollution that is impacting our quality of life.

VIDEO – Stellantis Positions Redesignation Eastside residents first learned of the proposal for ozone redesignation from Stellantis rep Al Johnson in the 2021 Annual Update for the FCA Community Benefits Agreement (CBA). The redesignation information was shared to underscore Stellantis claims of zero public health risk for residents living closest to the plant.

“We are very proud of the role that Stellantis has been able to play in that reduction (of ozone)” and “in conclusion the data demonstrates that the air quality in the area is safe”, stated Mr. Johnson.[1][2]

The concept of redesignation was as disturbing to me then as it is now. While not a data or environmental scientist what I looked at the downward trend in emissions, the spikes from the wildfires, and the years in question (2020-2022) I arrived at a different analysis.

If the EPA is going to consider EGLEs request to clean the data based on a non-localized event like the Canadian wildfires, the EPA should also consider two other non-localized events that impacted the data, emissions, and public health; the covid pandemic and the subsequent chip shortage.

The impact of covid on pollution has been well documented.[3]  The national data quickly pulled from a map from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences projects a relative change of -37.5% in Nitrogen Dioxide, -25.5% in PM2.5, and a 12% drop in Ozone.[4] In addition, Nasa satellite informed modeling data has also been positioned to determine deviations from the norm.[5] VIDEO – NASA Studies How COVID-19 Shutdowns Affect Emissions

In addition, supply chain issues and subsequent chip shortages further reduced production. A report from Auto Forecast Solutions cites that 875,000 cars were pulled from production. “Detroit is bearing the brunt: Ford alone is estimated to have canceled production of a planned 324,616 vehicles; GM, 277,966; Stellantis, 252,193.”[6]

These decreases in production, along with a decrease in sales due to lockdowns, have impacted company profit margins. Another concern is that we will see an increase in emissions as industries strive to make up for lost profits. Less rigorous protections seem counter to business trends and the pursuit of the bottom line.

If the EPA considers cleaning the data to remove spikes from these wildfires it would be consistent for the EPA to adjust the data to reflect the pandemic and chip shortage. NASA’s normalized emissions data can be used to make this correction.

Another factor in my personal concern over the proposed redesignation is the current political climate in Detroit, in the state of Michigan, and the entire US. This is due to the highly politicized nature of environmental regulation, the climate crisis and the failure of elected officials, state regulators or corporations to do the right by everyday people.

The concern is well founded. Eastside Detroiters on Beniteau St., the street immediately adjacent to Stellantis’ improperly engineered paint plant, have had their health and quality of life pitted against jobs and economic opportunity by decision makers. The Justice for Beniteau Residents group has had to fight to be heard every step of the way[7] and they are not alone, or maybe the point should be that residents ARE alone.

To say our elected officials have failed us is an understatement. Detroit’s mayor and his administration have placed blame on the state while insisting that, despite ongoing air quality violations, Stellantis is in compliance with the Community Benefit Agreement (CBA)[8]. The city council member seated during the Stellantis/FCA deal resigned from office after pleading guilty to a bribery charge[9]. Residents were without a district council member when the violations started. Funds, federal and otherwise have been diverted from needed services to the demolition of housing and blight reduction[10].

One could make a strong argument that pollution and blight have been positioned to encourage displacement of long term, or legacy Black Detroiters. We need more eyes on what is happening in Detroit, not less. We also need more stringent protections that stand no matter who is in office at the White House, in Lansing or in the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, our city hall, downtown. Again, this is simply not a time to reduce regulations.

Finally, and most importantly I’ll enter here another plea for the consideration of culminative impacts and public health/quality of life measures in decision making. Since my first public comment with EGLE in 2019, I’ve been arguing for a paradigm shift. Detroit is undergoing a massive transformation. The city’s “rebirth” has been widely promoted but the changes have been far from equitable. They have increased discrepancies between race and class and have perpetuated economic and environmental racism.

To gain jobs that mostly go to suburbanites and tax revenue that is in part diverted to fund private projects there is an effort to expand industrial development, to push reindustrialization in certain areas of the city. There are numerous neighborhoods and clusters of population density among and between these developments. While there are opportunities for more walkable neighborhoods, closer employment opportunities, increased mobility with increased density, these opportunities need to be protected.

As an example of the increased vulnerability of Detroiters due to cumulative impacts, I’m highlighting the area where my family and I live. It’s important to note that similar residential clusters run through the city and region should also be considered by decision makers.

VIDEO – Eastside Industrial Tour From the chemical processing plants and logistics and distribution centers on the riverfront, up the factory-covered Conner Creek through Stellantis’ massive Detroit Assembly Complex to Lear’s new Northpoint developed plant, across Detroit City Airport to Chrysler Transport, over toward steel production sites and repeat violator US Ecology, through GM’s Factory Zero in what was Poletown, and then back toward the river through the area around the old incinerator, another US Ecology horror show and even more historical and active industrial sites.

The 16 sq mile area between these corridors is home to just over 50,000 people[11], 80% of the population is Black and there are 23 schools and over 80 places of worship[12]. Some of the worst zip codes for asthma in Michigan; 48213, 48214 and 48215 overlay the corridors. Asthma rates among Detroit adults were 46% higher than in Michigan as a whole; Detroiters were four times more likely to be hospitalized for asthma than Michigan residents more broadly; Black Detroiters were more than three times more likely to be hospitalized than white Detroiters; and Detroit’s childhood asthma rate rose to 14.6%, compared to 8.4% of children across Michigan.[13]

Some of these sites are notable polluters with multiple violations but others contribute to air quality issues more indirectly. There are times I walk out of the door and can’t tell if I’m smelling Stellantis, Aevitas some other combination of emissions from who knows where. The paradigm shift required is to consider cumulative impacts and existing public health factors when making decisions.

I’m not sure if those asthma numbers above will hit others the way they do someone whose kid was pulled out of class last week because he couldn’t breathe. Again, I’m requesting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) DENY the request from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) to ignore ozone data from Detroit’s East 7 Mile air quality monitor. Do not move this forward and please do not open the door for an increase in reindustrialization without more stringent regulation. Thank you for considering my public comment.

 

Endnotes:

[1] City of Detroit: FCA CBA 2021 Annual Update – Dec 15, 2021

https://cityofdetroit.zoom.us/rec/play/MOhbG-FM_vkAUUODIKEE18lLFe7dEelyoUE0-PrFtBr_2pFFk6xlJD0Ks7srxAY691UjP8KMU7DrvsSY.xHA035e4eER5Ixzj

[2] Isolated Video of Mr. Johnson’s Statements: https://youtu.be/3ZabfmKSUtM

[3] The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) – COVID-19 lockdowns cause global air pollution declines: https://www.pnas.org/doi/full/10.1073/pnas.2006853117

[4] NINA Lockdown Pollution MAP  https://nina.earthengine.app/view/lockdown-pollution

[5] Nasa: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2020/nasa-model-reveals-how-much-covid-related-pollution-levels-deviated-from-the-norm

[6] Automotive News: https://www.autonews.com/manufacturing/microchip-crisis-takes-big-toll-detroit-3

[7] https://www.detroitpeoplesplatform.org/economic-justice/recognizing-justice-for-beniteau-residents-wins-and-organizing-work/

[8] https://drive.google.com/drive/u/2/folders/1gh8DxukOkuBJYNdslHLrS0Pc4KGy1iKT

[9] https://www.justice.gov/usao-edmi/pr/detroit-city-councilman-andre-spivey-sentenced-prison-bribery-conspiracy

[10] https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/detroit/2021/06/28/detroit-blight-program-13-million-unsubstantiated-costs/5372675001/

[11] https://ejscreen.epa.gov/mapper/

[12] https://egle.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=b100011f137945138a52a35ec6d8676f

[13] Detroit: The Current Status of the Asthma Burden, 2021 Update

The District Detroit, PED Committee Meeting

My name is Eden Bloom, I live on the Eastside and work with Detroit People’s Platform. This morning I want to briefly check the developers claims of misinformation. It’s important to clearly state that Detroiters are not misinformed. Many know exactly how this works, they recognize it as a hustle and don’t want the developers to use public money, our money, to play the game.

Assumptions are positioned as gospel in the dominant economic development model in Detroit. The entire “but for” analysis is an assumption. As we’ve heard over and over it is an assumption that development cannot happen without without the use of public tax incentives, but a fact is that they would simply be less profitable for the developers. 

We understand that these are models and projections. We’re not concerned about the project not getting built, because we’re not going be be the ones that benefit from it, we’re more concerned about it being built and the projects impact. Detroiters feel exploited when public resources are used to reimburse billionaires private projects. 

What we have is a difference of vision in the way the city should be using public funds. What is happening here isn’t misinformation, what is happening here is that Detroiters are organizing to stop an economic development model that doesn’t benefit them and the developers and the city are willing to say anything to get it done anyway.

Final District Detroit CBA Meeting

Final District Detroit CBA Meeting
Public Comment, Eden Bloom
The District Detroit Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC)
February 21, 2023

Often times I choose not to make public comment because I find that the Black excellence of those I organize with and the lived experience of Black residents speaks a kind of truth and wisdom that I cannot match.

That said, I’m compelled to speak something into the public record after witnessing another one of these charades. My name is Eden Bloom and I’m an east side D5 resident and I live with my family in the impact area of the Stellantis FCA CBA. Working with Detroit People’s Platform I’ve monitored nearly all of the CBA projects and this is the worst yet.

Those who have assembled here have given the NAC every tool needed to do something meaningful and different this time around. Those who have come before you have given you data points, astute analysis and cutting-edge policy that would make a difference and, that I am aware of, you have not picked them up.

We have asked you to take up measures that would protect, support, and maintain those who have suffered the most and the longest and you have found benefit in building monuments to what was; to the Black people who were here, deciding to somehow preserve Black culture while kicking Black people some find undesirable down the street.

While I believe the Community Benefits Ordinance we have in place is inferior to the one that Detroiters fought for and deserve, there is still some power in it. Those who have gathered here, made suggestions from their seats and wrote profound emails gave you everything you needed to wield that power in a way that could have made a difference. And here we are.

Media:
Axios –  District Detroit community benefits move forward

Public Comment DBRA on The District Detroit

February 8, 2023

Members of the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority Board of Directors,

I’m a resident of the East Side of the City of Detroit. I am also the father of 3 school aged children. We’re extremely proud that our oldest will be attending    … next year. We also have a special needs child and I’m extremely concerned about the district’s ability to meet their and other student’s needs. While I believe that the teachers and staff of DPS are extremely talented and committed, I see a great injustice in the lack of proper funding and support of public education in a majority Black city. This is the cause of my concern for all our children.

Our family consider it appalling that Ross and Ilitch would come asking or for the DBRA Board of Directors to even consider any public funding for private projects that would negatively impact the bottom line for Detroit students. In the public hearing BRIAN VOSBURG, Director Of Brownfield Redevelopment mentioned that there was some formula for the schools to be reimbursed. (Ed. We’ve since verified that the schools are NOT reimbursed.) Even if that were the case, the terms of these deals last so long that our kids won’t see that return. Our child who needs extra support and others like them are already challenged by the lack of funding in our schools. It truly is disgusting.

We have already given these companies and others like them far too much and many of our children will be worse off for it. I ask you to send the developers back to the bank to fund their own project or step it back considerably to meet their own budget without taking away from those who desperately need it. I do hope that you will see that the time for this development model in the city has past and that this is an opportunity to stand up for what is right in the face of all the damage already done. Send this project back to the bank to figure out how they can do it without hurting others.

Thank you.

It’s 3am

I wake at 3 am everyday. That still sounds extreme and unbelievable to me. But, almost religiously, I have done so daily for nearly 14 years. It is one of the only ways that I survive in this place.

Though my oppositional stance towards sleep began very early on in my time here, the practice began in earnest as part of my study of yoga around the turn of the century. I was in my 30s, in another bad relationship and going through another major transformation. I would wake and make my way to what the only ashtanga shala in Michigan. At the time it was one of only a handful in the States.

I’d read Vedic text and the interpretations of my teacher’s teacher and would innocently and selfishly grab onto certain thoughts and ideas that served my needs. The tradition prescribed, and my experince confirmed that dedicated practice was connecting/aligning my bodies internal biological systems to external energetic systems that surround us all.  I had integrated the concept of ‘the noosphere’ into my perception earlier and this also resonated.

When I close my eyes all the lights in the world go out.
If I meditated on it and went through some journals I may be able to remember where I first came into an understanding of the noosphere. It was probably related to drug use and one’s sometimes detrimental self awareness of the distance in mental acuity between yourself and the person in line behind you at the 7-11 when you’re still tripping balls 7 am, Monday morning. Yeah, I probably picked this notion up from Tim Leary.

The concept of the noosphere is rooted in the scientific definitions of the geological/biological spheres; the atmosphere, biosphere, etc. For some source material I’d go with the questionable Russian scientist above the questionable yet influential omega point priest.  Vladimir Vernadsky described the noosphere as the planetary “sphere of reason” and rooted it in the conception of the biosphere by Edward Suess in 1875. When we talk about biospheres now we are often thinking about closed, self-regulating systems that support ecosystems.

The noosphere, in my understanding carries similar parameters into the realm of consciousness. I’m going to use the term ‘thought’ here to refer to the active aspect of consciousness. This will help move this forward the next time the noosphere ’round here calms down. I’ll wake and attempt to get a another clear thought around this in at 3am.

Weaponized Cries

This is not for Tyre, George, or Breonna, this is for you and me. Children of much lesser gods than those of the people who once were held as slaves.  Let’s call us non-Black, for that get’s closer to to the fact; no one is white.

It is unnerving as it should be. Utterly debilitating and anything that could be uttered is an insult to the memory of all those lost and and the blood of all those in line.

The mind breaks and that is their intention. To break each an every one to the point where there is no up or down. When there is no up or down there is no ground to return to dust to.

Moments like these, now almost every day, I would prefer my entire existence to be a gesture of apology. When my eyes meet yours, I wish you could know how sorry I am that the world is like this.

I would like you to be able to see that I have tried, not to absolve me, but so you  know some of us did it differently. Not that that’s been enough to turn the tide, but there are some out here who want all of us to survive.