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Detroit City Council approves $250M in taxpayer money for Dan Gilbert


Detroit City Council approves $250M in taxpayer money for Dan Gilbert

Posted By on Tue, Nov 21, 2017 at 1:21 pm

Michigan’s richest resident will take home $250 million in state taxpayer funds to help finance four new developments in downtown Detroit.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Detroit City Council approved the money for Bedrock, Dan Gilbert’s development company, over the objections of residents who questioned the need to provide a billionaire with taxpayer money. Gilbert’s net worth is estimated at $5.6 billion.

The proposal was held up in committee last week after residents expressed similar concerns to council’s planning and economic development committee. While some stakeholders once again voiced opposition to the proposal during public comment at Tuesday’s full council meeting, only council member Raquel Castaneda-Lopez questioned it at the council table. She said she believes a stronger community benefits ordinance needs to be in place.

“I believe the community benefits ordinance should also be transformational. [The current ordinance] doesn’t lead to systemic change for the community,” she said.

As she spoke, council member Scott Benson shut her down on a point of order.

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Gilbert Project Approval moves to full Council Today – Tues, Nov 21 10am CAYMC

Gilbert Project Approval moves to full Council Today – Tues, Nov 21 10am CAYMC

DevWatch Detroit – On Monday, November 20, 2017 the Planning and Economic Development Committee moved Bedrock/Dan Gilbert’s latest downtown development projects onto the full council for a vote this morning.

Detroit City Council Formal Session, Tuesday November 21, 10am Watch Live

Earlier this year state legislators passed, and the governor signed into law what they called the Transformational Brownfield Law. This law makes it possible for Dan Gilbert and other developers across the state access to up to $1 billion in tax incentives.

Now, in order for Gilbert to ask for the first $250 million from the State, Detroit City Council must first approve the project. Again, the vote will be this morning, Tuesday November 21, 10am on the 13th floor of CAYMC.

Yesterday’s Planning and Economic Development Committee meeting was nothing more than political theater, with council members making accolades and feigning strength while, in the end, just rolling over to the developers.

It appears many of these decisions and votes are premeditated and that our voices are lost to money and outside influence.

We also know that if we do not speak out they will move more quickly.

If we do not speak out we will get even less benefits than we’re getting now.

The reality is that the token concessions offered by local developers pales in comparison to what communities across the country are able to win when developers rely on public monies to help finance their private projects.

•Why is it okay that majority white developers are allowed to siphon off millions in public resources from Detroit’s majority African American population?

•Why is there is no outcry about the injustice?

•Why don’t our elected officials fight for us as hard as they fight for the developers?

The system is broken and we must find a way to fix it and make it more responsive to the residents of this city. In the meantime we continue to organize, fight for change and hold each and every council person accountable for their vote. We will continue to fight for racial and economic justice and a real CBA. Watch for details in January 2018.

While we encourage people to attend City Council and Mayoral meetings, Detroit People’s Platform has decided to stop asking members and supporters to take on the many risks and cost involved in going Downtown these days.

Please call, email or tweet your Council Members.

Detroit City Council Contact Info 2017

At Large – Council President Brenda Jones
(313) 224-1245

At Large – Janee Ayers
(313) 224-4248

District 2 – Council President Pro Tempore George Cushingberry Jr.
(313) 224-4535

District 1 – James Tate
(313) 224-1027

District 3 – Scott Benson
(313) 224-1198

District 4 – Andre L. Spivey
(313) 224-4841

District 5 – Mary Sheffield
(313) 224-4505

District 6 – Raquel Castaneda-Lopez
(313) 224-2450

District 7 – Gabe Leland
(313) 224-2151