Detroit People’s Platform print copies of the People’s Platform News 3 times a year.
We also send out emails about once a week to keep members and supporters informed.
Please subscribe to keep up with our work and participate.
Detroit People’s Platform print copies of the People’s Platform News 3 times a year.
We also send out emails about once a week to keep members and supporters informed.
Please subscribe to keep up with our work and participate.
“If it’s hard to understand how a multinational corporation can soak a struggling school district for tax breaks, it’s even harder to understand how government officials can justify foregoing tax revenue now in exchange for convoluted estimates of future employment: New jobs, construction jobs, indirect jobs.” Nancy Kaffer, Detroit Free Press 9/12/2018
Ford Motor Co. has a net worth of nearly $17 billion. They want $239 million in tax breaks for their $740 million project in Corktown. They want to “fast track” an abatement of $104 million in city taxes over 35 years to catch another $18.7 million in tax breaks from the state by the end of October. For this kind of money and from this kind of corporation we want a REAL CBA.
Ford Motor Co. is going through the process outlined by the Community Benefit Ordinance, including a series of engagement activities with residents who live in the impacted area of Southwest Detroit. But Ford Motor Co. representatives also read the City Council’s Legislative Policy Division report on the so-called Community Benefit Ordinance. Ford Motor Co. know there is no mandate for a real CBA.
Detroiters also know there is no way the city isn’t going to grant Ford Motor Co. the requested tax abatements of $104 million in city taxes over 35 years. That is money that could go for public services like fixing the pipes in our schools, enhanced senior and youth services, increased funding for libraries, parks, street repair and adequate snow removal, lawn mowing, etc.
Ford Motor Co. promotes their reputation as a socially responsible corporation. They claim they want to be a good corporate neighbor. Let’s raise the stakes. Ford Motor Co. can willfully enter into a REAL Community Benefit Agreement, one that will confirm their desire to be a good neighbor. For this kind of money and from this kind of corporation we want a REAL CBA in which Ford honors the community’s priority recommendations that will be presented by the Neighborhood Advisory Council. We’ll be watching.
Ford seeking fast-tracked tax breaks for train station (Behind firewall)
[bctt tweet=”For this kind of money and from this kind of corporation we want a REAL CBA.” via=”no”]
The Detroit People’s Platform – Transit Justice Team is very pleased to announce a major victory for DDOT bus riders who use the Woodward #53 bus!
In 2017, we formed the “Keep Woodward on Woodward” campaign to restore the DDOT Woodward #53 bus along Woodward through downtown Detroit. This was in response to a detour that placed DDOT bus riders away from Woodward Ave, as a result of QLine construction. The detour was supposed to be temporary but there were no immediate plans to restore Woodward bus access through downtown Detroit.
In support of the original online petition to restore Woodward bus service through downtown Detroit, the transit justice team mobilized an advisory petition campaign, “Keep Woodward on Woodward” and collected over 570 petition signatures and delivered them to the Director of DDOT.
Link to the online petition: https://www.change.org/p/give-us-back-our-street-detroiters-need-the-woodward-bus-on-woodward-not-blocks-away-on-cass-how-far-are-eastsiders-expected-to-walk-to-get-downtown
We are very pleased to announce that we were successful in our campaign and we are very grateful to the bus riders and petition signers who’ve supported our campaign to Keep Woodard on Woodward. Starting September 1st, the Woodward #53 bus will travel directly on Woodward all the way through downtown Detroit. Please see the attached map for more details.
Below is an excerpt from the full LPD report that includes the Equitable Detroit Coalitions Recommendation for Amendments. Download the full report.
City of Detroit
LEGISLATIVE POLICY DIVISION
208 Coleman A. Young Municipal Center Detroit, Michigan 48226
Phone : (313) 224-4946 Fax: (313) 224-4336
To: The Honorable Detroit City Council
From: David Whittaker Legislative Policy Division (LPD) Staff
Date: July 23, 2018
RE: Community Benefits Ordinance Amendments
As Council Members know, Detroit voters approved a ballot measure designated Proposition B, as the attached alternative “Community Benefits Ordinance” in the November 8, 2016 election. Pursuant to Section 12-109 of the City Charter, such an ordinance adopted through initiative proceedings may be amended or repealed by the City, after a period of twelve (12) months after the date of the election at which it was adopted. Therefore, if Council wishes to amend the existing “Community Benefits Ordinance”, it is free to do so at this time.
The City’s limited experience to date with implementation of the ordinance designated as Proposition B has generated calls for further reforms. In LPD’s judgment, the community engagement procedures specified in this ordinance would benefit from amendments intended, in general, to provide more time for Neighborhood Advisory Councils (NAC) established by the ordinance to become informed about the development proposals at issue and formulate their proposals on behalf of the community, and to require that more useful, relevant, timely and comprehensive information be provided to the NAC throughout the development project. Also, the name of the ordinance should be changed to reflect its actual terms as a local law requiring community engagement in the course of large developments that are supported by public money, in order to avoid misleading the public regarding the scope and purpose of this ordinance. 1
1 Other, more substantive changes – such as the threshold amounts for public support of private investment, or even the addition of required benefits via enforceable contracts with community advocates, as originally proposed in Proposition A – beyond the community engagement procedures called for in the instant ordinance, would of course be within Council’s authority. Although LPD believes that a full discussion of “community benefits” in connection with the ordinance adopted by the voters as Proposition B would be beyond the scope of this referral, it should be noted that to date the procedures adopted as a result of this ballot initiative and the ordinance have not resulted in any substantial community benefits, if indeed they can be credited with generating any community benefits at all. This evaluation, based on LPD staffs ordinance-mandated participation in the community engagement processes established by the ordinance to date, in tum leads to the question of whether or not the significant staff time and other resources devoted to these procedures can be justified, for a process that effectively produces little or no benefit. In addition to improving the accuracy of the ordinance’s title, substituting the word ··engagement” for “benefits” in the name of the ordinance would therefore be expected to result in substantial savings of staff time and other resources that could be devoted to adequate public community engagement, rather than a fruit less, hollow and impractical discussion of nonexistent bene fits.
LPD recommends the following changes to the current so-called “Community Benefits Ordinance”:
1) That the title be amended to “Community Engagement Ordinance” (Change the word “Benefits” under Article XII to the word “Engagement”. In Section 14-12-1 (b), change the language to “This article shall be known as the Detroit Community Engagement Ordinance”.) The administration has indicated that the benefits to the community from development deals arise from the deals themselves, as negotiated by the administration. On the other hand, the American Planning Association and others in the national community benefits movement define “Community Benefits Agreements” as enforceable legal contracts, between developers who receive tax support for their investments, and affected community representatives. Changing the name of the ordinance would reflect its actual terms, which do not call for legally enforceable “Community Benefits Agreements” in the accepted sense of the term.
2) That the number of community meetings be amended from stating “at least one” to ”no fewer than five.” (In Section l 4–l 2-3(a)( l ), change “at least one” to “no fewer than five, unless a majority of the NAC deems otherwise”.)
3) That the procedures for the selection of the NAC be revised, so that at the inaugural meeting an overview of the process and presentation from the developer are given, and that community members nominated to the NAC present at the second meeting, prior to a vote on the members of the NAC, rather than at the conclusion of the first meeting. (Change the entire subsection 14-12-3(c)(l) to read as follows: “At the first meeting of the NAC, the developer shall provide an overview of the community engagement process, and the details of the proposed development. At the second meeting of the NAC, any proposed NAC member(s) nominated by residents shall be permitted to present their ideas and suggestions regarding the community engagement process and the proposed development, before the members of the NAC are elected”.)
4) That a list of alternate NAC members be generated and maintained by the Planning and Development Department, in the event that an elected or appointed NAC member is unable to fulfill their duties. (Add a new subsection l4-l2-3(b)(6) to read as follows: “The Planning and Development Department shall maintain a list of alternate NAC members to be appointed in the event that an elected or appointed NAC member is, for whatever reason, unable to serve on the NAC”.)
5) That attendance at NAC meetings for all elected and appointed NAC members is mandatory. Should a member fall to attend an alternate may be selected. (Add the following language to subsection 14-12-3(b)(5): “Attendance at all NAC meetings by all elected and appointed NAC members shall be mandatory. If a member fails to attend an NAC meeting, an alternate may be appointed by the NAC as a permanent replacement member”.)
6) That at the inaugural meeting that the developer present “how” their development qualified with specificity, i.e., total investment amount, and which tax incentives arc being sought. (Change the entire subsection l4-l2-3(c)(2) to read as follows: “At the first meeting of the NAC, the developer shall provide a specific explanation of how the proposed development qualifies for public support of investment, the total amount of private investment involved, and the statutory authorizations and amounts of all tax abatements or incentives sought for the proposed development”.)
7) If the proposed development includes residential housing, that at least 20% affordability at 80% Area Median Income (AMI) be incorporated into a single-site development. (Add a new section 14-12-3(7): “If the proposed development includes residential housing, then at least 20% of the units for a single site shall be designated as affordable housing, defined as affordable by those earning at least 80% of Area Median Income (AMI)”.)
8) That at the second meeting of the NAC, the NAC members are provided with an informational package from the developer detailing the level of environmental remediation the site may need, including but not limited to: Phase I and Phase II environmental studies (if available), Commercial Rehabilitation Facility District application (if applicable), Obsolete Property Rehabilitation District application (if applicable), and Brownfield Redevelopment District application (if applicable). (Add a new section 14-12-3(c)(4): “At the second meeting of the NAC, the developer shall provide NAC members with an informational package detailing the level of environmental remediation the site may need, including but not limited to: Phase [ and Phase lI environmental studies (if available), Commercial Rehabilitation Facility District application (if applicable), Obsolete Property Rehabilitation District application (if applicable), and Brownfield Redevelopment District application (if applicable)”.
9) That a webpage be created and maintained detailing the specifics of the development along with a projected timeline on the Planning and Development Departments website for each development project subject to the ordinance, which also contains the contact information for the POD project manager and general contact information for the developer. (Add a new section 14-12-3(c)(S): “The Planning and Development Department shall create and maintain a page on the City’s web site detailing the specifics of the development, along with a projected timeline, for each development project subject to this article. The web page shall also contain the contact information for the PDD project manager and general contact information for the developer”.)
The Equitable Detroit Coalition, sponsors of the original Proposition A Community Benefits Ordinance that was defeated by Proposition B, has provided the attached critical report regarding their observations of the first six projects subjected to the ordinance. Based on these experiences, they propose 12 amendments that would, in effect, convert the Proposition B community engagement ordinance into a “true” community benefits ordinance, featuring reforms like enforceable community benefits agreements and independent community participation without mediation by City government. As noted in footnote l, LPD understands these substantive transformations of the Proposition A community engagement policy to be beyond the scope of this particular referral. However, such further reaching amendments would be within Council’s authority, and if Council Members seek any particular amendments, whether suggested by the Equitable Detroit Coalition or anyone else, they could be drafted in response to specific referral of those items to the Law Department and/or LPD.
If Council has any other questions or concerns regarding this subject, LPD will be happy to provide further research and analysis upon request.
THE CITY CHARTER will be a hot topic in the next few weeks and if Proposal R passes in the Primary, Detroiters will be hearing about the revision process for 3 years. For many it feels like we just voted on a revision.
While some were and are critical of the Council by District system the last revision supported, the revision also included community powers and protections that many consider beneficial. One of the issues here is that Detroiters are just getting to know their City Charter.
The implementation of and adherence to the City Charter were interrupted by Emergency Management and Bankruptcy. Due to this, certain aspects of the Charter are just now coming online, one example being the Police Commission that was voted on last year.
With the current political climate in Detroit and Lansing there are many risks to opening the Charter now. There is also a process for changing specific aspects of the Charter through amendment. This process can be taken up without opening the entire Charter.
Whether Proposal R passes or not, whether the Charter Revision Candidates are on the ballot in November or not, Detroiters have an opportunity to learn what powers and protections the current Charter provides and how they can be used by and for betterment of our community.
This started out as a response to the Detroit Regional Chamber’s tone-deaf call to “Create a Culture of Civility” earlier in the year. Since that time, calls for civility have been issued from the national stage. Those in power and those in denial have called for civility in answer to righteous outrage over the upsurge of white policing of black living, of court decisions that uphold racist immigration policy and legitimize bigotry, and over kids in cages. These offensive and strategic calls for civility resonate with Detroiters because they have heard them repeatedly since Emergency Management and for decades prior. ~ ed.
Last year, we recognized the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit Rebellion and many in the city dove deep into discussions of its meaning and impact. This year, we continue to recognize 50th anniversaries associated with the civil rights movement, most recently Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s assassination and the passage of the Fair Housing Act. Here at Detroit People’s Platform our attention also shifts to the fact that 2018 marks the 5th anniversary of Emergency Management and Bankruptcy in Detroit.
These anniversaries also remind us that transformational changes were not easily won and certainly not won by being polite or civil. These anniversaries are also important and vital to Detroiters as they represent touchstones of our history that denote the emergence of Black political, economic and cultural power in the largest majority-black city in the US. The changes that came from movement work in our city and across the country were in part sparked by the interruption of civility, most famously and powerfully, through nonviolent direct action.
Nationally, there has been a renewed interest in improving civil discourse due to the Trump presidency and the complete breakdown of bipartisanship in our political and civic life. However, we must not confuse the legitimate push back against the President’s divisive rhetoric with the growing chorus of Detroiters demanding our equity stake in the city’s current revitalization.
In March, the Detroit Regional Chamber hosted it’s 2018 Detroit Policy Conference. This year’s focus was on “Creating a Culture of Civility.” The conference referenced the widely heralded example of the relationship between Mayor Duggan and members of City Council. In the Mayor’s recent State of the City he touted the difference in their relationship between now and the past. Perhaps he, and the Chamber fail to recognize the historically oppositional stance by some Council Members in the past was due to their protection and defense of their constituents. Some council members could be counted on to challenge the administration. While a new age of civility at CAYMC bodes well for the administration and corporate interests, it does NOT for everyday Detroiters.
1. Public School Takeover by the State of Michigan
2. Consent Agreement/Emergency Management
3. Municipal Bankruptcy
4. Hijacking of Worker Pension and Healthcare
5. Privatization of Services like Lights and Trash Removal
6. Loss of governance of the Water System
7. Taking public funds and using them for private projects like the Qline and LCA (Little Caesars Arena)
8. Creating legislation and a well funded campaign to defeat a community-led CBA ballot initiative
9. Refusal to stop Water Shutoffs that harm Detroit children and senior citizens.
10. Calling housing “affordable” when it isn’t affordable to the majority of Detroiters.
11. Using hardest hit funds intended to keep Detroiters in their homes to demolish homes.
12. Threatening and inappropriate physical handling of citizens in meetings by city appointees, staff and designees.
13. Huge transfers of public funds and resources to wealthy white billionaires.
The list goes on.
It is an insult that in an 80+% majority-black city, both corporate and government representatives feel completely comfortable disrespecting community members. When leaders and their representatives are allowed to roll their eyes, make racist and condescending comments and negate the ability of Detroiters to engage in serious and thoughtful discussions they are replicating tactics used to silence opposition. The levels disrespect shown when Detroiters speak out or show up and protest peacefully against injustices creates a culture of incivility across all of our institutions.
On Tuesday, August 7 2018 there will be one proposal on the primary ballot. Proposal R asks Detroiters if they favor a “general revision” of the City Charter. The City Charter is an important document and there is a great deal of information to consider before voting on Proposal R. If R passes, voters will select candidates for the Charter Revision Commission in November, and have an opportunity to engage in the Charter Revision process.
Proposal R is on the Detroit Primary Election Ballot this year. The Primary Election is Tuesday, August 7th, 2018.
Proposal R asks Detroiters: “Do you favor a general revision of the 2012 Detroit City Charter by a charter revision commission? Yes or No”
The City Charter can be likened to the US and Michigan Constitutions. It is the law that mandates how the City works on a day to day basis.
The 2012 City Charter supported the shift from an “at large” City Council to the current Council By District system.
The 2012 City Charter also provides for a level of community power and oversight.
The Police Commission and it’s District-based structure being one important example of community oversight.
A previous version of the City Charter mandates that a question about charter revision is placed on the ballot and voted on every 16 years.
This is the case for Proposal R; it is on the ballot to meet legal requirements.
The last time the Charter was opened it was through an independent ballot initiative regarding proposed changes to the structure of city council i.e. shift to Council by District.
The current City Charter became the official charter for the city of Detroit in January 2012.
If Proposal R passes, individuals who were successful in having their petition signatures certified by the city Clerk’s office, will then become candidates for the City Charter Revision Commission.
They will appear as candidates on the ballot in the November 2018 General Election
As in any other election, the candidates will campaign for their seat on the revision commission and it will be up to the voters to cast their votes for the candidate of their choice. The Detroit People’s Platform does not endorse candidates
The top nine (9) vote getters will serve as members of the nine (9) member Charter Revision Commission.
There is a process for write-in candidates as well. The deadline for write-in candidates to file Declaration of Intent forms is 4:00 p.m. on July 27th.
The 9 candidates elected in November will be seated on the City Charter Revision Commission for three years.
The last charter revision process took three years and spent nearly a million dollars.(1)
Though the process includes public hearings and other opportunities for community engagement, the Commissioners themselves have a great deal of influence in determining what the revision process and final charter document will look like.
After the revision process, the Commission’s proposed Charter goes to the State’s Attorney General who has the power to change and edit it before approval by the Governor. The Detroiters must vote on it.
There are other, less time consuming and expensive alternatives that allow for changes to be made to the city charter without opening it up for the full scale revision process.
The charter can be amended by a 3/5 majority vote of City Council or a ballot initiative that would put the amendment to a vote by Detroiters.
The roll out of the 2012 City Charter was interrupted by Emergency Management and the Municipal Bankruptcy process.
Since the end of Emergency Management, the City Council and Mayor’s office have not fully implemented, or fully adhered to, the City Charter.
Citizens should be given an opportunity to both learn about and use the current charter.
The current city charter approved in 2012, includes strong citizen and community engagement aspects that could be of great benefit to the community.
2012 City Charter Revision Page: http://www.detcharter.com/charter/
Michigan Radio 2012 Charter Revision timeline http://michiganradio.org/post/detroit-voters-approve-new-city-charter
There is a great deal of information in this education document about the Charter Revision Process.
On Tuesday, August 7 2018 there will be one proposal on your primary ballot. Proposal R asks Detroiters if they favor a “general revision” of the City Charter. If opened, the Charter could be changed in many ways. Proposal R, if passed, could; restrict community power and oversight, reduce government accountability and ruin our chances to fully restore democracy in Detroit.
We are calling on Detroit People’s Platform members and supporters to join us Thursday June 14th at 11:30 a.m. at the Spirit of Detroit to rally with SEIU Local 1. Detroit People’s Platform will gather under the banner of our Majority-Black Detroit Matters campaign.
Free Parking and Buses/Shuttles (Leaving at 11am) are available from the SEIU Local 1 office on Jefferson at Chene. 2211 E Jefferson Ave Detroit, MI 48207 Please RSVP with SEIU and list Detroit People’s Platform as your organization.
Also, please send an email to email@example.com with “SEIU” in the subject to let us know you are coming so we have enough signs and materials to share.
From SEIU Local 1
It’s amazing to see downtown Detroit bustling with new investment, new buildings and new people.
We are the janitors and custodians who keep the “resurgence” clean. Every day we see two Detroits. One is in our communities where we are struggling to raise our families and make ends meet, and the other is the downtown and arena district bustling with new investment, buildings and people.
On June 14 we will launch our campaign for One Detroit where everyone can prosper from this resurgence everyone is talking about.
All of this development is subsidized by tax dollars and public money. We just ask that the jobs that are created are good jobs.
Stand with us as we campaign for our employers and private and public leadership to create good jobs for Detroiters where everyone can make at least $15 and have a union.
Detroit – On May 21st the city of Detroit’s Legislative Policy Division released their “Quicken Loans/Bedrock Subsidiary Public Subsidies Report”. This report finally puts a total dollar amount on the tax abatements and tax capture our public officials have given away to Dan Gilbert’s companies. All without a real Community Benefits Agreement. Though this report hasn’t been covered in the media, it is important information that Detroiters need to know about.
Detroit City Council Contact Info 2017
At Large – Council President Brenda Jones
At Large – Janee Ayers
District 2 – Roy McCalister Jr.
District 1 – James Tate
District 3 – Scott Benson
District 4 – Andre L. Spivey
District 5 – Council President Pro Tempore Mary Sheffield
District 6 – Raquel Castaneda-Lopez
District 7 – Gabe Leland
[bctt tweet=”On May 21st the city of Detroit’s Legislative Policy Division released their “Quicken Loans/Bedrock Subsidiary Public Subsidies Report” #Detroit Read the report.” username=””]
“In a memo to the Legislative Policy Division (LPD), Council member Castaneda-Lopez requested that LPD provide a report to Council which compiles all tax credits, tax abatements and other public subsidies sought and received by the Quicken Family of Companies from the City of Detroit. In addition, LPD was also requested provide inormation on each subsidiary and building/project, as well as the aggregate totals for each subsidy type and the total value of public support. This report is our response to this inquiry.”
“Overall, our research has revealed that under the umbrella of the Quicken Family of Companies,’ There are fifteen (15) projects that have received or Quicken is requesting tax abatements or incentives from the City of Detroit. The overall number of tax abatements or incentives Quicken has received or reguested from the City of Detroit is 27, as detailed below:”