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Editorial The City Charter – Don’t lose it before we use it

Editorial The City Charter – Don’t lose it before we use it

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.   

[bctt tweet=”We recommend a No vote on Proposal R. Rather than support the revision we are calling on the Mayor, City Council, Clerk and all who work within the framework created by the Charter to more fully implement, empower and abide by it.” via=”no”]

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.

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Civility Detroit Style

Civility Detroit Style

“Civil discussions with people who themselves may have already breached the bounds of civility are difficult.”(1)
– Vann R. Newkirk II

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. 

Let’s Count some of the ways government and corporate leadership have targeted 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.

Don’t lecture Detroiters on Civility. The solution is to actually listen to Detroiters and meet us where we are, whether we fit into the plans or not.

(1) www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/
     2016/12/discussing-racism-white-voters/509528/

 

 

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What is Proposal R?

What is Proposal R?

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. 

What is Proposal R?

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”

What is the City Charter?

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.

Why is the City Charter up for a vote now?

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.

What about the Candidates for City Charter Revision Commission?

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.

What is the charter revision process?

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. 

Are there alternatives to revision?

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.

What’s good about the current City Charter?

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.

 

Reference Links
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

Charter Revision Budget: http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20100427/EMAIL01/304279999/charter-panel-makes-hires-gets-down-to-business

There is a great deal of information in this education document about the Charter Revision Process.

Revised-City-Charter

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Vote No on Proposal R

Vote No on Proposal R

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.

Detroit People’s Platform encourages our members, supporters and all Detroiters to Vote NO on Proposal R!

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Call to Action Rally with SEIU for good jobs

Call to Action Rally with SEIU for good jobs

Call to Action!

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 info@detroitpeoplesplatform.org with “SEIU”  in the subject to let us know you are coming so we have enough signs and materials to share.

Look for the Detroit People’s Platform delegation at the Spirit of Detroit!

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.

 

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City of Detroit Report: Dan’s Dreams on our Dime

City of Detroit Report: Dan’s Dreams on our Dime

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.

READ, download, print and share the city’s Quicken Loans/Bedrock Subsidiary Public Subsidies Report

Contact Detroit City Council!

Detroit City Council Contact Info 2017

At Large – Council President Brenda Jones
@DetroitCouncilPres
(313) 224-1245
bjones_mb@detroitmi.gov.

At Large – Janee Ayers
@Ayers4Detroit
(313) 224-4248
ayersj@detroitmi.gov

District 2 – Roy McCalister Jr.
@RoyMcCalisterJr
(313) 224-4535
councilmemberMcCalister@detroitmi.gov

District 1 – James Tate
@CouncilmanTate
(313) 224-1027
councilmembertate@detroitmi.gov

District 3 – Scott Benson
@Scottinthe3rd
(313) 224-1198
BensonS@detroitmi.gov

District 4 – Andre L. Spivey
@CouncilmnSpivey
(313) 224-4841
CouncilmanSpivey@detroitmi.gov

District 5 – Council President Pro Tempore Mary Sheffield
@MsMarySheffield
(313) 224-4505
CouncilMemberSheffield@detroitmi.gov

District 6 – Raquel Castaneda-Lopez
@Raquel4Detroit
(313) 224-2450
councilmemberraquel@detroitmi.gov

District 7 – Gabe Leland
@gabeleland
(313) 224-2151
LelandG@detroitmi.gov

[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:”

READ, download, print and share the city’s Quicken Loans/Bedrock Subsidiary Public Subsidies Report

Dan's Dreams on our Dine http://detroitpeoplesplatform.org

Dan’s Dreams on our Dine http://detroitpeoplesplatform.org

READ, download, print and share the city’s Quicken Loans/Bedrock Subsidiary Public Subsidies Report

READ, download, print and share the city’s Quicken Loans/Bedrock Subsidiary Public Subsidies Report

READ, download, print and share the city’s Quicken Loans/Bedrock Subsidiary Public Subsidies Report

 

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Register Today! Detroit People’s Platform 2018 Summit

Register Today! Detroit People’s Platform 2018 Summit

 

Detroit People’s Platform 2018 Summit
Saturday, September 8, 2018 from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM (EDT)
SEIU Local 1
2211 East Jefferson Avenue
Detroit, MI 48207
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Five years ago, in 2013, 250 Detroiters gathered at Marygrove College to create the Detroit People’s Platform. This year we will come together again for the Detroit People’s Platform’s 2018 Summit.

Majority-Black Detroit Matters

Please save the date and plan to join us on September 8th at SEIU Local 1 at 2211 East Jefferson Avenue from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Lunch will be provided. The event is free, but registration is limited.

More details about the event will be shared soon.

 

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The QLine opened a year ago. We want our money back!

The QLine opened a year ago. We want our money back!


This weekend marks a year since the QLine’s grand opening. 

The total cost of the project was around $144 million, with almost $75 million coming from public funds. When the QLine opened on May 12th of 2017, Detroit Peoples Platform organized the WhyLine Action with over 100 people participating.

We gathered at multiple QLine stops and asked the important questions that no one else was asking.

Why does this development project use almost $75 million in public funds without a Community Benefit Agreement?

Why doesn’t the rest of the city have reliable public transit?

Why does the QLine exclude most Detroiters?

It’s been a year and now we’re not the only ones asking why.

More and more people recognize the injustice of using our public dollars without real public benefit. Based on an article in Bridge Magazine about the failure of the QLine to meet its numbers the press and media have become more critical of this example of transit gentrification.

One year in, Detroit’s QLine falling well short of expectations
https://www.bridgemi.com/detroit-journalism-cooperative/one-year-detroits-qline-falling-well-short-expectations

QLine has fewer riders than expected, report says
https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2018/05/02/qline-first-year-report-riders/34476031/

How Detroit’s Streetcar Overlooked Real Transit Needs to Satisfy a Well-Connected Few
https://usa.streetsblog.org/2018/03/14/how-detroits-streetcar-overlooked-real-transit-needs-to-satisfy-a-well-connected-few/

[bctt tweet=”With nearly $75 million in public funds spent on this proven failure Detroiters have every right to demand our money back! #Detroit #QLine #WhyLine #Transit” via=”no”]

 

Register today for our 2018 Summit!

Majority-Black Detroit Matters

Saturday, September 8, 2018
SEIU Local 1, 2211 East Jefferson Avenue

 

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Detroit: High Concentrated Poverty and High Corporate Tax Incentives

Detroit: High Concentrated Poverty and High Corporate Tax Incentives

The Free Press covered a damning new report on poverty in Detroit and across the US.  “Metro Detroit’s poverty gets worse despite city’s comeback”.

“A new look at the poorest urban areas in America, despite economic growth and increasing prosperity, puts metro Detroit near the top of the list. The report ranks the Detroit area at No. 5 in a list of impoverished communities.” Read More: https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/detroit/2018/04/26/detroit-poverty-getting-worse/553439002/

“A study by the Brookings Institution in 2016 found metro Detroit — which was defined in that report as a six-county region: including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, St. Clair, Lapeer — to have the highest rate of concentrated poverty among the most populous metro areas in America”. Read More: https://www.brookings.edu/research/u-s-concentrated-poverty-in-the-wake-of-the-great-recession/

[bctt tweet=”Our majority-black neighborhoods have the highest concentrated poverty of any large city in the US while millions in tax incentives have been given away to wealthy white developers Downtown. #Detroit” via=”no”]

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The QLine failure isn’t technical

The QLine failure isn’t technical

An article on the QLine’s low numbers by Chastity Pratt Dawsey from the Detroit Journalism Cooperative and Bridge Magazine sparked a great deal of discussion.

“After a year of constant problems, the shiny electric streetcar that hums down Detroit’s main thoroughfare has proven more troubled than trusty.

The QLine, the privately operated streetcar that launched along 3.3 miles of Woodward Avenue last May, attracted less than half of its projected riders for several months its first year, as it was beset by traffic snarls and dwindling popularity.

The train that reaches top speeds of 30 mph averaged more than five stoppages a week, a total of 267, and was frequently operating behind schedule due to parked cars on its tracks and traffic jams near the Little Caesars Arena. 

Records obtained by Bridge Magazine show the streetcar fell well short of expectations of 5,000 to 8,000 riders per day.” Read More

[bctt tweet=”The failure of the QLine isn’t technical. Most Detroiters didn’t want it in the first place and don’t use it. #Detroit ” via=”no”]