Politics & Prejudices
When it comes to politics of the highest bidder, we have the best government money can buy
Published: February 8, 2012
They also gave $20,000 to help real estate developer Bobby Schostak's successful bid to be state party chair.
There are lots more of our lawmakers on the take, and lots more numbers; you can find the gory details online; a good place to start is the Campaign Finance Network (mcfn.org). There used to be a joke that we had the best government money could buy.
Actually, we have much worse: a collection of politicians who have sold out and sold us to the troll behind the old bridge. By the way, I started out by comparing them to a columnist taking a bribe. Actually, what the Kowalls and their ilk have done is much worse. Writers speak only for themselves. The Kowalls are our elected representatives, and they sold us to a narrow interest.
We could do something about this, if we wanted to; but doing so will take a lot of hard work. So let's start. Once upon a time, we defeated the fascists. Are we today going to be content to see our souls, our future and our democracy given up to a fat, greedy billionaire?
Council by districts: For years, Detroit has suffered under a disastrous system in which all city council members were elected at large. This meant that none was responsible for any particular neighborhood. Nor was there anything to prevent all of them from living in the same, safest neighborhood in the city.
The results are easily visible to anyone who gets off the freeway and drives around most of the city's mean streets. Now, the city is moving to a more sensible system of seven district council members and two who would be elected at-large. The question now: How to draw the districts? Currently, there are four options on the table.
None of them, however, is totally satisfactory. Two split the downtown, which makes no sense. Two others keep downtown more or less together, but divide the rest of the city up into odd vertical or horizontal chunks that don't follow traditional neighborhoods.
Data Driven Detroit, the area's best demographics analysis firm, has come up with a fifth option that is far superior to the others. It keeps most neighborhoods together, as well as the downtown.
Voters ought to urge council to consult with DDD's Kurt Metzger, known locally as the Great Demographer, and consider this option. For a look, see datadrivendetroit.org.
> Email Jack Lessenberry