Is the deal with the state a good one?
Lessenberry and Gabriel on the recent consent agreement for the city of Detroit
Published: April 10, 2012
Will it work?
By Jack Lessenberry
Nobody really knows.
By the narrowest of margins — one vote — Detroit's City Council voted last week not to commit political suicide. They opted instead to approve a "consent agreement" under which the state and city agree to work together to make the radical economic changes needed.
Switch one vote the other way, and the odds are that the city's elected officials would today be essentially powerless, and under the thumb of an emergency manager.
Everybody praised the council's newfound maturity. Most said the consent agreement is really the best possible outcome.
Detroit's turning point
By Larry Gabriel
When the Detroit Charter Commission convened a couple of years ago, they considered whether we should be in a strong mayor system or a weak mayor system. They considered how much power City Council members would have under the district system that Detroiters voted for. If they'd looked at the city's screwed-up finances, they might have considered that Detroiters wouldn't be calling the shots here anyway and saved themselves and the rest of us some time.
Gov. Rick Snyder (the sly nerd) bent over backward with rhetoric that this is not a state takeover of the city, and there's wording in the consent agreement that obfuscates what it actually is: a state takeover.