Politics & Prejudices
Detroit City Council Doesn't Deserve Transfer of Power
Things seemed to be going better in Detroit. Detroit will break your heart.
Published: January 14, 2014
Naturally, this made headlines and reinforced the world’s perception of those governing Detroit in general and the city council in particular. Bizarrely, Cush’s latest caper came just after Nolan Finley of The Detroit News wrote a hilarious column titled Did Detroit get another crazy council?
What more needs to be said? Simply this: Detroiters can kiss goodbye any thought of a speedy transfer of power back to their elected leaders. Actually, given this week’s antics, there’s little reason to think any sane city residents would want that.
Council can, to be sure, fire Kevyn Orr at the end of September, if they can find six votes to do that. But that doesn’t mean the mayor and council will be back in control.
They almost certainly won’t be, especially after the events of last week. Look at Pontiac: The emergency manager is gone — but there’s a state-appointed “transition advisory board” and a new state-created position, a full-time city administrator.
Does anyone really think the state is going to turn Detroit over to a government that can be stymied by Brenda Jones, with Cushingberry’s fingers on the public purse strings?
Don’t be too surprised if October finds Mayor Mike Duggan wearing two hats, one as city administrator, with essentially both city manager and emergency manager powers.
You might also expect to see the old financial advisory board, the one created by the consent agreement, evolve into Detroit’s own version of Pontiac’s Transition Advisory Board.
This might have happened differently if this council were headed by a sanity caucus, which didn’t necessarily always agree with Orr or Duggan, but which was clearly committed to rational economic solutions for Detroit’s future.
That’s clearly not what this city’s got.
So, once again, thank you, Gabe Leland.
By the way, you might find being planning committee chair a trifle hollow, once you realize you might never even have the authority to buy a pack of colored pencils.
> Email Jack Lessenberry