Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Is the council really interested in representing residents?

The Detroit City Council last week rejected a measure that would have put a revision of the charter on the ballot for the special Feb. 24 election allowing voters to weigh in on a new municipal leader to succeed the ousted mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Everyone who has followed the mayoral mess that Kilpatrick spawned understands that our charter needs to be revised. It's outdated, so antiquated in fact, that we're staring at a succession of elections to replace Kilpatrick that will run into next year. Great, because our city is so cash-strapped that the last thing we need it to dole out dollars needlessly.

The larger issue with which I have a problem, however, is the fact that opening up the charter to revision would give those of us who want to see district representation instituted in the city.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the resolution to revise the 1997 Detroit City Charter, put forth by Councilman Kwame Kenyatta and Councilwoman Brenda Jones didn't stand a chance in hell because "other council members who feared a revision would restructure the council from being elected at-large to being elected by districts" voted against it. As a result, the measure failed 4-3.

So, next time you drive through a neighborhood with two occupied homes on each block, ask yourself who is governing it? Ask yourself who is going to bat for the children there? Ask yourself who is fighting for jobs and opportunity for self-improvement for the residents there to lift themselves out of dire circumstances -- because they are the neighbors of those Detroiters?Because they have a deeply vested interest. Because they are members of that community.

Ask yourself those questions, then remember that Martha Reeves, Alberta Tinsley-Talabi (who I supported because of her advocacy for the east side -- until she pulled this crap), Monica Conyers and Joann Watson voted against the resolution.

Why give them another chance to lead us?

Too many people in this city feel as though they are not represented. They feel that the "good neighborhoods," the Boston Edison's, the Indian Village's, the Rosedale Park's and East English Village's of our city get all the attention. I hear that often. Do you?

I'll leave you with one more question. We can't continue to vote for these people, can we?

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