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New leadership for Detroit

New leadership is emerging in Detroit. State Rep. John Olumba, Rev. D. Alexander Bullock and Krystal Crittendon are a few who seem to be working outside current systems and may be well positioned to takeover — power is always taken. They represent the new faces challenging Detroit’s tired old guard.

Last week, Detroit Rep. Olumba walked away from the Democratic Party and became an Independent, forming the Urban Democracy Caucus. He said Blacks in Michigan and those who live in urban areas may need to work outside the two parties to see results.

We have seen time and again how the Democrats in Lansing have bypassed the issues of Detroiters and urban centers. From denying the $800 million that the state agrees it owes the city, to lifting the limits on charter schools, Democrats, many of whom sit in contested seats, are more conservative in their votes and have a habit of voting against the issues Detroiters support. Outstate Democrats support the Education Achievement Authority — but only in Detroit, not in their own districts. The Democratic Party also refused to share redistricting maps with the Detroit delegation and the Black Caucus. These Democratic Party stalwarts also benefit when resources are moved from Detroit to the suburbs.

African Americans and those in urban areas have unique needs. If those needs were recognized, perhaps the Michigan legislature would recognize the cost to the area of urban sprawl and support ways to fairly spread the cost outside of creating punitive policies like EM laws. Worse, Democrats and the Democratic Party seem to take Detroit and its voters’ party loyalty for granted. Name and list all of the ways the Democratic Party has helped Detroit. Or has Detroit mostly helped the Democratic Party?

When Coleman Young was in the legislature, he would often build coalitions with representatives from the Upper Peninsula; Detroit sometimes has more in common with the U.P. than its regional neighbors. A united bloc of Independent voters from urban areas could prove a strong mechanism for winning on issues.

Democrats would be smart if they did not give Olumba a difficult time on his choice of Independence. Currently, Olumba is an Independent but he has voted with Democrats on most issues, including party leadership. His committee assignments should not be stripped. Respect him and the constituents he represents. He has a point, a point that resonates with Detroiters.

Rev. Bullock has been on the right side of many of the urgent issues in Detroit. He was active and vocal against the EM laws, and fought the EAA and Right to Work. Bullock has, without any clear personal benefit, done the right thing by the citizens in the city of Detroit. One party member recalled seeing Bullock on the frontlines of all the important battles. Yet, Democrats are trying to whip in with rules that were waived for others for his newly won chair seat. Bullock is already talking about working together.

Crittendon’s candidacy is surprising many stalwarts who insist she doesn’t have the money to win. But she insists money won’t win this election. She bases that on Detroit’s last election, where Detroiters en masse rejected well-funded ballot initiatives.

Bullock said in this week’s Page One article he believes the need for change will touch the mayoral race. We believe change is coming for Detroit.

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