YEAR IN REVIEW
Council gives city to Snyder
Though Detroiters said no, and despite a plan hammered out by a coalition of the city’s unions that would have saved $120 million in the budget, Council members Ken Cockrel, Jr. and James Tate, along with Council President Charles Pugh, worked behind closed doors with state officials and State Treasurer Andy Dillon on a consent agreement that cost the city additional millions of dollars, limited the power of City Council and the mayor and meant nothing as the year came to an end. In a 5-4 vote, Pugh, Cockrel, Jr., Tate, Pro Tem Gary Brown, and Council member Saunteel Jenkins voted in favor of a Consent Agreement. Members JoAnn Watson, Kwame Kenyatta, Brenda Jones and Andre Spivey voted against it. Proponents said they did it to save the city being under emergency management. Dillion was preparing for an emergency manager as the year wound down.
Obama wins, Detroit votes
Despite much criticism of low voter turn-out, Detroiters turned up and turned out at over 50 percent with close to 300,000 voters participating in the Nov. 6 election. A re-elected President Obama carried Detroit with 97 percent of the vote. City Department of Election officials confirmed Detroit voting rolls have more than 100,000 extra names of individuals who no longer reside in the city. They’re names cannot be canceled until two consecutive general elections. This number is often reflected in the use of the low-voter turnout commentary.
Miller Canfield approved
Detroit City Council approved, in a 5-4 vote, a $300,000 contract with the Miller Canfield Law Firm. Some see the contract as a conflict of interest due to the law firm’s involvement in drafting the state’s emergency manager law and Consent Agreement. Council President Charles Pugh, Pro Tem Gary Brown, along with Council members Ken Cockrel, Jr., Saunteel Jenkins and James Tate cast a “yes” vote. Members JoAnn Watson, Andre Spivey, Kwame Kenyatta and Brenda Jones all voted “no.”
‘Right To Work’ Passed
After 15,000 citizens protested at the state capitol in Lansing, Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law a bill limiting the rights of labor unions in the state. Michigan is the 24th state in the country to have such a law.
PA4 repeal certified
Voters in all but five counties of the state agreed with the besieged citizens under emergency management and voted in November to repeal of Public Act 4. The law gave unchecked powers to emergency managers over Black fiscally challenged cities and school districts. Republican forces from Gov. Rick Snyder on down sprang into action: the governor ordered the EMs to remain acting under PA 72, a weaker emergency manager form; the Appeals Court and Supreme court backed Snyder leaving the EMs in place and a realization among citizens that their votes did not matter. In a middle of the night, lame duck session, the lawmakers passed into law — without hearings of input — a new EM bill akin to the defeated PA4.
Bing recall still alive
After failing to adequately address crime in the city, cutting police precincts and bus services, increasing emergency response times for fire and EMS, eliminating city services and departments, citizens continue the effort to recall Mayor Dave Bing from office.
Judge OKs separate and unequal schools
Labeled a Jim Crow district, the Educational Achievement Authority (EAA) was given the okay to continue after a decision made by Third Circuit Court Judge John A. Murphy on Aug. 8. The decision allowed Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Roy Roberts to control the finances of the district, while the elected school board controls academics. Elected school board members cannot get a hearing before Murphy to report that Roberts continues as though he is the only one with any authority. The elected board wants: the top-heavy administration cut; a return of the 15 schools stolen by the EM to create the EAA; accountability; reopening of the Day School for the Deaf; restore services to the special needs children; restoration of parental rights in the schools including a dismantling of the EM created Parent Network;
DPS Board moves to repair EM damage
Led by Board President LaMar Lemmons, the Detroit Public School Board of Education forms a plan to address issues in the district caused by DPS Emergency Financial Manager Roy Roberts, formerly emergency manager under the recently repealed Public Act 4. The board struggles for authority over the district, a top heavy administration and financial issues.
Family calls for justice in son’s death
A BP gas station attendant was charged in the death of Detroit resident Michael Haynes, II. The attendant shot Haynes following the dispute the two had over the price of an item Haynes purchased. At a press conference, announcing a pending law suit, Haynes’ mother, Rada Haynes, declared, “I’m here to get justice for my son.”
Hantz Land deal done
Despite overwhelming public opposition, Detroit City Council voted 5-4 to approve the largest speculative land sale in Detroit history to Hantz Woodlands for eight cents a square foot. The no-bid contract was on track for approval without public input until the people demanded a public hearing. Council President Charles Pugh voted in favor of the land sale, along with Pro Tem Gary Brown and Council members Saunteel Jenkins, Ken Cockrel, Jr. and James Tate. Council members JoAnn Watson, Kwame Kenyatta, Brenda Jones and Andre Spivey voted against it..
More Michigan Citizen Headlines from 2012
Solar-powered lights come to highland Park
Residents propose plan for State Fairground Property
GOP pushes statewide school privatization legislation
First white city falls under EFM
State to lease Belle Isle
Takeover of city’s water department on hold
Joblessness cause of new crime wave
EM attempts Library Commission takeover
City resources outsourced