Minehaha Forman is a freelance writer living in Detroit. Born on a farm in Belize, Central America, she moved to the U.S. to pursue higher education and a career in writing. Forman’s work has been featured in many metro Detroit publications including Dbusiness magazine, Hour magazine and Corp! magazine. She has provided event coverage for Real Times Media and The Michigan Chronicle for three years, covering the popular Pancakes and Politics speaker series and other events. Prior to working with the Chronicle, Forman was a blogger with The American Independent News Network where she covered Metro Detroit politics and the 2008 presidential election. She will continue to provide commentary and coverage of Detroit politics as a blogger and feature writer for The Michigan Chronicle’s website.
Website URL: http://truthordarestories.blogspot.com/
Who needs a consent agreement? Detroit and the State of Michigan can sue the way to financial stability one lawsuit at a time. That's the level of ridiculousness we're headed towards, anyway.
Amid the confusion and controversy of legal tangles around the consent agreement, Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown wants to add another ring to the legal dispute circus.
Brown says he’s going to urge the council to vote on a resolution to have the city charter reviewed by state Attorney General Bill Schuette.
The Detroit News reports:
“Brown wants Schuette to initiate a lawsuit asking a judge to clarify Crittendon's powers as the head of the city's law department while she continues her crusade against Detroit's consent agreement with the state.”
Is that’s what this city needs? Another lawsuit? The city just spent two years and thousands of dollars revising the city charter. The people who know the charter best are the ones who just re-wrote it, the former revision commission members.
But all that is beside the point. Why can’t we just let this lawsuit play out? Chances are, the Ingham County judge who dismissed Crittendon’s case with unwavering conviction the first time will not have had a change of heart. In the meantime, there is a lot work to be done.
Instead of fretting over a lawsuit that is supposedly “meritless” according to state officials, get to work on fixing the city’s finances, not pulverizing them further into oblivion.
Because, at the end of the day, financial stability is the goal, right? Is seems leadership at the city and state level has lost sight on the big picture and has been sucked into the whirlpool of drama that is city/ state politics.
Times like these call for collaboration and compromise. Like Mayor Dave Bing has said over and over: lawsuits are not going to fix the city’s financial crisis.
Just when there was some hope that the legal drama over the consent agreement was over, a new round of lawsuits stirred up the political pot late last week.
Crittendon is at it again, asking the Ingham County Circuit Court Judge William Collette, who dismissed her challenge to the consent agreement, to reconsider his decision. It’s unlikely that the case will go far with the same judge who was very clear that he did not believe Crittendon had a legitimate case last time.
Meanwhile, the state also filed a lawsuit in Wayne County last week to stop a city hearing over water bills the state allegedly owes the city. The threats to withhold millions in revenue sharing are back on the table, just like they were last month.
When will leaders be able to compromise? Leadership in Detroit definitely leaves something to be desired, but state officials are not exactly the best diplomats, either. All of the “danger” Bing warns that the city is in stems from threats from the state’s threat to withhold finances due to Crittendon’s the lawsuit, not the lawsuit itself.
City Council member Kenneth Cockrel Jr. has the right idea. He told The Detroit News:
"I do think continued legal filings not only on her part but on the part of the state — they are now suing us — are ultimately destructive to the process," Cockrel said. "They are certainly not in the city's short term or long term interests, for that matter."
Yeah, what he said.
If anyone should be concerned about the consent agreement between the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan, it’s AFSCME local workers. The agreement that is geared to restore financial stability to the floundering Motor City, has cleared a path to bust unions in the name of cutting corners.
After a lawsuit filed by the city’s Corporation Counsel aiming to halt the consent agreement was tossed by a judge last month, a new, similar, lawsuit has emerged.
This time, it’s not coming from Krystal Crittendon or any city official. It’s coming from three AFSCME local union leaders who have been working and living in the city for decades.
The three plaintiffs, Rose Roots, Yolanda King and Yvonne Ross, are all representatives of AFSCME local divisions. Although they say their decision to sue the Mayor and City Council for violating the city charter has not been influenced by anything but the community need to oppose the agreement.
"Ross, 60, is a legal secretary for the city of Detroit and is president of Local 2799. Yolanda King, 52, is president of Local 2394 and is a civilian employee with the Detroit Police Department. Roots, who is in her 70s, is president of Chapter 98, which represents city of Detroit Retirees."
This can’t be a coincidence. Outside of union affiliates and a few heated activists, the general population of Detroiters seem apathetic to the consent agreement: A few sparsely attended protests do not a revolution make.
But on a state level this may not be the case. Two weeks ago another group of residents sued the state to challenge the legality of the Emergency Manager Law, or PA4.
“We could have had a thousand plaintiffs, or we could have had more than tens of thousands,” John Philo, legal director of the Maurice & Jane Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice (which will provide legal representation in the lawsuit) told Democracy Now last month.
“There’s a tremendous amount of concern throughout every community in this state,” he said, adding:
“The concern is not localized to just the communities that have an emergency manager now, and it’s not just urban areas. We’re getting support from the UP and from the northern Michigan, which isn’t known for progressive politics.”
The lawsuit King, Ross and Roots filed this week will be heard on July 13 by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Amy Hathaway.
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