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/
It was a theme highlighted by leaders at The Michigan Chronicle’s Pancakes and Politics forum: collaboration. Often leaders speak of collaborating and working together, but it’s hard sometimes to point out specific examples of what that looks like.
That’s why when I read in the Detroit Free Press that sheriffs from Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties were willing to send officers to help patrol the Detroit fireworks, I thought of a the collaboration theme.
In May at the “Big Four” session of Pancakes and Politics, one attendee asked Detroit Mayor Dave Bing if he would be willing to seek public safety help from surrounding counties Bing’s reply was that he was open to any options to help keep people safe in the city.
This week, that question was fully answered. When Bing asked the leaders in surrounding counties to send officers in to patrol the hundreds of thousands of people expected to attend the 54th annual Target Fireworks show on the Detroit river, the answer was yes. State police will also help patrol the event.
After ripping more than $200 million from this fiscal year’s budget, the city can’t afford to police large events, ones that ultimately draw in residents from all over the region and state.
“It is no longer feasible to have these events funded primarily by Detroit taxpayers.”
It makes sense that the surrounding counties and state would lend a hand. The fireworks may be located in Detroit, but it is a regional, event statewide attraction and therefore, the responsibility of those counties to keep residents safe. The financial burden of events such as this should not be placed solely on Detroit taxpayers in this economic climate. So patrol help from neighbors isn’t a handout, it’s a responsible step to keeping people safe.
The rift between the Detroit mayor’s office and the city council over closing or privatizing city departments was clear at Tuesday’s open meeting. When residents lectured the council for putting the Human Services Department and the Public Health Department on the chopping block, Council member JoAnn Watson made sure to set the record straight that it was the mayor’s office, not the council, that was pushing the cuts. “That was the executive branch,” she told a resident who hotly voiced her concerns about department cuts. “You’re preaching to the wrong group, honey.”
While it wasn’t on the council’s agenda to vote on department decertification this Tuesday, when it does come up for a vote, council will likely vote it down.
But that doesn’t mean city departments are safe from trims. The financial advisory board, appointed under the consent agreement that was approved by the City Council and Mayor Dave Bing, would ultimately take financial decisions away from the council.
Derelicts, criminals, sellouts--those were the names residents pelleted at city council members who supported the controversial consent agreement at a city council meeting Tuesday morning. The agreement would put control of the city's finances into the hands of a nine-member board of state and city appointed experts.
"We gotta pay you all, then pay a bunch of other people to do your job," said Sandra Hines, a resident and member of the coalition Free Detroit, which has vocally protested the agreement.
Council members maintained thier cool, and asked that community members tone down language in the presenct of chicldren who had visted city hall on a field trip.
"Name calling doesn't bother me at all," council member James Tate said asking people to tone down with children present. "I've been called many names and still rose above."
But when the heated input from residents continued, City Council Presient Charles Pugh addresed the visiting youth. "I wish we had a better environment for you but this is real life," he said.
When one of the 5th grade students asked when the "extremely high" city grass would be cut, the answer was that the city could not afford to cut grass on all vacant lots and would instead do "window pane" cutting that wouldedge the grass off of the sidewalk but not mow the entire block.
The public hearing portion of the meeting ended when an elderly woman said a heartfelt prayer that Detroit people would get together, leaving council members with heads bowed and causing a silence meeting room for a brief moment.
What does name calling accomplish? It's clear that many people are angry at the situation the City of Detroit is in but whenever I attend a city council meeting I get discouraged about the progress of the city. Not everyone's going to agree and no doubt there are some serious issueso n he table. But I have learned, as adults, we have to learn how to play the game and not lose our cool if we are to be taken seriously.
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the Michigan Chronicle Digital Daily newsletter!