A graduate of the storied Morehouse College, the alma mater of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Spivey, who received his ministerial training from Colgate Rochester Divinity School in New York, said he is poised to make a difference in Detroit the next four years.
“On the campaign trail I made it known that I would support all the (strip club) ordinances except for the alcohol portion. It was written and verbalized,” he said.
It turns out the alcohol ban was the teeth of the ordinance that some sections of the religious community, headed by Pastor Marvin Winans was pushing for.
“If we take the alcohol out the age for young women who could come and perform, work or even patronize the place will drop down from 21 to 18,” he explained. “With that alcohol police could come in and regulate anytime they wanted.”
But who in the religious community are against the strip clubs? Aside from Rev. Winans, no other prominent minister has gone on the record as opposing these businesses.
Spivey, who voted only for the ordinance to ban VIP rooms and lap dances, but refused to give in to what would have been the death knell for strip clubs (the ban of alcohol), said in conversations with some in the religious community, not everyone feels the same way as Winans.
Some clergy members, he said, had this to say:
“I appreciate what Pastor Winans is doing. That’s his fight, but I’m not really interested in being a part of that fight. We have some issues that we need to deal with other than strip club establishments.”
Are strip clubs a stumbling block to Detroit moving forward?
“No. I don’t think so,” Spivey said. “But I think it was good that we dealt with it now because we have more pressing issues to deal with. Perhaps the biggest one is our deficit. Crime, education, blight in our neighborhoods are issues that affect the entire city, not just a certain segment that may disagree having those sexually oriented businesses in the city.”
Does this send the wrong message to the business community, including small and large businesses?
“I would hope not,” Spivey said.
Wheels of Government Turn Slowly
Notwithstanding the strip club fight, Spivey said he’s gotten down to business and has discovered since being on council that red tape and bureaucracy is in the way of delivering services to residents in the city.
“I’ve learned the wheels of government turn very slow. We have little initials on our agendas. We put the initial BB (Bring Back),” Spivey said. “There are lots of layers of government that I didn’t know when I was on the campaign trail. I’m enjoying my time here. I think people put us here to try to move things along where we can fit in.”
As a member of the Budget and Finance Committee, Spivey said he now gets to see the lax accounting process and other unacceptable practices that have for years strangled the overall delivery of services.
“I’m shocked by some of the practices that are still taking place that should have been changed a long time ago. We’ve had some audits from different departments,” Spivey said. “How we process income tax returns, practices in the finance department, the People Mover audit report, police department, 36th District Court. I’m just shocked at how we’ve let certain things perpetuate themselves and done nothing about it.”
The city of Detroit, he said, is a $1.6 billion business and “we have to act like it. A lot of things that are happening have to stop. We may not be a popular council in the next four years because we may do things that may not be popular in public opinion, but I feel better at the end of the day if I’ve done something that moves this city forward.”
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