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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What does it take to make a great City: Making plans for Detroit after election day and the questions that need to be answered..

REVELEATOR PROSPECTS
DEDICATED TO TRUTH, JUSTICE, AND THE AMERICAN WAY
EDITED AND PUBLISHED BY GEORGE CUSHINGBERRY, JR. FOR THE NORTHWEST DETROIT LEADERSHIP FUND

VOL 30 NUMBER 1 FALL 2009

WE ASKED CANDIDATES FROM THE CITY PRIMARY TO ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS. WE MAILED THEM PRIORITY WITH A RETURN SELF ADDRESSED ENVELOPE ON OCTOBER 15, 2009. CANDIDATES WERE ASKED TO RETURN WRITTEN RESPONSES BY OCTOBER 22, 2009.

WE EMAILED AND CALLED ALL WE COULD FIND NUMBERS FOR ON OCTOBER 29, 2009

THE PANEL WHO DEVISED THE STRATEGY INCLUDED FORMER JOURNALIST, CITY AND SUBURBAN STATE LEGISLATORS, INDUSTRY EXECUTIVES, CLERGY, PROFESSIONALS, AND OTHER DETROITERS.

A LEGISLATOR IS A PERSON WHOM MAKES LAW. Both city council and charter commission are legislators. Since the charter of the city of Detroit covers all areas questioned we wanted to know how all of the candidates viewed the issues.
_________________________________________________
KUDO'S TO COUNCILWOMAN JOANN WATSON

SHE ANSWERED THE QUESTIONS ON TIME!

SET ONE
Crime

1. Should the city re-open its crime lab?

2. How do we ensure earnest crime stats and increase case closures?

3. How do we get more officers on the street, given limited resources?

4. What role should civilians have with DPD?

5. How do we combat this “anti-snitching” culture?

City Services

1. What core services should Detroit offer, given its plummeting census?

2. What should Detroit do to enhance customer service?

3. Public lighting, city airport, GDRRA 􀃆 what should happen with them?

4. Should any services be privatized, and if so, which?

5. How can we repopulate Detroit?

Taxation

1. What can/should Detroit do to lessen its real property tax rate & better compete?

2. Should the utility user’s tax be raised?

3. Should the city income tax rate be returned to 3 percent?

4. Is there still a purpose for the city corporate income tax?

5. Should Michigan embrace regional sales tax?

Education

1. Should the Mayor have control of DPS and if so, why?

2. Should the Mayor have chartering authority?

3. What role should charter schools have in city educational delivery?

4. Should Detroit Public Schools embrace school uniforms?

5. What should become of vacated school buildings?

Regionalism / Economic Development

1. How does Detroit diversify its economy?

2. Is there a place for a regional system of governance?

3. How do we attract chain grocery stores?

4. How do we close the racial divide?

SET TWO
1. What is the biggest issue the City Council is dealing with right now and how would you resolve this issue?

2. If you could do one thing to make the neighborhoods of Detroit a safe place for everyone to live, what would it be?

3. Where do you see Detroit’s role with regard to inter-modal transportations to the state of Michigan?

4. Would you be willing to consolidate services with local counties/municipalities to save revenues?

5. Is Detroit “green” enough and what should Detroit be doing to make the area greener?

6. How would you begin to strengthen relationships with surrounding communities and the rest of the state?

7. Will you be active in the Detroit Chamber of Commerce?

8. If there are future budget cuts, what will you do to protect and maintain public services?

SET THREE
1. There have been constant revelations of illegal activity around contracting in the city of Detroit – what would you recommend we do to protect integrity and cost control in contracting?

2. Michigan’s constitution is a unique document. It establishes means of cooperation between the various levels of government. What are they and what would you do to foster good relationships between city, county of Wayne, and the State Michigan.

3. Have you read the charters of city and county – what are areas of interest you recommend we pursue to strengthen the relationship between Detroit, and Wayne County?

4. Have you read the State law relative to local contracting? Have you read the municipal act which established the powers and duties of cities? What do you recommend we change at the state level on these laws?

5. The city currently has over 15 million dollars being held by the state because of the cities failure to turn in its audit financial report on time. What will you do to insure sound financial practices and efficient financial operations?

6. Wayne County established a parks mileage which set aside funds to improve Historic Fort Wayne. The funds have not been allocated because of the lack of agreement between city council and the county commission. What will you do to facilitate the restoration of Fort Wayne and other family recreation opportunities in the city?


COUNCILWOMAN JOANN WATSON'S ANSWERS



SET ONE
Crime

1. Should the city re-open its crime lab? Yes

2. How do we ensure earnest crime stats and increase case closures? By sampling the results for any potential errors or flaws every three to five cases until a level of proficiency has been achieved.

3. How do we get more officers on the street, given limited resources? Economic stimulus funds and drug forfeiture fund.

4. What role should civilians have with DPD?

5. How do we combat this “anti-snitching” culture? Education, marketing, media, events

City Services

1. What core services should Detroit offer, given its plummeting census? All services offered are 'core'; the city's census should be impacted by re-population as spelled out in the attached Marshall plan

2. What should Detroit do to enhance customer service? 311 does not work, I fought to defund it, and the Mayor re-established the budget. Citizens now call City council to resolve everything bad dogs to illegal dumping because the Mayor's executive staff are non-responsive and the calls go to voice mail. Council must stand together and demand appropriate management or no contracts approved!

3. Public lighting, city airport, GDRRA: what should happen with them? Public lighting should be a source of revenue generation and so should the airport. GDRRA should be dissolved in favor of citywide recycling.

4. Should any services be privatized, and if so, which? No services should be privatized. Privatization does not save money, it only costs precious jobs and galvanizes more blight and poverty as residents become jobless.

5. How can we repopulate Detroit? Access government-owned properties to families in need and families who live elsewhere for a dollar, with three-year waiver on property taxes; this will address vacant housing and neighborhood blight while adding income tax revenue. Also, please not re-population strategies outlined in Marshall plan I sponsored attached, as approved by council.




Taxation

1. What can/should Detroit do to lessen its real property tax rate & better compete? Petition the state legislature to reduce by fifty percent.

2. Should the utility user’s tax be raised? Yes

3. Should the city income tax rate be returned to 3 percent? Yes

4. Is there still a purpose for the city corporate income tax? No

5. Should Michigan embrace regional sales tax? Yes

Education

1. Should the Mayor have control of DPS and if so, why? No

2. Should the Mayor have chartering authority? No

3. What role should charter schools have in city educational delivery? All schools should be held accountable for the delivery of quality education.

4. Should Detroit Public Schools embrace school uniforms? Yes

5. What should become of vacated school buildings? Schools should meet with community and neighborhood groups regarding alternate uses so that the outcome is collaborative.

Regionalism / Economic Development

1. How does Detroit diversify its economy? Rapid transit, renewable energy (water, wind, solar), greening of Detroit, Urban Gardening et. Al. see Marshall Plan attached

2. Is there a place for a regional system of governance? On some issues, like transportation.

3. How do we attract chain grocery stores? By supporting grass roots community coalition efforts to won grocery stores, like a group which meets bi weekly with the owner of Sav-a-lot Store on Conner between Warren and Mack.

4. How do we close the racial divide? By re-building communities with special attention to arts, small businesses, quality schools, capital for entrepreneurs, and support for the integrity of community based, grass roots organizations that meet the needs of citizens.

SET TWO
1. What is the biggest issue the City Council is dealing with right now and how would you resolve this issue?

2. If you could do one thing to make the neighborhoods of Detroit a safe place for everyone to live, what would it be?

3. Where do you see Detroit’s role with regard to inter-modal transportations to the state of Michigan?

4. Would you be willing to consolidate services with local counties/municipalities to save revenues?

5. Is Detroit “green” enough and what should Detroit be doing to make the area greener?

6. How would you begin to strengthen relationships with surrounding communities and the rest of the state?

7. Will you be active in the Detroit Chamber of Commerce?

8. If there are future budget cuts, what will you do to protect and maintain public services?

SET THREE
1. There have been constant revelations of illegal activity around contracting in the city of Detroit – what would you recommend we do to protect integrity and cost control in contracting? Eliminate the pay to play culture by ordinance, policy and practice with tough enforcement and on-going scrutiny of the Auditor General.

2. Michigan’s constitution is a unique document. It establishes means of cooperation between the various levels of government. What are they and what would you do to foster good relationships between city, county of Wayne, and the State Michigan. I believe the State Constitution should become the subject of an all-day orientation between State Legislators, County and local legislators twice a year with hands-on training, and 'best practice' legislative remedies employed.

3. Have you read the charters of city and county – what are areas of interest you recommend we pursue to strengthen the relationship between Detroit, and Wayne County? Yes. I recommend the Wayne County commission and the Detroit City Council confer quarterly on legislative priorities and to establish an agenda amenable to all.

4. Have you read the State law relative to local contracting? Have you read the municipal act which established the powers and duties of cities? What do you recommend we change at the state level on these laws? Many times, as I have tried to un-do the abolition of residency by the State. I believe the State should repeal its ban on residency as a result of homeland security issues; and because the fiscal viability of our city is not healthy when uniformed employees are 40% of the budget and 60% of those uniformed employees are not city residents.

5. The city currently has over 15 million dollars being held by the state because of the cities failure to turn in its audit financial report on time. What will you do to insure sound financial practices and efficient financial operations? I have written a deficit reduction plan for the Mayor to address the chronic tardiness of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report; and to recommend budget cuts at the top; with a special outreach to the Federal Government to address the city's deficit because of the unique history with the auto industry which the feds have bailed out.

6. Wayne County established a parks mileage which set aside funds to improve Historic Fort Wayne. The funds have not been allocated because of the lack of agreement between city council and the county commission. What will you do to facilitate the restoration of Fort Wayne and other family recreation opportunities in the city? Wayne County and The City of Detroit need to meet fact to face and hammer out a resolution to the restoration of Fort Wayne within the next 6 months; and the leaders of both enitites should be charged to execute the reality.





WE WILL KEEP ASKING THE QUESTIONS AFTER THE ELECTION !

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