Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Cobo Question

The Detroit City Council voted yesterday to appoint a special counsel who will challenge Interim Mayor Kenneth V. Cockrel, Jr.'s veto of a resolution disapproving of the proposed Cobo deal. This court case will resolve - eventually - the fundamental question of whether or not Mr. Cockrel had the legal authority to veto such a resolution.

Some folks who don't live in Detroit, or who live inside of a gated community, are excited about Mr. Cockrel's veto.

The majority of attorneys that I've talked to have told me that - with the way the Michigan Legislature structured the Cobo deal - Mr. Cockrel did not have such an authority. Some of have even gone on to argue privately that he reasonably should have known that he didn't have said authority.

In that context, one could argue that his veto was really little more than a show to protect Mr. Cockrel's only accomplishment in advance of the May special election, which will determine whether or not he gets to keep his job.

However, it's also possible that I hang out with attorneys who are too cynical for their own good.

The Third Circuit Court will eventually make its ruling on this matter. Once they do, a prolonged series of challenges will likely ensue. This essentially guarantees that both the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court will have an opportunity to opine on this matter.

I'm confident that the courts will resolve this question. It will take some time, of course. However, I'm confident that they will weigh all sides of the argument and come to an appropriate decision.

In the meantime, I wonder about one thing: since the Cobo quandary started two weeks ago, it is estimated that more than 7,000 police emergency calls to Detroit's 9-1-1 system went without a response. This represents 7,000 instances in which the leadership of the Detroit Police Department failed its basic mission, which is to serve and protect.

Neither Mr. Cockrel nor the City Council have done anything to address this problem.
  • No discussions about how police resources are allocated;
  • No action to improve DPD staffing levels - either civilian or uniformed;
  • No action to improve compensation, training or retention among police officers; and
  • No action to improve DPD's infrastructure needs other than a few mini-stations, which have already proven to be ineffective.
And none of the media outlets have reported on this.

What court should those 7,000 Detroiters file their lawsuit in?

Former Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick filed a $100 million lawsuit against SkyTel for violating his right to privacy. Where do Detroiters file our $100 million lawsuit for violating our right to have a functioning government?
Post a Comment