Friday, June 28, 2013

City Council Candidates Appear at WACO Meeting

The Five City Council Candidates for the 7th District Appear  at a Meeting of the Warren Avenue Community Organization
Photo by Frank Nemecek

The Warren Avenue Community Organization, which represents that portion of the Warrendale neighborhood that is east of the Southfield Freeway, hosted each of the candidates for City Council. These candidates seek to represent the 7th district, which includes all of Warrendale as well as some of the surrounding neighborhoods.

John Bennett began his introduction by talking about his family, his experience as a Detroit police officer, and trying to grow Detroit. He argued that the City of Detroit cannot cut it's way out of budget problems. He also proposed entering into an intergovernmental agreement with other law enforcement agencies so that they could supplement what the Detroit Police Department does.

Rob Bennett, who isn't related to John Bennett, talked about his experience as a D-DOT bus driver and an Inkster police officer. Both he and John Bennett talked about how they would like to see a dedicated source of revenue for public safety.

As a related note, I should point out that the City of Detroit once had a dedicated source of revenue for public safety. It was the utility tax, which later went into the general fund and will soon be the primary source of revenue for public lighting. My personal belief is that, rather that pursuing another dedicated revenue stream that may or may not get sucked into the morass of abysmal accounting that is the City of Detroit, it would be much better if we instead tried any of the dozens of suggestions I've offered on this blog to save money without cutting services. Examples of those suggestions are available here, here, and here.

But I digress.

Dustin Campbell talked about his experience at many different levels, having worked at the city, county, and state levels. He also talked about the importance of keeping the lines of communication open with resident and came out against privatization of city devices.

Gabe Leland talked about experience as a state legislator, representing a district with boundaries that are almost identical to our current City Council district. His top priorities, if elected, would be to better deal with crime in Detroit, fighting blight in our neighborhoods, upgrading out street lights, and improving our parks.

Interestingly, Gabe Leland also talked about cutting the City Council's staff. He said that when he was a state legislator, he represented roughly the same population, but did so with less than half the staff that the City Council currently has. I've been following Detroit politics for a couple of decades now and I don't think I've heard a City Council candidate propose cutting their own staff.

Regina Ross talked about her history in Detroit and working together as a community. One of the things that she proposed was bringing the Michigan National Guard into Detroit to help demolish some of the blighted properties in the neighborhoods.

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