Detroit’s City Council has finally seen the light. In a monumental 5-4 decision, the latest consent agreement offered by Gov. Snyder establishes a chance for Detroit to solve their decades of fiscal impropriety, a generation of political denial of problems that Detroit has to face before we can look forward to the next version of the 313.
In this decision, there will be a financial advisory board. In this board, there will be political appointments with motive. Both sides get a few votes, and the current iteration of the consent agreement provides Mayor Bing and Governor Snyder with a chance to have their own “Justice Kennedy” on the Detroit advisory bench. While the decision to accept the consent agreement will probably spark a debate about why people have elections, the acknowledgement of the City Council to the consent agreement shows that there is a way for Governor Snyder to get this decision taken care of before families and workers are really put on the chopping block.
Had this gone to bankruptcy court, the costs and damage would not only reduce the city to a demolition project, it would also starve out the surrounding cities, weaken utility infrastructure, and create a domino effect that would’ve eaten more than just Detroit’s jobs.
Had the City Council listened earlier, perhaps even to approach Gov. Snyder before the rhetoric become the foundation for negotiation, the extra time for retrieving Canadian tax scofflaws, or negotiating revenue reparations would’ve been solved long before April.
The only pro-active indivdual in this financial situation was Gov. Snyder. And all the anger and gnashing of Skittles reminded me that Detroit was in a stage of denial, that upstanding members that actually had a job in the City of Detroit were this ridiculous.
For Mayor Bing and the new Council members (both condo and non-condo), it’s fair to give them some latitude compared to the Conyers/Kilpatrick Era. I harbor doubts that all of the money stolen from the D was ever accounted for. And their decision to move forward has left the door open for a real future, not just a husk of old promises and cheap rhetoric that never comes true.
Social media giant Twitter just announced they’re opening an office at the M@dison, and there’s an entire city waiting to be wired to the world, always left behind in the growth of tech, forced to act like other cities in their designs and constructs. Add in those small business tax breaks we passed for this year to the list of entrepreneurs who are developing in downtown Detroit, and you can see why we need to hit the ground running, and keep the rest of Detroit focused on growth, and less time and energy is wasted on legal arguments and protests that ultimately lead back to the same solution.
From this point forward, it’s not a cakewalk. Detroit’s going to have to give up a lot of things, lose more than a few jobs, and set up a really big showdown with the Detroit Public Schools when contracts expire in June.
We’ll still have to endure the politics of an appointment process, the looming cash infusion that will be necessary to keep Detroit operating, and the honest admission to Detroit City workers who will be cut from future budgets.
We’ll see teachers lose pay and benefits, and the entire high school system is poised to divide the bond of teachers and their union.
This was the easy part, Detroit. Now the real work begins, and it will be the most confusing time you’ll ever face. After all, it’s an election year.