Politics
4:37 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Race and politics in Detroit financial crisis

Every Thursday we talk Michigan politics with Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, Political Analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service.

We can't ignored Detroit’s fiscal crisis and where things stand right now.

A state financial review team has reported that there is severe financial distress in Detroit. An Ingham County judge ruled the state cannot enter into a consent agreement with the city of Detroit. The judge says that must wait until his March 29 hearing examining whether the review team violated Michigan's Open Meetings
Act, a decision which halts Gov. Rick Synder's plans.

Michigan Radio's Jennifer White asks, why a consent agreement and not an emergency manager for Detroit?

Sikkema says, "From my own stand point and from my own experience  in the legislature working with Detroit is, that's a very volatile situation of the state appointing somebody to essentially take over the city of Detroit. So, it's important I believe and I think the Governor agrees that there be a consent agreement. But it has to be one that has real teeth in it, because if it doesn't and the situation doesn't get solved you eventually could go into bankruptcy anyway."

"Just psychologically to have our biggest city go under like that would be psychologically damaging, and potentially monetarily damaging for very well off communities like Oakland County," says Demas.

She brings up the issue of race in Detroit. "People who live in Detroit and the officials there have a real aversion to the idea of Lansing of the state coming in and taking over their city. And that is a very powerful emotion, and there is a lot of history there. And I don't know in the end if that will be a determining factor but I think it could be."