Michiganders went to the polls yesterday and elected mayors in three large cities, recalled a Republican state lawmaker and voted for a new city charter for Detroit. We spoke this morning with Michigan Radio's Political Analyst Jack Lessenberry about what the election results mean for the state.
Detroit voters overwhelmingly approved a new city charter. The charter changes the structure of the Detroit City Council by creating a new system where the majority of Council members are elected by district. The charter also creates a new Office of the Inspector General to investigate corruption, fraud, and waste. An elected charter commission had spent the past two years putting together the proposal.
Dayne Walling celebrated his win last night with jubilant supporters. But they all knew that earlier in the day, Governor Snyder accepted a report that said the city of Flint is in a financial emergency. The governor is expected to appoint an emergency manager to run the city. Flint officials could appeal the decision. But Walling says he’s prepared to work with a manager appointed by the governor.
Benton HarborMayoral Race
In Benton Harbor, City Commissioner James Hightower narrowly beat incumbent Mayor Wilce Cooke. “Cooke is likely to challenge the results, which came in 681 to 673, a difference of 8 votes. The state appointed an emergency manger to take over the city’s finances during Cooke’s second term as mayor,” Lindsey Smith reports.
Jackson Mayoral Race
In Jackson, Democrat Martin Griffin will become the city’s next mayor after defeating incumbent Mayor Karen Dunigan. Griffin has had the job before, he was Jackson's mayor from 1995-2006.
Lansing residents have voted to increase their taxes to pay for public safety. The Lansing State Journal reports that the millage would generate more than $7 million in the first year for police, fire services, and road maintenance.
Ann Arbor Millage and City Council
In Ann Arbor, voters approved a tax increase to pay for future sidewalk repairs and renewed the city’s street millage for another five years. The new sidewalk millage will cost the average homeowner in Ann Arbor about $13 a year. Voters also returned four incumbents to City Council. However, in Ward 2, Independent Jane Lumm beat incumbent Stephen Rapundalo.