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Detroit City Council

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

A Detroit City Council committee heard some passionate pleas for tighter rules on city landlords and their rental properties Monday.

Renters’ advocates and neighborhood groups said it’s past time to tighten up the city’s rental property, ordinance especially now that Detroit has moved from a majority-homeowner to a majority-renter city.

The proposed new rules would amend an existing city ordinance, which city leaders admit has not been well enforced in recent years.

Ex-state Senator Virgil Smith, Jr.
senatedems.com

The Michigan appeals court won't stop a former state lawmaker from seeking a seat on the Detroit City Council.

Virgil Smith had agreed not to seek elective office for five years when he pleaded guilty to shooting at his ex-wife's car. But that part of the deal was thrown out by a judge, who said it was unconstitutional.

In a 2-1 decision Tuesday, the appeals court says the judge made the right call. Judges Deborah Servitto and Michael Kelly say it would be "coercion" to allow prosecutors to try to negotiate a politician's future as part of a plea deal.

An artists' vision of Little Caesars Arena.
Olympia Entertainment

The Detroit Pistons are one step closer to playing downtown again.

Despite backlash from some residents, Detroit city council has approved $34.5 million in bonds so the Pistons can move into the Little Caesars Arena downtown.

Some Detroiters are unhappy with the deal because the bonds are taxpayer funded with money originally intended for schools and parks. 

Council President Brenda Jones was one of two members to vote no on the bonds.

Security camera
MorgueFile

A proposed city ordinance looks to increase safety for Detroit businesses that serve customers after 10 p.m.

City Councilman Andre Spivey wants to require those businesses to join Project Green Light. That is an initiative that allows police officers to monitor video camera feeds in real time.

Project Green Light is currently just a voluntary program.

“It won’t end all crime, but just a tool that [Detroit Police Department] could use to help fight crime and to apprehend individuals who may perform a crime,” he said.

raquel4citycouncil.org / Facebook

There’s no sign that Detroit will change any of its immigrant-friendly policies as a result of Donald Trump’s election, according to one City Council member who has helped spearhead some of them.

Detroit is a self-designated “sanctuary city.” Those cities offer limited protections to undocumented immigrants.

Trump has pledged to cancel federal funding to all sanctuary cities during his first 100 days in office.

But Detroit City Council member Raquel Castañeda Lopez said there are no plans to change anything—yet.

Detroit's new Red Wings arena under construction.
Rick Briggs / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Detroiters may get to choose between two, competing ballot proposals in November.

Both lay out a process for negotiating community benefits agreements with developers of large, publicly-subsidized projects.

Community benefits can range from job opportunities to health and safety protections. Such agreements are sometimes touted as a way to make sure neighborhood residents see gains from big development in their midst.

flickr user Bernt Rostad / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Detroit is joining the growing list of U.S. cities that issue municipal ID cards to residents.

The Detroit City Council approved an ordinance that sets up a city-issued ID program Tuesday.

“It is the city's intent that municipal identification cards will provide residents with an additional means of proving their residency in the citv for purposes of accessing citv programs, services, and activities, and providing identification to law enforcement,” the ordinance states.

City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says the city’s budget is balanced for a third straight year.

Duggan laid that budget out for the Detroit City Council Thursday.

Right now, Detroit must stick within strict limits laid out in its post-bankruptcy financial plan when it comes to the just-over-$1 billion general fund budget.

But Duggan says if it can stay true to this next budget, state oversight should ease up.

The Detroit City Council
Michigan United

The Detroit City Council voted Tuesday to restore full power to the city's board of police commissioners.

The civilian police oversight board was stripped of its power while Detroit was under emergency management in 2013.

Prior to that, the board had the final say in matters of employee discipline and played a role in shaping department policies and procedures.

Doug Coombe

Every Sunday during the spring and summer months, you can swing by John’s Carpet House in Detroit, and hear some of the best local blues musicians jam for free. But John's Carpet House is not a house, it's actually a field, located in an area called Poletown, where I-75 and I-94 meet.

The music happens all day long, as a roster of musicians rotate on and off the tiny stage that’s set up in a grassy area.

The Detroit City Council is expected to vote on a medical pot shop ordinance in the coming weeks.

It would create zoning, licensing, and inspection guidelines for marijuana dispensaries.

The ordinance has been introduced, and is going through the Council's committee process.

Wikipedia

The Detroit City Council could consider an ordinance to regulate medical pot dispensaries this month.

Council member James Tate says Detroit is experiencing an “oversaturation” of dispensaries, and that city leaders need to do something.

Jim Wallace / flickr

After several postponements, the Detroit City Council has voted to approve the first step in a controversial land swap deal.

Detroit will receive almost five acres and $3 million from the Detroit International Bridge Company, which owns the Ambassador Bridge.

The Detroit City Council has reversed course and agreed to hike the city’s water and sewerage rates.

The Council voted 5-4 to approve a 7.5% increase Tuesday, after voting it down last month.

Jim Wallace / Flickr

The Detroit City Council Tuesday pushed back a vote on a major land deal backed by Mayor Mike Duggan until next week.

Some Council members have lingering concerns about a proposed land swap with the Detroit International Bridge Company. They’re still waiting on state reports and legal opinions concerning some key elements of the deal.

University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment

The Detroit City Council is set to vote on a riverfront land deal heavily touted by Mayor Mike Duggan today.

But some council members say there are too many unanswered questions about a key part of it.

Kate Boicourt / IAN

The Detroit City Council will reconsider whether to raise the city’s water rates, after the state treasurer warned that could trigger greater state oversight of the city’s finances.

via Facebook

The Detroit City Council voted down a proposed jump in water rates Tuesday — and that means city officials have to figure out what to do now.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department says it needs the roughly $27 million that 7.5% rate hike would have provided.

fireworks
Wikicommons

The Detroit City Council has rejected efforts to impose a four-day youth curfew preceding the city’s fireworks festival.

The annual fireworks are coming up this Monday, and there’s usually a curfew. This year, Detroit Police had asked to expand it to the three Detroit Riverdays preceding the fireworks.

The proposal drew some heated criticism at a public hearing Tuesday.

Detroit police propose fireworks curfew expansion

Jun 4, 2015
Vito Palmisano

The Detroit Police Department wants to extend a curfew for kids during the city's annual River Fest and fireworks this month.

Minors would have to be off the streets by 6 p.m. for four days this year instead of one, unless they're on the sidewalk outside their own home.

Detroit City Council
Detroit City Council / Facebook

The Detroit bankruptcy is over, and now Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones and City Clerk Janice Winfrey want pay raises.

The request came just about the time city pensioners started feeling the cuts to their health care and pensions exacted by the Detroit bankruptcy.

Saunteel Jenkins / LinkedIn

Detroit's City Council is re-interviewing two finalists for an open seat, after failing to reach a super-majority of votes as required by the city's charter.   

A city council seat has been open since November 7, when Councilwoman Saunteel Jenkins resigned to take over a non-profit group in Detroit.

Dennis Allain Renderings

The Detroit City Council has postponed a key vote for the city’s new hockey arena.

Developer Olympia Entertainment asked Council to delay re-zoning for the new Detroit Red Wings arena, slated to open in 2017. Olympia is the development arm of businesses run by the Ilitch family, owners of the Red Wings.

Detroit City Council member Saunteel Jenkins is resigning.

Jenkins was first elected to Council in 2009. She was re-elected in 2013 as one of two at-large members on a now mostly district-based Council.

Jenkins finished her first term serving as Council President, after Charles Pugh abandoned the post. She sought the post again this term, but lost a close internal vote to current President Brenda Jones.

The Detroit City Council is considering an ordinance to ensure “community benefits” come with future large development projects—but it’s drawing some fierce pushback.

The so-called “urban development agreement” has been in the works for more than a year.

It would make sure large-scale developments offer some guaranteed benefits (like jobs for local residents and city-based contractors) and protections (like safeguards for displaced residents and the environment) to host communities.

The city of Detroit wrapped up its case in bankruptcy court today, with Detroit’s two top elected officials as the final witnesses.

Mayor Mike Duggan and City Council President Brenda Jones both took the stand.

Their testimony is key, because the city needs to convince Judge Steven Rhodes that its proposed plan of adjustment is feasible—and that city leaders will work together to execute it post-bankruptcy.

Jones had publicly opposed emergency manager Kevyn Orr, and his decision to file for bankruptcy.

user memories_by_mike / Flickr

This Week in Review, Jack 
Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss the latest polls for Michigan’s governor and U.S.Senate races, Detroit’s decision to keep emergency manager Kevyn Orr on board for now, and the latest scandal with Aramark, the state’s food services provider.

Yesterday Detroit’s City Council made a decision so sane, sensible and rational it may have left some flabbergasted.

The council voted unanimously to transfer power for all day-to-day decisions back to the city’s elected leadership.

But at the same time, emergency manager Kevyn Orr will remain on the job for issues having to do with Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy case. That trial is still going on in federal court in Detroit, proceedings that may continue three more weeks.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr has joined private, ongoing talks between Mayor Mike Duggan and the Detroit City Council about his future.

Under Michigan’s emergency manager law, the City Council could vote to remove Orr this week – but only if Duggan and Gov. Rick Snyder agree.

The parties have been meeting in closed session since Tuesday to discuss a transition plan. No one has been willing to speak publicly about those discussions.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit City Council has rejected a proposal to transfer thousands of city-owned properties to the Detroit land bank.

The resolution, put forward by Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr, would move up to 45,000 tax-reverted properties to the Detroit land bank.

And it would have moved all such properties the city acquires in the future directly to the land bank, bypassing the Council entirely.

Council members bristled at that last portion of the deal. They rejected the measure unanimously.

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