Detroit City Council

Politics & Government
7:52 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

At the last minute, Detroit looks for community benefit guarantees with new bridge plan

A depiction of the planned New International Trade Crossing.

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr got the City Council to delay a key vote that paves the way for a new bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor.

The Council was supposed to vote Monday on whether to transfer about 300 city-owned properties to the Michigan Land Bank for $1.4 million as part of the New International Trade Crossing project.

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Law
7:58 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Report: Detroit's elected leaders need policies for future "non-official" interactions with police

The City of Detroit Office of Inspector General says there is ‘Insufficient evidence” that Councilman George Cushingberry abused his position during a January traffic stop.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s elected leaders are being advised to come up with a policy for how to deal with “non-official” interactions with city police officers, after a stop involving a Detroit city councilman.

Last January, Detroit city councilman George Cushingberry's was stopped by a city police officer.

There was marijuana and an empty alcohol bottle in the car. A passenger in the car was a medical marijuana patient and Cushingberry was not given a sobriety test.

Cushingberry entered a guilty plea in March to driving above the speed limit.

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Politics & Government
6:00 am
Fri June 6, 2014

"Grand bargain" moves forward with Detroit City Council vote to transfer DIA assets

Credit via Detroit Institute of Arts

The city of Detroit moved to finalize its end of the “grand bargain” Thursday, as the Detroit City Council voted to transfer the Detroit Institute of Arts’ assets to a public trust.

This week, Lansing lawmakers approved $195 million toward the $816 million grand bargain – a linchpin of Detroit’s bankruptcy restructuring plan.

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Politics & Government
5:42 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Some Detroiters complain about how Belle Isle is policed

Rum-runners bring alcohol across the frozen Detroit River in sleds in 1930.
Detroit News Staff Walter P. Reuther Library

In the 1920's, Belle Isle was a secret port for smuggling alcohol into the U.S. from Canada. The island was teeming with mobsters on little motor boats who brought liquor over by the jug-full. 

Now that Belle Isle is a state park, alcohol is back to being outlawed, and the place is being patrolled by state police and the Department of Natural Resources.

Many Detroiters have complained that the police are unfairly targeting drivers on the island.

According to Joe Guillen of the Detroit Free Press, since becoming a state park earlier this year there have been about 500 arrests. Among those who were pulled over were Detroit's city clerk, and even the city's mayor Mike Duggan. 

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Politics & Government
6:00 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Detroit City Council approves massive property transfer to city land bank

The Detroit Land Bank Authority is a key part of Mayor Mike Duggan's anti-blight efforts.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit City Council has agreed to transfer more than 16,000 city owned properties to Detroit’s land bank authority.

The transfer allows Mayor Mike Duggan’s ambitious blight eradication efforts to move forward.

Duggan wants to use the non-profit land bank as a key tool in the fight against blight.

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Politics & Government
11:20 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Bankruptcy case delays Detroit's usual budget process

Detroit’s bankruptcy case is throwing a wrench in the city’s usual budget process.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan didn’t give his charter-mandated city budget address as scheduled Monday.

Rather, officials told City Council members that Detroit needs to update its plan of adjustment first. That’s the city’s restructuring blueprint for getting through bankruptcy.

Detroit chief financial officer John Hill said that since the plan will shape the city budget, it doesn’t make sense start talking now.

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Politics & Government
6:00 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Detroit gets a new sports and entertainment district, but not without controversy

Governor Snyder signed legislation to create the arena district in late 2012. The Detroit City Council sealed the deal Tuesday.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit City Council has approved a major land deal to create a new hockey arena and entertainment district.

The Council transferred all city-owned land within the 45-block entertainment district’s borders to Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority Tuesday – for just $1.

That Authority will manage the mega-development, along with Olympia Development of Michigan.

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Stateside
4:18 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

How have George Cushingberry's actions affected Detroit?

Detroit City Council President George Cushingberry.
http://www.michiganlcv.org/

When Detroit City Council President Pro-Tem George Cushingberry was stopped by police last month after leaving a northwest Detroit strip club, police found an open glass of alcohol, an empty bottle of booze, a lit marijuana cigarette, and expired vehicle registration.

Far from expressing any acts of contrition, Cushingberry claimed he had been stopped "for driving black." It should, however, be noted that the two officers were African-American and Arab-American.

This has caused many in Detroit to do a collective "facepalm," as in, "Oh no, not again!"

Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley and blogger and author Karen Dumas joined us today to talk about what this all means for the city in practical terms, and in terms of the image of its leadership.

Listen to the full interview above.

Opinion
8:45 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Detroit's City Council might prolong state control

Lessenberry commentary for 1/13/14

If you own a hotel, this is a good week to be in Detroit, where thousands of journalists and auto industry people are flocking to town for the North American International Auto Show.

Hopefully this will bring some good publicity for the city, which badly needs it. Last week was a setback, especially in terms of city government. But I think most people don’t realize how damaging it was. More on this in a moment.

But first, this will be the first time ever that the auto show will be in a Detroit where the mayor is not the most powerful figure. Today, that would be emergency manager Kevyn Orr.

A week ago, we would have figured this was an anomaly, and that next year, Mayor Mike Duggan would be ready to welcome the auto buffs to a normal city where the elected officials were fully in charge. Now, however, that’s not so certain.

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Politics & Government
8:33 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Lessenberry talks Asian carp, the polar vortex and new Detroit leadership

cncphotos flickr

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley talk about a plan to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes, the polar vortex and what the new leadership on Detroit City Council will mean for the city.

Week in Michigan Politics interview

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Opinion
8:37 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Chilling new leadership in Detroit City Council

Lessenberry commentary for 1/7/14

Most people in Detroit yesterday were understandably focused on the bone-chilling cold, on attempts to get the streets cleared of snow, and to get those without heat to warming centers.

But something else happened that sent a chill through those trying to manage the city to a brighter future. The newly elected City Council chose its two top leaders yesterday.

I can tell you that virtually without exception, those trying to remake the city counted on Saunteel Jenkins being elected City Council president. Saunteel knows politics and people.  She came from the mean streets, where her 14-year-old brother was shot dead by someone stealing his jacket.

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Stateside
4:41 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Detroit City Council has a new president

The new Detroit City Council President, Brenda Jones.
Brenda Jones

There was an important vote today as members of Detroit's City Council chose a new leader.

Councilwoman Brenda Jones edged out previous Council president Saunteel Jenkins.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek explains what happened.

*Listen to audio above.

Politics & Government
8:17 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Proposed new Red Wings arena, entertainment district clear more hurdles

Credit Wikipedia

A proposed new hockey arena and entertainment district in Detroit has cleared more hurdles.

The Detroit City Council voted Friday on two measures that will allow the $650 million project to move forward.

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Politics & Government
7:00 am
Fri November 15, 2013

In 'a big surprise' to Detroit leaders, state to pay little for city's restructuring consultants

Detroit’s elected leaders are shocked that the state has put a strict limit on how much it will pay for the city’s many restructuring consultants.

Under a memorandum of understanding signed last year, the state agreed to reimburse Detroit for half the cost of those outside contractors.

But Detroit’s finance director told the City Council Wednesday those reimbursements would be capped at $5 million.

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Newsmaker Interview
5:36 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

A fresh face on Detroit City Council

Raquel Castaneda-Lopez, newly elected Detroit City Council member.
raquel4citycouncil.org Facebook

Raquel Castaneda-Lopez is the newest member to the Detroit  City Council representing District 6 in Southwest Detroit,​ which includes the largest concentration of Hispanic voters in the city.  Lopez gained political experience running state Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s campaign in 2008. She has worked with non-profit groups for years with a focus on youth programs in disadvantaged communities.

Lopez says she want to keep the focus on the needs of her constituents - safety and access to city services for example. 

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Politics & Government
8:41 am
Sat October 26, 2013

Detroit City Council has no alternative to $350M loan plan to pay off city's debt

Downtown Detroit (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The Detroit City Council has decided not to push an alternative to a $350 million loan designed to help the city pay off some of its massive pension debt.

Council members on Friday discussed the competing plan to the post-bankruptcy petition financial proposal engineered by state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr.

About $230 million from Barclays would be used to fully pay off a complicated pension debt deal involving two major creditors. The rest would be used to improve basic city services.

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Politics & Government
9:14 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Detroit Council hopes to send message by rejecting loan proposal

The Detroit City Council has rejected a $350 million loan deal secured by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.

Orr announced the deal with the British financial giant Barclays earlier this month.

The plan was to use most of the money—about $230 million—to pay off two banks who profited from a bad interest rate swaps deal Detroit made on some pension debt years ago.

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Politics & Government
8:32 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Detroit City Council rejects Belle Isle lease, offers its own proposal

Belle Isle beach in July
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit City Council has rejected a proposal to lease Belle Isle to the state. But the Council is also putting forth its own, alternative lease deal.

Governor Snyder and emergency manager Kevyn Orr already signed a 30-year lease deal last month.

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Politics & Government
3:54 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

State and Detroit officials strike tentative deal to lease Belle Isle

Beach-goers at Belle Isle in July.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan has signed a deal to lease Detroit’s Belle Isle.

Governor Snyder and emergency manager Kevyn Orr have both approved the plan.

The state won’t pay anything for the 30-year deal, which has two 15-year renewal options.

But the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will run Belle Isle as a state park, saving Detroit an estimated $4 million a year in maintenance costs.

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Environment & Science
11:47 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Detroit officials may collaborate with goats to solve landscaping issues

Solving Detroit's urban landscaping issues, one blade of grass at a time
user: eviltomthai Flickr

When things get tough, Detroit City Councilman James Tate digs deeper.

He (at the suggestions of residents) might have a way to maintain Detroit's miles of vacant lots. 

At tomorrow's city council meeting, he'll talk about the possibility of allowing goats and sheep to graze on tall grasses. 

According to MLive, Tate is bringing in a grazing expert to speak at the meeting. 

"Urban cities are doing this all across the country and having absolutely no issues, whatsoever," Tate said. Allowing the animals into neighborhoods could require changes to the city's urban agriculture ordinance.

Chicago recently used goats (some of whom are named Cream Puff, Orca, and Nugget) to clear invasive plants from a park. 

The grazing expert, according to MLive, was also involved in a similar livestock endeavor in Cleveland. The Cleveland project used sheep -- and one llama -- to maintain a vacant lot. The project received a $2,000 grant from Charter One's Growing Communities program. 

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