Brenda Jones was elected to the Detroit City Council in 2005 on a platform commitment to provide safer streets and increased opportunities for development throughout Detroit. In a recent conversation with the Michigan Chronicle she said she remains devoted to this pledge. She also named the city’s huge budget deficit as the biggest obstacle standing in the way its prosperity.
“I think that there are a lot of things that need to be addressed in the budget, such as the amount of overtime,” said Jones “We spend over 100 million dollars in overtime. Lawsuits also need to be addressed because the city has anywhere between 85 to 125 million dollars worth of lawsuits. And we need to look at the amount of contracts that we are letting out. We just have to control our costs.”
Jones realizes that crime is a major problem for the city of Detroit, but she is a firm believer that economic development and jobs play a huge part in reducing criminal activity.
She also believes that crime can be strategically reduced by providing more recreational centers and positive activities for Detroit youth and senior citizens. And she mentioned that the crime problem is aggravated by the fact that Detroit’s police officers are retiring at the rate of 30 to 40 a month which comes to about 300 to 400 officers a year, and she feels that an improvement and retention plan for Detroit police is essential to maintaining a strong law enforcement presence to fight crime.
She sees a huge leak of city tax revenues and described Detroit as perhaps the only major city in America that does not have electronic tax filing capabilities.
“We don’t know how much money that we are losing in not receiving city income taxes, and if we had e-filing we would have the ability to receive money back.”
Jones wants Detroiters to know that she is determined to work with all segments of the city and that all of communities need to work together.
“And I want to highlight that I’m honest, I have integrity and I am the voice of the citizens of Detroit,” she said.
Steven Malik Shelton is a journalist and human rights advocate. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.