Given the legal confusion surrounding Mayor Kilpatrick’s removal from office — among other issues — the fact that the city charter needs an overhaul is clear to all.
Teola Hunter Ken Harris Jonathan Kinloch
Given the legal confusion surrounding Mayor Kilpatrick’s removal from office — among other issues — the fact that the city charter needs an overhaul is clear to all. Over the next two years, the nine-member commission will work to make the necessary changes.
We believe the best candidates for charter commission are Ken Coleman, Reggie “Reg” Davis, Patty Fedewa, Jenice Mitchell Ford, Freman Hendrix, Teola Hunter, John Johnson, Ken Harris and Jonathan Kinloch.
Coleman would seek input from the citizens concerning what they believe are important issues the charter should address; favors giving teeth to the seven-member ethics board; and cleaning up ambiguous language, making the charter both a stronger document and one that doesn’t take a team of lawyers to figure out.
Hendrix believes the charter should address three key issues: forfeiture when there is a criminal offense; whether to elect the City Council by districts, or by a mixed at-large/by district system, and how it should be structured; and that matters associated with corruption and fraud and integrity and ethics need to be spelled out with much greater detail and force in the charter. To that end, he would favor an independent office of inspector general.
Davis, a youth advocate, believes that reducing crime is essential if Detroit is to improve its tarnished image. He is sure the city can be great again. In addition, he maintains that elected officials must be men and women of integrity, unlike some who have caused the city of Detroit great embarrassment.
Fedewa believes the charter is both too long and lacks clarity. She favors providing teeth to the ethics board; eliminating unenforceable or unnecessary provisions; and including the power to have appointed or elected officials removed if they violate ethical standards as detailed in the charter.
Kinloch favors making the charter’s language clear and concise. He also wants it to spell out the council’s legislative duties, and to ensure transparency, accountability and efficiency in the executive branch.
Harris believes the charter will have a profound economic impact on Detroit and that it allows for small business development opportunities and the creation of more industries.
Ford favors clear language regarding elections, city council, the removal of elected officials when necessary, thefrequency of special elections, the selection of council president, and the extent of the mayoral veto power. She also favors election of council by districts and a critical review of public offices. She also believes all revisions to the charter must be developed after conferring with the public.
Johnson wants procedures concerning forfeiture of office to be clearly defined; favors a mix of three at-large and six district-based council members; giving the council more power; and eliminating or combining some city departments.
Hunter believes the charter should address protecting such Detroit jewels as the DIA, Cobo Hall and Belle Isle. She also favors strengthening the ethics provisions; favors term limits for both the mayor and council; supports looking at department consolidation; and is an advocate for changes to the strong mayor system.
The city’s charter is in urgent need of an overhaul. We urge voters to remember these charter commission candidates on Nov. 3.