Detroit Consent Agreement: Opposition Still Simmering

Opponents of Detroit's consent agreement with the state of Michigan made a last-ditch effort Monday to get City Council to reverse their vote on the measure, which puts the city under state oversight.

In a 5-4 vote last week, Council approved the agreement, which creates a nine-person financial advisory board to manage the city's budget.

Representatives of Concerned Citizens For Democracy, a coalition of groups that includes Occupy Detroit, Rainbow-PUSH, AFSCME, ministers and a mix of African-American sororities and fraternities, spoke before Council Monday morning to request the body change their earlier decision.

Elena Herrada, a Detroit School Board member and member of the coalition, addressed Council during its morning public comment session.

"We are here. We are not giving up, and I hope we have full reconsideration of the vote that was so damaging to the people last week," she said.

According to David Whitaker, director of Detroit City Council's Research and Analysis Department, the body has until the close of business Monday to reconsider their vote for the consent agreement.

Members of the coalition spoke with Council Member James Tate and Pro Tem Gary Brown at a committee meeting, hoping to sway Tate. Both men originally voted in favor of the consent agreement, and neither indicated a willingness to change his vote.

Valerie Glenn, a spokeswoman for Concerned Citizens For Democracy, said even if the consent agreement stays in place the coalition will continue it watchdog efforts.

"We will continue to look after the democratic rights of the people of Detroit and speak up for the people and let them know their rights," she said.

Coalition members plan to do this by holding elected officials who voted for the consent agreement accountable for their actions, as well as by monitoring the state's handling of the ballot initiative to repeal Public Act 4.

"Public Act 4, the consent agreement and the future of Detroit are inextricably tied right now," said coalition member Russ Bellant of the broad efforts to oppose state intervention.

Concerned Citizens For Democracy will hold a 6 p.m. action meeting Wednesday at 1515 Broadway, Detroit to discuss the next phase of their opposition.