GOOD MORNING FLINT!
By Terry Bankert
Terry Bankert is a Flint Divorce Lawyer sharing his opinion on local issues.
WHERES THE BEEF! WHERE IS THE NEIGHBORHOOD AGENDA?
Several thoughts struck me when I left the 10/19/09 League of Women Flint City Council Forum [I could only stay for the first of two hours.].
WE HAVE LEFT THE FOXES IN CONTROL OF THE HEN HOUSE AND THEY ARE EATING THE CHICKENS! NOW IS THE TIME FOR YOUR CITIZEN INVOLVEMENT IN FLINT! ITS WORTH FIGHTING FOR.
1. The winners of the November Election get 4 year terms , they will not have to campaign for another 3 years, the 1974 Charter called for 2 years, the council amended it to 4. That’s too long, the council should be returned to two year terms. This will keep the council accountable in the community instead of becoming elite downtown politicians.
2.There seems to be a budding consensus among sitting council people and a block of candidate to throw out two provisions in the current Flint Charter designed to protect the voter, the Ombudsman’s office and the Human Relations Commission. The ombudsman through independent is a creature of the legislative branch. Leadership on the council has opposed the ombudsman office since I held it in ancient times. The people have voted 3 times to keep the office and the council continues to thwart the will of the people by trying to kill it by under funding and trash talking the current incumbent that they appointed. Nuts to them.
3.My gut feeling is that all roads lead to County Executive, by County economic interest who have co-opted city interests through their overreaching influence on the current and wanna be Flint City Council . Specifically I am talking about the Genesee County Regional Chamber of Commerce and its appendage the Downtown Re- Investment (Cabal), sorry Phil. (Phil, you should really talk to me when I spend money in your restaurant.).
These interests are opposed to a strong neighborhood reinvestment strategy. They think a County Executive , elected by the Chamber and Downtown interest , should run the city of Flint.
CANDIDATES AND INCUMBENTS PLACE DOWNTOWN OVER THE NEIGHBORHOODS, THEY GET $ AND SERVCIES. WE GET TRICKLE DOWN
So when you hear council candidate say, eliminate the Flint Ombudsman’s office or eliminate the Human Relations Commission to even get rid of the strong mayor form of government or calling for a Charter Revision Commission you are really are hearing the Flint City Council and candidate parroting the the Downtown vs. Citizens of Flint Interests.
4.In two of these forums, I left early at the last one , I have not heard a clear neighborhood agenda articulated. Granted increased police protection and building demolition clearly are two planks on a neighborhood platform. We need a grass roots, neighborhood group by neighborhood groups process of communication to keep the citizens informed on the issues of charter change. What do you suggest?
[video and pictures to follow here.]
FLINT Wards, 4, 7 and 9 Monday, October 19th, Brennan Community Center- 1301 Pingree St.,,moderator: Gabe Gutierrez, WJRT TV-ABC12 Candidates: 4th Ward -Joshua M. Freeman and Sandy Hill,7th Ward- Denise Smith Allen and Dale K. Weighill,9th Ward- Scott Kincaid and Jeanne R. Reiter
DID YOU KNOW?
ITS YOUR CHARTER, ITS STRONG BUT IMPLIMENTED BY WEAK PEOPLE WITH AN AGENDA FOR UNACCOUNTABILITY AND NO ETHICAL MONITORING.
“CITIZEN INTEREST IN THE EFFECTIVE AND ETHICAL CONDUCT OF CITY BUSINESS IS SERVED BY….THE OFFICE OF OMBUDSMAN AND A STANDARDS OF CONDUCT BOARD.” [cr]
This provision in the flint City Charter is intended to protect us from the politicians that run Flint .
It has intentionally been thwarted by the Flint City Council’s own neglect and calculated intention to destroy the Flint Ombudsman office.
It’s the council job to make the charter work some of them and candidates are saying they are not up to the job! I will quote 2 paragraphs from a 1974 charter revision document.
”Citizen interest is effective and ethical conduct of City business is served by two new measures in the Charter. CRC has created the office of ombudsman and a standards of Conduct Board. The Ombudsman is a City official appointed by 2/3/ vote of the Flint City council for a non-reusable 7 years. The office is intended too check bad or unfair practices in City Administration. The Ombudsman has broad powers of investigation in City Affairs. The officer responds to citizen inquires and may initiate investigations. The ombudsman can only seek information on the failure of city services or suspected misconduct. Prosecution or imposition of penalties must be done in the courts."
"The Standards of Conduct Board oversees the conduct of elected officials and guards against unethical conduct of City Business. There is a Charter section which requires the City Council to enact ordinances in the public interest. These ordinances must prohibit conflict of interest among employees and elected officials and provide for campaign finance disclosures. The standards of conduct board will help employees and officials to conform to the ordinances required in the public interest.””
“The City shall by ordinance, establish a Human Relations Commission charged with the responsibility of reducing unlawful discrimination and increasing mutual understanding among the residents of the city.” Flint City Charter 6-501
ASK YOUR CANDIDATES WHY THEY WANT TO THROW AWAY CITIZEN RIGHTS BY ELIMINATING THE FLINT OMBUDSMANS OFFICE AND THE HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION.
THE FLINT JOURNAL OFFERED EXECLLENT COVERAGE by Kristin Longley at http://blog.mlive.com/flint-city-beat/2009/10/league_of_women_voters_hold_fo.html
Please Read her article, she summarized several of the prepared questions.
Q: What is the most important issue in your ward and in the city? How would you address it?
Q: Does the city charter need either a complete overhaul or any amendments?
I tend to agree with Scott Kincaid now may be the time for a charter revision commission.
But for different reasons.
I would suggest the council impanel a study group , of neighborhood and crime watch group leadership, to advise to the council and the community on deficiencies in the current charter ( is any), the charter commission selection process and to educate the public on the process.
We, you and I, could form this group to begin the work and inform our community.
Work needs to be done before it, Charter Revision, is put on the ballot and if approved followed by an election of candidates. Citizen education first.
The Forums are/were brought to you by Cosponsors: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Zeta Beta Omega Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Flint Alumnae and The League of Women Voters of the Flint Area
The last forum is 10/27/09, 7- 9 p.m. FLINT Wards 5, 6 and 8 Tuesday, October 27th Calvary United Methodist Church, 2111, Flushing Rd. Moderator: Tia Ewing, WNEM-TV5, reporter Candidates: 5th Ward- Bernard Lawler and Lynne Waybright 6th Ward- Sheldon Neeley and J.C. Walker 8th Ward- Ehren Gonzales and Michael J. Sarginson
I will not suggest how you should vote nor tell you how I will.
Ask your candidates about issues like elimination of the Ombudsman’s office.
Make an informed decision.
By Terry Bankert
See [f] http://blog.mlive.com/flint-city-beat/2009/10/league_of_women_voters_hold_fo.html
[c] Flint City Charter http://www.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/Michigan/flint_mi/cityofflintmichigancodeofordinances?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:flint_mi
[cr] 1974 Charter Revision Document
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
GOOD MORNING FLINT!