Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2006 Council By District? Previous Next
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Ilovedetroit
Member
Username: Ilovedetroit

Post Number: 2165
Registered: 02-2005
Posted From: 24.172.45.2
Posted on Thursday, March 23, 2006 - 6:51 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

This is being discussed in another thread and I am curious to hear pro/cons on this subject. I must confess that I am torn - there are days when I think it might be good and days when it might not be so good.

Starter Pro
1. Break up council by popular vote based on name.
We will see more CC members based on their job performance by where they live.

Cons
1. You may get someone really bad and be stuck with them for 4 years - who will have incentive to help you then?

OR do we have seven by district and 2 at large?

Curious to hear pros and cons. I am leaning towards by district. thoughts?
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Hamtramck_steve
Member
Username: Hamtramck_steve

Post Number: 2825
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.209.177.70
Posted on Thursday, March 23, 2006 - 8:33 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Con -

Under the current charter, only the mayor is in control of administrative functions.

This means that if trash pickup is late, slow nonexistent or otherwise unacceptable, council's only solution is to allocate more money for it.

The mayor is the only person, through his appointed department head, in control of how exactly that money is spent, how the routes are devised, etc.

Simply electing councilmembers by district won't be the panacea that everyone thinks it would be.
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Angry_dad
Member
Username: Angry_dad

Post Number: 44
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 71.227.49.60
Posted on Thursday, March 23, 2006 - 8:41 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Is the current method the best?

There is absolutely nothing stopping all council members from living on the same block. Heaven help those that don't live near by.

It's like the people living in California electing the Senator from Alaska. Detroit loses under the current system. And as Ham Steve says, "everybody thinks it would be". Too bad the current members don't want any change. Whatever happened to the will of the people?
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The_aram
Member
Username: The_aram

Post Number: 4738
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 141.213.175.233
Posted on Thursday, March 23, 2006 - 8:44 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


quote:

You may get someone really bad and be stuck with them for 4 years - who will have incentive to help you then?




Take a big fat look at the current system. This wouldn't exactly be a new problem.
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Lmichigan
Member
Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 3418
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 67.172.95.197
Posted on Thursday, March 23, 2006 - 10:14 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There is a compromise, you know. Here in Lansing, we elect four council persons "at large," and we elected the other four out of the city's four wards, so you have an equal mix of the 8 total.

I'd love to see this replicated in Detroit, if only as an test run. Seriously, what could it hurt?
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Jimaz
Member
Username: Jimaz

Post Number: 531
Registered: 12-2005
Posted From: 68.2.191.57
Posted on Thursday, March 23, 2006 - 10:22 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Test runs are good. Hard to evaluate, but good.
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Gildas
Member
Username: Gildas

Post Number: 493
Registered: 12-2004
Posted From: 69.216.99.147
Posted on Thursday, March 23, 2006 - 11:01 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Having a politician accountable to a defined voter area, I'm all for it, dont see any downside.
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Lmichigan
Member
Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 3421
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 67.172.95.197
Posted on Thursday, March 23, 2006 - 11:13 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I don't think those oppossed see any downside, rather is it worth the upheavel of the system? Will it produce enough significant change to be worthwhile? I think it's a fair question. Personally, I like how many city finds the compromise of electing half at large and half by district. What it does is give each corner of the city a voice, and then leaves four up for grabs that can be from anywhere. At large memembers have proven to give the downtown a separate voice of its own that it may not have, seeing as how it may lie in our 4th Ward, but most 4th Ward candidates come from the the larger voting block on the southwest side, which along with downtown is included in the 4th Ward.

What proponents have to be careful of is thinking that this is some kind of silver bullet, and will automatically solve most of the city's problems.

(Message edited by lmichigan on March 23, 2006)
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Bvos
Member
Username: Bvos

Post Number: 1334
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 66.238.170.34
Posted on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 12:03 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I don't think anyone (at least I hope no one) sees any one thing as a "silver bullet" for Detroit anymore. Folks are starting to/have realized that it is an accumulation of things in many different sectors that will create a better Detroit.

I for one am in favor of a 6 district 2 at-large set up or a similar ratio. The at-large folks don't seem to do much of anything and are just names. It's the folks at the district level who will be more approachable and have to prove their worth every election season.

One downside of a ward/district system is that it is prone to more corruption than an at-large systems. It's not uncommon for ward based council members in other cities to get kick-backs for helping with zoning variances, contracts, etc.
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Danindc
Member
Username: Danindc

Post Number: 1361
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 67.100.158.10
Posted on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 1:35 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The one thing a ward system does ensure, though, is a relatively equal representation of viewpoints, which becomes more important the more diverse the city is. A huge issue we've had in the District is that people who live East of the River feel left out of the gentrification of the rest of the city. They don't see the benefits in their neighborhoods. So, the people in Ward 8 can elect a guy like Marion Barry who will speak up for them, whereas in a completely at-large system, he may have been marginalized. Not a perfect system, but just a thought.
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Jams
Member
Username: Jams

Post Number: 2979
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.79.164.157
Posted on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 1:45 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What safeguards should be put in place to be put in place to prevent wards from becoming private fiefdoms?

That is why the City Charter of 1918 went to an at-large system. The corruption in the ward system became intolerable.
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Ilovedetroit
Member
Username: Ilovedetroit

Post Number: 2167
Registered: 02-2005
Posted From: 66.192.63.5
Posted on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 3:34 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

A friend of mine in Chicago says that the ward system they have is imperfect as well. If your councilperson does not personally like you then you are out of luck and there is really no one to appeal to. Interesting conversations.
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Dialh4hipster
Member
Username: Dialh4hipster

Post Number: 1498
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 68.250.205.35
Posted on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 4:31 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

On the flip side, a friend of mine in Chicago says aldermen there tend to fight and fight hard to get and foster development in their ward. It's been extremely beneficial for the neighborhoods of Chicago to have an advocate specifically for them.
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Susanarosa
Member
Username: Susanarosa

Post Number: 770
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 208.39.170.77
Posted on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 4:37 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


quote:

One downside of a ward/district system is that it is prone to more corruption than an at-large systems. It's not uncommon for ward based council members in other cities to get kick-backs for helping with zoning variances, contracts, etc.




Yeah, the current system sure fixed that problem...
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Ilovedetroit
Member
Username: Ilovedetroit

Post Number: 2168
Registered: 02-2005
Posted From: 24.172.45.2
Posted on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 6:40 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yeah Hipster I can see that to as a pro. And Susanarosa is right to we have the only CC person who took sausage for a bribe haha
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Lmichigan
Member
Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 3427
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 67.172.95.197
Posted on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 8:06 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

That Chicago problem can be easily fixed, again, if you have some of council elected by district and some elected at large. If your wards councilperson doesn't like you, than you can go to the at large members. Another reason I support the idea of wards for a city as large as Detroit (with at large members, as well) is that of something like the 20 largest cities in the country, I believe there is only one other city that elects all of its council persons at large. That may not mean a lot, but it does make one wonder if that has been part of the problem.
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Hamtramck_steve
Member
Username: Hamtramck_steve

Post Number: 2829
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.209.177.70
Posted on Saturday, March 25, 2006 - 9:03 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

In Chicago, who has day-to-day control over the administrative functions, who do department heads report to, the council or the mayor?

All the district-based council people in the world won't make a hill of beans if they can not give direction to department heads.
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Danny
Member
Username: Danny

Post Number: 3845
Registered: 02-2004
Posted From: 141.217.173.176
Posted on Saturday, March 25, 2006 - 11:47 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Council By District? BAD IDEAL!!! It's like selecting an alderman for a ward system.
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Goat
Member
Username: Goat

Post Number: 8310
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 67.71.57.185
Posted on Saturday, March 25, 2006 - 12:49 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Jams, a city Manager would help a great deal in combating the "fiefdoms" that may emerge. Windsor has had it and there has yet to be any fiefdoms here.
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Llyn
Member
Username: Llyn

Post Number: 1482
Registered: 06-2004
Posted From: 68.61.197.206
Posted on Saturday, March 25, 2006 - 12:52 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I don't think it's the same thing at all as aldermen.

And the advantage is that with fewer people selecting, the voters would get to know that person better and we'd have less of the big name recognition votes.

Without implying good or bad about the merits of these particular past and present council members, this means that people would be less likely to get elected on the basis of whether they were in Beverly Hills Cop or sang for Motown, and more likely to be elected on character and issues.

(Message edited by llyn on March 25, 2006)
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Llyn
Member
Username: Llyn

Post Number: 1483
Registered: 06-2004
Posted From: 68.61.197.206
Posted on Saturday, March 25, 2006 - 12:54 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Goat, can you give us some details on how the City Manager system works and has that kind of impact in Windsor? Thanks.
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Hamtramck_steve
Member
Username: Hamtramck_steve

Post Number: 2832
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.209.177.70
Posted on Saturday, March 25, 2006 - 1:27 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The city manager form of government means that all administrative duties are given to a city manager, who is hired and fired by the city council. The mayor's duties can vary. In Hamtramck, the mayor is now sort of a member of council, chairing the meetings and voting only in the case of a tie.
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Eric
Member
Username: Eric

Post Number: 386
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 35.11.210.161
Posted on Saturday, March 25, 2006 - 1:47 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Typically in that system the council hires a city manager there is a mayor with only ceremonial dutues. The council-manager sysytem tends work better in smaller cities it's rare in big cities. The problem is that they can hire/fire the manager on a whim and there tends to be political conflict in big cites

As for Chicago it seems deparment heads report to the mayor. I disagree that wouldn't make a difference. At least you lives where you live working you. If your council can't influence changes you can't at least point to one person for the blame

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L aw_and_government_of_Chicago

From the City of Chicago website


quote:

As the legislative body of the city, the City Council usually meets once every month to exercise general and specific powers delegated by state statute.

The City Council votes on all proposed loans, grants, bond issues, land acquisitions and sales, zoning changes, traffic control issues, mayoral appointees, and other financial appropriations.

Its 19 standing committees work with individual departments on the execution of city activities, and review proposed ordinances, resolutions and orders before they are voted on by the full council.


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Lmichigan
Member
Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 3432
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 67.172.95.197
Posted on Sunday, March 26, 2006 - 12:01 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

That's exactly how Lansing's government works, as well.
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Quickdrawmcgraw
Member
Username: Quickdrawmcgraw

Post Number: 53
Registered: 10-2005
Posted From: 63.77.247.130
Posted on Monday, March 27, 2006 - 11:41 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thank you E for providing information on how Chicago's ward system works. I still say we need a ward system that allows people who live in areas where they feel they have a vote in positioning someone who share similiar views on what is needed in one's area. This gives a potential advantage for smaller minority enclaves to have representation (i.e. Latinos in SW Detroit).

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