Matt Erard for Downtown Detroit Citizens' District Council (2011)

ISSUES

Written By: admin

If elected to the Downtown Detroit Citizens’ District Council on April 5th, I plan to propose and support implementation of the following measures to the greatest feasible extent during the course of my three year term in office. Correspondingly, I also greatly look forward to adding new proposals and changes to this list, in reflection of additionally congruent proposals and ideas expressed by other CDC members and Downtown District residents.

DEMOCRATIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT THAT WORKS FOR WORKING PEOPLE

  • City funding for the development of community-owned and cooperatively run grocery stores in all areas where needed.
  • Support the continued development of community-based and educationally-centered urban agriculture, while limiting authorized agricultural appropriations of city-owned land to non-profit community organizations and/or worker-cooperative-based businesses.
  • Complete restoration and further expansion of the city’s 24 hour warming centers for the homeless during cold and winter months, so that at least one 24 hour warming center is available within each main divisional section of the city.
  • City funding/sponsorship of community food banks for the hungry.
  • Elimination of the city’s nearly $137 million annual handout in city grants and tax breaks to private for-profit corporations.
  • Elimination of the Detroit Downtown Development Authority and re-direction of its financial budget toward municipal public works projects and services addressing social and community needs.
  • Opposition to the abuse of zoning restrictions for the primary purpose of preserving or expanding residential gentrification or displacement.
  • Opposition to the appropriation of public treasury funds for proposed development projects that are intended to serve a primarily private, for-profit interest/benefit.
  • Opposition to any measure serving to reduce the availability of affordable downtown living options for low-income city residents.
  • Expansion of curbside recycling to all city residences and locations where trash pick-up is conducted.
  • Immediate decommissioning of Detroit’s trash incinerator.
  • Exercise of eminent domain to take municipal ownership and control of DTE Energy’s three Detroit-based power plants, as well as the entirety of its Detroit Edison transmission infrastructure.
  • City funding for the expansion of internet access to city residents, including the development of 24-hour computer labs and freely connectible wireless networks in city neighborhoods.

— PUTTING DETROIT BACK TO WORK WITH DIGNITY

  • City funding for the renovation and re-opening of closed factories and commercial storefronts under social ownership and worker control.
  • Enactment of a city-wide living wage ordinance, set at least $16/hr ($33,280 a year); coupled with a  maximum wage/salary of no more than ten times the minimum.
  • Support the development of a major public works program to rebuild our city and communities, while exploring all available avenues for eliciting federal, state, and county level project support, in coordination with other municipalities.
  • Establishment of a 100% capital flight tax on any corporate employer that attempts to cut labor or regulatory costs by moving its operations out of the city.

— EXPANDING SAFE AND EFFICIENT ACCESS TO TRAVEL

  • Full support for the development of the Woodward Light Rail and the Ann Arbor-to-Detroit Regional Rail Project.
  • Resumption of the originally intended expansion of Detroit’s People Mover, as a city- and metro-wide light-rail transit system.
  • Defense and expansion of the Detroit Department of Transportation’s service budget, including the establishment of 24-hour city bus service.
  • Continued development of new greenways, pedestrian/bicycle paths, and other open park and recreation spaces, and further expansion/linkage of greenways and open spaces where feasible.

— PROTECTING QUALITY AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING

  • Establishment of rent-control for all new and existing rental housing units, including all residential apartments, condominiums, lofts, and extended-stay motel rooms.
  • Organization of a Downtown District tenants’ union, fully empowered to conduct negotiations and rent strikes over downtown area rental rates, leasing policies, and housing conditions.
  • Mandatory hiring of under-/unemployed Detroit city residents for all housing rehabilitation and neighborhood revitalization projects initiated and financed by the Detroit Land Bank Commission, rather than continuing to outsource such project labor to corporate subcontractors.
  • Confiscation without compensation of rental houses and apartment complexes from landlords found guilty of repeated and persistent code violations.
  • Support for the formation of housing cooperatives and nonprofit land trusts.

ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY – FOR A WORKING PEOPLE’S ECONOMY!

Commitment to supporting all measures, developments, industrial and political mobilizations, and mass-actions that can help lead the way toward the one and only long-term solution to the systemically ingrained economic crisis that Detroit, and growing numbers of other cities, now face amid the decline of our outmoded capitalist system. That is to say the working class majority’s collective attainment of political power, and corresponding establishment of a classless democratic socialist society through its:

  • Placement of all major corporations and banks under social ownership and worker-control;
  • Democratic and fully transparent economic planning; coordinated with workers’ self-management at the point of production;
  • Regeneration of Detroit’s economy by eliminating the unaffordable and outmodedly superfluous expense of private profit from workers’ unpaid labor;  – and -
  • Extension of democracy to the economy and the workplace.

DEFENDING OUR CIVIL, DEMOCRATIC, AND HUMAN RIGHTS

  • Full defense of the Bill of Rights. Opposition of all forms of infringement on the rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of personal privacy, due process, or the free exercise of religion through the separation of church and state.
  • Mandatory and immediate cessation of all water, gas, and electricity shutoffs for residents unable to pay their utility bills, and mandatory and immediate restoration of utility services to all residents presently facing shutoffs for non-payment of utility bills.
  • Support for, and commitment to the defense of, affirmative action and comparable worth policies in all applicable city employment and contracting decisions.
  • Support for, and commitment to the continued defense of, health care benefits eligibility for the registered domestic partners of city officials and employees.
  • Establishment of strict legal penalties for the police practice of racial profiling.
  • Termination of the Detroit Police Department’s participation in the “War on Drugs.” Support for voluntary and incentivized treatment, rather than criminal penalties, for those suffering from narcotics addictions.
  • Decriminalization of marijuana under the model successfully implemented in the city of Ann Arbor, whereby the city attorney and all city police officers are prohibited from referring any complaint for that offense to any extra-municipal jurisdiction.
  • Establishment of 24-hour childcare and medical facilities, crisis lines and shelters for victims and survivors of rape, domestic violence and child abuse, and community-based education and response teams to combat violence against women and children.
  • Full enforcement of all sections of the Americans with Disabilities Act so that all public and private buildings, facilities, and modes of transportation are accessible to disabled people, and every effort is made to employ persons with disabilities.
  • Repeal of the city of Detroit’s youth curfew law.

BREAKING THE SYSTEM OF POLICE REPRESSION

  • Establishment of democratically elected police oversight councils with full power to detain, arrest, and charge police officers who commit any violation of civil liberties or civil rights.
  • Establishment of a system of direct election of the Detroit Police Chief and all members of the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners. Reorganization of the Board of Police Commissioners as a truly independent body with full powers to investigate and review complaints, subpoena witnesses, and issue public reports.
  • Establishment of a city- and department-wide policy mandating that all city police officers establish and maintain their principal legal residence within both the city of Detroit and the boundaries of the same departmental precincts/districts that they respectively patrol.
  • Continuation of public community hearings to oversee the Detroit Police Department’s progress in implementing the operational reforms mandated under its 2003 consent decree agreements with the U.S. Justice Department.
  • Support for the continued development of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality’s “Peace Zones for Life” program of community/neighborhood-based conflict resolution and mediation to replace the need for regular police patrolling and intervention within participating neighborhoods
  • Prohibition of the Detroit Police Department from providing any form of back-up or assistance to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers during their pursuit of immigration raids within the city.

— DEMOCRATIC COMMUNITY CONTROL

  • Establishment of a system of community resident assemblies to be regularly convened in each CDC district area, and within each comparably sized section of the city where no presently established CDC exists, to be fully empowered with the authority to issue binding directives on any and all matters related to city ordinances, policies, development projects, and executive functions.
  • Adoption of resolutions declaring non-recognition to the authority of any state-appointed “Emergency Financial Manager” to usurp the powers of locally elected officials.
  • Restoration of previously allocated city funding to equip each citizens’ district council with the resources necessary to maintain full time staff and offices in the communities they serve.
  • Amendment to the Detroit Code of Ordinances to give citizens’ district councils permanently binding authority over the approval and rejection of proposed development projects within their respective jurisdictions.
  • Discontinuation of the unlawful practice of permitting corporations and other non-persons to vote in Detroit Citizens’ District Council elections.
  • Continuation of present demands that Mayor Bing cease and rectify his unlawful exclusion of Detroit’s citizens district council representatives from his Detroit Works Project Advisory Board, and exploration of potential legal action to enforce the correspondingly applicable statutory and charter requirements.

INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY AND PEACE

Adoption of Detroit Citizens’ District Council resolutions calling for and demanding:

  • Immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces, and cessation of all U.S. military engagements, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Libya;
  • Immediate repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act, Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, Homeland Security Act, and Military Commissions Act;
  • Immediate reduction of the federal defense budget by 50 percent, with additional cuts to follow;
  • Immediate, unconditional return of all military and paramilitary personnel stationed outside of the U.S. and the closure of all over-seas military bases particularly the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba;
  • Abolition of the FBI, CIA, NSA and all other institutions of covert warfare and domestic spying;
  • Immediate repeal of U.S. participation in NAFTA, CAFTA, and KORUS FTA, rejection of the proposed FTAA, and immediate withdrawl from the G-7 and G-8;
  • Abolition of the World Trade Organization, World Bank and International Monetary Fund;
  • Repudiation and cancellation of all international debt owed by or owed to the U.S;
  • Immediate lifting of the embargo against Cuba and normalization of relations;
  • Immediate end to U.S. interference and military intervention in Latin America; abolition of “Plan Colombia;
  • Abolition of military aid to Israel, Colombia, and all other states;
  • The disbanding of NATO and all other aggressive military alliances.