ELECTION NEWS UPDATE-Detroit – (July 17, 2015) — This past Tuesday, following the charter procedure for Initiatives, the full Detroit City Council referred Citizens for Detroit’s Future’s Petition to “Provide for the Immediate Posting of Detroit Election Results” to its “Internal Operations Committee” (IOC). On the heels of the referral, the next day the IOC sought to expedite the Initiative by proceeding to a vote when unexpectedly the process was halted by a unknown city lawyer from mayoral controlled law department.
Without being asked, the lawyer objected and requested that the IOC delay a vote for one week so that the Law Department can give its opinion. The request came despite no one seeking such an opinion and the opinion, no matter its stance, being unable to stop a citizen’s Initiative. Of course, the IOC was obligated to oblige.
At the session, Citizens for Detroit’s Future’s president provided testimony in support of the Initiative and the process appeared to be moving smoothly until the lawyer halted its progress.
There is scant doubt that the appointee was sent on a mission to derail this Initiative and halt its progress. Observers expect that the department will provide a specious fake position designed to frighten both the IOC and full council to derail the citizen’s Initiative.
The city’s charter at Sections 12-101 through 12-108 provides solely the process and makes all of the duties of the city ministerial including that of the Detroit City Council, the Detroit Election Commission and the Detroit City Clerk when it comes to citizen Initiatives. A blocking opinion from the city’s law department is a nonstarter in derailing a citizen’s Initiative.
In fact, numerous court decisions have held that citizen Initiatives which follow a city’s charter mandated procedure, cannot be preempted. A city can later challenge a law in court once it is passed should it desire to do so. The reason is obvious….if permitted, politicians could, like here, stop any Initiative they did not like by using faceless legal surrogates secretly acting on the politician’s behalf.
Detroiters may have to be prepared to fight as the city’s future depends on transparency in its democratic process. Citizens bringing an Initiative is the highest exercise of that democratic right.
Yours for a Better Detroit,
CITIZENS FOR DETROIT’S FUTURE
2650 Gratiot Avenue – Detroit, MI 48207
Telephone 313-393-3100 an Facsimile 313-567-0731.