Freedom ain’t free: A look at Detroit’s proposed City Charter changes

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Authentically Detroit is a BridgeDetroit partner podcast that tells the stories of Detroiters’ lives through exposition and interviews.

The latest version of the Detroit City Charter made headlines last week. 

On Friday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer rejected the draft, which took three years to develop, saying many of the changes are incongruent with state law and would force the city into financial oversight. 

Detroit charter commissioners adopted revisions that address quality of life issues in the city, such as affordable housing, water accessibility and property tax reassessment. 

This week, Authentically Detroit hosts talk with Charter Commissioner Denzel McCampbell and Detroit radio and television personality Steve Hood about the changes. 

“I disagree with the governor’s letter that says there were severe legal deficiencies in the charter revision,” said McCampbell. “There are areas that we can look at and provide some clarity, and we are actually taking steps to do that before the May 11 deadline” to receive ballot language. 

“We did not make $1.4 billion worth of changes. We don’t have mandates that will throw the City into bankruptcy. We have structures and policies that give the City something to work toward.” 

The Detroit City Clerk must receive final ballot language by May 11. Detroiters are expected to vote on the proposed Charter changes in August. 

Detroit was put under financial management by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2013. Kevyn Orr, the appointed financial manager, then had the City file for bankruptcy. 

The state still oversees Detroit’s finances.

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