October 10, 2012 at 8:42 am

Consent deal tops other options

Residents don't like governor's handling of Detroit crisis

Residents don’t like the way Gov. Rick Snyder has handled Detroit’s financial crisis. Finding solutions has created a sometimes-contentious relationship between Snyder and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. (John T. Greilick / The Detroit News)

Detroit — City residents don't agree with Gov. Rick Snyder's policies to deal with Detroit's financial crisis, but they do narrowly support the consent agreement when faced with the alternatives of an emergency manager or bankruptcy, a Detroit News poll shows.

More than 62 percent strongly disapproved of the way Snyder has dealt with the city's financial problems; 11.4 percent somewhat disapproved. Just over 13 percent somewhat approved of his decisions, and 6.6 percent strongly approved.

Pamela Hill, 57, said she strongly opposes Snyder's actions in Detroit and believes his administration should instead be finding ways to repay millions in unpaid revenue-sharing dollars allegedly owed to the city.

"He's focused more on building a bridge to Canada," said Hill, who lives on the east side and works as a teaching assistant. "I disapprove of building that bridge to Canada when we have all these other important issues here in Detroit that he could be focusing on."

Poll respondent Camilla Ingram, 47, a customer service representative who lives on the city's west side, said she doesn't believe Snyder "has the best interest for Detroit people or the city employees of Detroit."

"I think that a lot of his plans were Snyder plans," she said. "It doesn't appear that his plans were consulted with anyone other than Snyder."

The poll asked 800 Detroiters what they thought of the consent agreement signed in April that gave the state significant control over the city's finances.

The agreement staved off the need for an emergency manager, but has drawn fire from residents and some City Council members who say it is anti-union and strips too much power from elected officials.

Still, poll respondents indicate that even with its unsavory aspects, the consent deal is better than a state takeover or bankruptcy.

When asked to choose between those three options, 34 percent said they would approve the consent agreement, while 30.5 percent would favor the appointment of an emergency manager and 19.6 percent supported allowing Detroit to file for bankruptcy.

Slightly more than 36 percent strongly disapproved of the consent deal, while 25 percent strongly approved. Overall, respondents disapproved of the consent deal, 49.6 percent to 42.4 percent.

Hill said she couldn't even answer the poll question about which option she favored: "That's so hard for me to consider."

Sara Wurfel, the governor's spokeswoman, said she has not seen the poll results, but that Snyder "absolutely believes that we can't have a strong Michigan without a strong Detroit."

"That's what these actions were all about. He is here to work in partnership with the city and help ensure it succeeds both short and long-term," she said. "And this is not just about finances or books but the quality of life for citizens and businesses and ensuring public health, safety and welfare.

"The governor has a responsibility to the citizens of struggling communities and taxpayers alike. He simply can't ignore these fiscal crises."


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