Commission leader condemns Whitmer's rejection of revised Detroit charter plan

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News
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The Detroit Charter Revision Commission on Saturday issued a statement condemning Gov. Whitmer's rejection of the revised charter plan submitted to her.

Whitmer on Friday cited "substantial and extensive legal deficiencies" in her decision, and wrote in a letter to Commission Chairwoman Carol Weaver that the revised charter includes provisions that could cause a financial crisis for the city

In a press statement released Saturday, Weaver said the commission received the governor's letter and analysis done by the Attorney General's Office and in "a quick review of some of the comments, it appears that many of the concerns raised address minor clarifications in the language and non-legal issues."

Carol Weaver, chair of the Detroit Charter Revision Commission, speaks during a press conference with community members in front of Coleman A. Young Municipal Center in Detroit on Wednesday, April 28, 2021.

Weaver said one of Whitmer's main objections is the cost of the proposals in the charter but that objection is "based on inherently unreliable and inaccurate information put forth by Mayor Michael Duggan, who refuses to provide information to the Commission, public, and even the Financial Review Board on how they arrived at their incorrect figures. ...

"This action is consistent with the Mayor’s insistence that Detroiters have no right to be given a copy of the proposed Charter before they vote on it or be educated on its contents."

Weaver said such actions are "voter suppression, undemocratic and offensive to the ideals of the Democratic Party and its historic allegiance with people of color in their struggle to be afforded the same rights as majority voters.”

Weaver said the commission is calling upon the civil rights community, national and state Democratic Party and Whitmer to condemn the actions.

Efforts to reach Whitmer's office Saturday were unsuccessful.

The mayor's office had no comment Saturday but on Wednesday Duggan said during a news conference on COVID-19 vaccinations he recommended a $600,000 budget for the charter commission and the Detroit City Council adopted a $300,000 budget.

After council's actions, Duggan said he recommended another $150,000 for the charter revision commission.

Duggan called $300,000 for the next few months "appropriate" and added that if the commission wants money to "run a campaign" they should raise the funds privately.

Duggan said he would be willing to work with the commission to raise funds to make the revised city charter information available through portals at library and other media platforms.

Duggan said, "We're going to try to get every voter to the polls as possible. I'm on the ballot so the last thing I want is to suppress the vote. I want everybody out."

Detroit Deputy Mayor Conrad Mallett has said "if the charter commission believes the 15 page attorney general summary of legal problems were only 'minor issues,' they must've been reading a different document."

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