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City Council’s bad habits could cost Detroit

There are multiple safeguards in place to ensure that Detroit’s Mayor and City Council operate in a fiscally responsible manner.

Financial prudence is only part of the picture of Detroit’s revival. The other part is legislative sobriety.

There are many decisions made by the City Council that are non-financial in nature but will shape the course of the city. One of the non-financial decisions for which they are responsible is the approval of zoning changes for various land parcels. Approving or denying a zoning change that will decide whether a liquor store can expand; a bar can be relocated or a Dollar Store added. may not seem earth shattering to the public at large. However, to the neighbors in close proximity these are very important decisions that must be acted upon by a focused and deliberate Detroit City Council.

The same holds true for the major projects that come before the Detroit City Council for zoning approval, they must be decided in a sober deliberate manner. This is not happening with the zoning approval for the hockey arena portion of Destination Detroit.

Councilman Scott Benson is acting in a reckless, irrational manner in holding up the zoning approval for the arena. He wants to see an old hotel that has been vacant for 12 years (long before being purchased as part of the Destination Detroit overall land acquisition) added to the planned development request by the Downtown Development Authority and converted into affordable housing.

Proceeding in the manner that Benson proposes would further delay the project and the much needed jobs that go along with it. Councilman Benson needs to remember that he is an elected official and not a real estate developer and end his quixotic mission to hold Destination Detroit back from starting construction until they realize his dreams.

Benson’s behavior harkens back to a time when Detroit City Councilmembers would “hold” contracts until their wishes were granted. We all know too well that this behavior contributed in part to the end result of an emergency manager being brought in as an overseer. Let’s not make the same mistake again.

Steve Hood, Detroit