High stakes behind battle over revisiting Detroit’s charter

Case still pending in front of high court

High stakes behind battle over revisiting Detroit's charter

DETROIT – As of right now Proposal P isn’t even on the August ballot, but that will not stop people from fighting for it.

The revised charter includes things like caps on water rates and specific spending requirements.

However, the mayor’s office says the city could be headed for bankruptcy again if it gets adopted.

Depending on who you ask, what is at stake is the City of Detroit itself. What’s in these 152 pages is either how Detroit becomes a national leader in equality and justice or it’s another path to send Detroit into ruin again.

Out at city hall Monday, a small group of protestors wanting their voices heard on the next big step for the City of Detroit.

“We showed up to the table, we invited these folks to show up to the table and provide their input and after we did all that work now the very people we’ve elected are the same ones who are actively working to suppress our vote,” said Wendy Caldwell-Liddell, a protestor.

She’s talking about the vote on the city’s charter called Prop P. Basically, it is rules for how everything in Detroit works. It’s Detroit’s constitution. And it covers everything from water and internet access to property taxes and side walk maintenance to creating a human rights commission to looking into giving Black Detroiters reparations.

But why is any of this happening at all? Well back in 2018 Detroiters voted that the charter should be amended and that it should be put up to voters every 4th gubernatorial primary, the first of those is this August 3.

Then there’s also the money. Earlier this year Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan released figures showing the changes could cost Detroit $2 billion a year and put the city on a path to bankruptcy. But another estimate from a Michigan state professor showed it would only cost about $7 million a year. Exactly what it would cost is unclear.

Now there has been an ongoing legal battle over whether the charter should be on the ballot this August.

It was put on and then it was taken off and then the state supreme court stepped in. The case is still pending in front of the high court.


About the Authors:

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.