The AAUP-AFT Local 6075 executive board has endorsed PROPOSAL P, a proposal to adopt the Detroit Charter Commission’s revisions to the Detroit City Charter. For all of us who live in Detroit, we strongly encourage a YES vote on Prop P in the August 3 city ballot elections.
Proposal P or “The People’s Charter” is a revision to the City Charter that safeguards the basic rights, the human rights, of all Detroiters, and increases transparency, accountability and residents’ engagement in Detroit city government. Some of the highlights from the revision include:
- prohibition on water shutoffs in case of harm, and establishment of a water affordability and assistance program,
- establishment of a public transit 'Fair Fare' for the most disenfranchised residents,
- establishment of a Commission and an Office of Environmental Justice and Sustainability,
- restricting police use of military equipment, acoustic and chemical weapons, surveillance technology, and reforms to the elections of the Board of Police Commissioners, Chief of Police and Fire Chief,
- new guidelines to qualify for affordable housing based on Detroiters’ median income,
- safeguarding immigrants’ rights by having City materials in multiple languages, prohibiting Detroit Police from assisting on federal immigration law enforcement, establishing an Office of Immigrant Affairs and an Immigrant and Refugee Affairs Commission,
- establishing an Office of Disability Affairs to provide advocacy on disability issues, safeguard protections, and ensure relevant services to disabled residents,
- a Recreation Advisory Commission for increased parks and green spaces,
- a Broadband Commission to advise on a public broadband plan,
- a Human Rights Commission and a Taskforce on Reparations to investigate vestiges of slavery and propose remedies,
- a system for resident to appeal over assessment of their property taxes,
- strengthening workers’ rights by creating job protections for contractors and City workers.
These are just a few of revisions that will happen if Prop P is passed. For more information, see: Charter of the City of Detroit proposed Revisions as of June 22, 2021
In 2018, the voters of Detroit voted to revise the City Charter and elected nine members to serve on the Charter Revision Commission. Since then, the Commission has held hundreds of meetings, engaged the community and heard from numerous groups to revise the Charter in ways that would address the needs of the residents of Detroit. The Commission has succeeded in crafting an important revision to the Charter that is a true safeguard for the needs of all the residents of Detroit.
Almost immediately after its release, Detroit Mayor Duggan opposed the revisions, and soon after, Governor Whitmer declined to approve the revised Charter. The basic argument from the Mayor’s Administration is that the Charter Revisions will cost too much. Despite the expensive advertising campaign financed by the Mayor’s corporate partners that Proposal P will drag Detroit into bankruptcy, not a single analysis or accounting has been provided by the Mayor’s team to show the basis of their dire cost assessment. The Charter Commission, on the other hand, enlisted a Michigan State University economist to evaluate the costs of the proposals, who determined that any costs associated with the revisions would be easily manageable by the City. In reality, the Mayor’s opposition has nothing to do with costs, and everything to do with protecting centralized power, maintaining a lack of transparency, and avoiding accountability.
As soon as the Detroit Election Commission voted to allow Prop P on the August ballot, the Mayor’s allies sued in an effort to prevent Detroiters from even being able to vote on the proposal. The argument hinges on whether or not the Governor needs to approve any city charter revisions, or whether cities have a right to determine their own charters. The Michigan constitution is not entirely clear on the issue. The case is now with the Michigan Supreme Court, which on July 7 heard final arguments on whether or not Prop P will be on the ballot.
We hope that the Michigan Supreme Court does the right thing, and allows the people of Detroit to determine their own city charter by letting residents vote on Prop P.
The AAAP-AFT Local 6075 encourages those voting in Detroit to VOTE YES on Prop P.