Article by: www.abc12.com
FLINT, MI — Voters have chosen the nine members of the Flint Charter Review Commission.
Now comes the hard part: Rewriting what some describe as the city’s constitution for the first time in more than 40 years.
Unofficial results from the Tuesday, May 5 election showed these nine candidates winning in the race to serve on the commission: John D. Cherry, Brian Larkin, Cleora Magee, Victoria McKenze, Charles Metcalfe, Heidi Phaneuf, James Richardson, Marsha Wesley, and Barry Williams.
Other candidates on the ballot Tuesday were Melodee Mabbitt, Stephen Mintline, Jerry Preston, and Nayyirah Shariff.
Cherry, the top vote-getter, said the commission has a big, important job ahead.
“We’re going to have to … spend a lot of time talking to folks and finding out the biggest concerns are and figure out how we can reflect those changes” they want, Cherry said.
Tuesday’s election came after more than 56 percent of Flint voters approved moving ahead with the election of a charter commission in November.
As a concerned citizen, and a lifelong resident of the city of Flint, I am saddened and disappointed about the situation we find ourselves in, in 2014. To listen to the rhetoric, the noise coming from the Emergency Financial Manager, Darnell Early, and the recommendations coming from the twenty two members comprising the Blue Ribbon Committee is outlandish.
First and foremost, the legitimacy of the committee is in doubt. According to The Charter Revision Handbook, Michigan Municipal League, page 5, a change in form of government requires a charter revision. More specifically, “revision of city charters may be initiated by a resolution adopted by 3/5 of the legislative body or by petition signed by at least five percent of the registered voters, unless the present charter provides otherwise.” Whichever way this is achieved, the decision to revise the charter is one that is voted on by the people.
Additionally, a nine member commission committee must also be selected to do the revisions, and none of these committee members can be an elected or appointed official. The committee must also be voted on by the people. These are just a few but very important violations committed by this Blue Ribbon Committee, which was put in place by the EFM.
Where is the outrage over such terrible violations of the city charter and the rights of the people of the city of Flint? Where is the open meeting discussion from the people? To take it a step further, city council asked for a special meeting to give the people and themselves adequate time to discuss the recommendations in a public setting, their request was denied as well. It’s beginning to be more shameful and ridiculous that this kind of behavior is being forced on the people.
We are being told that these are recommendations that we are going to vote on. The question in one’s mind is: are these legitimate recommendations by an illegitimate group? This has the perceived spirit of a return to 50 years ago; to fall under this kind of dictatorship! In order to not go back 50 years, the public should be well versed, and it should be openly discussed among Flint voters, not just 22, but 80,000 plus registered voters. The entire voice of the Flint residents should be the Blue Ribbon Committee. Are some of the recommendations good? That has yet to be determined; the process certainly was not.