On November 3rd, 2009, Detroit voters will be able to vote yes or no on Proposal D, a community supported ballot initiative that would amend the current city charter and change the way City Council members are elected, from the current all at-large system to a hybrid system of seven districts and two at-large members.
Meanwhile, voters will also choose nine members of a Charter Review Commission, whose charge will be to review the Detroit City Charter, the city’s main organizing document. Some of the issues that could be changed through charter revision include council by districts, a method to discipline or remove elected officials accused of wrongdoing, and downsizing of city government. The commission has up to three years to complete the revision, which must then be approved by voters.
While initial consensus seems to support a change to council by districts, there remain many questions. Which is the best path to districts? A vote for Proposal D or leaving the decision to the Charter Review Commission? What is the best way to implement districts? All districts or a hybrid system of at-large and district representation? Finally, are we losing something by giving up the all at-large system?
Join the Wayne State University Law School community on September 16 as we welcome knowledgeable speakers who will give us a sense of historical perspective and informed points of view as we discuss the impact of council by districts on the Detroit landscape.
3:00-4:00pm History of Detroit’s Ward System and its Change to an At-Large System
4:00-6:00pm Moderated Panel Discussion
6:00pm Light refreshments available immediately following the close of the moderated portion.
Joel Stone, Curator, Detroit Historical Society
Bankole Thompson, Editor, Michigan Chronicle
Janet Anderson, City of Detroit Budget Department, Adjunct Professor WSU
Freman Hendrix, Candidate for Detroit Charter Revision Commission
Mildred Madison, President, League of Women Voters of Detroit
Steve Tobocman, Former Member of the Michigan State House of Representatives
Sebastian Wade, Vice President, Detroit Regional Chamber