Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Covenant For Detroit: Research and Development by Akindele Akinyemi

The most important event that we must push for is the Covenant For Detroit. As I stated before in dealing with this critical need in our city we have to be able to create an environment that will push Detroit to globalization. The only way we are going to do that is to create financial markets through global education.

What will need to happen is for urban conservatives to begin to emerge from exile and be prepared to take up to take on the task of improving the economy. Our strategy is grounded in the conservative policies that less government and fewer taxes are the cornerstone of economic prosperity. Accordingly, urban conservatives feel the Covenant For Detroit is truly a mandate from the people and that they have both the momentum and, more important, the votes to make the transformation from rhetoric to law.

The City of Detroit should practice free market principles. Keeping our markets open sends an important signal to the rest of the world, and getting our fiscal house in order-by trimming the size of government and by real tax reform-would show we mean business.

As I mentioned before the Covenant for Detroit are based on nine steps to improve government.

1. Fiscal Responsibility: A balanced budget/tax limitation proposal and a legislative line-item veto to restore fiscal responsibility to an out- of-control Mayor/City Council, requiring them to live under the same budget constraints as families and businesses.

2. Reclaiming Our Streets: A REAL anti-crime package including stronger truth-in- sentencing, good faith exclusionary rule exemptions, and cuts in wasteful spending to fund prison construction and additional law enforcement to keep people secure in their neighborhoods and kids safe in their schools.

3. Encourage Personal Responsibility: Work with state lawmakers to discourage illegitimacy and teen pregnancy by prohibiting welfare to minor mothers and denying increased benefits for additional children while on welfare, cut spending for welfare programs to promote individual responsibility.

4. Real Family Preservation: Child support enforcement, tax incentives for adoption, strengthening rights of parents in their children's education, stronger child pornography laws, and an elderly dependent care tax credit to reinforce the central role of families in the City of Detroit, shared equal parenting rights which equals to children needing both parents.

5. Educational Reform: Repeal the tax credit in the Michigan Constitution to allow Universal Tax Credits for parents and children in Detroit, expansion of theme based charter schools, private scholarships for children in failing public schools, prayer in schools, replace multiculturalism with patriotic education, encourage private sector participation in math and science education, fighting adult illiteracy with private based programs that will create job readiness.

6. Detroit Restoration : A S500 per child tax credit and creation of Detroit Dream Savings Accounts to provide middle class tax relief.

7. Job Creation: Small business incentives, capital gains cut and indexation, neutral cost recovery, risk assessment/cost-benefit analysis and unfunded mandate reform to create jobs and raise worker wages.

8. Citizen Legislature: A first-ever vote on term limits to replace career politicians with citizen legislators in Detroit. Also, vote City Council by districts and place term limits on each council member. Mayor of Detroit should have term limits.

9. Senior Citizens: Provide tax incentives for private long-term care insurance to let the elderly in Detroit keep more of what they have earned over the years.

When implemented the Covenant will create accelerated growth in areas such as....

Improving the investment climate. This is mainly focused on reducing indirect costs to firms (which are generally infrastructure related), with energy and transportation topping the list of major impediments; and reducing and mitigating risk, particularly those relating to security of property, such as poor adjudication of disputes, crime, political instability, and macroeconomic instability in the City of Detroit. Although effort in individual areas of the city is the focal point of action, I would also suggest pooling efforts to develop cohesive investment areas by coordinating investment promotion, coordinating policy, improving security, and increasing connectivity.

Infrastructure of the City of Detroit would mainly target transactions costs in production of goods and services. Particular focus would be on how to reduce the high taxes associated with the instability of businesses to facilitate trade with our Metropolitan areas, as well as with the rest of the world. It is clear that there will be a need to look beyond regional borders and adopt a regional approach to coordinate cross-border infrastructure investment, maintenance, operational management, and use (for example, power pooling) to lower costs.

Innovation would primarily emphasize investment in information technology and skill formation for enhanced productivity and competitiveness. The potential comparative advantage of low wages in Detroit can be nullified by low productivity. Surveys of investors show that labor is not cheap where productivity is low. Information and communication technology (ICT) is now the main driver for productivity growth anywhere on Earth. There is strong empirical evidence that shows that investment in ICT and in higher education boosts competitiveness, making both key parts of the growth agenda. Detroit can make a huge leap forward and over antiquated technology by exploiting the ICT technological advantages as late starters.

Institutional capacity comes from identifying costs associated with contract enforcement difficulties, crime, corruption, and regulation as being among those weighing most heavily on the profitability of enterprises. The main focus of action here would be partly to strengthen the capacity of relevant public institutions for protecting property rights, and partly to strengthen scrutiny of, and accountability for, public actions. Building institutional capacity entails strengthening individual competencies, organizational effectiveness, and rules of the game. Under this pillar, particular attention should be paid to capacity and space for scrutiny of public action —mainly within a framework of a strong domestic accountability system and capacity to clarify and protect property rights to spur private enterprise. The key strategic areas of action, therefore, include enforcement of contracts (for example, commercial courts); exercise of voice as an agency of restraint — with enhanced involvement of civil society, media, and parliament; enhanced revenue transparency in resource-rich countries; and prevention of corruption as a city-driven agenda — including checks and balances.

While our elected officials, business community and others in Detroit are stuck on an inept program that will never work we need to shift gears on how we can improve Detroit and place it back into a global market. Sustainable development is very important to ensure better livelihood and job security, especially in Detroit. The City of Detroit is faced with numerous internally driven policies that hinder development. Unless a pragmatic and principled leadership that is guided by research based decisions exists at all levels, sustainable development will not be achieved.

This is why we need the Covenant For Detroit to be implemented beginning this year with the State Representative and County Commissioner races, Detroit City Council, Mayoral and School Board races in 2009 and State Representative, State Senate, County Commissioner and Gubernatorial races in 2010. The Covenant must be implemented in a three year block to fully be implemented.

If liberals in Michigan are trying to rewrite the Constitution to benefit their agenda how come conservatives are not fighting back? And if you are an urban conservative this re-write of the Michigan Constitution will affect us further. This is why we need to build Urban Regional Networks to support the Covenant for Detroit to create change. As long as we continue to do it the old fashion way we will continue to lose election. Just as Democrats have infiltrated the Republican Party every single conservative should be prepared to implement the Covenant For Detroit to gain power.

When conservatives in other places in Michigan begin to take our agenda seriously in Detroit this is when we will begin to see a shift in economic policies and placing Detroit in the center of the global universe.

We have to understand how research informs management and offers packages appropriate for sustainable development. Research has been a top down process with the top being the source of research funding-hence setting the research agenda. A recent report also reveals that Detroit researchers simply regard research as a source of contacts with researchers abroad, a means of publishing in the Michigan Chronicle. With the above mentality, research in Detroit has neither been appropriate nor a source of informed management decisions.

Participatory and demand driven research yields desired output.Through involvement of all stakeholders, real problems are understood and appropriate corrective measures designed. If applied across the board, this approach would bring into force developmental leadership.

If Detroit is to develop sustainably, she must have her own set development agenda based on real urban community needs. Through cross-culture, multidisciplinary and participatory research, appropriate solutions would be found. It is these original findings that would form a base for decision making, which would pivot Detroit to serious world development.

Cities that have ably achieved development focused on their cultural diversity and values. Detroit must appreciate our own, self and with high esteem. Development starts with self discovery, appreciation, and subsequently development. Detroiters may have to take lessons from recently transformed economies such as China, South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand. Here change was ably managed. This was possible because they adopted their own home policy, development goals, and methods, organizational structures, using their own people and based on their cultures. Urban conservatives should be at center of true Detroit development.

To achieve sustainable development, Detroiters must re-focus our development objectives along their cultural background and aspirations. Detroit leaders and development managers must be pragmatic and principled to effect that change. Therefore, there is need for research to evaluate and analyse the status quo as well as internationally floating development objectives against the urgent needs of the City of Detroit. It is along these research outputs that management of Detroit development strategies should be based. Until this is effectively done, Detroit will remain underdeveloped, indebted and a market for developed economies.

This is why the Covenant For Detroit is extremely important because it connects Detroit with the rest of the world.

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