Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Covenant for Detroit: Family Planning by Akindele Akinyemi


I was listening to WJLB FM-98 this morning when Coco, Foolish and Charles Pugh were asking listeners about the status of Detroit's leadership and have they done a good job in running the Detroit Public Schools, Mayoral office and Detroit City Council.

Overwhelmingly, people said no. One parent even called in saying she will be forced to send her children BACK to Detroit Public Schools because of the lack of educational choices.

That right there struck a raw nerve with me. Basically, she is saying in a nutshell that I have to send my children back to hell because there are no additional charter schools.

We know leadership here in our city is shot to hell. Even Fox 2's Fanchon Stinger has been placed on a paid suspension for accompanying Detroit developer Rayford Jackson to a meeting with city councilwoman Monica Conyers in October at Southwestern Church of God in Detroit regarding a possible sludge recycling contract with Synagro Technologies Inc.

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I know my sister friend is divorced and all but she does not have to stoop to new low's dealing with Conuncilwoman Monica Conyers, who is shady all around.

This is why Detroit needs to embrace the Covenant for Detroit platform.


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.

No other group or network is talking about freeing Detroit from the name recognition crisis that has been plaguing our city for quite some time. In order to move Detroit forward we will need to remove both the Mayor and the entire Detroit City Council and Detroit School Board and replace them with free market candidates who will help rebuild Detroit from a global perspective. We do not need the underground running the operations anymore. We need God-fearing candidates to win this year in 2008, 2009 and 2010 to bring Detroit back to its pristine purity.

But we need to go back to basics. Detroit will never come back to life without creating an improvement strategy. We cannot rely on traditional platforms and organizations to do this.

Accountability, Integrity and Trust are necessary to guide each candidate who is running for office this year. If you look at the Detroit Delegation in Lansing and see how many votes they have missed you will begin to embrace our Covenant even more.

Sen. Irma Clark-Coleman (D) 49
Sen. Hansen Clarke (D) 16
Sen. Tupac Hunter (D) 76
Sen. Samuel B. Thomas, III (D) 100
Sen. Martha G. Scott (D) 76
Rep. Marsha Cheeks (D) 148
Rep. George Cushingberry (D) 146
Rep. Morris Hood, III (D) 24
Rep. Shanelle Jackson (D) 45
Rep. Bert Johnson (D) 10
Rep. LaMar Lemmons, Jr. (D) 228
Rep. Virgil Smith, Jr. (D) 64
Rep. Bettie Scott (D) 117
Rep. Steve Tobocman (D) 27
Rep. Coleman Young (D) 17

Again, is this accountability to you as a voter? Why did LaMar Lemmons miss 228 days? And why should Bettie Cook Scott miss ANYTHING after running for office for every position since 1974?

Then out of these lawmakers how can they speak about improving families in Detroit when only Bettie Scott, Morris Hood III, Steve Tobocman, State Sen. Tupac Hunter, Sen, Hansen Clarke and Sen. Irma Clark-Coleman are the only ones that are legally married? My point here is we have to lead by example.

There are only four people out of nine that are married on the Detroit City Council (Alberta Tinsley-Talabi, Ken Cockrel, Kwame Kenyatta, and Monica Conyers). How can we improve family life when our children have no role models to look to in terms of core principles?

Who is married on the news that is African American in Detroit? Fanchon Stinger? Not anymore. Rhonda Walker? Where is that diamond rock she used to sport with the bling in it? Ama Daetz? SOMEONE need to put a ring on her finger right away. Thank God Glenda Lewis is married. But it is real bad in our community. We no longer value marriage and family. We have replaced family with career and marriage with hanging out with my girls or boys.

This breakdown in family life with our leadership is a reflection of how Detroit and other urban areas in Michigan has fallen into the toilet. We have to create a new reality for our children and showing them that relationships do work.

That is what the Covenant for Detroit is all about...family building.
The family is the building block of society. When marriages and families are healthy, communities thrive; when marriages break down, communities break down.

This is why our Detroit Public Schools no longer work. The family structure has been reduced to rubble. Civil rights and other community based organizations are always trying to work with Detroit Public Schools to score points with the community. While I applaud some of these social organization for doing great work with our children when are these same social organizations going to call out the Lesbian, Gay,Bisexual and Transgender communities for pushing Gay-Straight Alliances in the public schools that has created more problems than solutions for our young people. And while these Gay Straight Alliances exists in both public and private schools like University Liggett in Grosse Pointe Woods where are the traditional family alliances in our public schools?

One of the core reasons why education and our community are dysfunctional is due to the lack of male leadership from within the home.
Sadly, over 25 million American children (more than one in three) are being raised in a family with no father present in the home. And an overwhelming body of social-science research has confirmed Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s prediction (first made in the early 1960s) that many of the social problems commonly thought to be rooted in race would eventually move from the inner cities to the suburbs since these problems are ultimately attributable to family breakdown.

To help such children and to help restore a culture of married fatherhood in this country the The Covenant for Detroit supports a wide range of public-policy and civil-society reforms. For example, we believe that:
  • Businesses should voluntarily do more to make it easier for their employees to be both good workers and good spouses by offering more flex time, job sharing and home-based work options.
  • Educational institutions should offer curricula and textbooks that accurately reflect the benefit of marriage for children, adults and society.
  • Religious communities should provide more teaching and counseling to help couples form, and maintain, lasting marriages.
  • The entertainment industry should do more to accurately portray the positive influence that marriage generally has on both children and adults.

In addition, our government should:

  • Lighten the tax burden on families with children in order to stop taxing many parents out of the lives of their kids.
  • Make adoption more affordable and easier for more married couples in order to increase the number of adoptable children placed in two-parent families.
  • Require counseling directed at marital reconciliation for families with children before granting a divorce decree.
  • Eliminate all state and federal welfare policies that penalize welfare recipients for getting, or staying, married.
Why are we still electing officials who are not family focused? Who have their own agendas? Who have not graduated from high school and cannot complete a GED? Who is on the down low running for office? Who does not live in the district that they are running for?

Those candidates who embrace the Covenant for Detroit are true leaders in our community. They want to see families reborn in our community. They believe parents, and not the state, should be in charge of their children's education.

Besides the on-going complaints about poor academic performance, grade inflation, and low expectations, there is also serious concern over such in-school issues as:

  • violence
  • physical and emotional bullying
  • cheating and lying
  • wide-spread immorality
  • drugs and alcohol
  • worldview conflicts

Of course, these problems are really symptoms of something deeper, but what is it? The teacher unions claim it’s a lack of funding (even though DPS operates off $1.4 billion dollars). Schools often claim it’s a lack of parental involvement. Parents feel unrepresented and sidelined. Social reformers blame poverty. Others point to poor teacher training, not enough (or too much) testing, lack of accountability, even societal factors such as television and music.

The reality is when morality was removed from Detroit Public Schools it led to a crisis. The Covenant for Detroit calls for the implementation of restoring morality back into our classrooms such as prayer in schools, reciting the Pledge and not making excuses for certain lifestyles.

So let's not vote based on name recognition but let's hold our people accountable for their actions.

1 comment:

JGillman said...

Good Reading Akindele.

In the past 40+ years our government has subordinated itself as "head of household" allowing the men to wander and then fail in their responsibilities to their children and families. When the safety net is too broad and woven too tight, no longer will the needy of sustenance and spiritual guidance seek the church, family, or friends for help. It is all too easy to leave your problems at someone else's doorstep.

The wealthy among us, with little spiritual faith fail to recognize the err of perpetuating the cycle, and feel guilt if THEIR plans fail, yet the guilt does not bring them to accept their role as being responsible.

The closeness we have as Village, town, society fades fast when we turn over our roles as guides, mentors, and healers to a government who's purpose to exist.. is simply that. Growth of more government. Our bonds need to be re-established, to community, and our fellow man, but not at the cost of ever more growth in an unaccountable bureaucracy.

Keep up the fight my friend.