Saturday, November 22, 2008

Why A Covenant? by Akindele Akinyemi

The Covenant for Detroit is a revolutionary platform that can change the course of this city for years to come. In this day and age in a failing economy with a failing city we can assure people are going to look for answers.

This Covenant, if push correctly, can help unify those on the Detroit City Council with a strategic vision and dynamic direction for the first time in five decades. Eventually, historians and political scientists will study it as a unique instrument in Detroit politics.

Presently, in Detroit, our political climate has changed. We have a Detroit City Council that cannot work together. We have a Mayor's office that is questionable. The good thing is the fact that these things may change in the next 2-5 years thanks to the outpouring of eager and attractive candidates who will be running for the Detroit City Council. Urban conservative weakness at the city level had often been mirrored at the county and state level. Presently, there is no political diversity in our city. The entire city is controlled by Democrats. There are no farm teams in place to diversify our political camps in terms of ideas and agendas.

If the Covenant for Detroit is going to be a huge success then we must begin to recruit young, educated people with professional backgrounds who have a deep faith in God and should be able to even question the legacy of the 1960s. They must be critical of failed policies both on economic and social grounds here in Detroit.

We know that the Covenant can work because part of the platform itself has already been tried here in other parts of Michigan. While many African Americans were celebrating our nation's first Black President on November 4, 2008 two Black Republicans right here in Michigan won State Representative seats. That was a feat that had not been done in 100 years here in this state. The platform they ran on was reform. After reviewing what they did I decided to take a closer look at the Covenant for Detroit.

We have to understand that revolutions must be built one step at a time. The first step is to commit to the constituents in our community to the idea that this Covenant is based on idealistic bold reforms and be prepared to keep our word. The nine points of this Covenant basically selected themselves as deeply felt desires of our people here in Detroit.

The Covenant for Detroit are based on nine steps to improve city 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, silent 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 $500 per child tax credit and creation of Detroit Dream Savings Accounts to provide middle class tax relief.

7. Job Creation: Small business incentives, capital/state 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.

We know that there is overwhelming support for all of these points in our city. Not one candidate who is running for City Council has even discussed it in public in an organized manner. As urban conservatives and advocates of a prowork and profamily Detroit we already know that a platform such as this would make Detroit strong once again.

As urban conservatives we feel that the current players in power has weakened our city budget with overspending as well as not doing enough to protect our children. But I do not place all the blame on city government. People in the neighborhoods must stop embracing ghetto hood-poverty stricken mentalities if we are going to get ahead.

We cannot begin to win the future if we are always complaining about the past. Detroit leaders and those who are inspiring to become leaders must be able to break away from the traditional instruments of government because they will not reform themselves fast enough and thoroughly for a 21st century Detroit.

Detroit is in the middle of what I call a triple economic challenge of an explosion in scientific and technological knowledge and a diverse world market. What we should be stressing to our Detroit Delegation in Lansing who represent us as State Representatives and State Senators is the following:

1. Dramatically develop a simplified tax code that favors savings, entrepreneurship, investment, and constant modernization of technology to our schools and community. Legislators should look at the Michigan Fair Tax as an example of future growth.

2. Develop math and science learning equal to any in the world and educating enough Detroiters to both discover the science of the future and to compete successfully in both state and national security and the economy with other well-educated societies.

3. Transforming our health care into a system that improves our health while lowering costs dramatically.

In fact, both Detroit City Council and State Lawmakers should work hand in hand to make sure this Covenant is carried out.

Whoever is running for Detroit City Council should be ready with a plan to have a balanced budget, declining city debt, lower taxes, low interest rates with stable money and at the same time develop a plan to create a rapid growing economic system. We have to develop economic policies that will benefit not just Detroit but the entire region including Windsor, Ontario.

We must be able to replace the current administrative public bureaucracy with a more public management system that leans entrepreneurial. This way we can get the kinds of improvements in productivity in the public sector that have happened in the private sector. Our City Council would be able to do more with less if they did it in a quality system using information technology and modern communications.

Whoever is going to run for Detroit City Council must not be afraid to discuss privatizing city services. Our city needs to develop partnerships between government and the private sector to gain productivity from the entrepreneurial side of things. They must not be afraid to outsource certain services where it is possible to get more productive, more modern and less expensive goods in our city.

When you find someone who is ready for the challenge call me.

1 comment: said...

How about making sure elected officials are compliant with campaign finance laws and don't go to jail!

That alone would go a ways towards a brighter future, wouldn't it?