Thursday, October 22, 2009

Urban Profiles: Tonya Phillips..A Visionary for Detroit by Akindele Akinyemi


A Charter Commissioner reviews and formulates charter proposals by soliciting ideas from citizens, city staff and elected officials. A city charter is the constitution governing the municipal government that defines the powers the citizens agree to give their city government and how the government is to be structured. The charter defines which officials are elected, their term lengths, duties, powers and responsibilities and establishes the lines of authority for the departments.

Sounds like a job for Tonya Myers-Phillips who is running and is within striking distance in clinching a seat on the Detroit Charter Commission. Elections will be held on Tuesday, November 3, 2009.

Now of course people like Freman Hendrix, Teloa Hunter, and Rose Mary Robinson will be there. But what about Tonya Myers-Phillips?

One thing I do know about Tonya is the fact that she understand Detroit must move into the 21st century if it wants to be successful. The Detroit Charter Commission will have to make recommendations and/or take actions that will impact some or all of our constituents. If the commission is to be remotely successful, it’s representation should be as diverse as the community itself.

Tonya understands that revisiting our charter is about more than the simple nuts and bolts of governance. If elected, she will offer a glimpse at how we put our beliefs about community into practice, how we do our business.

I am not sure that allowing leadership to become a game of musical chairs promotes the best interests of the community. I am not sure that it promotes continuity of services, of vision. Maybe that kind of turnover allows for a constant flow of creative and new ideas. I might make the point, though, that it doesn't really allow those ideas to take hold, and demonstrate to us that they are good ideas. And that on a basic human and economic level, it doesn't promote efficiency.

The reason why I am urging you to support Tonya is because she intend to bring common sense, and not positions to the table. She will bring her experience in government to the dialogue. She will bring her willingness to listen, to gather facts, and intend to bring her demonstrated ability to synthesize ideas into workable solutions into the mix.

Tonya believes that we need a Charter Commission that starts from a position of inquiry, and arrives at a set of solutions that meet the following criteria that are forward looking, that institutionalize a high degree of participation in governance, that promote the most efficient and creative use of resources, and that is grounded in research and development.

This is why we must elect Tonya Phillips to the Detroit Charter Commission in November. There are no room for excuses on this one.

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