Derelicts, criminals, sellouts–those were the names residents pelleted at city council members who supported the controversial consent agreement at a city council meeting Tuesday morning. The agreement would put control of the city’s finances into the hands of a nine-member board of state and city appointed experts.
“We gotta pay you all, then pay a bunch of other people to do your job,” said Sandra Hines, a resident and member of the coalition Free Detroit, which has vocally protested the agreement.
Council members maintained thier cool, and asked that community members tone down language in the presenct of chicldren who had visted city hall on a field trip.
“Name calling doesn’t bother me at all,” council member James Tate said asking people to tone down with children present. “I’ve been called many names and still rose above.”
But when the heated input from residents continued, City Council Presient Charles Pugh addresed the visiting youth. “I wish we had a better environment for you but this is real life,” he said.
When one of the 5th grade students asked when the “extremely high” city grass would be cut, the answer was that the city could not afford to cut grass on all vacant lots and would instead do “window pane” cutting that wouldedge the grass off of the sidewalk but not mow the entire block.
The public hearing portion of the meeting ended when an elderly woman said a heartfelt prayer that Detroit people would get together, leaving council members with heads bowed and causing a silence meeting room for a brief moment.
What does name calling accomplish? It’s clear that many people are angry at the situation the City of Detroit is in but whenever I attend a city council meeting I get discouraged about the progress of the city. Not everyone’s going to agree and no doubt there are some serious issueso n he table. But I have learned, as adults, we have to learn how to play the game and not lose our cool if we are to be taken seriously.