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July 22, 2014

Detroit City Council


Coleman A. Young Municipal Center
2 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48226

Dear Honorable Council Members:

The 2012 Detroit City Charter allows for the formation of Community Advisory Councils (CACs)
in each of the City Council Districts. The CACs represent a new opportunity for Detroiters to
connect with their elected officials and local government decision-making. Residents need to
receive accurate information about the process and timeline for creating CACs and the role
CACs will play once established.

This year, the CAC ordinance was passed by City Council on April 1
st
and petitions to create
CACs were made available on April 23
rd
. Since that time, the work to inform communities,
voters and city residents about the CACs has been led mostly by the volunteer efforts of
residents, canvassers, and community organizations. Residents in each council district have
joined forces in an effort to inform citizens of the role of the CACs and the purpose for
establishing a CAC in their respective districts. However, despite the good faith efforts of
hundreds of citizens, they have not been properly supported by the City of Detroit agencies
responsible for informing the general public about the process and timeline for establishing
CACs.

As a potential ballot item, it should be the responsibility of the City Clerk and/or the City of
Detroit Election Commission to notify voters in a mass mailing. Additionally, the Department of
Elections has not communicated the cut-off date for returning collected signatures to establish
a CAC. This leaves the deadline required to be able to vote for CAC representatives in 2014
highly subject to speculation. There have been no clear guidelines posted in writing or
effectively communicated to citizens by city officials. Questions arising from community
members about the process have been met with differing answers depending on the person
and/or department with whom a citizen speaks.

Citizens want to take informed action on this issue, but the lack of clear communication about
the process may well impede efforts to establish a CAC in a district, placing voters and
canvassers at a disadvantage.

We understand that citizens seeking to have their name on the November 2014 ballot for a CAC
election must turn in their nominating petitions by July 22, 2014. It is also understood that
candidates cannot begin this process until their CAC has been established by petition. However,
the following critical questions have arisen:

What will happen if a CAC is established after July 22
nd
but before the November 4
th
,
2014 election?
o Will the issue still appear on the November 2014 ballot?
o Will citizens have the opportunity to vote for write-in candidates?
o What will be the deadline for creating a CAC in either of the above scenarios so
the option for citizens to vote for write-in candidates will appear on their
November 2014 election?
What will be the next opportunity after the November 2014 election that citizens will
have the opportunity to elect their CAC representatives?
Under what circumstances would City Council members be allowed to appoint the 5
elected members of their districts CAC prior to the citizens of that district having an
election for their CAC?

We are aware of a memo from the City of Detroit Law Department dated May 7, 2014
concerning CACs. This memo states that in the event of a vacancy in an established CAC, the
City Council Members for that district will be allowed to appoint members to that CAC for a
partial term (until the next election opportunity for CACs). To allow appointments by City
Council members for the 5 elected CAC seats runs in direct opposition to the language and
intent of the city charter and CAC ordinance.

We strongly oppose any attempt by City Council to appoint members for these 5 elected seats
for any district CAC in the absence of an election by citizens of that district.

In order to remedy these concerns and questions and ensure a fair and equitable process, we
are asking this honorable body to:
Extend the canvassing period;
Provide concrete deadlines and guidelines;
Provide information to all registered voters regarding the CACs and its potential to
appear on the ballot;
Extend the deadline for candidates to acquire signatures to seek CAC positions; and
Refrain from appointing any members to an established CAC prior to an election being
held where citizens can vote for their CAC members.

Any consideration you give this request will be greatly appreciated.

Respectfully Submitted,

Wanda Lowe Anderson, Boynton Subsector 48217 Core Group, District 6 Resident
Alicia Biggers, 12
th
Precinct Neighborhood Coalition, District 2 Resident
Linda Campbell, Peoples Platform (Citywide organization), District 2 Resident
Eric Dueweke, District 4 Resident
Aaron Goodman, Community Development Advocates of Detroit, District 6 Resident
James Grenwick, President Cornerstone Village Community Association, District 4 Resident
Aaron Handelsman, Peoples Platform, District 6 Resident
Dana Hart, WKL Community Association, District 5 Resident
William Hickey, District 1 Resident
Bobbi Johnson, Franklin Park Association, District 7
Kashaka Kikelomo, Warren/Conner Community Development Coalition, Districts 4 & 5
Khalil Ligon, District 4 Resident (Airport District)
Michelle Martinez, District 6 Resident
Jacqueline Perkins, Great Community Now! Coalition, District 4 Resident
Gloria Rivera IHM, District 6 Resident
Delphia Simmons, District 5 Resident
Steve Walker, Michigan Spanish-Speaking Democrats, District 6 Resident


Contact information:

Latoya Morgan, Public Policy Manager, latoyamorgan@cdad-online.org
Aaron Goodman, Community Outreach Associate, aarongoodman@cdad-online.org

Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD)
440 Burroughs St., Suite 340 Detroit, MI 48202
Ph: 313-451-0687 or 313-832-4566
www.cdad-online.org