Scrolling through the news this morning I saw an update on a story I have been hearing about for some time now. That story has to do with our nearest metropolis, Detroit. Why was Detroit in the news this time? Well, Governor Rick Snyder is taking a close look at the finances of the city and it continues to look ominous. According to USA Today, “if the governor concludes that the city’s economic situation constitutes an emergency, he could dispatch a manager who could push the mayor and city council to the sidelines” (USA Today). If Governor Snyder puts a manager into power in the city of Detroit it would be the largest city to come under state control in the history of the United States.
The current deficit in the city has eclipsed 150 million dollars (USA Today). Obviously, most Detroiters as well as the city council members don’t want a state takeover of the city but it is a very real possibility. If a city manager from the state is brought in to run the city the council goes to the wayside and this manager would have immense power. They would be able to sell off city owned land and to privatize utilities and the bus system in the city.
So how does this relate to the class? This story has to do with the Lockian debate of consenting to be governed. Locke states in order to be governed the population must give consent to be governed by the government. As Americans, we vote which in some way gives us consent to be governed. However, if a city manager is appointed and the city council, mayor, and others elected officials are no longer in power the people no longer have a voice. If a city manager does come in to power in Detroit it is bound to cause a raucous throughout the city. So the consent of the people may come into question but I’m not sure the city will be worse off with a city manager in control.
With a city manager in control there are going to be some good things that happen. For instance, decisions will get made for sure. Without the city council in Detroit a manager will be able to do what they want. Whether that is good or bad it will remain to be seen. Maybe a manager will be able to turn the corner and get Detroit to becoming a functional and thriving city again; or maybe a manager will run the city into the ground beyond repair. Only time will tell what happens.
Personally, I don’t know what needs to happen in Detroit and I’m happy I don’t have to make those decisions. I love the city and want to see it make a comeback. I hear stories from my grandfather and father saying they remember when Detroit was thriving and a destination for many Americans. I love going down to the city whether it be for a sporting event, another event, or just going to one of the wonderful restaurants the city has to offer. I would enjoy being able to go on vacation and when someone asks me where I’m from be able to answer with confidence and pride.
So what do you think? Should a city manager come into Detroit and run the city with no city council, no mayor, and nearly unlimited control? Do you think the people would be giving consent to that form of government? Is it right for the local government of Detroit to be virtually evaporated? Do you think Detroit can be saved and highlight it’s strong points again?
Watch this video to see some of Detroit’s great things.