Reporting Vickie Thomas
DETROIT (WWJ) - It’s a story you’re hearing first on WWJ. A Detroit City Council member is calling it quits, saying the consent agreement with the state was the last straw.
After serving 16 years in public office, from the school board to the city board, council member Kwame Kenyatta says he’s had enough.
“I think that my contribution has run its limits,” Kenyatta told WWJ’s Vickie Thomas.
Kenyatta said the closed vote on the consent agreement with the state has caused tension among the council members.
“It’s a place that I don’t think everybody is happy to be, and if they are then maybe there should be some psychological examination,” he said.
Kenyatta also pointed to the lack of leadership and lawlessness in the streets.
“I don’t feel, you know, that there’s nobody in charge. So, you know, by the time I kill this person, shoot this person, rape this person, the police ain’t coming so I can do all that I need to do and go on about my business. That is not where we need to be and it’s unfortunate that that’s where we are,” he said.
Last month, the council voted 5-4 to approve a financial stability agreement with the state to avoid an emergency manager and potential bankruptcy.
Kenyatta said he’s disappointed that city leaders voted to essentially turn over the keys to Detroit to Gov. Rick Snyder.
“The overseer is here. When you look at the consent agreement, there’s not much more that an emergency manager can do. You’re giving away Belle Isle, you’re eliminating services, you’re eliminating workforce development, you’re zeroing that out, the health department, transportation, you want to talk about a recreation conservancy. The only thing left is basically police and fire, to some extent, but you sold them out too because you didn’t ratify their contracts as well ” he said.
Kenyatta, who he fought against the consent agreement, said black political power has taken a hit.
“I still think there’s a place for us in the electoral political system, but I’m very clear that it is all that I thought it was, for the most part, corrupt, confused and compromising,” he said.
“It’s not an issue that black folks can’t get it straight and all of a sudden we need a white mayor to get it straight for us, or a white governor to get it straight for us. What you need is black folks who’ve got some sense and have got some understanding that no one with power gives away power… In part of the changing of the guard, and I think that race is part of it, is that you have an undercurrent, kind of underground white power movement based upon a business agenda,” he continued.
Kenyatta said he plans to finish out the remainder of his term, 1.5 years, although he said that’s not a given.
“The death and destruction that I see in the city of Detroit is a result, I think, of people just losing faith and hope,” he said.