Citizen Detroit Gives Residents a Voice in Local Government

WDET’s Sandra Svoboda talks with Sheila Cockrel, retired Detroit City Council Member and current co-director of Citizen Detroit, about how Citizen Detroit is helping give neighborhood residents a voice in Detroit government.  Hear about the changes they are making, and how you can get involved.

  • Informing the public: Cockrel says that Citizen Detroit’s mission is to inform the public about the central policy questions facing the city. She says citizens’ main concerns so far this summer are police and public safety, transportation, blight and the connection between blight and crime.  
  • Realistic optimism:  Sandra asks what residents think about Mayor Mike Duggan. Cockrel says that they say Duggan is working hard on key problems and are relieved and happy about his grassroots efforts to improve neighborhoods. She says this is a change from previous city governments, which have put more effort into Downtown Detroit than into neighborhoods.  
  • Report card: Cockrel says Citizen Detroit is asking citizens what they would do to improve the city and what they think should be on a “report card”.  In September, Citizen Detroit will hold a session with Mayor Duggan and the Detroit City Council to present their report cards and scores.  She says she expects the City Council will pay attention to this feedback because it comes from the most engaged citizens, and Council Members know they are active voters.  
  • Collaboration:  Collaboration is important, Cockrel says, and organizations must come together to use the “best that everybody has to offer”.  WDET is collaborating with Citizen Detroit to tell Detroit’s true stories at Citizen Detroit’s “Dinner & Dialogue” meetings.  Click here to learn about the collaboration.   
  • Meeting tonight!: There is a Citizen Detroit “Dinner & Dialogue” meeting today, July 16, at the Cathedral Church of St Paul at 4800 Woodward Ave from 5:00-8:30 pm.  Click here to RSVP.  

Click the audio link above to hear the full conversation, and click here to learn more about Citizen Detroit.  

Image credit: Marissa Gawel/WDET

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