Voters head to the polls to decide fate of Detroit's Proposal P on Tuesday

Posted at 5:47 AM, Aug 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-03 23:24:23-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — There's a battle on the ballot in Detroit as voters head to the polls on Tuesday. Voters are weighing in on revising the city's charter.

Related: Michigan's August 2021 election: Here's everything you need to know

The controversial proposal is better known as "Prop P." It would impact everything from the water and sewerage systems, to property taxes, policing, broadband access, civil rights and even funding for the rights.

Related: Detroit's Proposal P: What proponents and opponents are saying ahead of the election

"Prop P" is receiving an outpouring of support, but it's also being criticized by influential leaders.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Mayor Mike Duggan and former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer all say that approving the proposal could set the city up for another bankruptcy.

The 150-page document can be a lot to take in.

It's a hot issue that can dramatically change things across the city for Detroiters, depending on if they vote yes or no.

Daniel Rosenbaum, a visiting assistant professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, said if you vote yes, you're taking away some power from the mayor.

"A shift to take some power away from the executive, Mayor Duggan and put more power in city council and other officials and bodies," he said.

Giving them the power in the selection process of top leaders like the city attorney and police chief.

"All of these will be a form of power shift because if the voters vote for these specific rules they are taking their own power to the table and they are filling in gaps that the mayor's office fills in for them," Rosenbaum said.

People who oppose the proposal say it's confusing.

"The concern is who's in charge. A two-headed monster is unstable. We have a strong mayor form of government," Rev. Horace Sheffield, who is against Prop P, said.

Rosenbaum said people who are against the revisions also believe it's an expense the city can't afford.

"In the charter, the creation of a department of environmental justice and sustainability for the cCity of Detroit. So by creating the department, the question becomes - is this an unfunded mandate?" Rosenbaum said.

People for Prop P say it's the change Detroiters need.

"By voting yes to the city charger you are saying to freedom, inclusion and having stricter guidelines for our water rates," Taylor Harrell, the civic engagement manager with Detroit Action, said.

Harrell said the revision could help address important concerns like free public broadband internet, infrastructure and inclusion over the city.

Detroit Action worked closely with Detroit's Charter Revision Commission to draft the proposal that took years and spent some time in the State Supreme Court.

"The opponents tried to get the proposal off the ballot the proponents were saying that this should go forward for the voters to decide in the primary," Rosenbaum said.

Last week, the Supreme Court ordered that the revision stays on the ballot - so it will be there when Detroiters head to the polls to vote.

Proposal P also addresses health care and reparations for African Americans in Detroit.

To take a closer look at the charter we do have an in-depth piece on our website for you to look at before making a decision.