City council faces divided Detroit residents ahead of blight bond proposal vote

Time is running out for the Detroit City Council to make up their minds about a contentious issue facing residents around the city. 

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan's bond proposal to speed up blight removal in the city has divided many residents and councilmembers. 

Right now, the decision to allow residents to vote on the proposal in March is in the council's court. The $250 million bond proposal would seek to demolish all blight in five years. However, following a scathing report from the Department of the Auditor General which cited a slew of problems with the blight removal program, residents aren't interested in seeing more money put toward the program.

On Monday, they let councilmembers know about it.

"It's just three days ago I have to be outside, someone come into a house that's scheduled for demolition that's had multiple murders in it, had multiple deaths in it and chasing the kids down the street, these houses have to come down," said one resident.

"Please vote no on this issue. If the administration could not get it right the last time with federal oversight, can you imagine what it will look like with no oversight?" said another resident.

"We have several houses that are abandoned in the community, numerous violence going on, kidnapping, rapes, dumping the bodies - and we want the blight to come down. It's very safe and it's not fair to the kids," said a third resident.

So far, more than 19,000 homes have been demolished in the last five years - most with the aid of federal funds. But there were also a series of corruption charges against some involved in the process.

Monday's meeting didn't including colorful commentary from just residents, however. Council President Brenda Jones was fuming over robocalls that had been directed toward her office and other members, urging them to put the proposal on the ballot.

"That someone would hire a telemarketing company to call my office, to tell them to lobby me to vote 'yes,' I think that was the most ridiculous trick I have ever seen," said Jones.

The council has until Nov. 26 to vote.