Detroit City Council members Jones, Benson hold media Q-and-A

Detroit city council members are notoriously shy, and really don't like answering questions in parking lots. 

So Council President Brenda Jones started scheduling occasional meetings with reporters. Not all of her colleagues seem to feel it's worth their time, but Jones and District 3 Councilman Scott Benson were there Tuesday.

The conversation started with a story I reported last week, revealing how City Council grilled 36th District Court Chief Judge Nancy Blount on the court's policy that prevents visitors from bringing pens and pencils. The court says it wants to avoid graffiti and people writing mean things about judges. Jones said she is not well versed on the issue, but will catch up with chief judge to discuss it.

She also sidestepped my questions about whether she planned to run for Congress again. Jones resumed her city council president duties earlier this year after a brief period as a congresswoman from Michigan's 13th District. Jones took office after winning the right to finish the term of John Conyers, who resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment. 

Rashida Tlaib won the race to serve a full term. Jones said she would decide later whether to challenge Tlaib in 2020.

Steve Hood, a political consultant and host of the Steve Hood Show asked Benson and Jones to address concerns about the city's new rules on rental properties.

Hood says improvements the city now requires have created hardships for landlords -- and driven up rent for residents. 

The councilmembers said they are sympathetic to landlords, but their priority is making sure rental homes are safe for occupants.