Judge tosses state takeover lawsuit

By Steve Neavling

The rhetoric-laced drama unfolding over who controls Detroit’s finances took a big twist today when a judge quickly dismissed a lawsuit by the city’s attorney that challenged the state’s financial intervention.

Now city and state officials can get back to fixing a budget that has run a deficit every year for more than a decade.

Not everyone is going to be happy with the decision by Ingham County Circuit Judge William Collette, who essentially called the suit frivolous.

Supporters of maintaining local control say there’s a bigger constitutional issue with disabling elected local officials and supplanting them with government appointees.

But in the meantime, there are services to provide to Detroiters.

Buses, parks and police protection are already taking dangerously large cuts. Street lights continue to go dark in neighborhoods rife with crime. And poverty and substandard education are the norm.

This is not OK. Improving the lives of Detroiters must be the priority.

If the state is going to continue meddling with the city’s finances, the best we can ask for is a transparent process that sticks to its mission – and that is to improve the lives of the more than 700,000 people who live in Detroit.

Gov. Snyder needs to tone down his rhetoric because he’s beginning to send like the bully that Detroiters had feared.

Let’s get the work done so the state can leave soon.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.