Monday, May 11, 2009

On Tuesday May 12th nominating petitions for candidates for the Charter Revision Commission must be turned in and the tough work of campaigning for the office will begin. Detroiters should think long and hard about whom they want sitting at the table: representing them, listening to their testimony and then debating and documenting the finer points of city government structure. Charter Commissioners should be legal and policy experts who can rationally evaluate government structures. The last time Detroit had a Charter Revision Commission, from 1994-1997, Commissioners were paid $75 per meeting for up to 100 meetings over the course of 3 years. That is a maximum of $7500 for three years of meetings, not counting many more hours reading, researching and preparing for each of those meetings. Its not glamorous or well-paying work, but it is very important work that can create permanent and positive change for Detroit, if it is done well. The Charter is the document that creates the structure of our local government. When creating a government, people make the most fundamental decisions, how much power should they grant to the government to act on their behalf and what are the limits and protections against abuses of that power? Detroit's current style of government is known as a "strong mayor" system with an at-large city council. Over the next six months, we hope that you will use this blog to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Detroit's current system and to get to know the candidates who are running to serve Detroit on the Charter Revision Commission.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cara Blount, Candidate for Charter Revision Commission

Candidate for
Detroit Charter Commission

Cara Blount joined the Detroit Police Department in 1977 and worked patrol in the Thirteenth (Woodward) Precinct until her promotion to sergeant in 1986. She then worked at the Eighth (Grand River) Precinct, Mini Station Section, Detroit Metropolitan Police Academy and the Personnel Bureau. In 1994, she was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and assigned to the Fifth (Jefferson) Precinct.

In 1995, she became commanding officer of the Tactical Operations Section (Tac Ops) where she maintained responsibility for all major city events. During her four years at Tac Ops, she was instrumental in the success of the Grand Prix, Thunderfest Boat Races, Thanksgiving Day Parades and the Red Wings Victory Parades. She was responsible for logistical planning and implementation for the visits of President William Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and Mrs. Gore, the Armenian Pope, Michael Jackson, and Winnie Mandela. She was also instrumental in the successful planning and logistics for the funerals of former Mayor Coleman A. Young and Father William Cunningham. In July, 1998, Lieutenant Blount was appointed to the rank of Inspector.

In 1999, she was appointed Commander of the Twelfth Precinct, with responsibility for all patrol, investigative, community relations and personnel functions.

On July 21, 2002, Commander Blount was appointed Deputy Chief in charge of the Western Operations Bureau, an area with a population of more than 500,000 citizens and more than 1200 sworn and civilian employees. She remained in charge of Westside patrol operations until July, 2003 when she was appointed as the Detroit Police Department’s first Compliance Coordinator in charge of the Civil Rights Integrity Bureau. In that capacity, she was the liaison between the City of Detroit, the Detroit Police Department, a court-ordered monitor and the United States Department of Justice.

In January, 2004, she became commanding officer of the Central Services Bureau, with oversight of all major investigative units including Homicide, Sex Crimes, Gang Squad, Armed Robbery, Narcotics and Vice. She retired from the Detroit Police Department in March, 2005.

Cara earned her B.A. in Sociology from the University of Detroit in 1974 and an M.S. in Criminal Justice at Wayne State University in 1999. She was also an adjunct instructor at Wayne County Community College in 1991—1996 and Wayne State University, 2000 –2003.

She and her husband Michael, a retired Detroit Police sergeant, have lived in Detroit all their lives. They have four children and five grandchildren.