Makes No Difference Who You Are, Believe
“You are a special star!” This is the statement that I heard repeatedly growing up in my single-parent, Westside home. My mother’s positive affirmation lead me to believe that I could do anything that I wanted to do; I could be anyone I wanted to be; and getting a good education would play a pivotal role in shaping my future.
I attended all Detroit Public Schools and graduated from Crary Elementary, Cerveny Middle and Cass Technical High School. I earned a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business in 1995, and a Master’s of Science in Finance degree from Walsh College in 2004.
As a business professional and certified public accountant, I have gained more than 18 years of auditing, municipal accounting and corporate finance experience. I have been trained to perform audits, improve business processes and accurately report annual cash flows from operations of over $1 billion. At the clients I served and positions I held in corporate accounting, I worked with individuals at every level of management, including the CEO, CFO, Treasurer, president and vice presidents. However, I never lost sight of the importance in establishing relationships with the janitorial staff that cleaned the offices and the security officers who made sure I made it to my car safely at night.
It is with the same tenacity, focus and personal touch that I wish to serve the citizens of the City of Detroit. I truly believe that the City of Detroit cannot get better until life for the people who live here gets better.
How will I, if elected Mayor, make life better in the City of Detroit?
Public Safety through Coordination and Collaboration
First of all, we have to secure the citizens. People need to feel safe in the city where they live, work, play and conduct business. My budget and operational plans for Detroit will reflect public safety as a number one priority. The outcomes that I expect to produce include a reduction in violent crime by 25% in the first two years of taking office, a decrease in home invasions, better police response time, and restored 24-hour access to police precincts and mini-stations. We will use crime surveillance cameras in high crime areas supported by data-driven analyses in coordination with community policing and collaboration of multi-level law enforcement agencies to drive down crime and lower auto, home and business insurance rates in the City of Detroit.
Four Steps to Financial Recovery
The four steps needed to address the financial crisis in Detroit are as follows:
1) Reduce the deficit in the general fund by allocating certain expenses to federal grant programs that are eligible for more Federal grant revenues that will offset those expenses.
2) Address the city’s cash flow issues by regularly collecting local income tax through employee tax withholdings. Under the current system, an individual taxpayer who is a resident of Detroit and works outside of the city has the burden of filing and paying all of their taxes at the end of the tax year. State legislation could cure this problem and have taxes remitted to the city of Detroit on a quarterly basis through income tax withholdings taken by their employer. In many cases, the taxes do not get paid at all and the City, therefore, loses money.
3) Use increase tax revenues to specifically invest in our assets, e.g. improve technology and systems to allow our computers to talk to each other; hire more people to work in income generating departments, like revenue agents, property assessors and code enforcement officers. In addition, I would invest new revenues in technology to better coordinate the City’s crime fighting efforts.
Strong Neighborhoods and Communities
When people are working they can pay taxes, stay in their homes, stabilize neighborhoods and strengthen communities. Blight elimination and code enforcement are key to making Detroit safer and beautifying our neighborhoods. By enforcing the ordinances against blight, we will hold violators accountable and generate a source of revenue for the city to reinvest in keeping Detroit beautiful. We will also accelerate the pace at which vacant and abandoned structures are torn down in the City of Detroit. I will form a Centralized Grants Management Office to ensure that the City complies with all grant requirements. By effectively applying for grant funds through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and Community Development Block Grants, we will make sure every dollar is spent properly without returning one penny to the Federal government.
Entrepreneurship and Business Growth
We will create a culture of entrepreneurship and business creation in the City of Detroit. In my administration, we will take the guesswork out of paperwork and assign a business care advocate to walk an individual through the process of getting their business set up in a timely and efficient manner. I want you to be able to open your doors, employ people and start generating a profit as quickly as possible. Existing businesses will have my administration’s support in gaining access to capital to grow your business. The City of Detroit will develop a reputation for paying invoices on time and within 30 days. Small businesses cannot afford to wait 90 and 180 days or longer to get paid by the City
My jobs plan is centered on investment in City Airport. Without the need to expand the runway, we have an opportunity to use the Airport as an economic hub and capitalize on the transportation, logistics and distribution industry. Nationwide, this industry generates more than $150 billion in economic activity and employs more than one million people. My goal is to have one percent of that activity flowing through Detroit, which is equivalent to $1.5 Billion and 10,000 jobs, including warehouse workers, shippers, clerical personnel, truck drivers, etc. These jobs do not require a high-level of skill and therefore can greatly reduce the rate of unemployment in the City of Detroit.
Based on what I have shared, Detroit, I hope that you will adopt my vision and plans and recognize the sincerity of my appeal to you as voters.
I welcome your support and your vote in both the August Primary and November General elections.
Lisa L. Howze, CPA
2013 Candidate for Detroit Mayor
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