Former city attorney loses appeal in Inkster discrimination case

Capital News Service
LANSING — A federal appeals court has rejected a racial discrimination suit by the former Inkster city attorney who claims officials in the predominantly African-American city replaced him because he’s white. The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that Milton Spokojny — who upset city council members by falling asleep at their meetings — failed to produce sufficient evidence that race was the reason he lost his long-time contract to provide legal services to Inkster, a city with a 73 percent black population. He was city attorney for 29 years until 2011 when Inkster solicited bids and chose Allen Brothers Law Firm, a Detroit firm with an African-American attorney who became the city attorney. Like most local governments in Michigan, Inkster retains private attorneys to represent it rather than having salaried lawyers on staff. They represent the municipality in civil matters, such as preparing contracts and handling lawsuits, and some also serve as prosecutors for traffic and other low-level offenses.

Dissolved districts may find way to get back in business

Capital News Service
LANSING — School districts that were dissolved may have a chance to reestablish themselves under legislation designed to address potential dissolution of more districts. Rep. David Nathan, D-Detroit, who recently introduced the bill, said no mechanism exists for school districts to reestablish themselves. The bill would give intermediate school districts the power to elect a new school board for dissolved districts. Schools in low-income neighborhoods have been facing deficit issues as a result of cuts to education funding and declining enrollment. Ironically, many families moved to these neighborhoods because of their public school systems, Nathan said.

Troopers bolster local police in high-crime communities

Capital News Service
LANSING – The State Police is helping the downsized Inkster Police Department by providing increased patrols to reduce violent crime, in addition to its comprehensive cooperation effort in Detroit and three other major cities. Michael Canty of the Inkster City Council said the council passed a plan to request help for the police department. “I contacted the governor personally and his office said the state would support Inkster in any way they could,” Canty said. Two troopers were assigned indefinitely to augment the city department, he said. State Police Capt. Monica Yesh said the city’s main problem is not enough officers although Inskter’s murder and violent crime rate increased throughout 2012.