The small-business effect on the debate was evident earlier this month when the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce, which represents thousands of neighborhood businesses in Detroit, joined the fight to block an attempt during state lawmakers' lame duck session to preemptively ban Detroit or other cities from passing a community benefits ordinance.
"Our influence changed the entire discussion from activist-versus-developer to, 'what is truly the benefit of a community benefits ordinance?'" said Kenneth Harris, a Detroiter who serves as president of the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce.
Harris, whose organization advocates for Detroit's small businesses, said he supports the ordinance because it would encourage developers to interact and potentially hire workers from small businesses who for years have struggled to stay in business while Detroit's fortunes tumbled.
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