Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kwame Kilpatrick and Detroit

I'm only referring to Kwame Kilpatrick's tenure as mayor here, not his pending court case. He is innocent till proven guilty there, and deserves his day in court as any of us would.

Apologies to my family members and others in Detroit who didn't vote for hizzoner, but I don't have a lot of sympathy for Detroit's problems caused by their mayor. Detroit as a whole made its choice. It voted for him twice, once over Gill Hill and once over Dennis Archer's protege in Freman Hendrix. This is also the same city that elected Coleman Young for twenty years. It is the same city that re-elects its school board time and time again. Detroit has the potential to be once again a world class city, but not if these individuals stay in power. Not all the problems in Detroit are self-inflicted, but many of them are controllable situations. Many of the same OUTSIDE factors that affect Detroit affect the rest of the state.

Some people, mostly white suburbanites, are telling Granholm that she needs to remove Kwame Kilpatrick from office through a little known clause. I think that would be a very poor decision. Right now, Granholm is handling this the right way and letting things there take care of itself. I oppose an outsider - and by that I mean any individual who does not live in the CITY of Detroit, dictating to them how to handle their officials. The counter argument by many is that what happens in Detroit affects the state and that Detroit is the face of Michigan to the rest of the country. That may be true, but what happens all over the state effects the state, whether it be Detroit, or here in Livingston County. As for it being the face of Michigan, so what. Market the other areas of this state which is a lot more than just Detroit (Up North for starters). If you want to change things in Detroit and get them a new mayor, move back there. Houses there are cheap.

I also opposed the state's then takeover of the Detroit Public Schools as well. The state can not bail out (not that it's competent enough to do so) or micromanage them. It doesn't work (didn't work with the schools), mainly because it creates more resentment between Detroit and suburbia. It also does not force Detroit to fix itself, which it has to do to make a comeback outside of Downtown.

Now I'm not one of these people who say that everything in Detroit is bad. It's not. Downtown (and Greektown) is in good shape. Downtown even has a lower crime rate than many suburbs. Two of their public High Schools are as competitive as the suburban schools. Much of the archetecture there is still better than what is built today. Palmer Woods and Indian Village are still strong solid neighborhoods. Then there is the stuff we all know about and hear over and over again. Crime away from Downtown, most of the schools, higher property taxes than Grosse Pointe, poor city services, corruption. That aspect of Detroit is what needs to be changed. Only limited amounts of that can be done from non-Detroiters. The bulk of the work needs to be done in the city, by putting competent individuals in charge.

So should Kwame resign or be removed from office? That's for the Detroiters, and only Detroiters to decide. I'll just concern myself with who runs Livingston County.

1 comment: said...

Tough, tough, tough situation. I'm all about local control. I'm MORE than all about local control.

I'm not a big fan of the law that allows the Governor to remove a sitting and elected mayor... just isn't right.

I'd be much happier if Granholm would round up Obama and John Cherry and Dennis Archer and Gretchen Whitmer and John Cherry and Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow and Mark Brewer and Jon Stryker and the whole team to apply public, political pressure on the Mayor to convince him to step down of his own volition.

Otherwise... you're right. You get what you vote for.

There's that old political proverb that says the theory of Democracy is the belief that the people know what they want and deserve to get it... good and hard.