Does Benny Napoleon Want to be Sherriff or Mayor?
Wayne County Sherriff Benny Napoleon has a lot on his plate. As sheriff, he serves a county with one of the highest crime rates in the nation. Plus, in order to keep his job, he’s running for re-election in next week’s primary for a four-year term. But that’s not all. Napoleon is also considering a run for Mayor of the City of Detroit.
Has Napoleon bitten off more then he can chew?
Eyeing two public offices at once sure seems like it. How can he convince voters he’s committed to his job as sheriff if he plans to run for mayor in a matter of months after being elected?
Voters need to know that their county sheriff wants the job and isn’t distracted by another political race.
It’s not that Napoleon isn’t qualified for either job. It just seems like the honorable thing to do for voters and supporters is to stick to one goal. If he is elected as mayor next year, someone else will replace him as sheriff who was appointed and not elected into the position.
There are many who believe Napoleon could be a viable candidate in the 2013 mayoral race.
When asked who would be the next mayor of Detroit, Congressman Gary Peters had his answer ready: Benny Napoleon.
For voter’s sake, pick one public office to run for and commit to it.
If you’re a Detroit resident who hasn’t paid city income or property tax, times are changing. Under the consent agreement, one of its goals is to get systems in place to track down taxes owed. A lot of Detroiter’s owe city taxes in some form or another. However, the city lacked the capacity to collect before. Now, for those land owners and people who let their city income tax go unpaid, it’s time to ante up.
Here is an excerpt from the final draft of the consent agreement:
Improve Detroit’s Capacity to Collect Tax Revenues:
- Enhance city revenue collection capacity as requested by the City of Detroit through technical assistance for collections, audit, and city income tax administration
- Create a common assessment template—move the property assessment function from the city to the county to allow for efficiencies as well as between property owners
Many Detroiters simply don’t have the money owed to the city. Will the city garnish wages? Or if the resident who owes taxes is unemployed (our unemployment rate is the highest in the country) will the city or Wayne County then repossess property?
There was no shortage of law enforcement officers at the Detroit Fireworks Monday evening: Federal officers, State troopers, Detroit Police, Coast Guards, Wayne, Macomb, Oakland County Sheriffs, and a number of DNR officers patrolled the riverfront.
The city’s efforts to keep the event safe and well patrolled by pulling in neighboring law enforcement resources from anywhere possible, really showed. Groups of uniformed officers speckled the crowd of thousands of people, and it seemed the majority of them were not even Detroit Police.
Hart Plaza and the popular hill that many watched fireworks from in the past was closed due to construction, officials said.
The officers were friendly, just the numbers of officers was impressive. Although I didn't personally witness any detainments, the Detroit News reported that officers detained 250 minors for being unaccompanied by adults past the citywide curfew of 6 p.m. Take a look at some of the views from the event:
It was a theme highlighted by leaders at The Michigan Chronicle’s Pancakes and Politics forum: collaboration. Often leaders speak of collaborating and working together, but it’s hard sometimes to point out specific examples of what that looks like.
That’s why when I read in the Detroit Free Press that sheriffs from Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties were willing to send officers to help patrol the Detroit fireworks, I thought of a the collaboration theme.
In May at the “Big Four” session of Pancakes and Politics, one attendee asked Detroit Mayor Dave Bing if he would be willing to seek public safety help from surrounding counties Bing’s reply was that he was open to any options to help keep people safe in the city.
This week, that question was fully answered. When Bing asked the leaders in surrounding counties to send officers in to patrol the hundreds of thousands of people expected to attend the 54th annual Target Fireworks show on the Detroit river, the answer was yes. State police will also help patrol the event.
After ripping more than $200 million from this fiscal year’s budget, the city can’t afford to police large events, ones that ultimately draw in residents from all over the region and state.
“It is no longer feasible to have these events funded primarily by Detroit taxpayers.”
It makes sense that the surrounding counties and state would lend a hand. The fireworks may be located in Detroit, but it is a regional, event statewide attraction and therefore, the responsibility of those counties to keep residents safe. The financial burden of events such as this should not be placed solely on Detroit taxpayers in this economic climate. So patrol help from neighbors isn’t a handout, it’s a responsible step to keeping people safe.
Last week at the Michigan Chronicle's Pancakes and Politics speaker forum, Wayne County executive Robert Ficano said the county's budget was balanced, and even had a bit of surplus. "Wayne County is functioning very well," Ficano said last Friday morning.
But that's not true according to a report published in The Detroit News today. The article stated that Wayne County is actually facing a general fund deficit so steep, that county officials are looking to use grant money earmarked for other programs to stave back economic fallout.
The Detroit News' Steve Pardo reports:
"Under state law, counties with deficits need to submit five-year deficit reduction plans. Wayne County is the only county in the state submitting such a plan; it already qualifies for emergency manager status, meeting four of 18 triggers spelled out under state law," the report stated.
So which is it? Or can it be both?
Yes, it can. The whole picture shows that by certain measures, both statments are true. In the fiscal year of 2011, yes, Wayne County had balanced the budget and a surplus mostly income from a legal settlement between the County and the 3rd Circuit Court according to county CFO, Carla Sledge.
But that doesn't mean the county doesn't owe big time cash. The overall County deficit weighs in at around $154 million, according to Auditor General Willie Mayo. While that's not terrible news, (In 2010 the comprehensive budget defifict in Wayne County was $253 million) it's no light bill. And for Ficano to cliam that the the county is prospering is a bit of a stretch.
Wayne County executive Robert Ficano continued to defend his reputation this Friday morning at the Michigan Chronicle's Pancakes and Politics forum in Birmingham's Townsend Hotel. But he said he has no hard feelings about media coverage of the Wayne County corruption scandal despite tough scrutiny. "No, I am not going to resign," he responded when event host, Carol Cain, asked if he would step down under the pressure of having four former members of his administration facing federal corruption charges. "I have not done anything wrong."
When asked if he felt media coverage of the Wayne County scandal has been fair, he said he understands everyone has a job to do. "I recognize what the first amendment is all about. The media have a job to do and I don't resent it. This is the life I have chosen. I am a public official. With that comes scrutiny."
Ficano was a panalist along with fellow Metro Detroit leaders Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Oakland County Executive Robert Ficano and Macomb County executive Mark Hackel.
Ficano also added that the important thing to keep in mind is that Wayne County is doing fine under his leadership, with a balanced budget and event a bit of surplus. "I've been a public offical for 30 years and doing a good job," he told more than 400 attendees at the forum. "Six months of difficulty shouldn't define me."
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