DB: I think he got criticized for contracts outside of the city, outside of the state. I’m not close enough to see whether there is credibility behind that. But I think as we look at this oversight committee, one of the things that is exceedingly important is that we want to maximize the utilization of Detroit-based companies as they get opportunities for contracts with the bonding.
MC: Do you support his push to take over the curriculum of DPS?
DB: If he had the right board to work with, then it probably would not be a problem. I think he feels that this is not the right board for him to get done what he wants to get done.
MC: Clearly, it seems that some people have worked to keep the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Any reaction?
DB: It’s our signature event. I’ve heard numbers historically saying that it represents somewhere around $500 million to our local communities, which is huge. But there are some other things that are pretty important that are going to go on in 2010. The auto show kicks it off. But shortly after that you have the $500 million bond issue with the schools, you’ve got one or two bridges that could hopefully get kicked off in 2010 that will be somewhere around $1 billion in economic activity.
MC: Do you think there should be another bridge?
DB: Oh yes, I think there ought to be another bridge. Now whether or not it’s the Ambassador Bridge, the twin bridge, I don’t know. From my vantage point I’ll take either one of them because it means so much for economic activity in this area and potential jobs for Detroiters. Then you look at our light rail system that is going to kick off. That is a $350 million project.
MC: Detroit has been catapulted to the center of global security with the recent attempted terrorist incident. Does that challenge the Detroit Police Department?
DB: I don’t think so. That’s Homeland Security more than anything else.
MC: How would you grade yourself?
DB: I’m not the one to grade myself.
MC: President Obama graded himself.
DB: That’s President Obama. (laughs) I won’t think like Obama in this instance. I think our local business community, people in this city, in this administration are the people that I think really I would have to pay attention to. What I think of the job that I have done is insignificant right now.
MC: What is in place right now to help small businesses in this tough economy?
DB: Well, that’s where you go, to the neighborhoods. That’s where small businesses, I think, have a chance to grow and hopefully prosper. All of the different projects I just talked about, each one of them will be heavily supported by small business people.
MC: Your past opponent, Tom Barrow, is requesting Michigan Attorney General Cox to investigation allegations of ballot irregularities in the last general election. Are you concerned?
DB: I wasn’t concerned about Tom Barrow when we ran against each other. I’m not concerned about him now. I think what he is doing is costing the city money it can’t afford. And its unfortunate everybody talks about their love for Detroit. You are doing something like he’s doing. What sense does it make? Even with the unions. They want me to go to jail. They want to sue me. The purpose of it is what?
MC: But Detroit is a labor town.
DB: And it is time for change. There is nothing wrong with unions.
MC: What do you make of the rapid leadership changes taking place at General Motors and its impact on the city?
DB: They are making radical changes. Their whole thing is how to stay alive, how to survive. I think the leadership over there understands that. The leadership in the city, starting with me, understands that. If we are going to stay alive and survive, we can’t continue to do the same things we’ve always done.
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