Category: Prime Politics - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
Detroit City Clerk Janice M. Winfrey will hold a press conference on Thursday, August 1, to discuss the upcoming August 6 Primary Election. The conference, which will include discussion of election preparations and media questions, will be held at 1 p.m. in the Department of Elections third floor Assembly room, located at 2978 West Grand Boulevard.
Representatives from political parties and various interest groups and organizations will be invited to attend the conference.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 July 2013 13:17
Category: Prime Politics - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle
For more than three decades, the name Mike Duggan has been a fixture throughout Southeast Michigan. including Detroit and Wayne County. He is a former Wayne County prosecutor, and was the former president and CEO of the Detroit Medical Center for almost a decade. Some have called the University of Michigan Law School graduate perhaps this region’s most successful turnaround specialist. Now,he wants to turn around Detroit as its next mayor. Duggan stopped by the Michigan Chronicle office recently to discuss his mayoral vision and plans for city of Detroit. Donald James conducted this part of the interview.
MICHIGAN CHRONICLE: Detroit finds itself at perhaps its lowest point in the city’s 312-year history. Why do you want the job of mayor?
MIKE DUGGAN: I’ve worked in the city of Detroit every day for the last 32 years. For the last nine, I ran the Detroit Medical Center, the largest employer in the city. While DMC was growing, I saw that the city was falling apart. I thought the city needed a mayor that has successfully dealt with financial crisis. I have that ability to turn things around financially. As you look at Detroit today, everything starts with being able to manage its finances. We have to get stronger financially in order to add additional police officers and firefighters. I really love the city of Detroit and I love its people. I feel that I can help turn the city around as its next mayor.
MC: How would you reduce crime in the city?
MD: First of all, we need to cut police response time. We’ve been giving a lot of lip service to it, but have not executed it. We also still have officers in stations dispatching patrol cars. Kevyn Orr’s last report stated that we have more than 50 police officers filling out payroll. We must put every available police officer on the street and we must improve the efficiency of every officer that’s on the street. Also, one agency does not bring down crime. We need to get the whole system working together in a more concerted effort. We can bring crime down, but we must make better use of the resources that we have. It’s not all about getting more money, more people, more resources. A lot of it is about having better leadership.
MC: What’s your plan for creating jobs for Detroiters?
MD: We need to be honest about the future of our jobs. We are not going to come back with auto plants and 5,000 jobs. We will get this economy to come back when lots of entrepreneurs and artistically inclined people in a dense area feed off each other and create new businesses. We need to make Detroit an entrepreneurial city and I want to build the entrepreneurial class from this community.
MC: Historically, write-in candidates for mayor in major American cities have not been successful. Why do you feel that your campaign will be successful?
MD: Write-in victories are very difficult. However, the optic scan system that Detroit uses is actually the easiest voting system in America to write in. The problem is that there are no instructions on the ballot to tell you how. The voter sees that blank box and he or she has no idea of why it’s there. Our challenge is that every single voter that we get will have to be educated before he or she sets foot in the voting booth. It’s tough, but we are optimistic.
MC: The city is currently under the control of emergency manager Kevyn Orr. Can you be an effective mayor for the people of Detroit with the limited power that he chooses to give?
MD; As long as the emergency manager is here, neither I nor anyone else in the city has any rights. So we shouldn’t be under any illusion about that. The question is, who can most effectively move the emergency manager out at the earliest date? I have 100 people working on a plan that will be released in a couple of weeks that shows how we transition out from an emergency manager, back to elected leadership. It is my intention, right after the November election, to go to the governor with the community and business leaders who have supported me and say to the governor that the city has an elected mayor with a strong turnaround history and a strong turnaround team and plan. I will say that it’s time to thank Kevyn Orr for his service and send him back to Washington, D.C.
MC: If the city files for bankruptcy, would that drastically alter your plans as mayor? (Note: This question was asked just a few hours before the city actually filed for bankruptcy.)
MD: Yes, it will. But what it will change is this. As the law is structured now, it’s very likely that the emergency manager will be running the city under the supervision of a bankruptcy judge. If I get elected I’m going to attempt to persuade the governor, or the bankruptcy judge, to move the emergency manager out and replace the emergency manager with me. I believe that if we are in bankruptcy, it’s all that more important that the mayor is in charge. I hope that we won’t go into bankruptcy…I don’t think that it’s necessary, but if we are in bankruptcy when I’m elected, I’m going to do all that I can to ask the judge to make me responsible for operating the city so that we balance the interest of creditors with the long-term interest and needs of our citizens.
MC: There are those who have called you an outsider and a carpetbagger. Talk a little bit about your connection to Detroit, and how do you respond to what some opponents and their supporters are saying?
MD: I was born in Detroit. As a young boy, I lived on Stansbury near Franklin and Schaefer on the west side. My family moved to Livonia when I was about five, but I went to high school at Catholic Central in Detroit when it was on W. Outer Drive. I took the DSR bus to high school every day. I was in high school in Detroit when Coleman A. Young was elected mayor. My wife was born in Hutzel Hospital; she lived in Detroit until she was 13. My mom was a nurse at Receiving Hospital. My grandfather had a real estate office on Mack in Detroit. My great-grandmother was one of the first female entrepreneurs in this city. She owned a dry goods shop on Michigan Avenue in the 1880s. So my family is deeply rooted in this city.
I’ve worked every day in this city for the last 32 years. I’ve been honest with every group of voters that I’ve met with. I’ve asked them to see if my ties and my love for Detroit are sufficient enough for them to vote for me. I’ve asked them to see if I can identify with their problems in this city. I hope that on August 6, people will see that my ties and love for Detroit are sufficient enough and that I can identify with and fix the problems of Detroiters.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 16:14
Detroit Regional Chamber’s PAC Board Endorses Seven Candidates In The 2013 Detroit City Council Primary
Category: Prime Politics - Original Written by Amber Bogins
Tuesday, the Detroit Regional Chamber's Political Action Committee (PAC) Board announced the endorsements of seven candidates in the August 6 primary for the Detroit City Council election in November.
"The City Council elections this fall will help set the tone as Detroit moves through one of the most critical periods in its history. Bringing the best possible field to voters is an important investment in Detroit's future," said Terence Thomas, chairman, Chamber PAC Board. "We're proud to endorse these candidates and believe they will work toward the sound public policy that drives growth while bringing about the change this city needs."
The City Council candidates receiving the Chamber's PAC endorsement for the primary include:
District 1: James Tate (Incumbent)
District 2: Rick Bowers
District 3: Scott Benson
District 4: Andre Spivey (Incumbent)
District 5: Adam Hollier
District 6: Vince Keenan
At-Large: Saunteel Jenkins (Incumbent)
Last week, the Chamber's PAC endorsed former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan as a write-in candidate for the primary for the Detroit mayoral election in November. A list of the Chamber's primary endorsements can be found on www.detroitchamber.com.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 July 2013 17:07
Category: Prime Politics - Original Written by Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
Federal bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes will now allow Detroit's chapter 9 filing to proceed after hearing arguments from both sides.
Both pension and city lawyers took to federal court today before bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes for a historic argument that the world is closely watching centering on the legality of Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr filing for chapter 9 bankruptcy.
Rhodes said he was granting the request because it was in the interest of the public and called it "the most important factor of all."
Earlier in court this morning, Jones Day super lawyer Heather Lennox, representing the City of Detroit, and Kevyn Orr argued that the city's decision to seek bankruptcy in federal court was the right move because state courts have no jurisdiction to hear the bankruptcy case.
Orr has long argued, and in an exclusive interview this week, said the city's pension fund is under-funded by $3.5 billion and that creditors are owed $11.5 billion.
Lennox's argument has been part of the conversation regarding the city's filing of chapter 9 because some have contended that the benefits of pensioners are protected in the Michigan Constitution, while other experts disagreed, saying the federal bankruptcy code supersedes state law.
But the no-nonsense judge Rhodes quickly noted that very few cases of municipal bankruptcies in the country have been dismissed on the merit of the filing, not on the legal theory of the state v. the federal government.
Pension fund lawyer Robert Gordon argued vehemently that the bankruptcy filing is not legitimate and that it will adversely affect the city's two retirement systems.
"It's a circular issue," Gordon said.
The pension attorney raised the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which gives states some sovereignty as a basis to argue that the state interest can be protected in a bankruptcy proceeding.
Former federal bankruptcy judge Ray Reynolds Graves said in chapter 9 the city can cancel the benefits and the court can't do anything about it because federal law takes precedence.
"We get into this argument of federalism, where state law has stated that as a matter of the right of the state it must protect its pensioners who are municipal employees. Does that sovereignty take precedence over any federal law? It's to the contrary," Graves said.
Because the U.S. Constitution speaks to a uniformed law on bankruptcy across the country, when the city of Stockton in California filed for chapter 9 bankruptcy, U.S. bankruptcy judge Christopher Klein did not stop the city from canceling the pensions of its workers.
"I don't know whether spiked pensions can be reeled back in. There are very complex and difficult questions of law that I can see out there on the horizon," the Associated Press quoted Klein as saying in his ruling.
Graves said while there is no clear answer as to whether the state Constitution can prevent the elimination of retiree benefits, Orr can modify the pensions, meaning less money for hard-pressed workers.
With Detroit becoming the largest municipality in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy, news of the filing has attracted mixed reviews from around the country and the globe.
Some of Detroit's business leaders from the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, including CEO Sandy Baruah and Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert, have sought to allay the fears of investors and those worried about the state of bankruptcy, saying the city will come through this difficult period.
Many questions remain unanswered, including the fate of retirees, which came up in federal court today even as Judge Rhodes decides whether to allow the bankruptcy proceeding to move forward.
Some of the puzzling questions will be part of a special forum open to the public on July 26, at noon at the Downtown Campus of Wayne County Community College District where a panel of leaders will address the underlying issues facing bankruptcy and the city. The forum, "State of Emergency: Bankruptcy and the Future of Detroit," will feature former federal bankruptcy judge Ray Reynolds Graves, former Detroit City Council member Sheila Cockrel, Detroit Riverfront CEO and member of the Compuware Board of Directors Faye Nelson, Detroit Free Press business columnist Tom Walsh and a representative from the police and fire retirement systems.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 14:56
Category: Prime Politics - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
The General Assembly of the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit and Vicinity unanimously voted to endorse Benny Napoleon for Detroit Mayor.
In March, many of Detroit's clergy leaders stood with Napoleon as he officially announced his candidacy in front of an audience of more than 2,000 people at the Masonic Temple. According to historic figures, this was likely the largest announcement in Detroit's history of any one candidate.
During the past few months since his announcement, more than 300 clergy leaders have officially announced their support of Napoleon's mayoral candidacy.
"After careful consideration and interviewing all of the mayoral candidates individually and having them face our General Assembly, this decision was reached," said Dr. Deedee Coleman, chair of the political and social action committee of the Council of Baptist Pastors and Vicinity. "Benny Napoleon possesses a vast amount of experience and has proven his support for the city through many decades of service."
Napoleon is the son of a Baptist pastor, Harry Napoleon, and has been widely known to possess a strong faith, character, morale values, and action-orientated leadership. Clergy in Detroit and throughout Wayne County have partnered with him to root out crime through neighborhood initiatives when he served as Detroit Chief of Police in 1995-2001 and since 2009 where he has served as Wayne County Sheriff.
"Benny was very clear in his presentations and had the best understanding of the problems and possible solutions for our city," said Dr. Lawrence Glass, first vice chair of the Council, referencing the endorsement interview. "We are interested in a mayor who understands collaboration and working with others. A combative attitude at the juncture of Detroit's history is counterproductive."
Napoleon said this about the endorsement, "The Council of Baptist Pastors and Vicinity's support is as much about my experience and understanding of Detroit's challenges as it is about the vision I put forth to make our neighborhoods livable, walkable and sustainable. Clergy across this city don't want to be concerned about the safety and overall welfare of their members.
We have a plan to transform blight into beauty and businesses and reduce crime by 50 percent."
Napoleon has garnered significant endorsements in the past several weeks that cross many sectors of the community. These include the bus driver union ATU Local 26 and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights.
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 July 2013 15:31
- DETROIT REGIONAL CHAMBER’S PAC BOARD ENDORSES MIKE DUGGAN AS WRITE-IN CANDIDATE IN THE 2013 DETROIT MAYORAL PRIMARY
- Fannie Lou Hamer Political Action Committee Endorses Benny Napoleon for Mayor, City of Detroit
- Senate Democrats to Push for Vote on Medicaid Expansion Tomorrow
- Subconscious prejudice does not influence white opinion about Obama, polices benefitting blacks
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the Michigan Chronicle Digital Daily newsletter!
- Detroit Begins A New Chapter as Detroit Bankruptcy is Allowed to Proceed (1)
- Joyce Hayes Giles retires after 35 years with DTE (2)
- Sarah Palin accuses Obama of Libya ‘shuck and jive’ (1)
- Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy, pension cuts (2)
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network among lowest priced health plans on Michigan’s ACA health insurance marketplace (1)