Category: Prime Politics - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
As the city names new leadership, Mayor Dave Bing is credited with taking over a city in shambles and restoring morality to the mayor’s office. His accomplishments include the following.
New state-of-the-art, $60 million Public Safety Headquarters opens this summer
Fourteen police mini-stations open in neighborhoods and some recreation centers
Corporations give $8 million for 23 new EMS units and 100 police cruisers.
Police Department launches Detroit One initiative to reduce violent gun-related crime by 25 percent in 2013.
An additional 100 officers placed on street patrol or in investigations.
Neighborhood-based police precincts return to the city.
Crews to replace 5,000 streetlights each month in various sections of the city.
City repaired or replaced 3,000 streetlights and restored 56 electrical circuits (4,900 lights).
State Legislature and Detroit City Council approve mayor’s proposal to create a Detroit Public Lighting Authority to finance $160 million in lighting system upgrades.
Mayor gets $31 million in federal funds for a Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and a 3.3-mile M1 Rail system along Woodward Avenue.
DDOT improves customer service with “Text My Bus” — cell phone text messages providing bus arrival times — and the “415 Plan” which guarantees the arrival of a bus every 15 minutes on the city’s four busiest routes.
To date, 7,075 vacant structures demolished as part of mayor’s commitment to eliminate 10,000 dangerous, abandoned properties over four years.
Seventy illegally-operating businesses are shut down and $100,731 collected for permits and licenses.
The mayor’s team releases “Detroit Future City,” a comprehensive plan for vibrant neighborhoods, job growth and best us of city land.
The Detroit Works Project uses six demonstration areas to improve delivery of city services.
Federal funds are secured to demolish a major city eyesore and haven for crime – the former Brewster Projects.
City uses $110 million from H.U.D.’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program to demolish blighted structures and redevelop neighborhoods.
Mayor’s Active and Safe Campaign secures $14 million from businesses and foundations for recreation center programming and parks.
All of the city’s 17 recreation centers and 300 parks remain open and available to residents.
Mayor gets $10,000 grant for youth softball and baseball instruction at an east side recreation center.
The Ford Motor Company fund gives $1 million for programs at a Southwest Detroit recreation center.
The Belle Isle Aquarium reopens after being closed for more than six years.
Mayor receives a grant to improve a fishing pier and construct a new walking bridge on Belle Isle.
The Southeast Michigan Council of Arts gives $39,000 to Detroit non-profit organizations for arts and cultural activities.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 November 2013 10:18
Category: Prime Politics - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
For the first time, Detroiters chose their city council by district — seven districts and two at-large.
Brenda Jones and Saunteel Jenkins, both incumbents, won the two at-large seats.
James Tate, another council incumbent, triumphed over his competition, Wanda Hill, in District 1.
George Cushingberry, Jr. beat out Richard Bowers, Jr. in District 2, but not by the margin expected.
In District 3, Scott Benson won handily over Francine Adams.
Andre Spivey, also an incumbent, was chosen by District 4 voters, but was given a serious challenge from Bettie Scott.
In District 5, it was a tight race between Mary Sheffield and Adam Hollier, with Sheffield ultimately winning the seat.
Raquel Castaneda-Lopez triumphed over Isaac Robinson in District 6, giving the Detroit City Council its first much-needed Hispanic representation.
In District 7, Gabe Leland narrowly beat John Bennett.
Janice Winfrey will remain Detroit City Clerk, easily emerging victorious over D. Etta Wilcoxon.
In the Detroit Police Commissioner races, Willie Bell beat Henry Williams, Jr. in District 4, Willie Burton trumped Marcelus Brice in District 5, and Ricardo Moore topped Tijuana Morris in District 7.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 November 2013 10:16
Category: Prime Politics - Original Written by Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
Mike Duggan campaigned on a platform to bring Detroit back from the political doldrums with 250 house parties, meeting with voters in their homes.
On Tuesday, those voters responded by electing the former CEO of the Detroit Medical Center as the city’s first White mayor in 40 years.
Duggan defeated his opponent, Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, by a 55-45 percent margin, sending a significant political message from Detroit’s electorate.
“I salute Sheriff Napoleon for his lifetime commitment to the city,” Duggan told supporters packed in the hundreds at the Marriott Hotel-Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit.
Duggan said when he started the campaign he was not under any illusion that the racial divide would not be an issue because “I know its roots are centuries old,” and he wanted to sit down with Detroiters to one-on-one to understand and know him better.
He said he will reach out to Gov. Rick Snyder and the Detroit City Council as well as emergency manager Kevyn Orr as he begins to put a cabinet together.
Orr sent out an e-mail hours after Duggan was declared the winner, congratulating the former prosecutor.
“In this time of important change for the city, Detroiters have come together to voice their desire for progress,” Orr said. “I look forward to working with Mayor-elect Mike Duggan to build the vibrant and strong future the citizens of Detroit deserve.”
Gov. Snyder also reached out in a message of felicitation.
“These are challenging times for our state’s largest city as we resolve problems that have been decades in the making. But I know that brighter days are ahead and Detroit’s turnaround is already under way,” Snyder said. “My administration and I are committed to working collaboratively with Mayor-elect Duggan to ensure better services to the 700,000 people of Detroit and take the steps necessary to complete Detroit’s comeback as a vibrant, thriving city.”
During the campaigns and in the debates, Duggan had maintained that if elected he would put a team together to convince Snyder that Detroit doesn’t need an emergency manager. He said his experience of confronting the challenges of the Detroit Medical Center would equip him to help the city come out of its financial crisis.
And Snyder alluded to Duggan’s DMC record when he congratulated him Tuesday night.
“I want to congratulate Mike Duggan on being elected as the next mayor of Detroit. I look forward to working with him on making Detroit a safe and attractive place for people to live, work, invest and do business,” Snyder said. “Mayor-elect Duggan’s financial acumen and experience in turning around the Detroit Medical Center and other entities should serve him well in his new role.”
As the results were coming in Tuesday, Napoleon’s supporters gathered at the Roostertail expecting their candidate to win the race. But as anxious supporters waited into the night, reality began sinking in that Napoleon was losing the race to Duggan.
Greg Bowen, longtime Detroit political consultant and former Mayor Dennis Archer press secretary, said Napoleon’s win would have affirmed Black political leadership and identity in the city. But he also said Duggan’s win does on some level carry symbolism of racial reconciliation in the region, which he doesn’t believe it actually does.
“If anything, it destroys Black political power structure coming out of the Kilpatrick saga,” Bowens said. Bowens insisted that Duggan got a pass from the media, something that Napoleon echoed several times in the debates and in the last weeks of the campaign that his opponent got more favorable treatment from the press than he did.
Adolph Mongo, a political consultant, charged that the media that once branded Duggan as the author of the culture of corruption in Wayne County, abandoned its scrutiny of the candidate, referring to a column that Detroit News editorial page editor Nolan Finley once wrote about Duggan before he announced his candidacy.
Duggan has never been charged or accused of corruption in Wayne County.
“Mike Duggan did get a pass from the media,” Bowens said Tuesday night at Napoleon’s election watch party. “There was a liberal sensitivity around the issue of race as opposed to dealing with race head on, and the impact it has made people feel ignored.”
However, Bowens admitted that for some Whites who live and work in Detroit, Duggan’s election carries the same impact that President’s Obama election had on the nation’s psyche. “They feel that they do matter now and can relate to Duggan,” Bowens said, adding that it still does not dismiss the need to “affirm the African- American experience in this city because most young people do not have that frame of reference and it is important to affirm that culture.”
Heaster Wheeler, the former executive director of the Detroit Branch NAACP who now works under Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, quickly dismissed Duggan’s win. “This election says billionaires can buy the mayor’s race. I’m not impressed,” Wheeler said.
“Money talks and billionaires who have no commitment to inclusion in this city have won.”
The influence of big money in the campaign was evident with Duggan receiving backing from the majority of the city’s private sector leaders, leaving his critics to charge that he was a tool of big business.
Duggan’s supporters fired back that maintaining some relationship with the private sector, which accounts for a significant amount of employment in the city, was important and that his former record as CEO would naturally endear him to the business community.
Wheeler said he supported Napoleon because “I wanted my 15-year-old son to see somebody that looks like him as mayor of his city. And I don’t need anyone to validate that.”
However Duggan’s campaign manager, Bryan Barnhill, an African American, in an earlier interview with this writer, said he takes the question of the city electing a White mayor seriously. “Growing up with Black people, being taught by Black teachers as I was raised in Detroit, shaped my outlook and made me have a profound appreciation for my identity,” Barnhill said. “It also made me profoundly sympathetic about the state of Black people globally. I think Black empowerment must occur in two phases.”
The first phase, according to Barnhill, is what he describes as the “individual empowerment, which is really about the extent to which we remove legal, social and psychological barriers that serve as an impediment to individual Black achievement.”
The second, Barnhill said, is “collective empowerment,” which he believes Duggan will be doing if he becomes mayor of this majority Black city, helping to address the crisis facing African Americans in urban centers such as this one.
“Mike’s platform will resoundingly benefit collective Black empowerment in this city and beyond,” Barnhill said. “Evaluating a candidate purely on the basis of skill set and background instead of race will have tremendous benefit for the people who are overwhelmingly African American.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 November 2013 07:30
Category: Prime Politics - Original Written by Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
Mike Duggan won the 2013 Detroit mayor’s race, becoming the city’s first White mayor in 40 years, a seismic political shift in a majority African-American city that underscores a growing frustration over fractured political leadership in this town that has not tended to the basic needs of taxpaying residents.
But if you are scratching your head and wondering how it happened that Duggan defeated his opponent Benny Napoleon so handily in what was once expected to be Napoleon’s race to lose, just compare how each campaign executed its strategies.
Duggan began his journey to the mayorship with house meetings introducing himself to residents of the city and building personal relationships. That was important for Duggan because he was not only a White candidate, he was also one many city voters were not familiar with, or only casually familiar. He didn’t have the name recognition that Napoleon and others, including Tom Barrow, had in the city.
So it was important for Duggan’s campaign to introduce their candidate to the voters on a personal level, which carries significance because the personal touch with voters often has proven in politics to carry more weight.
The ability to connect with voters, share their frustrations, especially in their own homes, has sway for a voter who has never had the privilege of a visit by a mayoral candidate or any other significant political candidate.
In total, Duggan had almost 250 house parties organized by his campaign. Even though he had the advantage of fundraising and had the backing of the corporate power structure, that still did not mitigate the power and influence of those meetings because personal interactions do sway voters more than what is written or advertised on television or radio.
Napoleon, on the other hand, did not have those house meetings. He did not need to because he is a known entity in this town. He is a former Detroit police chief and one who, like he said on the campaign trail, has been a part of this community for decades. He is a native son.
But Napoleon’s campaign misread the tea leaves. Detroit is at a crucial point. For decades politicians have failed their constituents in this town, and grinding poverty has become commonplace.
Would voters appreciate any candidate who visited that many homes and spent two hours explaining how the candidate can change things for them?
The fact that you took time to visit their homes shows a personal concern about their well-being. The skeptics will conclude that it is only because of votes, but it still matters that you want to engage and seek opinions of those who would make the decision at the ballot box in their own sanctuary (home). People feel important, cared about and loved when you take the time to spend two or three hours in their homes.
Despite his name recognition, Napoleon’s campaign should have launched his own house meetings and call them “Making Crime History,” where he could have detailed his crime plan in the individual homes of voters and explain to them why he was more suitable than Duggan to become the next mayor, even with an emergency manager in place.
Given that crime has been the dominant issue, Napoleon had an advantage over Duggan and he should have revisited his own crime policies when he was police chief (both the good and the bad) and tell voters what worked during his tenure and how his mayorship will take on crime in the city.
But he never did.
Another issue that Napoleon’s campaign misjudged was the question of race. Several of his supporters, including surrogates, vehemently swore to me at events that there was no way Detroit could elect a White mayor. They were comfortable in believing that the general election voters would vindicate them and their political prognosis that Detroit is not ready for a mayor who was White would be proven correct.
While I advised them that history has shown that an effective campaign will yield more dividends than just the color of the candidate, some of Napoleon’s surrogates believed strongly that race was going to decide the election.
Perhaps that is the reason why Napoleon did not campaign as vigorously as he ought to have during the primary campaign. He almost stayed out of the way and let former candidate Tom Barrow seize the political stage challenging the legitimacy of Duggan’s campaign.
While Napoleon did not come out to attack Duggan being labeled a carpetbagger by Barrow, activist Robert Davis and others, it did not prevent the candidate from making a strong showing in the primary by offering a bold plan.
I was involved in two instructive primary debates where I saw Barrow edge over Napoleon, directly challenging Duggan because he knew the latter was going to be the front runner. In political parlance, Barrow, whose numbers were not moving up, was already carving out the race between himself and Duggan in the debates.
One of the debates was at Galilee Missionary Baptist Church on East Outer Driver hosted by Rev. Tellis Chapman and co-moderated by myself and AM1200 “Inside Detroit” host Mildred Gaddis.
During that debate, the candidates who made the best showings were Barrow and Krystal Crittendon because their campaigns at the very core (whether you agreed or disagreed with them) were anti-status quo with strong desire to send Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr back to Washington.
The final primary debate took place at Perfecting Church, organized and hosted by Pastor L. Marvin Winans. I was the moderator at that debate. Duggan was absent but Napoleon came and had an opportunity to differentiate himself from the the other candidates at the forum, but struggled to do so.
After the primary election, which Duggan won in a write-in campaign, Napoleon should have launched an offensive right away, attacking his opponent’s Detroit Medical Center turnaround record, but failed to do so.
In his first “Flashpoint” interview on WDIV after the primary, Napoleon did not go on the offense. Instead, he gave a very carefully crafted interview as if he was waiting on someone to tell the campaign what the next move was.
The next day I met with a staunch Napoleon supporter who gave a dismal review of his appearance on “Flashpoint,” and thought the candidate should have directly challenged Duggan on the show and demonstrate that he was a better alternative to his opponent.
As the underdog, his campaign had an opportunity to brand Duggan as the candidate of “big money politics” and deconstruct the turnaround record of the former CEO of the Detroit Medical Center. Instead he initiated a brief “downtown vs. neighborhood” chorus but never fleshed out that theme on the campaign trail.
On the other hand, Duggan understood what was at stake. Being the visible favorite of big business is not a plus in mass politics in the age of campaign finance reform.
His campaign largess was unmatched which shows the influence of corporate politics, but also can undercut the independence of a candidate who was showing that his decisions were not made in the mahogany offices of corporate boardrooms but, rather, after consulting with voters who will elect him.
Duggan also touted his CEO record as an example of how he could turn things around in the city without any meaningful challenge from Napoleon. That record has Duggan’s critics wondering, especially after the U.S. Department of Justice slammed the DMC for “engaging in improper financial relationship with referring physicians,” in which the medical center paid $30 million settlement.
The DOJ in the release said it was the DMC that discovered that its physicians were involved in improper relationships when it was getting ready to sell to Vanguard. But beyond the DOJ settlement issue, Napoleon did not challenge any of Duggan’s credits at the DMC.
Duggan had former and current DMC employees praising his leadership at the flagship medical system, which further took away any serious challenge from Napoleon.
But Napoleon’s real campaign started in the waning days of the campaign when he issued bold challenges and finally began attacking Duggan’s DMC record. He seemed to have gained traction, but it was too late because those campaign themes should have been applied during the primary, not in the last remaining weeks of general election campaign.
I was involved in the last two televised debates before Tuesday’s election as a panelist, and during the first debate hosted by CBS 62 “Michigan Matters” and moderated by host Carol Cain, Napoleon came out strong and aggressive, challenging his opponent while Duggan, numerous times, focused on what he was going to do.
The challenges that Napoleon issued to Duggan in the first general election debate should have been done in the primary campaign.
Also in the last televised debate hosted by WXYZ and moderated by editorial director Chuck Stokes before Duggan made history in Detroit, Napoleon was unrelenting and appeared to have landed Duggan a strong punch in his closing remarks when he accused the media of favoring Duggan, and highlighted the candidate’s longtime non-residential status in Detroit.
These were themes that would have worked well with voters in the primary campaign, not in the last days of the general election campaign.It made Napoleon look desperate and ready to throw anything at his opponent.
One thing that stood out throughout the entire Napoleon campaign was the pitiful communication strategy, especially when compared to Duggan’s campaign. I was getting numerous releases in a week highlighting where the candidate was going next and what he was going to do. Duggan’s social media campaign equally captured everything the candidate was doing (and you really don’t need that much money to engage social media) and was letting the media know.
On the other hand, I could count how many media alerts I received from Napoleon’s campaign and at one time I wondered if there was really any significant communication happening there at all.
I ran into Rev. Greg Roberts, who was working on Napoleon’s campaign’s religious outreach at the Marriott Hotel-Renaissance Center. He walked right up to me inside the green room where several of the city’s prominent religious leaders were waiting to be ushered in to a banquet hall for the inauguration of Bishop P.A. Brooks, as the First Assistant Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), for which I was the master of ceremonies. Roberts did not waste any time asking my thoughts about the performance of both candidates and their campaigns.
I put it to him bluntly: “Your campaign communication is horribly inexcusable,” and he nodded his head and the impression I received from him was that “certain things were going to change,” and as the campaign moved further into the general election I saw that nothing changed.
In fact, Napoleon had hinted after the primary defeat that no major campaign staff shake-up would take place. There should have been a staff shake-up, especially when you lose to a right-in candidate.
Eddie McDonald, the campaign manager for Napoleon, is without doubt a brilliant strategist with a string of success records in the political terrain, but that should not have deterred the campaign from doing the needed surgical operation to give us a real mayor’s race.
It is even more urgent when your campaign for the most part was responding in the media to your chief opponent.
Was Napoleon’s campaign doomed to collapse? I don’t think so, but it could have saved itself from itself if it had implemented needed reforms right after the primary and set a new tone for the campaign, clearly laying out what was at stake.
Napoleon had it all. Few candidates run for office with the kind of name recognition Napoleon had.
Yes, Duggan had money, but history has shown that money is not the only factor in winning a campaign. Aside from its campaign war chest, Duggan executed a brilliant campaign strategy that allowed more people to donate to his campaign. If Napoleon had done the same, instilling doubt in the probability of a Duggan mayorship, it could have given some people confidence in donating to a Napoleon campaign.
Now when the history of this new seismic shift is recorded we cannot divorce the crucial fact that Duggan ran a smart and highly effective campaign.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 November 2013 10:16
Category: Prime Politics - Original Written by Roz Edward and AJ Williams
Tuesday night’s final political debate between mayoral candidates Mike Duggan and Benny Napoleon at WXYZ studios in Southfield, may have marked a turning point in one of Detroit’s most spectacular and hotly contested mayoral races in decades. Detroiters who viewed the live broadcast at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History were unable to contain their enthusiasm while viewing the debate, and supporters of both candidates frequently erupted in applause and cheers.
In case you missed the live Detroit mayoral debate, you can watch it in full in the video player...CLICK HERE
Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon came prepared to deliver damaging blows to Mike Duggan’s campaign and close the gap in his 2-1 lead with Detroit’s voters, which Napoleon said was in large part due to the media’s favorable treatment of his opponent. “The media has been grossly unfair. They have forgotten everything they have ever written about Mike Duggan — bribes, fraud, kickbacks, no-bid contracts, ghost employees. Mike’s just not right for Detroit,” Napoleon said in closing remarks.
In a heated exchange the candidate called Duggan’s much touted financial turn-around of DMC “a fallacy” Duggan replied with disbelief to Napoleon’s accusations of lining his pockets while at the helm of Detroit’s world renowned medical center, saying “I can’t believe you said that,” and told Napoleon he was “dead wrong” in his statement regarding the mayor’s ability to get public lighting working again on city streets and the prosecutor’s ability to address abandoned housing in the city of Detroit. I got to the Supreme Court with the abandoned housing issue and there are public nuisance inducements, which means any official who represents the public can [make] that case. It was upheld by the Supreme Court, and I’d do it again.”
Duggan and Napoleon did agree that the appointment of an emergency manager for Detroit was an unwanted and unwarranted intervention on the part of the state.
On the question of insurance redlining posed by Bankole Thompson of the Michigan Chronicle, Duggan suggested that radical change was necessary for Detroiters to get fair and affordable insurance rates. “I believe the most effective way to deal with the way we’re being gouged on insurance rates is the city of Detroit needs to form its own insurance company. When I get elected I intend to form a new insurance company we call D Insurance, which will be available to Detroiters … all I ask is that if you have an accident you take your vehicle to a Detroit shop for repairs.”
The debate which ironically comes in the shadow of former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s sentencing to 29 years in prison on racketeering charges, was marked by hard hitting questions from influential panelists: Carolyn Cliford, Channel 7; Mary Kramer, Crain’s Detroit Business, Bankole Thompson, Michigan Chronicle and moderator, Chuck Stokes .
Duggan and Napoleoon appeared surprised when Thompson asked each of them if there was anything in their backgrounds which might pose problems for them if elected to office. Both repsonded that there was not.
Both candidates made persuasive arguments in their closing remarks, but audience members and Napoleon supporters leaped to their feet when the would-be-mayor concluded, “While Mike was sleeping in Livonia, I put on a bullet proof vest. While Mike was sleeping in Livonia I was taking criminals off the street like Young Boys Incorporated, Pony Down and the Chambers Brothers.”
Polls open in the city of Detroit at 7 a.m. for the Nov. 7 General election. Pollsters predict that low voter turn-out will adversely affect Napoleon’s election chances.
Read more: http://www.wxyz.com/dpp/news/region/detroit/video-full-detroit-mayoral-debate-between-mike-duggan-and-benny-napoleon#ixzz2jAcTuOUJ
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 01:18
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