Crystal Crittendon, the fired Detroit corporation counsel did what many in politics often choose to ignore. And that is to come back and run against the administration that removed them from office by tapping into the frustration of residents about that administration, or challenge the chief executive they fought with publicly over hot button public policy issues.
However Crittendon made a well politically calculated move yesterday when she announced that she will be running for mayor of Detroit in the coming mayoral race, an apparent rebuke of her former boss Mayor Dave Bing. The embattled lawyer who once headed the city’s law department until her public spat with Mayor Bing chose Bert’s marketplace for the announcement, a place that is known to be the rallying point for many commmunity events in the city. In choosing Bert’s as the venue she presented herself as the community and grassroots candidate in this race.
It is a shrewd political move by Crittendon because she can now present herself as the most visible villain in an alleged political manipulation by the Bing administration, and therefore will automatically garner sympathy votes as well as support from voters who vehemently opposed Bing’s reelection in the first place.
She enjoys the support of what has been termed as the “vocal minority” and will also get the support of residents who believe her firing has all to do with the makings of the long narrative in Detroit politics called “takeover” a theme some council members have been echoing in their opposition to Mayor Bing and Gov. Rick Snyder.
An added advantage for Crittendon is support from some female voters who see Detroit politics as an old boy’s club where women hardly rise to any prominent position only after a long protracted battle. She’ll tap into that political plank as well because she is not brainless like Sarah Palin. She was the city’s chief lawyer.
Last year at the height of her fight with Mayor Bing some members of a black lawyers group in Detroit distributed emails urging an instant halt to what they termed as an orchestrated campaign to silence Crittendon. The emails were just an indication of the broad support she has among some constituent organizations who are not the celebrated mainstream organizations but effective enough at the levels in which they operate and channel information to their membership.
Detroit is home to many grassroots organization born out of the desire to effect change in government from the bottom. How do they do this is up for debate but a Crittendon candidacy can be viewed by some of these groups as perhaps the only way to change how government has worked in Detroit.
Perhaps Mike Duggan understands that which is why the former CEO of the Detroit Medical Center has been meeting Detroiters in impoverished neighborhoods that are begging for city hall attention. The fact that Duggan has been having these meetings about 40 of them in living rooms of those cut out of the discourse about Detroit’s future shows how this mayoral election will shape. It also explains why the base Crittendon is going after matters.
Benny Napoleon, the Wayne County Sheriff also has initiated a listening tour to do pretty much the same, underscoring the importance of this base which he alluded to in his Palmer Woods remarks about the mass underclass in Detroit.
Crittendon’s campaign announcement presented her as a political villain in Detroit’s long political struggle. Whether you agree with it or not. What matters often in politics is for the factor to tell her own side of the story in a television ad or campaign literature highlighting the pains and tribulations and the response from voters become swift because emotional politics has always worked from national elections to local elections. She will be viewed as the political sacrificial lamb of the Bing administration whether fact or fiction.
It is too early to tell whether her campaign will make any significant headway yet but it will be foolish for anyone observing the landscape to ignore her candidacy as a factor. She’s going after the protest vote enough to make a legitimate presence on the mayoral campaign trail and present arguments that will otherwise be out of the discourse of the campaign.
For the other mayoral candidates in the race she could be the Ralph Nader or Ron Paul enough to make a political scare with consequences because she has identified a niche. She can’t be ignored. The mayoral campaign has just started.
Detroit has become almost a killing field with countless murders taking place every week in a city where some have touted the return of economic growth and all things that resemble the comeback of an American city. But the reality is that despite the booming sense of optimism in Detroit’s overall development, the failure to handle crime dismisses every form of optimism we have about the city.
This week Mayor Dave Bing released crime statistics that did not show any improvement in our public safety. While it is important to release new numbers to give residents and those invested in this city an idea of the level of crime we are dealing with, people want a plan of action to reign in on crime in the city. The city needs to show a realistic and winnable program to attack crime in the city.
The city’s leadership has been talking about culture change as an overall strategy to fight time. True, attitudinal change is needed but preaching that kind of sermon from the highest levels of leadership is not going to solve crime or deter hardened criminals bent on making life unbearable for people.
We need leadership that would look into the cameras and assure residents and businesses and cab drivers that those responsible for murders or planning on mayhem in the city will face the law. That’s what we need not a thesis on cultural or attitudinal change at a time when people are on the edge afraid to drive alone or even stop at a gas station for fear of becoming the next victim to be reported on the evening news.
Time for our leadership to demonstrate a strong sense of urgency in this public safety nightmare.
It’s been reported that Mayor Bing is looking at revamping the whole Detroit Police Department in a bid to attack crime. It will take more than that. We can hope that the city demonstrates in the next few weeks that it has a handle on crime as it faces this nightmare.
Bankole Thompson author of “Obama and Christian Loyalty,” is a distinguished journalist and presidential author. Since 2008 he has been a member of the weekly “Obama Watch” Sunday evening program on New York’s WLIB-1190AM. You can tune in every Sunday to hear his take on the Obama administration from 9-10:30pm and simulcast in New Jersey and Connecticut. You can listen to him every Thursday morning on WDET-101.9FM (Detroit NPR Affiliate) where he is a political analyst. Thompson is the editor of the Michigan Chronicle and author of the forthcoming book “Rising from the Ashes: Engaging Detroit’s Future with Courage.” No part of this blog must be republished without the appropriate designation or expressed permisison of the author http://www.bankolethompson.com
The voices of conscience prevailed as Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed SB59, a bill that would have changed Michigan’s concealed weapons law to allow guns in schools, daycare centers, churches and stadiums. The gun bill came in the wake of the unfortunate horror that claimed the lives of 28 people including 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.
Instantly the bill put Michigan on the culture war map of gun advocates and made many people to begin to wonder how the state can proceed with such a notorious bill.
Despite Michigan’s Senate Majority leader Randy Richardville’s comments that what happened in Connecticut should have nothing to do with the gun bill in Michigan, Gov. Snyder whose so-called moderate posture has taken a real hit in the wake of the right-to-work law departed ways with his conservative cabal in Lansing.
Next should be the extreme anti-abortion bills before Snyder’s desk that would make it nearly impossible for abortion clinics in Michigan to exist as well as allowing doctors to exercise their religious beliefs when it comes to abortion. That means a doctor can choose not to conduct an abortion procedure if it is against their religious conviction.
This kind of moral clause in the anti-abortion bill almost creates a theocracy because it becomes a government sanctioned religious edict when it comes to abortion. The anti-abortion bills represent yet another culture war issue that Gov. Snyder promised to avoid when he ran on a moderate platform.
The bill yet again places Michigan in the culture war column in the attack against reproductive rights, an issue that was part of the reason Republican presidential nominee Gov. Mitt Romney lost the election to President Obama.
Haven’t majority women made their voices clear on reproductive rights in the last presidential election?
Is this bill another payback for Obama’s reelection?
Gov. Snyder should use the same veto pen that killed the gun bill for another culture war bill. The anti-abortion bills do nothing for Michigan’s budget crisis. The bills do not increase job growth in the state. They only serve the ideological fantasy of right wingers who are eager to make their culture mark at the expense of the unity that Snyder once said he intends to create with a moderate platform.
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