How It Be In The D

August 8, 2008

Kwame Kilpatrick-Leper or Politician?

99 problems

It all started with an email alert on my phone. Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sent to jail. The funny thing is that it wasn’t directly related to his “sex and text” scandal. It was due to stupidity brought on by his alleged assault on a Wayne County sheriff’s department officer and his trip to Windsor-allegedly because Windsor officials called it. His statement-his flimsy defense given to Judge Giles was not only pathetic, it was ludicrous and downright surreal.

First of all, Kilpatrick gave me the appearance of a kid with their hand caught in the candy jar. First of all, as his trademark, he took no responsibility for anything. These problems that he has were brought upon him by the media. They were out to get him. Kilpatrick further said that he understands the media scrutiny that Giles is under, as he is under similar scrutiny. Really? Most of Kilpatrick’s scrutiny seems to be because of his propensity for deny truth and reality. He would have us think that he’s always a victim of circumstance with no control over his future or any degree of free will.

Second, his explanation  that Windsor officials called the meeting turned out to be completely false. According to Windsor Star,  Cliff Sutts (Windsor’s lead negotiator in the Tunnel deal) said, “We are not tuned in to the conditions of (Kilpatrick’s) bail. Because the meeting was in Windsor, we didn’t know that he required consent. All we knew is that there was going to be a meeting.” Sutts also said stated that the meeting was called at Kilpatrick’s request. Now if, as Kilpatrick told Judge Giles, that he’d never committed any misconduct, that the meeting was at Windsor’s insistence and that he has total respect for the court, who’s telling the truth here? At this point, Windsor ( a very important neighbor) would see to want to keep their distance from Detroit. After alll, I couldn’t blame them. What they probably see is a city that can’t keep it together and has a scandal-ridden mayor that can’t seem to mind common sense.

Thirdly, I was extremely angry when Kilpatrick told Judge Giles, “My sons are watching this proceeding because I asked them to. I told them that I did something wrong.” Now which of many deeds of wrongdoing did he admit to his sons? Was it the original scandal? Was it the assault on a law enforcement officer? Was it the poorly covered up trip to Windsor? If he’s as smart as I think that he is deep down, why on earth would he subject his sons to the trauma of watching their father be sent to jail. Children, especially sons, view their father as a sort of infallible superhero that gives them a sense of safety and stability. I can’t imagine that his sons have that anymore, especially after yesterday’s proceedings. Assuming that what he said is true, then shame on him. Yet again, Kilpatrick’s using his children as a way to garner sympathy from the public. All that I can say is that my fountain has long been dry.

I truly and deeply hope that this is the wake-up call that he’s needed for some time. It’s time that he fesses up like a man and owns up to what he’s done. At this point, I can’t believe that Kilpatrick’s word counts for much. If he’s really trying to as much for the City as he claims, then he must have unshakable integrity. People dealing with him must trust what he says and does. If the lies in his statement to Judge Giles are any indication as to who he is and what he stands for, then he must be removed. How can Detroiters have a mayor that can no longer be seen as anything other than a liar? Detroit needs a better mayor. Detroit needs a better ambassador to the region. Detroit needs a better liaison to the Democratic party. Kilpatrick is none of those. It’s time that we find somebody that is.


December 15, 2006

Detroit-A Rural City?

I once heard someone at a party say perhaps one of the most fascinating and profound statements that I think summarizes Detroit. He said that he almost thought of the City as a rural town. At first, his logic didn’t make sense though it became clearer as he went on. He said that if you look at Detroit that it depends heavily on the suburbs. Mornings welcome people to the image of the massive surge of people—those people going to work at the office. Evenings are slowed down by the mass exodus of people returning to their homes in the suburbs. The ability to purchase goods is practically non-existent. Many residents venture to the shopping centers in the suburbs. While there are some shops, they don’t address most of the needs of the City’s residents. Detroit can no longer sustain itself independently as if once could.

One thing that I don’t like is when everybody slams Detroit. The suburbs are full of critics who know little if anything about the goings-on in the City. However, this gentleman was until recently a Detroit resident. Also, the more that I thought about what he said the more that he made sense. No matter what anybody says, Detroit is isolated and nothing without the suburbs.

During the course of traveling through Detroit for pleasure or for work, I have seen various segments of the City. Of course, I’ve seen some impoverished areas—houses with big holes in the roofs, burned out houses and streets littered with trash, discarded furniture and other remnants of things that people forgot about long ago. I have also seen rehabilitated areas that show promise. Nonetheless, I cannot yet say that the rehabilitated areas are representative of Detroit as a whole.

At the expense of simplifying Detroit’s troubles, I won’t provide answers—for the simple fact that I don’t have very many. While I am learning more about Detroit, I don’t know everything. I don’t think that anybody does. Also, one thing that I’ve learned about Detroit residents is that they don’t fit neatly into a box. The news would have you believe that Detroiters are muggers and murderers attacking anything and everything that walks the streets. This statement describes a portion of Detroit residents but not all. I don’t think that I could do justice to describing those residents that have stayed and are at the front lines in the struggle to bring Detroit back to its former majesty. I wish that I could say that I was one of them. However, my parents felt that they had no choice but to move in order to provide my brothers and me opportunities that we would not have had otherwise.

Whether we care to admit it, Detroit is isolated. Many of Detroit’s residents have left the City. Stores and business abandoned it. The media has condemned it. People come to work in Detroit but don’t live there. The sad reality is that the City is on life support. If we don’t do anything about it, then Detroit will continue to crumble until there is nothing left but the historical markers that designate the only places worth keeping. Detroit deserves more.

October 31, 2006

Who’s the Vos?

Like many in Michigan, I recognize our desperation. It is during these times that politicians as gubernatorial hopeful, Dick DeVos, present themselves as messiahs—someone coming out of nowhere to rescue us and restore.

Our present situation reminds me of Nicolo Machiavelli’s The Prince, where he says, “for men change their rulers willingly, hoping to better themselves and this hope induces them to take up arms against him who rules: wherein they are deceived, because they afterwards find by experience they have gone from bad to worse.” DeVos is this type of politician trying to play off dissatisfaction. I question whether he has a viable alternative to offer Michigan.

If the debates were an indication of his competency, then DeVos is not our man. Through the three debates, he seemed stiff and unprepared. Without his scripted commercials, DeVos could not think on his feet. His answers consisted of attacking Governor Granholm and offered nothing that I could grasp onto. I thought that maybe in his eagerness, DeVos forgot that debates are about candidates answering questions to demonstrate their platform, which he has failed to do.

Besides the attacks, DeVos made some unreasonable statements. One of the worst was during the Tuesday, October 10th debate. Following Gov. Granholm expressing her interest to provide affordable health care, DeVos said that people could obtain it by working. Granholm retorted that there are plenty of working people that are unable to do so. She followed up by accusing DeVos of contracting temporary workers at Amway so that he wouldn’t have to pay them insurance. His weak, poorly thought statement left his jugular open to Gov. Granholm.

I was surprised by DeVos’ failure to capitalize on Michigander’s unhappiness. The brunt of his earlier commercials was directed toward Gov. Granholm’s failure to “do her job.” His assertion that her failure to bring us out of these difficult times and his being the leading gubernatorial challenger should make him governor is unconvincing. Besides stating the obvious, I don’t feel that DeVos said new. So Gov. Granholm might have failed us, why should I vote for him? What will he do to not fail us? The allegation that she hasn’t done enough isn’t reason enough for me to vote for DeVos.

While Gov. Granholm might not have done everything possible, she has at least talked a good game. While DeVos maintained that people can get insurance through employment, Granholm mentioned MI First, her proposed plan modeled after one in Massachusetts, where lower-income people and other uninnsured could have access. Furthermore, she said that she would work to assist business in providing health care, since we are one of the few industrialized countries where manufacturers are obligated to cover their workers and not the government; thus, raising the prices on many goods—especially automobiles. Lastly, one of Granholm’s priorities is diversifying Michigan’s economy by focusing on four industries: life sciences, homeland security, advanced manufacturing and alternative fuel manufacturing. Toward this goal, community colleges and MI Works offices would work to certify workers and to further educate them. Also, she said that she looks to institute tax cuts for industries that would stay in Michigan.

All in all, DeVos has failed to live up to his potential as someone that I would voted for. I don’t buy into the propaganda that Gov. Granholm has failed. Michigan seems to forget that when gas prices rose, she held gas stations accountable for price gouging. Additionally, Granholm inherited a monstrous budget deficit from her predecessor, John Engler. Her budget cuts coupled with disappearing jobs resulted in a ripple effect. If nothing else, we are learning that manufacturing alone cannot be our sole salvation. DeVos’ commercials attacking Gov. Granholm has not addressed the issues, serving to illustrate how he does not truly understand Michigan’s problems. This above everything else shows me that he cannot be governor.

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