Crittendon joins Napoleon
Focus on neighborhoods
By Zenobia Jeffries
The Michigan Citizen
DETROIT — Mayoral candidate Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon and now running mate, city lawyer, Krystal Crittendon say they plan to improve Detroit, one square mile at a time.
Napoleon and Crittendon announced her acceptance as his deputy mayor at a press conference Oct. 9, days following Napoleon’s leak at a Michigan National Action Network meeting.
“I looked at both candidates’ plans and talked with them, campaigned with them over the course of several months,” Crittendon told the Michigan Citizen. “What I liked more about Napoleon’s plan is his concentration on the neighborhoods versus the midtown and downtown areas.”
This week Napoleon rolled out a plan that calls for $3 billion in redevelopment, transforming neighborhoods and creating jobs — tens of thousands of jobs.
If elected, he will use state and federal grants, as well as private investors for his revitalization plan, which also includes efforts by current employers and businesses in the city to help with beautification projects in the neighborhoods and retail districts.
Though the mayoral hopeful has not named potential investors, he said he’s consulted with developers and experts for the “boldest economic growth strategy for Detroit in years.”
He also proposed a Detroit Neighborhood Partnership that would replace the Detroit Housing Commission — bringing under the DNP functions of city departments that deal with redevelopment and neighborhood stabilization.
The newly formed DNP board would consist of city officials, community leaders and residents.
Crittendon says “all Detroiters” have the best chance to experience the rebirth of the city with the sheriff — not just the “elite” who live in Midtown and downtown.
Once in office, the city’s former top attorney says the Napoleon administration will restore democracy.
“I’m a lawyer and I happen to believe in democracy and the courts,” she said. ‘Eventually we’re going to have equity and justice and we’re going to pursue all legal means to restore democracy.”
Crittendon said she’ll take her orders from Napoleon but her primary goal is fixing city government so that it’s “fiscally and structurally sound.”
She added that to make this happen Detroit needs to retain ownership of its assets.
“I don’t think any of the city’s assets should be transferred,” she said. “There’s no need to do it, we have the ability to make the changes necessary without getting rid of our assets.”
Crittendon was heavily criticized for opposing Mayor Dave Bing on the consent agreement with the state and subsequently filing a lawsuit to prevent its actualization. She said she disagrees with EM Kevyn Orr’s proposal to lease Belle Isle, as well as any suggestions of selling art from the Detroit Institute of Art.
“They’re saying by selling the art we can have the streetlights turned on,” said Crittendon.
“We shouldn’t have to give up our art for streetlights,” she said, adding that it’s not an even exchange. “It’s not true or fair to say we’re trading democracy for streetlights.”
She says a curator informed her the art is worth $60 billion
“Forty-two thousand streetlights do not cost that much.”
Responding to claims that a Duggan administration would be able to work with the EM and get him out sooner than the 18 months for which Orr is contracted, Crittendon said, “that means you’re going to assist him in doing the things he’s doing.”
“Working with the EM, in this case, means divesting the city of its assets. We’ve already spent $62 million on consultants,” she said. “By the time he leaves at this rate, we won’t have a city of Detroit.”
Crittendon is encouraging Detroiters to get out and vote in the Nov. 5 election. While some say they don’t see the point because of the EM, she says that’s exactly why they should vote.
“I say the EM and the bankruptcy make it more important that we vote, not less important. We can’t have this defeatist attitude. We’ve been through much more,” she said. “We can’t give up all hope and rights that people have died for us to have.
“There are people who want us to feel there’s no use and not participate in the voting process, it’s important that we prove them wrong, that we prove we’re going to continue to fight and participate in the process.”