Pundits put down citizens of Detroit all of the time. Truth be told, pundits should watch Detroit and stop listening to each other.
First, if there is so much illiteracy here, why were the ballot results within the city in such sharp contrast to the statewide vote? Where “no” votes triumphed in the hinterlands on every issue but Proposal 1, Detroiters thoughtfully maneuvered their way through 18 ballot proposals, knowing where to mark “yes” and where to say “no.” At the close of day, nearly nine out of 10 Detroiters told the state what it could do with emergency managers: Get rid of them.
The vote on emergency management was a perfect political science lesson: Vote your self-interests. For over a decade Detroiters have watched the state destroy the school system. State-appointed dictators have given away buildings — new ones and refurbished ones — books, equipment, assets and resources while every year laying off every teacher. Detroiters are tired of paying for what has been given away, paying without having a voice and paying for the chaos the state has created. Nearly three months into the school year some students remain without textbooks or teachers, and this happens year after year. Millions in education funding that flows to the city is being diverted and Republican — and some Democratic — politicians are ready to appease corporate donors by destroying public education.
Now, hopefully Detroiters will take control in another election, the recall of Dave Bing. Bing, like DPS Emergency Manager Roy Roberts, is a Black face serving anti-Detroit interests. As long as GM was healthy and productive, Bing could be the parts supplier that allowed parts to be produced by underpaid workers. GM folded and so did Bing. Propped up by the corporate media, handpicked to be our mayor, moved from Franklin into the city, Bing has proved as much a failure at running the city as running what he called his own company.
Roy Roberts was a vice president of sales and marketing for GM, without municipal finance or educational expertise. The schools have deteriorated further under his reign. He has arrogantly dismissed parents who do not agree with him. Both Bing and Roberts were foisted on a Detroit eager for improvement by a Chamber-led effort to keep control. Both have proven their inability to govern, manage or, really, truth be told, even think.
Voters sent Roberts packing Nov. 6. Now, the recall of Bing is underway and if the effort is successful it means a special election to choose a new mayor could take place by May. The new Chamber-picked “savior” of Detroit, Mike Duggan, will not have lived in the city for one year by May 2013. Strategists know Duggan will not be eligible to run. When the regular mayoral election rolls around in November, the special election mayor could enjoy the benefits of incumbency.
We hope the timeline and the strategy work. It is yet another way Detroiters struggle for self-determination in the face of forces that wish the city’s residents would just go away or hand over the money.
Our wish: May the success of the Prop 1 fight be extended to the fight for a legitimate representative of the people to be elected mayor. We urge Detroiters to get behind the recall of Dave Bing.