Many lost minds — and hearts
“I think the mayor has lost his mind.” That assessment by Council President Charles Pugh of Mayor Dave Bing is one widely held by Detroiters of not only the mayor, but the Council Five as well.
The five — Pugh, with fellow Council members James Tate, Saunteel Jenkins, Ken Cockrel, Jr., and Gary Brown — approved the Consent Agreement (CA)with the state of Michigan that has added millions in expense to the city, while creating an entirely new bureaucracy in the already inefficient and ineffective city government. How can this help the city grow revenues and streamline operations?
Little else has occupied their minds since. Much should have taken their attention prior to the vote. The five Council persons agreed to the CA primarily because they are afraid: Afraid of the Chamber of Commerce, its corporate powers and the corporate media propagandists who tout partial truths as news. They have good reason for their fears. The power of the joined-at-the-hip media and corporate Detroit was visible when City Corporation Counsel Krystal Crittendon challenged the legality of the CA in court.
She courageously stood up to those forces invoking the charter requirement that the city do no business with entities that owe it money. She presented documentation and demanded a hearing. She got ridicule and contempt in the corporate press — and the public got no research or reports from the media on the issues she presented.
Nowhere did the media, the mayor, the state treasurer or the hacks lay out the documentation to disprove Crittendon’s claim that the state had reneged for years on its revenue-sharing debt to the city or its State Fair water bill. Insults and derision are enough to conduct public business in the state of Michigan, it seems, because that is what was heaped upon Crittendon.
Now the mayor has called for her resignation. We only wish Bing had a tenth the sense, a hundredth of the courage and a piece of her work ethic. If he did, we would not be watching the stagnation of Detroit that we have seen under Bing’s watch.
We would ask the mayor and Council to do the same work Crittendon and her staff have done: Study the documentation. Question. Search out the information. Does the state owe the city money? If research shows it doesn’t, then let the public know. Council’s research and development arm told Council before they voted on the CA that the money owed could pose a legal issue.
If the mayor and Council have a right mind — and strong hearts — they will present to the public the facts of the matter. How sane and courageous would that be?