MAYORAL RACE OVER
By Zenobia Jeffries and Phreddy Wischusen
The Michigan Citizen
DETROIT — In one night, 40 years of Black political power ended in Detroit. Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon conceded Nov. 5 to former DMC CEO Mike Duggan. In the Detroit mayoral race, Duggan beat Napoleon by 10 percent of the city’s vote — nearly 14 thousand people.
During a press conference Nov. 6, Duggan said he’s looking forward to meeting this week with Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, Gov. Rick Snyder and Mayor Dave Bing.
“We haven’t seen each other since law school,” Duggan said about Orr, “We’ll (sit down) and get reacquainted. I am optimistic we can do that.”
Duggan said he sees the handling of the Detroit bankruptcy hearing — filed by the EM in June — and the day-to-day operations of the city as “two completely different jobs.”
“What has to be done to handle the bankruptcy is a huge and demanding undertaking,” Duggan said who believes he should focus on providing services to residents.
“We’ll see if we can come up with something that works.”
Duggan said he’s anticipating taking on the “bureaucracy in city hall and delivering better services to residents than what they’re getting today.”
His mood, he said, is “optimistic.”
While Duggan has said in previous interviews he is opposed to emergency management, he told the room full of reporters, “it doesn’t mean you don’t talk to them.”
In his first debate with Sheriff Napoleon, Duggan suggested the mayor should be the city’s chief operating officer.
This role is within the scope of a mayor’s responsibilities, according to Duggan spokesperson John Roach.
“The EM has so much to do in dealing with the city’s debt, it’s more than one person can handle.”
Roach says it’s not about compartmentalizing the role of the mayor but working in a way that will remove the need for an EM.
Duggan said he’s going to deal with controversial issues, like the sale of the water department, one at a time. “I’ve said the city should keep the water department, but then you see numbers thrown out like $9 billion.”
Duggan, who said he’s focusing on positive cooperation, believes he will make the decisions for Detroit’s citizens. “I’m approaching this from an optimistic view,” he said.
At Duggan’s election party, Lisa Howze, former mayoral candidate, invoked the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. saying Detroiters had not judged Mike Duggan by the color of his skin but rather but the content of his character.
Duggan began his election night remarks by saluting his opponent Sheriff Benny Napoleon for “a lifetime of service to the city of Detroit.”
He said he would begin his work as mayor-elect by contacting Gov. Snyder and EM Orr and his “nine partners on the Detroit City Council.”
“Our work is so important, but we can’t lose sight of the fact that it was the history of fighting between the mayor and council that accelerated Detroit’s financial crisis and opened the door for the situation we find ourselves today,” Duggan said. We have got to work together to make sure that never happens again. The focus of this is going to be where it has been all along: to people living in the neighborhoods. Detroit’s turnaround will not occur until every Detroiter is involved in this effort.”
Duggan thanked the unions, block clubs, neighborhood groups, independent activists and the clergy for their role in Detroit’s revitalization. “The faith-based community is essential to this community’s recovery,” he said. “This has been a campaign of unity and it will be an administration of unity. I want to build an administration of all of the talents in the city.
“It will no longer matter if you are Black, brown or white; it will not matter if you are Christian, Jewish or Muslim; it will not matter if you are gay or straight; it will not matter if you supported me or Benny Napoleon, or you supported Lisa Howze or Krystal Crittendon or Tom Barrow or John Telford or any other of the fine people that stepped forward. If you live in this community; if you have your business in this community… you’re all going to be equally valued and welcomed, because only in that way can we build the kind of Detroit that everyone in this city deserves.”
In other races:
Brenda Jones 35
Saunteel Jenkins 35
David Bullock 18
Roy McCallister 13
James Tate 68
Wanda Hill 32
George Cushingberry 53
Richard Bowers 47
Scott Benson 64
Francine Adams 36
Andre Spivey 54
Bettie Cook-Scott 46
Mary Sheffield 53
Adam Hollier 47
Racquel Castaneda-Lopez 57
Isaac Robinson 43
Gabe Leland 50 (8431 votes)
John Bennett 50 ( 8381 votes)
Janice Winfrey 72
D. Etta Wilcoxon 28 percent
Board of Police Commissioners
Not certified by press time
Wendell Byrd (uncontested)
Reginald Crawford (uncontested)
Willie Bell 56
Henry Williams 44
Willie Burton 56
Marcelus Brice 44
Not certified by press time
Ricardo Moore 60
Tijuana Morris 40