Stand up, fight back. Vote Aug. 6
If you saw the only televised debate of the campaign season after the bankruptcy filing, it is evident we are living in a divided Detroit — one perhaps more divided than recent years.
For the small but vocal and powerful minority — who often control media, messages and priorities coming out of the city — it had to be a shocker.
The neatly controlled narrative, telling the story of Detroit’s revitalization, its newfound opportunities in bankruptcy and long-awaited renaissance in downtown and midtown firmly bumped up against the neighborhoods at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American history last week.
Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press, Nolan Finley of the Detroit News and Debbie Dingell must have been stunned — well, probably not Nolan. The audience and most of the mayoral candidates dealt the three their questions and their perspective with downright animosity.
“If you believe the fix is in, then the fixers are right here in front of you,” said mayoral candidate Tom Barrow about Henderson, Dingell and Finley, who also said the three have worked to take away “Black empowerment in Detroit.”
Sheriff Benny Napoleon upbraided Henderson on his reading of his role in the Department of Justice intervening in the Detroit Police Department when he was chief.
State Rep. John Olumba said he rejected the use of “turnaround” in questions, saying its use advantaged candidate Mike Duggan who has been using that as his moniker.
“I don’t think it’s about turning around Detroit. I think it’s about moving forward … When you turn around, you go backward. Duggan never turned around the DMC.”
The audience cheered the jabs at the media and Dingell. At one point, Debbie Dingell even asked how the hostility could help move the city forward.
One thing is clear: Detroit is fed up, and it should show in the Aug. 6 primary results.
From the intrusion of Gov. Snyder and his manipulations to force an emergency manager-led bankruptcy to a campaign where one candidate in a field of at least 13 garners more than a $1 million in campaign dollars — $500,000 from one donor — Detroit is not going to lay down this election.
Each mayoral candidate, even the one who got all the campaign donations, was against any prescriptive offered by the powers that be — no state controlled Belle Isle, no emergency manager for the city, and most of the candidates spoke out against what it means to build a new hockey stadium using taxpayers dollars while filing for bankruptcy.
You can’t ignore Detroit, and that was apparent at the debate.
Imagine what a strong and capable mayor and informed, responsive city council could do to mitigate the bankruptcy filing, EM Kevyn Orr and the overall state of the city. As Councilwoman JoAnn Watson points out on the front page, Detroit is not in bankruptcy, yet.
We are living in a time where all the platforms of dissonance have nearly been eradicated.
Fight back, Detroit. Vote Aug. 6.