If Detroit has an official slogan right now, it’s escaped me. The last one I remember is “It’s a Great Time in Detroit!” unveiled amid great éclat a number of years ago by the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. Pretty tough to make that one meaningful today.
Before that, it was “Say Nice Things About Detroit,” penned by office supply dealer Emily Gail, who often walked around with helium balloons tied to her pigtails.
But it simply doesn’t suit the current state of affairs in our city. Let’s recap just a few recent developments.
Monday, in what he promises was just the first of weekly press conferences in a new spirit of openness and cooperation with the media, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick spent a rigidly stage-managed half-hour doling out information better suited to routine press releases, and refused to address his most recent scandal, NaviGate, as The Wall Street Journal dubbed it in a very embarrassing story about the city.
The mayor said he’d already spent 70 minutes in a press conference called last week to address the issue, and that anything about it was asked and answered. From what I saw of it, he accomplished nothing but to establish himself as a liar, or one of the most inept cover-up engineers ever to hold that office. In yesterday’s “informational” get-together, he called his personal style “Kwame Kilpatrick regular-guy spin,” referring to his answer to a question about Detroit’s current catastrophic fiscal condition.
By the way, Kilpatrick said, “There is absolutely no way this city is going into receivership,” a statement I think he’ll come to regret, much like the early-term promise he made to demolish a ludicrously large number of Detroit’s abandoned buildings in just a few months.
Detroit once again is right up there with the worst of them in homicides, at the same time that Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings has been turned into just another in a long line of political hacks forced to stand out front and take the Boy Mayor’s flak when she has one or two other things to do. This city desperately needs to separate the PD from City Hall’s influence.
Of course, there’s also InfidelityGate, BeattyGate, ShoveWilsonGate, D.C. Part-ayGate, PosseGate and more.
Then we come to the Detroit City Council, which brings new meaning to the term “fiddling while Rome burns.”
Shortly after it was confirmed that councilmember Kay Everett was under federal investigation for allegedly accepting bribes of cash and sausage, she died. But the remaining councilmembers decided to keep her staff of 14 on the city payroll, and even renewed the contracts of a couple after Everett’s death, WDIV reported. In explaining this at a time when the city is hundreds of millions in debt, and many hundreds of city workers will lose their jobs, Council President Maryann Mahaffey simply said, “It’s not their fault that she died.”
And at a time when slash-and-burn has become the unavoidable fiscal M.O. for the city, Councilmember Barbara-Rose Collins, well-established as one of the biggest loons now in “public service,” called for a budget increase to buy new video equipment to broadcast council meetings. Given the recent necessity to have Detroit cops round up several councilmembers — including declared mayoral candidate Sharon McPhail — for a crucial budget vote, you’d think the last thing that august body would want is more light cast on their tragically farcical dealings.
And, hard as it is to believe, there’s so much more.
So how’s this for a new city slogan:
“Detroit! Say what?”Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org