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Viva Las Vegas, Kay

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News Hits sure hopes Detroit City Councilwoman Kay Everett had a good time at the shopping mall convention in Las Vegas last week. It must have been a heck of a lot more fun than attending what is arguably the most important council meeting of the year.

After spending six weeks poring over documents, crunching numbers, pitching fits and tearing each other’s hair out, the council voted May 25 to approve a $1.6 billion budget for fiscal 2004-2005, which begins July 1. Councilwoman Sheila Cockrel cast the sole vote in opposition to the budget. Everett was the only no-show.

But who can blame Kay for opting to go to Sin City instead of slogging through another tedious meeting, albeit one that sets the city’s course for the coming year? She probably needed the break. It must take a lot out of her to grandstand at the council table and chew out department heads, two things Everett seems particularly fond of. It also has to be grueling to waltz into meetings late and ask questions that have already been asked, another Everett specialty.

What does it matter that our weary civic leader skipped a budget vote for a Vegas junket? It’s not like it’s the first time Everett hightailed it out West during budget season.

Last year, Everett attended the same convention in Vegas, missing both the budget vote and the final week of budget discussions, according to Council President Maryann Mahaffey.

Mahaffey wouldn’t say what she thinks of her colleague’s absenteeism. That’s for voters to judge, right?

But given that they have put Everett in office since 1986 (when she first served on the Detroit School Board), the councilwoman no doubt figures that her council gig, which began in 1991, is a lifetime deal. Detroit’s at-large elections make it nearly impossible for a challenger to capitalize on any incumbent’s shortcomings. Everett undoubtedly sees re-election next year as a shoo-in. She certainly acts that way.

Contact News Hits at 313-202-8004 or NewsHits@metrotimes.com

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