Read the full list of Best of Detroit 2017 Public Square winners here.
When it came to selecting the best candidate for governor, the winner was candidate Gretchen Esther Whitmer, although a close contender was "Anybody but Snyder," which doubtless tells some of the backstory. Some alert readers named other actual announced candidates, including Dwain Reynolds of the Democratic-Socialist party and rising star Abdul El-Sayed. Others named contenders who haven't thrown their hats in, such as Candice Miller and 87-year-old Dale Kildee (of course, they meant his nephew Dan; we get them mixed up too sometimes). Other names ranged from longtime Royal Oak mayor and current state Rep. Jim Ellison to right-wing nut-job Dave Agema. Our voters even put forward a candidate who can't run: Rick Snyder himself. A few voters chose such plutocrats as Roger Penske and Dan Gilbert — but why should this country's rich hold office when they can influence policy with fistful after undisclosed fistful of U.S.-minted, legal tender free speech? In other news, celebrities put forward as potential guvs included Geoffrey Fieger, Michael Moore, Marshall Mathers, Willie Nelson, and — Jeebus help us — Kid Rock.
No surprises in the Detroit Mayor category, with the winner being the various spellings taken to mean Mayor Mike Duggan. The politician known as Coleman Young Jr. came in as a distant second, accompanied by such potential candidates as Detroit Councilmember George Cushingberry Jr., disgraced Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, radio legend the Electrifying Mojo, Pistons radio analyst Rick Mahorn, acid rapper Rashaam "Esham" Smith, and toothy challenger of Sander Levin in 2014, George Brikho. Sadly (for some), treacly sports writer and picket line-crosser Mitch Albom may not meet the mayoral residency requirements. Also, were we supposed to take the vote for "that young girl" as an endorsement of Myya D. Jones' candidacy?
We feel that our readers need to brush up a bit on the Detroit City Council. It's not the chaotic but entertaining council of yesteryear, of Monica "Shrek!" Conyers and Kay "17 Pounds of Sausage" Everett fame. There's no reason "none" should get more votes than Mary Sheffield, Brenda Jones, Raquel Castañeda-López, James Tate, Janeé Ayers, and André Spivey. The person whose answer wished for "an informed person, not bought by big business" might have looked at some of these names more closely.
Just because a majority of our readers literally saw no reason to oust Big Mike from office (except "so he can become governor") doesn't mean they were without cavils. Complaints included "arrogance," "broken promises," not declaring Detroit "a sanctuary city when he had the chance," "water shutoffs," a perceived opposition to "marijuana freedom," and a "lack of investment in local communities that actually need it." That was best summed up in the answer: "Cuz he wack, crooked, and don't care about real Detroit folks."
The idea that Michigan's emergency manager law is unconstitutional may not sway courts (the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals says your right to vote is sacred, but that the winning candidate doesn't have a right to wield power), but it's a narrow winner in this year's poll. Unsurprisingly, the No. 2 answer was "Flint." Other contenders included "it's against the will of the people," and in the end it "costs too much," while "it doesn't fix the financial crisis." Other answers included that "it's unfair to citizens and municipal retirees" and "it's stealing from the people who worked hard."
In a popularity contest between Detroit's super-rich, Dan Gilbert would obviously win with our readers, with Mike Ilitch being a posthumous second banana. But Peter Karmanos and Roger Penske only get one vote apiece? (And, no, Kid Rock is not a billionaire — yet.)
Meanwhile, if Bill Schuette's efforts to delay Michigan entering gay-marriage-land hadn't done enough to repulse our readers, consider that NORML executive director Allen St. Pierre said Schuette "may be single most anti-marijuana attorney general in the country." Rather than "cleaning up" Michigan's political scene, our readers seem to feel the poor little rich kid from Midland should have his hands in the filth, offering up new job suggestions like "garbage collector," "janitor," "street sweeper," and "sewer cleaner." Many of the rest of the answers were unprintable — even for us!
While plenty of readers felt longtime Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson should start a new life holding doors, greeting superstore customers, picking up garbage or dog poop, or rotting behind bars, most people agreed: It's simply time for Brooksie to retire. After six terms as CEO of OC, he's become too much like an embarrassing grandpa who cracks jokes about "Injuns" and "A-rabs" after one too many Boilermakers. To paraphrase those who offered details, Brooks should retire to become the recreational director at a nursing home where people still laugh at such threadbare material, hopefully in faraway Florida.
Best Candidate for Detroit Mayor
Best Candidate for Michigan Governor
Best Detroit Billionaire
Best Detroit City Council Member
Best Local Nonprofit
Detroit Dog Rescue
Best New Job for Bill Schuette
Best New Job for L. Brooks Patterson
Best Reason Jim Fouts Should Resign
Best Reason to Get Rid of the Emergency Manager Law
It’s unconstitutional, illegal, and undemocratic
Best Reason to Vote Duggan Out of Office