If Detroit is consistent about anything, it’s the city’s failure to find good leadership.
From the segregationist mayors and city councils of the first half of the 20th century to the ineffective leaders of today, Detroit is a stark example of a city damaged by its own leadership.
So as the 2013 mayoral election nears and the state demands deep budget cuts, it’s urgent to end the cycle of deadbeat leaders and find and support a candidate who is courageous, realistic and no-nonsense.
When I covered city hall for the Detroit Free Press, most insiders were strongly hinting that Bing won’t run for reelection because of his ongoing health problems.
The list of potential candidates for Bing’s job is growing. They include state Rep. Lisa Howze; Mike Duggan, Detroit Medical Center executive and former Wayne County prosecutor; state Rep. Fred Durhal Jr. and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.
It’s too early to know who would be ideal.
But it’s certainly not to too early to talk about whom we don’t need.
We don’t need the indecision and flip-flopping of Mayor Dave Bing, who has can’t even form a functional relationship with city council.
We don’t need former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s divisive, race-baiting rhetoric, nor do we need the spineless, blame-the-mayor leadership of City Council President Charles Pugh.
Let’s embrace a leader who sticks to a realistic vision, stops blaming today’s problems on the past and puts Detroiters above popularity polls.
Who do you think would be a good mayor in a city that is nearly bankrupt – and one that can’t even care for its neediest residents? In a city like Detroit, where violent crime and poverty is constant, it may be a question of life or death.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.