By Steve Neavling
When you repeatedly shout “BOO!,” you’re going to stop scaring people.
But that hasn’t stopped Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and state officials from threatening that all hell is about to break loose – again – if they don’t get their way.
Responding today to a city lawyer who is challenging the state takeover in court, the mayor and state officials are loudly insisting the city will run out of money if the lawsuit isn’t withdrawn. The state went further, threatening to strip the city of needed emergency money.
And the local newspapers and TV stations are falling over each other to parrot – er, squawk – the sky-is-falling rhetoric.
WXYZ goes as far to claim it conveniently “found” a secret report that shows the city is about to run out of money – only hours before Bing made the same claim to anyone who will listen.
He even scheduled a rare meeting with City Council to make the same threat.
Let’s not pretend to know how much money the city has left.
Only a few people familiar enough with the intricacies of the city’s mammoth, disorganized budget know when Detroit will run out of money. And those people are appointed by … Mayor Bing.
The city also was about to run out of cash in April, Bing pledged, if unions didn’t agree to big cuts. Although those contracts were never inked, police are still patrolling the streets.
What’s most eggregious about this is the continued threat that bad things are going to happen if people challenge the status quo.
You don’t hold your city hostage until you get your way.
If any of you are fans of the NBC comedy “Parks and Recreation,” you may remember a recent episode in which character Leslie Knope, while debating a city council candidate, challenged her opponent’s integrity when he claimed his dad’s business would leave the city if Knope won the election:
“I love this town, and when you love something, you don’t threaten it. You don’t punish it. You fight for it. You take care of it. You put it first.” – Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation
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.