Mayoral candidate Benny Napoleon: “Palmer Woods is not Detroit”

What does it mean to be a Detroiter?

According to mayoral candidate and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, it means struggling in hardscrabble neighborhoods, sticking around when times are tough. In a mayoral contest that could flare racial and class tensions, Napoleon took jabs at former Wayne County Prosecutor Mike Duggan, who is white and recently moved back to his childhood city, at the New Bethel Baptist Church on Tuesday.

“It’s our Detroit, and we’re going to keep it for Detroiters,” Napoleon said, taking an early shot at Duggan, who lived most of his life outside of the Motor City. “This is where we make our stand. This is a defining moment for Detroit.”

Duggan, the former CEO of the Detroit Medical Center, moved from Livonia to Palmer Woods to join the mayoral race.

Napoleon quickly brushed off the relatively well-to-do neighborhood

“Hell, no,” Napoleon told the media. “Palmer Woods is not Detroit.

The mayoral race comes at a turbulent time in the bankruptcy-headed city. Many Detroiters believe the white-dominated state is conspiring to steal city assets under the guise of a budgetary intervention. Others say they don’t care who fixes the problems; they just want adequate city services like police protection and garbage pickup.

The next mayor could be pivotal or useless. If Gov. Rick Snyder appoints an emergency manager, the powers of the mayor and city council could be virtually wiped out.

Also running for mayor are state Rep. Lisa Howze, D-Detroit, and state Rep. Fred Durhal, D-Detroit.

Steve Neavling

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.