The 40-year-old accountant was about to endorse Mike Duggan, who is white, for mayor. Howze had med twice with him and his opponent Benny Napoleon after coming fourth in the Aug. 7 primary election. She wanted to keep alive her platform to clean up blight, create jobs and generate much-needed revenue for the city in which she and her five siblings were raised by a single mother.
“Mike Duggan was very sincere,” Howze told me Tuesday after announcing her endorsement. “He liked my ideas, and he’s supporting them. He has a good vision for Detroit.”
But some Detroiters just couldn’t get why a sister would endorse a carpetbagging white dude. Something more sinister was going on, they insisted.
So the rumors made their rounds on social media. Howze was promised a job or paid off, they said.
- “MY PEOPLE WILL SELL OUT IN A HEARTBEAT, BLACK FOLKS WILL NEVER UNITE!!!!!!!!”
- “She just exposed her real self.”
- “How could a good woman like her succumb to selling out her own people that voted for her?”
- “She sold her soul for a job, to retire campaign debt; I cannot believe that she actually believes in this Carpet-bagging Opportunist.”
For the record, none of the allegations are founded, and Howze denies receiving anything in exchange for supporting Duggan.
“If I went with the vocal minority, then we will never have a higher conversation about what’s next for Detroit,” Howze told me.
She continued: “I know who I am, and they can call me all of the names they want. It’s easier for some people to believe that I was paid off, rather than base my endorsement on the merits of the candidates and their visions for Detroit.”
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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.