Napoleon waffles on support of EM as he trails in polls

Benny NapoleonBefore it became clear that he was trailing in the race to become Detorit’s next mayor, Benny Napoleon struck a conciliatory tone toward a state-appointed emergency manager.

“The winds have changed,” Napoleon posted on Facebook in February, a month before the appointment of Kevyn Orr. “Let’s partner with the Emergency Manager (likely to be appointed) to swiftly address the city’s finances, improve city services and then focus on a strong Detroit future with local elected leadership.

Compare that to a recent speech at a church in Detroit, where Napoleon used a disturbing image to describe Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.

Duggan “has made an appeal to retirees and senior citizens while at the same time he was working to bring into town a man who said he would slit their throat and watch them bleed on the floor trying to take away their pensions, trying to take away their water department, trying to take away their Belle Isle,” Napoleon told an invite-only crowd.

For the record, there is no evidence that Duggan favored an emergency manager. Napoleon was referring to emails obtained by Motor City Muckraker that show Duggan was included in early conversations about an EM in Detroit.
While Duggan acknowledges he was consulted by state officials, he maintains he urged the state against appointing an emergency manager – a position backed up by email records.

Now Napoleon is hinting at fighting the constitutionality of an emergency manager, who has already spent millions of dollars putting the city in bankruptcy court in an effort to erase a disputed $18 billion deficit.

“I believe the emergency manager is unconstitutional until the federal courts tell us otherwise,” Napoleon posted on Facebook recently.

When Napoleon entered the race, he was believed by many to be the frontrunner, especially after Duggan was taken off the ballot. Napoleon even pledged to run a positive campaign.

But then Duggan won the primary election by a landslide in his write-in campaign. Recent polls indicate Duggan maintains a 2-1 advantage over Napoleon.

Napoleon’s tone has grown more combative and accusatory.

We asked him about it.

“I believe the emergency manager law is unconstitutional because it removes ‘elected representative leadership’ and is antithetical to the Democratic process granted by the U.S. Constitution,” Napoleon said. “There is a challenge currently filed in the federal courts. Until the federal courts determine otherwise, I believe Public Act 436 is unconstitutional. I am the only mayoral candidate who fought against an emergency manager and supported the ballot campaign last year with my own time and money, siding with the overwhelming majority of Michigan voters who voted to repeal Public Act 4.”

Napoleon said he doesn’t have faith the emergency manager can run day-to-day operations of a major city and said that task should be given to the next mayor.
“As mayor, I bring to the table what Orr could never – the trust and good will of Detroiters,” Napoleon said. “With that, I plan to be the good conscience of the community. I will focus on running the departments, while Orr focuses on fixing the city’s finances.”

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.

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  • Dougster60

    BN is all over the place. Sad but true. After all, BN was directly responsible for the first EM that came to town in 1999/2000 (The DOJ). Had it not been for BN’s management Style—he was running a department where he had NO ideas what was really going on. He was the Chief. He was supposed to know. Then he resigned. And retired (Protect that Pension!). This man has risen to the highest position of his incompetence.

    Did nothing as Assistant Wayne County Exec. Ran for Exec against Ficano with McPhail as his running mate (Have NO idea why he thought that would fly with out-county residents. None at all.) Got trounced by Ficano, for God’s Sake…

    The only way BN can make a dent in Duggans lead is to revert to identity politics. “US” vs “THEM.” He’ll find a ready audience among the desperately ignorant. the parochial and the provincial. IJS…

    And even then, he’s not gonna win. People are tired of the same old, same old…

    • Tracey

      I forgot all about him running for Wayne County Exec with Sharon McPhail. If that’s not a flaming red flag of a reason not to vote for him, then I don’t know what is.

      • Stewart

        AND when he announced his campaign for mayor, pictures in both News/Freep had McPhail standing right behind him. SHE is a career leech.

        • Tracey

          Speaking of career leeches, when Mike Duggan announced he was running, he had Malik “We’ll Burn This City Down Before We Let You Take Over” Shabazz on the podium next to him, plus he had him in prominent places in some of his early campaign ads.

          This is why I say picking between our mayoral candidates is like making Sophie’s Choice. There’s no really viable option, and that’s the biggest tragedy of all in this mess.

          • Paul, the newcomer

            Neither one of them can screw it up to badly to start with the EM running the show. Post EM all eyes and calculators will be on the new administration.

          • Tracey

            Excellent point, Paul. In the short term, we just have to hope the EM won’t do any major damage. Fingers crossed.

  • JohnC80

    There are two kinds of people who will vote for Mike Duggan stupid people and really stupid people.

    • Paul, the newcomer

      So BenNap is a better choice?????
      ANYBODY else for sheriff

      • JohnC80

        If I wanted Rick Snyder run Detroit I’ll vote for the man himself not for one of his flunkies. Your boy Duggan is getting funded by one of the nerd’s money guys. I’ll tell you this if Duggan do win and he’s the mayor for only the business interest while the rest of the city continues to rot I’m going to be laughing at you idiotic Duggan voters.

        • Paul, the newcomer

          It’s very clear that a vast part of the “previous electorate” did not have clue how to elect and support competent leadership. For the most part, instead of complaining about the take-over of the business class you and others like you should wonder what your part was in making this city the cesspool that it had become. Hopefully with new leadership and focus on making the city great once more you and others like you with no vision and no idea how to fit in with the new Detroit will ultimately decide to leave. OH HAPPY DAY!!!

  • Sizz

    He should watch his tone. Lord Crabcake could eliminate his mayoral salary if he ever gets elected.

    • Stewart

      And if Lord Crabcake wasn’t there, the city would have gone bankrupt for YEARS.

  • bebow

    Out throats and pockets were slit long ago. We’re already dead, and our money was stolen and wasted. Benny, Benny, Benny…you’re such a disappointment. It isn’t possible to scare dead, robbed people with threats of being victimized. Playing “Scare the Illiterates” is so old. Why not tell the unmentionable truth instead?

    • Tracey

      Do you really expect Benny to tell the truth about anything?

      • bebow

        No, and I also don’t expect to hear the truth from Mike Duggan. I’m deciding which of the candidates might be least dishonest and offensive. They’re each unacceptable, but for different reasons.

        • Tracey

          That moment when choosing a candidate became a “Sophie’s Choice” decision. I’m so not looking forward to November 5th just because of this….

          • Stewart

            Well, Napoleon has offered NOTHING other then some convoluted ‘put a cop’ in the street for every mile.’ He HASN’T followed his budget for the last 3-5 years and he is a CAREER cop, and nothing more.

          • Tracey

            And Duggan had legal troubles associated with his running of the DMC, not to mention the fact that he ran from his elected post as Wayne County Prosecutor to take the private sector (and higher paying) DMC post in the first place.

            Let’s not forget that both of them are products of the McNamara political machine that gave us such folks as Turkia Mullin, Jennifer Granholm, Art Blackwell, and the Kilpatrick clan.

            Duggan or Napoleon? Sophie’s Choice.

          • bebow

            Yes, there is a choice between two horrific alternatives, but the analogy runs deeper. Sophie also suffered a death by inches, which is what those of us outside of downtown and Midtown are experiencing. It’s been a bloody, fiery week in the neighborhood. The media is awol, too busy singing Duggan’s praises to report the chaos and destruction.

          • bebow

            William Styron, dark, twisty, and one of my personal favorites.

          • Paul, the newcomer

            But do VOTE no matter how repulsive the choices.

          • Tracey

            Absolutely, Paul. It would be irresponsible not to. And I hope everyone that visits MCM utilizes the Detroit Elections website as a tool for choosing the candidates they feel are best.