Napoleon: Focusing on neighborhoods is not ‘race-baiting’

Benny NapoleonClick here to read the entire speech. 

Detroit mayoral candidate Benny Napoleon said today that the city’s revival hinges on improving neighborhoods, empowering young people and reducing crime.
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During a press conference on the west side, the Wayne County sheriff said his opponent, Mike Duggan, who moved from Livonia to Palmer Woods to run for mayor, is out of touch with the unique struggles of the city’s neighborhoods. And no, he said, it’s not because Duggan is white.

“What is race-baiting about talking about where people live?” Napoleon asked a full room at Fellowship Chapel on Outer Drive. “When the dialogue about ‘Detroit is desperate’ is made, they are talking about murders; they’re occurring in our neighborhoods; they’re talking about robberies occurring in our neighborhoods. They’re talking about not educating our children; that occurs in our neighborhood. So talking about changing our neighborhoods is not race-baiting; it’s reality.”

After the meeting, reporters barraged Napoleon with questions about the race-baiting comment. One television reporter seemed especially confused.

“If you don’t know how that’s not race-baiting, then you don’t understand Detroit,” Napoleon said.

The sheriff also spoke sharply about Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, who was appointed to take control of the city’s finances by Gov. Rick Snyder. Emails show Duggan consulted with the state on the appointment of an EM.

Orr “is the governor’s anointed turnaround man, and bankruptcy is not a turnaround plan,” Napoleon said.

Napoleon’s comments came a day after Mike Duggan announced  his 10-point plan to improve neighborhoods.

“Detroit does need a transformation, and I’m here to tell you neighborhoods are that transformation,” Napoleon said.

He plans to unveil his plan, Detroit’s Neighborhood Growth Strategy, in a few weeks.

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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.