The Scandal That Rocked the City

Alright, I’ll bite…

Kwame Kilpatrick, I am officially disappointed in you. Me? I stood up for you when you took some pretty heavy hits. The navigator? Credit cards? Whistleblower lawsuit? I backed you up. Even in the last election, I still thought you had potential. But not anymore.

The Free Press has devoted a section to the original whistleblower suit here, and the whole homepage is pretty much devoted to this text message debacle , but if you want to read my take, then click away…

When he first ran for mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick was my guy. He was young, dynamic, well spoken, and really had a deep love for the City that would motivate him to succeed. Of course, being a young Black man with an earring and a pinstripe suit, I also knew that he would face some really nasty criticism, which is why I wished him that success even more. To push off those naysayers. To bring the City back. After all, it was the young Black middle class that was supposed to SAVE Detroit. He had the ultimate chance.

The man was never free of scandal, and no mayor of any big city ever will be, but in this City vs. Suburbs area that we live in this mayor could have been the one to bridge the gap. The one to show the race baiters and the retreaters and those who said that Detroit was nothing but a den of immoral law breaking lazy bums that depended on taxpayers and government money that their perceptions weren’t the truth! And what did he do? Instead of embody the spirit of a city of proud, hardworking people – he embodied the spirit of, for lack of better words, a lazy law breaking immoral bum who depended on governement money.

9 MILLION dollars of governement money, to be exact. In an very money strapped city. When the mayor decided to let the whistleblower suit go to trial, I felt for him. I knew that many who would rally against him in this lawsuit were suburbanites that were not only anti-Kwame, but anti-City as a whole, and when he was found responsible a part of me still thought that maybe (just maybe!) he was the scapegoat in all of this, and I was certainly played for a fool. Now I know that he lied. And worse, he didn’t need to do it. He could have settled the suit! I still would have cost, but much less, both financially and otherwise. He chose to make a spectacle of the suit, and instead made a spectacle of himself. And he made a spectacle of the entire City. He allowed every person who has ever said that Detroit is nothing but crime, corruption and sneakiness to sigh a collective “I told you so!”. Those race baiters and retreaters and finger pointers? He gave them back their voice. And worse, after a rocky first term, he really seemed to put much of the juvenile behavior behind him, seemed to be making progress. And then he stole from the people that decided to give him a second chance. I doubt many will be offering a third chance.

The mayor needed to learn this lesson – that he cannot hide behind the money and power of his office – but in the process Detroit as a whole not only lost a lot of money, but a lot of pride as well.

2 Comments so far

  1. Bill Fisher (unregistered) on January 25th, 2008 @ 12:28 pm
  2. John A. Ferry (unregistered) on January 25th, 2008 @ 3:56 pm

    My neighbors and I were stunned the morning after his re-election. We met in the street and asked what happened. Nobody had an answer that didn’t involve shenanigans.

    The arrogance with which this man conducts himself is often mischaracterized as charisma.

    He and his actions are totally representative of so many of the city employees I’ve had the displeasure of encountering over my 14 years in Detroit. You can do whatever you want as long as you let everyone else do whatever they want, and no snitching!

    Mayor Archer and, in turn, I was tricked into thinking Detroit was on the way back. He thought folks really wanted things to change for the better. He was bringing sanity and civility back to government.

    I love thinking about what could be. So much infrastructure. Such great geographical positioning. It doesn’t have to be this way. But it’s probably going to get worse until serious change happens top-to-bottom throughout all departments.

    I’m studying the viability of my candidacy for Mayor of Detroit in 2009.



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