Mar 24, 2008

Kwame Kilpatrick: Your Time is Up

As someone whose first twenty-five years on the planet were spent within the city limits of Detroit, there will always be a soft spot in my heart for the Motor City. Moreover, once Detroit gets in your blood, it is hard to think of yourself as anything but a Detroiter, even with nearly two decades of living in Toledo.

And it is as a Detroiter-at-heart that I have been watching from across the Ohio border the tragicomedy known as the Kwame Kilpatrick administration. The latest act in this dismal production was news today that Kilpatrick faces charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice, misconduct in office, perjury in a court proceeding, and two counts of perjury other than in a court proceeding. His alleged co-conspirator, former mayoral chief of staff and one-time lover Christine Beatty, also faces a host of felony charges in light of what appears to be perjury over their affair.

The Kilpatrick years are a litany of misgovernance, ranging from misuse of city funds to an inability to carry out mandated state audits to recrimination against whistleblowers. Yet all of these scandals pale in comparison with the embarassing prospect of a sitting mayor being tried and convicted of a felony.

Just ask Marion Barry and the citizens of Washington, DC about the damage to a civic reputation involved with an elected official standing trial.

It is time that Kwame Kilpatrick recognizes that his continued presence in the mayor's office hurts the city of Detroit, and that he would best serve the city he claims to love by stepping down. Detroit has endured too many years of his failed leadership, and it is time to turn the reins of the city over to someone who can guide the struggling city without the heavy and distracting burdens of scandal.

My suspicion, though, is that Kilpatrick is too much of an egomaniac to put the city's best interests ahead of his own desperate attempt to hold on to power. Thus, Detroit will likely suffer another period of being the butt of national jokes, further grinding the remnants of this once-great city into the ground.

Kwame Kilpatrick: be a man and step down.


Anonymous said...

I can't believe you compared Kwame with Marion Barry, you should be ashamed. No wonder Kwame thinks there's a lynch mob after him!!!

historymike said...

Hmmm.... where to begin....

1. I did not compare Kwame Kilpatrick with Marion Barry. I compared the similarity in the situations on the effects to the citizenry of the municipalities and to civic reputations. Read again; I certainly do not equate perjury with smoking crack in a cheap motel. The first is a felony, while Marion Barry's antics were only a misdemeanor.


2. So my call for Kwame to resign is akin to a lynch mob? If that is so, then the African-American members of Detroit City Councilwho voted for Kilpatrick to resign are also closet KKK members, pal.

3. The shame lies with Kilpatrick and Beatty, first for the afair and - most importantly - for being so stupid as to lie under oath. Kindly direct your finger-wagging at the folks responsible for this scandal, dear sir or madam.

dr-exmedic said...

Thus, Detroit will likely suffer another period of being the butt of national jokes
Another period? That would suggest there was an end to the first one.... :)

Tim Higgins said...


As a student and teacher you understand better than most of us the results when egomaniacs are given the role of leader. Besides, Kwame has assured us that he will ultimately be cleared of all of these charges.

At the risk of facing criticism for a politically incorrect comparison... Is that smoke that I smell and a fiddle I hear in the distance?

Sherry said...

I can't say that I know much about Kilpatrick. What I found amusing was your take on Detroit. I lived there from the early 70's until the mid 90's and found it the most appalling dump of a city I'd ever encountered. And I grew up in Flint. I certainly never wanted anyone to consider me a Detroiter!

I worked kitty corner from Police Headquarters and across from the jails. I was a trial attorney at Recorders and the Circuit Courts there. Perhaps it was because I worked with the dregs of the society but I also lived in the city, first up Woodward near WSU and later off off 94 east on Chalmers. I suffered nothing but breakins and car thefts all the time I was there.

I now live where we leave the car keys in the car, and we have never locked our house up, and have no idea where the keys even are.

Detroit politicians are always embroiled in some kind of controvery, as is the bench.

Mad Jack said...

I can't believe you compared Kwame with Marion Barry either. In fact, I can't seem to find much on the subject.

I don't think much will change in Dee-troit. Ever since the bottom rusted out things have never been quite the same. I remember attending a meeting in the GM building downtown, and it was kind of spooky. There were rows and rows of empty cubes everywhere, and the majority of the offices were all dark and locked up. Depressing!

microdot said...

Sherry, though I agree with your assessment of the current state of Detroit. I was born there and lived my formative years there and I am proud to be a Detroit native.
It was never a nice place, but as a show placew for the utter failure of free market unregulated capitalism, it has become one of the black holes in the economic universe.
Detroit has had a proud history and a unique spirit. It's economic history fueled the social movements that gave the American workers the rights they enjoy today and are being daily eroded like the rust that slowly eats away at the one time pre eminent industrial work horse of our nation.
Today it also represents the utter failure of race relations in this country.
I grew up on the South side of 8 Mile Road and lived in the inner city during the riots of 1968. I got shot at both by snipers and National Guardsmen in the course of trying to get out of a traffic jam at Joy Road and Grand River.
You can say anything you like about Detroit, but the Soul Music was the greatest and the Rock and Roll was the grittiest most powerful stuff produced then and now. Detroit was the home of Techno Music...raves started in the abandoned rusting railroad tunnels under the Michigan Central Terminal.
You can say what you like, but the city will never die!

MP said...

No, he's as stubborn as Bush, but thanks for asking anyway.