Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Myth of The State of The City Address and One Detroit by Akindele Akinyemi

Many people have called me to ask the magic question.

How come I will no longer criticize Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of the City of Detroit. It's very simple.

Mayor Kilaptrick is not an issue with me anymore. He is delusional and is living in Disney World.

I attended the State of the City address last night at Orchestra Hall in Detroit. I sat and watched all of Kilpatrick's cheerleaders on hand. Then I heard the Mayor.

Of course, Kilpatrick spoke on magical things like the economic stimulus package, the magical police bus that is supposed to come into our neighborhoods and public safety. But what caught my eye was this....

"President Cockrel, we have much more serious issues affecting our city than whether we attend a speech or not.

I love you, and I love what you've done in our city, and at this moment in our history we must start to turn to each other and not on each other.

And finally tonight, and this may be the most talked about part of this speech after laying out all of that, but I feel that I cannot leave this auditorium with my wife and my son sitting there without addressing this issue.

In the past 30 days I've been called a nigger more than any time in my entire life.

In the past three days I've received more death threats than I have in my entire administration.

I've heard these words, but I've never heard people say them about my wife and children.

I have to say this, because it's very personal to me.

I don't believe that a Nielsen rating is worth the life of my children or your children. This unethical, illegal lynch mob mentality has to stop.

And it's seriously time.

We've never been here before -- and I don't care if they cut the TV off -- we've never been in a situation like this before, where you can say anything, do anything, have no facts, no research, no nothing, and you can launch a hate-driven bigoted assault on a family.

I humbly ask members of council, I humbly ask the business community, I humbly ask the religious community, I humbly ask the brothers and sisters of the City of Detroit, I humbly ask that we say no more together.

I humbly ask that we say no more together."

I really do not believe that someone called Kilpatrick or his family a nigger unless it was someone Black because we call each other niggers all the time. Also, for the record, there is no lynch mob or bigoted assault on this man's family. This is called paranoia. He never talk about the lynch mob that is weakening our family structure here in Detroit. This is why no one is committed to a long term relationship. You know those preachers who support the Mayor? They are part of the problem.

Another striking point that Kilpatrick made was this:

"Under the leadership of Lucius Vassar in the Detroit Workforce Development Department, the department is working with Detroiters to make sure they have the skills they need to successfully hold a job.

Even more important, we are making sure that a job is waiting for them when they complete their training."

However, in 2006, 46,000 people were assisted through the city's career centers, but the businesses supposed to find them jobs were only able to prove that 875 people were employed. 80 percent of those were in the fast food industry. So what is going on? And what about people who are contractors through DWDD who have not been paid on time or at all?

But as Mayor Kilpatrick was talking I realized what is fueling this 300+ lbs hurricane. His supporters. So we have been attacking the wrong entity here.

Hurricanes are fueled by warm waters in the oceans. The warmer the water the stronger the hurricane. Mayor Kilpatrick is being fueled by his supporters.

Mayor Kilpatrick discussed his Next Detroit agenda to his supporters. It's time we discussed our One Detroit agenda to those who want serious transformation.

Detroit is an unique city. It has the ability to grow in many different directions. However, policies that have been implemented for decades have failed our citizens here in our city. We no longer need leaders who play the race card. We need leaders who can forge solutions and execute an agenda that is family-centered.

Under a One Detroit agenda the citizens of Detroit must be able to embrace the free market concept. Free markets are ultimately based around one very simple idea. Transactions between individuals should happen through mutual consent. When people are granted the freedom to trade as they see fit, they will offer value for value, only entering into deals that they feel are mutually beneficial. Thus, any free transaction should benefit all parties involved; otherwise they would not have chosen to deal in the first place.

Free enterprise or “capitalism” - for all of the connotations surrounding that word - is a distributional system of economic liberty, where resources and capital are privately owned, where transactions are entered into by free, mutual consent, and where government is limited to establishing and enforcing the rules of the game, protecting individual property rights, and enforcing contracts. Valuing free enterprise does not mean an inherent distrust of government. Government is an effective and just institution in its appropriate role. Free enterprise simply means that government should facilitate economic freedom rather than forcing upon people economic decisions that they would otherwise not choose freely.

Free enterprise is the economic system that recognizes the vast potential within all individuals. It is the system that honors the best within us and encourages us to make productive use of our talents. It provides the framework for individuals to pursue happiness and to go as far as merit and determination will take them. It is not lead by politicians, bureaucracies, or lawyers but by entrepreneurs, innovators, and the hard work of all who want to make a better life for themselves and their families. It is not motivated by force and fear but by incentives and trust. It uses the competition of a free people to turn the pursuit of self-interest into social good. It is both moral and practical.


Detroit must become a financial market. Our vision for change must be global. Government has an important role in financial markets, as it does in any market. The appropriate role for the government is to establish and enforce objective standards of law, demand honesty and accountability from market participants, and protect people from force and fraud. It is not supposed to prevent willing, informed individuals from making personal decisions about what to do with their money. Financial markets cannot function effectively when decisions are made by force rather than free, mutual consent.

As Detroit becomes a financial market it may contain varying degrees of risk. The desire of government to protect people (and sometimes corporations) from risk has frequently limited the ability of individuals to actively pursue their own happiness and damaged our own economy. We must allow people and corporations the possibility of failure if we are to give them a shot at success. We also must realize that taking responsibility for failures, learning from them, and overcoming them, is a vital part of development as a productive citizen in a free society.

A One Detroit agenda must contain a family centered element to create and stimulate a tax base that will help generate wealth in our community. It makes no sense to have a church on every single corner in Detroit and over 80% of our families are headed by single parents. No one is married. While Mayor Kilpatrick failed to discuss the role of the family in Detroit we, as urban conservatives, must began to pick up the slack.

The family is especially crucial for maintaining the safety and happiness of Detroit. Detroit depends for its survival upon values and principles that it does not have the power to compel. A government such as ours does not have the power to force individuals to be responsible, civic-minded citizens. It cannot compel loyalty, patriotism, or a strong work ethic. These values are only meaningful when they are freely chosen. And there is no institution better suited to the task of transmitting the values and principles of a free society than the family.

A society that honors the family will recognize the integrity of family life. Family life here in Detroit demands a respect for the decisions that families make in choosing how to raise their children and how to run their households. Parents know their children better than anyone else, and are best suited to provide for their improvement. If needless government interference disturbs the market, it is still more detrimental to the family. We honor the freedom of responsible parents to raise their children as they see fit. Intervening in family matters, though sometimes necessary to protect the safety of spouses and children, should never be taken lightly.

To value the family is to value what families do best. Valuing family means recognizing their crucial role in the formation of happy, productive, and responsible citizens. Families provide nurture, support and encouragement for their members better than any government program. Families provide moral education better than any school. Families impart values and a sense of right and wrong better than any organization. This is not to say that other things are unimportant. They simply cannot replace families as the primary social unit by which we bring new citizens into our nation.

Under a One Detroit agenda we will promote school choice for our families and children. We do not compromise with a failing school district that are keeping children trapped with immorality. Through school choice parents learn to become more actively involved in the decisions surrounding their children's education. They are no longer forced to remain passive figures in the lives of their children with government bureaucrats left to call the shots. Instead, parents are called upon to "shop around" for the best available education to meet their own child’s needs. Parents exemplify responsibility in taking such an active part in their own children’s education. This is something that would have been next to impossible for many parents–especially for poor parents whose children are most in need of a sound education in order to realize their full human potential later in life–without a school-choice regime.

The real strength of Detroit's education system is in the diversity of educational opportunities. This diversity has allowed competition, preserved choice, and increased educational experimentation. Any valid proposal to improve educational opportunity for our youngest children will build on both of these strengths.

Genuine choice of school options is essential. Students and families take this right seriously at the collegiate level. Federal and state policies support it. Why should we have anything less for the younger grades, or for any new pre-K program? This factor is particularly important for our most vulnerable children, those of low income and those with single parents.

While many public schools and teachers do heroic jobs in our inner cities, education in urban America has benefited tremendously from private and religious schools, especially Catholic schools, that offer discipline and character instruction that buttress the parental role and make education work.

Today these inner-city options are themselves at risk. While private and religious schools are serving more minority children than ever the financial squeeze on these schools is intense and tightening.

Speaking of education there is always discussion of smaller classroom sizes. We have heard public school officials and their unions claim in recent years that much smaller class sizes are the answer to providing much improved education quality, and if only the public schools could have more money they would hire more teachers to lower the current ratio and resolve the quality problem. If we examine the top 20 nations ranked for U.S. equivalent 8th grade mathematics classes in 2002 we find Japan had the 3rd largest average class size (41) yet ranked 1st in test scores. The U.S. and Hungary both have relatively small average class sizes yet Hungary ranked 3rd and the U.S. ranked 14th on test scores. Hong Kong has the largest classes (44) and ranks 8th on scores. So this has nothing to do with smaller classroom sizes. This has something to do with getting government out of our homes to allow families to discipline our children (both in and out of the classroom). It has something to do with personal responsibility.

Furthermore,
  • High school students in Japan, France, and Germany spend more than twice as many hours studying math, history and science as US students.
  • In these countries about 50% of all students take advanced examinations compared to but 6.6% of US students; the advanced exam passing rate is 33% in these countries compared to 4.4% for US students.
So the issue of Detroit is not just something of a city but it’s a fundamental issue not just to the people of Detroit but I think to the history of the human race. I think the lessons of Detroit are applicable everywhere, even in Africa. However, Detroit has been a city of enormous upheaval; wars, disease, poverty, and even genocide. Detroit has literally been a cruel cosmos for every form of socialist, fascist, and other central government planned experiment imaginable. Each of these experiments has been a disaster.

The reason why we need an One Detroit agenda is because Detroit is the only city in this region which has fallen back, regressed economically. All other cities in the region have made some difficult progress, except Detroit. In this explanation, we always have to make two distinctions. It is important that we keep this distinctions in mind. First, we must always make a distinction between leaders and people. I say this because Detroiters quite often confuse the two. That is, I might not like Mayor Kilpatrick but that does not mean I hate Detroiters. It is an important distinction. Now white Detroiters often do not want to make that distinction because of political correctness. They do not want to criticize black Detroit leaders for fear they may be labeled racist.

The problem that we have in Detroit is with the leaders not with the people. Now as I stand here, I am not ashamed to say that many of our leaders have failed us. It doesn’t mean that it is the people’s fault or the people who have failed Detroit. It is the leaders. We must always make that distinction between leaders and the people. We must also make a distinction between the existence of an institution and different forms of the same institution. I say this because an enduring myth of Detroit perpetuated by the Republicans was that Detroit had no viable institutions, and therefore liberalism was good for Detroit.

The basic cause of the implosion that we have in Detroit is what I call the power equation. The struggle for political power. Why the struggle for political power? The struggle for political power has become very ferocious because power is concentrated and centered at the center. Obviously there is a solution, and that solution is to take that power out of the center and disburse it. Give it back to the people. This is why some of us say the solutions to Detroit’s problems lie in Detroit itself. It involves Detroit going back to its roots and building upon its own economic institutions. Economic institutions of freedom, building free markets in Detroit, free enterprise and free trade.

So once again, the solutions to Detroit’s problems are right here in Detroit, and that is why I believe in Detroit solutions for Detroit's problems. The solutions don’t lie in the corridors of the Next Detroit or Mayor Kilpatrick. They lie in Detroit itself. That is why a lot of us will have to start looking at Detroit critically. We have had bad leaders in Detroit, and we have had bad governments in Detroit and Wayne County. I am not ashamed to say so at all because there are some White leaders who have also failed their people. Just as Black leaders have failed their people. All of us must condemn oppression wherever we see it. Oppression is oppression regardless of the skin color of the oppressor. When you see oppression in Detroit condemn it and that does not necessarily make you a racist.

You see, the Next Detroit agenda is a good agenda with twisted leadership. It has to be fused with One Detroit Synergy to make it work. So I am urging people to get involved with the One Detroit Movement. If you want to run for transforming urban ghettos into Christian communities I urge you to run for office or get involved economically. Mayor Kilpatrick will run his people for state representative or county commissioner and while the media has launched an air campaign we will have to defeat those who want to keep the status quo on the streets of Detroit. In other words, people who want to change our community must be ready to engage themselves in an urban political street battle. If you deflate the air from the Kilpatrick supporters the Mayor on free market principles the Mayor will not have a leg to stand on.

This is why Mayor Kilpatrick is no longer an issue for us. We do not even have to talk about him. He is not the threat to the city of Detroit. His supporters are the issue now and we must engage in serious debate and dialogue with his supporters on family policies, educational policies and economic policies that will help shape the future of this city. Where ever they have a question and answer session from the Mayor's office we must be ready to ask policy questions to force them to understand our issues. If they are on the street engage them in dialogue to help them understand conservative free market principles.

Any elected office the Mayor's people run for from this point on we MUST have someone in that race challenging them to pressure them to discuss conservative free market principles and in many cases be ready to defeat them because they supported a flawed design to resurrect Detroit. Do not let any radio host to support the Mayor's policies without question. I do not care if it's Frankie Darcell or Karen Dumas. Push them sisters to the outer limits when discussing public policies. Conduct a strong street campaign to push for change. Conduct door to door campaigns to educate our people from a logical standpoint not an emotional standpoint. Any church that is supporting the Mayor's policies should be boycotted because they are killing our people spiritually. In fact, all these churches who support the Mayor should be challenged in any medium possible to force them to ask why there is a exposion of homosexuality in our Detroit Public Schools that we are paying tax dollars for? We have to force this issue of morality today in the faces of these pastors who continue to support Mayor Kilpatrick for some kickbacks. Some pastors we may have to knock on their doors to ask why immorality is so high in our community while we tithe in church. No longer we will attend a church because it preaches social justice. Economic justice is the item of the day. It's time to turn over the tables.

This is what the One Detroit Movement is all about. Engaging our neighbors in dialogue. The transformation process.

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