Friday, November 21, 2008
Detroit Mayor Forum: Same Old Ideas With No Direction by Akindele Akinyemi
I went to the Mayoral forum last night at Second Ebenezer Church here in Detroit. The event was sponsored by the Hannibal Group. To be honest with you I am not even interested in this Mayoral contest but I was invited to the event so I decided to show up.
There were seven candidates on the panel. The candidates were Dave Bing, former City councilman Nicholas Hood, Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans, former City Councilwoman Sharon McPhail, Joe Holt, Jerrol Sanders and Duane Montgomery.
Without me getting into the meat and potatoes of the issues none of these candidates really impress me. Then again it would have helped if Mayor Ken rel, Freman Hendrix and State Rep. Coleman Young was there.
The reason why I try to stay out of city politics because everyone thinks the same. Everyone belongs to the same political party. It sounded like more of a get along rather than a discussion last night. None of them distinguished themselves from the other. If Democrats who run the city do not change the foundation of their ideology nothing will ever change.
One thing I agree with Freman Hendrix is the fact that Detroit does not have time for on-the-job training. I think many of these people are running because they need a job.
Here is my spin on Detroit. This is a shrinking city. We can forget about trying to attract young people to the City of Detroit because we do not have mass transit. There is no light rail system. Our educational system has collapsed. The middle class is now in Farmington Hills. Our quality of family living has been eclipsed with 80% of families are headed by single-headed homes.
So how do you begin to transform Detroit. Well for once, you need a free market approach to the solutions not a unionized approach.
You see, over 50% of the city's population is functionally illiterate. That alone is a serious problem for change and redevelopment. You first must tackle the issue of education in our city to decrease illiteracy issues. Part of the problem is the lack of competition in Detroit Public Schools. I am in favor of expanding the cap off charter schools to bring in specialized charter schools such as single academies, green charters and international academies that focus on a British style educational . I am also in favor of military charter academies that focus on high level education and strict discipline.
At least we have nineteen Detroit Public Schools teachers are running for election to leadership slots in the Detroit Federation of Teachers union on a school reform platform to open their own charter schools ed after the Green Dot Schools in Los Angeles. Green Dot Schools is a nonprofit network of unionized charter high schools that are radically different and more effective than Detroit schools, funneling more money to the classroom and using performance, rather than seniority or tenure, to assess teachers. While I have nothing to do with that personally I welcome any change to the Detroit Public School System to save our children.
Education is the eradication tool to erase poverty. However, victimization is so entrenched in our community that I do not know if any leader can actually fight to stop poverty in our city. I feel that poverty has become a way of our ure. From boys adopting a prison mentality to women sporting s all over their neck and lower back we have embraced a ure of in Detroit.
The other issue is the mentality of the citizens in Detroit. We still have a handout mentality. I know for a fact that people came to this event last night wanting to see what these candidates were going to do for citizens instead of telling them the truth. The truth is that government is broken, government should not be used to take care of constituents because this is what welfare is doing right now and when do constituents take some personal responsibility for their actions?
What Detroit needs is a Free Market Detroit not an unionized Detroit. Our economy must rise from the ashes if we want to compete with Hong Kong and Singapore. We must become a financial market not an auto market. Detroit's highly favorable geographical position and trading opportunities are wealth-generating assets.
In addition to geographical position, another major natural industrial-commercial asset of Detroit should be human resources. If Detroit were to expand on its skilled, adaptable, and hard-working labor force coupled with the adoption of modern business methods and technology the city would be ensured that opportunities for external trade, investment, and recruitment were maximized by utilization of our Port Authority.
Detroit must become highly developed through free market capitalism. City government intervention must be kept at a minimum. Our city must have an global open business environment, relatively corruption-free and transparent to create stable prices, and if we do this right we would not worry about borrowing money from the government.
Again, Detroit has a strategic port in which makes it more competitive than many of its neighbors to carry out such entrepot activities. Our Port Authority can become the busiest in the world surpassing Hong Kong. In order for us to do this we would need to create a better port infrastructure and skilled workforce. They only way we pull this off is through improving our city's educational policy in producing skilled workers.
I cannot figure out why we are not trading oil with Nigeria, as well as other imports and exports from the rest of the world. We put on dashikis and African garb but do not even practice the education of most Africans which is self-sufficiency and family building.
No one talked about last night how Detroit can become a world leader in bio-technology. Detroit should be aggressively promoting and developing a biotechnology industry. Hundred of millions of dollar can be invested into the city to build up infrastructure, fund research and development and to recruit top international scientists to Detroit.
If I HAD to vote for anyone it would be Joe Holt. The lone White guy on the panel. While he was weak in other areas the one thing he kept talking about was the Greening of Detroit. Holt discussed about planting more trees in Detroit. Rev. Loyce Lester kept taunting him by saying "there he goes with those damn trees again" Holt may be on to something. To Rev. Lester's ignorance Detroit should plant more trees because trees gives off oxygen to give us life. Cars and buses are the sole transportation provider that gives off carbon. Ever wonder why cancer is so high in Detroit. Look at the environment around you.
and Environmental technology (or we call it green technology) is a multi-billion dollar business in this country. The City of Grand Rapids is trying to convert over to green technology. They are also the only city that is ready for light rail. What should be discussed is how we need high speed rail on Maglev technology connecting Grand Rapids to Detroit.
Green technology is serious capital in a city that needs capital. While my fellow Republicans frown on how alternative energy should be used we miss the boat on how much money alternative energy can bring to the table. We need to invest in natural gas under the Great Lakes and develop fuel cell technology like Next Energy near Wayne State University here in Detroit.
I was disturbed by the questions that the audience was asking the panel. I think the kids at University Prep Academy could ask better questions than what I heard in the audience. Once again, the mentality of the people was "what can you do for me" instead of "what can we do to enhance your platform?"
Churches in our community must become hubs for educational tools. I did like what Rev. Hood said about challenging churches to open their doors to after school activities. But before the churches can conduct after school activities they first must preach the Word of God correctly. Ever wondered why so many churches are on the corner in Detroit? This has nothing to do with God but it has something to do with a man's ego. We do not need four churches on one block. We need families making the connection between the Word of God and changing their lifestyles to fit a more Godly attitude towards prosperity. Then the city will begin to change when we stress the importance of spiritual renewal through cleansing our spirits.
Then churches should get involved in economic and educational development. Both are ministries to our community.
I love what the Hannibal Group is doing for our community. We should continue to support them. As far as the Mayorial races goes I would not be surprised to see Coleman Young II win. If Detroit wants to get back on top they better elect Republicans and Independents to the leadership here or we will hear the same thing every four years.