Wednesday, March 25, 2009
What Does Dave Bing and Ken Cockrel Have In Common? Try Kwame Kilpatrick by Akindele Akinyemi
I went to the Mayoral debate tonight at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan between Mayor Ken Cockrel and Dave Bing. Of course, it was a who's who of political pundits in the Detroit area who were crammed up in the GM Theater of the museum.
But here is the deal. I was not impressed by either candidate. I did go to this debate objectively but left out shaking my head.
I did not hear anything of substance. What I did hear was the TV jabs back and forth about who is qualified to run the City of Detroit.
Honestly, Dave Bing looked nervous to me. I like the fact that he is about the business sector and he is probably the best person to jump start the economy here in Detroit. He does not look like the person who would have taken $30 million of stimulus money to plug in holes in the city's deficit. But I get the feeling that he would better be suited to be an economic consultant to the City of Detroit instead of Mayor. Unfortunately, he is not mayor material to me.
On the other hand, Mayor Cockrel stood boldly about his accomplishments in city government for the past six months. However, the city is in a $300 million deficit. He defiantly is not mayor material to me. Not even City Council material. Detroit City Council President Monica Conyers exposed that weakness.
To tell you the truth the person who is running the show is this guy.
Former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. If you think I'm lying look at the people running, helping and advising both sides of the Mayoral race (both Bing and Cockrel). They are folks from the old Kilpatrick administration. That's right people, Kilpatrick is still in charge, running the show from Dallas, Texas. Remember, City Council President Monica Conyers was also a Kilpatrick supporter. So it does not matter who wins the Mayoral election the spirit of Kilpatrick still lingers in the City of Detroit.
The change we need in Detroit? It's will never happen until we elect people on both sides of the aisle (Democrats and Republicans) to create balance in the political sphere in Detroit.
If Detroit wants change then we must push for a better educational system. Both men attempted to discuss this critical issue. It's critical because 55% of Detroiters are functionally illiterate. Bing rightfully pointed out how Detroit Public Schools were broken. Cockrel said he would want control of DPS. Hmmmmm.....who does this sound like from 2005 when he was trying to push Proposal E?
You got it...Kwame Kilpatrick. Remember, he wanted to take control of the schools back in 2005 when voters defeated Proposal E.
If you want to fix education in Detroit you have to break up Detroit Public Schools into seven separate school districts. Smaller school districts work. Also, you have to make DPS a "general powers" school district and not a first class school district. This means you have to allow more charter schools to come into the district. Why? Because parents are demanding more parental options for their children.
The biggest thing that was completely absent from the debate was opening the doors for competition with businesses and schools. I know Detroit is a union city but it's time that we support leadership that embrace competition. I find it hypocritical for anyone to embrace the NCAA Final Four at Ford Field in Downtown Detroit and watch our college basketball teams compete but we cannot privatize some services in Detroit to create competition or open the doors for educational options in Detroit to allow both traditional schools and charter schools to compete. Competition is good for the free market here in Detroit. As long as unions run the show in our city we will continue to decline.
So who am I going to support. Well, both camps belong to Kilpatrick so I have no clue. If anyone wants to convince me to vote for their candidate now is the time.