Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Global Silver Rights Dream Team by Akindele Akinyemi

I was at the Perfecting Church Detroit City Council and Charter Commission candidate forum last night on the city's east side. Of course, as always, the Perfecting Church PAC always do a great job in informing the public before hand about the candidates and issues and run the best candidate forums in the city. They never fail on this at all and should be commended for their hard work and dedication to creating a better Detroit. This includes Richard Mack, my Emerging Leaders Think Tank partners Kimberly Hill, Reggie and Capri Scott, and the one who keeps me in check when I stray away from the path Lisa Jennings. Also, I thank Bishop-elect Marvin Winans for allowing the public to hear from our current and future leaders on the Detroit City Council.


After leaving that forum I feel that its time to give Mayor Dave Bing the help he needs to move Detroit into the 21st century. I am already convinced that Mayor Bing will be rewarded a full 4-year term to the Office of the Mayor because Tom Barrow cannot gain traction other than pandering to the old guard of leadership (unions). Therefore, Bing will provide the decisions that we may not agree with but at the same token will get us back to fiscal health and move Detroit into a global market.

The old ways of doing things must end before its too late. However, there are some on the Detroit City Council who want to continue the same song and dance, keep this mythical war going on between Oakland County and Detroit, and will fight regional cooperation at all costs. They pretend that they are for the citizens but never address how adult illiteracy has paralyzed businesses and developments in the City of Detroit. Of course these incumbents will never discuss adult illiteracy because they already know as long as over 50% of the population is functionally illiterate they can keep getting elected without scrutiny.

So we need global visionaries on this council that will connect us to both the community and the world.

At the top of this list is Lisa L. Howze. As she would say she is the only Certified Public Accountant running in this race. In times of desperate need we need all CPAs on deck to try to balance the budget. Here is someone who can not only balance the budget but can also put the city in a surplus. Hello, when was the last time Detroit had some money left in the bank?

In a silver rights world, it is important that all of us increase our financial literacy skills to understand how the city's budget is supposed to be without the waste. Lisa Howze is ahead of the game when it comes to this. She already understands how financial literacy is an integral component in the fight against poverty. We need to help her by (1) electing her to the Detroit City Council and (2) demonstrate to her of how we are investing in our city’s residents and our shared future. Lisa cannot do this alone so we need to support her.

She also understands how the mark of the twenty-first century here in Detroit will be poverty. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and it’s harder to be middle class. As we embark on a new city council, and people move from the working class, through the stakeholder class, to the middle class, their path is not really about making more money, but making better decisions with the money they make. This is why Lisa Howze must be at that council table.

Another global candidate that we need to elect to the Detroit City Council is Fred Elliott Hall. You are talking about someone who understand that Detroit is not just competing with Oakland County but also competing with Beijing and Singapore this man got it. He understand how to bridge the gap between businesses and pure inspiration for those who want to move Detroit from an automotive market into a financial market similar to what you see in Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, South Korea and Taiwan.

He understands regional cooperation, connecting Windsor, Ontario with the rest of the region, utilizing the Port Authority to generate trade and goods to the region and fighting adult illiteracy to help prepare our community in global education.

James Tate is another silver rights candidate who understands how fear has become the ultimate prosperity killer in the City of Detroit. He also understands how fear have a hold on the citizens hearts that money is still on the minds of the community. Like Hall and Howze, Tate fully understands how adult illiteracy has crippled progress in the City of Detroit and how name recognition has destroyed any real chance of enhancing our city's future.

Tate knows how to transform the community in our city. The family comes first in his viewpoint and without rebuilding the family unit everything else dies off. He feels that we cannot begin to rebuild Detroit without keeping the family unit intact.

He also understands how the impact of the economic crisis is being felt here in Detroit, but the root cause isn't economics, nor is it the failure of free enterprise and capitalism. The problem in our city is the abuse of free enterprise and capitalism which equals to greed. The purpose of electing James Tate to the Detroit City Council is to kill the greed which has killed the spirit of the city and restore family values in a traditionally rich city.

Speaking of the spirit of Detroit it does not hurt to have the Rev. Andre Spivey on a city council that believes in the values of silver rights. Whenever I talk to Rev. Spivey he reminds me of those leaders who will only undertake a project or initiative when he determines that no one else can bring together the parties involved. He is a man that is fueled with passion and purpose that is driven by a big idea.

Rev. Spivey's mission is to show a vision for the poor, the under-served, and the wealthless of the our city is to help them see themselves -- differently. He want to help expose, educate, empower, and inspire them to be originators of their own destiny. To see our citizens who live in Detroit for what and who they truly already are; rich in spirit. Assets, and not liabilities on the world's global balance sheet.

He understands that Detroit is a future emerging markets waiting to be re-born in the spirit. That one person can make a difference, and we are that one person.

We’re moving from race-based and place-based discrimination to class-based discrimination -- discrimination based on education and access and information. In the new Detroit, the poverty eradication tool will be education. Wealth will be decided by your access to information and education. If you have a more educated populace, they make better decisions. If they make better decisions, they’re going to make more conservative decisions.

If you are a black or brown community activist, or better still, a transparent conduit for God in the faith business, there is a genuine, unique opportunity to seed hope and grow a new crop of stakeholders in our blighted inner-cities and under-served communities. There is a genuine opportunity to eradicate poverty, but it will be “hands up” based, and not “hands out” based. Rev. Spivey has accepted this call and is ready to lead Detroit to the next step.

Raphael B. Johnson makes up the final element of this global silver rights dream team. While many are trying to criticize him about his past let's discuss what is going on right now. Here is a man. who is a community activist, a father and husband, who will go to bat for anyone who is doing the right thing. However, as the first candidate to embrace my Covenant for Detroit platform, he fully understands how we must connect Detroit with the global market.

Raphael knows that without addressing adult illiteracy we cannot begin to not just heal our community but also rest our financial assets. He knows that financial literacy is key to uplifting ourselves out of poverty. He understands that without addressing the illiteracy crisis in Detroit we will continue to deal with crime, poverty and the lack of relationship building that is key to building marriages.

The most important thing about Raphael is his understanding of connecting trade and development with Africa. Because Africa is an emerging market Raphael embrace the need for more global connection between here and the continent. This proves to him, and should be a powerful signal to government, that there is a passionate interest amongst both Detroiters and those abroad, in not just government to government treaties, but business to business deal making too. That we are not focused, ultimately, on a hand out philosophy, but a hand up strategy – you just need help figuring out how to do the things you want to do.

Raphael wants us to become more successful by start building our business and creating jobs for others. In return, we will increasingly need less government in your life, not more. By Johnson's viewpoint, by connecting Africa with Detroit we will explode successfully into the global economy as a new, promising, emerging market worthy of attracting private investment dollars, and not simply aid and hand-outs.

While people keep saying how Raphael should not run for Detroit City Council and instead run for school board I think most of his critics are not looking at the bigger picture of things. Then again, in Detroit most of us never do. While Raphael has a great respect for Councilwoman JoAnn Watson (who both said they would like to serve together) I think Raphael's vision is more connected with the global market through community reinvestment while Watson's "Marshall Plan" platform is no more than asking for a handout from the government. Just last night she openly said that the government should bailout Detroit because we are in a deficit.

What she did not explain to the public is WHY Detroit is in a deficit. For one, we have a current city council that does not turn in the city's audits to the State of Michigan Treasury Department on time. Therefore, our revenue sharing is held up. Also, she never developed a plan to retain young people in the city to stop the brain drain. Lastly, her so -called mythological war between blacks and suburban whites have paralyzed race relations in our region. That is why, with all due respect, we need to move our city in a different direction.

If Mayor Bing, along with the five people I have highlighted here, can win their elections and work with other silver rights and educational advocates like Robert Bobb and others I think we will be setting Detroit and the region in a new direction.


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