L. Brooks Patterson is a career politician, but he sure doesn't talk like one.
The 19-year Oakland County Executive is famous for his off-the-cuff political comments. But even Brooks raised plenty of eyebrows Wednesday at the 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference when he was asked what advice he had for embattled Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, who's currently the subject of an FBI investigation. "Go in the garage, pull the door down, leave the engine running," chortled Patterson, naturally not caring that Ficano was in the audience.
Can't get enough Patterson? Check out some of his wildest quotes below and let us know in the comments if we missed any.
When Royal Oak's annual entertainment festival Arts, Beats & Eats contemplated banning holstered firearms in 2010, Patterson referred to open-carry supporters as "gun-toting zealots." He also had a suggestion for fans of the Second Amendment: "If they want to carry guns, why don't they join the army and get their asses over to Afghanistan?"
The Back of Jack's Van
Patterson, a former prosecutor, hedged his support for Jack Kevorkian, the Michigan doctor who famously championed physician-assisted suicide. "I don't think he was the right ambassador to represent the issue," he told ABC News. "It was the law be damned with him. The issue would have been better debated in a more serious arena than in the back of Jack's van. ... It was a sideshow. Helping people commit suicide in the back of a van is not dying with dignity."
"I wanted to put up all these American flags before Obama confiscates them all," he said, ad-libbing before beginning his 2012 State of the County address during a teleprompter malfunction. The audience reportedly groaned.
A Eulogy For Coleman Young
There was no love lost between longtime Detroit Mayor Coleman Young and Patterson, and their strained relationship only accelerated city-suburb divide in the 1980s and '90s. Here's what Patterson had to say about Young to the Detroit <em>Free Press</em> after the Detroit mayor's death: "He was singly responsible for the demise of Detroit. ... I can see he was a significant political force, but I don't think he marshaled his energies in a constructive way. I think he was destructive."
Been Caught Stealin'
Patterson had more harsh words for Detroit and Mayor Dave Bing in 2010, when he accused the city of Detroit of trying to poach businesses from Oakland County, including the Detroit Pistons (who play in Auburn Hills). "I don't see how moving furniture around on the deck of the Titanic helps this region grow," Patterson said. "I've worked darn hard to bring economic development to Oakland County, and to keep it here. I've got a team that pounds on doors all over the world looking for new jobs and growth for Oakland. And I don't appreciate Detroit, Wayne County or anyone else trying to steal them once I've gotten them here."
Oakland County Is For Sprawlers
As Oakland County Executive, Patterson is unapologetic about his love for suburban sprawl: "I love sprawl. I need it. I promote it. Oakland County can't get enough of it. Are you getting the picture? Sprawl is not evil. In fact, it is good. It is the inevitable result of a free people exercising their cherished, constitutionally protected rights as individuals to pursue their dreams when choosing where to live, where to work, where to educate, and where to recreate."
No examination of Patterson's past would be complete without remembering former Detroit City Councilwoman Barbara-Rose Collins, who accused Patterson of racism (bizzarely singing "Onward, Christian Soldiers") at a meeting over the fate of Cobo Hall in 2009. Patterson was asked by a Fox 2 newscaster whether it was true that he wanted to steal more of Detroit's "crown jewels," like the Detroit Institute of Arts. He laughed, loudly. "I'm after Barbara-Rose Collins's tiara. I want that. And I want 'The [Joe Louis] Fist.' That's all I want."
One more inflammatory quote from Patterson -- again about Barbara-Rose Collins, from the same argument over Cobo Hall: "Barbara-Rose Collins has distinguished herself this week saying Detroit is not a plantation. That should tell you about the person you're dealing with. I've been saying that I'd rather own a 1947 Buick than own Barbara-Rose Collins."