As I read the articles on the election results and articles on those that are now to be invested with the responsibility of governing the masses Sam Cooke's Song "A Change is Gonna Come" plays on repeat in my mind. On Nov. 5, 2013, New York decided that it wanted Bill de Blasio as its mayor, making him the first democrat elected since 1989 and Virginia placed its confidence in Terry McAuliffe for governor who has never held an elected position. After more than 135,943 ballots were cast, Detroit elected a mayor that does not share the same racial makeup of more than half of the City and the first time in almost a century that the residents of the city voted by district.
Nov. 5, 2013, was touted as one of the most momentous elections in Detroit's history, and it was, since it was the first time in Detroit's history that a Latina was elected to City Council. Raquel Castaneda-Lopez, is not only a young Latina from southwest Detroit, she is an embodiment of the American dream, the third eldest child of a father who immigrated from Mexico and worked as a plaster before he started his own business. She is a fresh face and a face of change. Along with her and Bryan Barnhill who was the 27 year old political novice who lead Michael Duggan to victory and (arguably) single handedly changed the political machine that has given us our past elected officials, a change is coming...I hope. What I am conveying is that these significant changes to the political makeup,will result in significant improvements for the citizens of the City of Detroit...I hope.
Everyone by now should know the statistics of the City and how it has faced insurmountable odds of reaching concessions with creditors and due to not reaching an agreement will soon be eligible for bankruptcy relief. Detroit has hit rock bottom, and although the expressions states there is nowhere to go but up, Detroit needs leadership, innovation, and patience for it to be a financially stable city, able to provide for its citizens. Detroit residents casted their ballots in an unexpected turnout (25.4%) to choose who they believe will lead them through this pressing time. I am not here to tout the greatness of the choices because personally I do not believe that all of the choices made were great (that is a another blog subject and probably not even that, just a conversation between friends), however they were chosen by the people and I hope that this time around residents chose because they saw what Detroit needed and felt from all the speeches and rhetoric that those chosen would and could provide for those needs of the city.
A change is coming and I hope from these changes, it translates into partnerships and collaborations, which include working with the Emergency Manager and the State of Michigan. The time for bickering and fighting is over and done. I know that there will be challenges, both legal and emotional but a change is coming...I hope. Now is the time for the politicians to lead and truly direct the way. I hope that these newly elected leaders do not forget that although they were voted by districts and in represent said districts they also need to work together for the good of the city and that the neighborhoods are looking to them for guidance and support. The change that is coming has been steady and has already begun with the infusion of philanthropic and corporate organizations providing for the citizens of Detroit when and where the local government was unable to provide. These organizations supported not only their own programs that infused the city with much needed financial and human capital but also supported those of their counterparts that were doing the same. I hope that the newly elected take note of these things and support and direct where needed, because these efforts are needed and can only continue with partnership and support from local government.
It has been stated time and time again that the status quo is no longer the accepted modus operandi in the City of Detroit. This time it will be different...I hope. This time the city will listen and look to organizations to assist where it is lacking, and look to organizations such as LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), who is currently working in five strategic areas of the city; has invested $184.5 million and has leveraged $792.8 million of dollars in investment. Or look to Dan Gilbert who is not only investing in Downtown Detroit and moving his many employees to the city's core but also sitting on the newly created blight taskforce. Or even to Kresge whose leader Rip Rapson saw the value of the city and ensured that efforts such as the Detroit Future City Strategic Framework became a reality. Now that the votes are in and the voices of the people have been heard, I hope that people can start seeing the change. This change is not what many expected but change is coming. I hope, if for nothing but to ensure that my child and future generations can have the same joy and love that I have for this city.
If you are interested in listening to more of my feelings on Detroit politics or politics in general follow me on twitter : @ConsultantInTheCity