THE BLOG
01/03/2013 12:04 pm ET | Updated Mar 05, 2013

Quality Neighborhoods Citywide Essential to Stronger Detroit

The New Year has officially begun. Now that the parties are over, we should all be preparing to make 2013 the healthiest and most prosperous year of our lives. We must begin with a renewed focus.

As a nation, the politics of 2012 gave us the best gift of all -- the re-election of President Barack Obama. As a city, the politics of last year presented us with new challenges for this new year -- a Right-to-Work state and a retooled Emergency Manager Law that has Detroit in its crosshairs. Both election results demand of us a renewed focus for 2013, as it will surely be a pivotal year for the city. And no decision will be more important than who will lead this city as mayor through these challenging times.

I firmly believe that Detroit needs a mayor who is of the city. One who understands the institutional and structural problems our city has faced for decades. Someone who has laid their heads to rest every night in Detroit pondering its transformation and one who has awakened every day here committed to that end. Experience is paramount; however, that experience should be rooted in the triumphs and defeats of this city's past, navigating Detroit into a transformational future.

In short, this is our Detroit.

As Detroiters, we embrace our city's non-residential stakeholders. We embrace the fact that many are rooting for us; understanding that we will never have a thriving state of Michigan, or southeast region without a vibrant city of Detroit. However, they should respect that those of us who raise families here amid the crime, joblessness, dwindling city services and struggling education system view Detroit more personally as we are the residents who live to overcome these challenges.

In fact, I was recently misquoted in a daily newspaper saying that Palmer Woods "is not Detroit." Nothing is further from the truth. Palmer Woods is one of our prized neighborhoods. However, the Palmer Woods experience is far different from that of the average Detroiter's neighborhood experience. That is why those who can afford a home and the taxes in Palmer Woods chose to be there. Most Detroiters, including those in Palmer Woods, understand that without clarification. But to set the record straight, I believe Palmer Woods is not only Detroit, it is what we want Detroit neighborhoods to aspire to be.

It's time for us to chart a new course for Detroit.

Last month, I embarked on a listening tour to hear Detroiters' ideas for our future and consider a run for the office of mayor. I am continuing this tour through gatherings across Detroit. Soon, I will invite Detroiters and Detroit's stakeholders to share via video their ideas and concerns through my website and social media accounts. You will be able to use your mobile phone, tablet or computer to post a video to share your thoughts about Detroit. Select videos may be posted online.

Our city won't be transformed until a strong quality of life experience is one that is shared by all Detroiters.