Technically, Wednesday night's "State of the City" address was one of Mayor Dave Bing's better speeches of the four he has given. There were videos behind him as he delivered his address. As always though, it lacked substance and in my opinion he didn't spend enough time on public safety.
Regarding the City of Detroit's fiscal crisis, we have two main problems which were basically not addressed in his speech. Solutions for the short-term issue of low cash flow and the looming long-term legacy debt were unmentioned.
We do need the assistance of the State of Michigan to pare down our legacy obligations. We cannot address this predicament alone. I don't support the draconian measure of installing an emergency financial manager (EFM); however I believe the consent agreement offers the greatest opportunity to partner with the State of Michigan to achieve our fiscal goal.
Crime continues to be Detroit's number one issue. It is on the mind of every citizen. We will not thrive until the perception of Detroit is changed to that of a safe city through reducing the number of crime victims.
The Detroit Police Department (DPD) lacks a crime reduction strategy. There have been four police chiefs since 2009, which contributes to inconsistency in grappling with crime in a programmatic fashion.
In my view, we've got to take the police department, turn it upside down and shake it. Begin with a clean sheet. DPD is much too specialized. Every sworn officer with a gun and a badge needs to be based out of the precincts and on patrol.
It has become common place for individuals to drive around our city with guns on their seat shooting others when they get into a dispute. Many mornings I awake to a "breaking news" story involving gun violence.
Every Detroit police officer must have a focus on taking illegal guns off our streets, and enforcing curfew and truancy to protect our youngest crime victims. This is an achievable strategy with our current resources, including our exceptionally capable police officers.
Detroit can be a thriving city, but until we have a viable crime reduction strategy we will be perceived as unsafe.
Take a look at the 10 strategy points I outlined a few weeks ago.
Lastly when it comes to my political future, Detroiters should assume I am running for re-election until I say otherwise. There is still much work to be done! I intend to stay in the race and continue to focus on the vision of improving public safety, educating our kids and operating a fiscally-responsible government that delivers quality city services.
We must resolve the EFM situation. As your democratically-elected official, frankly I will not operate under an emergency manager system.
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