It's becoming increasingly clear that it's game over for Mayor Bing, but if that's the case, crowning Council President Charles Pugh or President Pro-Tem Gary Brown by extension would be a huge mistake.
We read this week that the business community is on Mayor Bing and that should come as no surprise; they've been there for a while now. They outwardly expressed their displeasure with the mayor over the de-railing of the M1 Light Rail project.
According to a letter that was sent out by Downtown Detroit Partnership Chair Cindy Pasky, the business community is upset that they were not at the table when the decision to pull the plug was made. Pasky said, "the fact that they were not is completely unacceptable."
During the Mackinac Conference this past summer, Mayor Bing complained that he wasn't getting enough help: "I get a lot of lip service from a lot of people about wanting to be supportive, but not much help," he said. "Everybody has opinions. What we need is more help meeting our many needs."
Asked who he was referring to, Bing singled out the business community. So the business community cashed out on Mayor Bing sometime ago.
Along with them are city labor unions and city residents who on a daily basis express displeasure with Bing's leadership. Bing, who ran on a platform of being a businessman who knew what it took to solve Detroit's problems, has not had any success dealing with the city's massive problems of poverty and unemployment; nearly 40 percent of Detroit residents and half of all children live in poverty. Real unemployment is in the area of 50 percent. Additionally, there are problems with the bus system and public lighting. Some 20 percent of 88,000 streetlights not working.
So now the push will begin: How to best deal with Mayor Bing, particularly at a time when the city is in such financial peril. Let him ride out his term, (the next election is not until November 2013) or make him an offer he can't or won't refuse to leave now?
The best-case scenario would appear to be the appointment of an Emergency Manager who would for all intents and purposes become the city's mayor for the next two years. If the feeling is Bing has to go -- and sooner rather than later -- this would appear to be the only option.
Whatever is ultimately decided on Bing, we cannot crown either Charles Pugh, the president of City Council, or his comrade President Pro Tem Gary Brown the heir apparent in Detroit leadership. Detroit has failed miserably in picking its leaders, which is why the city stands on the brink of disaster today. It's time to make a change in our thinking and voting.
Keep in mind: Though they like to claim they're not responsible when it's convenient, City Council's current leaders are just as accountable as Mayor Bing. Let's not forget:
- Pugh voted for 10 percent raises to staff members but voted to impose a 10 percent pay cut for ASFCME employees.
- Brown and Pugh voted for watering down the ordinance on strip clubs. Pugh received campaign contributions from a strip club owner.
- Voted to give DTE a $150 million deal two years ago and followed that up with another $750,000 deal for lighting this year .
There are countless examples of City Council not voting in the best interest of the people. Council's responsibilities are not limited to its Charter-mandated duties; members should get as much credit for what's wrong as they would expect when things are right.
The common belief is that for Detroit to rebuild, it must first remake itself, and that should include those we place in office. However it is decided that Mayor Bing is dismissed, as leaders of City Council, Charles Pugh and Gary Brown specifically must be dismissed, too.
No sacred cows, no heir apparent.