Detroit has finally filed for bankruptcy, and some say things couldn’t get any worse.
They may want to take a look at how the mayor’s race is shaping up.
The first thing you need to know is that fundraising leader Mike Duggan’s bid was derailed after a judge threw him off the ballot after he failed to meet residency requirements. He must now run as a write-in.
The former CEO of Detroit Medical Center, Duggan has the defacto backing of Quicken Loans CEO Dan Gilbert, the guy who’s spending more than $US1 billion to revive downtown Detroit.
Duggan has raised more than $US1 million, according to the Detroit Free Press’ Matt Helsm and Joe Guillen. The paper itself recently endorsed him.
Duggan also has the support of at least one of the young professionals we interviewed in our piece on people moving back to Detroit. Jeff Winkler, a vice president at Morgan Stanley, told us in an email:
Duggan is the type of change that Detroit needs. He has the ability to transform the city and make it the Detroit that it can be.
Write-in candidacies are never easy, and Duggan was given less than a month to win votes for the August 6 primary to replace incumbent Dave Bing, who is stepping down.
But this week, things got even stranger.
A barber named Mike Dugeon — who pronounces his name “Duggan” — announced he would wage a write-in campaign.
As Freep’s Matt Helms and Marlon Walker note, having two write-in candidates with the same-sounding last name could lead to disasters in voter booths:
Dugeon turned in paperwork Thursday declaring his intent, adding a last-minute potential spoiler to Duggan’s long-shot write-in bid. Dugeon’s candidacy could throw a serious wrench into how write-in votes cast for Duggan are counted, particularly those that are misspelled.
Freep columnist Brian Dickerson said Dugeon’s bid is “the symptom of a pathology, and potentially a victim of cynical fixers who dismiss him and other Detroiters as sub-citizens unworthy of dignity or respect.”
Notorious and irreverent reporter Charlie LeDuff, who accompanied Dugeon to a courthouse to register his candidacy, described Dugeon’s candidacy thusly, according to an interview transcript from MLive.com’s Gus Burns:
I get a call from a… political camp saying this guy is tied in and he’s going to put his name in so as a reporter I go over there and knock on the door, I ask him; he says no,” LeDuff said. “I explain what Duggan and Dugeon on the ballot means, he thinks about it, he likes the idea, he does it, I follow, end of story.
The real Mike Duggan himself has dismissed the subject.
All this favours Benny Napoleon, the current Wayne County Sheriff and one-time Detroit Police chief. He has maintained Gov. Rick Snyder’s appointment of emergency manager Kevyn Orr was illegal.
That’s not such an outlandish view — Freep said it demonstrated Napoleon’s “passion for the democratic right to cast a ballot.”
But the paper laid into his qualifications:
Napoleon’s projected $US30-million deficit in fiscal year 2012-13 mounted while he carried a staggering 41 appointees on the payroll making an average of $US84,000 a year, and while the sheriff insisted he could find only about $US2 million in savings.
“You don’t spend money you don’t have,” Napoleon said, when asked how he would balance the city’s budget. “That’s the simple answer.”
Right. But he hasn’t met that standard as sheriff.
And on his tenure as police chief:
…it would be a challenge to describe his tenure as DPD chief successful. Napoleon’s three years in the role ended with a Department of Justice investigation, initiated by the Detroit City Council. The department is still operating under a federal consent decree, which has cost the city about $US10 million to date.
Winkler told us the race will define the city for generations:
I truly believe that the outcome of the mayoral race and city council is the most important in the last 50 years. If Detroit is going to reinvent itself it needs to start here.
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