Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's Time for Dave Bing to Go

Two major announcements were made in the past 24 hours that, in my opinion, are of the utmost importance to everyone who cares about Detroit - or life anywhere in Michigan, for that matter.

Bad News for Detroit
The first was a preliminary financial report that was completed by State Treasurer Andy Dillion and released late yesterday. It showed that the City of Detroit's financial problems are even worse than anyone originally thought - $2 billion worse than anyone originally thought, to be precise.

$2 billion.

One would almost be surprised by the level of incompetence that is required to understate one's financial condition by $2 billion. However, I have lived in Detroit long enough, and have been watching my local government operate long enough, that this is unfortunately not a surprise at all.

As an aside, to give an understanding of how long I've been focusing on the problems with Detroit's governance, I once had a conversation with then City Council President Erma Henderson about the implications of litigation on the City's budget. She assured me back then that City Council was "working diligently with the Law Department" to bring it under control.

She left office in 1990 and that situation still isn't much better. Suffice it to say, I was not surprised to read about the City of Detroit being $2 billion deeper in debt than anyone had previously predicted.

The second announcement to happen this morning was the results of a survey that was conducted by the local public radio station WDET FM, which asked people outside of Detroit what it would take to get them to move into the city. Four of the top five responses were issues directly relating to local government and the local school district.

Prospective residents want to see:

  • Less crime;
  • Better city services;
  • Better neighborhoods;
  • Better schools; and
  • Less government corruption.
The Face of Failure
Coincidentally, current residents who are debating whether or not to flee Detroit want those same things. Therefore, one would think that anyone seeking to turn around Detroit would have a clear road map as what they should do. Unfortunately for Detroiters, after 2 years and 7 months in office, Mayor Dave Bing has not been able to make any significant progress on any of these issues. More importantly, it is becoming increasingly doubtful that he ever will be able to achieve any such progress.


The business community has, to a very large degree, lost faith in Mayor Bing's ability and willingness to bring about meaningful change. Likewise, so have many community and religious leaders. In simplest terms possible, Mayor Dave Bing has become an absolute failure with little chance for redemption.

It is, therefore, simply time for Mayor Bing to go. He had an opportunity to accomplish some amazing things as Mayor of Detroit but, like Kwame Kilpatrick before him, he squandered that opportunity foolishly. I simply hope that Mayor Bing doesn't decide to hang on to the bitter end like his predecessor did.

It is time for Dave Bing to do the honorable thing and resign as Mayor of Detroit.
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