Monday, May 14, 2012

Reflecting on the First 3 Years of Dave Bing's Mayorship

Mayor Dave Bing
Dave Bing became the 70th Mayor of Detroit three years ago this past Friday. To commemorate this milestone, and gauge where things stand in our fair city, I asked residents to share their thoughts on his first three years via Facebook, Google Plus, or Twitter. The responses, I'm afraid, due not fair well for Mayor Bing nor chances at being re-elected next year.

Bradley G. wrote in with what is quite possibly the most positive comment of those that I received via Facebook. He wrote:
Well, he has done a lot for cyclists. So I won't say he has been a complete failure.
Erik D. came up with my favorite summation of Mayor Bing in this Facebook comment:
He is like the Jennifer Granholm of mayors. He talks about what needs to be done, but never actually does anything.
Bob A. wrote on this blog's G+ page:
So far no signs of corruption. Other than that, I can't say he's done much of anything to fix the city's problems.
Cheryl A. added this thought to this blog's G+ page:
He has succeeded in working with the state government, but has otherwise shown little leadership.
When I mention on Facebook that Mayor Bing has at least gotten the City of Detroit's annual audits completed on time every year thus far during his tenure, something that recent mayors haven't been able to do, David B. replied with this thought:
I'd give him an F-. He ran on getting the city's finances in order and did very little. A year ago, he was fighting with city council to keep $10 million in the budget and then 6 months later he said that an emergency manager was imminent. The Detroit Works project might be worthwhile or maybe not, but his focus has been there when it should have been on running the city and getting the budget in balance. But his real goal is to eliminate the unions, which he could not do without extra power from the state. So instead of fixing what he could, he led the city down the road to ruin to get what he wanted. The reasons people move out of the city and often to other cities are the 2.5% income tax, crime, and the highest auto insurance rates in the counry, as well as lack of legitimate rapid transit. He has stated he wants to increase the income tax, has done little on crime but build a new police HQ, has ingored insurance rates, and has cut funding to DDot while working with the governor for bus transit against the M1 rail. The legally mandated audits have been on time - that is a minimum standard; big deal. Can he get a grade less than an F-?
I have to say that this confirms the polling data that I have seen regarding Mayor Bing's job approval numbers (roughly 20 - 25% of Detroiters say they approve of his performance depending on which poll one looks at). To put that in perspective, during the worst days of the Watergate scandal, former President Richard Nixon never saw his approval rating drop below 24%.

I think it's safe to say that Mayor Bing is now a political lame duck, which is consistent with my prediction from last summer. His approval numbers are among the lowest that any elected official since George Gallup began tracking them in 1937 and they continue to slide lower. The comments that I received through social media cement this in my mind.

Of course, now that I have proclaimed Mayor Bing to be a political lame duck, I suspect it won't be much longer until a certain other blogger in this town begins posting about the tremendous job that he is doing and how his re-election is all but inevitable. She and I will likely meet up at the first successful development that spins-off (without an additional subsidy) from Whole Foods opening a store in Midtown, whereupon she can remind me how wrong my analysis was.
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