Monday, August 31, 2009

Self-Delusional Drivel

Mayor Dave Bing wrote an editorial in the Detroit News yesterday in which he argued that Detroit must "redefine" leadership. It was, in my opinion, the most self-delusional piece of drivel I have ever read in my life. You can read it on-line here, however - I do recommend that you make sure there aren't any sharp objects nearby before you click on that link.

Before going into my full-scale critic of Mayor Bing's article, I believe it's appropriate to step back and look at what the dictionary says about leadership.
Main Entry: lead·er·ship
Pronunciation: \ˈlē-dər-ˌship\
Function: noun
Date: 1821
1 : the office or position of a leader
2 : capacity to lead
3 : the act or an instance of leading
Leadership, in its simplest terms, is the ability to lead people in a specific, predetermined direction.

Mayor Bing used most of his editorial making references to Detroit's budget problems. The City of Detroit, of course, has a budget deficit of approximately $350 million. Mayor Bing has proposed remedying this by laying off a thousand municipal employees, which will only address approximately 15% of the City's budget woes.

What, pray tell, does Mayor Bing propose to do to address the remaining 85% of our problem?

Well, he apparently hasn't figured that part out yet.

The City of Detroit will completely run out of cash as early as this October, according to published news reports. Since Mayor Bing has only been able to address 15% of the problem during his tenure, one can deduce that - at his current rate - this problem will be completely resolved a mere fifteen months after the City has run out of cash.

To put it another way, one year and three months after the proverbial patient is dead, Doctor Bing will deliver the medicine.

This does not seem like leadership to me.

Of course, the most frustrating part of his piece for me was his "blame the victim" mentality as it relates to crime. Mayor Bing wrote:
More citizens have turned out to oppose proposed bus route changes than they have to decry the violence that holds our community hostage. Hundreds of people have called my office to complain about these possible changes, while the lack of calls turning in known criminals leaves police lines silent.
Mr. Mayor, Detroiters have consistently decried the violence in our neighborhoods. We have done so for decades. Our dissatisfaction with the way your predecessor was responding to the violence in our neighborhoods - and your persistent campaign promises of change - are the principle reasons why you were elected into office in the first place. Your assertion that we haven't decried the violence in our neighborhoods is one of the greatest examples of selective memory possible.

As for your assertion that Detroiters aren't turning in known criminals, that also is utter nonsense. The clearest example was the bus stop shooting in Warrendale earlier this summer.

No one has called the Detroit Police Department with the full name and home address of the shooters because no one outside of the gang responsible for it knows the name of said shooter.

We know which gang is responsible for it and we know where that gang tends to congregate. All of this information has been shared with the police.

No one outside of that gang, however, knows which one of their members actually pulled the trigger on that fateful day. This particular gangs is one of the most trigger-happy groups around. No civilian in their right mind will go within fifty feet of them. If Mayor Bing hadn't spent that fateful day hiding in his office, he would have known this already.

No one outside of the gang knows which individual member pulled the trigger. Finding out which gang member pulled the trigger is something that requires police work.

And sitting around, hoping that the killer will confess does not count as police work nor does it count as leadership.

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