So today Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announced that he will not be seeking a second term after all. Smart decision.
It would be callous to say the man did nothing while in office, plus it would simply be untrue. In a recent column by Detroit Free Press Editorial Page Editor Stephen Henderson, Henderson spells out specifics of some of Bing’s accomplishments, and that’s only fair. Still, I think there’s a reason why you’ve never seen a groundswell of enthusiastic support for the man. People don’t hate him at all, but nobody really loves him either. And, in a way, that’s worse than being hated. Because when you’re hated, at least you can say you stir passions amongst the voters. At least they know you’re there.
But with Bing, to me it’s always been like his primary purpose was to calm things down after the hellacious roller coaster ride that was Kwame Kilpatrick. Between the antics of Kilpatrick and a City Council that could have been cast for a perverse comedy special, folks just got tired and they showed it at the ballot box in 2009. Bing may have thought his biggest asset was his business experience, but no. His biggest asset was that he was demonstrably not Kwame Kilpatrick. He was practically the anti-Kwame.
Now, four years later, Bing never gave Detroiters a real solid reason, other than being Mr. Anti-Kwame, for why we should have put him in there again for Round 2. He didn’t give us a reason to like him, and that does matter. Folks will forgive a lot if they at least like you. Granted, the job would have been hell for anyone who took it. And whoever wins the upcoming election is not to be envied, especially with the added ‘bonus’ of having to operate under the cloud of Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. Speaking of which, this quote from today’s Huffington Post is enlightening:
After his own continued efforts to manage Detroit’s debt and financial problems, Bing was faced with the state appointment of an emergency manager for the city earlier this year. As EM, bankruptcy lawyer Kevyn Orr has more power than all city officials. Though Bing did not believe bringing in an EM was the best course of action for the city, until recently, he had reiterated his desire to work with Orr. In April, he told the Detroit Free Press he was frustrated with the EM’s lack of consideration for his advice.
“Lansing described this action as a partnership to finally stabilize Detroit’s finances,” he said Tuesday. “Today, nearly two months after the [emergency manager's]appointment … I have to wonder if the state is truly interested in a partnership.”
Yeah. Some folks kinda tried to tell you that…