Duggan says he is visiting residents in small groups in a Hilary Clinton-like listening tour. And he told my colleague Jeff Wattrick in an interview that fundraising is going well and no one seems to care that he’s white. Duggan announced last week that he will resign as CEO of the Detroit Medical Center and says he will make a decision about running in a few weeks. Right.
Mayor Bing has refused to say whether he is going to run for a second term, but with the mayoral election a year away, Bing seems to be pretty much a clandestine lame duck.
He can’t announce his intention to retire with the filing deadline still more than six months away, but the job, by his own admission, has overwhelmed him, and it has seemingly drained every bit of joy from his soul. It is almost certain he won’t run again. He will be 69 Nov. 24, and he has endured serious health problems.
Moreover, if he runs, he will probably lose. In an in-depth poll by the Detroit News in September, 82 percent said Bing did not deserve to be re-elected.
Bing was on TV late last week. He looked tired and tentative as he announced changes in assistant chiefs in the supremely messed-up Detroit Police Department.
But there was a problem. Bing forgot to do something.
For some reason he failed to clear the moves with the Board of Police Commissioners, which has oversight on the department. The board refused to approve the appointments at its meeting Thursday, so Bing had to go talk to the board’s chairman on Friday.
The Bing administration took another hit late last week when Chris Brown resigned. He was the Bing’s chief operations officer and the aide who was quarterbacking the city’s attempts to avoid bankruptcy.
Further complicating the financial picture is the repeal by voters last week of Public Act 4, which has city officials trying to figure out how to proceed with the city’s consent agreement with the state. And making things even more chaotic was Detroit voters’ approval of Proposal C, which allows the city’s corporation counsels – currently Krystal Crittendon – to act independently of the mayor and city council when they see a violation in the city charter.
It’s unclear if Duggan is the answer. In some ways, he’s like Bing: A longtime and well-known suburbanite who, after working in Detroit for decades, moves into the city to run for mayor and receives a large amount of attention.
Now’s there’s speculation on how long it will be after Bing leaves office before he moves out of the city.
In other ways, Duggan couldn’t be more different than Bing. Duggan’s resume includes top positions in challenging jobs in government, mass transportation, law enforcement and health care. He seems to understand how power and politics work. Observers have called him smart and ruthless, which are not bad qualities in a mayor.
There are other candidates. State Rep. Lisa Howze announced months ago that she is running. Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, and the top two vote-getters on the Detroit City Council, Charles Pugh and Gary Brown, could also run.
Would any of them at least be able to find a police chief whose mistresses don’t tweet photos of themselves with guns in their mouths? That would be a start.
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