By Bankole Thompson
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing will give the annual state of the city address Feb.13 at the Detroit School of the Performing Arts. Traditionally, such an address is meant to inspire and create hope in the city while urging the workforce and everyone whose hand is on deck to plough harder for the betterment of the city.
Central to this address the mayor gives a report of what has been done so far to move the city forward and presents new challenges ahead. But if anyone has been following events in Detroit closely, the state of the city is challenged. The state of the city is in a mess. A mounting financial crisis accompanied by half-baked services, an unacceptable EMS service coupled with rampant crime that seems to know no end is part of the state of the city.
Added to this political and economic conundrum is the talk of whether Mayor Bing will exit gracefully at the end of his term or announce that he’ll seek another term. The mayor has been tight-lipped about his political ambition in city government leading many to conclude that he will not be seeking another term in office after a much challenged tenure.
A recent poll showed that only seven percent approve of Bing’s work in the city, a number that is not encouraging for someone who wants another term in office. Though polls do not vote yet that number speaks to a larger discontent about how city government under Bing and certainly the Detroit City Council have responded to pressing issues of the day.
What Bing ought to do is end the speculation and announce Wednesday night that he will either run or not run. This is perhaps his last grand stage where he will commmand the airwaves uninterrupted for an hour speaking directly to the people of Detroit and the region.
The mayor cannot continue to be undecided for so long especially when potential challengers Mike Duggan and Benny Napoleon and candidates Lisa Howze and Fred Durhal are already canvassing votes by talking to people and visiting neighborhood block clubs. Some of them have been firing salvos at the mayor and Bing hasn’t responded as if there is no occupant on the 11th Floor of the Coleman Young Building. Also the talk of an emergency manager for Detroit should compel Bing to make his own announcement now before the arrival of one – if the city underperforms in its financial report due to the governor Feb. 19.
The mayor should defend his record, own it and then tell the people of Detroit whether he will run for mayor again rather than leave everyone in a state of suspence. If he is confident that Detroit can bank on him for another term there should be no hesitation to clear the air about what he will do next.
Beyond the state of the city and shortcomings and achievments that will be rolled out tomorrow night many will be looking to hear if Bing will declare his next political chapter or call it a day in a long and challenging political term in office. Some are hoping that he will leave office while his supporters are whispering that if given another term he can turn things around.
If I were advising Bing as he prepares for his speech, I’ll tell him to clear the air once and for all about his political career at the end of the speech. Detroiters who put Bing in office certainly deserve to know just that.
Bankole Thompson author of the latest book “Obama and Christian Loyalty,” is a distinguished journalist and author. Since 2008 he has been a member of the weekly “Obama Watch” Sunday evening program on New York’s WLIB-1190AM. You can tune in every Sunday to hear his take on the Obama administration from 9-10:30pm and simulcast in New Jersey and Connecticut. You can listen to him every Thursday morning on WDET-101.9FM (Detroit NPR Affiliate) where he is a political analyst. Thompson is the editor of the Michigan Chronicle and author of the forthcoming book “Rising from the Ashes: Engaging Detroit’s Future with Courage.” No part of this blog must be republished without the appropriate designation or expressed permisison of the author http://www.bankolethompson.com by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org