Saturday, July 04, 2009

A View of The Pursuit

I've been posting on Facebook a lot lately - catching up with old friends, making new ones, and having a good time. Most of the posts have been goofy - links to cartoon video clips, sharing favorite "Man Walks Into a Bar" jokes, taking crazy quizzes about what state you're destined to live in. Some, however, have had some substance to them.

Like today, for example. One of my posts was about the firing of Chief James Barren and the mayor's decision to replace him with Wayne County Sherrif Warren Evans. To many Detroiters (myself included), this is yet another signal that our mayor, Dave Bing, is not what he made himself out to be during the campaign. His staff appointments (keeping or rehiring many of former Mayor Kilpatrick's staffers), his seeming reluctance to make public statements about his plans for the city, his statement about not wanting Monica Conyers (the City Council member who pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy to commit bribery charges in Federal court) to resign, and his failure to visit victims of a recent mass shooting outside a local school until two days after the incident (even though a state appointed DPS financial manager showed up at local hospitals within minutes of the incident and detail plans to assist the victims and their families) have all been disappointing indications that our mayor is either overwhelmed by his duties or intentionally out of touch with the city and its citizens.

One of my friends called me and told me he'd seen the post, joking that he thought I was preparing to run for office. Another friend posted a half joking response - one he's posted before when I've talked local politics:

After I laughed, I posted a response which I think could be applicable to anyone who wants to make their government stronger. This response is geared toward Detroit politics and government, but it doesn't take much to adapt it to your corner of the world.

Can't say it too often. It's pretty clear that the majority of our elected officials are full of...well let's just say this town needs several enemas. Until that day, here's how we can clean things up.
Know your candidates. Unfortunately, the mayoral race is pretty much out of play because quality challengers decided to back out of the race in deference to Bing - a strategy that backfired. Still, we have a chance to make our City Council more effective in the next election. More important, we have the Charter Commission being formed - the right members can provide real reform to the city's government. Go to MiVote to learn about all the candidates and make an informed choice. (
Get involved in your community - block club, neighborhood watch, PTA, whatever - if you're involved with your neighbors, then you're connected to your city's vitality. Even spreading the word about local affairs on your Facebook page keeps you connected. You've got to use what you've got to get what you want.

But wait, there's more. Do all you can - through your actions and words - to promote the idea that the revitalization of Detroit is a regional and statewide effort, not just the work of those of us who live in the city. To the rest of the country and the rest of the world, Michigan IS Detroit. Think about how we're being covered in the media. The auto crisis, out of control crime (that school shooting made national headlines), ineffective government and educational leadership - that's what the world sees when they see Detroit. We have to try to work together to make this area functional again. That means championing the area, encouraging honest government, and letting go of that city vs. suburbs mentality. It's not easy, but nothing worthwhile is.
That's the enema, don't you think?
Today is Independence Day, all about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. What's more revolutionary than making your world a better place?

More later. Until then, go be patriotic and start your pursuit. And check me out of Facebook. I'm always looking to make a new friend. Just click on the link to stop by and say hello.

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Blogger The Old Man said...

Maybe you OUGHT to run for office. It's so easy, even a caveman can do it! :)

I've staged several write-in campaigns, but they seldom mean mucb. Once was for mayor of my home city. Two times I looked at Congress. I was too late to file (Officially) for School Board.

I won't run again in MN. I will run in a couple of years. Until then, I sit on an exploritory committee, waiting for it to hatch.

8:31 AM  

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