The people of the city of Detroit only have hope. There is nothing left.
Without the charismatic leadership of Coleman A. Young or the strong integrity of Dennis Archer, the city has gone down the hill of sorrow and into the valley of the shadow of death.
Mayor Young was able to convince residents to do whatever was necessary to keep the city moving forward. There was always another plan: Poletown, Jefferson North, the People Mover, always something that kept people thinking Detroit was just about to turn the corner. Most significantly, it kept the city out of the bankruptcy that had been predicted from Day One of his 20 years as mayor.
To keep the city from where it is today, Young convinced residents to vote for higher taxes while facing a recession, oil shock, and the decline of the U.S. auto industry. Young held the city together with hope.
Mayor Archer was the man to bring the region together. He wanted to make Detroit a great metroplex.
He went to every outlying suburb and asked people to come to Detroit and do business. He promised to make the streets safe for the wives of businessman that came to Detroit to do business. He did a lot of good, but left doubt in my mind because he lost the battle with GM for the riverfront, where he wanted world-class casinos.
Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick brought excitement to Detroit with the Super Bowl and downtown clubs and restaurants – but you know the rest of that story.
The question now is: In who do we put our hope? Can we even dare to hope?
More than charisma is needed this time around. Detroit needs a person who can turn things around, someone with great management skills — in both people and figures. Detroit needs a person who can work with Lansing, Washington, and little Willie Jr. on the streets of Detroit.
Detroit must look at the person for what they have done with the hard decisions that were brought before them, because the future can only be judged by the past. That judgment must not be based on color or gender.