When I look at old photos of Detroit, I see a city bustling with energy and vigor. But now some refer to the current city as being in dire straits. Last night, Detroit voters elected its first white mayor in four decades. When Mike Duggen is sworn in, he’ll have his hands full trying to repair a city that has been broken and battered. Duggan is an ex-county prosecutor and former chief of the Detroit Medical Center, but does he have what it takes to fix a bankrupt city?
“It’s been an amazing year,” Duggan told his supporters during a victory celebration when all precincts reported late Tuesday night.
“Thank you, Detroit,” he added. “We ran a campaign against an opponent who gave us a very strong race. Now the real work begins.”
Detroit’s voter turnout shocked some people. Projected turnout was at 25%, but as of this afternoon, turnout numbers were pushing past 27%. But is 27% something to brag about? Especially when so many residents are in need of better resources in the city?
“Black folks in Detroit are disenfranchised. They don’t believe their vote counts for much since the city is being run my an Emergency Manager,” said Detroit native and SiriusXM Satellite Radio host Shawna Renee.
Another former resident of Detroit says there’s an issue with people not having Detroit addresses preventing them from voting in the elections. “You HAVE to have a Detroit address. Sadly, the rate of auto insurance is almost double of not more if you have a Detroit address so people use the address of friends in neighboring cities. This has been a problem for YEARS! Politicians come in talking about solving this problem but it usually turns out to be nothing more than a campaign promise soon forgotten after a victory,” said Tafari Stevenson Howard, a photographer that has moved out of Detroit.
In order for Duggan to turn around Detroit, he needs to find a way to bring jobs back to the area. The lost of jobs in the area have made people flee the city.
“In the old days you could graduate on Friday, get hired at the Ford plant on Monday and they’d train you,” said Sheldon Danziger, a professor of public policy at the University of Michigan. “But in Detroit as in other manufacturing cities, employers are demanding that workers come to jobs with more skills than they used to have.”
In June, Detroit’s official unemployment rate topped at 11 percent. Which was well above the national rate of 7 percent. But when you take into account the people who may have just given up looking for a job, or have never had a job, the unofficial estimates have the rate at over 20 percent.
So will Duggan ride through the city with his shining armour on and wave a magic wand to miraculously heal the city? Of course not. Detroit didn’t get into its present situation overnight, and it won’t magically get fixed overnight either.
One common denominator in what people want to see is growth. People want the life brought back to it.
“Although I no longer live in Detroit, I spend a lot of time there so I would like to see MUCH better public safety, better mass transit, work done to rebuild communities, which means getting ride of blight, building new housing and having increased infrastructure. I’d like to see more businesses and jobs coming into the city, for sue more options or healthy food throughout the city & more investment in city parks and recreation,” Howard said.
How invested will Duggan be in the city? Especially since he’s the city’s 4th mayor since 2008. Can residents expect him to keep the promises he made before his election win? But not everyone feels Duggan is invested in the city.
“As is the case with all politicians you never know until you find out who’s interests they serve. I can say this…Duggan was not invested in the city until it was time to run, which concerns me,” said Renee.
Detroit Clutchettes, (and those familiar with the area) what do you think about Duggan’s election win? What would you like to see happen in Detroit?