Those of you from outside Michigan may be unfamiliar with the esteemed Mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick.
He’s quite a party guy.
Parties at Manoogian Mansion, the Mayor’s official residence, have allegedly included “exotic dancers” and generated lawsuits for wrongful dismissal. One example: a civil trial is set in the suit against the city by fired Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown, who claims he was dismissed in 2003 for investigating the party.
Kilpatrick has, shall we say, “spun tall tales“, about an official Detroit city car – a loaded $57,000 Lincoln Navigator – leased in 2004 to chauffeur the mayor, his wife and their three children. Coincidentally, “The new lease would have required City Council approval had it been $5 more.”
He is regularly accompanied by 21, count ‘em – 21, full-time police bodyguards at an annual cost of $1.5 million, and they certainly seem to be willing to protect the Mayor.
“Kilpatrick’s relations with the local media hit a low point last week when he was confronted by Steve Wilson, a reporter for WXYZ-TV, regarding the Navigator. Although Kilpatrick said repeatedly he would be willing to answer questions on live TV, he walked away as a member of his security team shoved Wilson against a wall. The encounter was captured on video and broadcast repeatedly by the station.”
Unfortunately, his personal protection outside Detroit is somewhat less than it used to be:
“… a Washington, D.C. police officer said in a September affidavit publicized Friday [Jan-21-05] that his unit stopped providing after-hours protection to Kilpatrick in 2002 during his trips to the capital because of his “nonstop club hopping.”
In response to these charges, Kilpatrick managed to play the “family values” card and the “race card” in one breath:
“I have a beautiful wife and three wonderful children who love me immensely,” he said. “When you’re a young African-American mayor with an earring in your ear, it’s kind of hard for people to believe you’re a good dad and husband.”
He could, more to the point, have spoken about his love for his family instead of their love for him. He reports. You decide.
Also, ignoring the question of where else one might wear an earring but in one’s ear, maybe he should lose it if it’s reducing his effectiveness. And, though we know he wasn’t born in Africa – as far as skin color goes, he’s on his own.
That Kilpatrick has promoted Detroit extensively, however, cannot be denied. His annual $70,000 city credit card bills prove it. That he didn’t provide documentation for much of the spending is a detail yet to be explained. Maybe he left the receipts in the Navigator or in a D.C. nightclub?
As WXYZ (Detroit channel 7) reports, Hizzoner is less than somewhat repentant about all this:
“Alright, I know ya’ll want to ask about this other crap, go ahead,” Kilpatrick told a group of reporters this week.
“This other crap,” as the mayor called it just after it hit the newsstands this week, is a thorough review of how he’s been using his city issued credit card all across America to the tune of about $70,000 a year, thousands of it without documentation and justification.
Kilpatrick is concerned about the victims … err… tax base, though,
“Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick opened the [2 day Detroit Economic F]orum, which concluded today, by acknowledging that the city was not prepared for the precipitous population decline that has strapped its budget. For Detroit to prosper, he said, the city must come to grips with its population decline and figure out ways to provide services with less revenue.”
Detroit faces a $300 million budgetary shortfall and Kilpatrick wonders why people are leaving his area of tax control. Here’s a hint: in 2003 Detroit had the 10th-highest tax burden for a family of four with an income of $75,000.
The Mayor has proposed to cover the hemorrage with a band-aid; a 2% special tax on fast food.
This new tax is expected to generate about $17 million. I don’t know if that is net of reduced sales as well as reduced city income tax revenues, but it is likely to make a lot of Detroiters seek their ‘burgers in surrounding jurisdictions while simultaneously eliminating sorely needed entry level jobs; probably just the unintended consequence of an inadequate proposal.
Detroit is a city whose top official is thoroughly mired in corruption and whose downward financial spiral is breathtaking “despite” confiscatory taxation. Meanwhile, the man in charge spends like he was in Federal politics. Those of us forced to exist in his wider political/taxation geography are fed up, while those closest to him are still full of adulation.
I think we’ve found the guy that can replace Paul Martin as leader of the Canadian Liberal Party.