Detroit's Mayor Faces Lifetime Piling Up
Detroit's Mayor Kwame KIlpatrick is facing tough times for his career and his city, Time reports. Kilpatrick, an excessive leader called the first "Hip-Hop Mayor" by mogul Russell Simmons, has faced criticism for everything from his inaguaral "club-crawl" and ubiquitous earring to alleged misconduct and concealment of police records. His latest gaffe is a $6.5 million payout rewarded by a MIchigan jury to two police officers who claim to have been "retaliated" against after investigating misonduct by Kilpatrick. Par for course for Time's worst mayor in America 2005.
More interesting and alarming, though is the state of his city. "Much of Detroit remains an urban war zone, having seen its population more than halved from a 1950s peak of nearly 2 million. Unemployment stands at roughly 14%. About 47% of the city's residents over age 16 are functionally illiterate," Time reports.
"Yet, for much of Kilpatrick's tenure, parts of Detroit have experienced an economic turnaround similar to those that have taken place in Chicago and Washington. Million-dollar lofts are being built along the Detroit River. Homicides are down by 17%, and non-fatal shootings have dropped by 9% in the last year. Kilpatrick sliced the city government's job rolls from about 21,000 to 13,800. He cut property taxes partly to retain what remains of the city's middle class," the article continues.
Still, Kilpatrick is optimistic. "We have to change our national and international image," he says. "There are lots of things going on here that people don't know about. We're still trapped on what was happening here in the 1980s. We need to make sure that we erase all of that. We need a lot of things to happen, and they are happening. But we need to tell the world about it," he told Ebony.