Duggan’s turnaround record appeals to city voters | The Detroit News

19 мая 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »
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Duggan’s turnaround record appeals to city voters

Mike Duggan, Detroit’s next mayor, thanks his supporters at his election night victory party at the Renaissance Center in Detroit. (John T. Greilick / The Detroit News)

Detroit — Voters cited Mike Duggan’s experience and turnaround record as key factors in why they elected him Detroit mayor over Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

Duggan, the former chief executive of the Detroit Medical Center, was able to negate the issue of race in a city where 83 percent of residents are African-American and where there hasn’t been a white mayor in 40 years.

“I voted for Mike Duggan because I think he’s the better man,” said the Rev. Cedric Banks, 50, pastor of the Heart of Jesus International Deliverance Church. “I think he’ll probably bring some changes and structure. Plus, I think his character is better than (Wayne County Sheriff) Benny Napoleon’s.”

Duggan’s camp spent much of the last six month’s hammering home their candidate’s image as as a turnaround man — missing few opportunities to highlight his eight years running the eight-hospital DMC. Alvin Lee, 57, voting at Louis Pasteur Elementary School in northwest Detroit, said he liked the background enough to support Duggan.

“I like someone who gets things done — by any means necessary,” he said with a laugh.

Duggan’s record struck a chord with Dr. Betty Davis, who said she met the candidate at one of the 250 “house parties” he attended as a way to communicate longer with potential voters in a more intimate setting.

“As he shared, all he talked about were his plans and accomplishments, not about the other candidates,” she said. “I liked that.”

With Napoleon painting him as a Detroit outsider, Duggan’s camp adhered to a simple strategy — crafting an identity for him as a man apart from the recent leadership that left Detroit in a fiscal hole where services like police and fire operate at levels far below what residents want. Based on interviews with voters Tuesday after they exited polling places across the city, the campaign succeeded.

“I voted for Mike Duggan because I’m just really tired of the way things have been,” said Charlesetta Jackson, 75. “Benny Napoleon may know the streets where he lives, but what did he do about the guns and dope found when he was with the police department? Nothing.”

Her husband, James Riley, 83, agreed.

“I feel exactly the same,” he said. “It’s just time for a change.”

Several miles to the east along Seven Mile, Sharon Bowerman said she cast her vote at the Faith Temple Gospel Church for Duggan and offered a harsh assessment of Napoleon.

“I think (Duggan) can make a difference,” she said. “I think Benny Napoleon has held too many seats in the city. He lets people know he’s in charge, and then he disappears from sight.”

Although the city’s finances are being handled by a state-appointed emergency manager, few voters cited the candidates’ stances on the issue as a deciding factor in their choices. Duggan has said he will work with Kevyn Orr, but will push for control to be returned to the city as soon as possible — ideally when he takes office in January. Napoleon has vowed to push for a clearer separation of the emergency manager’s duties and those of Detroit’s elected officials.

Many of those heading to the polls Tuesday mentioned they found Napoleon to be “nice,” but said they felt Duggan was the “stronger” candidate. For many, the sense of strength came from Duggan’s detailed plans for the city. For Detroit’s neighborhoods, Duggan preached a series of steps, including:


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#x25A0;Consolidating 14 city departments into a single Department of Neighborhoods.

#x25A0;Using the courts to take possession of dilapidated houses or drug nests.

#x25A0;Using financial incentives to move residents from sparsely populated areas into highly populated areas.

#x25A0;Using the courts to seize abandoned storefronts and offering financial assistance to entrepreneurs.

#x25A0;Boosting code enforcement.

That kind of plan for the city was enough to sway Lindsey Perkins.

“I just thought he was best because of his vision for Detroit,” Perkins, 31, said. “He understands finances. He has a proven track record.”

Arthur Little, 58, said he made Duggan his choice because he had more political clout and bigger names.

“The main thing is getting the city back to what it once was,” he said. “I’m a lifelong Detroiter. I’m almost 60 years old. I want to see the city the way it was when I was a youngster.

“Duggan has a better chance of doing that than his opponent.”

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