Best of Detroit 2013
Public Square - Reader's Choice
Reader's choice for Metro Detroit
Published: March 20, 2013
Best Person to Run for Mayor of Detroit
The former key cog in boss Ed McNamara’s Wayne County political machine, a one-time county prosecutor, and the guy who engineered a deal that sold the nonprofit Detroit Medical Center, Mike Duggan has already been anointed the city’s next savior by the mainstream media. But now, with the endorsement of MT’s readers, he might be unstoppable.
Best Person to Be Detroit’s Emergency Financial Manager
If nothing else, our readers have a great sense of humor. The wooden, white-bread Romney imposed on Detroit by his Lansing soulmate, Rick Snyder? Now that’s a true hoot. On the other hand, the guy is the king of vulture capitalists, so, if the plan is to sell off the city’s assets, then, from Snyder’s vantage point, there might not be a better fit for Motown than the Mitt.
Best Person to Be New President of Detroit’s City Council
Kenneth Cockrel Jr.
Here’s the thing about Cockrel: No matter what, he’s a Detroiter through and through. No one ever accused him of having too much charisma, but he’s honest and steady and reasonable and accessible. He’s someone the people of Detroit can trust to look out for their interests, and he’s not someone who’s going to show up on YouTube displaying a set of washboard abs.
Best New Job for Charles Pugh
The current president of the Detroit City Council (a guy who did show up on YouTube showing off his abs) has announced that he won’t be runnning for the office again. Our readers had no shortage of suggestions regarding the next career he should pursue, many of them unflattering — from corralling canines (“dog catcher”) to rounding up rubbish (“garbage man”) while others gently pricked him for his dandy self-absorbtion, suggesting, among other occuupations “aerobics instructor,” “underwear model” and “bow tie model.” In the end, though, a majority of voters thought the best choice for Pugh would be for him to return to his previous career in television broadcasting.
Best Person to Vote Off Detroit City Council
All of them
Be careful what you wish for, dear readers. Now that Kevyn Orr has been appointed emergency finanical manager (and soon to be emergency manager, if you care about such details), Detroit’s residents are about to find out what life is like with no elected represenatives, or at least not any with any real power. Sure, the council has its share of goofballs and blowhards, but at least the people of Detroit had the right to vote them out of office.
Best Way to Improve Relations Between Detroit and the Suburbs
Link the city and suburbs with an effective mass transit system
Overwhelmingly, our readers (correctly, we think) identified mass transit, in one form or another, as being key to this region’s future well-being. And the really, really good news is that the state Legislature and governor, with the backing of elected leaders from throughout the area, finally overcame 40 years’ worth of futility and created the Southheast Michigan Regional Transit Authority, which will be in a position to finally create a coordinated system linking Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties. This is very good news, and one reason we can all hope that this region can come together and actually prosper.
Best New Building for Dan Gilbert to Buy
Michigan Central Station
Unlike the train station’s current owner, Manuel “Mr. Burns” Moroun, multibillionaire Dan Gilbert actually does something with the Detroit properties he buys. At last count, the founder of Quicken Loans owns 15 downtown office buildings, and is a driving force in the effort to build a light-rail line along a short stretch of Woodward Avenue. Wherever Moroun goes, there is a giant sucking sound, and the faint whiff of brimstone. Gilbert brings life and energy and lots and lots of cash. Just look at his beautifully restored Madison Building. Then check out that hulking, vacant, deteriorating masterpiece that is the train station, and allow yourself a bit of reverie, thinking how wonderful it could be if Gilbert really did take control of it.
Best New Slogan for Detroit
This is why we ask questions like this of our readers: because we know they will always deliver. The selection of suggested slogans for Detroit ranged from those steeped in hard-bitten, exclamatory snark (“Going for broke!” and “Duck!”) to the deadpan (“At least it’s not Beirut” or Flint or Cleveland) to the hip (“The Berlin of America”) to the politically profound ( “Where Ayn Rand’s Dream Is Reality”). Some found humor by cutting close to the bone (“Houses: $29 or two for $50”), or displayed a little chest-thumping pride in the dystopia (“It’s a fucked-up mess, but it’s OUR fucked-up mess”). In the end though, more than anything else, was the winning note of hope. “We’re back.”
Best Slogan for Michigan
“I’m Smitten with the Mitten”
OK, so maybe our readers don’t always deliver. Smitten? But even if that clinker did come out on top, there were more than a few others that gave us a chuckle, including “Talk to the Hand,” “Great Lakes, Bad Politicians”and “Where did everybody go?” And then there what can only be described as our sentimental favorite: “We may look like a hand, but we’re all heart.” Awww.
Best New Nickname for Kwame Kilpatrick
Inmate No. 702408
Our felonious former mayor hadn’t yet been convicted on an array of federal charges related to the criminal enterprise that Kwame Kilpatrick and his crew were running out of City Hall, but they could obviously see the writing on the jailhouse wall. As for that new nickname, it’s a handle the one-time political star with seemingly limitless potential will probably be hauling around for the next 10 to 20 years, depending on how good his behavior is.
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