Politics & Prejudices
Comparing the conventions, conclusions emerge
Published: September 12, 2012
Justifying a state takeover of Detroit: No, I am not calling for that. But the political idiots on the Detroit City Council seem to be doing everything they can to justify Lansing taking every vestige of power away from them. Last week, they added four charter revisions to the November ballot, which already had six state items.
They apparently really expect Detroiters to scrutinize 10 complex items in the voting booth, while picking candidates in dozens of other races. That's dumb enough ... but far from the worst part.
Three of the four proposals are beyond stupid. The worst of them would allow council to accept gifts. The city has a vast deficit and huge unfunded liabilities, but the clowns of the City-County Building want more than their $73,595 salaries and other perks.
To hell with ethics! The council also wants to speed up the revolving door, getting rid of the rule that city employees who leave can't come back for at least a year. And they want to give more power to Krystal Crittendon, the rogue corporation counsel, to allow her to take action without approval of the mayor or City Council.
All these ought to warm the hearts of Kwame Kilpatrick and Jailhouse Monica Conyers. But any sane Detroiter ought to vote no.
Passing of a giant: Ben Burns, a former executive editor at The Detroit News, built Wayne State University's journalism program into the most progressive force in the nation for bringing diversity into American newsrooms before dying of leukemia last week. He was also, as a flood of tributes proved, an amazingly good and self-effacing man who took great pride in the success of others.
Back in the 1980s, when the News had one of the largest circulations in America, Burns was being groomed to become the newspaper's publisher before the paper was purchased, and then virtually ruined, by Gannett. The nation's biggest newspaper corporation has since moved on to trivialize the Free Press.
Last weekend, the News did at least recognize Burns in a front-page obituary, in which the current publisher called him "a consummate editor who held words and people in equal high regard."
That he did. Which is why I was glad Burns wasn't around to read that News obit, since they got his height wrong by 4 inches.
Jack Lessenberry opines weekly for Metro Times. Write to email@example.com.
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