Detroit Letters to Santa We’d Like to See
Dear Santa … Satirically Speaking
Published: December 20, 2013
My Christmas list for you this year is short and, I think, public-spirited.
First off, I don’t know what Big Ed McNamara asked you for in the old days, but I could use some of that — without the contractor scandal, that is. I’ve been pretty good. I mean, I have run Wayne County pretty competently this year. I could have done better. There were some mistakes. But I really need some of that slack that other politicians get.
For instance, I don’t want to hear my name in conjunction with that jail. I don’t want to hear the words “fail jail” or “jail fail” or any combination that involves a jail and me failing. It’s unfair, hurtful, childish and, frankly, really counterproductive. Let’s leave the past in the past and move forward together.
Please stop people from saying all these unfairly negative things about me! I’m tired of people saying I’m running Wayne County like some guy wrecking his family by running up his credit card on a mid-life crisis. Absolutely not true! I’m not even that old yet!
We have a lot of problems in Wayne County, such as all the pay cuts our county’s union workforce has had to take. (Oh, if it’s possible, can you make them forget about that for at least another election cycle?) What would really help is if people had a clear idea of what it is Wayne County does for them, aside from build half-built jails to sell to rich developers to demolish, or sending residents jury duty notices and paying them $50 for the pleasure of parking downtown for a day. If people understood all the good that Wayne County does for them, they’d stop complaining. So, please, please, Santa, tell them whatever it is that Wayne County does for them.
Now, I know as well as anybody that there are nincompoops in county government. Some are just plain stupid, some are corrupt, some are good but just incompetent. But people need to understand that not every level of government can be perfect. We need a place where politicians who lack any kind of skill can still ply their trade. That’s why we have county government. Without Wayne County, a lot of good but troubled people wouldn’t be able to work in government at all! Santa, make them understand!
Finally, what I’d really like is this: If the voters decide against me, if they really don’t want me, they decide they’re tired of Bob Ficano … I want to fight on with them! Could I still start my own business and get a contract with the county? I mean, after getting all my unpaid sick and vacation days and full pension and all that?
Wayne County Executive
This year started out a little rough, but the last six months have been the easiest of my tenure — so thanks for that. Frankly, I had too many people telling me what I ought to do. Just as soon as one group of people had found consensus in my office, another group would charge in and agree that I should do something else; it was disconcerting. (When I was in charge of Bing Steel, everybody always agreed on what I should do and, by God, I did it!)
I tried running Detroit. I put on my fedora, carried my briefcase filled with rolled-up newspapers and looked as attentive as I could. But when fires rage through neighborhoods because of 40-degree winds or vandals threaten the city on Double’s Night, well, something is clearly wrong. It wasn’t like this when I lived up in Oakland County, that’s for sure.
But I’m not writing to complain. Things have turned out fine. I’ve enjoyed being mayor very much since last spring, thanks mainly to Kevyn Orr and Gov. Snyder, who’ve made my job especially pleasant.
My office used to be filled with arguing. Ever since this bankruptcy mess, it’s been nice and quiet around here. As you get older, you appreciate the value of peace and silence. Nowadays, only a few people come into my office and all of them are happy to see me.
I’ve learned we have fantastic people on the city coffers. Last week, I had a conversation with a longtime City Hall employee and he impressed me a great deal. Custodial work must be very hard. He even emptied my garbage for me!
Honestly, Santa, I couldn’t ask for anything more. Everything’s fine now. Last week, one of my aides came in and said that, with all the political power in the hands of private law firms and Lansing, the mayor of Detroit has never been more important.
Hey, that makes me feel great.
Mayor of Detroit
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