People in this town remind me of the Cowardly Lion:
You remember him. He craved courage, only to realize far down the Yellow Brick Road that he had it all along.
That’s how it is in Detroit. We crave some respect, some dignity, some good words said about us. And when people don’t give it -- when they drive around town and point out the obvious -- we whine.
So now we’ve got another political corruption scandal unfolding in the Guardian Building. This time it’s the Kingdom of Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano and his cozy court of bureaucrats.
Suffice it to say: The Feds are back.
And so what are the Cowardly Lions in government and business whispering to me? The region can’t take another scandal; the people can’t hack through more negative headlines.
To which I say: It is all good news. Because things are finally beginning to work as they should in Detroit. A government answerable to the people. A government for the people.
This latest scandal shows me we’ve bottomed out and are working our way up. The mechanisms of self-governance are functioning. We are cleaning our house when few other places in the country seem able to do so.
In 2009, it was our car companies: run by management so incompetent even Washington bureaucrats laughed at them.
With the help of Washington – and the American Taxpayer, thank you very much – the Big Three are back. Gone are crushing legacy costs, the unsustainable contracts and guys playing cards in the back room and getting paid for it. In are higher paying jobs, bonuses and profits. Great News.
In 2010, Kwame Kilpatrick, his father and his troupe of pickpockets were indicted on a raft of charges alleging a massive criminal conspiracy to enrich themselves on the public dime. Some are already in prison. Some are awaiting prison. And Kilpatrick still prances around local churches pretending he’d be elected mayor tomorrow.
Point is he won’t. He’s gone however his court case turns out. And whatever you think about Mayor Bing, he’s not looting the city. Good news.
And now in 2011 comes and the Wayne County Government is long known to be a sugar jar for the politically connected. I don’t know what the Feds will ultimately find, but they’ve been inside the corridors for a few years now, according to one source who tells me he’s been co-operating with the FBI for more than two years.
This week comes the news that Ficano has suspended one of his right hand men who may have tried to shake down a county contractor.
Things are still dark here but I see the light of dawn. The Feds are working hard and so is the press. Elections are only a year away. Checks and balances. The way the Founding Fathers drew it up.
It’s working in Detroit. And that’s good news.