Old-school players must show they're up to Detroit's new reality - New York News

Old-school players must show they're up to Detroit's new reality

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Word from inside his camp indicates that Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon will be running for Detroit mayor.  (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) Word from inside his camp indicates that Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon will be running for Detroit mayor. (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Will Detroit -- America's blackest big city -- elect a white man from the suburbs?

Not if Benny Napoleon has anything to say about it. Napoleon, the Wayne County sheriff, will indeed make a run for the mayor's seat next year. That's the word I'm getting from inside his camp.

Napoleon has a little housekeeping to do. He is running for sheriff this year.  His spokeswoman categorically denies it.

Assuming he wins a safe seat this November, Napoleon will put a staff together and officially announce his run for mayor early next year.

His decision sets up an intriguing race. Napoleon is a homegrown Detroiter, the former chief of police, handsome, well known and black.

His presumptive challenger is Mike Duggan, CEO of the Detroit Medical Center and mocked by some in the city as the Great White Hope.

Duggan grew up in Livonia, which was -- at one time -- America's whitest city. He is little known in the neighborhoods and churches of Detroit, but he does bring a bag of cash and an oiled political organization.

And of course there is the incumbent, Mayor Dave Bing. You know about him and his city.

Detroit is in big trouble. The city borrows money to eat. Crime has become a vampire. And corruption seems to be the chief political party.

Detroit needs some fresh and competent leadership. All three on my list have been around the political scene for decades. Naturally, they'll get some second looks.

Napoleon is like a DeLorean. He looks good in the showroom, but when you put him out on the road, things get bumpy. He will have to explain how, under his stewardship, the Detroit Police Department was put under federal oversight. An oversight the city is still burdened with a decade later. Then there is his association with Ficano and the awful state of the county jail system.

Duggan is like a Mack truck -- hard charging, eighteen gears and mud all up in the undercarriage.  He will have to explain his tenure as the consigliere to Ed McNamara, the former Wayne County executive whose investigation by the feds ended with his death. Duggan will also have to answer questions about fundraising when he was the Wayne County prosecutor. He will be grilled about his tenure as chief of the DMC.

Bing is like a city bus. After three miserable years in office, he will have to point to an accomplishment that he delivered on time. No easy task.

This election shouldn't come down to skin color or beauty marks or how many ministers you can oil. It should be about ideas that can work and the ability to carry them out. These old-school players will have to show they're up to the new reality.

Because the same old, same old is what got us here in the first place.

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