Gubernatorial candidates Rick Snyder and Virg Bernero not only need to have more than one debate, they should hold one in Detroit, which is not only the state’s largest city, but also the city that most represents Michigan to the rest of the country and the world.
In their Oct. 9 debate, Bernero, the mayor of Lansing, and Snyder, a venture capitalist, only tangentially talked about Detroit, though both acknowledged the city’s importance. Snyder said one of the roles of the governor is to be the cities best partner, and that the right way to putting Detroit on the path to being a great city — and therefore for Michigan to be a great state — is for the governor to be a partner.
Bernero called Detroit the face of Michigan and said cities need to be “the hub of the wheel, and not the hole in the donut.”
But while such sentiments are true, there should have been more focus on exactly how the next governor would work with Detroit.
But that debate’s over. Time to move ahead, to the next debate. There should be several debates. Given Michigan’s precarious economic situation, which one or the other of these men will have to deal with over the next four years, to have just one debate is almost criminal.
And while we’re at it, the candidates need to engage in a real debate, none of those one-minute-to-answer questions, 30 seconds for rebuttal.
What can a current or potential small business owner in Detroit or any other part of the state expect from either a Bernero or Snyder administration?
In what specific ways will the next governor work with Mayor Bing?
What sort of relationship will the next governor have with the Detroit schools?
How, exactly, would a Gov. Snyder be a partner? Bernero said we need to “look at economic development policy, education policy, transportation policy, yes, revenue sharing policy.” What, specifically, would that mean to Detroiters with a Bernero administration in Lansing?
How will the needs of Detroit — its citizens, its businesses, its infrastructure — factor into the next state budget?
How much time will the next governor spend in the city, working out of Cadillac Place?
Clergy United for a Detroit Debate, a coalition of 44 men of the cloth, has addressed a letter to Snyder, dated Oct. 8, stating that any candidate seeking support from Detroiters should do so only after sharing his ideas and vision on such critical issues as home foreclosures; curriculum, funding and leadership of the Detroit Public Schools; resizing Detroit; insurance redlining; crime; and city finances.
They have gone on to say that they’ll utilize their collective resources to “build a city-wide Detroit-specific debate” to be held Oct. 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Renaissance High School. Both candidates are invited to appear and share their specific plans for Detroit. They’re promised equal time.
Whether or not Bernero and Snyder take up these clergy on their offer, the candidates need to answer the above and other questions to an audience of Detroiters in Detroit. Snyder has held a town hall meeting in Detroit, which is good, but it’s not enough. Both candidates need to appear before the people of Detroit — together — and explain what specific steps they’ll take to move both the state and Michigan’s most important city forward.
The candidates must debate in Detroit. The city’s too important for them not to do so.
The following ministers from the region are demanding that the candidates hold a debate in Detroit:
Bishop P. A. Brooks, Rev. Dr. Carlyle Stewart, Bishop Isaac King, Rev. Dr. Oscar King, Rev. Dr. Kevin Turman, Bishop Alfred Knight, Bishop Charles Ellis III, Bishop James Jennings, Rev. Dr. James Perkins, Bishop Clifford Dunlap, Bishop John H. Sheard, Rev. Michael Nabors, Bishop Elton Lawrence, Bishop Edgar Vann, Rev. Everett Jennings, Bishop Alfred Smith and Bishop Wayne T. Jackson.
Also, Rev. Marvin Miles, Bishop Earl Wright, Bishop J. Drew Sheard, Rev. Skip Waschman III, Bishop Samuel Duncan, Bishop Milton Woods and Rev. Edwin Rowe, Rev. Dr. Charles Adams,Bishop D. M. Eubanks, Rev. Horace Sheffield, Rev. Christian Adams, Bishop Michael Jones, Father Norm Thomas and Rev. Dr. Jim Holley.
In addition, Bishop Clarence Haddon, Rev. Spencer Ellis, Jaramogi Menelik Kimathi from the Shrine of the Black Madonna, Bishop-elect Marvin Winans, Rev. Dr. Robert Brumfield, Rev. V. Lonnie Peek, Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, Rev. Michael Cunningham, Rev. Mother Norma J. Pender, Rev. Robert Sykes, Rev. Kenneth Flowers, Rev. Tellis Chapman, Rev. Nicholas Hood III and Cardinal Mbiyu Chui.