Cliff Russell, Tom Jordan , Mike Duggan, Carol Cain, Benny Napoleon, Bankole Thompson on the “Michigan Matters” set. Photo credit: CBS 62’s Sheri Kowalski
It was months in the making and the first televised debate Sunday between Mike Duggan and Sheriff Benny Napoleon didn’t disappoint as the two men vying to become Detroit’s next mayor shared thoughts on important issues and exchanged words with the passion and precision of two heavyweight boxers.
Duggan, the former CEO of Detroit Medical Center, and Napoleon, threw down the gauntlet as they traded thoughts on crime, the Emergency Manager, neighborhoods, race relations, and much more.
“I have done more in one day as a police officer in this city than he’s done in his lifetime,” Napoleon said of Duggan.
Duggan said: “Where is your crime fighting plan, sheriff? Feel free to start. You’ve been there four years. When you ran for sheriff you said you’d make us safer. Yet, there hasn’t been a single initiative.”
The hour long debate aired as a “Michigan Matters” special and was sponsored by CBS 62, the Michigan Chronicle and WWJ Newsradio 950.
CBS62 Senior Producer/Host Carol Cain moderated and was joined in the questioning by Michigan Chronicle Senior Editor Bankole Thompson, political pundit Cliff Russell, and WWJ Newsradio 950 Morning Anchor Tom Jordan.
Duggan and Napoleon were the top two vote getters in August’s primary and are vying for votes in the Nov 5 general election.
Talk focused on Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, who was put in place under a state law supported by Gov. Rick Snyder and the GOP led legislature to address the financial woes of the Motor City. Detroit filed for bankruptcy in July under Orr’s watch.
“I campaigned vigorously against the EM as I did against Right To Work (which also went into effect the same day as the EM law in March). I am a history major, I know the struggle of the civil rights movement,” said Napoleon. “This is the most offensive assault on democracy since the American Revolution.”
“I have no plan to work with Kevyn Orr. My goal is to get rid of Kevyn Orr,” Napoleon added.
Napoleon also said that Duggan sent emails (to Lansing) in support of the EM, which Duggan disputed.
“Did you read those emails? If you had then you’d know I lobbied against the EM. I talked with Dennis Muchmore (Gov. Snyder’s Chief of Staff) , (former state treasurer) Andy Dillon, and Rich Baird (Snyder’s chief strategist) and told them ‘you can’t do this and disenfranchise the voters of Detroit.’I was against the EM.”
When asked about working with the EM, Duggan said: “Kevyn Orr (who by state law will be around at least six months after the new mayor takes over in January) is going to take away the pension rights of retirees, selling off assets like the water department. I will try to engage with him or go right to bankruptcy to say we do not have to sell off our assets or take away retiree rights.
“If (Orr does not engage back) then it be an adversarial relationship,” Duggan added.
Napoleon talked up his $3.5 billion neighborhood revitalization plan which includes police stations and shopping malls.
Duggan questioned where the funding would come from.
“The last time he (Napoleon) had a vision – it was when he went before the Wayne County Commission to talk about a new jail and how it would save money,” said Duggan. “It was senseless and he didn’t do his homework. The jail is $100 million over budget…”
SUBHEAD: Déjà vu on CBS debate.. and more:
The CBS 62/Michigan Chronicle/WWJ Newsradio 950 debate will be rebroadcast on WKBD-TV CW50 at 5 p.m. on Sunday Oct 27. It will also be re-aired on WWJ Newsradio 950 at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct 22.
You can attend the next meeting between mayoral candidates Mike Duggan and Sheriff Benny Napoleon at the Detroit Economic Club luncheon on Wednesday, Oct 23 at Cobo Center.
Carol Cain will moderate the conversation and Judge Damon Keith will be the DEC presiding officer. For more: 313-963-8547 or econclub.org)
You can hear what the two candidates said at the Detroit Economic Club event on a special “Michigan Matters” airing 11:30 am Sunday, Oct 27, on CBS 62.
Bankole Thompson, Cliff Russell and Tom Jordan will join Cain on that show’s roundtable.
(Carol Cain is the Emmy winning Senior Producer/Host CBS 62’s “Michigan Matters.” She writes about politics and business in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)