Monday, March 24, 2008

The Problem With Kwame Being Kwame

Today is another unfortunate day in the life and times of not only Detroit, but of Southeast Michigan as well. The prosecutor for the city of Detroit, Kym Worthy, has made her announcement that she will move forward with charges against Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick with regard to his testimony at this summer's whistle blower lawsuit and subsequent findings that his testimony was untruthful, in addition to the $8.7 million dollars in city money which were used to settle the dispute. The charges include perjury, obstruction of justice, and misconduct in office. "Our investigation has clearly shown that public dollars were used, people's lives were ruined, the justice system was severely mocked and the public trust trampled on," Worthy stated. "This is as far from being a private matter as one can get."

In many regards, Kwame Kilpatrick has been a successful mayor and has done a lot for the city of Detroit. He has helped usher in an era of new stadiums, permanent casinos, and a vastly improved central business district. He has also created neighborhood initiatives to jump start the rejuvenation of once great sections of the city that lay downtrodden and decaying. He partnered with prominent business leaders and enticed other businessmen to move their companies to Detroit and invest more of their time and money into the city.

Kwame has been able to succeed because Kwame is Kwame. He is personable, charismatic, confident, a great orator, convincing, and a little over the top. While Kwame being Kwame has contributed mightily to his success, within Kwame being Kwame also lies the problem. Along with Kwame's aforementioned qualities, he is also cocky, a megalomaniac, and believes he is invincible. These qualities will catch up to a person if not careful, especially somebody in power, and Kwame has been anything but careful.

I have always backed Kwame Kilpatrick, even through the diamond stud, the "Stripper Party" at the Manoogian Mansion, and spending city money on Carlita's Navigator. I believed that although not perfect, his redeeming qualities outweighed his faults and that he had the characteristics and ability to lead Detroit into a new era. Now, after almost 7 years in office and in light of his most recent indiscretions, it is painfully obvious that his good qualities cannot be separated from his bad. Kwame himself cannot distinguish the line between his duties as Mayor of Detroit, and his desire to live the life of a rock star while not taking responsibility for his actions.

The Kwame Kilpatrick story is a shame. Kwame could have been mayor for life and still at only 37 years old, he could have led Detroit's renaissance well into this century. Alas, it was not meant to be. Just as the citizens of the tri-county area have been disappointed before, Kwame has left us like Pavlov's dogs, salivating in anticipation of chili powder coated food, but without any satiation.

We have been duped again my friends, but we should not let this get us down. I still honestly believe Detroit is on the right track and will continue down the road towards success, as long as we stick together as a cohesive group and not let negativity and internal squabbling ruin what we have started. I still believe that a smart, charismatic leader can lead us into what Dan Gilbert, CEO of Quicken Loans, has called Detroit 2.0. Sadly, Kwame Kilpatrick, will not, and should not, be the one to do so.

Stephen Asher Weisberg
Detroit Army


Anonymous said...

WASHINGTON (April 1) - Seventeen of the nation's 50 largest cities had high school graduation rates lower than 50 percent, with the lowest graduation rates reported in Detroit, Indianapolis and Cleveland, according to a report released Tuesday.

Unknown said...

well written Mr. Weisberg

Anonymous said...

As the theme of this blog is positivity, it bothers me to be commenting on this subject nearly 3 weeks after the original post.

Last week the city council put on a dazling display of how business gets done in the D. The free press recently wrote a positive article about the president of the city council, and the president pro tempe (the woman who called the president "shrek") has many supporters who hold her in high regard. Regardless of who was at fault during the most recent public embarrassment of our city's leaders, this is just another negative stamp on the city that not only impacts the nation's perception of Detroit, but it is also another example why those in the suburbs cringe at the idea of moving back downton.