I know this is really off-topic but I just had to take a moment. A moment to say good-bye to an important ritual in my life. It is my habit to read a few news websites everyday, CNN, Drudge Report, Google News and the Detroit Free Press mostly. Of late, my visits to the Free Press site have increased exponentially. Between constant developments in mayoral text-messaging scandal and the Synagro sludge contract investigation, I’ve had to check in several times a day.
Like a rubbernecker passing a wreck, I just could not look away, with one important difference. When I pass an accident in real life, I always send out some good vibes for the people involved. In the case of “King” Kwame and his stunning hubris, I was hoping for carnage. I was hoping for the downfall of a man who thought he was above it all, too good to fail, appointed by God to save the city of Detroit.
I am saddened by all the ways Kwame wasted the most amazing opportunities of his life. Elected as Mayor of Detroit in 2001, only 31 years old, Kwame brought with him a vigor and vitality to City Hall. He brought energy and big, bright ideas. Unfortunately, he also brought a lifetime of buddies and friends and peeps to fill positions and do favors for. He took advantage of the trust Detroiters invested in him. His ego grew and grew to rock star status complete with fancy cars, entourages and women.
I am equally saddened by the choices Detroiters made when it came time to choose a mayor. In 2001, his first election, I liked Kwame. I would have voted for him, had I been a resident. By the time his re-election came around in 2005, I knew the truth. I grew up in and around Flint. I’ve seen corrupt mayors/leaders. And I’ve seen the people just keep coming back for more abuse and deception and plain bullshit. I don’t get it. Its like the teenage girl that keeps hanging aroudd with the mean girls at school despite the pranks and teasing and mistreatment, all to be part of the “in” crowd.
Today, it has ended. Or begun to end. I am not so naive as to believe this is really over. There will be more fallout, there will be more scandal and more people, both the deserving and the not, will lose their jobs.
Today, Kwame Kilpatrick pled guilty to two felony counts relating to his perjury and obstruction of justice charges. His sentence will include:
- 120 days in jail
- 5 years probation
- $1 million in restitution
- Resignation as mayor
- Surrendering his license to practice law in Michigan
- Agreeing not to run for elected office for five years
The scary part: in five years he could be on a ballot again. I don’t, for a second, believe that Kwame is done, that he’s given up and will happily live the rest of his life quietly away from the public eye. It is for the people of Detroit to remember the black eye they received the last time this “leader” was around and choose otherwise.
An equally fond farewell to Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings, who announced her retirement shortly after Kwame pled out and Sharon McPhail, the one woman I still haven’t figured out. First she hated Kwame, ran against him in 2005 and later became one of his most ardent supporters.
Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
For me, fortunately, I still have the Synagro investigation to keep me going. I know we’ll keep seeing Kwame in the news as that FBI probe moves forward- his father being a key player. I continue to look forward to the day when I no longer have to see that mopey hound-dog face pleading to us all from the Freep homepage. Ditto for that pained, wrinkled brow look that Christine Beatty (mayor’s former deputy chief of staff/paramour) sports in all her pictures