Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Can Blacks Govern Detroit... or Anywhere?


Now that the content of his character is on display for the nation, Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick will be held up as another example of how black politicians simply can't be trusted.

Coleman Young was the first black mayor of Detroit. He presided over the white flight and the business flight. But he was a hero to the black population of the city. Still, while he certainly did nothing to stem the exodus, he was not solely responsible. He was smart enough to know that the city could not survive without the suburbs. Unfortunately, his own personal experiences created a style of confrontation with anything white. It set the stage for a continual decline of the city.

Dennis Archer was the next black mayor. He was a true gentleman and person of integrity. That was his downfall. He was called a "white black man" by many of the Coleman Young loyalists who preferred racial confrontation to logic and reason. After eight years of working to restore a working relationship with the suburbs, Mayor Archer simply had enough of the backstabbing from the Young politicos and the Detroit populace.

The 2001 race for mayor pitted Gil Hill against Kwame Kilpatrick. Hill wasn't much of a grandstander. He was a councilman... head of the city council. He knew how to get things done; he didn't know how to oppose Kwame Kilpatrick who played the anti-white to the hilt. Kwame was cool, he was hip, he was going to be a black mayor...

By the time the 2005 campaign was in high gear, Kwame Kilpatrick could do no wrong... no matter how wrong it was... with the black voters of Detroit. His opponent, Freman Hendrix, was a former deputy mayor under Dennis Archer; former chairman of the appointed Detroit school board; former assistant Wayne County executive; former chief operating officer of Strategic Staffing Solutions. He had a fatal flaw: he was a well-qualified, honest, white black man... literally. His mother was a blond, blue-eyed, Austrian-born woman... similar to the situation of a certain presidential candidate this year. He certainly didn't fit the image of a mayor that Detroit voters wanted.

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick arrives at GM Style - General Motors' car studded music and fashion gala that kicks-off the 2008 North American International Auto Show Saturday, January 12, 2007 in Detroit, Michigan. The event features musical guests Kid Rock, Mary J Blige and Maroon 5; as well as GM's most stylish cars, and fashions from some of the world's leading designers. (Photo by Tom Pidgeon for General Motors)

So, Detroit got a Motown, hip-hop Kwame Kilpatrick, and Washington, D.C. got Marion Berry who saw no big difference between using Coke™ and coke, and New Orleans got it's "chocolate city" mayor Ray Nagin. It seems wherever a black mayor made the news, it was to show the white population in America that there could never be a black leader that made any sense whatsoever to whites.

Well, despite the Kilpatricks and Berrys and Nagins of this country, I have seen enough honorable and capable black leaders in business, politics, and my own neighborhood to say that it is a fool's trap to equate those mayors with the overall quality of black leaders.
That said, there are some major questions about the black voters who choose those types of mayors to be their leaders.
Apparently, there are too many black voters who either never heard Martin Luther King's remarks about the content of one's character versus the color of one's skin or thought Dr. King was just another white black man.

Does that mean that you have to be a white black man to be a good black leader? No, you have to be an person of integrity... regardless of race or gender.
In fact, there may be more of a problem in the presumption that a white black man must be a good leader.
But that's another post.


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“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
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Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)