Welcome to chaos, Mr. Mayor.
Your largest private employers, in bankruptcy or close to it, are cutting jobs, plants and dealerships. Your marquee annual event, the North American International Auto Show, is poised to decamp to the suburbs.
Your most prominent corporate citizen, General Motors Corp., is being wooed by a neighboring mayor whose business case for the ailing automaker is more about capitalizing on Detroit's weaknesses than playing to Warren's strengths.
Your governing City Council is a dysfunctional morass of weak leaders and divisive political opportunists, chief being former Council President Monica Conyers. And the political culture you'll no doubt be encountering on a daily basis -- career bureaucrats, entitlement-minded unions and greedy vendors -- will give new meaning to the term self-dealing.
Your city's school system is so badly broken that President Obama's education secretary, Arne Duncan, likens Detroit Public Schools to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He wants to hand it over to you -- and Gov. Jennifer Granholm agrees, in a turnabout she once told me would do no good because it hadn't before.
Playing NBA basketball may be tough, Mayor Bing. And running an auto supplier in the era of Detroit-in-Decline may be tougher. But governing the poorest, most undereducated and economically depressed city in America is a job in a class by itself -- and it's all yours, sir.
It's also an opportunity, because you have three things your predecessors did not. First, a confluence of events makes today, next month and next year this town's biggest rolling crisis since the Great Depression.
Second, it's obvious to all but the most deluded Detroiters that clinging to the status quo and hoping for the best is a recipe for misery. That may not be evident in the tepid turnout to last week's election, but it's obvious in the exodus from the schools and the city's neighborhoods.
Third, President Obama's Washington has the interest and the muscle to force the kind of change on Detroit that the Bush and Clinton White Houses never would. Evidence? Duncan's school takeover suggestion and Treasury's dictatorial auto task force for starters.
Use them, Mr. Mayor. Team Obama is nothing if not aggressively interventionist, a political vanguard willing to trample democratic processes, union contracts and other parochial concerns if doing so means achieving pre-determined political (and economic) ends. We've seen it with the banks, with the automakers and with the United Auto Workers, among others.
Why not with Detroit, too?
Enlist the help of their Justice Department to clean up the public corruption eating at Detroit's diminishing public resources. Leverage Duncan's interest in repairing the schools -- not because government is always the answer, but because this federal government is the only friend Detroit has left.
Granholm's Lansing has proven itself to be ineffective and conflict averse -- until the predicaments of Detroit's kids or school finances or former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick became too egregious for even Michigan's see-no-evil governor to ignore.
The business community, starting with Detroit's automakers and prominent civic groups, has been neutered by racial tensions, city-suburban politics and deepening economic troubles that have forced them to focus more intensely on their own business concerns.
They may be in a position to offer moral support, but not much else. Credibility, economic reality, the outrage of official Washington and the indisputable failure of your predecessors are your most effective tools -- use 'em or lose 'em.
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