May 31, 2014 at 1:00 am

For Detroit, the time is now or never

“Outta my mind on a Saturday moanin’”

I wrote this in the middle of the 2014 Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference.

Grand Hotel.

Mackinac Island.

In a couple of hours, I will do my best to fulfill my moderator duties on stage with CNN hosts Paul Begala, democratic strategist and political contributor, and S.E. Cupp, host of “Crossfire,” for “Across the Isle : Michigan and the Midterms.” I am honored to be asked by Detroit Regional Chamber president and CEO Sandy Baruah and his team to once again have a small role to play in their incredibly well oiled machine that is in the midst of the Chambers best effort ever.

Don’t take it from me.

Well, take it from me, because I’m in the middle of all this and I can tell you, after attending almost 20 of these gatherings, I have never seen and heard more positive “buzz” about Detroit, and for that matter, the Great State of Michigan, ever.

Thus far, I don’t recall seeing and hearing more collaboration, compromise and clarity regarding our problems and possible fixes, ever.

There truly is a groundswell of very real confidence that “the people in charge” actually know what’s wrong and how to fix it. That the people in charge sense we are not going to give them a pass much longer. That the people in charge sense the frustration we have with excuses and worthless political battles that lead to nothing but empty rhetoric.

Don’t talk about it.

Do something about it.

So far my conversations with Gov. Rick Snyder, Mayor Mike Duggan, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Debbie Dingell, Michigan State University president Lou Anna Simon, outgoing University of Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman and Wayne State University president M. Roy Wilson, Dan Loepp, Jase Bolger and Tim Griemel, to start with, all seem to know, the time is now.

In terms of re-habbing the city of Detroit, it really may be, now or never.

Paul W. Smith is host of The Paul W. Smith Show on WJR-AM (760).