Detroit — State Sen. Coleman Young II has released an ad attacking Mayor Mike Duggan just a few hours before the two are set to debate for the only time before the Nov. 7 election.
Young shared the video ad on his Facebook page Wednesday afternoon accusing Duggan of ignoring issues of crime and poverty in Detroit.
“Cries for help from Detroiters who feel trapped in crime-ridden neighborhoods has fallen on deaf ears at city hall,” the ad says. “But only Senator Coleman A. Young has responded.”
The mayor has noted that crime has fallen in the city, but that challenges with it remain to be addressed.
Duggan and Young will face each other Wednesday in an hour-long mayoral debate that will be broadcast live on WDIV-TV (Channel 4) beginning at 8 p.m. It is co-hosted by The Detroit News, WDIV-TV and WTVS-TV (Channel 56) and will be live-streamed on The News’ website.
The candidates are expected to tackle issues ranging from crime to neighborhoods, auto insurance and transit.
Young’s 30-second ad released Wednesday says the senator has spent the last six months riding city buses, walking the “tough streets” of Detroit and unveiling a plan to fight crime and insurance “redlining.”
“Meanwhile Mike Duggan has remained silent,” the ad says.
Duggan’s campaign released a statement Wednesday touting the mayor’s progress.
“The fact is under Mayor Duggan’s leadership, nearly 20,000 more Detroiters are working compared to four years ago, the unemployment rate is at a 17-year low and the poverty rate has dropped to its lowest level since before the crash of 2008,” the statement read. “Once again, we see that all Coleman Young has to offer Detroiters is negative attacks and no plan.”
Adolph Mongo, Young’s campaign manager, said the commercial will begin airing on Comcast channels Thursday.
“Crime is out of control,” Mongo said in a phone interview. “People are scared to death.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation;’s data showed violent crime — murder, rape, assault and robbery — in Detroit surged 15.7 percent last year, an increase that ranked it as the nation’s most violent big city — a distinction that police officials disputed.
Mongo said crime is particularly affecting city buses, leaving both riders and drivers “terrified.” Children are getting beat up on bus routes to school, he said.
If elected, Young will assign undercover police officers to every bus, Mongo said.
But Detroit Police Chief James Craig said the FBI numbers were wrong, blaming an antiquated software system called CRISNET, which he said caused some crimes to be double reported. The system was replaced in December and its numbers show a 5 percent reduction in violent crime last year, the chief said.
The ad comes one week after a political action committee supporting Young put out a racially charged campaign attack ad likening Duggan to disgraced former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick — a contention the Duggan administration said is “totally false.”
The 30-second spot, funded by the Save Our City Super Political Action Committee, alludes to an ongoing federal investigation into the city’s federally funded demolition program. No charges have been filed against any individuals, but the probe has focused on concerns over rising Detroit demolition costs and bidding in fall 2015.
Duggan has touted service improvements during his tenure, including new streetlights, better police and emergency response times, and rejuvenated city parks.
A pro-Duggan group, the Turn Around Detroit Political Action Committee, in early October aired a 30-second ad called “Heartbeat” in which the narrator said, “Streetlights are working again. Trash is being picked up again. A miracle? No, hard work by all of us.”
Editorial Page Editor Nolan Finley will host an online post-debate show at detroitnews.com that will analyze what the candidates said and what impact it may have on the campaign.