Our Editorial: Keep most of City Council in place

The Detroit News

In previous years, Detroit’s primary election brought the hope of bouncing wholesale ineffective and oftentimes clownish incumbents from the City Council. This cycle, Detroiters are blessed with a comparatively competent council and should give most of them a chance to advance to the general election.

For the two at-large seats, Council President Brenda Jones and Councilwoman Janee Ayers are running against three challengers.

Jones has emerged as an often impressive leader, walking a delicate line between checking Mayor Mike Duggan and supporting him. She has not been a rubber stamp, and has brought members together on crucial votes.

Ayers has managed to navigate the curious council mix of at-large and district seats to represent Detroiters across the city.

The two current members are preferable over challengers Beverly Kindle-Walker, Alisa McKinney and Mary Waters.

The top four vote-getters will advance to the primary.

In District 1 in far northwest Detroit, veteran Councilman James Tate continues to provide stability and a rational voice to the council. As a former cop, his focus is on law enforcement. That experience is valuable, given the damage crime is doing to the city.

He is running against De’Andre Nelson and Tamara Smith.

For the district seats, the top two vote-getters on Aug. 8 will advance to the November run-off.

In District 2 in the central northwest, the always colorful George Cushingberry Jr. is seeking re-election. Cushingberry is an inconsistent performer, and there are better candidates for this seat.

We have always liked Roy McCalister Jr., who has run for other offices and also has an extensive background in law enforcement. He would bring maturity and, again, a focus on crime to the council.

Also running in this district are Linda Bernard, Helena Scott, Tyra Dear-Williams and Virgil Smith.

Smith, a former state senator who was convicted of firing shots at his ex-wife, is unfit for public office and should not be supported in this clueless attempt to restore his political career.

In District 3 in the central northeast, Councilman Scott Benson has done a fair job and should get the chance to run again in November.

He’s challenged by Cedric Banks, Russ Bellant, Dennis Green and Adam Mundy.

In District 4 on the east side, incumbent Andre Spivey has grown to become one of the more effective council members. He should be advanced in the primary.

Challenging Spivey are Ane Bomani, Jackie Grant and Latisha Johnson.

In District 5 on the near east side, where Mary Sheffield is the incumbent, only two candidates filed for the primary. Sheffield will face Jewel Ware, vice-chair pro tempore of the Wayne County Commission, in November.

In District 6 in southwest Detroit, incumbent Raquel Castaneda-Lopez, is a powerful voice for her constituents.

She is challenged by Tyrone Carter and Felicita Lugo.

In District 7 on the far west side, it was recently revealed that incumbent Gabe Leland voted for $2 million in contracts awarded to a firm that employed his former girlfriend without disclosing the conflict.

In this new era, all Detroit elected officials must be above reproach.

The better choice is Regina Ross, who holds a doctorate in education and taught adult ed in the Detroit Public Schools.

Activist Joanna Underwood is also running.

Correction: A previous version of this editorial contained an incorrect spelling of Jewel Ware's name, in addition to an incorrect title.