October 11, 2013

"[S]olemn words from the formerly boisterous figure, a bear of a man at 6 feet 4 inches who many believed would lead Detroit out of its long economic downturn."

"But on Thursday he stood slouched, wearing a tan prison uniform instead of the flashy suits he once favored. Court officers replaced the entourage of bodyguards that used to follow him around. The diamond that once studded his ear, an emblem of his reputation as the 'hip-hop mayor,' was gone."

The NYT evokes twinges of racial discomfort — am I too sensitive? — in its reporting on the sentencing of Kwame Kilpatrick. He got 28 years.

41 comments:

Scott M said...

Kwame a river. A 28 year long river.

St. George said...

Ha. The article, as best as I could see, does not i.d. this monster as a Democrat.

No experience in life, except as several years as a public school teacher. BA in Education.

Law degree from a 3rd rate school, age 29...which he attended while serving in the Mich. legislature. And he was elected his party's chief in the legislature just after graduating. Mother in Congress; father a party hack.

An Idi Amin of fiscal corruption, eating his city's flesh. A vivisectionist has better morals.

SteveR said...

It would be inaccurate to attribute any of this to his race or "hip hop" culture for surely he was just a suitable pawn in the game run by the Democratic Party which has a longstanding and proven track record in failed big city government.

MadisonMan said...

James DiMora and Blagojevich aren't id'ed by party either.

Is it Times policy to assume everyone is a Democrat unless otherwise noted?

LarsPorsena said...

"...Judge Edmunds agreed to recommend that Mr. Kilpatrick serve his prison term in Texas, where his family now lives."


That says it all. He lays waste to Detroit and he and the family move to Texas.

Chuck said...

As Detroiters -- I am one -- know; Kilpatrick's stated remorse at this time comes after years and months of remorseless if not reckless battling with prosecutors.

When Kilpatrick originally resigned from office, he defiantly went on television to proclaim that "Y'all done set me up for a comeback."

The people who know Kilpatrick best, the residents of southeast Michigan, have had their fill of this pathological narcissist. Even Kilpatrick's one-time supporters have virtually all abandoned him. Their are few people in Kilpatrick's life whom he has not betrayed. A less sympathetic criminal is hard to imagine.

And yet it is true; it would be facile, and a mistake, to blame Detroit's bankruptcy on Kilpatrick. Even a crook of Kilpartick's magnitude could never have single-handedly brought down a city with so many assets.

What led Detroit to bankruptcy -- and this is beyond any reasonable dispute -- was 50 years of one-party Democrat party rule. When one looks at the various local financial crises in Michigan, it is absolutely clear. While the whole state suffers when the auto industry has a major downturn, not all localities fail. Oakland County, where Chrysler is headquartered, has a AAA bond rating. The Ford Motor Company and the city of Dearborn are managing very well. But the places where Democrats and their friends in the public sector labor unions rule, are all in varying stages of finacial emergencies. That is Detroit, and Wayne County; Flint, Pontiac (surrounded by Republican Oakland County and now recovering), Benton Harbor, Inkster, and the Detroit Public School system.

You could draw a nearly-perfect map of congruence; wherever Michigan Democrats have ruled Michigan localities by themselves, there are financial crises and budgetary failures. And wherever Republicans have ruled, there has been survival and slow growth even in the face of macro-economic headwinds.

Rob said...

According to the Times, one of Kilpatrick's sins was "increas[ing] the city’s debt obligations to fill budget gaps." By that standard, poor President Obama is going to do hard time.

Sorun said...

At least corruption in the largely black and Democrat political class isn't to blame for Detroit's problems. the NYT reported the culprits instead include, among others, an aged computer system.

...numerous factors over many years have brought Detroit to this point, including a shrunken tax base but still a huge, 139-square-mile city to maintain; overwhelming health care and pension costs; repeated efforts to manage mounting debts with still more borrowing; annual deficits in the city’s operating budget since 2008; and city services crippled by aged computer systems, poor record-keeping and widespread dysfunction.

LarsPorsena said...

Rob said...

According to the Times, one of Kilpatrick's sins was "increas[ing] the city’s debt obligations to fill budget gaps." By that standard, poor President Obama is going to do hard time.

10/11/13, 12:06 PM

__________________________________

The USA is getting 'Detroited'.

Sigivald said...

How could anyone have thought that a mayor could "fix" Detroit?

Chuck said...

St. George wrote:

"Law degree from a 3rd rate school..."

Why do you make that allegation? My sources indicate that Kilpatrick was indeed a third-rate law student. But his law school, formerly the private Detroit College of Law and what is now the Michigan State University College of Law is ranked about 80th in the top tier of American law schools. It is not one of the elite law schools; but it is not even a second-tier school, much less a third-tier school.

I sort of know; I got my law degree there.

William said...

If you're looking for stable financial planning, don't pick the guy with the diamond stud in his ear to manage your affairs.....The criticism in the Times was somewhat muted. I think there are lots of bad things we don't know about Kwame, and that we will never know. Pulitzers go to those who report on the sins of Haliburton and not on corrupt Dem politicians. I wonder how much Coleman Young raked in over the years.

avwh said...

"numerous factors over many years have brought Detroit to this point, including a shrunken tax base but still a huge, 139-square-mile city to maintain; overwhelming health care and pension costs; repeated efforts to manage mounting debts with still more borrowing; annual deficits in the city’s operating budget since 2008; and city services crippled by aged computer systems, poor record-keeping and widespread dysfunction."

So, according to the NYT, these ills apparently just dropped from the sky to fell poor Detroit.

Couldn't be 60 years of incompetent administrations, ALL of which were Democrat, now could it?

Marshal said...

who many believed would lead Detroit out of its long economic downturn.

Really? Maybe they pretended to believe this because they couldn't publicly admit they believed he would lead taxpayer funds into Democratic pockets.

Of course they probably hoped a few more pockets than his would benefit. Suckers.

Big Mike said...

He got 28 years.

Is that all? A life sentence at hard labor cleaning up empty Detroit lots and using hand tools to help tear down derelict Detroit houses would seem to be more appropriate. But then there's that pesky eighth amendment.

David said...

When I was in grad school for history in Ann Arbor in 1966-67, I wrote a paper on demographic trends in American cities. It was clear that a number of major cities were soon going to have black majorities, and Detroit would be among the first, and certainly the most important economically.

This was around the time of the 12th Street riots, which itself was a product of demographic change. Sidney Fine, who was one of my professors in grad school at Michigan, wrote:

“The transition from white to black on Detroit’s near northwest side occurred at a remarkably rapid rate…In a familiar pattern of neighborhood succession, as blacks moved in after World War II, the Jews moved out. The first black migrants to the area were middle class persons seeking to escape the confines of Paradise Valley. They enjoyed about “five good years” in their new homes until underworld and seedier elements from Hastings Street and Paradise Valley, the poor and indigent from the inner city, and winos and derelicts from skid row flowed into the area. Some of the commercial establishments on Twelfth Street gave way to pool halls, liquor stores, sleazy bars, pawn shops, and second hand businesses. Already suffering from a housing shortage and lack of open space, Twelfth Street became more “densely packed” as apartments were subdivided and six to eight families began to live where two had resided before. The 21,376 persons per square mile in the area in 1960 were almost double the city’s average”

In 1967, blacks were about 40% of the population of Detroit. The 1967 riots accelerated the already significant white flight, and soon blacks could rule the city government. Of course they had far less influence on the reigon's economic elite's decisions, and the economy was also facing daunting change.

There were many human and institutional failures which lead to the pathetic condition of Detroit today. I think we probably give too little significance to the failure of leaders at every level, black and white, to confront the social disintegration of the community as a moral issue. Far from it, the local black leadership accelerated the moral decay with its own corruption, which everyone recognized but few had the courage to confront.

Morality matters. Standards of conduct matter. Without these all the programs in the world are not going to help a community.

The problems of Detroit were daunting enough in any context. But the newly empowered black leadership of the city, and ultimately even the voters who elected and tolerated them, made the task impossible by their failure to encourage high standards at all levels of activity.

rhhardin said...

Belmont Club takes the broader lesson.

[The founders] understood that human nature being what it was, the only way to limit the damage of bad government and prevent tyranny was to limit the scope of government itself and impose upon it a system of checks and balances.

David said...

The devil made them do it.

Peter said...


"Detroit: An American Autopsy" by Charlie LeDuff is an interesting read. Not objective, but well worth reading.

Doug said...

@St. George - Former big city rust belt mayor. Doing time in prison. First name: Kwame. Did they really NEED to say he was a democrat?

Moose said...

The long tail of the heritage of Coleman Young...

Beorn said...

For our next war I propose that we drop democrat politicians on our enemies instead of incendiary bombs; they do much more lasting damage!

Just look at the damning pictures comparing Hiroshima/Nagasaki with Detroit.

KenK said...

Kwame K. also ran the CoD like a criminal enterprise for 6 1/2 years too. He won't served the whole 28 but it might serve as a warning to others.

Dave D said...

Chuck wrote:
"What led Detroit to bankruptcy -- and this is beyond any reasonable dispute -- was 50 years of one-party Democrat party rule. "

Did you read the Detroit Free Press "study" on the cause of the Detroit bankrupcy? They went to GREAT lengths to "prove" that the citys problems go back to the white mayors before Young and the implemntation of the city income tax. The amount of mental gynastics they performed to NOT blame Democratic rule was dizzying.

Chuck said...

Dave D:

I did read that edition of the Sunday Free Press, and it was a remarkable study. I thought it was reasonably good work, by a newspaper that I normally despise. (A paper that twice endorsed Kilpatrick for mayor, and which routinely endorses any and every Democrat who has any prayer of winning an election. When the Freep endorses a Republican, you can be assured the the race is over.)

Dave what I found so amazing about the Freep study was how much it factually confirmed that the Democrat-union complex has so clearly run the city into the ground. There hasn't been any "white flight" from Detroit in the past ten years. The "white flight" occurred long ago. Detroit has been suffering from "black flight" over the past ten or even twenty years. The Free Press report showed how a fundamental inability to deal with hard budgetary issues (that is, the city unions) broke the city's back.

The Free Press is of course desperate to avoid linking the basic problem with one-party Democrat rule. But the farther it goes to avoid that reality, the less credible it gets. So now the Freep and the other liberal media outlets are on the tanget of "What can we do and say that is positive? Because blaming the past won't help the future." Baloney. We need to make sure that the whole country knows why Detroit failed. Because Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, California and New York (more one-party oligarchies) won't be far behind.

In other words, the entire tax-and-spend, lavish union control, living-wage, human rights commission, all-Democrat model for governance is completely broken and unable to pay its bills.

As Detroiters know, the Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing was not a surprise. People have been talking seriously about it for five years, and had been actively predicting it for a couple of years before it happened.

Unknown said...

David- I attended U-M as an undergrad, and I took a History class with Prof Sidney Fine. It was his last semester teaching. Fine professor.

Archie said...

Twenty eight years is a good start.

Carnifex said...

It's a nice story. but they are leaving out one other factor for Detroits' failing. Because there are dozens of cities across the US where the D's have been in control for decades but they aren't collapsing.

Cities like Berkley, Seattle, Austin.

What could this other factor be? It's written there in black and white, just waiting for you to see it.

MayBee said...

I don't believe anyone thought Kilpatrick could fix Detroit's problems, especially not the second time. The votes for him were the votes against the man. That's it. It was a deeper dive into the victim mentality that must have felt so good to the failing citizens of Detroit.

It must have been horrifying to the good citizens of Detroit.

SteveR said...

Because there are dozens of cities across the US where the D's have been in control for decades but they aren't collapsing.

Cities like Berkley, Seattle, Austin.


It's a bit more complex than just "D's". Just a bit.

Ron said...

A few years ago, the Freep even noted that people were exhuming their relatives from cemeteries in Detroit and reburying them in the suburbs where they are closer to their families...

So even the dead are fleeing Detroit...

St. George said...

I'm sorry, Chuck, for that off-handed comment about the law school. It was unsubstantiated.

David said...

Carniflex, it's more than just black and white, though the dysfunction of the "black culture" had a good bit to do with it. Sidney Fine, my old professor and a liberal, had to concede that.

The white business elite, drawn mostly from the automobile industry, also ran out of ideas and ideals. The auto industry did not adjust, and when it could not carry the community any more, not enough came along to replace it. Also, Detroit had the biggest white flight issue of any rust belt city I am aware of. There was a line drawn at the suburban borders, and the whites rushed across it to what they saw as safety.

I spent a lot of time in Detroit in the 1970's and 80's. I'd never seen a city where well educated and successful white people were as fearful and critical of blacks as Detroit. Perhaps the 1967 riots were the reason, and perhaps the lack of top level white leadership on the issue hurt also. And the black community itself gave a lot of whites reason to worry, for sure. I don't know the full dynamic, but it was very ugly.

n.n said...

It's an old, well known tale, repeated throughout history, progressive corruption culminates in dysfunctional convergence.

Oh, well. Men and women dream of instant or immediate gratification while ignoring the inevitable consequences. Just do what feels good, right? Perhaps for a time.

Marshal said...

SteveR said...
Cities like Berkley, Seattle, Austin.

It's a bit more complex than just "D's". Just a bit.


Interesting that all three examples are university towns largely supported by but not accountable to the rest of their state.

Broomhandle said...

Seattle is also generously fed by it's populous and productive environs. Believe me, if it had to rely on it's own resources, under the leadership of it's absolutely clownish Democrat city government, it would collapse in record time.

openidname said...

The Times article is surprisingly short on details about what exactly he got convicted of. Odd for the newspaper of record.

Mark Trade said...

What if you called Detroit a "bear of a city?"

Mel Plontz said...

28 is large, because he will see 85% of that sentence, even if he is Eddie Haskellish. So long sukkah!

jr565 said...

He got 28 years.

Is that all? A life sentence at hard labor cleaning up empty Detroit lots and using hand tools to help tear down derelict Detroit houses would seem to be more appropriate. But then there's that pesky eighth amendment.


They should set up walls around the city and let him serve out his term living in one of the abandoned houses along with other prisoners. Make it a prison like NYC in Escape From New York. Only in Detroit, there would be no escape.

I could see some cool pay per view opportunities, or reality programming. Survivor, but for real. Man against man. Man against animal. In what was formerly one of the jewels of America.

Tarrou said...

NPR was bitching about his sentence the other day, saying that if he were white, he'd have gotten far less. They stopped short of saying he should be cut loose, but were clearly uncomfortable with imprisoning a black man, because, you know, RACISM.