Politico's Gushing Story on Mike Duggan the 'Unbeatable' Mayor
August 29th, 2017, 3:30 PM
Politico's chief Washington correspondent, Edward-Isaac Dovere, posts an overwhelmingly pro-Mike Duggan piece titled "How Detroit’s Mayor Became Unbeatable." He starts:
Something weird is happening in the Motor City: Government is working. And the guy in charge is about to get re-elected in a landslide because of it.
Detroit used to look like how America ends. Abandoned skyscrapers downtown. An 18-story abandoned train station looming at the edge of the skyline like a Roman ruin. Collapsing car factories, block after block of grass growing high over lots where the houses had burned or been abandoned. Bankrupt, with the governor putting a city manager in charge, looking at selling off its art museum’s collection to pay the bills—all while the glass towers of General Motors’ of-course named Renaissance Center stuck up high above neighborhoods that were literally falling apart.
Dovere had a 40-minute interview with Duggan for his podcast, "Off Message," and wrote the profile that gives Duggan credit for restoring streetlights and much more. Some locals argue Duggan too often gets credit for things that were in motion from past administrations or are the result of private investments.
Most of the profile doesn't give Detroiters any new information, but Dovere uses his access to discuss some interesting things.
On the politics of being a white mayor in an overwhelmingly black city:
The politics remain complicated. Take Scott Benson, an African-American city councilman who stood proudly with Duggan at a press conference in August announcing the new “SisterFriends” program to pair volunteer women with expecting mothers for help with nutrition, doctor visits and advice—“there has to be a way to take our expertise and apply it to the moms in this town,” Duggan said at the event, pointing out the kind of stat that captures a city still very much in crisis: One in six Detroit children has problems stemming from a preventable premature birth.
Benson stood side by side with the mayor, laughed with him, posed for photos with him after. Then when I walked up to him to ask what makes Duggan successful, he told me he wouldn’t talk on the record.
On Duggan's "workman-like" style:
Duggan really does drive himself around, solo, in his Ford SUV, to weekly community meetings where he gathers ideas and tends to bring them back to his staff, asking for reports on how to make them reality—or why they can’t. In an hour on a Friday morning at a career center in the North End, he recruited three people for an adult masonry and plumbing training course he’s set up at a public school, said he’d think about bringing back the Bookmobile, and encouraged people to bid for reclaimed houses they could pick up for $1,000 online at the city’s daily auctions.
On Duggan's rival in November, state Senator Coleman A. Young II:
Young, Duggan’s African-American opponent, barely has a campaign—his website was shut down in June because they didn’t pay the bills, and repeated efforts to try to get in touch with him went nowhere but a string of half-engaged conversations promising to set something up, and a phone number for his campaign manager that’s not taking messages. The dissatisfaction is high enough that he still got thousands of votes.
Of course, the fact that Young is a less-than-formidable opponent could be one of the real reasons Duggan may win in a landslide.