What Detroit Doesn't Need

For a while now, I've thought of putting up a post regarding an ongoing story in southeast Michigan, for all those of you who are outside the state, and thus most likely blissfully unaware of this saga, though it is the front newspaper story for Detroit more days than not.

Our favorite exclamation for Detroit (recently one of Forbes' Top 10 Fastest Dying US Cities) comes from Michigander Sufjan Stevens: "O Detroit! Lift Up Your Weary Head!" The city has an incredible amount of need. It would seem that almost any willing hand would be a net asset to this city. Instead, they have Kwame Kilpatrick.

Once a rising star and apparently fairly impressive politician, he was elected at the age of 31 to be mayor of Detroit. His first term was scandalized with $210,000 worth of inappropriate charges on the city's dime, including a luxury car for his wife, very expensive champagne, and day spa visits. After this being brought to light, he has paid back $9000 of the charges. Then, he was re-elected for a second term. (Shock and awe.)

The first term now seems like the good ole' days when Kwame was just spending the money needed for schools and healthcare on Moet et Chandon. Since then, the allegations have been marital infidelity, perjury, conspiracy, and murder. The explicit text messages he sent to his staffwoman and "mistress" were the basis for the court case against him. He is the only current mayor of a major US city to be charged with a felony while in office. During this whole circus, he appeared on TV and gave Rachel's personal favorite Kwame-ism: "I won't quit on you, Detroit." Please, Kwame, quit on us.

Last month, he violated the terms of his bond and went to Canada without approval, and thus got landed in jail. Tomorrow, the governor of the state will hold a hearing regarding whether or not to remove him from office. There's more of the story here. The murder allegations are particularly and unsurprisingly disturbing. So, pray for the people of Detroit, and have a little grace for the other political circles that aren't as bad as they could be.