Reporting Charlie Langton
DETROIT (Talk Radio 1270) As city and state officials clash over whether Detroit should have external financial oversight, former Detroit Police Chief Ike McKinnon weighed in on what’s going on behind the scenes to try to save the city from bankruptcy.
McKinnon visited the Charlie Langton morning show to talk about his new role on the Detroit Financial Review Board, a role he was appointed to by Gov. Rick Snyder, though he said he’s an independent un-affiliated as a Republican or Democrat.
“Coming from the background that I had, I had to do a lot of soul-searching,” McKinnon said. “My goal has always been ‘What can I do for the city?’ I still live in Detroit…
“I was shot at eight times, I was stabbed twice, I almost gave my life for this, I was in Vietnam. I fought for my country, I’m going to give whatever I can to this city and I’m going to continue to do that, so I made the decision that I was going to do this. Despite all this yelling and screaming and name calling… and the name-calling, Charlie, oh my Lord.”
It’s gotten so bad that McKinnon, a well-known known and beloved figure in Detroit, said he has been approached in the market by people who said things like “You shouldn’t be out here by yourself because if you make the wrong decision something’s going to happen to you.”
“I didn’t know it was going to be as crazy as it is,” McKinnon said, noting, “You know, I still carry a gun.”
He added that unions haven’t tried to persuade him to take their side, nor has anyone else.
The review board approved their part of the deal in a unanimous decision Thursday, though McKinnon said per a court order he can’t discuss the details. City Council has yet to accept the agreement.
“I’m happy with the job that we did,” McKinnon said.
He’s worked with various governors, including Jennifer Granholm, Jim Blanchard, John Engler and even Bill Milliken, and McKinnon said he “really believes” what Snyder is saying about doing everything he can to save Michigan’s largest city.
“We have to give this a chance to see what happens … Consider the alternative,” McKinnon said. “Some people say ‘Let the city go into bankruptcy. I say ‘No, we don’t want that’ … I hope the unions will understand.”
Addressing concerns that the review board is racist
“That’s becomes something that you fall back upon, it’s always the race thing when there’s nothing else…That’s an absolute lie. Let’s look at the facts here. The city of Detroit is in really bad straits. Look at the city, the streets, the lights, at all the problems that we have. I don’t think white people are out turning the lights off, white people that are saying police shouldn’t respond, I don’t think there are white people killing young black people in the city of Detroit.”
Have you been called an Uncle Tom? Langton asked. “‘Numerous times,” McKinnon said. “It makes me feel that I know that I’m doing my job…I know that I’m doing the right thing.”