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Palmer Woods Is Not Detroit? Napoleon Clarifies Comment

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Palmer Woods along Strathcona Dr. (credit:  Wikimedia Commons).

Palmer Woods along Strathcona Dr. (credit: Wikimedia Commons).

DETROIT (WWJ) - Likely Detroit mayoral candidate Benny Napoleon is backpedaling on comment that his possible opponent is framing as divisive.

Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon and former DMC CEO Mike Duggan will both likely run for mayor in Detroit.  So when Napoleon was asked about his residency in the city compared to that of Duggan, who recently moved to the swanky Palmer Woods subdivision, Napoleon said, “Hell no. Palmer Woods is not Detroit.”

Talking to WWJ Newsradio 950’s Stephanie Davis, Napoleon clarified that comment.

“What I’m suggesting is Palmer Woods is one of the crown jewels of the city of Detroit, where people who have lived here for many, many years all aspire to live,” he said. “But the issues that exists in most of our neighborhoods are nonexistent in Palmer Woods.”

“I don’t have anything against it. I have family and friends who live there. It’s a place that the whole city should be like, and that was … the intent and meaning of my statement is that our entire city should be like Palmer Woods — where we don’t have drug houses, where we don’t have drive-by shootings,” Napoleon said.

Both men took up the issue via social media, Duggan tweeting that Napoleon was unveiling “his campaign platform.”

Napoleon further clarified his position on the topic on his Facebook page.

“Palmer Woods is not Detroit? Nothing is further from the truth. It is one of our prized neighborhoods. However, the Palmer Woods experience is far different from that of the average Detroiter’s neighborhood experience. Most Detroiters, including those in Palmer Woods, understand that without clarification. But to set the record straight, I believe Palmer Woods is not only Detroit, it is what we want Detroit neighborhoods to aspire to be.  And our city won’t be transformed until the Palmer Woods experience is one that is shared by all Detroiters.

As Detroiters, we embrace our city’s non-residential stakeholders. We embrace the fact that many are rooting for us; understanding that we will never have a thriving state of Michigan, or southeast region without a vibrant city of Detroit. However, they should respect that those of us who raise families here amid the crime, joblessness, dwindling city services and a struggling education system, and understand how personal it is when one lives amongst it.”

With its private security and historic estates designed by internationally acclaimed architects, Palmer Woods has been known as home to auto executives and Detroit’s social elite.

A website promoting the neighborhood, off Woodward Ave. north of Seven Mile Road, as an enclave “filled with harmony, diversity and warmth: multicultural residents, architectural treasures, and natural beauty in a wooded, urban setting.” Also, “a garden of creative and vibrant energy and home to doctors, writers, artists, musicians, lawyers, judges, educators, business owners, union members, students, innovators, leaders and professionals from all walks of life.”

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