MACKINAC ISLAND (WWJ) – The four leading candidates for Mayor of Detroit squared off Thursday night in another debate, this time on Mackinac Island as part of the annual Detroit Chamber of Commerce Policy Conference.
The debate featured Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon and former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan — the two perceived “front-runners” in the race.
Napoleon said it’s time for strong leadership in the city, and he thinks he’s the perfect man for the job.
“As a lifelong Detroiter, no one is more committed to changing what’s going in this community. At the end of the day, we’re going to need leadership that can bring all these people together and make them work together to save the city of Detroit,” he said.
Duggan said if he was elected as mayor, he would start with improvements that would make life better for the citizens of Detroit.
“We’ve got to come in doing three things at once: We have got to cut the police response time, second, we have got to get the streetlights on, and then third, rolling through the city in the blocks with one and two and three abandoned houses and start to slow the spread,” he said.
Also involved in the debate was State Representative Fred Durhal Jr., who also spoke about the crisis of abandoned homes throughout the city.
“Forty-eight hours is the normal time that it takes in Detroit for a house to become abandoned and then stripped to the core where you can’t do anything but demolish it. We’ve got to be able to grab hold of that,” he said.
The fourth participant was former State Representative Lisa Howze, who addressed Detroit’s estimated $15-billion legacy debt.
“We’re spending 20 percent on every dollar to service our debt,” she said. “In the city of Detroit the debt that we have is manageable if we do the basic blocking and tackling.”
WWJ Newsradio 950′s Roberta Jasina, Tom Jordan, Vickie Thomas and Charlie Langton are on Mackinac Island covering the conference. Stay tuned for live broadcasts throughout the day Friday.