DETROIT (WWJ) – Thirteen candidates. Different ideas. But they all think they should be the next mayor of Detroit. With one week until the Aug. 6th primary, they gathered at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History in Detroit.

Mayoral candidate and current Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon was quite vocal about the emergency financial manager’s role in the city’s bankruptcy process:

“You do not impose your will on a community if you believe that the people there are important,” said Napoleon. “I think that the emergency manager is illegal, I believe it’s a violation of the constitution … now that we have declared bankruptcy – why do we need an emergency manager? A bankruptcy judge is in charge at this point – the emergency manager has no authority in the city of Detroit any more. So, I am opposed to the emergency manager, I’ve been opposed since day one.”

Former Corporation Council President Chrystal Crittenton is also a candidate for mayor of Detroit. And if she’s elected, one of the first items on her agenda would be to fire Emergency Financial Manager Kevyn Orr:

“You do not … need to live with someone who is in your city illegally – who has the ability and the authority, the elected authority to sell off all of your assets – we are going to wake up and we will be trespassers in our own city.”

Detroit Free Press Editorial Page Editor Stephen Henderson was on the panel asking questions of the group, which included write-in candidate Mike Duggan, before the debate he spoke with WWJ.

“I don’t think the write-in part of it is the hurdle for him, I think the hurdle for him is getting people to vote for him,” said Henderson. “I think he’s got a number of significant issues that have given voters here pause – and that’s what will hold them back.”

Henderson says the city needs someone who will be able to bring in new investment after the bankruptcy is over.

“You can’t just do it in downtown and Midtown – you’ve got to find a way to make that help neighborhoods get better – help schools get better – those are the things that are going to drive the return of the middle-class families to the city – which is what you need to be truly thriving.”

The debate was held at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. It was moderated by WWJ Morning Anchor Tom Jordan.


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