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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Op/Ed: Media Resources Fail at Reporting Real City Issues in Detroit Mayoral Race, Focusing on Drama Instead

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As most of our readers are aware, Independent Underground News & Talk has covered the Detroit Mayoral Race and will continue to do so up until the final decision is made November 5, 2013. We have wrote about the election integrity debate on Mayoral Candidate Tom Barrow successful challenge removing former competitor Mike Duggan name from the ballot.

Detroit's Election Integrity Challenge 2013

Duggan, the former CEO of Detroit's Medical Center, Secretary of highly controversial Educational Achievement Authority, Wayne County Prosecutor from 2001-2003 and a licensed Attorney-at-Law, failed to either read or be properly informed by his campaign staff of provisions in sections 2-101 and 3-111 in Detroit City Charter.

Statutory Provisions in the Charter clearly defined potential candidates seeking an elected office in Michigan largest City, must be a resident for (1) year or 365 days before filing nomination petitions for office.

Tom Barrow challenged Duggan's residency status and won in two judicial courts of review: Wayne County 3rd Circuit Court in the decision by Judge Lita Mashini Popke and in a 2 to 1 decision by Michigan Appellate Court. Both rulings were clear and not unambiguous in anyway

Duggan stated in various media reports his move from Livonia, Michigan to Detroit occurred on April 16, 2012.
Either Duggan's campaign staff or the candidate himself made a decision to file nomination petitions for Detroit's Mayoral race first, on April 2, 2013 in a grave error to one year of residency provision requirement in the City Charter. If Duggan or his campaign staff made the choice to file his petitions on April 17, 2013, the candidate would be on Detroit's August 6, 2013 primary ballot.

What should have been a plain and simple decision with the prerequisite of reading at least two areas of Detroit City Charter ratified in 2012 has turned out into a highly politicized with our major news Media resources acting as co-conspirators in this effort.

Local Media Resources, Elected Officials Display of Bias 
In Detroit's Electoral Process

The Detroit Free Press and other local media resources boldly declared on May 1, 2013, Duggan and fellow hopeful Benny Napoleon "leaders" the City's Mayoral race well before all potential candidates filed petitions by May 14, 2013 deadline.

Detroit Free Press went further in the journalistic resource support for Duggan boasting on statistical polls based off a presumed random sample survey of 500 Detroit residents, declaring Duggan and Napoleon well had over 50% of potential voters supporting their candidacy.

Only problem with "The Freep's" reporting on these "random" polls, Detroit's total population is estimated to be well over 650,000 residents, thus making a random sample poll of 500 individuals lacking in analysis of Detroit potential voters thoughts about the race.

Broadcast media of WDIV - Channel 4 and WXYZ - Channel 7 were equality unbalanced in what should be unbiased reporting on the race. Hereby drafting excuses for Mike Duggan and/or his campaign staff failure to abide candidate residency provisions in Detroit's Charter. 

As an Elected official Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey ruled along with appointed Election Commission Review Board member interim City Attorney Edward Keelen, in a now known grave error keeping Duggan on the ballot.

At least three other candidates, including former City Council candidate Marc Cayce, was removed from ballot contention for not meeting the Charter Residency Provision cause. Winfrey's decision in particular revealed bias and favoritism that should not exist within the City Clerk position in charge of ensuring a fair election process for all. 

Specifically bias, favoritism and errors of law has overshadowed the City's Mayoral race. With Detroit's known operational and budgetary issues, media resources are expected to foster debate on how the candidate, if elected, would solve Detroit's problems and let voters make the final decision.

In lieu of fulfilling a true informational resource role, it appears local media resources desire to "be the story" instead of "reporting the story". With a end result of a highly polarized, less informed voting populace in its' place.

Focus on Candidates Remaining In Detroit's Mayoral Race, 
Leaving the Drama Aside for a Change

What has occurred with Mike Duggan's formerly candidacy for Mayor of Detroit is not about Duggan's Caucasian ethnic background versus the remaining largely African-American field. Additionally, it is not about how some of the above named media resources now boldly declaring Wayne County Sheriff and Mayoral Candidate Benny Napoleon the presumed now "leader" in this contest after Duggan's demise.

Video Courtesy of WXYZ-Channel 7

It equality not about how Tom Barrow is a "Spoiler Mayoral Candidate" for ensuring all seeking an elected office position in Detroit meet Statutory City Charter provisions.

Worst is the below highly questionable paragraphs written on behalf of Detroit Free Press Journalist Stephen Henderson describing in his view a "banana republic" field of remaining candidates in Detroit's Mayoral race, after Duggan's decision not to wage a write-in campaign.

"There’s also grand irony in the efforts of candidate Tom Barrow, a convicted felon (who has long asserted his own innocence, but has not prevailed in convincing the courts to overturn his conviction for bank fraud and tax evasion) who was thrice rejected by Detroit voters, to toss Duggan from the ballot. 
The race also features: a sheriff (Benny Napoleon) who has never met a budget and whose tenure as Detroit police chief ended with the imposition of a federal consent decree; the city’s former general counsel, whose behavior in defiance of the mayor helped earn Detroit an important credit downgrade and cost tens of millions more in interest payments, and a state representative who just got outed as a chronic truant, choosing at least one recent day to water his grass in Detroit rather than vote in Lansing."
Does Henderson written assertion assist Detroit's voters with making an informed decision who should lead Detroit's future into 2014 and beyond? Clearly, does not.

Detroit's residents face an important decision ahead to make in August 6th primary and November 5th general election. The City is under control of an unelected Emergency Financial Manager Kevin Orr appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) and will continue to be, well into the new potential mayor's first year in office.

Promises made to former City Workers with pension guarantees after years of defined service are at risk due to Orr's mandate on cutting Detroit's estimated $327 billion dollar deficit, which includes approximately $2.5 Billion in payments to creditors owed. City amenities as Belle Isle, additional city parks, environmental services, DDOT (bus transportation services), works in Detroit Institute of Arts, Water Department and other property could be sold to corporate bidders for pennies on the dollar.

With such Detroit residents need a leader who can work with Bankruptcy Attorney/Emergency Financial Manager Kevin Orr to protect the City assets from a fire sale, squarely focused on enhancing corporate profits, to the determent of services residents of Michigan's largest locality depend on.

Who will the leader be among the remaining field of Mayoral candidate is yet to be determined. Local media resources would be wise to do their presumed job of informing the public. Equality, officials taking oaths ensuring fair elections process, should perform those duties in the months ahead without bias or continued drama.

Detroit voting populace plus Michiganders who care about "The World's Automobile Capital" extraordinarily return back into a World Class City, will be watching.

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