Michigan, USA – Detroit’s government tail spin has the entire nation talking about the once great city. Residents and business owners are commenting that Detroit’s legacy of automobile and manufacturing innovation, entertainment, and education has crumpled to corruption, incompetence, and theft. Detroit resident and and manager of Party City Beer and Wine in downtown Detroit, Martin Kouza says, “This City has challenges, but this can be a good chance for the city to change for the good.”
The city’s mounting problems seem only to get worse. Detroit’s embroiled Democratic Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been sentenced to jail time. Once again across the nation the city has come under scrutiny, costing city business owners and residents considerably.
The state of Michigan remains a battle ground for the presidential campaign and the city’s issues is casting a very dark cloud. Democratic Presidential candidate Barrak Obama’s campaign made it clear that the Detroit mayor was not to attend any of Obama’s events, fearing negative attention.
“What is wrong with the Democratic party,” says Julie Yono, a member of the Downriver Young Democrats. “We had a president, a New York and New Jersey governor, and now the mayor of Detroit, all disgraced over their lack of respect for women and the law. This entire party is falling apart because of sex. This is getting way out of control; I think it is time to leave the city and the party.”
The mayor, is accused of lying under oath which cost residents over 8 million dollars, obstructed justice, and eight other felony charges now has new charges of assaulting a police officer and ignoring court orders by leaving to Canada last month. The actions have led the county prosecutor's office to request Mr. Kilpatrick be punished and triggering the judge's ruling of a jail sentence.
Kouza is in the minority of those that feel Detroit’s future is anything but bleak. Detroit’s national attention has been anything but stellar. The city recently rated in Forbes as a ‘Dying City’ while other lists named Detroit as the most corrupt, dangerous, and educationally deprived city in America.
“This is not good for Chaldeans or any other business owner or resident of metro Detroit,” says Yono. “I don’t own or run a business, but I hear from so many other Chaldean business owners that city make it very hard to do business in this Detroit. Police protection is poor, taxes are high, and the city nit picks businesses on everything from signs to cooler temperatures.”
Kouza feels that city will come out of this situation better. “The city will have to work hard to rebuild its reputation. That means they will have to be more understanding and supportive of businesses. This will be a great opportunity for Chaldeans to come back to the city and reinvest,” says Kouza. “So many Chaldean business leaders have left the city that having them back will be important.”
Kouza may be optimistic, more and more Chaldeans are leaning towards Yono’s sentiments. Even U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Giles has had enough of the mayor’s shenanigans. "The first day you were before me, I thought I made it clear to you that this court comes first in everything," Giles said to Kilpatrick. Judge Giles revoked Kilpatrick's $75,000 10% bond and ordered Mayor Kilpatrick to jail for violating the terms of his bond, a decision the judge said he would have made for any “John Six-Pack” defendant before him.
Because he is spending the night in jail, Kilpatrick will be treated as a normal inmate at the Wayne County Jail. He will have to wear the normal hunter green jail uniform. However he will be segregated on the second floor, away from the general population.
The judge also refused to hear an emergency appeal by the mayor’s attorney, Jim Thomas. Thomas then stormed off to appeal before Judge Edward Ewell who is the presiding judge of the criminal division, but Ewell is off, so he came before Judge Thomas E. Jackson who is currently hearing a criminal case.
Judge Jackson held the appeal over until 9 a.m. Friday forcing the mayor, at minimum to spend a night in jail. Judge Jackson asked for a transcript and a report from the prisoner screening unit. Veteran attorneys in the courtroom said the screening can take up to 10 days.
The Detroit mayor's chief of staff, Kandia Milton — who was appointed deputy mayor six days ago — will run the city in Mr. Kilpatrick's absence, the mayor's office said in a statement.