DETROIT- If guiding the city of Detroit through a political scandal that resulted in prison time for former-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick isn’t enough, the city’s mayor must now deal with automakers struggling to make a profit. The new mayor, Dave Bing, is a political neophyte and is learning as he goes.
Before the cleaning crew has even finished the morning shift, Detroit mayor Dave Bing is already at his desk. He has a lot of work to do taking over a city in crisis.
“You get up early and you do what you need to do and you prepare yourself,” says Mayor Bing.
That work ethic has made Bing successful in two previous careers. He was an NBA player in the 60s and 70s and then became an entrepreneur forming a multi-million dollar steel company in the 80s.
When asked why he entered politics, Bing said, “A lot of people have basically given up. You’ve got to give people hope that change is possible.”
As Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley will tell you, the city is in desperate need of hope.
“You can look and see the ghosts of what was this fabulous Detroit. Detroit has some of the highest crime and unemployment rates in the country, a $300 million deficit and about a third of its residents live in poverty.”
Riley has written about Detroit for years and now waits with the rest of the city to see how the new mayor fares.
“This is a job for someone who is not in politics first. So this is absolutely tailor-made for someone who is a businessman, who understands bottom lines,” Riley says.
It’s a huge job and one that Bing is doing for absolutely nothing in return.
“I’m not going to charge the citizens one penny for this office. I want to do what’s right here to help turn this city around,” Bing says.