In a plea agreement after a days worth of testimony before Michigan’s Governor, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to two felony charges. The deal includes resigning his office, spending 4 months in jail, 5 years of probation, and a $1,000,000 fine. He also pleaded no contest to a related assault case.
About time the Mayor did the right thing, but the damage has been done.
For close to a year, the scandal over secret court agreements, sex, and text messages has almost dominated the day to day news in this city, and has occasionally spilled over into not only the national news but international news as well. It was very disconcerting to me to turn on the BBC in Germany and see Kilpatrick’s face.
While the scandal went on, the business of the city came to a standstill as the City Council argued, harangued, and petitioned the courts and the Governor to remove the Mayor from office. And Detroit can ill-afford the wasted time. Detroit is hurting – badly – from the decline of the automotive industry. Burned out abandoned houses, crime, and overall decay grip the city while the various members of the administration and Council maneuver for political power. In some respects, the increasing number of overgrown lots & ruins have come to symbolize the decline of the city and the apparent ineptitude & inability of the city’s government to restore the city back to its former glory.
I take no joy in seeing the Mayor resign, nor the troubles he has gotten himself into. Those are the consequences of bad decisions and actions that he must take responsibility for. The real tragedy of it is that he has taken the city down with him.