Last night I made my television debut on Fox News Detroit's "Let it Rip" show. I shared the riser with Lansing, Michigan Mayor Virg Bernero who ran against Rick Snyder in the gubernatorial race last year and Nolan Finley, the very conservative Editorial Page Editor from the Detroit News. The topic was the announcement that Governor Rick Snyder will be starting the process that could result in an Emergency Manager for Detroit.
With five of us on the show and only 15 minutes to work with, there wasn't a lot of time for anyone to say much of anything but I felt like I was able to make a couple of decent points in the few minutes I got.
I'm the bald dude in the middle.
I had a chance to talk to Mayor Bernero for about a half hour in the Green Room (actually was green) before the show started. He spent most of the time making a quite compelling case for regional metropolitan governments.
Nolan Finley is solidly in the camp that everything has been tried, enough time has been given, now it's time to take control over failing cities. He has no faith that other paradigms are available besides the Emergency Manager model.
Before (and again during) the show, when I spoke about how undemocratic the Emergency Manager Law is, the host Murray Feldman told me, "Well, it's an undemocratic law. That's how it's supposed to work." It's my contention that this is decidedly not the baseline from which we should work. We need to back up and start from a more fundamental position that holds democracy to be sacrosanct. If we start there, it may limit what can be done, but it preserves a bedrock foundation upon which our country is built. I'm actually rather appalled to hear people toss democracy aside as if it's optional if we don't like the way things are going; something to be abandoned when it's no longer convenient. But that is, indeed, how many feel and it should shock and worry us all.
This is all particularly egregious because, as I wrote about yesterday, if Detroit gets an Emergency Manager, 49+% of all Michigan African Americans will be without representative government and under the control of an Emergency Manager. Half. I'm not kidding. At. All.
Thanks to all the folks who sent me advice and encouragement regarding my maiden voyage into television. I had hoped to have far more to say but, as you can see from the clip, there was limited time and I shared a stage with several other men who make a living out of dominating conversations. I'm pretty convinced Mayor Bernero can speak for five minutes at a time without taking a breath!
Cross-posted from Eclectablog.