Are Detroit businesses looking for a fresh face in the Mayor's office?

May 31, 2012

Every Thursday we look at Michigan politics with Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

Mayor Dave Bing yesterday announced that he and the Detroit City Council have come to an agreement on the city's 2012-2013 budget.

The Mayor is also attending the Mackinac Policy Conference but has avoided telling reporters outright whether he plans to run for reelection.

When Mayor Bing was elected he had a lot of support from the business community. Susan Demas said some observers think that isn't really the case anymore.

“He had a nice honeymoon period because there was enthusiasm that there was finally a businessman in the mayor's mansion. Given the depth of Detroit's problems and the mayor's lack of political experience, that honeymoon period ended pretty quickly," said Demas. She says she wouldn't be surprised if people are looking for fresh face in the next election.

Ken Sikkema said at this point, the business community is feeling frustrated because they supported Dave Bing as well as former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick because the "results have really not been all that good."

Sikkema said "they do bear some responsibility and they have a high level of frustration and I think they are going to be extremely cautious about the next election.”

Demas adds that businesses don't feel confident about moving to the city or remaining there, since many people view the city as unhealthy or struggling.

Sikkema said it's not even clear if the current consent agreement will work, and that's something on everyone's mind, including people in the business community and the Governor.

He said it's tricky expecting any one leader- be it a major, Governor, or President - to magically fix the city's problems, yet he said the business community can't walk away from the city of Detroit, because the fiscal consequences will reverberate throughout the region, and affect many places beyond just the city.