Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan recently told a group of business leaders and lawmakers that the first few years of his administration were focused squarely on improving basic and essential services. Now he says he’s shifting toward carrying out a vision for the city’s future. To understand where the city is going—he says—everyone with a stake in Detroit’s success has to understand the city’s history that is deeply rooted in racism and land use.
Duggan joins Detroit Today to speak with Stephen Henderson about development in the city and how he’s working to set up a sustainable future.
“The point of the speech wasn’t to be, so much, backwards looking, but to lay out the principals by which we’re rebuilding this city today,” says Duggan, who says his speech wasn’t meant to blame. He says it was meant “to say how we got here. Here are the policies of how we got here and as the city rebuilds, we are going to do this in a way that’s fair and inclusive.”
The mayor also addresses recent news that the Detroit City Council has approved $34.5 million in taxpayer-funded bonds to allow the Pistons to move to Little Caesars Arena later this year. That’s after a lawsuit that claimed local authorities are illegally using tax revenues that could otherwise go to public schools and Wayne County parks to finance the move, and that voters should have control over the decision.
“If we hadn’t done that, (the money) would have gone to some office building or something else,” says Duggan, who says money funneled through Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is restricted in how it can be used. He says the idea that the money would have otherwise gone to schools “is just so false.”
“It is the state of Michigan whose taxes are being collected and used for this. It doesn’t affect the school children of Detroit a single dollar.”
Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.