7:50 pm – You can read the text of the speech here. Nothing too memorable, I’m afraid. I liked most of what he said, but it was all boilerplate. No new proposals to speak of, and while he took on critics that claim DWSD is being suburbanized with gusto, I thought he sidestepped the widespread and serious questions that have arisen over the Detroit Works Project, his administration’s signature policy.
7:44 pm – Notably absent from the speech: Detroit Public Schools. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently called for the mayor to take over the sinking school system, but there’s no indication Bing wants the job. He didn’t say a word on the subject tonight.
7:41 pm – And the headlines are in. Detroit News: “Bing: Federal oversight of police nearing end.” Detroit Free Press: “Detroit Mayor Dave Bing unveils plans to cut crime, help neighborhoods, unite region.”
7:33 pm – Abrupt ending: “It’s time to ask, ‘What will your contribution be?'”
7:30 pm – Bing touts light rail as economic development. No mention of transit issues. What about the direly underfunded DDOT? Or the regional transit authority we’ll need to fund ongoing operations and expansion? Someone let Bing know that all successful cities need great transit systems.
7:25 pm – Nearly 1 in 5 Detroiters are unemployed. Bing’s claims of an economic turnaround ring hollow. I’m thrilled that Quicken moved downtown and the DMC is expanding, but overall Detroit is still bleeding jobs to the suburbs and elsewhere.
7:20 pm – Deficit down to $150 million. Submitting plan in March to eliminate the rest. But he calls out Snyder, who’s in the audience: “The [state] budget presented has potentially devastating consequences for the City of Detroit.”
7:18 pm – Bing says his water system deal is not a move toward regional ownership. Calls out critics for rehashing “old arguments,” and says, “Your time is over.” Camera pans to Joann Watson, perhaps Bing’s most vocal critic on City Council. The Michigan Citizen, which claims Bing “caved” on the water deal, must be fuming.
7:13 pm – Bing: “We’re working on a plan … Is it ready today? No.” We’ll see the first draft in April.
7:05 pm – The long federal oversight of the Detroit Police Department may soon be over: “We will be in full compliance by the end of this year.” Finally. Only took seven years!
7:04 pm – “We are a work in progress.” Warms the heart.
7:00 pm – I guess we’re not over the Chrysler ad. Dave Bing walks on stage to “Imported from Detroit.”
6:40 pm – According to the News, tonight’s themes will be delivering city services more efficiently, the importance of the Detroit Works Project, stabilizing the city’s finances, and economic development. In other words, Bing’s going to talk about everything he’s been criticized for failing to do so far.