Posts Tagged ‘Detroit’

The Rise and Fall of Kwame Kilpatrick

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

The sentencing of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick made quite a stir today. Judge David Groner threw the proverbial book at Mr. Kilpatrick sentencing him with up to five years in prison. (Although, I think the announcement of Steve Yzerman heading to Tampa Bay as the GM of the Lightening is a bigger story. I’m probably in the minority.)

I’m wrestling with how I feel about the sentencing. On one hand, I agree with the Judge Groner’s reasoning for the sentence. Based on my observations, Mr. Kilpatrick has shown nothing but contempt for the City of Detroit and the American legal system working diligently to avoid paying his ordered restitution. In light of all that’s gone on, I agree that Mr. Kilpatrick should spend time in jail. None of the other penalties put in place by the court seem to have affected Mr. Kilpatrick’s behavior.

Yet, there’s another issue. What about the restitution? Judge Groner did not remove the requirement for restitution to be paid. Which I think is appropriate and important. The actions of Mr. Kilpatrick while he was mayor of Detroit cost the city over eight million dollars (of which the restitution covers only a small portion). But, how will he pay that restitution while incarcerated? The City of Detroit must now wait for at least 14 months before Mr. Kilpatrick will be able to begin to pay the rest of the money he owes to the city. In the mean time, the tax dollars of the citizens of Wayne County will be used to pay the costs associated with Mr. Kilpatrick’s incarceration.

That sticks in my craw. Our state is hurting financially and this situation seems to be exacerbating the situation. Yet, what else can the court do? The court ordered the restitution to be paid and Mr. Kilpatrick worked diligently to circumvent our legal system and avoid paying that restitution. I guess I wish the court had other options.

I’m curious, what do you think regarding the sentence handed out today by Judge Groner?

Why I Love Detroit

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of speaking at the Michigan Youth Leadership Summit hosted by the Young Lawyer’s Section of the State Bar of Michigan. The whole purpose of the event was to encourage high school students to step up and become leaders in their communities. As you probably know, Michigan is bleeding young talent and the organizers for this event are hoping to slow the exodus from Metro-Detroit be getting young people to invest here and make a difference here. The event featured messages from Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, Representative Thaddeus McCotter, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. The highlight of the event for most of the students was an appearance by the Detroit Redwings head of player development Jiri Fischer.

For my portion of the event, I spoke on the four essential characteristics of effective leadership, which I’ve featured before on this blog Care Relentlessly, Act Graciously, Lead Courageously, and Learn Continuously. After sharing those essential characteristics with the students I challenged them to develop those characteristics in their lives and step up and make a difference in their communities. It was exciting to see the students energized and engaged by everything that was going on at the Summit.

The best part, however, was the follow-up from the students. During lunch I had several students ask me for advice on how they could start serving and making a difference in their neighborhoods and communities. The Young Lawyers Section of the State Bar have also been contacted since the event by students asking for advice on next steps.

I love Detroit because there are people here who care enough to put on an event like the Michigan Youth Leadership Summit. I love Detroit because there are people here who care enough to accept an invitation and give up their Saturday morning to talk to high school students about leadership. I love Detroit because there are high school students both from Detroit and the suburbs that care enough to give up their Saturday morning to attend an event about how they can make a difference. I love Detroit because even though the rest of the country seems to have given up on us there are people here who will not give up. I love Detroit. I’m proud to be a part of the Detroit community and I’m looking forward to being a part of what God is doing here.

If you’re a Detroiter whether you live in the city or suburbs, no matter who you are what are you going to do? Have you given up on us too or are you going to be a part of what God’s doing here to make a difference in Detroit. On April 17, 2010 I called out high school students to make a difference. Now, they’re calling you out. Are you going to answer the call?