Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan's State of the City: Ambitious, well-received
Duggan focuses on neighborhoods, bus transit, EMS, budget and more
DETROIT – It was a whirlwind of an hour. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan defied conventional political wisdom, eschewed a teleprompter and didn't have a printed-out speech. He spoke from notes and from the heart.
Duggan spent the first 20 minutes covering neighborhood revitalization initiatives, including interest-free loans to help owners fix up properties or help with avoiding foreclosure.
The remaining 40 minutes touched on everything: Eighty new buses are coming, relighting the city is being completed ahead of schedule, Detroit is finally catching up to modern IT standards, the EMS response time is coming down -- and the list goes on and on.
Then, the big one, in a city that survived the largest municipal bankruptcy filing ever.
"We are now seven months through the year and I'm very proud to say we are running below expenses, above revenue and we are going to finish this year with a balanced budget for the first time since 2002," Duggan said.
What he is not ready to do is tackle the Detroit Public Schools and said so, but made it clear he was prepared to be a good partner.
Duggan spent a good portion of the evening lavishing praise on others. It was a rare combination of a speech that was informative and inspirational.
Unsurprisingly, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who knows a thing or two about giving a great speech, had the best one-liner afterwards.
"I thought it was a rouser," Patterson said. "He left them screaming on their feet. I'm going home to list my condo in Clarkston; I'm moving back to Rosedale Park."
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