Boston mayor defends his comments about Detroit

Thomas Menino tells magazine he would 'blow up' Detroit and 'start all over'

By Halston Herrera - Digital news editor

DETROIT - Boston Mayor Thomas Menino on Wednesday defended comments he made recently to a magazine about Detroit.

What was said:

In a New York Times Magazine article that first appeared online last week, Menino said Detroit is a place he'd like to visit, then added the rest when asked what he'd do there: ""Blow up the place and start all over."

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing called Menino's comments insensitive.

"I would think the mayor of a city that recently experienced a deadly bombing attack would be more sensitive and not use the phrase 'blow up,'" Bing said. 

Three people were killed and more than 260 injured in April when pressure cookers packed with explosives, nails, ball bearings and metal shards detonated near the finish line of the popular Boston Marathon.

One of the suspects was killed three days later in a gun battle with police. His brother was captured and has pleaded not guilty to using a weapon of mass destruction charges.

Menino also told the magazine that "inaction" and "leadership" are behind some of Detroit's problems, like boarded up buildings, nonworking streetlights and lengthy police response times to 911 calls.

Detroit mayor says Menino didn't have facts straight:

"The Detroit Police Department's response time is not - and has never been - 90 minutes," Bing said. "And, most of our city's buildings are not boarded up. Since taking office more than four years ago, there has been tireless action on the part of my administration to improve the quality of life for our citizens. In fact, I invite Mayor Menino to visit Detroit to see our city for himself."

Detroit in July became the largest city in the country to seek bankruptcy when state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr filed for court protection as he tries to restructure finances.

Orr said Detroit's debt could be $18 billion or more.

Menino says numbers came from city itself

Talking to the press, Menino said he wasn't making any facts or figures up about Detroit.

"I want to make it perfectly clear, the numbers I gave came out of their financial report. I read the report on the financial standings in the city. That's what they came up with," he said.

Still, he said he would "love" to visit the city. 

"Detroit has issues and we all should be there to help them out," he added.

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.