I was going to spend my time this week blogging about how I can get everyone I know in the state to support Michigan businesses and boost our economy. I thought it was a novel idea, one presented by Hour Detroit recently and forwarded to me in an e-mail from a friend. The plan doesn't proffer much commitment, or require much inconvenience and sounds like an easy sell. But then the mayor of my city went to jail.
I still can't believe it. He went to jail, and got out and was charged with a couple of other felonies -- bringing the total to 10 -- and suddenly, that other "10 thing" I was going to talk about seemed meaningless.
When Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was ordered to go to jail Thursday morning I was in a meeting in a popular Detroit restaurant, frequented by many city officials and those who do business with the city, and every person to a man or woman was stunned. Some appeared shaken, while others appeared pleased. I was mostly upset at the fact that this sad saga continues to get worse.
This is another issue that the mayor brought on himself, and judge probably acted a bit too harshly but did what he felt he had to do to send a message -- either to Kilpatrick or critics watching this trial and expecting him to treat the mayor with kid gloves. A tether and higher bond would have accomplished the same thing. But it is what it is, and now the chorus sounding the "resign alarm" grows louder. And all the calls are falling on deaf ears.
The reality is Kilpatrick won't resign because he can't. He can't be without a job because, well, he's got mounting legal fees to worry about. He also has leverage as the city's leader, albeit fleeting, which means you still have to deal with him as long as he's in office and there are still benefits to that.
Resigning would also leave him without a job or power and facing the very real prospect of becoming a convicted felon, which would limit future options relative to practicing law or holding other offices. Gov. Jennifer Granholm could remove him, and may need to in order to save her own reputation, because she'll be job shopping in relative short order. Handling this matter firmly would be advantageous to her future prospects.
The only way this will end without the governor removing him is that some plea deal is worked out with Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy that will allow him to plead guilty to misdemeanors, do a little jail time and go find a job in Washington. That's my theory, for what it's worth.
In any case, I am sick of the phone calls and e-mails from out-of-towners who think this escalating debacle is hilarious. We're more than a laughing stock, which is pathetic given the number of people in this city who love it.
Oh yeah ... what I wanted to talk about, originally, is the concept of spending just $10 a week on Michigan products, and resultingly putting about $37 million each week back into the state's economy. It easy, just buy Kellogg's cereal, Kowalski sausage, Kars nuts, Faygo pop or other products made here instead of competing brands, and you will help boost the state's economy significantly. You could "double down," by shopping at a Michigan-based grocery chain like Meijer, any Spartan store, or the local Randazzo's or Westborn chains, and increase your economic impact.
Of course the plan would require everyone in the state to do so, but think about the impact possible even if we're able to get a sizable portion of Michiganders to step up to the plate. I'll certainly do my part. You? Click here to get more info on how.