Blackout Post script

An article in the Washington Post is still gnawing at our innards. Filed by Post staffer Robert E. Pierre last week, the story gives “hip-hop mayor” Kwame Kilpatrick a big ol’ wet kiss for his masterful handling of the blackout.

But right from the get-go, Pierre got a few things wrong. First, the article noted that even some critics were praising Kwame “for his steady handling of the power outage that plunged 2.1 million Detroit residents into darkness for two days.” The last time we looked, Detroit actually had fewer than 950,000 residents.

Pierre also reported that Kwame’s kudos came on the heels of Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox’s findings that rumors about a wild party at the Manoogian, falsified time sheets filed by top members of Kilpatrick’s security detail and other alleged transgressions were little more than “urban legend.”

Again, wrong-o. Cox’s urban legend quip dealt solely with the Manoogian party. What the AG said specifically about the overtime allegations was that his office’s investigation “confirmed overtime abuses and shoddy record keeping within the Executive Protective Unit.” The problem, said Cox, was that the “backdrop of poor management and the lack of written policies” made it impossible to prove a criminal intent.

But it was the Post’s fawning tone as much as the factual errors that galled us. It’s laughable, really, the way the Kwamster received credit for helping to keep order by going on TV and radio. Uh, were you watching TV during the blackout? Didn’t think so. And though reports in the local media — especially Darci McConnell in the Detroit News — indicate there was a bigger crime spike during the blackout than the mayor’s administration would like the world to believe, Kilpatrick is being lauded for the fact that, miraculously, the people of Detroit were able to go powerless without resorting to an orgy and looting and arson.

The mayor deserves little, if any, credit. Just as he deserves no blame for the things that went wrong during the blackout.

And so, to the people of Detroit — all 2.1 million of you — News Hits offers an admiring pat on the head. The world, apparently, is in awe because you were able to go nearly 48 hours without lights and, blessed with the benefit of having a broad-shouldered hip-hopper in firm command, somehow managed to keep from burning this city to the ground. Big props all around, y’all.

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