Detroit Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire: Brenda K. Sanders

Brenda K. Sanders

Q: If elected in the May special run-off election, and, assuming you are among the two finishers in the August primary, what three things can you promise to accomplish before the November run-off election?

A: Because there are so many variables and entities that must be employed in order to accomplish any one goal that will benefit the City of Detroit, it would be difficult to promise to accomplish certain things without an assessment of the condition of the City.  I would promise to intensely review and discuss solutions to the problems that are currently facing our City and to take as many steps as possible to bring about changes to accomplish positive change.  Change is usually slow and gradual, but certain.  As an administrator I would promise change, however, change must be gradual and stable.  I do not believe in quick fixes.

Q: Depending on who is doing the estimating, the city of Detroit faces a potential budget deficit of $100 million to $200 million by the end of this fiscal year in June. Name three specific cuts you'd make to help balance the budget and the savings they'd achieve.

A: I believe that balancing the budget for the City of Detroit should begin with a survey of what are the essential services that are crucial to the operation and successful function of the City.  Such a survey would require an intense scrutiny of the operating costs incurred by the City of Detroit on a daily basis.  Such a survey can only be done by qualified and experienced financial analysts working with the City Council and the Office of the Mayor.  Additionally, I believe that non-essential services should be reduced temporarily until the budget can be balanced and the City of Detroit can come into some fiscal stability.

Q: The city of Detroit continues to lose thousands of residents a year. Name one innovative program that you'd implement to reverse that trend.

A: I was born in the City of Detroit.  I have been a resident of the City of Detroit for 45 years.  I have never lived in the suburbs in all of those 45 years.  One has to be committed to endure some of the difficulties that sometimes accompany urban living.  However, in answer to your question, I believe that in order to attract residents to the City of Detroit, we must implement the same programs that other cities implement in order to attract residents.  Detroit has lost residents because of lack of jobs, the high rate of property taxes in the City of Detroit and the reduction of many city services.  The high rate of crime has sometimes also been a factor when residents leave the City.  I would certainly seek to implement programs that address these problems and hopefully attract residents back to the City of Detroit.

Q: Do you think Detroit should continue to send garbage to its waste-to-energy incinerator?

A: If the waste-to-energy incinerator is, in fact, one that is environmentally safe, I believe that it would be beneficial to continue the operation.  However, I believe that we as Detroiters should explore other mechanisms by which we can dispose of our trash that would be environmentally friendly.  I would be open to exploring other avenues by which we can convert our garbage to an energy resource such as some of the recycling programs that have been successful.

Q: To reduce dependence on foreign oil and address the problem of climate change, President-elect Obama is promising that the federal government will make significant expenditures to promote the development of green technologies and energy-efficiency programs. What would you do as mayor to help Detroit become a leader in the "green economy"?

A: I would certainly follow any federal mandates that may be imposed to promote the development of green technologies and energy efficient programs.  Additionally, I perceive nature as being extremely valuable and that we should implement policies that seek to maintain it. We should be concerned with the branch of economics that is concerned with the environment and I believe that actions should be taken to protect nature and encourage the positive co-existence of both humans and nature.

Q: Can you recount a difficult situation that required you to display a high degree of personal integrity?

A:  I was a practicing attorney for almost 24 years.  The daily practice of law is one that demands a high degree of personal integrity.  Many of the cases presented difficult situations however; personal integrity is a character trait that must be employed on a daily basis.  I handled thousands and thousands of cases over the years.  I had the opportunity to serve thousands of citizens in many different ways.  One has to have integrity and accountability in every situation.

Q: What is one of the biggest mistakes you've made in your life, and what did you learn from it?

A: One major mistake that I have made in my life is delaying the pursuit and fulfillment of personal life goals.  I believe that we must move forward to fulfill our dreams and goals as soon as one determines that specific life goals are destined for fulfillment in one's life.  I delayed the pursuit of my musical aspirations because of my legal career, however, I believe that if we persist, we can multi-task and advance all of all talents and gifts to bless others.

Q: Name one of your favorite books (other than the Bible). Why is it significant?

A: The Servant Leader Transforming your Heart, Head, Hands and Habits by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges.  This book is significant because it espouses the concept that leadership is servant based.  Leadership also means accountability.  I believe that the leadership principles outlined in "The Servant Leader" exemplify principles by which one should lead.  Effective leadership is accountable leadership. 

Q: Tell us what one of your favorite movies is, and why it is that you like it so much.

A: My favorite movie is "Cinderella Man".  Russell Crowe plays the boxer, James Braddock, a supposedly washed up boxer who came back to become a champion and an inspiration in the 1930s.  He overcame hardship and the depression to reign as the heavyweight champion of the world.  "Cinderella Man" is a true story.

Q: Is there a piece of music or work of art that moves you deeply? Tell us why.

A: Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.  I am a harpist.  I am a person that is big on music appreciation.   Beethoven wrote the Ninth Symphony which is one of his greatest works.  I am inspired by the work because Beethoven was deaf.  He could not hear his melodies.  They were melodies that were given to him by God.  He had to hire an assistant to conduct the symphonies for him.  Beethoven was truly an amazing man given his disabilities and despite those disabilities he was one of the most prolific composers of his day.

Q: What was your nickname as a kid?

A: I did not have a nickname as a kid. 

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