Questions & answers

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A mea culpa is in order, and to give it the play it deserves, I’ll make it here, at the top.

In the print version of last week’s paper containing our Detroit mayoral endorsement package, a parenthetical explanation in the Q & A with Kwame Kilpatrick was factually wrong. During the mayor’s recounting of his city credit card charges in Las Vegas, he referred to repaying a bill “for a Dream nightclub,” which I identified as an apparent reference to the Dream Palace, a Vegas strip club. Kilpatrick was in fact referring to a nightclub in Washington, D.C., not a strip joint. I personally made an assumption — bad form for a journalist — checked it anyway, found it to be wrong and corrected it in a later version of the transcript. The correct version ran on our Web site, but an earlier version made it to print.

My bad, and I offer a sincere apology for it to Kilpatrick and his campaign. No excuses. No spin. No stonewalling. No Bible verses on the subject of forgiveness. No blaming my staff. Just an admission that I was wrong.


A few words about our endorsement of Freman Hendrix in next week’s Detroit primary.

We got a number of responses — and were the subject of some online chatter — mostly from people who identified themselves as supporters of Sharon McPhail in her own mayoral bid. Because the endorsement was made with reservations, some asked why we would endorse at all.

It’s quite simple. I believe that not endorsing is a lot like not voting. This primary is generally regarded as the most crucial in contemporary Detroit history, and I fervently believe that no one, not a single registered voter, should sit it out.

That’s in keeping with the broader belief that American citizens have an obligation to vote in any public election for which they’re eligible, and for a very old-fashioned reason — too many lives were lost, too much blood was shed, and too many struggles were hard-fought to win our right to free and democratic elections. To sit one out because you don’t like the choices is lame and shameful. Everyone in this country has seen how close even presidential elections can be. Our votes count, win or lose, and have meaning far beyond the candidate or issue.


Finally, a word about the new openness and effort to better inform and communicate with the press that was promised by Mayor Kilpatrick in our pre-endorsement interviews with him.

I give you this:

Please disregard the previous e-mail about this week’s briefing. We will adhere to the press briefing schedule we sent out on May 13, which indicated we would not be having a briefing today, July 25. We will not be having a briefing Wednesday, July 27, but we will send you a new briefing schedule on that day.

That just poured into our e-mail box from one of the mayor’s press aides with the latest on the mayor’s “weekly” press briefing. Confused? Let me translate.

“The mayor doesn’t want to talk to you. More specifically, he doesn’t want to hear or answer your questions. Despite his status as an incumbent, he’s having a hard time raising money to back another term. Credibility is still a major problem, and it’s an uphill battle to stage-manage our manufactured response to all those ‘rumors’ and ‘funny headlines’ mentioned in one of our campaign ads.

“See you after the election. Maybe.”

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