The mayoral forum held last week at the Music Hall showed just how entertaining these events can be. For starters, four of the five invited candidates had a good time making fun of the empty chair that represented Council President Gil Hill. (A little bird told News Hits he was busy pressing flesh at a Sheila Cockrel fundraiser in Greektown at the time.) For instance, when asked if he could stay past the original 8 p.m. ending time, candidate Charles Beckham nodded yes as he put an arm around the vacant seat and said, “Who knows, Gil Hill might still show up.”
For his part, Nick Hood, came out tossing a few jabs at those present. When 67-year-old Bill Brooks criticized the magnet schools Hood was touting, saying that they were elitist and divisive, Hood shot back: “Bill, I don’t know when you last had kids in the schools system.”
At which point Kwame Kilpatrick, who had a seat between the two, made a show of sliding his chair back so as not to get caught in the crossfire.
Kilpatrick was not above slinging some barbs of his own. For instance, after Hood did his best Al Gore imitation and attempted to dominate the proceedings by rambling on, often making the same points repeatedly, KK observed with a smile, “You can tell Nick is a preacher.”
Things got more intense when Kilpatrick, Democratic leader of the state House, responded to criticism that the Detroit delegation was failing to make the city’s needs adequately known to their legislative colleagues.
“The hatred of Detroit in some places in unbelievable,” said Kilpatrick, describing what he called the “viciously right-wing environment” that existed in a state he said could be called the “Mississippi of the North.”
(We wonder: Does Kwame only play the race card when appearing before an audience that is almost exclusively African-American, as was the case this night, or does he also pull it out when fund-raising in the whiter confines of Oakland County? Just asking.)
When Councilman Hood tried to call Kilpatrick for dealing in divisiveness, Kilpatrick began his retort by saying, “In an effort not to have this sound like a City Council meeting …”
Ouch!News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette, the Metro Times news editor. Call 313-202-8004 or e-mail [email protected]