The bedevilment is in the details

Just how prepared is Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to handle his first Devil’s Night, the infamous eve just before Halloween when arsonists in years past have set the city ablaze? News Hits would love to share the mayor’s answer, but his office failed to return our numerous phone calls. Alas, we are not the only ones having trouble getting info on the subject. City Ombudsman John Eddings has likewise been unable to pry Devil’s Night details out of Kilpatrick’s people — and that has him worried. Although his chief task is to answer questions from the public, Eddings says he can’t even find out basic information, such as who in the city is spearheading the effort or what phone number citizens can call if they want to help patrol neighborhoods.

By now, the administration is usually sending out e-mails and holding meetings about Devil’s Night (christened Angel’s Night after previous administrations brought the problem under control by marshaling city workers and an army of citizen volunteers), says Eddings. But so far, he has not heard a peep from Kwame’s people.

After Coleman Young laid the blueprint for keeping arsonists in check, a nascent Archer administration slacked off only to find the flames come roaring back. After that, Dennis made the yearly anti-arson effort a high-priority, high-profile undertaking.

Are we about to see the Kilpatrick administration relearn the same lesson at the city’s expense?

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