Bernero and Benavides will decide whether Lansing becomes a Flint
April 24, 2005
The Lansing State Journal's lead story today is about the anticipated race between Mayor Tony Benavides and State Sen. Virg Bernero for the rights to lead this capital city. The reporter who wrote the story anticipates a campaign that will reach new levels of dirt.
The city of Lansing, MI is at a pivotal point. It's at a fork in the road. It will either enter a social and economic funk that it will never get out of or it will correct its course and get back on the path of municipal health.
Michigan's capital city is looking at the possibility of becoming another Flint, a once proud city that keeps descending to the point where hope is something that people there only read about.
People are taking their families and moving out of Lansing to the suburbs. And it's mainly white people which is leaving more and more African Americans in the city. Why? One big reason is schools. Many feel that their kids can get a better education away from the city.
There's a growing perception that the city is for black folks and poorer whites. And it's a spiral that keeps turning and turning and turning.
To reverse it, the city needs a leader that can pull people together, somebody who listens to everybody and is not moved just by a blood lust for a political office.
Michigan's in trouble and Lansing which is so dependent on the auto industry is pretty close to ground zero of economic problems looming on the horizon.
Right now, I'm not convinced about either candidate. I like Virg. He'd make a good neighbor. Tony Benavides, the incumbent, is my neighbor and I don't think he's said hello once.
Big problems await the next mayor. Voters need to pick the right guy. You know, maybe it shouldn't be a guy. I'm real open to somebody else. I'll be watching and I might even get involved. Maybe not.