God, I love this town. Corruption has such a happy shamelessness here. As what the Freep has branded “Text Message Scandal” unfolds, the new details keep getting weirder. The mayor has yet to emerge “from seclusion,” but Monday his ex-paramour, the chief of staff, quit her job. The battlefield promotion went to one Kandia Milton, who announced his first order of business would be…anyone?
Yes, paying $10,000 in back property taxes. It gets better:
Other problems uncovered:
• In the fall, Milton and his wife, Lisa, emerged from Chapter 13 bankruptcy. According to the bankruptcy records that the couple filed in August 2006, they owed $389,207 to a variety of creditors, including mortgages, credit cards, taxes and utility bills.
• They lost two Detroit properties at sheriff’s sales in April and May 2006.
• At one point, Milton had amassed $1,080 in parking ticket fines owed to the city.
• In April 2006, he was cited by Detroit police for failing to properly secure a child passenger. He paid a $235 fine, according to 36th District Court records.
I remember one morning back in my talk-radio days, when my co-host, a city councilman, casually mentioned that he’d paid a bunch of parking tickets the day before. His m.o. was to let them pile up in the glove compartment until his business took him to the city clerk’s office, then find out what his outstanding balance was and pay it all at once. He found this process far more efficient than worrying about having change for the meter and paying them one by one. Someone stopped me later and railed for a while about the “disrespect for the law” shown by this alleged public role model, and his shamelessness! In talking about it right out in the open! As though parking tickets were postcards from your doctor reminding you to get your cholesterol checked! The nerve!
Well, that was Fort Wayne, and this is Detroit. Meet the mayor’s new chief of staff. Model citizen.
While the News had that story, the Freep had another, a confirmation from a “fancy North Carolina resort” that the mayor, while passing the MLK holiday weekend there, officially alone and on official business — he was speaking at a King memorial breakfast — received a $504 “massage for two.”
Resort literature says, “The deluxe couples room is sprinkled with rose petals, then you and your significant other will receive a tandem candlelit Grove Park Inn Spa Massage, followed by an aromatic whirlpool bath. Sip chilled champagne while feeding each other chocolate-covered strawberries.”
The mayor’s companion is described as one “Carmen Slowski.” And yes, another media outlet noted the resemblance of the name to that of a fictional
amphibian reptilian pitchwoman.
You have to be a pretty stupid racist to take any delight or pleasure in this latest scandal.
OK, I’m chastened. He’s right that, beyond the cheap titillation, there’s absolutely nothing good to come out of this mess. But it does make the morning papers a lot more interesting. Let’s leave it at that.
Speaking of Detroit and its problems: I heard yet another stolen-car story the other day. I used to know hardly anyone who’d had a car stolen in circumstances short of extreme stupidity, i.e. leaving the keys in the ignition. Now I know half a dozen at least, and most around here. Hell, a couple of our local commenter JohnC’s friends had their car stolen, and it turned up on Belle Isle with a dead body in it. The story I heard the other day was typical, and had the effect of making me see certain things through a thief’s eyes. This lady was pumping her gas at one of those conveniently located stations on the service drive to a major freeway, and discovered the bad guys find it convenient, too. She unhooked the hose, turned to hang it up, and some dude jumped into the driver’s seat and was flying down the on-ramp to I-94 before she could say, “What the-?”
What’s perhaps miraculous is that they actually found the car, a month later. It was down in the D with a temporary tag, 3,000 more miles than it had when it was stolen, significant body damage and a nicely banged-up undercarriage. They snipped the OnStar wiring first thing, of course.
I used to wonder if all these new security devices on cars — the RFID fobs, GPS tracking, etc. — were absolutely necessary. No more.
Ah, well. As long as I drive an unsexy model with a stick shift, I feel a certain measure of safety. Foolish, perhaps, but let me cling to my illusions.
Time to fasten eyes on the day ahead. We had a day or two of mild temperatures, and then around nightfall yesterday the wind began to howl, and the thermometer dropped 40 degrees overnight. Yesterday: mid-40s. At this moment…checking widget…9 above. Yikes. I retrieved my garbage-can lid from the neighbor’s yard this morning, and reflected I never used to notice the weather beyond the obvious sweater/umbrella/boots wardrobe decisions. Probably because, as a younger woman, I was preoccupied with my internal weather report. It was like the Dutch Antilles, where the media doesn’t report daily conditions in anything other than a hurricane, because they’re always the same: High 70s with westerly winds of 10-15 miles per hour, chance of afternoon showers. Mine was: Steamy, with a 70 percent chance of bad decisions. Around my mid-30s I noticed I no longer worried that my palms were sweaty when I shook someone’s hand. The great cooling had begun. Someday I will reach room temperature, but until then, I have an on-spec essay to polish and throw out there for the usual rejections. Have a great day.