Flashpoint 8/13/17: Coleman Young II talks Detroit election; West Riverfront Park design contest

(Click on the link above to watch the full video)

Watch Flashpoint at 10 a.m. on Local 4

By Devin Scillian – Anchor

DETROIT – Detroit mayoral candidate Coleman Young II and city clerk candidate Garlin Gilchrist talk about Detroit’s upcoming election after last week’s primary.

Also, a contest for what Detroit’s West Riverfront Park should look like was discussed.

Flashpoint is hosted by WDIV Local 4 anchor Devin Scillian. Watch Flashpoint on WDIV at 10 a.m. on Sundays.

Copyright 2017 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit – All rights reserved.

Young brings aggressive Senate style to mayor’s race


(Photo: Dale G. Young / The Detroit News)


Lansing — Detroit mayoral candidate Coleman Young II has a gift for gab that has often entertained but occasionally frustrated colleagues during his nearly 11 years in the Michigan Legislature, where he’s developed a reputation as one of the most aggressive orators.

The 34-year-old state senator jumped into verbal jousting soon after joining the House in 2007, when a shouting match involving now-Sen. Jack Brandenburg nearly escalated “into a fist fight on the floor,” the Macomb County Republican recalls.

“One thing led to another and all of a sudden he was just coming straight at me,” said Brandenburg, who stands well over 6 feet tall and is known to speak his mind. “People pulled us apart. We were going to get right down to it.”

Young apologized the morning after the heated budget debate, said Brandenburg, who wrote it off as a disagreement between “two hard heads from the neighborhood.”

A decade later, the 65-year-old Harrison Township lawmaker considers Young a friend.

“I respect him and I like him,” Brandenburg said. “Obviously our styles are different; however, I think when the lights and the cameras go off, you have a very intelligent and soulful young man.”

In interviews with The Detroit News, fellow senators and staff described Young as a hard worker, caring individual and passionate advocate for Detroit. They say he is known to carry around stacks of bills and appears to read most of them line-by-line.

Young doesn’t recall the details of the decade-old incident with Brandenburg. But as he approaches the last year of his final Senate term, he said he has no regrets about his early days in the Legislature.

“Listen, as a man, you have to take a stand for what you believe in, and you have to stand up for what’s right, and you have to have a code of conduct,” Young said. “Sometimes that’s going to rub people the wrong way.”

While colleagues like Young, few think he has a realistic opportunity to defeat Mayor Mike Duggan, who won the primary election 68 percent to 27 percent over Young and has a major fundraising advantage. None of Young’s fellow Detroit senators is backing him in the November general election.

Sen. Ian Conyers early on endorsed Duggan. Sen. Morris Hood hasn’t endorsed and Sen. Bert Johnson, who is fighting federal corruption charges, said he hasn’t been asked to back anyone.

“I think that’s why we have the democratic process: Everyone has a chance,” Hood said. “We’ve seen stranger things happen in elections around this state and even in this country the past couple years.”

Democrats are badly outnumbered in the Senate — there are more members of “the Wu-Tang Clan” than in the caucus, Young once joked — so words are one of their most powerful weapons. Young is a vocal leader in that regard, often mixing passionate pleas with impromptu humor.

“Any man that would sacrifice democracy for money deserves neither democracy nor money,” Young said in 2014 during a 12-minute speech opposing the so-called “grand bargain” that paved Detroit’s exit from the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcy.

The plan saw the state contribute $195 million as part of a deal to minimize pension cuts for municipal retirees. It was paired with hundreds of millions of dollars from philanthropic groups to prevent a possible fire sale at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Young, one of two senators to vote against the legislation, blasted the deal because it created a long-term Financial Review Commission that continues to oversee Detroit budgets even though the city is no longer under a state-appointed emergency manager.

“This oversight commission is like me at Buffalo Wild Wings — once you let ’em in, they never leave,” he said before the vote.

For similar reasons, he also voted in 2016 against a $617 million Detroit Public Schools bailout that restored an elected school board but expanded oversight by the Financial Review Commission, arguing it would not do enough to help the district survive.

“You can say whatever you want to say about me, you can say whatever you want about my family, but we have never sold the people out,” said Young, who was raised by his mother but is the son of former Mayor Coleman Young.

“We’ve always fought for them, we’ve always tried to leave the situation better than we found it and we believe power is only important as an instrument to serve the powerless,” he said this week.

Legislative record

With the mayoral race in full swing, Young has missed three of six session days this month since the Senate returned from summer break.

“Right now, what we’re doing is we’re putting in work, we’re talking to people and campaigning,” he said by phone after missing Thursday’s session. “I want to be there, but I’m putting in work right now.”

Young has sponsored six bills that have become law since he started in the House in 2007, and four since Republicans took full control of state government in 2011.

His most significant legislative victory came in 2009, when he passed a bipartisan law to guarantee anti-discrimination protections for women affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.

The proposal followed a 2008 lawsuit by female Detroit police officers who sued the city in federal court because department rules required them to take sick leave while pregnant instead of getting light-duty assignments offered to males limited by injuries suffered outside work.

State Sen. Rick Jones, a Grand Ledge Republican and former sheriff, worked with Young on the bill. They’ve since sparred on a variety of topics, including marijuana legalization, which Young has advocated through repeated calls to “free the weed.”

“I’ve beat up on him when it was appropriate, but I can tell you I genuinely find him to be a nice guy,” Jones said. “I don’t think he’ll ever be elected mayor, but I’m happy to walk across the aisle and talk to him about things.”

Young has become most well-known for how he fights legislation he opposes.

Behind the scenes of the “grand bargain” debate, Young quickly digested a policy document that spanned hundreds of pages, said Bob McCann, a former Senate Democratic spokesman. He asked officials detailed questions about the package before casting one of the only no votes in the upper chamber.

“It was impressive to see the level of specificity at a time when people think, more often than not, pieces of legislation get passed without anyone bothering to read them,” McCann said. “He’s clearly a hard worker and someone that does legitimately care about the city and people he represents.”

Colleagues say Young appreciates uniqueness and is not afraid to flaunt his own.

“As a longtime political watcher, the business of governance can sometimes be really painful and awful,” said former Senate Democratic spokeswoman Angela Vasquez-Giroux. “Sometimes it’s nice to have someone speak truth to power, with a little humor.”

It starts with a quote

Young begins most of his floor speeches by quoting famous figures and books. In the process, he has become one of the most quotable politicians in Lansing.

He has channeled former first lady Michelle Obama, Albert Einstein, the Bible, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and even Tyrion Lannister, a fictional character from the HBO television show “Game of Thrones.”

Colleagues sometimes laugh, guffaw or roll their eyes when Young gets on a roll — even some Democrats privately say he’s occasionally difficult to take seriously — but they usually listen.

Beneath the flashy prose is a politician who does his homework on bills and shows kindness to most anyone who crosses his path, according to those he’s worked with.

“I think if anyone were to discount his dedication to his job simply because he acts differently than others do on the Senate floor, because he likes quoting people or slipping a joke in while he’s talking about something very serious… you’re really losing out on getting to know just what a smart guy he really is,” McCann said.

Colleagues break out into smiles when asked to name their favorite Young speech.

“He’s got this thing where he talks about crime being hideous and putting the onus of that responsibility on us legislators to help get rid of it for everyday people,” said Conyers, who joined the Senate in late 2016. “He goes ‘it’s hideous, it’s hideous.’ He uses that baritone he’s got to really drive the points home.”

Young said negotiating and compromising are important parts of his job in Lansing, but he acknowledged vocal opposition is a primary role for outnumbered Senate Democrats.

“In our representative democracy, the majority governs and the minority is heard,” he said. “That’s basically what we have and that’s basically what we’re governing with.”

Young occasionally takes his free-flowing rhetoric too far in the Senate, a characteristic that has affected his mayoral campaign as well. He recently sparked controversy when at the end of a rap video he mentioned that white supremacy is happening in the country and “we cannot have that going on in the Manoogian,” referring to the mayor’s residence.

Critics viewed it as a form of race-baiting against Duggan, the city’s first white mayor since Young’s father became the first black mayor in 1974.

“I don’t think Sen. Young has a mean bone in his body, but he does go direct sometimes, and some people don’t know how to handle that directness, and they find it offensive,” Hood said.

State Sen. David Knezek, a Dearborn Heights Democrat who is supporting Duggan’s re-election bid, said Young brings “great passion for the city of Detroit to Lansing every day.”

“He isn’t afraid to reach across the aisle to have difficult conversations,” Knezek said.


Coleman Young II: ‘My greatest strength is being able to listen’

, Detroit Free PressPublished 9:34 p.m. ET Aug. 3, 2017 | Updated 6:37 a.m. ET Aug. 4, 2017

In his bid for office, Detroit mayoral hopeful and state Sen. Coleman Young II has been blunt about one thing he believes is resonating with residents: that the disturbing narrative of “two Detroits” — one for the affluent and one for the poor— is real, and one of the issues he would focus on as the city’s top leader.

It’s hard for Young to cheer on Detroit’s recovery when, he says, it has been spread throughout the city, except in many of its neighborhoods.

In an interview with the Free Press before Tuesday’s primary, Young detailed his plans for the city, which touch on race, the need for jobs, better transportation, affordable car insurance and improved neighborhoods, among other things — and how he believes Detroit has yet to fully emerge from the shadows of its 2013 bankruptcy.

Although eight candidates are running, many analysts have told the Free Press that they believe that after Aug. 8, the race will whittle down to incumbent Mike Duggan and Young, who officially launched his run for mayor Feb. 24 with a large photo of his late father, a former Detroit mayor, in the background.

“I think the two Detroits, that’s something that’s really been happening now,” Young, 34, said. “Obviously, Detroit has been hurting for a long time, but if you see what happened particularly right after this bankruptcy, there has been a systemic decision to leave poor people and black folks out the equation.

“There is no reason why — during the discussion of the bankruptcy or during the emergency manager takeover or during that time that my opponent Mike Duggan was in office — why you could not have decided to have a plan for poverty when almost half the city, 48%, is living in poverty.

“There’s no reason you have this many people out of work or who have dropped out of the workforce. …

“You have billions flowing through downtown. … I just think the people have been forgotten. It’s a huge concern. That’s all folks are talking about. The bankruptcy brought the city to its knees.”

More: Jobs, high-tech transportation focus of Coleman Young II’s plan for Detroit

The Free Press previously reported that according to census statistics, of the nearly 300 census tracts in the city — each covering several square blocks — two-thirds showed an increase in the poverty rate between 2010 and 2015, and more than two-thirds showed a decline in median household income during that time.

Young said that the city’s overwhelmingly African-American population has been hit the hardest.

“You cannot talk about the American political story and race not be a part of it,” Young said. “It absolutely is a factor in this. I think too often we treat black folks like they’re expendable and that’s what this is. This is Detroit. This is the home of black revolutionaries whose blood, sweat, tears and toil soaked the ground that we are living on right now. …

“And now I have senior citizens being priced out of their homes, having their water shut off, having no water in the home, people sitting in jail because they got pulled over and asked if they had insurance and they said no because they can’t afford it, and children who are part of the school-to-prison pipeline. That’s what’s going on every day in this town and that’s why I’m running.”

Young isn’t concerned about how his fiery rhetoric comes across. He said he’s continuing the legacy of his father, former Mayor Coleman A. Young, who served as the city’s first black mayor from 1974 to 1994, by standing up for the ideals and beliefs instilled in him.

“It’s heavily influential,” Young said. “My father’s legacy, his principles, his ideals what he stood for, it’s heavily influential. Not just on my campaign, but on my development as a man, as a human being.”

He said the many conversations he has had with the city’s residents support his stances.

“We need a mayor that’s honest and is going to do the right thing because it’s the right thing,” Young said.

“I think my greatest strength is being able to listen to what the people want. I think my greatest strength is being able to be a public servant for them and make sure that it’s something that works for the people. The government is supposed to work for the people, and that’s what I’m going to be doing.”

But some pundits say Young has an uphill battle against Duggan, who has obtained several key endorsements, including ones from the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO and the Black Slate Political Action Committee. As of July 23, Duggan had raised more than $1.6 million, according to campaign finance reports, compared with just more than $22,000 raised by Young’s camp. According to the reports, Duggan has a balance of more than $655,000 left to spend, compared with a nearly $1,600 balance for Young.

But Young said he’s not deterred and that the real race begins after the primary.

“The biggest endorsement we’re counting on is (from) the citizens of Detroit,” Young said. “We’re counting on having that endorsement Election Day.”

Duggan refuses to discuss poverty during town hall forum with Coleman Young II

Mayor Mike Duggan, who insisted last week that it’s “fiction” to suggest there’s a divide between downtown and the struggling neighborhoods, is refusing to participate in a town hall discussion on poverty with his mayoral opponent, Sen. Coleman Young II.

That’s right: The mayor of the most impoverished city in American won’t field questions from residents about poverty after pledging to debate Young in the lead-up to the general election. 

Duggan campaign manager Rico Razo.

Duggan’s campaign manager, Rico Razo, claims Duggan turned down the invitation for a town hall discussion because Young wants to run a “nasty” campaign and that his supporters are “sometimes vulgar.” The decision, announced by his campaign Thursday, comes just a week after Duggan said he would debate Young, the son of Detroit’s first black mayor. 

Razo, who is on leave from his $78,500-a-year job working in the mayor’s neighborhood division, declined to return calls for comment or provide examples of how Young’s campaign has been “nasty” or “rude.”

Duggan has yet to develop a plan to combat the rising poverty rate in the neighborhoods and has caught criticism for failing to address the symptoms of poverty – tens of thousands of residential water shutoffs and record-high home foreclosures.

The town hall forum on poverty was proposed by Bankole Thompson, a Detroit News columnist and 910AM Superstation radio host, who was a panelist during two of the three general election mayoral debates in 2013. The idea was to invite Detroiters and let them ask the two candidates about their plans to address poverty. 

Thompson said he’s still going to hold the town hall forum since Young has agreed to participate and because residents want to hear about plans to tackle poverty.

In an email to Thompson on Thursday, Razo said Young’s “strategy is to try to create a climate of hate and divisiveness in Detroit.”

“Joint campaign appearances with Senator Young are clearly seen by his campaign as prime opportunities to engage in this kind of behavior,” Razo wrote. “We will honor our commitment to do a televised debate with Senator Young, but otherwise will not be participating in any other joint appearances.”

Coleman Young II speaks at a press conference at his campaign headquarters on Livernois. Photo by Steve Neavling.

Young’s campaign manager Adolph Mongo said Razo’s comments smack of racism by using coded language and suggesting that a black candidate and his supporters plan to disrupt an organized discussion.

“Duggan comes from Livonia, where they think that every black person is violent,” Mongo said. “We haven’t done anything disruptive. Duggan is just coming up with an excuse. It’s BS.”

Duggan’s decision not to attend a discussion on poverty raises more troubling questions about a mayor who has focused predominately on downtown and Midtown as neighborhoods continue to decline. Under his watch, home foreclosures and poverty have increased in the neighborhoods, while downtown is booming, in no small part due to tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks to billionaires such as Dan Gilbert, Pistons owner Tom Gores and the Ilitch family.

During a charter-mandated community meeting on Wednesday, Duggan refused to answer questions from the public about neighborhood issues. The mayor issued what he called his “10-point neighborhood plan,” which does nothing to address poverty and includes efforts already underway to cut down trees, remove garbage and fix sidewalks – all of which have happened under previous mayors.

Duggan also allowed the Gilbert and the Ilitch family to skirt affordable housing requirements as residents continue to be displaced from downtown, the Cass Corridor, Midtown and Corktown. 

Photo by Steve Neavling.

Duggan has done very little to address the unprecedented tax foreclosures that are decimating neighborhoods and has even refused to alert residents to state money that is available to help people save their homes. The mayor is demolishing vacant houses with money originally intended to help people avoid tax and bank foreclosures. By doing so, Duggan has collected numerous donations from companies receiving contracts for demolition and asbestos work.  His administration is under a federal grand jury investigation into bid-rigging, a scandal first exposed by investigative reporter Charlie LeDuff. 

Duggan, whose campaign motto was “Every neighborhood has a future,” also has overseen the water shutoffs of tens of thousands of houses, despite serious health risks to neighbors. 

In his re-election bid, the mayor has raised a $2.8 million, courting predatory lenders, suburban developers, corporate executives, politics action committees and deep-pocket movers-and-shakers who usually support Republican candidates. He also received thousands of dollars in donations from the architects of the emergency manager law that resulted in a state takeover of Detroit. 

After winning last week’s primary election, Duggan suggested the divide between neighborhoods and downtown is “fiction.”

“I really don’t want to talk about this narrative anymore,” the first-term mayor told the Free Press. “It’s fiction coming from you. It really is.” 

Mongo said: “He sounds just like Donald Trump,” Mongo said.

Mongo added that he’s “not surprised Duggan is running away from a town hall forum on poverty. He cannot defend his record.”

I will join Thompson on 910AM from noon to 2 p.m. Friday to discuss the mayor’s refusal to participate in the town hall discussion. 

Detroit’s Mayoral Election Is a Test of Recovery and Legacy

Coleman A. Young II campaigning last month at Bicentennial Tower, an apartment complex for older residents in Detroit. Mr. Young, whose father was Detroit’s first black mayor, is challenging the incumbent, Mike Duggan, in Tuesday’s mayoral election.


DETROIT — Coleman A. Young II was settling into a diner booth with a mug of hot chocolate heaped with whipped cream when a stranger approached. “I adored your father, and I hope you’re just like him,” she said. Hours later, as Mr. Young rode in a car along a neighborhood street, someone called out, “I voted for your dad, man!” And when he stood before residents of an apartment complex, a woman rose to recount her memories of Mr. Young’s father, Coleman A. Young, Detroit’s first black mayor. “He made a whole lot of difference in this city,” she said.

Coleman Young II, 34, wants to be the next mayor of Detroit. He has served in the Michigan Legislature for a decade, first as a representative and now as a senator, but his father, who died in 1997 after serving two decades as mayor, still looms over nearly everything about this campaign. A large photo of the elder Mr. Young, with his confident, trademark gaze, holds the prime spot on the wall of the campaign headquarters of his son, who shakes voters’ hands wearing the “Mayor Coleman A. Young” cuff links and the “CY” lapel pin that his father once wore.

Matters of legacy and loyalty would be enough to propel the plot of an entire mayoral race in most places. Rarely, though, has an American city seen as much tumult and change as suddenly as Detroit, which has lurched in only a few years from being the nation’s largest city ever to file for bankruptcy to experiencing a downtown building boom, and from watching its population base vanish to seeing, at least in some parts, home prices rise. Detroit’s mayoral election on Tuesday comes at a pivot point for the city.

The vote will reveal how much change residents see in Detroit, where 40 percent of the streetlights were broken five years ago and the average police response time was nearly an hour. It will speak to race in a city that is 82 percent black, pitting the incumbent, Mike Duggan, who in 2013 was elected Detroit’s first white mayor in 40 years, against Mr. Young and a cast of lesser-known candidates. And the election will be a test of how Detroiters perceive their remade city, a place where a hollowed downtown has been transformed into a tourist draw, complete with a manufactured beach and new streetcars, but where thousands of vacant, decrepit houses still fill neighborhoods across its 139 square miles.

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Young rips suburban police, Duggan over Detroit raid


Detroit — State Sen. Coleman Young II blasted police and city of Detroit leadership Thursday following an alleged incident in which a Detroit woman says she was terrorized by suburban policewho conducted a raid on her home earlier this month.

Mary Smith, 56, said during the Aug. 12 raid officers from Hazel Park and Madison Heights showed up with tanks at her home on Curtis, cursed at her, used a racial slur and handcuffed her and relatives on her lawn.

Dozens of supporters gathered on Smith’s lawn Thursday as Young spoke out against the alleged incident.

“They came here with no respect, no regard,” Young said during the press conference. “Put Ms. Smith who had lupus face down in the dirt, and she passed out when they did that. This is police brutality of the worse kind. This is wrong. This is white supremacy, and it has to stop.”

The Southeast Oakland County SWAT was executing a search warrant for Smith’s son, Michael Green, 33, who had allegedly shot a man in Hazel Park earlier that day. A Hazel Park Police lieutenant told The Detroit News on Wednesday the team acted professionally.

Green was arrested and charged with assault with intent to commit murder. He is being held in the Oakland County Jail in lieu of $2 million bond.

Young, who is running against Mayor Mike Duggan, was campaigning in the area at the time of the raid. He said he stopped by to question what was going on.

“When we came, they decided to pack up,” he said. “When we came, they decided to leave.”

Young said he takes issue with the Detroit Police Department not being present during the raid. He noted there is a police mini station about a half block from the house.

The Detroit Police Department told The News on Wednesday the department was aware of the raid and was not required to be present.

“I think what’s unfortunate is that we have the lack of leadership that we have,” Young said. “That we have the limp-wristed, yellow-bellied, jelly spine, wet palm leadership in Mike Duggan, who will not stand up and call this out for what this is. It’s racist and it’s wrong and we’re not going to tolerate it. That’s why I’m here.”

Smith said during the raid she asked her neighbors to call for Duggan, Detroit Police Chief James Craig and Detroit officers.

John Roach, a spokesman for Duggan, said Thursday that no one in the mayor’s office was aware of the alleged incident.

“We never received any calls about this incident on the day that it happened,” he said. “No one in the mayor’s office or the Detroit Police Department have received complaints on how anyone was treated in the serving of that warrant.”

Detroit police Chief James Craig also has said his department has not received any complaints about the alleged incident.

Smith gave Young credit for showing up.

“We would have been dead because they told me they weren’t going to let us up off the ground,” she said.

Smith’s daughter, Patrice Green, 35, said the situation has been traumatizing for her young daughter and niece. They were among family members visiting Smith’s house at the time of the raid.

“They are scared to come visit,” she said.


Everybody Loves Coleman

Can the son of Detroit’s legendary first black mayor pull off an upset against Mike Duggan? He’s going to have fun trying.


Coleman A. Young II had downed a virgin strawberry daiquiri and decamped to the bathroom when a server began calling for him. “Where’s the mayor at?” she yelled. “I gotta get a picture with him!”

It was a glorious Friday in early June, and Young was due for a break in a frenetic campaign day. His team had stopped for lunch at Starter’s Bar and Grill in northwest Detroit, a cavernous place with dark wood furnishing, although food wasn’t really the point. While a manager distributed fliers, Young made a beeline for any potential voters in the mostly empty restaurant, introducing himself, glad-handing, and posing for selfies.

He approached a booth, where a woman wearing track pants asked how he would help ordinary Detroiters, and Young launched into an explanation of a lawsuit he intends to file against the state over car insurance redlining. His enthusiasm seemed to quickly earn the woman’s trust, and soon she began relaying a lengthy, very personal ordeal.

“I was accused of a crime I didn’t commit,” she said. “I can’t get my life back.”

Young was imploring her to call his state Senate office when the table’s food arrived and another woman at the table began knocking the butt of her hand against the bottom of a ketchup bottle. Instinctively, Young swiveled to an adjacent table, snatching another bottle, never missing a beat in the conversation, which was only interrupted by a familiar request. “Can I take a picture with you?”

Young is a natural on the campaign trail, and at 34, already a seasoned politician: After winning a state House race at 23, he’s now in his second term as a state senator. When he entered Detroit’s mayoral race in February, he immediately became — because of his political experience and, to an undeniably huge extent, his uncanny name recognition — the foremost challenger to Mike Duggan.

The incumbent, presiding over Detroit during an era of explosive business growth and development, is considered the favorite, but Young was offering something entirely different: a populist door-to-door campaign centered on helping the neighborhoods that he says are left out of Detroit’s celebrated Duggan-era revitalization.

“Everybody loves Coleman and Coleman loves the people,” Young says matter-of-factly. “It’s a blessing man.”

Young’s father, Coleman Alexander Young, a fiery former union organizer, was elected mayor of Detroit in 1973 and served 20 years, the longest tenure in city history. As the city’s first African-American mayor, he was a cultural icon who served as an unapologetic, if controversial, champion for black Detroiters.

Young II was born nearly a decade into his father’s tenure. He was 6 when the unmarried mayor publicly acknowledged him after long-swirling rumors and a paternity test.

By then, Young II was living in Southern California under the name Joel Loving, an alias his mother gave him to protect him from the vitriol surrounding his father.

At age 12, Young II says, a phone call from his father changed the course of his life. “He basically asked me to carry on the name and the legacy.”

Young has a portly build and handsome, dimpled face that often contorts into exaggerated expressions. He has a habit of repeating upbeat phrases (“It’s all good! It’s a blessing!”) and reflexively flattering strangers.

Even for a politician courting votes, he is remarkably accommodating: On the way out of Starter’s, he was stopped by a huge man who introduced himself as the comedian Black Coffee. After expressing his support, Black Coffee mentioned he had a show that night, then quickly conscripted Young for an impromptu promotional video.

“Let’s start it now,” he said, passing his phone to a member of Young’s team. “Uh, this is Coleman Young, here at Starter’s!” the comedian began. “He may come out tonight to see Black Coffee! You take black coffee?”

Young stood close, the two big men sharing air in the crowded foyer. “I love Black Coffee!” he replied, with a surprising amount of enthusiasm. “Anybody and everybody is going to be here, so you need to come see my man Black Coffee!” He repeated the plug before ending with a plea for votes.

Later that afternoon, Young was cruising along Dexter Avenue on the city’s west side, sitting in the passenger seat of a black Chevy Impala sporting a picture of his face on the door. The houses were a typical Detroit mix of blighted and well-kept, the residents almost all black — precisely the kind of neighborhood that buoyed the elder Young’s support, and from where Young II needs a big showing to have a chance in November.

“Hello-ooo Mr. Young!” a woman yelled as the car rolled by.

The Impala parked in front of Whitlow’s Barber Lounge on Wildemere Street. Inside, a small crowd was already gathered; one man sat in a barber’s chair, his face and head covered in lather. Young greeted the group, then quickly walked to a portrait of his father hanging in the corner, giving a big thumbs-up for a camera.

The crowd turned out to be friendly but tough. After a question about car insurance pricing, Young assailed Duggan’s plan for not actually mandating rate reductions (“It’s like cereal with no milk!”) and reiterated his intention to sue the state over redlining.

He was finishing an impassioned monologue about a lack of opportunity for kids when a barber named Frank, standing in a back corner, directed the conversation into more complicated territory. “People who come through, they discuss,” he told Young. “They say, ‘Oh, on your flier you wrote Coleman A. Young.’ They’re asking, ‘Where is the Junior?’ They’re asking, ‘What name did you have before you became Coleman Young?’”

Soon after, Young and his entourage were walking through the streets, knocking on doors, waving into car windows, planting yard signs. As the heir to Detroit’s most famous political name — and one who bears a close physical resemblance to his father — Young is almost universally recognized. But as a candidate, he’s eager to highlight his own accomplishments.


Duggan-Young mayoral debate set for Oct. 25

State Sen. Coleman Young II and Mayor Mike Duggan

Detroit NBC affiliate WDIV-TV Channel 4, The Detroit News and Detroit Public Television are set to host the Detroit mayoral debate between incumbent Mayor Mike Duggan and challenger state Sen. Coleman Young II on Oct. 25, WDIV announced Wednesday.

The hourlong debate will air live at 8 p.m. from WDIV’s studios in downtown Detroit, according to a news release. It will be viewable on WDIV’s TV channel, Detroit Public Television or online at ClickOnDetroit.comdetnews.com and dptv.org. Moderators and panelists have yet to be announced.

The candidates will talk about “their visions and strategies for the future of Detroit,” the release said.

The two men agreed to at least one debate shortly after the Aug. 8 primary in which Duggan carried a healthy lead with 67 percent of the vote over the 26 percent Young garnered with 99 percent of the city’s 590 precincts reporting. The two men far outdistanced a primary field of six other largely unknown opponents to face off in the Nov. 7 general election.

The question of the neighborhoods’ involvement in Detroit’s resurgence looms over the campaign: Duggan has criss-crossed the city in recent months highlighting neighborhood programs and blight-removal initiatives, while Young has criticized the mayor’s strategy as leaving out the people who live within the city limits but outside of downtown and Midtown.

Mayoral candidate Coleman Young II outlines ‘plan to restore Detroit’

(click on link above to watch video)

Young unveils 10-point plan to restore Detroit neighborhoods

By Rod Meloni – Reporter, CFP ® , Derick Hutchinson

DETROIT – Coleman Young II said there’s a lot of work to be done in Detroit, and he claims he should be the one to do it.

The Detroit mayoral candidate laid out his plan to fix the city as the countdown to the election dips below 120 days.

Young has bashed current Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, claiming he’s taking the city in the wrong direction. On Monday, Young took his turn to reveal a plan for Detroit.

Young took a few shots at Duggan, drawing the lines between their candidacies. He said he’s the one who’s been out in the neighborhoods and truly understands the people’s needs. His 10-point plan is all about trying to restore neighborhoods, starting with crime.

“There is no crime in this city that a good-paying job can’t fix,” Young said. “That’s what I want to do, is have community agreements with legally binding mandates. There’ll be no project in this city where Detroiters don’t have access to those jobs first.”

If that doesn’t happen, Young said he will sue. He told a small crowd of supporters that he wants to sue a lot of people, such as auto insurance companies and the state government if it doesn’t do more for Detroit residents and doesn’t restore the residency mandate for police officers and firefighters.

“God forbid if we were to have a terrorist attack in the city of Detroit (and) we have police officers and firefighters who live 30 miles, so far away from the city they would not be able to respond in time if something were to happen,” Young said.

Young said he wants to speed up business permitting, create small business development centers and business incubators, and better utilize federal dollars for things such as job training.

He said he wants more police mini-stations and wants to bring back citizen district councils to combat crime.

“The citizens have more of a say over what’s going on over the land and development in that area,” Young said. “Now we had that before the illegal, unconstitutional emergency manager came, and that was the last thing he got rid of, and I want to bring that back to restore the city of Detroit.”

Young admitted he needs more state and federal dollars to fund his plan, and he intends to use a new Department of Neighborhoods to make his plan work.

Copyright 2017 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit – All rights reserved.