Big city politicians are not known for doing the right thing. That should be painfully obvious for Detroit, in particular, since former mayor’s text messaging scandal and the $9 million whistleblower lawsuit. In that fiasco, which made national headlines, Kwame Kilpatrick refused to step down until it became part of his plea deal.
Councilmember Monica Conyers, wife of US Rep. John Conyers (D-Det.) seems to be in a similar situation as the former mayor. Monica Conyers is, apparently, still mulling over a plea deal on bribery charges stemming from her changed vote on a contract with sewage sludge hauler Synagro. Local businessman Rayford Jackson has already pleaded guilty, as has Michigan Synagro VP James Rosendall. Former Conyers aide Sam Riddle seems to be the thin line between guilt or innocence for Conyers.
But Synagro isn’t council member’s only scandal. Conyers took part in Detroit pension funds’ excessive travel, although she no longer serves as a trustee. There are also implications Conyers was involved in questionable pension fund deals involving loans, investments, and alledged contributions. And the Feds are also looking into whether or not Conyers accepted jewelry from a pawnshop. The alleged bribe was in exchange for not supporting increased regulations for that industry.
The bribery allegations are on top of Conyers’ controversial, sometimes abherrent, behavior in council chambers. This is the woman that threatened former mayor Kilpatrick’s aide, hinting at a gun. Conyers called Ken Cockrel Jr, the council president, Shrek and also criticized fellow council member Kwame Kenyatta’s health and demeanor. In the wake of council’s torpedoing a Cobo Hall regional authority, Conyers’ bigoted words pushed the envelope even further. Oh, but I forgot—Black people “cannot be racist”, according to Conyers.
Wouldn’t it be nice if, just once, a highly placed official would do what’s best for the citizens they’re supposed to serve? The Freep called for just such a thing in Thursday’s editorial. Citing how tired Detroiters are of scandal in city government, the Freep did not mince words in asking Monica Conyers to resign. Admitting seeking re-election “might not be worth it”, Monica doesn’t seem to get it. Even with the polls showing widespread disapproval, she’s likely to hang on until the very last, just like not-so-suave Kwame Kilpatrick before her.
How do I know? From an interview Friday with The Detroit News:
Conyers said she sometimes feels she should give up public life, but, “I love helping people; I love my city. It’s all about helping people in the city of Detroit.”
Gag me with a spoon.