May 6th, 2009
12:00 PM ET
3 years ago

Reporter's Notebook: Is Detroit's mayor crazy or courageous?

(CNN) - Dave Bing was the first pro basketball star I ever saw in play person. Back in the mid 70's, he wasn't flashy but he was one of the best sharp-shooting guards ever to play the game. He had a calming presence about him on the court, never in a panic, helping a downtrodden Detroit Piston basketball franchise raise to prominence. Fast forward to 2009, and patience is just at the top of his long list of traits he will need for his next job: save a downtrodden city in its darkest hour.

He is either crazy or courageous to want to be the mayor of Detroit.

Bing will soon become the mayor of the country's 11th largest city, and mayor of a city that arguably leads the nation in problems, including a Depression-like economy, double-digit rising unemployment, a shrinking tax base that is worsened with job cuts at Big 3 automakers, a city school system that is under state financial management, and a city that faces a $280 million deficit in this year's budget, trending to a greater deficit and possibly setting up a scenario where the state could intervene if the city doesn't make real progress on its budget in 6 months. No pressure there for the new guy.

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