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Bill Radke: Imagine this: You have just been elected to a dream job, the mayor of one of America’s largest and most historic cities. Oh and… it’s Detroit. Former NBA star Dave Bing will be sworn in as mayor today. From Michigan Public Radio, Sarah Hulett reports, Detroit residents can use someone with a history of success.
SARAH HULETT: Dave Bing defeated tough opponents on the basketball court. And as a businessman, he’s managed to keep his auto supply company afloat when many others have collapsed.
But now he’ll lead a city that’s been in turmoil since former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was caught in a perjury scandal. Political consultant Steve Hood says Bing is taking over a city that’s teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.
STEVE HOOD: There were rumors earlier this year that they had trouble paying their contractors because they had cash flow problems. These are things he faces right off the bat.
Bing will have to deal with tough realities like an unemployment rate that tops 20 percent, and tens of thousands of foreclosed homes that sit empty. And because this was a special election, Bing faces another primary in three months. But the mayor-elect says that won’t distract him.
DAVE BING: My focus has to be not on campaigning, but on running the city.
Bing says his first task will be to stabilize the city’s finances. Detroit faces a deficit that tops a quarter-billion dollars.
In Detroit, I’m Sarah Hulett for Marketplace.