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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Please Stay Off The Island

  Please Stay Off the Island
       Your instincts tell you that the touchy decision has already been made; they are just sitting on it for the time being.
        Dollars to donuts the Mayor of Detroit has been quietly asked to stay off the island when the captains of industry huddle on Mackinac Island at the end of May.
        Every year the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce stages a two-day soirée up North. One of the highlights, or low lights depending on your perspective, is the Big Four conclave.  (Actually the nomenclatcher is misleading.  It should be the Big Two and the other guys.)
       That's because anytime you plunk Kwame Kilpatrick and Brooks Patterson on the same stage, they steal the show. You get fireworks, yuks, and if you are lucky, even a few words of wisdom on why the region continues to talk cooperation but never quite seems to get there.
       But this year is different.  The Mayor has a few other things on his platter and bringing him up the island would only open the door to a media feeding frenzy for two solid days and none of the coverage would be on the business agenda for Southeast Michigan.
       The folks at the chamber are not oblivious to all this. And it would have been fun to listen in on the closed-door chitchat about how to handle the delicate situation.
        Here's a hypothetical guess at how it went:
        Chamber boss:  So, the Big Four this year.  Our members always love that.  Remember when Brooks marched in wearing shades, with lots of bodyguards and made fun of Kwame for having such an entourage?
        Chamber staffer:  Yeah.  It was kind of funny but embarrassing at the same time.
        Staffer two:  With the mayor under indictment, imagine what Brooks might do this year.
        Boss:  Let's not imagine.  Somebody get the mayor's office on the phone and tell him the conference has been switched to July.


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