- Charisma. Mayor Kilpatrick has style, presence, confidence and enthusiasm, qualities that help investors believe in his vision for Detroit.
- Relocated Businesses Downtown. In addition to Home Depot and Border branches, Quicken Loans is moving its corporate headquarters to Detroit from the suburbs. Kilpatrick was also instrumental in revising the development agreements with Detroit's three casinos so that permanent casino/hotels would actually be built. He also successfully closed the deal for the $180 million renovation of the historic Book-Cadillac Hotel.
- Established New Industry. Envisioning a Detroit sector similar to Automation Alley in Oakland County, Kilpatrick sought to bring new industry to the city through Techtown, Bisdom U and Next Energy.
- Revitalized Neighborhoods. Kilpatrick established the Detroit Riverfront Conservatory to redevelop Detroit’s riverfront. He also established NEXT Detroit, a five-year project aimed at enhancing six neighborhoods through improved maintenance and new investment.
- Established Job Retraining. Kilpatrick recently opened career centers to provide job retaining in high-demand areas.
- Brought New Events. Kilpatrick built upon the success of several 2005/2006 sporting events to attract other events, such as the National Association of for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) 98th Annual National Convention and 2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four.
- Encouraged New Business/Entrepreneurship. Kilpatrick takes credit for the renovation of 75 structures and establishment of 80 new businesses downtown. He also used casino revenue to create a loan program to assist neighborhood businesses and worked with the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation to simplify the process of opening a new business.
- Increased Housing. Detroit led the Detroit Metro Area in housing sales and growth in 2006. Kilpatrick also instituted property tax cuts to help homeowners in Detroit neighborhoods.
- Improved Services. Both crime and vacant buildings have come down under Kilpatrick, while grass cutting and snow removal services have improved.
- Balanced the Budget. Kilpatrick takes credit for avoiding receivership by making hard cuts to labor and city services. According to his speech to the Detroit Economic Club in January of 2008, Standard & Poor recently raised Detroit bond rating from negative to stable.
- Won the ICIC’s Mayoral Inner City Leadership Award in 2005.
- Scandals/Charges. While a weakness for women and extravagance seem at the heart of many of the mayor's problems over the years, the overall consequence to his office, whether in perception or deed, is the misuse of power and tax dollars. Aside from the felony charges, the scandals, lies and fits of temper erode the mayor’s credibility and integrity at a time when they are most needed to persuade outside business and industry to relocate to Detroit. Of course, there is the more direct cost to Detroit -- the $9 million paid to the plaintiffs in the whistle-blower lawsuits.
- Budget. While Kilpatrick made the hard cuts necessary to avoid receivership, his opponents, most notably former Detroit Auditor General Joe Harris, argue that his financial policies ignore the structural deficit that threatens the city. According to a 2005 Metro Times article, Harris accused Kilpatrick of being short sighted in dealing with the city's financial problems. For instance, Kilpatrick used long-term bonds to cover short-term costs during the first three years of his term as mayor rather than work to correct the underlying structural problems. The lack of a long-term, strategic plan made the mayor's office reactionary to the budget shortage in 2005. The result was desperate cuts to essential city services and massive layoffs with little regard to improving efficiencies or restructuring. Additionally, Kilpatrick's budget relied on revenue from the imposition of a new property-transfer tax and fast-food tax on already over-taxed constituents.
- Services. While some areas of neighborhood maintenance improved under Mayor Kilpatrick, problems remain, including the ever-present vacant buildings, potholes, broken lights and cut backs in trash pick up.
- Tactics. While not flagrantly hostile to the suburbs, Kilpatrick has resorted to "us versus them" tactics when it is in his self interest. For instance, he compared media investigations into his conduct to lynchings during his 2005 re-election bid and then again during his 2008 State-of-the-City address. He also blamed suburban jurors for the verdict in the whistle-blower lawsuit.
Where It Stands
Detroit has continued to make a come back under Kilpatrick's leadership.
- He made a success out of several high-profile sporting events, drawing more events and attention to Detroit.
- He is a major player in the city's economic development, working to attract business and industry back downtown.
- He has made tangible progress in the areas of neighborhood and riverfront revitalization.
Scandal allegations have eroded Kilpatrick's credibility and cost the city almost $9 million.
- The City of Detroit paid out almost $9 million in whistle-blower lawsuits.
- The City of Detroit is the defendant in several other lawsuits arising out of alleged mayoral misconduct.
- Mayor Kilpatrick plans to sell off city parks to raise revenue.
- Kilpatrick is currently charged with felony counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy and misconduct in office.
- The scandal continues to grow and dominate city business as best demonstrated in the Timeline of the Mayor Kilpatrick Scandal.