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Profile of Detroit Mayoral Candidate Benny Napoleon

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Benny Napoleon is a well-known Detroit figure, in some part because he often served as a law-enforcement spokesman on news reports. Napoleon's candidacy for mayor is focused on making Detroit neighborhoods safe. If elected, he will approach this at the neighborhood level, initially through his One Square Mile Initiative.

Slogan

Together/Transforming Every Neighborhood One Square Mile at a Time

Main Experience: Crime Enforcement & City Living

According to Napoleon, he has lived in the City of Detroit all his life and understands the issues being faced by the average city resident. He has also gained a lot of experience by climbing through the ranks of city government.

Priorities

  1. One Square Mile Initiative

  2. Create job opportunity for current residents

  3. Ease the way for business start ups in the city

  4. Clean up blight

Main Talking Points

As mayor, Napoleon says he will work to transform the city by focusing on core services to its neighborhoods. According to Napoleon, the most important steps toward keeping and attracting residents in the city are to make neighborhoods safe and improve quality of life. While he has a five-point plan aimed at crime reduction, his One-Square Mile Initiative will be his number one priority as mayor. As such, it has gotten a lot of media play. Under the plan, a police officer will be assigned to each square mile of the city (aside from Belle Isle).

In October of 2013, Napoleon unveiled his Detroit Neighborhood Growth Strategy of which the Five-Point Crime Reduction Plan was just a part. The strategy envisions the use of a retail development project as an anchor in each of the city's seven council districts. Each of these retail developments would, in turn, be aired with a new city-services center with access to police, fire, emergency medical services. Funding will be sought from government, corporate, and foundation grants and managed through the Detroit Neighborhood Partnership.

Specific Issues

  • Attract Business: Napoleon says that his plan to attract new business to the city includes reducing crime, as well as the red tape involved in establishing business start-ups.

  • Attract Residents: Napoleon says that people will come back to the city if you make it safer, bring insurance premiums and taxes under control, and provide a quality school system.

  • Blight: Napoleon says he will work to get more federal money to clean up the city, better enforce building-maintenance codes against owners (including banks), and entice neighborhood businesses to take ownership of their immediate surroundings. He will also prioritize the demolish of abandoned buildings in areas around schools and major thoroughfares.

  • City Services: Napoleon will create a Detroit Neighborhood Partnership. Like Duggan, he will consolidate the many departments and agencies that provide services to Detroit neighborhoods into one agency. The mayor's office will provide oversight to the Partnership's board of directors, which will be made up of community leaders, city council members, city department representatives, and business/nonprofit leaders.

  • Jobs: Napoleon says he will entice businesses in the city to provide training programs for local residents so that they can be better qualified to fill job openings.

  • Schools: Napoleon will make education a priority. In this regard, he believes Detroit children need to be better prepared to take the ACT to get into college and understand that the jobs of the future will involve creating something new, making something, or providing a service. Napoleon says he will utilize existing public libraries to give children additional education resources such as tutoring and access to computers.

Plans

The Detroit Neighborhood Growth Strategy is the economic plan Napoleon unveiled in October of 2013. In addition to a focus on public safety, the plan includes steps that would improve quality of life, eliminate blight, and hold banks responsible for the properties they hold.

The Five-Point Crime-Reduction Plan includes

  • Problem Oriented Policing that targets patrols based on crime patterns

  • Data-Driven Crime Fighting that identifies crime types, offender patterns, type/frequency of calls at certain locations; utilizes surveillance cameras; and extracts offenders from neighborhoods

  • Directed Enforcement that coordinate agencies for better tracking of offenders

  • Crime Prevention that works to create low-crime environments through community patrols, awareness, partnerships with schools and churches, enforcement of noise and loitering ordinances, elimination of blight, recreation alternatives, and well-lit streets

  • One-Square-Mile Initiative

Work Experience

  • Wayne County Sheriff

  • Assistant Wayne County Executive

  • Capri Capital Executive

  • Youngest Police Chief in Detroit History

Education

  • Cass Tech High School

  • J.D. from Detroit College of Law

  • FBI National Academy

  • Harvard Kennedy School of Government Management Program

Age

58

Sources

Candidacy website: Benny Napoleon

Detroit Mayoral Race: Benny Napoleon / Detroit Free Press (10/7/13)

Q & A With Detroit Mayoral Candidate Benny Napoleon / BlacDetroit.com (10/2013)

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