(WJBK) - By Mike Renda, General Manager
I expected more outrage in our community when L. Brooks Patterson, the divisive leader of Oakland County, said publicly that he would rather "work with the Klan" than work with a group of Detroit CEO's on regionalism and attracting new business.
It was a very hurtful comment and surely our citizens of color and members of the Jewish and Catholic faiths, among many others, must find this rhetoric harmful and offensive.
His apology after the comment seemed insincere.
Patterson was reacting to a group of more than twenty Detroit CEO's that contacted him with the hope of creating a regional business development effort found in many other cities.
Patterson firmly believes that Detroit is a threat to Oakland County as he continues to throw roadblocks at any regional efforts at bringing new businesses here.
But what he really shows is that he is a dinosaur who still believes the interests of Oakland County end at Eight Mile Road.
We know the wealth and strong economy that Oakland County now enjoys is very much the result of the exodus of people from the city of Detroit to the suburbs.
It is clear that now the trend is reversing.
There are many examples of businesses and their employees that have moved to the new and exciting climate that is now being created in the city.
Patterson won't work with leaders in Detroit to attract businesses because he believes these CEO's are interested in snatching prospective businesses from outside counties under the guise of "rebuilding Detroit".
What's to be done? We know our region is on the rise and that it is vital for us to look for ways to attract businesses here with or without Mr. Patterson.
The regional development efforts put forth by this group of Detroit CEO's should be given full support by other municipal governments.
It's in the best interest of our entire community to build a strong vibrant economy across county lines that can produce more jobs and economic growth.
Most importantly people living in our community need to raise their collective voice against any further racist or insensitive remarks by Mr. Patterson.
The people living in Oakland County need to ask themselves, do they really want a leader who makes these inappropriate public comments all too often?
I think not.