Detroit's fill-in mayor seen as solid

Sept. 5, 2008 at 4:23 PM
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DETROIT, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Ken Cockrel told a news conference that his top priority as the acting mayor of Detroit will be rebuilding the city's credibility.

The city council president stepped into the mayor's office Thursday after Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick resigned following Kilpatirck's pleading guilty to felony charges stemming from a City Hall scandal.

Cockrel said the city needed to come together while at the same time take a no-nonsense look at the city's financial picture.

Some observers said that while Cockrel has a good head on his shoulders, it would take more than rhetoric to get Detroit on track.

"I think the feeling of outstate Michigan is that Detroit is a basket case," Bill Ballenger, publisher of the newsletter Inside Michigan Politics told Booth Newspapers Friday. "The idea that (Kilpatrick's resignation) is going to result in 'moving forward is bunk."

Others, however, said Cockrel's understated methods shouldn't be underestimated in settling things down.

"Ken is a very smart, very solid and helpful person," John Austin, executive director of the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan, told Booth Newspapers.

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