"Blow up" Detroit? Boston mayor apologizes for comment

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 11: Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino attends the International Boston Seafood Show at Boston Convention & Exhibition Center on March 11, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images

Boston Mayor Tom Menino admitted Wednesday he used a poor choice of words to describe what he would do with the city of Detroit.

In a recent interview in the New York Times Magazine, Menino was asked where he would live if he could live in any other U.S. city. He said Detroit is a place he'd love to go.

When asked what he would do in Detroit, he said, "I'd blow up the place and start all over. No, seriously, when it takes a police officer 90 minutes to answer a call, there's something wrong with the system. Forty percent of the streetlights are out, most of the buildings are boarded up. Why? Inaction, that's the problem -- leadership."

On Tuesday, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing accused Menino of insensitivity for the statements.

"It is extremely regrettable that Boston Mayor Thomas Menino used such an unfortunate choice of words to describe what he would do if he came to Detroit," said Bing, who is not running for re-election after one term as mayor. "I would think the mayor of a city that recently experienced a deadly bombing attack would be more sensitive and not use the phrase `blow up."'

CBS Boston reports that at an event in Hyde Park Wednesday morning, Menino told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Karen Twomey, "I made a mistake, I apologize."

Menino said he stands by the numbers he cites in the article, claiming he got them from a financial report out of Detroit.

But, he admitted he used a "poor choice of words."

Bing, a member of professional basketball's Hall of Fame and former steel supply company owner, said Menino should have gotten "his facts right."

"The Detroit Police Department's response time is not — and has never been — 90 minutes," Bing said. "And, most of our city's buildings are not boarded up. Since taking office more than four years ago, there has been tireless action on the part of my administration to improve the quality of life for our citizens. In fact, I invite Mayor Menino to visit Detroit to see our city for himself."

Menino is the latest politician to offer his take on Detroit and its troubles. Two years ago, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told NBC-TV's "Meet the Press" that Detroit should welcome immigrants to boost the city's shrinking population.

Detroit in July became the largest city in the country to seek bankruptcy when state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr filed for court protection as he tries to restructure finances.

Orr said Detroit's debt could be $18 billion or more.

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