DETROIT (WWJ) - The influential Detroit-based organization Black Slate announcing the endorsement of a white candidate for mayor for the first time in its history and it's causing some push-back from supporters of some black candidates.
The Black Slate, which helped elect Mayor Coleman Young back in 1973, is throwing support behind incumbent Mayor Mike Duggan.
"This was an enormous boost for my election," said Duggan, "and I just want to say 'thank you' to everybody here who made it possible.
"It's almost overwhelming ... I went through two interviews of probably more than three hours - and we had a lot of very candid conversations about opportunity and gentrification and what's the vision?"
Baye Landy is the regional coordinator at the Black Slate and says that this is not the first time the organization has faced controversy.
"This is not the first time we've had a challenging decision to make -- I recall we decided to go with Bob Ficano over Ricardo Solomon some years ago and that was contentious at that time. Almost every election there is going to be those in disagreement but again, we always say that we are going to work together again down the road," says Landy.
Supporters of State Senator Coleman Young II, the son of the late Mayor Coleman A. Young, made their voices heard during the announcement reports WWJ Citybeat Reporter Vickie Thomas.
Brenda Hill thinks the move by The Black Slate is treacherous.
"There needs to be repercussions," said Hill, a supporter of Young."It's such a treachery, it's a betrayal - we should be playing O' Jays - talking about "Backstabbers" playing in the background. These people here, this is a sad day in human history -- it will go down in history -- the day that the Black Slate -- turned their backs on black people," said Hill.
"These are the people who have led the black community -- on how we are supposed to act as black people," said Hill. "However, Coleman Young senior made them relevant -- they owe everything they are today to him, to Coleman Young. And by design, we take care of our children - Coleman Young's child could be the worst of them, but he's the best of them. And they are saying that he's not worthy?"
One woman in the crowd referencing the cuts that were made to her pension under Detroit's bankruptcy. "Coleman said he's going to address the issue, that's why I'm with him," she told Duggan.
"Has he told you where the money's coming from?" Duggan asked.
"Guess what?" You found money," she said. "I'm sure he will."
"When he tells you where the money's coming from - you let me know," replied Duggan.
The Black Slate telling WWJ that the decision to support Duggan did not come without consideration. The overall feeling was that the momentum that Duggan has created around the resurgence of the city should continue -- and they hope their support will make that a reality.
Eight mayoral candidates, seven city clerk hopefuls and two dozen council candidates will appear on the Aug. 8 primary ballot after Detroit's Election Commission certified the races in May, according to the Detroit Free Press.
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