Sunday, May 12, 2013

John Telford for Mayor of Detroit

My friends,

Tomorrow I will be formally announcing my candidacy for Mayor of Detroit at 1 pm on Monday, May 13, at the City Clerk's office on 2978 West Grand Boulevard. I do so for no other reason than because I care deeply about this city of my birth, and I believe strongly that I have the ability to contribute to its restoration. Some of my critics have implied that this is all about ego, and that is simply incorrect. Nothing more need be said about that except that these are people who may claim to know me but quite obviously do not know me at all.

Please allow me to address a few other concerns that I already know are out there. For example, the concern that I may be too old and/or infirm to take this extremely challenging job. I don't challenge the fact that I'm no longer a young man. I strongly contest the assumption that my age will hinder my ability to work vigorously for this city. I believe freedom fighter Nelson Mandela was older than I am now when he became president of South Africa after spending more than a quarter century behind bars. Sure it's true that Detroit is a challenging city, but I defy anyone to say that the city of Detroit faces more challenges than the nation of South Africa did at that point in time. And no, I am not equating myself to Mandela. Hardly. I am, however, making the point that anyone who assumes someone of my age cannot be up to this job needs to do some research.

Then there is the concern that I am white. Yep. I am. Have been all my life and, I suspect, I will most likely be white up to the day I die. As for whether a white man can collect enough votes in a predominantly black city to be elected, well, the only ones who can answer that question are the voters of Detroit. I will say that, as someone who was born and raised in this city and who has been an educator in and around this city for more than 50 years, I have learned that Detroiters are not stupid. Far from it. And for anyone to assume that they will automatically dismiss any candidate simply because that candidate is white does not understand this city as well as they think they do. No, I am not naive. Nor am I dismissing the potency of the race issue in Detroit. Like I said, I was raised in this city so of course I am aware of the part it plays. But race only plays one part, not every part.  Detroiters, although understandably more predisposed to vote for African Americans since most of them are African American, do not use that measure as their sole criteria in the voting booth. They also are willing to vote for those who are in their corner. How else could you explain a Maryann Mahaffey?

There will also be those who will eagerly pounce on my admittedly 'colorful' past. Fine. It's all in my book. Anyone with any questions are more than welcome to purchase my book and I welcome the additional sales. I have always been open about who I am and the life I have led. But if anyone believes they can prove that I have not lived a life committed to the City of Detroit, then I would find that interesting. Because my record is there, and it speaks for itself. My record as an activist, and as a civil rights fighter is all there. My record as a fighter for Detroit children is all there. My record as someone who will never stop fighting, and who knows how to fight, is all there.

I am a Detroiter.

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