Earning Kudos From The Nation
At a time when the clown quotient in local politics continues to creep higher, I thought it was kinda nice to see The Nation magazine offer up a tribute to Detroit City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson recently. Watson was named by the magazine's John Nichols as the country's "Most Valuable Local Official."
Watson has led fights for greater transparency and accountability in government, has gone after predatory lenders and has promoted a multifaceted Detroit Marshall Plan to revitalize her economically battered city. She's proudly controversial and remarkably successful at getting local, state and national officials focused on fundamental issues.
As I wrote back in October, I've always placed Watson among the most fearless politicians in Detroit, bold and unflinching in pronouncements that very often go against the popular political grain in the state. For instance, her recent call for a massive infusion of federal cash to bail out the city certainly didn't win many friends among those who get constipated at the mere thought of billions in tax money flowing to cities like Detroit--but that hasn't muted her one bit.
From the bailout proposal to her fight to shutter the Detroit incinerator to her opposition of privatization of city jobs, Watson continues to be an advocate of progressive values as well as a lightning rod for criticism from the media and others. Personally, I have immense respect for her activism and ideas, even as I realize that many around Detroit disagree with her vehemently and some others just don't like her. But like her or not, at least with JoAnn Watson you're never confused about where she's coming fr0m--because she never hesitates to speak her mind.
In a Detroit starved for backbone in its leadership, I consider that a plus.
What're your thoughts on Watson and her MVP from The Nation? Deserved? Why or why not?
(Hat tip to the Metro Times for this one...)