Dave Bing began his first full day as mayor earlier this week addressing immediate crises and ongoing ones. Maybe the most important thing he has done so far involves wooing General Motors Corp. to stay in the Renaissance Center and persuading the company to remain in Detroit for the long-term.
Bing was a great NBA basketball player—so good he’s in the Basketball Hall of Fame. But, if he can keep GM in Detroit, it will be the greatest achievement of his life. The clock is running down, his team is down by three points and he has the ball. It’s a classic “do or die” situation, and if Bing succeeds, he can run for Governor of Michigan and win. Detroit is an embattled city right now, and if Bing can make it here, he can win the game for America’s Team. Detroit losing GM would be like the city losing either the basketball Pistons, the baseball Tigers, the hockey Red Wings or the football Lions.
Bing showed up at City Hall about 8 a.m., one day after he was sworn in as the city’s 62nd mayor and GM officials said they wouldn’t rule out leaving the riverfront towers as part of restructuring. The city receives at least $6 million in property taxes from the facility.
Bing said he’d spoken with “one of the top execs” of the company to sell them on Detroit. The mayor did not identify that executive, but on Monday he described GM CEO Fritz Henderson as a “friend.”
“The response has been, ‘We are in Detroit,’ ” Bing said of his conversation with GM. “What I can say from a leadership standpoint is that Detroit will do everything in its power to make sure they’re competitive so that whatever decisions that will be made by any business, we can retain.”