Patterson criticized over Detroit comments in 'The New Yorker' - FOX 13 News

Patterson criticized over Detroit comments in 'The New Yorker'

Posted: Updated:
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson
Paige Williams, Letter from Michigan, “Drop Dead, Detroit!,” The New Yorker, January 27, 2014, p. 32 Paige Williams, Letter from Michigan, “Drop Dead, Detroit!,” The New Yorker, January 27, 2014, p. 32
(WJBK) -

A top suburban official known for his blunt remarks in the past about Detroit is being criticized for another round of harsh comments against the city.

Under the headline "Drop Dead, Detroit!" published online Monday by The New Yorker magazine, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is quoted as saying any time he talks about Detroit "it will not be positive" and recommending that people get gas in the suburbs before going into the city.

"That's just a call for a carjacking," Patterson, a former prosecutor, said of getting gas in Detroit.

The article describes the 75-year-old white Republican as selling the merits of Oakland County while bashing neighboring Detroit, which is more than 80 percent black. Last year, Detroit became largest U.S. city to enter bankruptcy.

Asked about how Detroit might fix its financial problems, Patterson was quoted as saying: "I made a prediction a long time ago, and it's come to pass. I said, `What we're gonna do is turn Detroit into an Indian reservation, where we herd all the Indians into the city, build a fence around it, and then throw in the blankets and corn."'

The Rev. Charles Williams II, Michigan chapter president of the National Action Network, called for an apology Tuesday from Patterson. In a statement, Williams said the remarks were "repulsive."

"We've had too much division in this region with 8 Mile and city versus suburb," said Williams. "You don't see New York versus its out-county. You don't see Chicago versus its out-county. They work together."

A statement issued by a Patterson spokesman Bill Mullan to FOX 2 said the article cast Patterson "in a false light." The statement noted Patterson's record on advancing issues important to Detroit and the region, but didn't dispute the quotes or apologize.

Statement from Patterson's office:

"It is clear Paige Williams [the author] had an agenda when she interviewed County Executive Patterson. She cast him in a false light in order to fit her preconceived and outdated notions about the region. Mr. Patterson's record on advancing regional issues in a transparent and responsible manner is unparalleled. His initiatives have had a positive impact on the region."

Williams, reached Monday by the Free Press at her home in Boston, said there wasn't agenda against Patterson.

"Our focus was simply to explore what made Oakland County so successful. That's what we did do. It's a balanced portrait," she said.

FOX 2 was unable to get a hold of Patterson, but the longtime executive told WWJ-AM that the article is "an absolute hatchet job." He says those comments were made 30 years ago.

From WWJ-AM interview:

"I really feel betrayed. She came out, she wanted to talk about the comparison between Oakland County and Wayne County and Detroit," he said. "By the time she finished, it turned out to be all about me and my past comments on Detroit. That wasn't the way it was sold or I never would have accepted it, of course. It's a giant betrayal and I'm furious."

Statement from Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Council President Brenda Jones:

"Brooks Patterson's statements were not what you would expect from a regional partner with a vested interest in a strong and healthy Detroit.  We hope he apologizes for this promptly.  The Mayor and Council remain focused on our unified efforts to improve the quality of life in Detroit and we are not going to be distracted by negative comments from anyone."

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report

  • Download the FOX 2 Apps


  • FOX 2 News Five-Day Forecast
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • City of Detroit posts improvement updates online

    City of Detroit posts improvement updates online

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:18 AM EDT2014-07-31 11:18:29 GMT
    Residents will be able to view the number of new streetlights installed in their Detroit neighborhood, how many lots were mown and the number of vacant houses demolished by going to the city's website.
    Residents will be able to view the number of new streetlights installed in their Detroit neighborhood, how many lots were mown and the number of vacant houses demolished by going to the city's website.
  • Community comes together to support slain Armada teen's family

    Community comes together to support slain Armada teen's family

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:55 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:55:10 GMT
    Nearly a week after 14-year-old April Millsap was found murdered in the small town of Armada, friends, family and even those who didn't know the young girl gather for music in the park - this time hoping for justice.They were there to help raise money to ease the burden on April's heartbroken mother."We're as well as can be expected," said aunt Sarah Lichtenfelt. "They are just grateful for all the prayers and support, that's all we ask is to keep praying for strength."In the middle of it all...
    Nearly a week after 14-year-old April Millsap was found murdered in the small town of Armada, friends, family and even those who didn't know the young girl gather for music in the park - this time hoping for justice.They were there to help raise money to ease the burden on April's heartbroken mother."We're as well as can be expected," said aunt Sarah Lichtenfelt. "They are just grateful for all the prayers and support, that's all we ask is to keep praying for strength."In the middle of it all...
  • Family asks for justice after mother of three found dead next to dumpster

    Family asks for justice after mother of three found dead next to dumpster

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:33 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:33:46 GMT
    When 32-year-old Katherine Gibson was a little girl, her loved ones thought, the "life" ahead of her would be long. But it wasn't."Me and my girlfriend dropped her off and she had just told us, she loved us," said Marvin Gibson, her cousin.That would be the last "I love you" that he would hear. because after Gibson's cousin dropped her off at Harper and Conner, near Bronco's Market. The day after, she was found dead. Gibson's lifeless body, discovered by a dumpster, beside the building."Layin...
    When 32-year-old Katherine Gibson was a little girl, her loved ones thought, the "life" ahead of her would be long. But it wasn't."Me and my girlfriend dropped her off and she had just told us, she loved us," said Marvin Gibson, her cousin.That would be the last "I love you" that he would hear. because after Gibson's cousin dropped her off at Harper and Conner, near Bronco's Market. The day after, she was found dead. Gibson's lifeless body, discovered by a dumpster, beside the building."Layin...
Powered by WorldNow

FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
3213 West Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, Florida 33609
Main: (813) 876-1313
Newsroom: (813) 870-9630
Fax: (813) 871-3135

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices