Commute Kilpatrick's sentence by half

 Mike Sarafa

Mike Sarafa

    In 2001, I supported Gill Hill for Mayor of Detroit over Kwame Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick won. In 2005, I supported Freman Hendrix over Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick was re-elected. During my time as President of the Associated Food Dealers, the city administration and police department wreaked havoc on Detroit store owners. Undeserved raids, tickets, fines, harassment and shakedowns for money. Kilpatrick and I became arch enemies; and everyone knew it.
    I always thought Kilpatrick was ethically challenged even when he was in the state legislature. His affair with Christine Beatty began then. When he ultimately was elected, he took his slogan—It’s Our Time—to mean it was his time in every criminal and sinister way possible. At the end of that saga, I felt strongly that he got what he deserved.
    But I’ve changed my mind. I think his three-decade sentence is excessive and I’m not the only one. An effort is actually underway to free Kilpatrick.
    In spite, of the real harm he caused the city, his sentence should be reduced. Here are six reasons why.
• I believe he may be capable of reforming himself in less than 27 years.
• He is a very low risk of committing a repeat offense given what he has been through.
• He is a father and I believe, still a husband.
• He probably can be let out early in exchange for some substantial community service. It seems that his story of his meteoric rise, catastrophic fall, epic humiliation and redemptive rebirth might do a few troubled kids out there some good.
     In the context of the immigration detentions, I’ve been to these prisons a couple of times to visit friends. They are horrible places. Our criminal justice and prison system are badly flawed, in my view. These places for a long sentence like Kilpatrick got, amount to a death sentence.
     Finally, and most importantly, he was coddled and enabled by some of the most powerful elected officials and corporate leaders in this town— many of whom are still in positions of power. They lifted him up and stood behind him way longer than was prudent. For years, they turned a blind eye to Kilpatrick’s untoward ways. They share responsibility for what he did to the city because they stood by him when it was happening.
    In a complete reversal of my positions on Kilpatrick and his case, I say commute his sentence by half.
    Where do you stand?

Michael Sarafa is Co-Publisher of The Chaldean News.

Comey’s book hypocritical

 Michael Sarafa

Michael Sarafa

Last month, fired FBI Director James Comey released his much-awaited book “A Higher Loyalty.” Let me first say that I have not read it, though I’ve read reviews and watched extensive coverage on it.

But here are some points I’d like to make that I think can be made without reading the entire book. First, I think the timing of the release, in the middle of the Russia probe, is preposterous. Comey apparently spends much of the book decrying the politicization of his former agency. But the act of the book itself is hugely political.

Second, his disdain for Trump is obvious but also seems personal. Here again, Comey has been lauded as sort of a career government person who remained, throughout his career, above politics. But when it comes to Trump, this seems impossibly disingenuous.

Third, Comey, while admitting some mistakes, or things he’d do differently given another chance, is the only person in America that thinks he didn’t botch the Clinton email debacle. First amongst those that think that are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Finally, Comey is very clearly jaded by the fact that he was fired and has taken to the talk show circuit for what seems like at once both retribution and financial gain. His book deal and tour are so patently about money that it’s difficult to take some of Comey’s more important points seriously. (His book deal is reportedly worth at least $2 million.)

So, while Comey has made a good chunk of change, I think that he will go down in history as an FBI director who played an unfortunate and oversized role in the presidential election of 2016. He very badly misused (maybe abused) his position and accomplished exactly the opposite of his stated goal of keeping politics out of law enforcement.

In this regard, I would say he is a downright hypocrite. Where do you stand?

Michael Sarafa is Co-Publisher of The Chaldean News

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