Detroit Mayor Dave Bing on 'This Week'

The mayor of Detroit Dave Bing discusses the city declaring bankruptcy.
9:08 | 07/21/13

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Transcript for Detroit Mayor Dave Bing on 'This Week'
Trayvon martin could have been me. On crime, prejudice, justice, and community. I think it's going to be important for all of us to do some soul searching. And this morning, a conversation right here on race in america. And motown down. The city is broke. After detroit goes bankrupt, can the motor city move from crisis to comeback. Plus, it's never too early. Today is the first time I've been to iowa. This tea party texan, a freshman senator sure looks like he's running for president already. Let's stand up for the principle and the constitution. We're on the trail in iowa with ted cruz. All of that and the powerhouse roundtable this morning. We start now. It came by surprise on a sleepy hot summer friday, america's first black president slipping into the briefing room for his most personal speech yet on race. No teleprompter, few notes. As the debate over trayvon martin's death roiled the country, he would speak from the heart on being a black man in america. There are very few african men who haven't had the experience of being followed shopping at a department store. That includes me. Very few african men who haven't had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me, at least before I was a senator. A remarkable admission sparked by divisive questions. Did trayvon martin die because he was black? Was george zimmerman acquitted because he was not? That contributes to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different. I just ask people to consider, if trayvon martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? The president reflected on what we can do to bridge our differences, closing with a father's pride. When I talk to malia and sasha, and listen to their friends, they're better than we are. And a president's hope. We're becoming a more perfect union. Not a perfect union. But a more perfect union. In our program today, we'll continue the conversation the president sparked on friday. We begin with this week's headline from the most racially polarized city, detroit declared bankruptcy thursday, the largest american city ever to do so. We're joined by the mayor of detroit, dave bing. Mayor bing, I know you resisted the bankruptcy option, t are you convinced it's going to bring a new start to the people of detroit? I'm hoping this will be a new start. Detroiters are a very resilient people. And we have a, you know, we had chrysler and general motors that the federal government helped in their bankruptcy, they came back and they are doing well. Detroit is an iconic city, worldwide, and our people will fight for this, and we will come back. The auto industry came back with federal help. But vice president biden says we don't know how the federal government can help. I know you have been in contact with white house and administration officials, have you asked for federal assistance and what have they told you? Well, I think it's very difficult right now to ask directly for support. I have gotten great support from this administration. I've got great support from a lot of the different departments within the administration. They have been helpful, but now that we've done our bankruptcy filing, I think we've got to take a step back and see what's next. There's a lot of conversation, planning, negotiations that will go into fixing our city. So no federal bailout? Not yet. You know, I know the president has a lot on his plate. This is going to add tremendously to that, and I want to say, we're not the only city that's going to struggle through what we're going through. There are over a hundred major urban cities that are having the same problems we're having. We may be one of the first and the largest, but we absolutely will not be the last. We have got to set a bench mark in terms to fix the cities and come back from the tragedy. I know you have to help yourselves first, but steven ratner who ran the auto bailout for president obama wrote in the new york times yesterday that the president should go through the federal programs and see what can be done for the people of detroit. Is there anything the federal government can do? Well, I do think, once again, I've had some conversation already, I'll be more specific in the days and weeks ahead. I'm not sure exactly what to ask for. Money is going help, no doubt about that, but how much? There are a lot of things, we have to have an organized plan so we know that whatever we get is invested where we can maximize the return on the investment and give the people the kind of services they need. The idea they can live in the city and be safe. They can work in the city, educate their kids in this city. That's what this american iconic city is all about. And I think that we will once again be foremost in what's happening in terms of coming back. A county judge has stepped in and said this bankruptcy filing violates the michigan constitution. Do you agree with that? Are there any other alternatives out there? Well, I'm not a lawyer. And I'm glad I'm not at this point in time, but I'm hearing -- I am hearing, you know, that the federal constitution will trump the state constitution. So I do believe that. But whatever happens, we can't allow lawyers to dictate what's going to happen in our city and its comeback. We've got to throw away the bickering and fighting amongst us and do what's best to bring cities like detroit back. We know that's going to be a difficult process going forward. And it comes against the back drop, we saw the president's comments on race on friday. Over the last 50 years, detroit has gone from more than 80% white to more than 80% black, and keith richberg, an african-american reporter for the washington post said it was surrounded by a ring of often hostile white suburbs in a state that had little time for a poor, destitute, democratic and black city. The appointment of the emergency manager is seen as a hostile, racist takeover by the state of the city's black leadership. How do you respond to that? Well, I don't want to make this a black and white issue, it's a financial issue. It's green. We have got to get funding that's necessary to help us fix our problem right now. I don't want to stir the pot and bring up all kinds of historically racial issues. We have got to get beyond that. The polarization between our city and suburbs is something that's been going on for the last 60 years. We have got to change it. Once again, if detroit fails, doesn't make it, then all of these surrounding suburbs are going to feel the brunt of it also. It behooves us to see how we can work together to make the entire southeastern region livable for all of us. What does detroit look like after bankruptcy? I think what's happening now is the downtown is really hot. It's coming back. Our midtown is really hot, and it's on its way back. Our biggest problem is in the neighborhoods, where most of the people are living. We've got to make sure that those people understand that we care about them. We're going to reinvest in our neighborhoods and give them the things they need. The services have been horrendous for a long time because of the lack of resources. And I mean money and in some cases leadership from a people and personnel standpoint. But I think our city is going to come back, it's not going to happen overnight, and we have got to be very strategic in whatever we do that we can't fix is overnight. We have to communicate that. Nobody is going to deny them their rights, the cavalry is coming. It's a tough situation, but once again, detroit is resilient, we will come through this. We are rooting for you, mayor, thanks very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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