Monday, August 3, 2009

The Future Mayor of Flint — Brenda Clack or Dayne Walling

Flint elects a new mayor tomorrow. Go here for a story I wrote for Slate on the two candidates — Brenda Clack and Dayne Walling.

Here's an excerpt:

But for me, the highlight—if that's the word—of covering this campaign came when Clack and Walling momentarily joined forces at the Landmark Food Center, the kind of grocery store where a security guard roams the fluorescently lit aisles and customers are required to check their bags at the counter. Flanked by displays of breakfast cereal, the two candidates judged a Kool-Aid-making contest sponsored by three local churches.

The mixologists tried mightily to influence their decision. "Taste No. 4 and taste no more!" one contestant yelled out, prompting a round of cheering from two dozen spectators gathered around a pair of tables covered with neon-green tablecloths and littered with plastic pitchers, spent Kool-Aid packs, and sacks of sugar. "No. 5 tells no lies!" countered another contestant. Clack and Walling sipped from foam cups and huddled over the score sheet.


  1. I've heard both candidates think Brown is doing a great job. Does anyone know what he's been doing?

    It will be an interesting race tomorrow.

  2. Who is Flint Expats endorsing?

  3. Würstside WårlørdAugust 3, 2009 at 10:30 AM

    Too bad Jim Jones wasn't one of the contestants.

  4. Würstside WårlørdAugust 3, 2009 at 10:58 AM

    Flint-Style Kool-Aid:

    Pour heaping amounts of Kool-Aid and sugar into a plastic sandwich bag

    Shake Well

    Wind the top closed like a bag of bread until the Kool-Aid is about to burst the seams

    Chew a small hole in one corner of the bag

    Hold the bag aloft and suckle the corner as if it were a teat

    Continue to tighten the bag as Kool-Aid supply diminishes

    Very Important: DO NOT add water

  5. Congrats on the Slate article, Gordie. I am sitting in LA ticked off at the predictably inept City of Flint because my attempt to vote absentee apparently didn't work -- never got my ballot in the mail. Anyhoo...I'd just seen your article this morning...somebody posted it on Facebook. The part your excerpted is great -- got a good chuckle out of me. Are you making any predictions?

  6. Here's one for you, Gordie. I got my absentee ballot in the mail TODAY -- election day. Impossible to get it in ANY WAY. It was postmarked JULY could anybody think that would work??? I tried a futile call to the Flint City Clerk's office, where I was personally blamed for this, even though they could see a "received" stamp on my application dated June 26. I was blamed for using an online form which wasn't, according to the rude functionary, "normal," for sending it to the County Clerk instead of the City Clerk (though again, they showed a "received" stamp of July 7 at the Flint City Clerk's Office) and for not checking in sooner. That latter point is the only one that holds water, in my view -- I'd honestly given up. The woman I talked to, Gloria Boone, also eventually said she thought my absentee ballot application got mixed up with a bunch of voter registration forms -- even though IT CLEARLY STATES ABSENT VOTER BALLOT APPLICATION on the top. But an earlier person I talked to said they hadn't received the ballots until last week, so I'm suspecting the whole absentee ballot situation was compromised by that. Man, I'd love to just once have Flint city government run by people who know how to read, who know how to do ANYTHING. Sigh...sorry, I'm just venting here. As the Slate headline suggested, can anybody run this place?

  7. Shame on Brenda Clack for playing the race card after her defeat. Did I read this right: She thinks she deserves to be Mayor just because she a black candidate in a predominately black city. Hey Brenda: New reality: No one is entitled - everyone succeeds based on their own merits. Scary huh?

  8. I really didn't dislike Brenda Clack when I decided to support Dayne Walling, but I just figured he'd do a better job. All respect I had for her went out the window after reading her concession speech. Playing the race card just made her look like a sore loser and someone who would continue the same old politics at city hall. I feel the same about Walling as I do about President Obama: he has a daunting task ahead of him, and I dearly hope he can accomplish something, but don't feel he has enough time to accomplish everything.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at