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Bing recently sold his stamp-and-assembly business. The steel company is about to be dissolved, another victim of the auto industry's crisis. He still has his medical-supply business, but as he pushes 70, Bing is waist-deep in his third career. He may have been a hesitant mayoral candidate, but he will not be a hesitant mayor.
Last Friday, as he gave his inaugural address to a large crowd at Detroit's famed Fox theatre, Bing's voice never wavered. "From Day One, I've made the tough but necessary choices to put our city on track," he said.
Two months before, he had sat in his office and said he had started to get into the lower levels of city government, to see who was getting the job done and who wasn't. He knew what they didn't: He was going to fire some of them. He has known some of these people for years. He said that doesn't matter.
They would be fired like George Trapp and Campy Russell and Curtis Rowe were fired. Dave Bing's two bad eyes didn't even blink when he said it. A few weeks later, Bing announced a reorganization of his cabinet. He took a significant amount of power away from Charlie Beckham, his longtime friend. The two plan to continue their weekend tennis matches.
Detroit is his business now, and he will run it like his business. He will start his workday at 7 a.m., whether his staff has arrived or not. Winter has come to the most downtrodden big city in America. Somebody has to make the coffee.
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