Mayor Mike Duggan’s Chief of Staff Alexis Wiley ventures into the basement with M.L. Elrick (@elrick) and Marc Fellhauer (@MarcFell) as the second guest in Soul of Detroit history. Shawn Windsor (@ShawnWindsor) joins us via telegraph wire for The Great Debate. M.L. gets in your face with Geek of the Week. And a listener inspires this week’s selection for Room 7609.

THE STRAIGHT DOPE: A defensive M.L. lists just some of the stories he’s done that scrutinized Mike Duggan before and after he was elected mayor. A soliloquy follows on how race is used to mask the real issues plaguing Our Fair City.

Marc challenges Alexis on why Duggan isn’t more accessible to the press. Alexis counters that Hizzoner does sit down with reporters — most recently taking time to meet with M.L. in the mayor’s office. Businessman’s secret recordings revealed in bitter legal battle with Mayor Duggan

The discussion turns to the Detroit Free Press investigation into Duggan’s effort to raise money for a program connected to a Wayne State University doctor rumored to be the mayor’s mistress. Mayor Mike Duggan set her up to succeed. That raises questions.

Alexis defends the need for the program — which was established to improve the city’s infant mortality rate — and says even the Free Press says there’s no indication the program was shady. 

M.L., who knows a thing or two about mayors and sketchy nonprofits, says the program to help Detroit babies grow up healthy is no Kilpatrick Civic Fund (the dirty-as-hell non-profit that helped send Kilpatrick to prison for 28 years).

Despite his desire to someday return to the Free Press, M.L. questions the value of the Free Press’ investigation. Then he knocks the city for demanding that the newspaper submit its questions in writing. Alexis responds with some lavish praise for M.L., which may have been sincere, but which will almost certainly only lead to more claims that M.L. is soft.

The conversation turns to public officials’ obligation to answer reporter questions — whether they like the questions or not.

M.L. follows up by asking Alexis whether administration officials are frustrated that the mayor’s after-hours activities have cast a cloud over everything they’re doing.

The Free Press made a big deal out of Alexis’ e-mail to the Wayne State doctor telling her city officials would help raise money for her program. So M.L. asks her whether she has sent similar e-mails designed to raise money for other programs.

Like so many discussions of city politics these days, Duggan nemesis Bob Carmack comes up. Carmack claims Hizzoner is out to get him. Alexis points out that Carmack hired private investigators to follow the mayor hired planes to fly banners critical of the mayor during the Detroit Tigers’ home opener, then asks “who is harassing who?”

After M.L. makes another comment or two that pretty much guarantees he’ll never be able to get rehired at the Free Press, he again admonishes the Duggan administration for failing to meet with reporters to take all of their questions. Alexis lays out her position on the matter.

THE GREAT DEBATE: As Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman does his best imitation of a vulture waiting for legendary Red Wings GM Ken Holland to drop, Shawn wades into the discussion over whether it’s time to dump the old for the new. M.L. and Marc disagree, leaving it up to Shawn to (kind of) cast the deciding vote.

GEEK OF THE WEEK: M.L. calls out everyone who criticizes the media for not doing enough, but who fail to contribute to public radio or subscribe to or buy a newspaper. Only you know if he’s talking about you.

ROOM 7609: If you’ve got a sore throat, this week’s NuWave band could be just what the doctor ordered. The Mighty Lemon Drops were nominated by loyal listener Matt Jennings — the editor of Soft Magazine. Before dropping the needle on “Like An Angel,” M.L. reveals his first college radio DJ name. (Hint: It was SOFT!) A post-song discussion ensues as to which bands The Mighty Lemon Drops bring to mind. Can you name one?

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