Take a look at these 4 people. Notice anything unusual about them?
They may be among the craziest people in America. Those four, and several more nutcases, are competing in a primary today in Detroit to decide who will be on the ballot in November running for mayor.
So why would anyone want to be mayor or a city council member in Detroit?
And why would a voter take the time to stop at the polls and cast a ballot in today's primary election?
Only because it could be a pivotal moment in the city's history and Detroit's resurgence could depend on who's represented during and after the emergency manager's reign and the election could have massive implications surrounding racial dynamics and the viability of write-in mayoral campaigns in the future.
Still unconvinced it matters?
For the first time in nearly 100 years, Detroit voters today will start to choose their council representatives by district, rather than at-large.
Some believe that presents a opportunity for impactful neighborhood-level representation. Others believe it will put political novices in powerful positions.
Either way, the council's makeup will drastically change. With just four incumbents running, there will be at least five new members when the new nine-member council takes office in January.
Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr doesn't plan to hang around forever. The council can oust him in November 2014, after he's been around for 18 months.
The state would likely still hold financial oversight for some time afterward, but the people in charge in the aftermath of Detroit's bankruptcy will what direction to take after Orr is gone.
Detroiters today will narrow the wide fields of candidates for the November ballot.
Better to rule in hell than serve in heaven, I suppose. And I guess even being captain of the Titanic has its perks.
But the reality of the situation is that whoever wins, loses. Being elected mayor of Detroit is going to be the most thankless job in America and as a stepping stone to higher office, forget about it. The next mayor is going to make unions, bond holders, and ordinary citizens mad as hell, which almost certainly means a one term gig.
There are better jobs in Detroit. Why one would want to waste their talents on this lost cause is a mystery.