Recently, four city councilmembers made a reckless decision.
Those councilmembers rushed through an ordinance banning any more recreational marijuana outlets from setting up shop in Hamtramck.
They pushed this ordinance through because one retail outlet opened on Holbrook Ave., and there were reportedly two or more in the works.
While we understand that there are some in the community who are strongly opposed to marijuana sales, the ban is short-sighted.
Because recreational marijuana outlets are major money-makers when it comes to generating tax revenue.
It has recently been reported that the businesses paid $73 million in excise and sales tax for local communities that allow the sales. There are about 80 communities that currently allow marijuana sales. Do the math.
Hamtramck is headed toward a financial crisis. The city is in deficit spending, because the costs of running the city – including, especially, pensions — outstrip the tax dollars coming in.
The most head-spinning moment at the council meeting was when one councilmember started questioning the city attorney about the legal ramifications the city could find itself in if the ordinance goes through.
This was asked moments before the councilmembers voted on the matter.
The councilmember didn’t even think about the legal consequences until the night the council was set to vote on the ordinance. That shows that this ordinance was not well-thought-out, and that there is a legitimate concern the city could face multi-million-dollar lawsuits.
Another councilmember noted that his decision was based on what he thinks the majority of residents want. He said it’s his job to do as the community asks.
That is not leadership.
Leadership is making a decision that is right for the community despite public pressure to do otherwise. And the objections voiced by the public at the meeting sounded more like mob rule.
Making hard decisions – even perceived unpopular ones – is what true leaders do.
And, in another instance, one Zoning Board of Appeals member proved that he doesn’t understand logic by arguing, on one hand, that the city can’t tell homeowners what to do with their houses, while on the other hand, saying that the city can tell people what kind of business they are allowed to operate.
No wonder Councilmember Andrea Karpinski resigned after this ugly debacle.
Our city council is heading down a dangerous path. One shudders to think what else is coming down the pike in the new year.
Posted Jan. 16, 2021