By Charles Sercombe
There are some new and some familiar faces lining up for the August Primary Election.
So far, 15 candidates have entered the race for three City Council seats. Two of the three seats are being vacated by Councilmembers Catrina Stackpoole and Shahab Ahmed. Both councilmembers decided against seeking re-election.
That leaves just one incumbent in the race: Councilmember Cathie Gordon.
The line-up could change by the end of today (Friday, May 13). That’s the last day candidates can opt out of the election.
As of Thursday, the day The Review went to press, the following candidates will be on the August ballot:
Mohammed D. Hussain
Robert A. Zwolak
Anam A. Miah
Donald M. Kosin
Susan Dunn Rahdar
Abusayed MD Mahfuz
Perennial candidates Richard Fabiszak, Robert Zwolak and Abdul Algazali are once again seeking office. Algazali had previously been on council but instead of seeking re-election to his seat, he went head-to-head with Karen Majewski for the mayor’s seat two years ago.
Steve Shaya has also sought a council seat previously. He sits on the city’s Plan Commission, and he also works for a contractor employed by the city. Anam Miah, Mohammed Hussain and Susan Rahdar have also previously taken a stab at winning a council seat.
Rahdar is notable for her involvement with the Concerned Citizens for a Better Hamtramck, which improperly challenged over 40 voters – mostly those with Arabic sounding last names – in the 1999 election.
As a result, the Justice Department sent in monitors for several elections afterward to make sure voters’ rights were not violated.
Rahdar also challenged Councilmember Shahab Ahmed to a boxing match during a past Meet the Candidates forum, apparently in response to allegations that Ahmed assaulted his former wife.
Kathleen Bittner is well-known in the community for her family’s business, The Polish Art Center on Jos. Campau. Bittner was a co-organizer of last year’s successful Hamtramck Labor Day Festival, and will once again help organize this year’s festival.
Ian Perrotta is a former reporter with The Review newspaper and is still associated with the paper as copy editor.
Only one would-be candidate who pulled a petition did not return it. Former Councilmember Alan Shulgon apparently decided to duck out of this election.
If all 15 candidates remain in the race, they will square-off August 2. Out of that field, the top six candidates will move on to the November Election for one of the three council seats. Each seat is a four-year term.