By Charles Sercombe
Talk about a topsy-turvy election.Hamtramck’s city council election was a shocker.
Only two out of three incumbents won re-election, as a newcomer edged out Councilmember Nayeem Choudhury.
Both councilmembers Mohammed Hassan and Mohammed Alsomiri won re-election. Muhtasin Sadman, 24, a political newcomer who has never served on any city board or commission, is the city’s newest councilmember.
Hassan managed to overcome a slight setback from the August Primary election, where he came in fourth place out of six final finishers, to climb to top vote-getter.
In second place was fellow incumbent Mohammed Alsomiri. In third was Sadman, followed by Lynn Blasey, then Choudhury and then in last place, Nasr Hussain.
Choudhury’s defeat is surprising, considering that he finished as the top vote-getter in the August Primary Election.
The election of the top-three winners will keep the city council all-male and all-Muslim.
To likely no one’s surprise, voters said a big N-O, by 70 percent, to the Hamtramck Public School District’s second attempt to get a minor tax millage renewed. That proposal also was turned down in the August Primary Election.
Voters were in a rejecting mood at Tuesday’s General Election as they also defeated three proposed city charter revisions, one of which would have given the mayor and councilmembers a pay raise totaling over $60,000 a year.
Voter turnout was low, attracting only about 3,500 voters out of almost 15,000 registered in thecity – or, in other words, just about 23-percent of the voters turned out.
There was only one female candidate, Lynn Blasey (who was also the only LGBTQ candidate), and she came in fourth place.
A number of her supporters urged others to plunk for Blasey, which means to vote for just one person, but that strategy still failed.
Blasey previously ran for council unsuccessfully. She took her defeat in stride.
“I ran as an exploration of a different way that I could serve the community, and I will continue to serve Hamtramckans in meaningful ways.,” Blasey told The Review.
Here is the breakdown of how the votes went:
Mohammed Hassan – 1,618 (21.91%)
Mohammed Alsomiri – 1,309 (17.73%)
Muhtasin Sadman – 1,238 (16.76%)
Lynn Blasey – 1,156 (15.655)
Nayeem Choudhury – 1,118 (15.14 %)
Nasr Hussain – 887 (12.01%)
Hussain was one of the most outspoken candidates in this election.
He waged an aggressive social media campaign, promising to seek an end to the city income tax, stop what he called “selective” code enforcement, end the use of the new parking meters in the business district, and change the route of the bike lane on Jos. Campau in the southend, among other issues.
He further urged voters to reject the school millage renewal, and said that he would work against any other proposed tax increases.
Hussain also drew fire for making comments about Jews being persecuted back during the Holocaust for the actions being taken today by modern Israelis in Gaza. He is an appointee of Mayor Amer Ghalib, who said he would not remove Hussain from the Plan Commission, despite having removed other appointees with whom he disagreed.
At this point, it is unknown what the school district will do now that voters have twice rejected its millage renewal, which would have raised about $750,000 a year for the next 10 years.
That money was strictly earmarked for the upkeep and maintenance of school buildings. The district did not organize a campaign committee to push for the millage.
The district distributed a brochure pointing out what the tax money had been used for in the last 10 years and what it would be used in the future, but that brochure was only distributed among students instead of being mailed out to each house in the city, according to sources.
Hamtramck Public School District Superintendent Jaleelah Ahmed did not respond to The Review for comment on the millage defeat, nor has she responded to other prior requests for comment.
As for the three charter revision proposals, it’s unknown if the city council will try again in a future election.
Tuesday’s weather initially made for a pleasant day for voters, with some sun and warmish temperatures in the 50s in the morning, but then things grew notably colder by the day’s end.
Posted Nov. 10, 2023