City Hall Insider … 6/23/23

What is our City Council up to these days? We have the highlights of the latest council meeting.

By Charles Sercombe
The city council met on May 23, and all councilmembers, except for Khalil Refai, were in attendance.
During community announcements, Councilmember Nayeem Choudhury invited the public to his barbecue, which was happening later in the week, located in a lot next to his Conant business.
“Come join us, enjoy the day,” said Choudhury, who is seeking re-election this year.
Mayor Amer Ghalib quipped: “Are your (election) opponents invited, too?”
Choudhury replied: “Yes, everyone.”
Councilmember Mohammed Alsomiri, who is also seeking re-election, warned residents to keep their yards in order or risk getting a code violation ticket.
A presentation was made by Flock Safety about the city installing license plate reading cameras throughout the city.
The devices cost $3,000 each, and will store data for 30 days. The cameras do not provide facial recognition ability.
The council did not take action on the proposal.
Later in the meeting, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said he is concerned about the installation of license plate readers in the city.
He said a network of cameras could treat everyone as a “potential suspect,” and make people feel less safe.
He also said the cameras could also lead to a case of mistaken identity and turn into a needless police confrontation.
A proclamation was read in support of All Star Junior Coalition of Hamtramck, which produced a video on the dangers of vaping.
The proclamation read, in part:
“The youth of Hamtramck have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to promoting public health and preventing substance use and addiction among their peers: and the All Star Junior Coalition of Hamtramck has distinguished itself by creating an outstanding public service video that focuses on the dangers of vaping and substance use, andprovides guidance on how to support friends who may be struggling with addiction or mental health issues;
“And the All Star Junior Coalition’s video has been recognized as the best in its category, earning first prize in a competition that included many other talented young people from across the region: and the All Star Junior Coalition’s success is a testament to the dedication, creativity, and hard work of its members, who have worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the importance of prevention and support.”
During public comment, Lynn Blasey, who is a candidate for city council, spoke on a building design that was going to be considered by the council.
The building would be two-stories, and feature retail space on the ground floor and 12 apartments on the second floor.
Blasey said she welcomes the additional housing, but questioned where tenants are going to park their vehicles. The structure does not offer parking for tenants.
The council later approved the design.
Bill Meyer questioned why the city does not have a motel or hotel.
The council approved the construction of two four-unit housing developments, one at 9509 Gallagher and one at 9466 McDougall.
The council OK’d the purchase of two vehicles for the Fire Department, at a cost of over $97,000 total, from Berger Chevrolet.
The council accepted a $50,000 grant from the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network for the city to fund its summer youth employment program.
In a note to the council, it was said of the program:
“This program is expected to be both beneficial to youth interns and to the City, and also provide an educational program for youth who otherwise may not have employment or educational opportunities during the summer months. The $50,000 grant provides funding for the period June 1, 2023 through September 30, 2023.”
The council agreed to cancel a contract with Xpert Lawn and Snow because the administration said the company was not living up to the terms of their contract.
The council agreed to contract with BCL Contractors.
Speaking about the new contractors, City Manager Max Garbarino said the administration will “hold them to the fire” to make sure the company provides service.
He added that if the company doesn’t perform to the city’s standards, “they’re gone.”
During the second portion of public comment, Bill Meyer thanked the ACLU attorney for providing “the other side” on the issue of license plate readers.
He said the cameras present a privacy issue. He also said the council should have challenged the plate reading company more.
Posted June 23, 2023

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