By Charles Sercombe
Every election has its quirks and oddities. Tuesday’s was no exception.
The topic of the day? With temperatures hovering around 90 degrees and the humidity thick, talk of the weather was on everyone’s mind. Despite the heat, volunteers helping candidates were in good spirits.
The oppressive temps didn’t deter a group of Bangladeshi-American men in Zussman Park from producing a hot kettle of tea. You could say they fought the heat with some more heat. Or, were they Hamtramck’s version of the political “tea party” movement?
With the defeat of Moe Blackwell as our representative on the Wayne County Commission, the question of whether he would still make good on his promise to deliver $75,000 for park improvements was on the mind of some. Blackwell announced the grant about two months ago.
A majority of Hamtramck voters supported City Councilmember Tom Jankowski in his bid for the state Rep. seat. Jankowski once worked for Blackwell’s office. (Jankowski came in dead last in the election once the entire district was counted.)
We asked Mayor Karen Majewski what she thought, and her reaction:
“The money is promised,” she said. “I would expect it’s secure.”
Mayoral Pro Tem Catrina Stackpoole was less sure.
“It was never there. He’s promised it before and never delivered,” Stackpoole said about the money. “It was an attempt to get votes. Thank goodness the voters saw through his baloney.”
Whew! Pretty strong words. Blackwell’s campaign manager, of sorts, Cathie Gordon – who also serves on Hamtramck’s City Council, seemed offended at the suggestion that Blackwell would not live up to his promise.
“Of course,” she said when asked if he will still deliver. “Why wouldn’t he?”
And speaking of politics, City Councilmember Shahab Ahmed was once a rising political star in Hamtramck. He is the first Bangladeshi-American elected to office here and perhaps even in the country.
But his quest for the state Representative seat turned out to be a dismal failure. He finished far behind his cousin, Akm Rahman – who has never held elected office – and was even far behind his political rival, former Councilmember Abdul Algazali.
So, how does this bode for Ahmed’s chances of being re-elected next year — assuming he even wants to remain in office?
Doesn’t look good.
Speaking of Algazali, there is thrift and then there is just plain old being cheap. Algazali is not alone in this practice, but still if you’re going to seriously run for office, do it right. Algazali violated campaign law by recycling campaign signs from his previous run for state Senate.
For his campaign for state Rep., he taped a piece of paper over the “senate” portion of the sign and wrote the word “Representative” on it.
Tacky, dude, tacky.
Hamtramck voters – who are still largely Democratic — usually vote in lock step with state Democratic voters. Not so in the governor’s race. Voters here went with Andy Dillon.
The winner: Virg Bernero, who frankly surprised many political observers with his commanding lead over Dillon.
And on the Republican side, voters here –all 303 of them — were in tune with their state counterparts and supported Rick Snyder for governor.
Not to pick on Moe Blackwell, but we couldn’t help but chuckle over the mixed message in one of his campaign flyers. Speaking of absentee voters, he characterized them as those who are likely to “vote early and often.”
Ah, that would be tantamount to encouraging them to commit voter fraud. What we think he meant to say is that absentee voters can be counted on to vote in just about every election – not voting multiple times in any single election.
Oh well, he has some time on his hands now to fine-tune his next stab in politics. But you have to wonder, is his defeat the end of the Blackwell family political dynasty? Well, he has two sons, so who knows?