As we mentioned in last week’s issue, Hamtramck voters have been faced with numerous controversial ballot proposals and recall elections in the past.
Political controversy has constantly been a part of Hamtramck.
One of the recurring gripes in any political dispute is the influence of outside forces.
Namely, the issue of non-residents being involved in local elections.
This election cycle once again has a number of folks agitated over outside forces.
Case in point: A former resident and city councilmember who now resides in Novi is involved in the push for the upcoming city charter proposals, and supporting the recall of City Councilmember Ian Perrotta.
Some in town are calling his involvement “dirty politics.”
It reminds us of the many other times that outsiders were involved here.
Take, for example, several years ago, when voters were asked to support a human right ordinance that some perceived as being supportive of gays and the LGBTQ community at large.
Outside conservative religious folks teamed up with local folks to wage a campaign to defeat that ordinance, and they did so in a very ugly way. And they were successful.
There was also a time when certain public school teachers, most of whom were non-residents, organized, and then succeeded in recalling three school board members – including the then-president of the board.
It could even be noted that some firefighters in their current campaign against the city charter proposals on the ballot this Nov. 3 are also largely outsiders: Most, except for a few, are non-residents.
You can split hairs that some of these folks, although they are non-residents, have a stake here. But at the end of the day, they are still non-residents, who are pushing their positions on local voters.
For firefighters, urging voters to oppose the two city charter amendments works to their advantage because, in this instance, maintaining the status quo works in their favor – no matter what the financial cost is to the city.
Firefighters have every right to be concerned about these proposals because, if they are in fact passed, their livelihoods will be on the line.
We do not by any means begrudge them their right to exercise their opinion, or their right to be involved in local politics. But we also don’t begrudge those who are in favor of passing the proposals as a way to cut costs, yet still maintain needed services.
Obviously, these proposals raise some thorny issues for voters.
The point here is that everyone has a right to voice their opinion or back any political issue –whether they are non-residents or residents.
Locals, of course, have every right to question the motives of outsiders, and to consider that influence when deciding on local issues.
There is no law against non-residents getting involved in local politics. It happens everywhere, and Hamtramck is not immune.
That’s the American way, folks.
Posted Oct. 23, 2020