In almost three weeks from today, Hamtramck voters will be heading to their precincts to vote who should serve on the City Council and School Board.
Unfortunately for voters, this campaign season has been painfully low-key. The candidates have hardly been visible, which is pretty weird given that Hamtramck has always been known for its colorful politics.
In a new ripple in the council race, we received late word that candidate Steve Shaya is telling his supporters he is bowing out of the race. Shaya said he would rather take the job as Hamtramck’s director of Public Works – if the job is offered to him.
If he were to win a seat on council, Shaya would have to resign from office in order to take the Public Works position.
Technically, he can’t remove his name from the ballot because it’s too late to change it. So, he is throwing his support behind Cathie Gordon, Anam Miah and Robert Zwolak.
We also throw our support behind these three candidates. Although we have not always seen eye-to-eye with Zwolak on a number of issues in the past, and in fact we didn’t fully support him in the August primary, we feel he has come around in the last few months.
Since the primary election, Zwolak has made a number of good points at council meetings, and out of any of the candidates, he has the most experience. In the past, he has served a term on council. He also served on the Charter Commission, which successfully produced a charter that voters approved. He was also once city clerk.
Anam Miah is running for office for the second time. He has a clear head when it comes to the many issues facing the city, and we like the enthusiasm he brings to the table.
Gordon has consistently been a champion of the concerns of the community, although at times she can be a thorn in the side of the administration. Sometimes that’s a good thing.
Overall, GORDON, MIAH AND ZWOLAK are the best choice for city council.
In the race for two seats on the School Board, we wish there were actually more seats open. The seven candidates running are that good.
Coming up with endorsements was hard. But when it comes down to it, experience counts. And Alan Shulgon is clearly the most experienced, having served on the board before.
He has also been a city councilmember and is currently serving on the Housing Commission.
On top of that, he is a retired Hamtramck detective. Shulgon’s background knowledge on school matters is invaluable.
As for our next endorsement, Dennis Lukas is an obvious one. He is a recently retired teacher from the district, and he has great insight into the needs of the community.
The fact that he chose to work and live in Hamtramck shows true commitment.
As much as we like Lukas, candidate Darla Swint is also a valuable asset to the community. She has great ideas on how to draw in more parent participation, and she has great compassion for our students, many of whom come from broken homes.
It’s truly too bad there isn’t another seat open for her.
To tell the truth, it’s a coin toss between Lukas and Swint.
But if we had to go with just two, we recommend SHULGON and LUKAS for school board.
It should also be noted that candidate Magdalena Srodek did not return her questionnaire. From what we know of her, she is highly educated, and very concerned about public education in Hamtramck.
We just wish we knew more about where she stands on local issues.