Council lines up for election

By Charles Sercombe

It seems like a majority of Hamtramck City Councilmembers would rather be somewhere else.

Four out of six councilmembers are seeking higher office in this year’s elections for Wayne County Commissioner and State Rep.

Councilmembers Cathie Gordon and Tom Jankowski are both taking on incumbent County Commissioner Martha Scott.

In the State Rep. race, Councilmembers Mohammed Hassan and Robert Zwolak are running.

Gordon kicked off her campaign last Friday with a roast that served as a fundraiser.

She told The Review that she doubts she has much of a chance, but sees the race as a way to see if she can get more votes than Jankowski.

Presumably the two might be squaring off in two years when the mayor’s seat is up for election.

But in the bigger picture of things, Gordon said Hamtramck is “long overdue” to have a representative sitting on the county commission. The last person to represent Hamtramck may have been Chester Wozniak, back in the 1950s or ‘60s.

As a consequence, Gordon said, “Hamtramck is on the bottom of the list” when it comes to getting public works done, such as the paving of Conant.

Jankowski echoed that sentiment, saying “we get nothing from (Commissioner) Scott.”

Plus, he said, there is a good chance the county jail here in Hamtramck will close.

Local inquiries from city officials, he said, go unanswered.

“The county won’t even talk to us about it,” Jankowski said.

Scott has spent decades in one office or another, serving as mayor of Highland Park, State Rep., Senator and even way back as a county commissioner.

Her roots go deep in her district, and it’s unlikely she can be beat. However, she has aligned herself with Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, who might be considered a political liability with all the scandals popping up around his administration.

Hassan has let it be known that he has higher aspirations since he took a seat on the council. He created a little stir in town when a candidate list was made public. According to the list, Hassan listed his city as Detroit.

But as it turned out, Hassan used a Conant address as his mailing address. In his candidate affidavit, he said his residence is in Hamtramck, at 2425 Neibel.

Zwolak is no stranger in running for outside office, having run for just about every office in the past three or four decades.

It’s not unusual for members of any city council to use their local office as a stepping stone to higher offices.

But Mayor Karen Majewski said that, although she doesn’t question their motives, they should serve out their terms in office before moving on to another.

“You have an obligation to fulfill your term,” she said.

There are other locals running for office, some familiar, some not.

Longtime county Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz is seeking another term. He lives on Gallagher, in the “Grosse Pointe” (with the nice big, brick houses) section of the block.

Perennial candidate for county sheriff, Taras Nykoriak, is once again running as the sole Republican. Wayne County is a staunch Democratic county, and there’s is not even a remote chance of a Republican getting the job as sheriff.

Also running for State Rep. are Ron Michalski, a political unknown, and Beverly Tran, who has been working for Congressman John Conyers.

Tran has also run for city council in Hamtramck.

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