What they had to say at the Town Hall meeting

By Ian Perrotta

“I’m not willing to pay any more taxes.” – Former City Councilmember Dr. Abdul Algazali, as he denounced the council and accused them of not making necessary cuts and not saving money for a rainy day.

“These are the people who run the city. You work for us.” – Bill Meyer, Executive Director of the new group OneHamtramck LLC, to the council, as he motioned to those sitting in the audience.

“When I heard the request to skirt state law and request bankruptcy instead of first suggesting an emergency financial manager, honestly, I thought it was really arrogant and I was surprised and upset about that.” – A still-visibly upset Eric Burkman, community activist, as he denounced the policies of those in charge.

“The city of Hamtramck has not had a sprinkler system for about 100 years until now, and now you want us to pay more taxes?” – Former City Councilmember Kathy Kristy, on ways that the city has apparently misused discretionary money.

“I’ve recorded lots and lots of code violations to you and you’ve ignored me. You stopped returning my e-mails and I think you’re liars and I don’t trust that you’re listening to any of us for anything.” —Ramsey Hussain, irate with the fact that he has invested his life savings in his house and the city has “crapped on it for the last five years” by allegedly failing to enforce building codes at other structures.

“We sued the city to protect the rights of the bad guys we had to lock up. There was no bathroom. There was no running water. I used to go to my locker at work and have to jump over a puddle of urine.” – Police Officer Walter Tripp, explaining the reasoning behind one of the department’s lawsuits against the city. He also noted that it was the department’s drug fund that purchased new sprinklers for City Hall.

“Mr. Cooper, you’ve done a disservice to our city by going out and telling the national media that we need to file for bankruptcy.” – Local resident Tim Hanks, on what he believes are the ramifications of Cooper’s letter to the state.

“I want to know why is our overpaid and undereducated lawyer James Allen not here?” – A soon-to-be corrected Tywla Meyer, who was quickly alerted by shouts from people in the crowd that the man in question was in the back of the gym.

“I come from a small farming community and now it’s one of the biggest tourist attractions. America doesn’t have a crossroads (a destination spot for international tourists) – what’s wrong with this city? We’ve got to attract people to our city. It’s unique. I think them two girls who ran the festival should get involved. I’ve never seen anything like it. They took that festival from nothing and put it on the map.” – A man who lives on St. Aubin, providing a suggestion for a way the city can bring in additional revenue.

“If you can survive the city of Hamtramck, this is the best bootcamp for you to go out there and be successful and do anything you want to do.” – Taha Alhumdi, program director of the Hamtramck branch of the Arab American Chaldean Council (ACC), on what he tells people is one of the benefits Hamtramck has to offer.

“One of the things that concerns me about Hamtramck is that sometimes we set up adversarial relationships in how we work with each other. The places I see turnarounds happen are places where historic enemies realize they have to work together and become allies instead of attacking each other.” – Rev. Dan Buttry, on ways that Hamtramck can work toward improving not only the city’s finances but the relationship between the government and residents.

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