Meet the Candidates for Mayor

“Meet the Candidates Night” was hosted by the Hamtramck Block Club Association on July 27th at People’s Community Services.
Richard Fabiszak promised to move Hamtramck forward, and said he will “work day and night” and “it’s time to get down to business”. He said Tom (Jankowski) is a good friend of his, but Karen (Majewski) should “stay home and do cooking” because she’s “not fit to be Mayor”. Fabiszak doesn’t believe Mohammed (Hafeez) is a Hamtramck resident. Fabiszak wants to “bring the death penalty here”, worries about the homeless, and thinks Hamtramck Coney Island is a good place.
When asked what his goals are for Hamtramck, Fabiszak said, “Jim says there’s not enough firemans”, so he would give them more money. Another person asked where this money would come from, and Fabiszak said he “will figure that out.”

Tom Jankowski said Hamtramck has returned to local control, just as he promised, and pledged support for City Manager, Crawford, who Jankowski believes will produce results. He said codes and water bills have been enforced during his term, and he would like to begin long-term budgeting for infrastructure improvements. Jankowski blamed council for “slowing down progress”. He said he has been involved in Hamtramck politics for 30 years, and served on the Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals. Jankowski said he will assist Crawford in settling the R-31 issues in the Grand Haven Dyar neighborhood.
When asked when snow removal and sweeping had been done, Jankowski said the snow had been plowed 5 times, though only major streets were done on some occasions. Joe Sobota had sweeping done on Gallagher once by people using brooms, but it didn’t work out very well.
When asked what should be done about fighting at the high schools, Jankowski said that an anti-violence coalition had been formed and security cameras have been installed in the schools. The schools have also agreed to share in the cost of patrolling at exit times because they’ve realized that the cost is roughly the same as loosing 2 students. He said they have a “zero tolerance” approach, “detectors” have been installed at the schools, and arrests have been made for property damage. Jankowski believes that children being out of hand “starts at home” and “parents need to step up”.
When asked what he has learned the past 2 years of being Mayor, Jankowski said that our problems are complicated, “revenue is not growing fast”, and “putting money where it doesn’t belong to get votes does no good”. He hopes that building houses in Grand Haven Dyar will create more density to support stores.
When asked if he would comment on rentals, he said he has implemented an aggressive inspection program and also jailed some landlords. He said Hamtramck has a very transient population, and immigrants keep Hamtramck strong.
Karen Majewski said that she and members of the Solidarity slate have “upheld the good name of Hamtramck”. She said opinions differ, but the law will be respected and all sides will be heard. Majewski believes that Hamtramck is at a “crossroads” on the way to professional management, and the Mayor will be setting the tone and direction of the city. She promised to balance the budget, and uphold proper bidding procedures, hiring purely on the basis of qualifications. Majewski would like to see a return to police foot patrols and a traffic patrol program. She disagrees with Shimmel’s attempts to wear down the resolve of our fire department. She also said she is “shocked” by refused resolutions and failure to provide information by the Mayor’s administration.
When asked how her interpretation of the Charter could be trusted, when Council has repeatedly tried to reinstate their salaries in recent months, Majewski said that the Charter has been decided. She explained that the council’s salary was cut by 80%, when the Mayor’s salary was reduced by only 25%. Only Council’s salary was not reinstated. Council was told they could change their salaries by resolution, but the resolutions were not followed by the administration.
When asked why some people are allowed to speak for 5-10 minutes during public comment when others are “disrespected”, Majewski said she uses a timer and has never allowed someone to speak for more than 6 minutes. Sometimes she allows people to finish their thoughts out of respect, and gives everyone the opportunity to speak. After the program, the woman who asked this question asked loudly why Larry Trick was allowed to speak twice at a recent meeting. Majewski tried to answer that the rules have changed for council meetings under the new charter, but the moderator asked that she talk to the woman later.
Mohammed Hafeez is “the first ethnic political appointee” in Hamtramck. He said he knows other candidates, their pasts, and is “aware of success and failure”. He believes that people “need to understand public good” and that he would serve all, excluding no one. Hafeez has 5 masters degrees and was a professor in Boston who “knows how to conduct business”.

94 thoughts on “Meet the Candidates for Mayor

  1. Is this Richard Fabiszak guy for real? Does anyone take him seriously? I remember back in high school we would see him walking hamtramck in a suite waving to people like he was a big shot. It would be 90 degrees out and he’s wearing some old school polyester suit, must have been hot. So who’s the best out of the canidates?

  2. I would call Fabiszak the protest vote. He only gets a handful in each election. He’s been running for 15 years. You have to click through to the larger photo to really appreciate his clothing choices.

    As for who is best, I identify most with Majewski’s platform and would like to vote for her, but I cannot vote for anyone who uses 527 money in a local election that is supposed to be non partisan. I am not voting for any “solidarity” candidates. And I’m really kind of bummed out about it, but principals are principals. Maybe I’ll change my mind in November.

    So, I’m probably voting for Jankowski next week.

  3. For the same reasons I’m not voting for any of the “solidarity” candidates in the primaries.

    I strongly disagree with a number of issues on at least one of the “solidarity” candidates adgendas. I disagree with the way they raise money. I know they disagree but I think that “the slate” is a local political party and agaisnt the spirit of the charter’s non-partisan elections.

    Finally, since I can expect them to vote in lock-step, I cannot support the slate. I’d rather let democracy work than short-change the process.

  4. Lol, well apparently guys you can just wrap it up. Don’t even bother with an election. Richard already has tie that says he’s the mayor!

  5. I like Jankowski because of his background on city boards. I like the code enforcement he talks about too. We need to crack down on delapitated (sp?) buildings. While there has been negative press lately due to drinking related incidents involving Jankowski, he was recently cleared by the state police, although it still leaves the scar on the city. But….

    I like Majewski because she spoke about public safety issues such as additional community police foot patrols and traffic control programs. She also spoke about working with the fire department. She however is a part of the “solidarity slate” who are running has a councilman who interupts and yells at people during meetings and raises money by standards which some see as morally wrong.

    Both candidates have done things that I find to be embarassing to the city, and starting out I had an anti-incumbent mentality….but I don’t think Hafeez and Fabisak are any good…come on really….So….

    Still undecided!!! AAAHHH!

  6. One of the main issues i would have if i still lived in hamtramck would be cracking down on auto theft. I would want some kind of special unit formed to try and curb that. I think this is important especially if you want people to move in and stay in the city, sure they may save on purchasing a house, but wait until they call their insurance company! The car insurance you have to pay if you live in hamtramck is outrageous. This has been an issue for a long time, but no one really seems that concerned about it.

  7. I think there may be a mistaken assumption that auto theft is the only factor that makes auto insurance so extraordinarily high. Martha Scott will tell you it isn’t.

    Ypsilanti has similar auto-theft problems and the insurance is probaby 1/3 of Hamtramck’s: same population, a tiny bit more average income.

    The city can only do so much to keep insurance companies from red-lining. Detroit and HP have the same problem.

  8. I don’t know that I mind the high auto insurance. The last thing I need are Bobo neighbors with $40k cars. Next they’ll demand we widen the streets for their crappy SUVs.

    I say if you can’t afford the insurance, you have more car than you can afford. Buy a crappier car or go live in the ‘burbs where they worship autos.

  9. You like high car insurance?! I’ll let gieco know. What do you think is the main factor in high car insurance rates? How about instead of buying a crappier car, or moving into the burbs we stop people who steal? I’m not sure whats so bad about that. Politcally I’m not sure why anyone would be against that? Have you ever had a car stolen/broken into? If you live in Hamtramck long enough and park in the street, it’ll happen.

  10. Richard Fabiszak is an “outside the box” progressive thinker we need in hamtramck. Sure alittle rough around the edges, but he is just saying what we are all thinking. He might move hamtramck forward, or he might not, but who cares? it will be fun to watch! He wants more guns, how can you not like this guy? Plus his polyester suits are so cool. He acts like a big shot because HE IS ONE! wow I can wait to vote!

  11. You like high car insurance?

    I like the fact that Bobos and Baby Boomers with $40k SUVs don’t live in my neighborhood. If high insurance rates is what’s keeping them away, then I’m fine with it.

    What do you think is the main factor in high car insurance rates?

    We’ve been trying to figure that out. Since the auto theft rates aren’t independantly affecting the cost then perhaps arson claims are to blame. Many people think we’re just getting red-lined because the insurance companies can get away with it. You know, the ole screw the poor folks routine?

    How about instead of buying a crappier car, or moving into the burbs we stop people who steal?

    Hahah. Good luck with that, let me know how it works out for you.

    Have you ever had a car stolen/broken into?

    Stolen: no. Broken into: not yet in Hamtramck.

    When I lived on the west side I didn’t leave my car on the street. Where I lived in Lansing you had to lock your car or you’d end up with bums sleeping in there every monring. Where I lived in Flint there was no reason to lock your doors because they’d just ninja-rock the window.

    I haven’t seen somebody steal a manual tranny in years but there’s always room for surprises. I think if you drive a late-model american car (especially DCX) with auto transmission it will get stolen.

    Whatever keeps Hamtramck yuppie-proof, I’m for it.

  12. I agree with steven, I also like higher house insurance so me and my neighbots CANT afford nicer homes. I hate nice homes…

  13. About the Slate;

    As a long time community activist I’ve learned that if someone agrees with your goals then you work together to achieve those goals. I’m not sure if that’s partisan or not but it works for me.

    I understand the importance of diverse opinions and everybody having a voice but things like being able to get basic financial records from the city and “no bid ghost contracts” should not be a matter of opinion but simply a matter right and wrong.

    If a group of people run on fiscal accountability and others ignore the issue or even protect and defend those not doing their job then that’s not partisan politics. Its a matter of one group trying to do what’s right and another not caring or of serving someone’s self interests.

    About lockstep voting:
    If I, and others vote for what is obviously right then yes you could call it lockstep. Would you feel better if now and then I voted for something I felt was wrong just to avoid lockstep?

    Of course not, nor would I expect you NOT to vote for someone simply because they agree with others and work with them to archive financial accountability and a better quality of life for the People of Hamtramck.

    If Jankowski had joined us in demanding (after all, since Nov. of 04 they were HIS department heads.) in demanding that the controller provide invoices for the street sweeping, or work orders for the pothole patching or an accounting for tens of thousands of parking money revenue, then perhaps he would have had my support. Instead he defends the department head’s secrecy and even publicly swears at us for passing a resolution to not pay Jay K for work he was not doing.

    I mean did you hear that the $2300 street sweeping invoices that we had repeatedly asked for were actually to pay a privates company to use hand brooms to sweep about 100 yards of Gallagher?

    That’s why I support the Solidarity Slate for Council and Mayor. And ask other’s that put principle before semantics to do the same.

    Rob Cedar
    Hamtramck Councilperson since 2001
    Environmental Activist since 1971
    Anti-War Activist since 1966
    Malcontent since Kindergarten

  14. And I like our shitty house because it isn’t worth anything and the taxes are low.

  15. Rob, the way you’ve described it, the Solidarity Slate is a local political party.

    You said yourself, “That’s why I support the Solidarity Slate for Council and Mayor.”

    You support the “slate” over the candidates? What’s the adgenda of the “Solidarity Slate”?

  16. I’m not sure how this got so far off subject, where people get upset about better law enforcement and reducing crime, and then people pretend that they are from hamtracmck and only lived there a couple months and then go on some kind of rant about bobo’s (whatever that is) baby boomers and SUVs.

    My only point was that it would be nice to hear a politician talk about reducing the crime in hamtramck. But it sounds like some people actually like the crime, if it keeps out those mean nasty yuppies. (I don’t think hamtramck is in any danger of that.) The real danger is mid 30’s artisans, coffee drinking ,hippie types who think living in a crappy neighborhood is somehow cool.

  17. “I disagree with the way they (Solidarity & Majewski) raise money.”

    Please explain.

  18. Steve, My point exactly, I say slate instead of taking the time to type each name (a mater of semantics?) and you ask what we support following immediately after my explanation of principle in supporting financial accountability, open government and not continuing to pay people that have cost us tens (hundreds?) of thousands of dollars. I think it should be more about good government then about what you call us or what we call ourselfs.

    On the other subject; The city does have a specific anti-car theft unit funded by, I believe, a federal grant and the Insurance industry. When I asked what they did , I was told that much of what they did was to investigate thefts, not to prevent them. When pressed for more detail I was told that it was best if the public did not know the specifics of what they do.


  19. it would be nice to hear a politician talk about reducing the crime in hamtramck

    That ought to be pretty easy for you, they all talk about it.

  20. bobo’s (whatever that is) … mid 30’s artisans, coffee drinking ,hippie types who think living in a crappy neighborhood is somehow cool.

    Hee hee.

  21. Steven, breath in buddy, relax. If you like crime, that’s ok. Sorry to offend you.

  22. Rob it’s not semantics. The very fact that you can refer to a number of people by one name alludes to the fact that it’s a party.

    I would think that you could be for all those virtues independantly. Once you gang up, raise funds and advertise together, it’s a party.

  23. breath in buddy, relax. If you like crime, that’s ok. Sorry to offend you.

    mike j, you give up pretty easily. Next you’ll be telling me to “take it easy” or to “lighten up”.

  24. You can like the effects of crime without liking the crime. Low car ownership is keeping a number of our local businesses in business.

  25. And this leads me to the fear I have of Jankowski’s platform: If I cared more about my safety than my freedom, I wouldn’t live in Hamtramck, and it sounds like they’re turning the school into a prison. I won’t have any child of mine going to a middle school with cameras everywhere. It’s unamerican.

  26. When you start looking very closely at crime stats you realize that there’s crime everywhere but the nature of crime changes from place to place.

    For example, Ypsilanti has three times the number of sex offenders than Hamtramck. Hamtramck has less violent crime, but far more property crime.

    Pick your poison.

  27. Oh and Jankowski’s claiming responsiblity for the Tasers. That doesn’t sit well with me. Cops are getting a little trigger happy with the cattle prods.

  28. Give up what? You don’t have to lighten up, its your forum. If you want to go off on someone who wants reduced crime than go for it. It just sounds a little stupid thats all. “Don’t like the crime? want a nice car? Move to the suburbs!” The fact of the matter is I lived in hamtramck for 7 years, went to high school there, and worked there. It just amazes me when someone who I think just moved in a few months ago, starts ranting and raving about who should stay out of the city. Hamtramck has always been know to have a great diversity of people and is very accepting. Its a great little city, with good people, its also way behind other cities in a variety of areas, including city services, crime rate, its economy. The post was quite simple, if the canidates are already talking about reducing crime then great, I hope that happens. It’s obvoius I hit some kind of nerve with the crime request. All you had to do was respond that they are talking about it. It sounds like you moved to hamtramck because you think its cool, not because you love the city. I hope hamtramck does well, if professional people (yuppies) move there and help the city great. I don’t hold any prejudices against anyone. If they are there to help the city than fine.

  29. Actually, we moved here because we love the city, but are trying to convince other people they should move here because it’s cool :)

  30. Hillary, like the effects of crime? This is insane, so you keep people trapped at stores that are subpar because they can’t afford a car? This is really twisted thinking. Crime is bad, the effects of crime are bad. There is no good part to it. Crime isn’t a zero sum game, its not like “well we have to have something, lets have auto theft.”

    Steve, classic technique, accuse the other person of doing what you are. I didn’t tell anyone how to live, you are the one telling people to stay out. And you haven’t even lived there a year!!

  31. mike J,

    I think you’ve got me all wrong. You ought to move back to the city if you love it.

    I don’t like people who want to change cities from cities to quiet bedroom communities, close the bars, squelch the music, and suck all the fun out of life.

    They’re typically the same people that oppose strip joints, pawn shops, and loud rock and roll.

    Security is a slippery slope, at one end is complete security, at the other is complete freedom. The fact is that some folks would rather live as close as possible to the “security” side. That ain’t us.

    I won’t trade my freedom for security. You may if you wish. I’ve lived in cities my whole life and don’t want to see Hamtramck suburbanized. Why do you want to change it?

    I like to swing my arms and not get tased by the police. I like freedom. If I didn’t I could always move back to Washtenaw County.

  32. The car insurance rates keep lots of people from establishing residency in Hamtramck even when they live here. I had insurance at my parent’s address and then changed it to Hamtramck. Big mistake. The difference was amazing. And I drive a piece of junk and only carry no fault. In Southfield I paid about $1000 per year. In Hamtramck, about $300 per month. I can’t afford it. That’s almost as much as my rent! So, I “live” in Southfield now. (only I spend all of my time at the flat I rent on Gallagher) Which is a shame. Now I can’t vote. I am not unusual either. From what I’ve come to understand, crime is not the biggest issue in the insurance rates here. Other areas with similar crime rates have lower insurance rates. Apparently, the issue is the large number of uninsured motorists. But raising rates just leads to more uninsured motorists so… I don’t know what can be done to fix this problem. I believe it’s something that has to be dealt with at the state level through legislation. Somehow I don’t think we have much of a chance there though.

    Oh, and around here, the car thieves can drive manuals. (my old 88 Jetta for one)

    Solidarity Slate looks like a political party, smells like a political party, acts like a political party but somehow it isn’t? Solidarity Slate, while I have respect for a some of its members, is bad for Hamtramck politics. It brings an “us” vs “them” mentality to the game. It appears now that either you’re on the slate or with the mayor. Which is a bunch of hooey. They work towards a common end, raise and spend money together, and share an ideology – but it’s not a political party? I feel bad picking on Rob, because he seems like a really good, responsible, accessible and hard working public official but, his involvement in the slate is just bad for Hamtramck. Not that it matters what I think – I can’t vote anyway.

  33. Hillary,

    You raise a good point. The School Board cut funding for Nancey Erickson’s Peace Studies Class that taught conflict resolution as being a “frill” but now wants the city to split the cost of a cop in the high school and Jankowski takes credit for doing something to cut teen violence. Its not altogether Jankowski’s fault for following what to some is a popular concept of an ever increasing police state mentality. However, a good councilor and classes like Nancey’s are probably more effective and cost less.

  34. Do you convince them by telling them they can enjoy the great effects of crime? lol

  35. Yep, insurance rates suck, but what are we going to do about it? The fact that we could live in Ypsilanti and drive to Hamtramck every day for 1/3rd of what it would cost to commute to Ypsi from Hamtramck is absurd.

  36. Steve and I don’t have problems with car crimes in Hamtramck because we don’t drive in Hamtramck. I haven’t driven a car in weeks, and that’s the reason we live in the city. When we lived in Ypsilanti, I was riding the bus a lot and had to wait for Steve to get home to buy groceries. Now I’m free to go anywhere in town, any time I want, and I don’t have to think about cars. It’s a very free feeling to be walking around town without a car to keep track of.

    Sub par stores? I find the little stores in my neighborhood have higher quality goods and services than those offered at corporate and chain stores. And more of your money spent at a locally owner store stays in the community.

  37. “I feel bad picking on Rob, because he seems like a really good, responsible, accessible and hard working public official.”

    Thank you G, with comments like that you can pick on me anytine..

  38. Nobody ever said you had to vote straight Solidarity, in fact it’s almost a foregone conclusion that people don’t (for starters, observe the numbers on the polls here at Hamtramck Star).

    Politics is expensive business, even at the local level. When you get down to a practical level, the Solidarity slate is more about cost-effectiveness than ideology. Until you see a “straight ticket” slot on your ballot (never), I’d say there’s no danger of Solidarity “destroying” any part of the process.

    This all leads me to my favorite nuance of the democratic process: everybody gets a vote, and what you do with it in the voting booth is strictly your business.


  39. Steven, you haven’t even lived there that long. Right now hamtramck has that “new car” smell to you. (if thats possible) Thats cool, but write back in a year or two, and they’ll be somethings that you think need to be changed/fixed. Just dont’ be so cocky about how things should or shouldn’t be when you don’t even know what you are talking about, thats not a slam, its just a fact, you haven’t lived there that long. I don’t want it to turn into suburbs either. But real people live in these cities, its more than just a cool place to hang out, with a lot of bars, and music. people with families live and work there. Some change is good. Like not being in receivership.

    There’s been a bunch of people just like yourself that have come and gone, thinking hey hamtramck is cool, its hip, then a little while down the road find out there are some real challenges to living there, such as the crime. and then bail for the “burbs”. I truely hope you make things better there, I appreciate your site especially all the great pics.

  40. Yes… what would people who have lived in every major city in Michigan know about Hamtramck? It isn’t any different than Downtown Grand Rapids or Ypsilanti or Freeport or anywhere else I’ve lived. Hamtramck has more open stores and police. That’s about it.

  41. Well said, Mike J. I, too, hope Steve and Hillary stick around and contribute for a long time.

    Over the years, inevitably, the annoyances will stack up (I’ve been here coming up on 10 years and I’ve got my share of gripes), but staying focused on the greater goods of Hamtramck will serve all of us well. Finding ways to cope with the annoyances is key. Too much effort to crack down and we can find ourselves on the slippery slope to suburbia. Too little effort, however, and those annoyances can chip away at basic quality of life and total up to serious problems.

    Either way, Hamtramck needs dedicated, thoughtful creative people to survive.

    Is not for the feint of heart.

    Stout of heart, yes.

    Big of heart, most of all.


  42. Rob: As usual, I totally agree with you about violence prevention vs. police state. If we want to get back to a kinder world, we need to get back to mutual respect and pride in our neighborhoods and schools as a primary method of crime prevention.

    Mike: It’s comforting that people don’t vote based solely on the list. I totally agree that local politics is expensive and that is why I believe that people should raise funds based on their own merit and not on the basis of whether or not they are part of the in-crowd. How does a person get to be on the slate? Wouldn’t it be a shame if a competant, energetic person were shut out by someone less qualified, just because they got money from a PAC?

    I may change my mind before the general election, but this time around I’m voting against “solidarity”.

  43. mike j,

    Our new city manager’s from Boca Raton, according to your reasoning he’s not allowed to have an opinon either.

    Ad hominem attacks are the fallacies we usually see when people have lost an agrument.

  44. Even though I’m going to vote for him in the primary, I had a problem with Jankowski’s current stand involving violence at the high school.

    He espoused a “zero tolerance” policy for problem students at the school. He referred to them as “criminals”.

    I don’t believe throwing problem youth directly into the cirminal justice system is the answer. I don’t know about you all, but if my high school had a “zero-tolerance” policy I’d have never graduated. I thank them for not giving up on me.

    Some of my friends weren’t so lucky and ended up in either insurance-funded treatment programs or jail. Personally, I’d rather spend more money on schools than jails.

  45. What argument did i lose? Give me a break, is this a forum for mature debate? about real issues? If not thats fine i’ll enjoy the pictures. What you should have done from the very beginning of my original post is just say that you dont’ agree with me and its stupid so don’t bother posting back. Because thats basically what you are saying to me. And thats fine. I was just making my point that i think car theft is a major issue. You disagree, thats ok. You guys dont’ seem to like cars, thats fine, i’m not going to debate that with you. I’m not sure what I lost. I’m trying to figure out what you are argueing for? Crime? more crime? If you go back and read what I said i wasn’t attacking anyone, all i asked for was some talk from the canidates about increased policing action on car theft, i thought it might be a good idea. Generally you have a forum so people can exchange ideas, mine somehow differ on yours about crime is that ok?

  46. mike j,

    We were having a discussion and exchanging ideas up until you said that I can’t have an opinion until I’ve lived in Hamtramck for a specific number of years. But I’m going to forget about that.

    My point is that I like Hamtramck pretty much the way it is. I’m kinda conservative. I’m not about making drastic changes to the demographic or the economic situation. I don’t have some ideallic vision of what the city might be someday if we only did x, y, or z.

    I moved here because we like it. We’ve lived in every major city in the state and happen to like Hamtramck the best.

    I think where we disagree is that maybe you’d like to see Hamtramck change? I’m not picking a fight here, I’m really about respecting your ideas.

  47. If crime is your main concern, you won’t be happy in any city in Michigan. If cars are your main thing, you won’t be happy in Hamtramck. I am a frequent complainer about street crime. Having our car stolen is the least of my worries.

    Many cities, including a few spots in Hamtramck, have changed into vast, dead areas in attempts to appease people with cars. Pedestrian traffic makes a shopping district great, not cars.

    I think everyone pretty much agrees that there is crime in Hamtramck. There appear to be two basic stances of candidates on crime. Foot patrols and traffic patrols -or- tasers and lots of police.

  48. mike j
    not only do i like my car, but i need it- not to take my shopping away from the city, just to go to work. i agree that car insurance rates in the city are too high (i pay over $400 a month!).
    the Hamtramck police department currently has a “SCAT” unit focused on car theft. this unit consists of two plain clothes officers, the majority of their salary (i believe it’s 75%)is paid for through a grant. with only two officers on this unit a large portion of their 8 hour shift is preoccupied with paperwork.
    at “meet the candidates night” a few of the candidates mentioned reinstating the traffic program without the over-time. it would serve the residents of Hamtramck well if the additional officers were to focus on traffic AND car theft, or for the police dept. to offer limited overtime to officers who want to work with the SCAT unit. the over-time can be paid for by a reduced version of our former traffic program (we don’t want to be known as the traffic stop city again).

  49. large portion of their 8 hour shift is preoccupied with paperwork

    This is the stuff citizens need to know about, thanks for brining this up.

    we don’t want to be known as the traffic stop city again

    Right on!

  50. Thank you Maria Trzin. It seems she knows more about what’s going on with our public safety & our auto theft problem than a sitting councilman who frequently comments. I must say I agree with her.

    As for a lot of the other comments. If a child hits another child in the head with a baseball bat at school, that IS criminal! When a child brings a gun to school, that is criminal. When a child is beat simply because he’s arab or black or different then that is criminal. People on this forum are complaining about the arab butcher who was called etnic names and beaten (yet we don’t know what really happened yet and if he was then the officer should be prosecuted)and find this awful because it was a police officer. They also think that that police officer would be categorized as a criminal (right so if it happend that way) but when a kid does it, it’s just a police state and kids will be kids… (Sorry to get off track but I had to point out the double standard)

    Comments have been made that cameras shouldn’t be in our schools and that a community police officer assisgned to schools is a bad idea. I guess if we went to school with these kids and were in fear of going to school it’d be a good thing to have these things. Lucky for us on that site, we don’t go to the schools now and we can now just sit back and comment and say how aweful it is to protect our kids. One person remarked he wouldn’t have graduated if there was strict enforcement. I’m wondering if he beat a kid with a bat at school before? If he participated in daily riots after school? Beat up someone because of their race or nationality? I doubt it and it’s a big difference like skipping school and an isolated school yard fight to what’s going on today.

    Another person stated that we were overpoliced and complain that he/she couldn’t “waive their arms” around or they’d be tased by our police. I think that’s a far cry for what they are actually used for, which are criminals that have overtaken our streets.

    I happen to like the idea of a fall in our crime rate, including auto theft. I just wish more candidates for office were talking about this, rather than a sitting councilman accepting ‘citizens shouldn’t know what our auto theft team does’ rationale.

    Sorry to vent so long, but I just can’t understand why people feel the way they do in one case and then turn it around for another case…

    Anyways, thanks for reading..I look forward to your anticipated feedback.

  51. Tom, the police and the schools are two distinct issues. I disagree with the claim that I have a double-standard.

    What happened to Hani isn’t the same as one High School kid assaulting another, no.

    Since when is a baseball-bat attack not a crime? Of course it’s a crime, that wasn’t what I’m talking about. What the mayor said was “zero tolerance” which sounds like a pen knife would get you sent up the river.

    I think you’re grossly over-simplifying this issues and linking issues that have nothing to do with one-another.

    My thinking is that how many kids do we take out of school and put in the criminal justice system and for what? For example, if a kids got caught with a pen-knife in school or a girl brings a knife to cut the cake in homeroom. (The cake-knife story is an actual case.)

    What does “Zero Tolerance” mean exactly? It sounds inflexible.

  52. At what point have we failed as a society? When 40% of the kids that are supposed to be in school are in jail? 50%?

  53. Steven: I find your voting decision a little bit of a matter of tasering your nose to spite your face, but agaiin: your vote, your choice.

    Interesting the weight you place on campaign finance, though. I can’t say I’m surprised. I’ll gladly contribute to the fee if you’d like to pull and publish the the County election finance reports when the time comes. In fact, you fly, I’ll buy.

    I think we’ll find that a lot more than a candidate’s merit figures into where the money comes from.

    And hell yes: our car insurance situation sucks. Biggest damper on urban living, period.


  54. A 16-year old in Georgia got suspended from school because a drug dog indicated his backpack smelled like marijuana and cocaine.

    When police searched Renard’s bag, they found some books and papers, all the normal stuff a kid who goes to school would have. They did not find any drugs but suspended Renard and charged him with passive participation. The school calls it part of its zero-tolerance policy. “Students and parents need to understand that,” said school board spokesman James Harvey.

  55. I think both families and society has failed. But we are stuck with a situation in our schools that is downright violent. I believe my understanding of “zero tolerence” is different than yours and can accept that. The girl with the cake cutter knife has a legitimate purpose. But for someone with a pen knife, if the purpose was legit then “okay” no action. However, I believe they are warned about that, brining any knives to school. A knife to cut cake seems like harmless intent whereas a pen knife is more questionable to me? However, the reality in our schools isn’t just these two examples.

    The “beatings” in our school are mostly for ethnic reasons. A kid was hit with a baseball bat in the head (actual case too, in our H.S)because he was black. Another kid was hit in the head with a bat because he was arab. That is where the double standard comment came from. A isolated high school fight is different I agree. HOwever, these are planned attacks because someone is of another nationality (such as an arab man or arab juvenile) Either way it’s the same type of thing in my mind. If police beat a man because he’s arab is the same as a student beating another student because he’s arab. I believe you are chalking the school incident up to “kids will be kids” That’s where I came up with double standard. And I agree, that both are wrong!

    You have posted some links to realively harmless school issues that resulted in suspension, arrest etc. Of course anyone can find those as they are real examples. Although give the other take too then. Where’s the links to the stories of child shot at school, child hit in head with baseball bat at Hamtramck High School, ethnic riots occur at Hamtramck High School?

    And by putting this on, I’m not trying to “down you” or your opinion. I just think that it’s not a bad thing to have a community police officer in the schools, it’s not bad having cameras in the schools. What’s the difference between a camera and a teacher overwatching the students? Not much really, it’s for the safety of the students.

  56. Mike, my main problem with the “Solidarity party” is that no good policical system at any scale has only a single party. Either they have no parties (non partisan) or they have more than one party.

    I’d rather have no parties in Hamtramck than parties so I vote against them. If they continue to be a way things operate in hamtramck there will need to be more. I don’t want that.

  57. Tom. I’ll agree that our ideas about what “zero tolerance” means may differ. I’m going by all the “zero tolerance” issues that are reported all over the country. Usually by freedom loving americans that think over-zealous teachers have lost their minds.

    For example you said “The girl with the cake cutter knife has a legitimate purpose.“. Well that’s not zero tolerance, it’s punishing the kids that misbehave and allowing slack to the ones that aren’t.

    So Tom, what if a kid gets into a fist-fight with another kid because they had an argument, one of them gets a bloody lip. It’s illegal so what should happen to them under a “zero tolerance” policy?


    Check out the published 2003 crime stats, the latest available for Hamtramck and other surrounding cities:,1607,7-123-1645_3501_4621-25744–,00.html

    Just some cannon fodder for the ol’ City vs. Suburbs Debate.

    Ish just might sell his little 2 bedroom Hamtramck Hacienda, throw all of his possessions (including this Commodore 128), in the trunk of the Dodge Aries “K” Car, and “Hit 8 Mile Road”……H-Town was a war zone in 2003!! (Don’t know ’bout 2005, ‘haven’t been outside all year)! I get my “stuff” delivered, if you know what I mean.

    There are opinions, deceptions, promises, misstatements, political verbal diarrhea, then there are……..THOSE DARN STATISTICS!!

    Question “Authority” and those scoundrels who want your vote.

    Gotta get back to my “Mickeys” 40 oz. Jumbo, fire up a blunt, and lament my sad state of affairs…..…(GROAN)!

    Hmmmmm, ‘wonder how I’d look in a polyester leisure suit…..


  59. Oh, and about the cameras Tom. I don’t think they protect anyone from anything, they only help identify what happened after the fact. I think they send a message to the students that we don’t trust them and we’re taping them.

    It’s not a great introduction to demorcracy. I say 86 the cameras and hire more staff.

  60. Having cameras might suggest that trouble makers aren’t trusted, yes. But then why have cameras anywhere, stores, banks etc, do they not trust their customers. It’s just a fact of life, cameras are around. And if they help prove something after the fact then so be it. In our little ideal world, they wouldn’t be needed, but this is Hamtramck and we have major problems of violence in our schools. Hiring more staff? Cameras can be bought at a much cheaper price whereas staff need salaries, benefits etc. If we could then we should hire staff, but really we know that’s not possible.

    As for the bloody lip fight issue, it shouldn’t be tolerated, period. Unfortunetly this isn’t the 60s, 70’s or 80’s where it could be viewed as two youths fighting. Look at the times we’re in and the trouble we have in our schools. They should know that violent behavior is not tolerated. It’s a great introduction to life and democracy, you screw up and there is consequences (but in reality our system is a joke so there really isn’t anything bad, until multipe offenses). What would anyone propose, just do nothing and wait for a Columbine in our schools? Parents should be held responsible too.

    But I don’t hear any candidates really talking that much about these safety in schools issue.

  61. I think we really got down to the meat of this one.

    Having cameras everywhere doesn’t need to be a fact of life and I’m not going to resign myself to it. I don’t want a police state or a surveilence state so I’m going to heartily disagree.

    The bloody lip issue, I disagree here too. I don’t believe getting the police involved and pressing assault chagres against the students is warranted. The statmment “this isn’t the 60s, 70’s or 80’s where it could be viewed as two youths fighting” deeply disturbs me. As if we trusted the youth of those decades but now we’re living in a police state. A fistfight and Comumbine have nothing to do with one-another.

    You’re right our “system is a joke” though I think we disagree there too. It sounds like you’d like to see the kids fighting do some hard time indstead of maybe get probation.

    When a guy I know caught with marijuana in high school he eventually ended up in Ingham County lockup at 17. I can tell you that his choice for the three months he was inside became to either get raped repetedly or help the other prisoners rape the weaker prisoners. This is County Jail I’m talking about. He’s never been right since and that was th 80s.

    Tossing two kids in jail that have a fistfight is likely creating two criminals. It’s criminializing an act that really isn’t criminal in my book.

    We shouldn’t throw the kids out. Things haven’t chagned since the 60s, 70s, and 80s. There are less school shootings now then in those decades.

    People love to talk about Columbine but even with those numbers school violence continues to be lower it was in previous decades. I discusted by what the Boomers are doing the youth.

  62. Indicators of School Crime and Safety, 2004

    * Students age 12-18 were victims of about 309,000 serious violent crimes away from school, compared with about 88,000 at school.
    * Between 1993 and 2003, the percentage of students in grades 9-12 who reported being in a fight anywhere declined from 42 percent to 33 percent.
    * In 2003, 5 percent of students ages 12-18 reported being victims of nonfatal crimes, 4 percent reported being victims of theft, and 1 percent reported being victims of violent incidents.

  63. When I managed gas stations, the video cameras were there to catch employees stealing, not to protect anyone. They don’t prevent armed robberies or assaults. In fact, the chain I worked for has a policy about not having cameras in the parking lots, because it causes people to have a false sense of security and not take precautions to protect themselves, leading to an increase in crimes in the parking lots.

    I went to a rural school and there were fights all the time, at least once a week. The offenders served their 10 days of in-school suspension and then returned to class. If my school threw out evey kid that got in a fight or brought a knife to school, there wouldn’t have been many kids left to graduate.

    And if 2 kids wanted to shoot up the school, video cameras, metal detectors and security guards won’t stop them. Ostracised kids are the ones shooting up schools.

  64. Here’s what “zero tolerance” is:

    What is zero tolerance? “Zero tolerance” refers to the practice of automatic expulsion of students for violations of school safety rules.

    exercpt from: Do We Need Zero Tolerance?

    I don’t agree in expelling students that get in a fight. If this were in place in my high school at least 14 guys in my class would have been expelled.

    Where do the expelled students go now?

  65. Steven: Where do the expelled students go now?
    Horizon, alternative school. Kids have to achieve certain standards before they return to regular school.

    Also, Jankowski supports zero tolerance because all of the teachers support it. Here’s how it works. Zero tolerance for drugs and weapons. I can’t think of a single school district in our Metro area that doesn’t have a zero tolerance policy. For fistfighting students are suspended. First offense is either a warning or a 1-day in school suspension. Then 1-day out of school, then 2-day. Students who can’t change their behavior after repeated suspensions may have to attend Horizon. Hamtramck schools also have a discrimination policy that includes punishment (like the fistfighting measures) and peer mediation.
    Once these students are punished, they also have to fulfill probation requirements like no tardies and no failing grades.

    If you want more info, I recommend speaking with our teachers.

    I hope this helped.

  66. Mike: “Nobody ever said you had to vote straight Solidarity, in fact it’s almost a foregone conclusion that people don’t.”

    That’s not the word I hear on the streets.

  67. Thx Nadine, that policy isn’t exactly the “zero tolerance” touted in many other schools where all violent acts get students expelled.

    To me, this kind of stuff seems ridiculous:

    – A five-year-old in California was expelled after he found a razor blade at his bus stop and carried it to school and gave it to his teacher.

    — A nine-year-old in Ohio was suspended for having a 1” knife in a manicure kit.

    — A twelve-year-old in Rhode Island was suspended for bringing a toy gun to school.

    — A seventeen-year-old in Chicago was arrested and subsequently expelled for shooting a paper clip with a rubber band.

  68. I would prefer children be taught reason and conflict resolution than being threatened with harsh penalties. “Zero tolerance” teaches them they only have to do the right thing when someone is watching instead of how (and why) to be an upstanding person. “Zero tolerance” only serves to bully the kids that aren’t doing anything wrong.

    The teachers at my school claimed the class ahead of mine was the worst they’d ever had, until my class was the senior class, and then it was my class. Older teachers at my school can tell you about my dad’s graduating class. Drunk driving, fighting, skipping school, carrying people’s cars to places that they couldn’t be driven out of, released hundreds of turkeys in the high school that took days to clean up after, replaced the flag on the lawn with bras and panties.

    Today, he’s been the used car dealer in the town we grew up in, and has been for 35 years.

  69. “I would prefer children be taught reason and conflict resolution than being threatened with harsh penalties”

    Hillary, When I was in Hamtramck High we did have somthing like that, conflict resolution run by student mediators. however if you think its effective you only fooling yourself. The young adults who commit voilent crimes are not interested in “conflict resolution”. Its one of those things that sounds great in thoery but doenst seem to work in real life. I know because ive seen it. These criminals know what they are doing is wrong, its not like they didnt know stabbing someone was wrong, they are doing it because they dont really care if they get caught, ei the penalties are not that stiff. Allowing them to stay in school is taking away from the students who want to learn and are trying to become somthing. Somtimes you got to draw a hardline.

  70. Thanks Nadine for clearing up Hamtramck’s policy. I don’t see that as so harsh. Steven, I never said I wanted anyone jailed for hard time for a school yard fight, only that there are consequences. Hillary said, “The teachers at my school claimed the class ahead of mine was the worst they’d ever had, until my class was the senior class, and then it was my class. Older teachers at my school can tell you about my dad’s graduating class. Drunk driving, fighting, skipping school, carrying people’s cars to places that they couldn’t be driven out of, released hundreds of turkeys in the high school that took days to clean up after, replaced the flag on the lawn with bras and panties.” Far different than the problems of Hamtramck including beating each other with baseball bats because someone is different nationality than themselves.
    I guess we have to accept that we’ll all agree to disagree on this one….I love the 1st Amendment.

  71. No doubt John. I’m not sure what world these poeple live in. They are incredibly naive, the guys that i went to ham high with that shot people, had no interest in this conflict resolution crap, the let’s sit down and talk about our feelings stuff. They had their own method. One guy had a problem with another guy, he shot him. Conflict resolved. It’s all about being “hard” to these guys. They don’t care about school. and I’m not talking about kids who do the cute little pranks with bra’s and panties and turkeys. Its pretty simple you commit a violent act in school you’re gone. That one problem with society today we like to coddle are criminals. These guys think about what they are doing, make decisions to do what they do, this isn’t a reflex action, oops i hit someone in the head with a baseball bat, or oops i shot this guy by accident. And i’m not sure how a good kid feels bullied by a zero tolerance rule, this isn’t logical. Why would they feel bullied by a rule that they wouldn’t break? This just isn’t very logical. I would have felt a lot better knowing that rule was in place when i went to ham high, wouldn’t you have hillary? oh yeah…you didn’t go there. You went somewhere with a lot of turkey pranks, sounds like a pretty rough place. I will say i don’t believe in zero tolerance for pantie, bra and turkey pranks maybe a 3 strikes and your out plan would work better for that.

  72. My half brother attended middle school in Hamtramck during the mid 90s. Well, “attended” is an overstatement. Mostly, he skipped school. I remember him saying that he was too afraid to go. After school, other kids would chase him and threaten him with a gun. He said that he pissed off a couple of Albanians and they were retaliating.

    Not your typical grade school prank.

    He started smoking crack in the 8th grade. You should see his yearbook. He went from a butterball to gangly over one summer.

    I can’t blame Hamtramck schools. (especially since he kept smoking crack when he transfered to Royal Oak Dondero High.) But, the kids here have a lot to overcome.

    John’s not exaggerating when he describes violent crimes like stabbing. I’ve even heard of teachers getting robbed by students. If some kids refuse to learn how to read or perform basic algebra, how can the schools teach them conflict resolution? Just ask our teachers. Some of our kids are bombarded with drugs and violence at home.

    I’ve spent plenty of time with welfare moms. I’ve heard stories about how glad they are to send their sons to juvy. I don’t think that they can grasp the concept of conflict resolution. If a kid can’t apply what they learn in the home and on the streets, then we need to reach them another way. Weapons and drugs are unwanted in Hamtramck schools. Kids who use them at school are expelled and sent to an alternative school so that everyone else can focus on learning.

    Zero tolerace means no drugs and no weapons in Hamtramck schools. I totally support taking violent kids out of school and sending them to Horizon. At Horizon, their severe problems can be addressed and they can learn coping skills at their own pace.

    Even kids who are smart and obedient will take liberty to act bad when no one is watching. I know from personal experience. There are four 13-14 year olds who come over to my house nearly everyday. I let them use my computers to play games and IM, and they help me clean my house and watch the young kids who come over to play. But, I swear, if I leave them unattended for more than 15 minutes, they act like a crazy gang of shaved monkeys. If I don’t step in and say, “you’re not allowed to use my computer for a week because you’ve abused your priveledges,” then their behavior just gets worse. Day in and day out, I have to remind them not to hit back, not to swear, and not to be disrespectful. And these kids are all good students from good homes. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be a teacher who has to deal with worse problems than mine.

    (oh, dear. that was quite a long message. sorry to rant for so long)

  73. Steven, I never said I wanted anyone jailed for hard time for a school yard fight, only that there are consequences.

    Tom, under zero tolerance they’re expelled. Isn’t being thrown out of school and society enough? These rules are draconian.

    I see that Hamtramck would rather throw kids away than take responsibility for them, a shame really, I thought more of this town.

  74. I guess we have to accept that we’ll all agree to disagree on this one….I love the 1st Amendment.

    Agreed. As long as everyone got their ideas expressed, I think that’s what’s most beneficial. We can take this one up again when the issue comes up.

  75. Mike: “Nobody ever said you had to vote straight Solidarity, in fact it’s almost a foregone conclusion that people don’t.”

    Nadine: “That’s not the word I hear on the streets.”

    Mike: But it’s what you see in the ballot box, and that’s the only place it counts. You see it in the polls here and you’ve seen in it in two elections (three if you count the CharterYES! slate that ran in 2002). In practice, Solidarity supporters simply don’t vote in lock-step.

    Scott Klein can tell you this; he was a distant fifth in the last election and squeeked through by 8 votes. Oh, and also Gary Zych lost to Tom Jankowski by 65 votes.

    And a fun bit of trivia, Karen Majewski received 31 more votes than Jankowski in 2003.

    Beginners luck. For both of them.

  76. John: they’re children, not criminals, and if treated like animals, they will act like animals. Underlying problems cause criminal behavior, and they’re not addressed by the criminal justice system. I’m not willing to give up on those kids.

    Nadine: I don’t have any problems with sending kids with anger management problems or other dangerous behaviors to Horizon school. When I was in school, weapons or drugs would land you at the “cop shop” school, run by the Police in the basement of a church. “Zero tolerance” means expelling boys after their first fight and calling the police as a first response. Hamtramck doesn’t have “zero tolerance” if that is not the case.

  77. Very interesting, Mike. Was there a primary in the Mayor’s race last time? How do you think Hafeez will do at the polls?

  78. Hafeez probably will not do so well I think. Word that I’m hearing is that he doesn’t live in Hamtramck. That’s the perception and word on the street, unknown if that is true. Also, for someone to claim so much education I must question. Hafeez is not in the bar directory as an attorney. He claims to be an attorney, among other things. His idea of taxes for only those that can pay will leave the city bankrupt as then hardly anyone in town can really afford to pay. I think it’s pretty clear who the two front runners are and they will advance without problem…but then again, Hamtramck voters have done weirder things in the past, for all we know Fabisak might advance.

  79. “Very interesting, Mike. Was there a primary in the Mayor’s race last time? How do you think Hafeez will do at the polls?”

    There was a primary for mayor last time, but none for council. The election numbers for the last several years (minus recalls, referendums and the historic 1997 race), can still be found in the City Clerk section of no-longer-updated City of Hamtramck site:

    How will Hafeez do? Tough to say. I think He drew around 200 votes as a candidate for State Representative last year. That was a different race and it’s unclear which direction his political star is heading nowadays. Many say not up.

    Tuesday will answer a whole host of questions (and raise a whole host more).

  80. Hillary & Steven,

    I totally agree with your defense of children’s dignity.

    I feel that raising children, especially in this day and age, is a challenge, even for the best of parents.

    I understand that the ability to afford a home on one income, without having to subsidize a second car, will facilitate parenting young children. That’s one of the advantages for young couples, such as yourselves, in Hamtramck.

    One of the reasons I chose public service was that I felt I might find my niche in society by contributing at the governmental level, as I was not blessed with children of my own.

    Children require so much time from their parents, and many parents just don’t have the time to keep up with governmental issues; They rely on their elected representatives to make choices, on their behalf.

    You’re so right, Hillary, about the “ostracized” children. If they don’t develop adequate coping skills, or have the support of a compassionate society, they become ostracized adults.

    In our largely fast food, “junk food” society, we can’t afford to throw away our most valuable resource–our people, as if they’re junk. We can’t afford to maintain the jails we have already–as is indicated by the court battle between Hamtramck and Wayne county over the property taxes for the Dickerson facility.

    Thanks all, for your consideration of my perspective.

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