FIXING ROADS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Well built and maintained roads, along with reliable infrastructure, are the foundation of any great community. We owe it to our residents, business owners, taxpayers, and visitors to have quality roads, connected sidewalks, clean drinking water, working on flood-related issues, and reliable drainage and sewer systems. We must invest in green infrastructure as well to protect our environment and help us reduce flooding in the city.
RESULTS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Approved funding for over 50 neighborhood road repair and improvement projects all across Westland.
Streets A-F: Avondale Rd. (Venoy to Merriman), Avondale Rd. (Merriman to Henry Ruff), Barns Dr., Bedford Dr., Birchwood St. (Gloria to Merriman), Carlson St. (Palmer to Avondale), Chief Lane, Chochise St., Clinton Ct., Columbia Ave., Comanche Dr., Dagner Dr., Darwin St. (Wildwood to Grand Traverse St.), Dover Dr., Elisa Dr., Farragaut Rd., Fernwood St., Forest St., Freeman Ct.
Streets G-N: Grand Traverse St. in Norwayne (Glennwood to Belding), Grand Traverse St. in Norwayne (Northgate to Merriman ), Hiveley St. (Hawthorne to Farmington), Iroquois Dr., Jill Dr., John Hix & Florence St. (North of Cherry Hill), Larchmont Dr., Lone Pine Dr., Lynx Rd. and Lynx Ct., Markey Ave., Manila Ave., Marquette Rd. (Wayne to John Glenn High School area), Melvin Rd. Drainage Improvement, Monmouth Ave., Muirfield Dr., Norene Ave., N.Berry St., N.Crown Ave., N.Hambleton Ave., N.Hanlon Ave., Northampton Dr. North Linville St.
Streets O-Z: Pamela Ct., Pardo Ave., Schley Ave., Sheffield Ave., Shelby Dr., Somerset Dr., S.Christine Ave., S. Crown Ave., S.Hawthorne St., S.Karle Ave., S.Marie Ave., S.Parent Ave., Superior Parkway (Chery Hill to Huron Parkway), Van Lawn St., Wallace Ave., Watson Cir., Winekoff Dr., Winona Dr., Yale St. (Hunter to Warren)
Connected sidewalk gaps along Palmer Rd. from Wayne Rd. to Venoy Rd.
The City of Westland funded a sidewalk connectivity program to connect broken sidewalk gaps along Palmer Rd. from
Wayne Rd. up to Venoy Rd.
Added covered bus station for SMART bus riders so they aren't waiting out in the elements
Worked alongside my colleagues on Council and our City Purchasing Director Devin Adams to add covered bus stations
for 3 of our busiest SMART bus stops in the city. I am hoping that we can add more covered bus stations throughout
Westland so that no SMART bus rider is left out, waiting unprotected in the elements.
Working on addressing the basement flooding issue in certain neighborhoods with equipment and manpower
We know that every time it rains here in Westland, there are certain neighborhoods and basements in resident's homes
that always flood. That is why we have invested $400,000 of the taxpayer American Rescue Plan funding towards
addressing the basement flooding issues that residents are having. We have purchased new equipment and are hiring
and training 4 new workers to help us roll out this new program. We hope to being implementing it in 2023.
Purchased a wood chipper to help trim trees and mitigate power outages
As apart of the $26 million in American Rescue Plan taxpayer funding that the City of Westland received we have
purchased a new wood chipper to use to help us trim more trees. By trimming more tree we hope this has at least some
small effect on the power outages we have here in Westland by clearing tree branches away from power lines.
MY PLAN FOR BETTER ROADS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Maintain and repair our city and neighborhood roadways with proactive repairs:
The Neighborhood Makeover program in Westland was launched to repair our subdivision streets. Through continued
fiscal responsibility and the dedicated work of our DPW Director Ramzi El-Gharib and the entire Department of Public
Works team we can continue the progress with road and street repairs in neighborhoods all across Westland. Priorities
for neighborhood road repair must be decided on the areas of greatest areas of need first and foremost.
Connecting broken gaps of sidewalks and ensuring more sidewalk connectivity:
I was incredibly excited when we put together the Walk & Roll mobility program. One of the key aspects of the Walk & Roll mobility program was to focus on sidewalk connectivity along major roadways and neighborhood streets. There are many positive benefits of having a program that focuses on sidewalk connectivity. Sidewalks make it safer for pedestrians to walk down a street. Having fully connected sidewalks means more accessibility for pedestrians with disabilities and different abilities to get around on. They mean that kids won't have to walk to school or other people walk to where they are going on someone's grass.
We can fund future sidewalk connectivity efforts through utilizing a portion of our ARPA dollars. We can also
apply for federal and state grant funding, namely TAP grants, to fund connectivity. In the past, we have used TAP
grant funding to do sidewalk connectivity.
While we may not be able to get to every single sidewalk in the city, all at once, we can make a big difference and
close many of the gaps we do have. We can reinvigorate and refocus on the Walk & Roll plan.
Explore building a water tower storage unit to lower the cost of a water bill for families:
Many cities around Metro Detroit (Canton, Farmington Hills, Northville, Novi) are building water towers or
water storage units to help lower the cost of water bills for their residents, working families and small businesses. I
believe Westland is in a unique position to be able to do the same. A water tower can potentially lower costs by allowing
the city to store water during off hours and then release that water for use during peak usage hours.
I would like to us develop a comprehensive study to explore the costs, both construction and operational costs, to
building a water tower or storage unit. If we can lower costs for residents, working families and small businesses
through their water bill than we should be looking into doing so.
Address flooding issues by investing in green infrastructure:
Like many in Westland, my basement has flooded before after a heavy rain. In 2021 the homes of many of my
neighbors and my own flooded with 8+ inches of water in our basements. I know there are many neighborhoods and
residents who experience flooded basements after very heavy rains. That's why as a city we need to continue to invest
in resources and projects that can help mitigate neighborhood and basement flooding.
One way in which I believe we can reduce flooding is through investments in green infrastructure. Green infrastructure investments can include building out any of the following:
Retention ponds and trenches: Retention ponds and trenches can be used to help push water off into and hold the water. In neighborhoods that are located near a park I would like to see us look into building retention ponds and drainage systems where we can push off the water into.
Bioswales: Installing biowales in portions of neighborhoods that flood the most. Bioswales are a type of green infrastructure and they can be used to manage stormwater in neighborhoods. Bioswales are vegetated channels that are designed to allow stormwater to soak into the soil. They are typically planted with native plants that have deep root systems and that are excellent at guiding water off the street and down into the ground. Bioswale designs can vary in shape and size, but they all serve the same purpose: to collect, slow, infiltrate, and filter stormwater.
Start utilizing permeable concrete on road construction projects: Adding green infrastructure means building our roads, curbs, and sidewalks out of porous, permeable pavement so water can flow through the concrete. It means utilizing nature through new, natural landscaping designs and putting more gardens and micro gardens (biowales) in order to help trap and stop storm water runoff. Plants and vegetation with larger root systems can help trap and stop more water, so we should be planting more gardens and micro gardens as a means to help.
Using porous, permeable pavement and concreate and building new, natural landscaping across the city will allow water run off into the ground instead of building up on our streets and flooding our basements and roadways. It will reduce the backup and stress on our sewer systems.
Information obtained below is from the following sources:
Holding DTE accountable when it comes to power outages:
As one of your elected officials on your Westland City Council I have worked to hold DTE to account when it comes to
the constant power outages faced by residents here in Westland. I have done so by asking for public meetings with DTE
Representatives, speaking out publicly at City Council meetings, and advocated for communities to join together to
stand up to the DTE monopoly. Here in the State of Michigan we rank 45th in the country in-terms of the reliability of
our power grid. We are also 34th in the country in-terms of the costs and money we pay to have power. That means our
power grid is both expensive and unreliable. We have to demand better from DTE.
We must demand that DTE do more to make our electric grid more reliable and secure so that the power doesn't go out every time it storms or we have a little bit of wind. We must ensure that DTE is making more upgrades to our power grid and infrastructure by trimming more trees each year, changing out transformers before they blow, and burying power lines when possible.
It’s also worth looking into DTE’s financial statements as a corporate entity. DTE Energy’s gross profit for the twelve months ending June 30, 2022 was $5.923B, a 11.69% increase year-over-year. DTE Energy annual gross profit for 2021 was $5.756B, a 3.08% increase from 2020. DTE Energy annual gross profit for 2020 was $5.584B, a 4.67% increase from 2019.
There is something else that years 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 have in common at DTE besides their net profit increases year over year. Each of those years DTE lobbied the Michigan Public Service Commission, the unit of government that regulates our public utilities, for electrical rate increases. That means DTE was trying to get more money out of consumers like us. According to a publication in the Detroit Free Press by Free Press Journalist Nusharat Rhaman, with
numbers obtained from DTE and the State of Michigan’s own reports, DTE requested an 8.8% rate increase in 2022. That
equates to approximately $388 million in additional revenue . Rhaman reports that this would amount to about $10
more a month for residential customers. Since 2010, Rhaman’s reporting showed that the Michigan Public Service
Commission had approved six other rate increases. The most recent was in 2020, when the commission approved a DTE
rate increase of 4.7%, or $3.93 a month. DTE and its lobbyists get the State of Michigan to give them frequent rate
increases on the backs of consumers like all of us.
According to Salary.com, Jerry Norcia, the Chief Executive of DTE, made approximately $11 million in total compensation
in 2020 and $10,054,678 in 2021. Mr. Norcia received an 11% compensation
increase in 2020 from 2019, during the pandemic. As a result of his compensation increase, when you factor in total
compensation, he now makes 67 times the pay of his average worker at DTE. Vice Chairman and Chief Administrative
Officer David Meador made $3,729,535 in total compensation. President and COO Trevor Lauer made $2,548,069.
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer $2,546,164. President and Chief Operating Office Mark Steiers made
$2,285,565 in total compensation.
Meanwhile, DTE has only recently ramped up investments its tree trimming program after much public outcry and
scrutiny. Above ground power lines and trees taking out wires and entire poles are a significant contributor to the
constant power outrageous according to several studies. Additionally, lack of investments in the overall power grid and
infrastructure contribute to these constant outages and delays in service. Consumers across Westland and Metro
Detroit have experienced constant outages throughout 2021 and have lost time and money as a result.
DTE’s customers, residents and small businesses alike, sit for days without power watching their food go to waste, vital
life saving medicines go bad, and experiencing the inconvenience of living without power. We’re told by DTE that we
need to be patient and that they are out there doing the best they possibly can. And just what is DTE doing response to
all of this inconvenience and this patience we’re all supposed to have, they are offering us another lousy $25 bill credit . . . if you qualify for it.
Upon discussing DTE’s “generous” offer of a $25 credit, I think there are some pertinent follow up questions that need to
be asked. Did you lose only $25 worth of food in your fridge when the power went out? If you lost life-saving
prescriptions that required refrigeration, did those only cost you $25? If you were forced to stay at a hotel, one-two-
three-four nights, was your bill only $25? If you experienced damage to your home as a result of the power being out,
was that damage only $25?
If your power is out, don't blame the Utility Workers and hard working union members either. The hard working and
dedicated Utility Workers from the Michigan State Utility Workers Council are doing all they can with the resources they
are given from DTE to keep our power on and restore it when it goes out. This isn't there fault, this is the fault of the
corporate entities controlling our power grid here in Michigan.
If you're angry at both DTE and Consumers Energy you should be. If you're looking for a quick solution to the constant
power outrageous and annual price rate increases on our backs from DTE there isn't one. Over the long term, what
needs to happen is for the people’s representatives, your government, at the state and local levels, being tougher on
DTE. Taking a stand to demand more tree trimming, burying of power lines, and upgrades to our power grid. public
control, no not privatization, over the utility companies.