ISSUES

In Westland we can continue to create progress for everyone and build an inclusive culture that reflects every resident - if we invest in our people, our families, our neighborhoods, and our city.  

A 10 Point Plan To Continue The Progress And Build A Better Westland For Everyone!

1. PUTTING NEIGHBORHOODS FIRST

Putting neighborhoods first means making sure the needs of every family, in every neighborhood from Annapolis Park to Norwayne to Clyde-Smith, are taken care of and that they are receiving equal services. It means repairing our roads, fixing our sidewalks, and keeping the homes that we all live in looking beautiful.

  • ROADS, SIDEWALKS & LIGHTS: Our cities financial stability is crucial as we must continue to invest in and repair cracked and broken neighborhood streets, sidewalks, and street lights.

  • Make sure that repairs to roads and sidewalks are determined in order of need first. An election season should never determine which neighborhoods get serviced first.

  • TRASH & RECYCLING: Ensure that our trash and recycling programs continue uninterrupted. I opposed the plan to send our recycled materials to the Detroit Incinerator due to the harmful and toxic air quality produced by the incinerator. To be sure, sending our recycled materials to a landfill is little better an alternative as there are environmental concerns that arise there too.

  • ORDINANCES: Use a portion of our roughly $5.7 million fund balance to hire additional Ordinance Officers to enforce city ordinances that help clean up our neighborhoods and keep them free from blight, hazardous materials, junk, and overgrown flora.

  • CLEANING UP BLIGHT: Create a blight-busting task force within the neighborhood services department consisting our city attorney, ordinance and public safety officers to address blighted homes and businesses more efficiently and effectively.

  • ADDRESSING CONCERNS ABOUT RODENTS: The first step in solving a problem is admitting it exists. I have gone door-to-door and heard multiple stories from residents about finding living and dead rats and rodents in their neighborhood. My own dog Jetta found a rat that came over from my neighbors yard into mine. While we have made progress on this issue, the city needs to work to continue to address residents concerns regarding the issue of rats and rodents in our neighborhoods.

  • CONTINUE NORWAYNE REVITALIZATION: Continue the revitalization efforts and progress in the Norwayne Historic District by supporting more programs geared towards children, family support services, education, and recreation. Work with the Norwayne Citizens Council to continue the progress already made.

  • Work with Wayne-Westland Community Schools to offer after-school and extended learning programs at the Jefferson Barnes Vitality Center.

2. KEEPING WESTLAND SAFE

As a City Council member, the safety of you, your family, and the residents across this community will be a top priority of mine! Public safety means giving those who keep us safe the tools and resources they need.

  • POLICE: Ensure our cities police force has adequate and up-to-date resources and appropriate staffing levels to keep them safe on the job and residents safe at home.

  • Find creative funding solutions to hire additional community police officers to watch over the neighborhoods and families of Westland. Funds for the additional officers could potentially come from eliminating the Deputy Mayor's position and using a portion of our roughly $5.7 million fund balance.

  • FIRE & EMS: Provide our fire department with the latest equipment and technology so that they can do their job in the safest and most effective manner possible.

  • Ensure appropriate staffing levels at each fire station in Westland for our Firefighters and Paramedics. Continue to utilize and work to renew the SAFER Grant to maintain current and safe staffing levels.

  • PROTECT THEIR HEALTHCARE AND RETIREMENT: Public safety officials like Police Officers, Fire Fighters, and Paramedics have one of the most dangerous jobs imaginable. They have already had to make sacrifices as apart of their daily work. We should ensure that they have secure pension plans to retire on and high quality healthcare benefits. While we must control our cities legacy costs, Police and Fire officials retirement should not continue to bare the burden of cuts and restructuring.

3. ATTRACTING NEW BUSINESSES, DIVERSIFYING OUR ECONOMY

A diversified local economy is vital to maintain a vibrant city where residents want to continue to live in and move to. Given the recent downturn for big-box retailers and chain restaurants, we must work with local business partners and our Economic Development Team to being to diversify our local economic base.

 

  • ATTRACT UNIQUE SHOPPING & DINING EXPERIENCES: Big-Box stores and chain restaurants are everywhere. We need to build a local economic infrastructure that allows for a greater number of small businesses to open their doors in Westland, providing residents with more unique shopping and dining experiences. When you look at communities like Dearborn, Livonia, and Plymouth, they have hundreds of unique shops and restaurants that you won't find anywhere else. We need those types of small businesses here in Westland to make our city a destination where people want to spend their money at.

  • DEVELOP A LONG-TERM PLAN FOR THE MALL: As a Council member, I will work closely with my colleagues, our Economic Development Team, and the property management company that owns the Westland Mall to develop a long-term, sustainable solution for the mall property. 

  • Recently, the city put out its "City Centre" proposal for the mall property and the Wayne/Warren road areas. While I think this initial assessment and planning was a great start, we need to develop plans in the event that the mall were to close, like so many area malls have. Diversifying our economy means getting ahead of the mall situation before it ends up a shuttered, vacant property like Livonia has with Livonia Mall and Waterford has with Summit Place Mall.

  • BUILDING A DOWNTOWN: I support the concept of building a downtown type of area in Westland as I believe we can use it as a launching point to attract more unique shopping and dining experiences. The downtown area can also be a mixed-use development with residential living in addition to the commercial and retail space. A downtown can also make our cities economy more regionally attractive to residents of other communities.

  • Any downtown development must be more than just big-box stores, chain restaurants, and strip malls. I want the downtown area to be walk-able and safe first and foremost. I want to storefronts and restaurants developed that are street facing with parking in the back of the building.

  • I want to ensure that our downtown is placemaked in the appropriate area for maximized potential and economic development. The current proposed site for a downtown is in the Ford Rd. and Newburgh area. I also believe we should consider other areas, such as the Central City/Warren/Wayne road corridor near the mall property. My primary concern with the Ford and Newburgh site is the density of traffic and noise pollution that comes from it. Small, quaint downtown districts like Plymouth and Northville don't have traffic going by at upwards of 45-50mph.

  • I want to ensure that a downtown location developed off of Ford and Newburgh doesn't fall victim to the problems that plague Canton Township's downtown development along Ford Rd, with strip malls, congestion, and fast moving, noisy traffic.

  • BROWNFIELD DEVELOPMENT: Westland's Brownfield development area sits along Ford Rd. at and near the site of the old city hall building. We must continue to work with the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority Board and our regional economic partners as we have the chance to develop something unique in the city, not simply another strip mall, and we cannot let this opportunity go to waste.

  • ALLOWING RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES: With the sale of recreational marijuana now legal in Michigan I believe this is an industry poised to take off and provide tremendous economic growth for our state and communities that adopt it. I would like to see the city of Westland reverse course and allow the sale of recreational marijuana at select, designated businesses within the community. The economic benefits are numerous and Westland should not miss out.

4. UPGRADING OUR PARKS AND RECREATIONAL SERVICES

Beautiful, safe, well kept parks and community-sponsored recreational actives are crucial parts of any thriving community.​ Parks and recreational services provide great amenities for current residents and help us to attract new families into the Westland community.

  • CONTINUE INVESTING IN AND IMPROVING OUR PARKS: The City of Westland has done a great job working with partners at the state-level of government to bring back grant dollars for our parks. I hope to continue to work with our grant writing firm and elected leaders in Lansing whom I have a good relationship with to bring back funding to improve our parks.

  • I am committed to working with my colleagues on Council and the Mayor's Administration to make every park walk-able, with increased green spaces at each park. I want to ensure that we continue to make investments in our parks that update the equipment and facilities at the parks, not just slap a new sign down with the Mayor's name on it.

  • KEEPING OUR PARKS CLEAN: Westland has a variety of fantastic parks from Corrado to Tatton. Our parks have great amenities like farmers markets, athletic facilities, playgrounds, pavilions and more. In order to keep our parks beautiful and ensure residents return to use them they must stay clean and well-kept.

  • I believe that we can periodically utilize our additional Ordinance/Neighborhood Service Officers to tend to the grounds of our parks and keep them clean. We can create spring, summer, and fall programs for Westland youth to partner up, clean up our parks, and earn community service credits through school.

  • MAINTAIN KIDS ATHLETIC PROGRAMS: The Westland Youth Athletic Association is a first-rate organization, promoting athletics and sports for kids all across our city. It supports two winning football programs in the Comets and Meteors, as well a baseball program. With facilities like Mike Modano Ice Arena, Norwayne Boxing Gym, countless baseball diamonds, football, and soccer fields, we must continue to work with community partners, like the WYAA, to expand our sports programs to kids across the area.

  • I want to ensure that we have a Parks & Recreation Director in place who can continue the great progress made by the prior director, Brian Harnos.

  • PROTECT THE HOLLIDAY NATURE PRESERVE: Holliday Park Nature Preserve is a gem in the Westland community. I want to work with our community partners at the Holliday Park Nature Preserve Association to ensure that the current land deed continues to be enforced and no residential or commercial development encroaches on the nature preserve. We must protect it for current and future generations.

5. ENSURING GOVERNMENT IS ACCOUNTABLE AND TRANSPARENT

Government must always be of, for, and by the people. As a City Council member I can assure you that I will always work for your interests, not special interests and people who have business contracts with the city.

  • REINSTATE A BOARD OF ETHICS: If you visit the cities website you can review all of the boards and commissions that our council appoints residents to. One board and commission however has sat vacant for over 8 years, the Board of Ethics. I believe we need to reinstate our Board of Ethics as a means to guard against any future ethical conflicts and keep our elected leaders accountable and transparent.​

  • PUT ALL CITY BIDS AND CONTRACTS ONLINE: Residents and taxpayers have a fundamental right to know who their city is doing business with and how those tax dollars are being put to use. While many city contracts can be found within the bi-weekly council packets, I would like to see the city website include a section where residents can see current city business contracts and (recognizing bid privacy and that it isn't possible with every business contract) the competing bids offered up after the city has made its decision.

  • A PLEDGE TO TAKE NO CAMPAIGN DONATIONS FROM CITY CONTRACTORS: City contractors and those with significant financial ties to city government have wielded far too much influence in our city government in years past. It is my pledge to you the residents and taxpayers of Westland to take NOT ONE SINGLE PENNY of campaign donations from contractors who have business interests. The City Council should be doing our bidding, not that of City Assessors, Construction firms, and other contractors.

6. REPAIRING OUR ROADS, KEEPING OUR DRINKING WATER CLEAN

We have made great progress and improvements when it comes to repairing our crumbling roads and replacing our aging infrastructure, including water lines. I want to make sure that we are in a position financially to maintain the upkeep and upgrades of our roads and infrastructure.

  • MAINTAIN & REPAIR OUR CITY AND NEIGHBORHOOD ROADS:

  • The Neighborhood Makeover program in Westland was launched to repair our subdivision streets. Through continued fiscal responsibility and the dedicated work of our DPW 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.

  • REPLACE LEAD WATER LINES AND KEEP OUR WATER CLEAN AND SAFE: When news breaks about finding lead water lines here in the city it isn't about scaring residents, but informing them. We want to make sure the water our families drink and bathe in is clean and clear.

  • When we identify lead water lines here in the city it is vital that we have funds available to replace future lead water lines.

7. MAINTAINING TRASH & RECYCLING, PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT

Communities all across our state and our country are faced with challenges when it comes to their trash and recycling programs given the changes in our current economic climate. As a City Council Member I want to ensure that Westland is able to maintain its city-wide, award-winning curbside recycling program.

  • FINDING CREATIVE SOLUTIONS TO CONTINUE OUR RECYCLING PROGRAM: Recycling programs face significant challenges in communities across the country. These challenges have been largely thanks to changes in the global commodities market thanks to the Chinese government and their businesses buying less of our plastics and other recyclable materials and dealing with more of their in-country waste and material. Recycling programs have also been impacted by our current trade and tariff war with China.

  • We must have elected leaders who are interested in doing the research and analysis necessary to find creative, long-term solutions to our current recycling problem. Looking at what other communities and organizations, like Eureka Recycling out of Minnesota, are doing is one of many steps and partnerships we can take to save our recycling program.

  • MISSION GREEN AND COMBATING CLIMATE CHANGE: Westland has a great, local environmental program called Mission Green. Building off of the progress of our Mission Green program we can do more as a city to reduce our carbon footprint, reduce our plastic consumption, combat the serious threat of man-made climate change, and protect our environment.

  • REDUCING OUR PLASTIC CONSUMPTION: Plastics and the carbons they are made of are a severe harm to our environment, pollute the air and land, and contribute directly to man-made climate change. We can follow the lead of cities like Ann Arbor and set a goal to reduce our carbon-based plastic consumption both at city buildings and events, and as residents as well. The city itself can being to find creative ways to use less plastic materials and products on a day-to-day basis.

  • We can also launch a city-wide educational program, just as we have done for public safety matters, to work with residents and help them better understand the crisis climate change poses to us all and how we can work together to better reduce our plastic consumption. Just as we have the "Stand by Your Pan" campaign to reduce house fires, we can have similar initiatives centered around plastic reduction.

8. KEEPING OUR CITY FINANCES BALANCED AND STABLE

The long-term financial health of our city depends on our elected leaders and the Administration investing in our community, its residents, and local services. In order to make these vital investments and keep our city growing and thriving we need to ensure that our finances are balanced and stable to allow for future investments.

  • FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE SPENDING: Fiscally responsible spending means not only spending taxpayer dollars on the right programs and services, it means being transparent in how you do it. With decreasing resources from the state government and decreased property values, Westland's elected leaders have by and large done a good job managing the cities budget and spending priorities.

  • However, you occasionally have situations, like the purchase of mobile generators or the sale of a cell phone/radio tower that bring up questions in-regards to city finances. As a Council Member, I want to make sure that every sale and every expenditure is done transparently and for the best interest of residents and improving city services.

  • MILLAGE/TAX RATES: The millage rates we are taxed at directly impact the quality of city services provided to us as residents. We need to make sure that our tax dollars are being used in a fiscally responsible manner on the right programs and services. The millage/tax rate needs to be in-line with our current and future priorities so we aren't forced to make deep, harmful cuts to our public safety and other vital city services.

  • REVENUE SHARING: State revenue sharing to local communities has been gutted by elected leadership in Lansing over the past decade. Westland alone has lost over $40 million in revenue from the state government. Part of keeping our cities finances stable over the long-term is going to rely on getting more revenue from state government in Lansing.

  • Cuts to revenue sharing mean harmful layoffs to our Police, Fire, and EMS workforce. These cuts mean reducing city services and closing down recreational facilities. They mean less resources to repair our roads and infrastructure with.

  • We must continue to work with other local communities, county governments, the Michigan Municipal League and others to ensure our State Legislature and Governor make revenue sharing and funding our communities a priority. 

9. EXPANDING SERVICES TO KIDS, SENIORS, AND FAMILIES

A community is only as good as the services it provides its residents. I want to ensure that Westland kids, families, and seniors have a wide variety of support services available to them. I also want to to ensure that we can continue to attract new families to move into the Westland community with well-funded, local amenities.

 

  • AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Westland is an economically diverse community with different economic needs than some of our neighboring communities like Canton and Livonia. The median household income in Westland is $44,641. Through partnerships with our Planning Commission, Economic Development Team, and others we should promote affordable housing developments as a part of our cities future development initiatives.

  • YOUTH JOBS PROGRAMS: Here in Westland the Mayor's Administration has developed a terrific program called the "Wild About Youth Works Program" that offers summer jobs and internships for local teenagers looking for work. I believe that we can partner with the Wayne-Westland Community Schools to further expand jobs and internship programs to year-round programs help give kids the life-skills they need to succeed.

  • One of the ways in which we can expand these programs are by partnering with our Police and Fire Departments to offer Jr. Police and Jr. Fire Academy programs during the spring and summer for Wayne-Westland students looking to get into a career in public safety.

  • PROTECTING SENIOR SERVICES: We have an array of great services for seniors here in Westland: from the Friendship and Dyer Centers to activities programs to our senior living facilities like Taylor and Marquette Towers. I want to ensure that we have the financial capability to continue offering programs for seniors in our city.

  • COVERED BUS STOPS FOR SMART RIDERS: Right now, Westland residents who ride the SMART Bus in and around town or to and from work are left to stand out in the elements. Rain or snow, these people have no shelter from the weather. I believe we should invest resources into putting covered stations at each of our SMART Bus locations.

  • ADDRESSING HOMELESSNESS IN WESTLAND: Homelessness is one of the great scourges of society that we as human beings continue to allow. While the Westland City Council cannot itself solve the problem of homelessness, we can better address the crisis.

  • I believe that we need to create permanent warming centers during the winter, like our fire and police stations, for those people who have nowhere to turn. By having the same facilities used each and every time those without a home will better know where the warming locations are in Westland.

  • Another solution towards addressing homelessness in our city is through partnerships with organizations like the Salvation Army and others where we can better direct information about our warming facilities to ensure people know when and where they are able to go.

10. COMBATING THE OPIOID CRISIS

The City of Westland must be compassionate and responsive when it comes to addressing the growing Opioid Crisis that is hurting people and families across this country. City Council has a role to play in acknowledging the problem and working with our public safety and health officials, as well as neighboring communities, to tackle this epidemic. 

  • END THE STIGMA AROUND DRUG USE: A drug addicted person does not make them a bad person. We need to ensure that as a city our leaders and our law enforcement are treating opioid users and other addicts as individuals with health problems, not criminals to be locked away in jail. Addiction is a chronic disease that should be treated as a public health problem, not a criminal one.

  • DEMAND RESOURCES FROM STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS: City leadership must partner with our representatives in Lansing, as well as public health officials throughout the state, to provide our public safety officials the resources they need to deal with the crisis. This goes beyond providing free, life-saving drugs like Narcan.

  • PROVIDE INSTRUCTIONAL AND INFORMATIONAL COURSES: We can form partnerships between our public safety department and local health officials to offer interactive, instructional and informational courses to the general public and families who are dealing with a drug-addicted individual. The city can offer quarterly sessions to inform people on how best to prevent the problem from spreading and to better deal with those who currently have an addiction problem.

  • ENACT A GOOD SAMARITAN ORDINANCE: Good Samaritan laws provide immunity from prosecution related to drug possession charges for overdose victims and those who call for help. These laws are designed to encourage users and bystanders to contact the authorities in the event of a potential overdose. We can work with our law enforcement officials in Westland to ensure that they can best assist family members, friends, and people in the community who are dealing with someone with a drug addiction problem and ensure that they aren't afraid to come forward and get that person help.

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