A shakeup on Detroit city council, Dearborn elects first Arab-American mayor, Props R and E win approval
WEDNESDAY NEWS HIT - While Mike Duggan cruised to a third consecutive win for mayor in Detroit, it was the city council that saw much of the upheaval after a relatively quiet and somewhat predictable election night in Southeast Michigan.
James Tate Jr. easily his seat as a council member. Scott Benson and Mary Sheffield both won after running unopposed. That was about it for incumbent victories on the council. Roy McCalister Jr. and councilmember at-large Janee' Ayers both lost their bids for another term.
Newcomers Gabriela Santiago-Romero and Latisha Johnson both had solid leads in their races while only 59 votes separated Fred Durhal and Regina Ross in the 7th district. Durhal was ahead with all precincts reporting Wednesday morning.
The election caps off a busy and uncertain period for Detroit politics after multiple councilmembers became embattled in a criminal probe around bribery charges. While some, like Gabe Leland, who was the 7th District's councilmember were long out of city politics by the time election fever hit the city, others like Ayers had won their primary race in August had her office raided in the fall. With all precincts reporting, she came in third place in her at-large race.
RELATED: Tracking Metro Detroit elections this November
In the District 4 race, which featured a battle between political newcomers in community volunteer Latisha Johnson and former FOX 2 reporter M.L. Elrick, Johnson held a 2,400 vote lead by Wednesday morning.
Both had campaigned on the importance of transparency after the cloud of corruption had seemed to sweep over the city this year.
"I'm a very detail-oriented person and so I go into that with a microscope as well, looking into things that are being done, how things are being done, and making sure everything is above board," said Johnson at her election night party.
"You just kind of wonder, where are we headed as a city because with four people under scrutiny and two of them having pled guilty, if this isn't the time that we say ‘Detroit has to put integrity first,’ I don't think that time is ever going to come," said Elrick. "That's one of the things I think about that makes me say 'this is way bigger than me, this has always been bigger than me, and if we pass up this opportunity for a clean start, when are we going to make that clean start?"
Elrick and Johnson had battled for a seat formally held by Andre Spivey, who pleaded guilty in September to taking $35,000 in bribes. Both Ayers and Benson had their office and homes raided over the summer. Neither has been charged with a crime.
Janee' Ayers, who had garnered the highest vote total during the August primary had scored 25.2% of the vote (38,986) on Tuesday. In second place was Mary Waters with 26.9% of the vote (41,664) and former state Sen. Coleman A. Young Jr. came in first with 31.3% of the vote (48,358).
Dearborn elects its first Arab-American mayor
The city of Dearborn made history Tuesday night, electing its first Arab-American mayor to lead the city after winning with 61% of the vote. "It would be one of the greatest honors of my life to be able to give back to the community that gave my family and myself, everything," said Abdullah Hammoud.
And it appears Democratic State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud will be able to do just that. The 31-year-old ran a massive campaign out-spending and receiving more endorsements than his competitor – former chair of the Wayne County Commission, Gary Woronchak.
Woronchak had hoped his nearly 20 years in government would earn the trust of voters. "I think the division in our city is one of our biggest problems," Woronchak said. "I don’t think we can move forward if we don’t bring everybody together and make sure our entire diverse community has come together."
It was a message both candidates spread to voters – but a majority responded to Hammoud, who claims he brings a fresh perspective. "There is a clock on the wall, it’s not about if the next heavy rain is coming, it is when it will happen," he said. "We have to put together a short and long-term solution to address the flooding issues and mitigate the flooding for all the residents."
Hammoud has promised to tackle high property and millage rates along with reckless driving – both of which he says are pushing families out of the city. "So when police officers came out with startling statistics, although they have the same number of officers on staff - there have far fewer patrolling neighborhoods," he said. "That issue will be addressed on day one."
Mike Duggan breezes to 3rd term
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has easily defeated attorney Anthony Adams to win a third four-year term. The incumbent was the clear favorite to win Tuesday's election after first winning in 2013 and taking over in January 2014. That was just after the city emerged from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. Duggan had won more than 72% of the votes in the August primary in which the top two vote-getters in the nonpartisan primary moved on to the general election.
"Thank you Detroit, eight years ago you took a chance on me and it has been quite a journey," Duggan said to chants of four more years at an impromptu press conference at 10 p.m. He also spoke about some of the initiatives left to do. "I didn't run again because the work was done," he said. "We've got a lot of work still to do.
"Every single house with blight is either going to be rehabbed or is going to come down. We are going to remove blight from all the neighborhoods." Duggan also spoke about plans to make vacant land affordable to residents in order to repurpose them for community gardens or parks. The mayor also touted future park developments at Riverside Park in southwest Detroit and Ralph Wilson Park behind the post office.
Detroit at Work was also a talking point as Duggan promoted the job training program and brought the industry back while tearing down sites like the old Packard Plant. Duggan was asked by FOX 2 about the topic of crime, but he responded with optimism talking about the drop in incidents from the past four months. Adams was a former deputy mayor in the early to mid-2000s under Kwame Kilpatrick. He ran on a platform of directing more help to neighborhoods rather than building up Downtown and Midtown.
Reparations, magic mushrooms win in Detroit
Two ballot proposals had big days Tuesday when Prop R and Prop E were both approved by wide margins in Detroit.
Prop R, which would establish a task force for studying reparations in Detroit won by a 80-19% vote. Prop E, which would decriminalize the medicinal use of Entheogenic Plants, which includes psilocybin, mescaline, or peyote, was approved by a 61-38% margin.
The third ballot proposal didn't fair as well, losing by a 46-53% margin. Prop S would have amended the City of Detroit charter to allow for citizens to propose ordinances and financial appropriations for enforcing and enacting them.
While considered one way to pay for more progressive pushes like reparations, Prop S could have also more heavily involved citizens in budgetary decisions, potentially complicating the job typically done between the Detroit mayor and city council.
DPD officer, citizen driver hospitalized after crash
A Detroit police officer was involved in a crash with a citizen driver Wednesday morning.
The front end of a police cruiser appeared to be smashed after colliding with another vehicle around 5 a.m. on Nov. 3.
Both the officer and the citizen were taken to a hospital in stable condition, a police spokesperson said.
The crash happened on East Warren and Grandy Street, in the Poletown East neighborhood. No other information was available at this time.
What else we're watching
- Both Michigan State University and the University of Michigan got big marks from the College Football Playoff committee Tuesday when this year's first set of rankings was released. MSU currently holds No. 3 and UM No. 7.
- Protests were sparked against Pittsfield police Tuesday after reports that officers that had chased down a father had also handcuffed his 10-year-old son and held him at gunpoint. Bodycam footage was also released, showing the incident. The family has since sued the police department.
- Following approval from a CDC panel, Michigan's new chief medical executive says vaccinating young kids will be the key to limiting school outbreaks. Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian says Michigan will have 287,000 COVID-19 vaccines for kids.
- The Heat and Warmth Fund is gearing up for another round of cold weather. THAW will have a community assistance day Wednesday at the Tindal Activity Center on Seven Mile beginning at 9 a.m. today.
- Metro Detroit is facing a shortage of snowplow drivers, driving potential concern about what the region's streets could look like when winter's first big snowfall comes.
Live on FOX 2
It's going to feel like a cold one to kick of Wednesday when temperatures open up the morning in the 30s. Some sun will heat things into the 40s before clouds arrive. The next week will showcase a gradual warming trend over the next seven days.
Braves beat Astros 7-0 in Game 6, winning first World Series since 1995
The Atlanta Braves are World Series Champions for the first time in nearly two decades with their 7-0 win over the Astros in Houston during Game Six on Tuesday.
Only the fourth team to go from a losing record before the All-Star break to the Fall Classic, the Braves have pulled off the near-impossible to become World Series Champions.
The Braves were firing on all cylinders. Max Fried threw six shutout innings in the signature pitching performance of the Series. Soler, a July acquisition who tested positive for COVID-19 in the playoffs, backed him early with a monster three-run shot for his third homer against the Astros.
Freeman hit an RBI double and then punctuated the romp with a solo home run in the seventh that made it 7-0.