Pontiac council wants to block Syrian refugee development

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Pontiac city council pro-tem Mary Pietila blasted the mayor for not keeping others informed about the refugee plan.

New developments tonight in the effort to bring Syrian refugees to Pontiac.

It's been a heated debate across our country and it was no different at Thursday's city council meeting. Members of the council spoke out in opposition of the plan.

During public comment resident blasted council members about the possible Syrian community center and Syrian refugees.

A developer bought Pontiac's closed Franklin Elementary and surrounding land to bring refugees in. It is located near Square Lake and Franklin roads.

Mayor Deirdre Waterman gave her update to council.

"I just want to give assurance that we are well aware of what the dangers are of this newfound situation," she said. "We are equally concerned and we are not naive to the fact that we want to vet the situation thoroughly."

And state House Minority Leader Tim Greimel, a Democrat from Auburn Hills also weighed in.

"Let's make sure we have a welcoming attitude to people who can benefit our community, who are here legally, and who don't pose any security risk," he said.

"The assumption that by neglecting our own needs and aiding others will make our lives better is downright foolish and lethal," said resident Quincy Stewart

Robert Bass said that residents were not being informed on what was going on, by the city.

Council pro-tem Mary Pietila blasted Mayor Waterman of keeping the proposed Syrian village classified.

"You can't blame us when we don't know about it," Pietila said. "It is coming from a partnership with Andy Meisner of the county treasury and the mayor who does things without us knowing."

"If we allow 300 Syrian refugees into the city of Pontiac and one engages in an act of terrorism," said one resident. "Does that mean we allowed in 300 refugees too many into the city of Pontiac."

City Council does not have the authority to say whether the refugees will be allowed in Pontiac but it plans to put the item on the agenda in December.