Positive Politics for Westland? I’m Running for City Council.

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My name is Jason S. Jackson, and I spoke for the first time at Westland City Council on Monday. I also declared my intent to campaign for election to a seat on that Council at the meeting, and am reaffirming that intent here as I have filed today and am now considered a candidate under the laws.

I’m releasing this from my blog and will be asking our local news to treat this piece as a press release.

I was there because I’m angry, and my neighbors are angry. We’re finally angry enough that we’re stepping into the ring.

My parents used to be big people in this town before my father passed away, and then the city pretty much forgot about us. My Dad is the front and center memorial brick of the Vietnam War Memorial behind the brick honoring Kenneth Mehl. No one from the city reached out to us when the Veterans Memorial Garden was built, and my father was honored. Mom’s still here. I’m still here. Boy, they’d reach out when my Dad was still alive, though… his name was Dave Jackson, and a lot of our Senior Veterans will know who he is. It was Dad’s 70th this year, only he was gone at 42 because he served our great country heroically and died of Agent Orange.

I don’t have any personal vendettas against any of the people on the Council or in the Mayor’s Office. I feel the record speaks, and again, the citizens are very angry. I’m very angry. It’s one of the reasons why I threw my hat in the ring.

I’m not going to bash anyone personally. We can all sling a whole bunch of mud and throw dirt at each other, or we can just say “This is what I want to do, either you like it or you don’t.” I’m not a conventional politician. I’m not going around digging into your background. I’m not dropping FOIA requests on anyone.

I honestly think, other than to acknowledge a quote, or something you’ve specifically said, I won’t have to mention a single name of anyone on the Council or the Mayor’s Office this entire election for everyone to know who and what I’m talking about. That’s the problem.

I have to address if I like the Mayor’s policies or not because every citizen asks.

I have to answer questions about Council President Godbout because the citizens are making grassroots efforts to recall him. I don’t have any personal vendetta, I’ve still never truly MET either man. It’s all policy. I think I can do a better job than others on this Council, and I’m going to give it a rip.

I just feel we need different ideas. Citizens are lining up to run for office, which is amazing and I support every candidate that is out there, a lot of them first timers, in exercising their right as Americans to run for office. But, if the problems of this City weren’t so huge there wouldn’t be right around 30 people that picked up petition packets to run for this Council. I think the platform of issues I intend to campaign on will mobilize Westland residents to action and win me election, with the support of my fiancee, family, and friends.

We also need to encourage more of our citizens to get involved. Our last City Primary had only ~7% turnout, and the General had just over 12%. Not enough of you are engaged with your city and you’re letting it get away from you. It’s not all their fault, its OURS too. We need to make a better effort to get citizens registered to vote, and then to actually get them to do it. I’m dedicated to teaching any Westland resident to vote that wants to. Contact me personally, I’m happy to help.

Citizens are lining up at City Council, and things are getting tense. I’ve only met a few of these men and women personally, and I’ve no wish to engage in negative politics. Let’s just talk about issues and be good humans to each other.

The folks I have met have treated me incredibly positively and welcomed me to politics. After the City Council meeting the other night our Westland City Clerk, Mr. Richard LeBlanc, made sure to get my attention and let me know he’d be willing to speak with me, and did so quickly. I feel that needs to be said as it is not on video. The man made time to answer my question, even if I didn’t really like the answers I was given. Those answers weren’t necessarily his fault…

Other than that the only members of Council to engage were Councilmen Johnson, Coleman, and Herzberg. All three men were pleasant, engaged and professional and welcomed me to local politics. I’ve never met Councilman Hammons. I know Councilman Kehrer, and I’ll have no further comment except to say I disagree with him on policy. Council President Pro Tem Cicirelli-Bryant was absent excused and I’ve never met her. I look forward to speaking with her.

So, I have no personal issues with any of these people, and if I do — I’ll just let the policy and what it has shown our city speak.

I did not intend to “campaign” at the podium, and just felt it was proper to introduce myself and announce my intentions out of professional courtesy since many of us have not met. I’ll refrain from mentioning I am a candidate for office at meetings in the future. However, I am extremely passionate about the issues that I addressed, and I believe the citizens are as well. I think they’ll know who I am, and so will you if you’re willing to take the time to say hello.

I do believe we need to invest in our police force. I do believe we need to do everything possible to rid our streets of dangerous drugs like heroin, and to do a better job of helping those touched by the addiction it leaves. I do think people need to stop getting killed. I think homes need to stop being broken into. I think our mothers, wives, girlfriends, sisters and daughters ought to be able to feel safe on the streets without pepper or OC spray to protect themselves. I do help run a support group on Facebook for the Fallen Friends of Westland John Glenn High that serves over 5,500 Westland alumni and their families that have lost loved ones from our school, and we see far too many die preventable deaths. I’ve lost friends to heroin. I’ve lost friends to suicide. I’ve lost friends to murder.

Don’t get me wrong, I think our police officers do as great a job as they can under very difficult circumstances. AGAIN, we need to INVEST in our police force, not have fewer of them on the streets. Our citizens won’t leave their homes and engage our businesses and our activities if they are scared. They’re scared, a good many of them. If I’m elected to serve Westland, staffing the Police Department and doing our best to hold them accountable for being fair with citizens will be among my greatest concerns. Our officers do a very tough job, and we need to give them the ability and the investment to do it well and ethically.

I also think we do need real answers at the library. I don’t think it’s right that we now have a concession on the record that the library director is on leave because she’s so poisonous politically they can’t have her there because it could appear improper during a Unionization vote. We’re MICHIGAN and we’re having union beefs? With LIBRARIANS, no less? Come on, folks… Come out, admit you biffed it, hire them back, allow them to unionize and restore programming to our Library. We spent an awful lot of money on it not that long ago, and we’re already removing vital staff?

I think we’d be better led moving forward by a progressive young leader in Councilman Kevin Coleman and if he should throw his hat in the Mayoral race, I would fully support that. The video of Monday’s meeting shows a legislator who is trying to get things done, as he was active and engaged at the meeting. At least he’s trying, active, and PRESENT. Mayor Wild was not. I’ve never met Mayor Wild and looked forward to it. I figured he would be at a meeting in such a charged political climate to hold himself accountable to YOU, the citizens that elected him. It is his choice whether or not to attend Council meetings or not, but I was disappointed he wasn’t there. I actually tripped on my remarks because I had to change them from starting with Mr. Mayor.

Am I saying I am some perfect person? Absolutely not. But I am dedicated to Westland, and the people that know me will let you know it, and so will I when I come see you myself. I’m confident I can engage in positive politics on the issues and win the vote. I wish everyone who runs a great campaign and the best of luck. I’m comfortable with my platform, and I’m open to new information. If a citizen tells me there’s a problem, let’s look at the RIGHT way to solve it, and not just the way we’ve always done it.

The citizens just want to go back to when they could be proud of their city. Many have made it clear they currently are not.

Let’s try to change that. We have to do it together.

Let’s go back to Pride-Progress-Promise once again. I look forward to meeting you, Westland. My name is Jason S. Jackson, and I am running for Westland City Council.

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