This is an email sent to Councilwoman Lisa Hicks-Clayton about the Three Minute Rule at the Dearborn Heights City Council meetings and her response. I understand the need to have a time limit on residents who want to bring an issue before the council, but I do think maybe three minutes is to short. In some cases the person hardly has time to say what they want to say and their time is up. I think maybe they should try a few different ways and pick the one that fits most everyone’s needs council and residents alike. One thing to kept in mind no matter what you’re not going to make everyone happy. Myself, I’ve always envisioned a meeting that could be lived streamed and people participating by asking questions via Facebook or Twitter. I know that’s to much, but someday that will be the norm just not now.
Hello. I just wanted to email you regarding something that bothers me about the city council. I was watching the council meetings and upset every time with the timed 3 minute when it comes to Dearborn Heights residents talking to or addressing the council. This to me is ridiculous and insulting to us citizens that live in the city and you represent. I had out of the state relatives and friends come in and watch the show and all of them could not believe the council times the citizens questions. They said that their council doesn’t not do this and had to actually laugh. They even agree that its insulting to the citizens. It comes across that your time is more precious then the peoples time coming to meeting and address the council. This also shows that your not willing to listen to the people that again you represent. Council meetings are a time that citizens have a chance to get answers or to be heard by city officials. I know people can go on and on but there are other ways to address this then time limit. Recently I watched a gentleman talking about the past flood and really wanted to hear more but council chair brush him away. You may not want to hear but people watching or the citizens in the audience want to hear. Again this is a time for citizens to be heard and get answers. How is council representing the citizen when they cut or censor the citizen. This is the problem with government. The perception that government doesn’t care or listen is because of this type of action or response by the government. Just like this past flood people were upset and hurting. People want action or government to at least try to make changes. This perception that hands tied or behind my political office is wrong. One person can fight the system and win. Being a victim from this past flood I realize what others are feeling. I am angry and upset. I lost things I can not get back. Its not just the money but loss of personal items. I know heard the report saying nothing went wrong but sorry I don’t trust the report. Something did go wrong. This is not the first time also. It has been happening for years. Empty promises of fixing problems and Ecorse Creek have been just that empty promises. This is going back to Mayor Canfield promising tubing the creek or tiling and also tubing with a cover over to give more land. Yet more loss of property. More cost for clean up and physical work to clean. Maybe just once other than timing just listen and let the citizen vent. Don’t make empty promises because we know nothing going to be done. Just a thought. I hope this is brought up at the next meeting. If a council time is more precious or in a hurry to go home then that council person should just resign because he or she is not dedicated to the citizen they are suppose to represent. Thank you for your time in reading this long email. Lol.Sincerely,
Councilwoman Hicks-Clayton Response,
Dear Mr.I appreciate your time and your correspondence. I wish to assure you, and all of our residents, I work for you and have always made time, valuing all opportunities to engage our community. As an elected official, I offer constituent office hours the fist and third Monday of each month at the Berwyn Senior Center. Constituent Office hours are offered the first and third Tuesday of each month at the Eton Senior Center. In addition, I frequently, on average, 6-10 appointments weekly, meet with our residents by appointment. I offer by home phone for our residents to call me directly. During the flooding of August 11, 2014, I walked from home-to-flooded home, meeting with residents, delivering resources, water, food and more. Since August, 2014, I have organized or attended over 30 public meetings and/ or meet with residents’, discussing their concerns.In addition, I attend many community functions for two purposes;1) be available to our residents2) provide service for our community as a public servantI serve on several committees which provide a wonderful opportunity to further engage and be available to our residents including;1) Member of the Dearborn Heights Commission on Aging2) Member of the Concerns for Disability Commission3) President and Neighborhood Watch Coordinator of Golfview Manor Civic Association4) Vice Chair for the Dearborn Heights Salvation Army Community Advisory Council5) President of the Dearborn Heights Kiwanis Club and Advisor/ Coordinator for K-Kids, service club for our elementary students6) serve on the local school parent advisory boardsAs a Council Member, I work to offer several programs and opportunities for our community including;1) Dearborn Heights Light Up the Night- a community crime awareness program(author and co-chair)2) sponsor the Earth Day Poster Contest for Dearborn Heights students3) offer and organize Community Conversation which engages our residents and provide an opportunity to have their voices hear on Michigan issues.4) serve on the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments task forces including ACCESS to Core Services for our disabled, Veterans, senior citizens and low income families of our community.I wish to inform you that prior to my election in 2012, the City Council did NOT entertain public comments at the study sessions. I had advocated for this to be added to study sessions. The City Council policies and procedures were amended in 2012 to include a public comment section. In addition, the 3 minute rule for regular City Council meetings may be extended upon approval of the majority of City Council members. Each time a resident has requested additional time, I have supported their request.Regarding the Ecorse Creek. I have continued to meet with all levels of government, Federal, State and County. I have actively lobbied for funding. The final resolution lies with the Army Corps of Engineers approved plan- the Greenway Space. Currently, this plan is in the final phase of the required peer review. Upon approval, the item is submitted to Congress for consideration of appropriations. I have already begun lobbying for those appropriations. In addition, as your City Council Member, please watch the April 14, 2015 meeting, as I requested the follow up for the 2010 Consent Judgement which holds Wayne County legally responsible and accountable for the maintenance and development of the Greenway Space. In addition, on Wednesday, April 15, 2015, I met with a representative from Wade Trim for the purpose of defining tributaries to the Ecorse Creek and the legal mechanizisms for MDEQ as a check and balance of the tributaries. During the flooding of August 11, 2014, I walked from home-to-flooded home, meeting with residents, delivering resources, water, food and more. I brought in additional support resources, including the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Team, which offered FREE cleaning of homes, food, and clothes to our flooded residents. Since August, 2014, I have organized or attended over 30 public meetings and/ or meet with residents’, discussing their concerns. In March, 2014, I offered and met with residents for the purpose of evaluating,documenting, and addressing concerns regarding the Ecorse Creek. The information, pictures, etc. were submitted to MDEQ, County of Wayne and the Dearborn Heights DPW Director for follow up.In closing, though the City Council position is classified as a part time position, pay of approximately $600.00 per month, I average 45-50 hours per week attending meetings, conferences, following up and addressing residents’ concerns, and meeting with our residents. I did not elect to run for office for the money. I chose to serve because I care. I greatly encourage and support civic engagement. I sponsored the Communication Initiative, which featured improved and additional communication opportunities for our residents. This included use of social media, e-letter news, Ping4Alert and streaming via YouTube, the City Council meetings- available to view at your convenience. I am NEVER in a hurry, or attempting to short change, devalue or minimize our residents’ concerns. I chose to serve our community. I would be happy to meet with you at your convenience.Respectfully,Lisa Hicks-ClaytonDearborn Heights City Council Member