City Council Candidate Questionnaire
Healthy Dearborn is a vibrant community coalition that has partnered with the City of Dearborn since 2015 to create a culture of health in Dearborn by working to reduce health disparities through active living and healthy eating strategies. For more on Healthy Dearborn, please visit our website: https://www.healthydearborn.org/. How do you see your Mayoral administration or Dearborn’s City Council working with Healthy Dearborn? And what specific ideas do you have for implementing Healthy Dearborn initiatives? *
Traffic Safety concerns continue to be the number one most often cited complaint of Dearborn residents. An organized and directed Traffic Safety Program is sorely needed. An important part of any organized Traffic Safety Program is utilizing data, traffic calming measures, engineering and the use of other resources including Healthy Dearborn, the MMTP and the City Master Plan. The Mayor and Council should continue to use those resources as a guide for decision making. The City Administration and City Council can have a great impact on traffic safety by implementing measures to decrease vehicle speeds and increase safety of pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles.
What do you see as Dearborn’s biggest health challenges and Dearborn’s biggest health assets? How can we best leverage our assets to address our challenges? *
Our greatest health challenge is getting everyone back to being “normal” again as quickly as possible after the pandemic. This includes getting our kids back to school in a safe environment and people back into the workplace. Social interaction, engagement and reconnecting families and businesses is needed as soon as possible. The pandemic has only exasperated mental and physical health and domestic abuse problems. Opioid and drug addiction continues to be a serious problem as well as pollution/environmental concerns (especially in SE Dearborn). Direct and indirect health impacts of potential licensed Marijuana facilities needs to be continually addressed, especially near any residentially zoned areas. Some of our assets are Beaumont Health (Oakwood) and the new 150 bed United Health Services/Beaumont mental health facility that is supposed to be opening soon. Hopefully the facility and other services will work together to address these problems more effectively. One underutilized asset is the Dearborn Citizens Water System Advisory Council. Traffic safety concerns centered on aggressive and reckless driving is a major concern of residents for many years. We have to address this on-going problem and need the political will and backing of our Mayor/City Administration, City Council and Police. The efforts of the City working together with social and public health organizations is important as well as collaboration/cooperation between County and State resources. Relationships area important.
Do you believe that "Health in all Policies," which is the use of health assessment tools to guide decisions on major civic projects and policy decisions, should be implemented in Dearborn? Please explain why, either way. *
The City Administration and City Council should base decisions on major civic projects and policy decisions on a “Do No Harm” thought process. This would also hold true for the enactment/implementation of any ordinance, guidelines and procedures. If there is some sort of harm, then further study is needed to mitigate harm as much as possible to residents, environment and property. The benefits of major projects and policy decisions must greatly outweigh any potential harmful impact. The County and City may find it prudent to review and possibly conduct a new “Community Health Needs Assessment” and compare findings and needs to the last study in 2013.
Dearborn’s Multimodal Transportation Plan (MMTP) (https://walkbike.info/dearborn/) was developed with significant community involvement, including Healthy Dearborn, and was adopted by the Dearborn City Council on October 6, 2020. How do you see the implementation of the MMTP fitting into your community health priorities as City Council Member? *
As a Dearborn City Council candidate, one of my priorities is ensuring the implementation of a long term Traffic Safety Program to address aggressive/reckless driving, and promote overall traffic safety. Like the MMTP, a Traffic Safety Program uses data and studies from various sources, including the public. Data is able to help direct resources effectively and efficiently to provide for the safety of citizens at a reasonable and sustainable financial cost. The least amount of enforcement necessary to achieve the desired result should drive the enforcement component of the project. Besides an enforcement component, other measures need to be implemented, such as traffic calming. Traffic calming includes engineering, designing or altering streets and pedestrian crossings to provide safety and convenience for people to walk, bike and use other transportation to get to work, school, shop and socialize. Connecting various areas in the City is a slow and often complicated and expensive process. Ford Motor Company has been constructing and redesigning many facilities and properties. The new Research & Engineering Complex will be open to the public and may provide opportunities to incorporate many traffic safety and MMTP concepts. Doing so will help to draw employees and visitors to that area and to/from near-by retail, restaurant, entertainment and residential areas. There must be political will to address traffic safety for any program to be successful and sustainable. The implementation process has been slowed by COVID and other factors. Even getting the Outer Drive Bike Lane pavement markings has been a challenge and is long overdue with approvals needed from County, State and local authorities.