Walker City Council Subverts will of the Voters!

Six days. Less than a week after Michigan residents voted overwhelmingly for Proposal one, a ballot initiative that will legalize and regulate adult use cannabis sales, cultivation and production, home grow, as well as personal possession.

That’s how long it took for local leaders in Walker, MI a working class suburb of Grand Rapids MI to decide that adult use Cannabis was a dangerous hazard for their community and needed to be banned, they used emergency powers to shorten the period of time needed for council considerations, and eliminated a public hearing for the new ban.  All of this, less than a week after Michigan residents voted overwhelmingly for Proposal one, a ballot initiative that will legalize and regulate adult use Cannabis sales, cultivation and production, home grow, as well as personal possession.

This really bothered me as a Cannabis activist and industry community member it effects my business. It also upset my core beliefs in democracy and the democratic process. I have shaped these values over the years in political consulting and activism, we don’t have a perfect system, but it’s one of the best in world and I believe in our political institutions. The democratic process is important. This upset me even more, because I live in this community. My grandparents have lived here for over 45 years, my parents lived here for years after I graduated from GRPS until recently, when my mom passed away. Multiple members of my extended family live in the community as well.

I looked into the numbers, as it turns out Walker City residents voted for Proposal One on a larger percentage than the state average. In fact, 5960 Walker City voters voted for Proposal One on election night. And less than a week later their city council members used an uncommon practice to push through a ban on Adult Use Cannabis establishments. With a voice vote, not even one city council member asked what the voters thought.

2018 Walker Prop One

Registered

Ballots

Turnout

 

Yes

5960

No

5281

Voters

Cast

17,499 11,484

 

I couldn’t just let this subversion and act of political gamesmanship stand. I had to go to the most recent city council meeting and confront these folks. I also wanted to put into context how FEW people actually vote for these people. Three Walker City Council members ran with no opposition. That’s literally a third of council who don’t even need to be accountable on Election Day!!

Candidate

Position

Votes

Year

 Huizenga

Mayor

2384

2017

* Steven Gilbert

Ward 1

770

2017

Roxanne Deschaine

Ward 2

745

2017

Melanie Grooters

Ward 3

623

2017

*Dan Kent

Ward 1

692

2015

*Garey Carey Jr

Ward2

1151

2015

Sandra Howland

Ward 3

383

2015

  • Ran un-opposed

This kind of subversion of the democratic process in the name of reefer madness is happening all around the state. It needs to stop. These folks work for us. If we are smart enough to elect them, we are smart enough to tell them what we want when it comes to Cannabis. The voters have spoken, political leaders need to listen, and they need to follow the rules.

 

-Chris Silva

Walker Resident

 

Please, if you’re a Walker City resident, take a few mins and find your City Council person.

Then Email them:

Mark Huizenga Mayor 334-4885
Daniel Kent 1st Ward Commissioner 745-9164
Steven Gilbert 1st Ward Commissioner 828-7763
Gary Carey Jr. 2nd Ward Commissioner  292-1715
Roxanne Deschaine 2nd Ward Commissioner 885-4191
Sandra Howland 3rd Ward Commissioner 634-0046
Melanie Grooters 3rd Ward Commissioner 690-1719

Here’s a template email:

Dear City Council person______

I am writing to let you know I’m upset about your recent support of an emergency ordinance that bans adult use cannabis sales. I believe in the democratic process. It is not your to silence citizens. Almost 6,000 of my neighbors in Walker (a strong majority of turnout) voted for Proposal 1. There was no reason to deny the democratic process. You are public servants and need to account for why you subverted the democratic process.