WESTLAND, MI – In candidate Q&As for the Wayne-Westland Observer, one candidate for Westland City Council stood out from the rest: Steve Boron. Instead of offering meaningless platitudes Steve Boron provided real answers to how City Council can promote economic development, tackle crime, and balance the budget.
The internet responded to Boron’s genuine Q&A: Facebook users shared the article over 140 times, while the Q&As of other candidates received fewer than 10 shares.
Among the most passionate issues of Steve Boron’s is economic development: as the city of Westland continues to struggle with low home values and a stagnant population, Boron brings a comprehensive plan to bring new development to the city by reforming zoning laws, reducing taxes, and tackling crime.
The centerpiece of Boron’s plan for bringing new economic development to Westland is a focus on reforming zoning ordinances to allow for greater mixed-use development. As he states in his candidate Q&A:
In addition to lowering Westland’s property tax rates, one sure way we can attract young homeowners and small mom-and-pop shops into the city is by creating walkable mixed-use districts similar to what cities like Plymouth and Royal Oak have. Mixed-use districts are specially zoned areas that allow for a variety of uses – such as residential housing, apartment complexes, office buildings, and commercial retail locations – to exist within a close proximity to each other. Currently, Westland’s overly restrictive zoning regulations prevent any such mixed-use development from occurring in the city. We have plenty of extra space in the city – such as the area just north of Warren along Hix and Newburgh; as well as the area in between Merriman and Henry Ruff Road south of Palmer. Opening these areas up to mixed-use development would be a huge convenience for the folks living around those areas – who would now be able to walk to work or to go out for dinner – and it would be a surefire way to alleviate the city’s budget problems by growing the tax base.
Creating these kinds of mixed-use, walkable city districts is something many politicians talk about – but Steve Boron’s approach to the issue is unique: instead of just talking about the issue, he’s actually fleshed out a plan that would allow such developments to occur naturally without the overbearing hand of city politicians or red tape from local “planning” and zoning bureaucrats.
In addition to reforming zoning ordinances, Boron, who helped campaign against May 5th’s Proposal 1 as the local coordinator for Concerned Taxpayers of Michigan, takes a hardline stance on taxes. He’s already known by many active voters in the city for his stance on repealing Public Act 345 – the city charter provision that allows for “automatic” tax hikes to fund the city’s retirement system. Boron would like to see all proposed tax hikes first go to voters for approval before becoming law.
But perhaps Steve Boron’s boldest proposal is what he’d like to see done to reform policing tactics and tackle crime. Similar to what presidential candidate and U.S. [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] is proposing, Boron proposes to have the police focus on violent crime and property crime instead of traffic violations. As he outlines on his website:
Given that the city is already cash-strapped – so hiring additional officers could prove to be financially difficult – the easiest thing we could do is direct the police to focus on the crimes that matter, instead of pulling over drivers for broken headlights or not wearing seatbelts.
This kind of police reform would lead to a reduction in the types of crime that concerns Westland residents the most and it would help improve relations with the city’s less affluent residents who often feel unfairly targeted by the police.
Boron also proposed closer police cooperation with the Wayne County Sheriff and the community through formal “Neighborhood Watch” boards in his candidate Q&A.