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Kathy Kozachenko

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Kathy Kozachenko

2nd Ward - HRP

What's at stake in this April's city elections?  The fate of rent control in Ann Arbor.  The fate of the $5 marijuana law in Ann Arbor.  And perhaps even the fate (or at least the continued strength) of the Human Rights Party in Ann Arbor.

The effects will be felt--in our pocketbooks and in our lives.  HRP's rent control proposal would lower rents throughout the city.  A ceiling would be placed on the amount of profits and landlord could make from a building, and incentives would be included for the landlord to put our rent money into maintenance and improvements.

My opponent claims the law is unwieldy and overly complicated.  The law was well-prepared--by lawyers, by economists, and by people with experience in tenant organizing.  The detail of the law is to insure that landlords and their friends at city hall can't subvert rent control.  A law replete with loopholes will help none.  I petitioned to get rent control on the ballot and am committed to seeing it work--whether I am on council or off.

I think it's worth noting that the Democratic party's 1973 platform calls for a local rent control ordinance and for the decriminalization of marijuana.  It's 1974.  What work have they done to make these things happen?  The most visible sign of their effort is their position of "no stand" on HRP's rent control and marijuana petitions.

True, some of the Democratic candidates support the ballot proposals -- with criticism.  My opponent's misgivings were so great that she wouldn't sign the petitions that put rent control and marijuana on the ballot.

HRP's proposal to reinstate the $5 marijuana fine is one of our many actions regarding the police.  In addition to being the least legal penalty that could be established, it is also a step towards prioritizing the police department.  And we know who they'll chose to nail the state law on--blacks and young people.  My opponent stated she feels this clause is illegal.  However, as long as sale and possession of marijuana is still classified as a crime, we are not in contradiction of the state law.  As of this writing the state attorney general's staff has indicated we are within our legal boundaries.

HRP and I also advocate decreasing the police budget, which my opponent does not favor.  More police do not mean less crime, it means more harassment.  As everyone knows Police Chief Walter Krasny is totally unresponsive to the community and our needs.  HRP and I advocate firing Krasny.  It was only at HRP's insistence that Krasny appeared once last year before City Council for questioning on his actions.

The Democrats (who now call for "review" not control boards of the police) last year voted against even a public hearing on the police.

The existence of HRP is important in this town to continue the kind of work I've described.  It takes people thinking and making decisions together, it takes people's energy and commitment to make change.  Democratic party officials and candidates don't have to stand by their platform--we've already seen what their platform has meant in terms of rent control and marijuana.  It may be the epitome of a cliche, but actions speak louder than words.  With HRP candidates you don't have to swallow promises, you can taste actions.