Should Hamtramck Erect A 12-Foot Wall To Keep Out Detroiters?
DETROIT (WWJ) - Prosperous suburbs surrounding Detroit — and even the struggling enclaves within — are working to distance themselves from a city in financial ruin.
In Hamtramck, one City Council candidate is taking that idea to the extreme.
Richard Fabiszak has proposed that Hamtramck build a 12 or 14-foot wall around the city, keeping out Detroiters, and requiring state-issued identification to get in.
"That sounds crazy to me," one Hamtramck resident told WWJ Newsradio 950's Sandra McNeill. "I never heard of such a thing. That sounds like something you'd see in a movie — some kind of science fiction movie."
Resident Felicia Coldhoffer agrees."Wall off the city and you need ID to come in? That's insane," she said.
But, is the crime situation in Detroit such that a plan like this would make sense to protect Hamtramck?
"It's getting a little rough and tumble, but, I mean, that's not the way to fix it. Ya know, you build for the bottom up. You don't wall it off," Coldhoffer said.
With a population just over 20,000, Hamtramck is surrounded by the city of Detroit — except for a small portion on the west side that borders the similarly surrounded city of Highland Park.
Fabiszak has said such a tall wall would repel "outsiders" — from Detroit and Highland Park — who are committing crimes and vandalizing the city.
A second item on Fabiszak's platform that's raising eyebrows is a call for an "instant death penalty." In recent media interviews, Fabiszak explained this policy would stop those who are jailed and then "get out and do the same thing over again."
He also wants to instate 24/7 City Hall office hours, lower taxes, get rid of "crack and dope pushers," and revitalize the business district.
Fabiszak has in the past unsuccessfully campaigned for both mayor and city council on a similar platform. Why is he running? Fabiszek said he "wants to help people."
His campaign has no office, no website, and no Facebook page. Multiple failed attempts were made by WWJ to reach Fabiszek at personal phone number. On a candidate survey, Fabiszek did not respond to a question about his current employment.
According to 2010 census figures, 14.5 percent of Hamtramck's population is of Polish origin; in 1970, it was 90 percent Polish. Over the past 30 years, a large number of immigrants from the Middle East, particularity Yemen, and South Asia have moved to Hamtramck. The 2010 survey estimate the city's foreign-born population at just over 41 percent.
RELATED: Detroit Files For Bankruptcy
for more features.