Eastpointe Mayor Under Fire Over Juneteenth Event Favortism and Secret Grant Application

  • The city of Eastpointe, MI had its 7 pm council meeting last night via zoom, and things seemed to take a bad turn when certain issues about secret grant application submission and Juneteenth event favortism were discussed.
  • When Mayor Pro Tem Lucido and the Eastpointe Council learned Mayor Owens secretly submitted a grant application she neither told them about or showed them before submitting, they audibly and visibly expressed disapproval and concern.

Well we’ve all heard stories of heated council meetings, and last night’s meeting was no different.  The city of Eastpointe, MI had its 7 pm council meeting last night via zoom, and things seemed to take a bad turn when certain issues about secret grant applications and the Juneteenth event were discussed.  When Mayor Pro Tem Lucido and the Eastpointe Council learned Mayor Owens secretly submitted a grant application that she neither told them about or showed them before submitting, they audibly and visibly expressed disapproval and concern.

Also, when Lucido brought up the Juneteenth event discussion proposed for June 19, 2021, sparks flew.  Eastpointe resident Akeyla Bonner asubmitted the final application for the Juneteenth event, but apparently is unable to pay the minimal fees for the event to happen, namely the event application fee of $75, the insurance needed to have the event at approximately $200, two porta potty rentals at a total of $550.  The event is supposedly in collaboration with the City of Eastpointe, but not necessarily sponsored by the city. That’s why other organization representatives at the council meeting took issue with how the mayor and council were seemingly favoring the Juneteenth event by paying application fees for host-Akeyla Bonner, when other persons had to pay their fees on their own.

An Eastpointe resident in attendance named Gary Sassick stated,

I’m a little concerned.  I support Juneteenth. I support Black History Month.  I support every organization within this city. But what I’ve watched tonight really distresses me a little bit and here’s why…..Here we are tonight, a blanket approval, for this [Juneteenth].  The city is picking up her [Akeyla Bonner] $75 fee. The East Community Group that’s sponsoring a monument for this city promoting unity within the community is having the charity car show tomorrow.  We did our application in a timely manner. We paid our $75 fee. Are some of these groups that have followed all of the protocols that the city has dictated like to get a refund on their application fee?  Why should one group be favored more than another when it’s all benefitting the community?

After the Healthy Babies Bright Future grant Mayor Owens applied for was voted down 3 to 2 by the council, another Eastpointe resident attendee said “I’m glad we voted down the grant,” and another resident stated “The government is behaving dysfunctionally,” because she alleges they fail to enforce public nuisance irdinances.

One attendee and retired city worker at the June 15 council meeting who asked to be referred to only as C.L. had this to say about Mayor Owens:

“The mayor doesn’t seem to have the right ethics to run the city. What mayor has the right to order a grant without notifying her colleages to sign off on it? That’s a sign of negligence if you ask me. The council was not happy to.find out Mayor Owens applied for some grant without their knowledge, and that’s why they voted against the grant.  How would you have a Juneteenth event and publicize it when they don’t even have the proper insurance for the event? It’s a disgrace this mayor even suggested the Juneteenth event attendees use the restroom in people’s houses because they can’t afford two porta pottys that cost a total of $550 to put at the park. People’s residences are not public restrooms. 

Mayor Owens want people to pay taxes, then open their houses up for free for people to use the restroom. I ask the mayor, ‘Would you open your house up to the public to use your restroom? I think Mayor Owens should be the first to open her home and see how that works out. How come they don’t have public restrooms in the park and if they do how come they’re not functional? What can the city do for a city when the mayor don’t know what to do herself?  How do you run and maintain the city without city working vehicles for workers? How is the city being maintained? How are the city workers paid and are they paid according to their work experience? I think Mayor Owens is unethical and unprofessional.  

Understand this.  I’m black and retired so I’ve seen what actual racism looks like. Now I say to Mayor Owens, STOP PLAYING THE RACE CARD.  If you fail as mayor, it’s because you’re not suited for the job, not because you’re black. Since you wanna play the race card about being the first black mayor of a city, be a good leader, and a good leader doesn’t offer up resident houses and bathrooms to use for an event that probably won’t even happen since the proper insurance hasn’t been obtained.”

When asked her take on the matter, Our Respected Global Leader and Equality Advocate beloved Greshun De Bouse, who was in attendance says:

 “As an equality advocate, I understand the statements and concerns of residents that Mayor Owens seems to be showing financial favortism to both Ms. Bonner and the Juneteenth event.  If one group must pay a certain fee, all must pay the fee. I also understand concerns of Mayor Pro Tem Lucido and other council members about Mayor Owens submitting secret grant applications. That could be dangerous.  Such behavior may be what prompted the one resident to state the [Eastpointe, MI] government is behaving dysfunctionally.”

As of last night’s council meeting, no event insurance has been secured for the proposed Juneteenth event in Eastpointe, MI this Saturday, and it is unclear at this point if the event will take place.  We will keep you posted on this developing story.

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