Amidst a flurry of rejected budget amendments, Rep. Olumba manages to get $3.9Million and in the final budget analysis 4.25Million to prevent lead poisoning by remediating lead in Detroit homes. He also establishes legislation for public boarding schools – a first in the State of Michigan.
“After serving in the legislature and having analyzed the circumstance I knew as a veteran, I would be able to achieve more for the city of Detroit. Quite frankly, the Democrats from suburban areas have been refusing to fight with us and they are also refusing to negotiate opting instead for symbolic gestures. The Republicans are becoming more and more radical. Suburban communities will benefit whatever the case is with politics because their populations are half republican and half democrat. As Detroiters our politics have to evolve to a more strategic and tactical standard than what we have been seeing.”
Rep. Olumba Gets $3.9Million Amendment into Budget
Detroit lawmaker negotiates $3.9 million into budget for lead remediation of older homes in Detroit for families with children; along with language that will establish residential schools in Michigan.
DETROIT – State representative John Olumba negotiated to allocate 3.9 million dollars in sorely needed money to reduce the amount of lead in the older homes of Detroit and Michigan. Olumba also got language into the budget that would establish residential academies or public boarding schools in Michigan, a revolutionary education concept that has taken hold in Washington D.C. and has shown favorable results. The schools would provide low-income families the same level of high quality education options as wealthy families who have had access to private boarding schools such as Cranbrook of Bloomfield Hills.
“The homes in Detroit that will receive this service are homes that have children in them, and those children are at risk of having permanent mental and physical retardation because of lead poisoning. I was able to make sure that this point was not missed, and after moving some things around we made this funding a priority. It was a blessing.”
Olumba, in a floor speech that would convince the house to support the amendments, said that he would title the amendments after two stories that he was familiar with, “Manchild in the Promised Land” and “Flowers for Algernon”. Manchild in the Promised Land is a story written about an inner city youth overcoming tremendous odds to be successful. Olumba titled his amendment for the residential academies the ‘Manchild in the Promised Land Amendment’ as a nod to the famed novelist, Claude Brown. His other amendment that restores lead funding he called the ‘Flowers for Algernon Amendment” – a fictional novel that explores the treatment of mental retardation. Olumba linked the book to lead remediation, arguing that a lead paint chip the size of a fingernail, if eaten by a child, could cause serious mental and physical illness.
Olumba has argued that Lansing has refused to prioritize urban issues and that as a veteran legislator he would negotiate with either Democrats or Republicans in order to get resources beneficial to the city of Detroit. So far, he is proving to be correct.