Why I’m running for Royal Oak City Commissioner

by Belem Morales

My son was born in September 2017.

While I have always been motivated to serve my community, having a child only made local issues seem that much more important.

Suddenly, I became more focused on the needs of the community, and I became increasingly engaged. What kind of community did I want my child to grow up in? What was his future going to look like five months from now, five years from now, or even 15 years from now?

Before becoming a mother, I loved Royal Oak for its safe environment and the aesthetics of our neighborhoods, not to mention our vibrant downtown. And although I loved the desert environment I grew up in, once I knew I would be raising a child here my reasoning for loving this city only grew more profound and rooted in individual experiences.

Royal Oak locals have an ingrained sense of pride in this city, something that drew me here. Many residents have lived here for generations. I often overhear people making connections with others about shared teachers, schools, churches, etc. That’s what I want for my child. I want him to have roots in our town. I want my grandchildren to be able to say, “my dad was raised here.” I want my son to ride his bike to the library and wave to our neighbors in familiarity.

I want to do my part to maintain this small-town familiarity, as well as help Royal Oak realize its progressive, big-city potential. We have the best of both worlds in Royal Oak, and these are exciting times for our city. I hope you’ll join me.

Education

  • Wayne State University – BA in Political Science
  • Western Michigan Cooley Law – J.D.

Honors and Awards

Navarro-Vezina Scholarship for character and commitment to public service

Professional Associations

  • State Bar of Michigan
  • Oakland County Bar Association
  • Member of Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan
  • Royal Oak Schools Foundation Board Member
  • Member of the Royal Oak Traffic Committee
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City Population
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Square Miles
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Families
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Households
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College & Schools
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City Parks
Trees
One of the main reasons why Royal Oak is so special is the large trees and canopy. Studies have shown that people who live around trees live longer. Our trees provide not only an aesthetic value to the city, but also support our air quality. As your commissioner, I will advocate for evaluations and funding programs intended to preserve our trees.
Senior Community
As city commissioner I have a vision of a Royal Oak that creates policies that are inclusive to all; including our senior community. The impact to the Senior Community should be considered when approving any major infrastructure changes.
Retail

Local, unique retail is what gives downtown Royal Oak its character. While business must compete in the market, suddenly demanding a higher rent means that these local shops cannot survive. The Commission needs to act to ensure vital, local, unique shops can thrive in Royal Oak.

My Vision

For Royal Oak

Safety
Royal Oak is one of the safest cities in Michigan. However, Royal Oak’s popular and ever-changing night life does lend itself to additional scrutiny. As commissioner I would encourage the commission to evaluate recent violent incidents that have occurred in, or in the vicinity of these establishments. I would ask the owners of these establishments to explain what led up to these events and any changes that have happened as a result.
Environment

Royal Oak is home to 50 city parks. One of the first things that made me fall in love with Royal Oak is the number of people that you see daily enjoying the great outdoors. Royal Oak residents know more than anybody the importance of preserving our great outdoors.

As a city commissioner I plan to continue to fight for additional green initiatives. Some of the initiatives I plan to explore include:

Wastewater reduction

Requiring large buildings and landscapes to harvest and reuse stormwater.

Paper

Require city departments to reduce paper and buy 100% recycled paper.

Polystyrene Foam

Banning non-recyclable food ware for all prepared food providers and City events.

City vehicles

Encourage city to use propane mowers vs traditional gas-powered mowers. Encourage city to purchase hybrid work vehicles.

Rain garden

Continue to educate the community about rain gardens and how they can help keep clean fresh rainwater from sewer systems.

Trains

As commissioner I would work to improve the line of communication with CN. Royal Oak and CN have a common commitment to safety. CN and the commission should work together to ensure public safety and to maintain local structural bridges and the overall improvement of our city.

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