April 14 2017 10:44 AM

Lansing Council President Patricia Spitzley calls herself ‘weak’

FRIDAY. April 14 — Lansing City Council President Patricia Spitzley said yesterday she was “weak” when she voted for the resolution that included calling Lansing a sanctuary city.

Spitzley was in the minority when the Council voted 5-1 on April 3 to amend the Welcoming City Resolution to declare Lansing a sanctuary city. Then she joined the majority to approve the resolution.

“I didn’t vote against the final resolution because I would have been the only one,” she said. “That’s weak, I know. You can take me to task on that. I deserve it.”

Spitzley voted with the majority on Wednesday to reverse the Council’s 10-day-old sanctuary city declaration. That passed 5-2.

She said the term sanctuary city “waves a red flag. If we did it before Trump it might be different. But we know that this administration — even if they eventually don’t win — can and will screw with us. They will hold up our funding.”

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Jan. 25 to deprive sanctuary jurisdictions of federal funds. Lansing receives about $6.5 million annually. But on March 27, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said only justice grants would be affected. The city receives an estimated $3 million.

But Spitzley said she fears the Trump administration will “screw with” other funding.

She acted to “to mitigate and minimize risk,” she said.

She also expressed concern about the Council’s lack of definition of sanctuary city.

Despite the Council’s reversal, she said activists still won because Mayor Virg Bernero through executive order established policies consistent with making Lansing a sanctuary city.

“We got what we needed through the executive order,” she said. “It’s a victory.”