The State – 12/08/22

Rachel Fulton

Today’s weather forecast is predicting cloudy earlier in the day with partial sunshine expected later with a high of 39 degrees and a low of 29 degrees.

EL City Council delays vote on “sanctuary city” proposal, citing possible implications

The East Lansing City Council decided Tuesday to delay a vote on declaring the city as a sanctuary city, citing requests to the city’s legal team on effects the status could have and how the status would differ from East Lansing’s current “safe haven” status passed in 2017.

The city’s Human Rights Commission, later joined by the University Student Commission, passed a resolution last month asking the council to designate East Lansing as a sanctuary city. The designation would mean city officials and law enforcement would not cooperate with federal agents to enforce immigration laws.

Mayor Pro Tem Jessy Gregg, who is in favor of the resolution, said she was an audience member during the council’s 2017 resolution declaring the city a “safe haven.” The original resolution to declare East Lansing a “sanctuary city” was softened due to the threat from the Trump administration to withhold funding from cities that declared themselves as such.

However, for the next couple of years, the city will not have to worry about the threat of withheld funds as a result of the Biden administration’s stance on the matter, according to East Lansing City Manager George Lahanas.

According to Gregg, East Lansing already upholds the policies that support the mission of a sanctuary city. However, the city hasn’t committed itself to the full “sanctuary” wording.

Attorney Anthony Chubb said the 2017 resolution changed policy to where the city refused to participate with federal authorities as it related to unfair treatment against people with immigrant or refugee status. Under the new proposed resolution in 2022, the East Lansing Police Department would continue to operate as it has been since the 2017 policy change, which includes acting on violations of law or judicial orders like warrants.

According to Chubb, there is no statute defining a “sanctuary city,”. The term was used to combine local governmental entities that aimed to adopt pro-immigrant policies.

12% forward, 7% back: MSU’s clean energy use has decreased, underperformed board’s goals

In 2012, MSU’s Board of Trustees passed the Campus Energy Transition Plan, or ETP. The document prescribed yearly goals for the use of renewable energy to power MSU’s campus. It outlined a system of review for updating those goals every five years until the ETP’s planned end in 2030.

On the ETP’s passage, Board of Trustees Chairperson Dianne Byrum said, “at the time, we wanted to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk too.”

MSU’s campus is energy independent, powered by a natural gas power-plant just south of Holden Hall and arrays of solar panels in various locations. According to the plan, by the 2022 fiscal year MSU should be powered by 22% renewable energy. Today MSU’s campus runs on about 5% renewable energy, according to MSU Deputy Spokesperson Dan Olsen.

This not only falls short of the goals set by the board but is also a step towards fossil fuels from past achievement. According to a 2017 review of the ETP, that year MSU was producing an estimated 12.3% of its energy with renewable sources like solar arrays.

Byrum said the board hasn’t been involved in any evaluation of the plan’s goals or the university’s progress since 2017.

There is no planned review for 2022, as the ETP has been reduced in scale and rolled into MSU’s broader “Strategic Plan.” According to Byrum, this is part of a larger reconsideration of the ETP’s value to the university.

The focus of the strategic plan’s sustainability pillar is on total emissions, not energy production. While it’s reviewed annually by the board, there isn’t a process for a broader stakeholder review like the one prescribed in the ETP.

Going forward, Byrum no longer sees energy transition as the top sustainability priority.

She said the sustainability focus was shifting to areas like transportation, though she said there was not data available to the board that would suggest transportation makes up a higher percentage of MSU’s emissions than electricity production.

How are East Lansing businesses preparing for winter break?

As Michigan State University students leave East Lansing to ring in the holidays during winter break, the city’s bars, restaurants and shops are left having to adapt. Occupancy will fall short, staff will be reduced and new ideas will be created for the new year.

Most East Lansing establishments will stay open during the break but expect to see some schedule changes.

Barrio, East Lansing’s local branch of the chain providing tacos and margaritas, will be closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Other than that, they will be running as usual, with a few changes.

Barrio manager Calli Stahl estimated occupancy will be 50 percent less over the holiday. With that in mind, the restaurant will be scheduling less staff members.

Inventory will also take a cut so that less spoiled food will be thrown out.

New promotions have been whipped up in light of a less busy schedule, and they will continue to be discussed throughout the break.

Barrio is not the only establishment with new plans for the new year.

Max Saylor, manager of Harper’s Restaurant & Brew Pub and P.T. O’Malley’s, has a few ideas up his sleeve.

In previous years, the establishment has given back to charity during the holiday season and hopes to continue with it this year.

In terms of occupancy, Saylor expects to see a decent drop some nights based on previous breaks. To adjust to the decrease in customers, staff members will be given a few days off during break. However, once New Year’s Eve comes around, they’ll increase staff by about 50 percent.

For DBN Boutique, a women’s clothing store located on M.A.C. Avenue, expects to be open most of the winter break.

But also, the boutique’s online store is open to customers, where they can browse for their selection.

The store plans to have a few promotions before break starts. On Dec. 10, a giveaway will be announced. They also plan to have a sale, but no details have been announced yet.

Based on original reporting by Wajeeha Kamal, Alex Walters and Anna Ryan.