July 5, 2014 at 1:00 am

SATURDAY SHORTS

Misbehaving Councilman

Benson (Elizabeth Conley / The Detroit News)

Detroit City Councilman Scott Benson was recently arrested for suspicion of impaired driving.

If Benson is found guilty, itís not only shameful conduct for an elected leader but also exactly the kind of behavior this City Council should avoid. Detroit is at a pivotal point, and its elected leaders must prove they are up to the challenge of guiding the city post-bankruptcy.

Bensonís alleged actions are an unwarranted disruption from the important work city officials should be doing.

What makes the situation even worse is that Benson was stopped while driving a city-owned vehicle, which has since been taken back.

Officials abusing city perks and acting inappropriately contributed to Detroitís demise. And Benson isnít the only one getting into trouble. Earlier this year, City Council President Pro Tem George Cushingberry Jr. also had a run-in with the police.

Residents should expect better behavior and responsible conduct from their leaders.

Free the food trucks

The Battle Creek City Commission has ended a seven-month controversy by approving an ordinance that allows mobile food trucks in the downtown area.

The action makes sense for several reasons. Most important, it is a vote for the free market economy.

Such businesses are operating throughout the rest of the city, so itís only fair to expand the operations to the downtown. This gives visitors more dining options and should create a more vibrant atmosphere.

Opponents argued that mobile food trucks are not as sanitary as the ďbrick and mortarĒ restaurants.

However, a national survey by the Institute for Justice debunked that claim. It concluded that the food trucks were just as safe as brick-and-mortar businesses. It reported that tests in six major U.S. cities showed violations ranged from one to four per food truck. Restaurants averaged four to eight violations.

Competition is a win-win situation both for consumers and for established businesses that are well-managed and efficiently operated.

Step toward better mental health

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law legislation that will streamline substance abuse treatment.

The law will standardize regulations that help coordinate care for people recovering from chronic illnesses.

It is a result of recommendations made by the Mental Health and Wellness Commission, which earlier this year released a detailed 29-page report offering recommendations that modernize and improve the delivery of mental health services to state residents.

The comprehensive proposals are geared to giving those suffering from mental illness ó as well as developmental disabilities and substance use disorders ó a better quality of life.

The report seeks broad participation from state and local agencies. The proposals are directed not just at mental health agencies but other health care groups and even non-health care organizations, such as law enforcement and the courts. The premise is that you canít separate good mental health from good physical health and that, often, a personís mental condition is at least part of the reason an individual may get in trouble with the law.