This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
August 5, 2008 / Primary Election
Publication of the Spinal Column Newsweekly
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
For Oakland County Circuit Court
Q: A: “Because I am the only candidate for Oakland County
Circuit Court Judge with over 30 years of trial-tested courtroom experience. Experience that has shaped my legal judgment, perspective and temperament. Experience that will help me help you receive the respect, protection and justice you deserve from the Oakland County Circuit Court.” — David Carl Anderson
PUT THE RIGHT EXPERIENCE IN YOUR COURT!
Vote for David Carl Anderson for Judge • Primary Election August 5, 2008
Why should I vote for you, David Carl Anderson, for Judge?
Paid for by the Committee to Elect David Carl Anderson for Oakland County Circuit Court Judge 32400 Telegraph Rd., Ste. 104, Bingham Farms, MI 48025
JULY 23, 2008
primary voter guide
Commerce, Highland, Milford, Walled Lake, Waterford, White Lake, Wixom, Wolverine Lake
U.S. Congress/11th Democrat
Edward Kriewall and Joseph Larkin will face off in the Tuesday, Aug. 5 Democratic primary election for their party’s nomination in the 11th Congressional District race. The winner of the Democratic primary will compete against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter in the Nov. 4 general election. Members of Congress serve two-year terms and are currently paid $165,200 annually. The following are questions our staff recently posed to the candidates, and their responses to those questions. IRAQ WAR: After several years of a turbulent war, the troop surge in Iraq has resulted in fewer U.S. and Coalition troop casualties. However, many still see the war as a failure and call for rapid withdrawal of combat forces. Under what conditions would you be comfortable beginning a troop withdrawal, and what should be the time frame/pace of a pullout? HEALTH CARE: There are an estimated 35 million people in America without health care benefits. Various proposals have been floated, but there is a divide between those who want universal health care and those who want to reform the existing system. What needs to be done to provide health care benefits to more Americans? ENERGY COSTS: Americans are paying over $4 for a gallon of gasoline, which is driving up the cost of consumer goods. What is the best way to cut the prices Americans pay at the pump? If alternative fuels and energies are in the equation, which do you feel would be most helpful? Tell us why you would or wouldn’t support opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, or expanding drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the district, and how do you propose to address them? WHY YOU? Why specifically should voters choose you over your opponent? into expensive practices like surgery or radiology. They can be given a subsidy that gives them the incentive to go into primary practices, pediatrics, general surgery, and geriatrics ... where health care is needed most. ENERGY COSTS: I propose we have a “Manhattan-style” project, like (President) Franklin Roosevelt did when we were in World War II. We have to bring our best scientists and technology personnel together ... to create solutions to our energy problem. That includes alternative energy. My personal favorite is the hydrogen fuel cell. Use of that device creates absolutely zero pollution; the only byproduct is water. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. But we shouldn’t be choosing just one alternative energy; it should be on the basis of investigating and fleshing out every type of technology — geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, wind, etc. Exploring for more oil in the Arctic or off-shore drilling is the absolute wrong policy to take. Even if we allow for drilling, the soonest that energy could get to the market is two or three years out. Instead of doing that, we should be investing in alternative energies, which is going to create massive amounts of jobs for the American public. TOP ISSUES: The No. 1 (issue) is the economy, and I see three subsets to that. One is energy. We have to have an alternative energy investment through a Manhattan-style project and scientific research to get us the solutions to energy problems. No. 2 is protection and maintenance of jobs in America. I am for the renegotiation of every trade agreement that we have to make jobs in America stay here. The third thing is the housing situation that we have to work on. We have to get prices back up. The second issue is getting us out of Iraq, and the third is health care, and we’ve already talked about those. WHY YOU? I have been an attorney for 20 years. I’ve had my own practice for most of that time period, doing both a wide variety of civil and criminal cases, so I have a very good pulse on what’s on the minds of people in the district, both individuals and businesses. I’m a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, and also a graduate of the University of Michigan undergraduate (program) in political science. I’ve also been a small business owner for the last 20 years, so I know what it takes to run a business in the private sector. I also bring to the table my Christian values. I think that reflects the values of society. ❏
Edward Kriewall served as Novi city manager from 1974 to 2000. He was the city's Department of Public Works director for three years, and worked for the city of Detroit Expressway Division for three years and the State Highway Department for four years.
Joseph Larkin is the owner of Larkin Legal Services. He is a member of Catholic Lawyers Society of Michigan, the Michigan Association for Justice, and the Livonia Bar Association.
IRAQ WAR: I believe that we need to get out of there as soon as possible. I have a real problem with American soldiers dying in that war. The war is largely a civil war among the factions that are there, and we have no business being there. We need to start a withdrawal very soon — within the next year. We still need to leave a few troops behind to guard our embassy and to maintain some semblance of presence in the area. HEALTH CARE: We need to have some form of universal health care because some people just can’t afford to pay the cost of hospitalization. There is a lot of support from some areas to pursue single-payer health care. On the
other hand, looking at the political reality of the situation, it might be difficult to implement that. Universal health care should be accorded, but I think the private sector needs to be involved, although a single-payer system might be an ideal situation. ENERGY COSTS: The cost of gasoline today is largely driven by world demand and the decline in the American dollar. The spending that we are doing in Iraq is killing our economy and devaluing our dollar. Alternative energy sources need to be explored. We need to build many more nuclear plants, similar to France. With more nuclear plants — and it’s quite safe with our safeguards in place — we can spend more on research into electricpowered vehicles. I believe we need to find the oil that’s there, in terms of drilling in areas like Alaska. The technology today is so good, in terms of drilling, that the chances for a spill or leak are very minimal. The transition to hydrogen fuel cells will take some time. In the interim, we need to shore up our supplies and provide for oil drilling. TOP ISSUES: I believe that energy has impacted our district maybe more than many other districts in the United States because of our involvement with the auto industry in Michigan. I think we need to do all we can to make sure the auto industry thrives and survives. We’ve lost a lot of industrial development overseas. Industrial development has been really handicapped in this area. We need to focus on bringing industry back to this area. The other factor is the attraction of jobs to this area. We need to do whatever it takes to bring jobs back to this district. We lost so much with industry leaving that people are just without work, and that’s why they are losing their homes. WHY YOU? Because of my experience. I’ve worked in government for a long time, 30 years all together. I’ve held a job that required me to bring industry and development to Novi. I was one of the people that
brought the M-5/Haggerty Connector to Oakland County. I chaired the committee that developed the Novi Expo Center, which is now the Rock Financial Showplace. I was on the committee that brought Providence Hospital to Novi, which is building one of the region’s premier health campuses. I worked with legislators, county agencies, and state agencies to improve the I-96/ Beck Road interchange and reconstruct the I-96/Novi Road interchange. I was in charge of coordinating development of Twelve Oaks Mall. I have a history of working with people, committees, legislators, officials and the private sector to make things happen.
IRAQ WAR: We should be attempting to get our troops out of Iraq as soon as possible, but as soon as practical. The basis of the troop withdrawal ... should be based upon our military intelligence and our top military personnel giving the president and Congress advice. We want to give the administration in Iraq that is in control the opportunity to completely reign in control and change in a practical way. I’m not putting time lines on it, but I think it should be accomplished in my first two years, or first term. HEALTH CARE: We absolutely have to take steps to accord more coverage to as many Americans as we possibly can. We should put that at the forefront of the debate, and figure out what, as reasonable Americans, is fairest to the private sector, the public sector, business, and doctors, and come up with some compromises so we can get coverage for as many people as possible. That could include single-payer health care. We should allow doctors and hospitals to go to one entity to collect fees for their services, thereby cutting down 30 percent of their overhead. We are having a boom in desire for health care, and therefore we have a lack of doctors and nurses. We should subsidize doctors and nurses so that they aren’t graduating with $100,000 to $200,000 in loans and then being forced
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
primary voter guide
Highland, White Lake
State House/44th Republican
Carlos D. Allison, Dan Kelly, Eileen Kowall, Dave Presnell, Patrick Sullivan, and Matt Thrasher will face off in the Tuesday, Aug. 5 Republican primary election for their party’s nomination in the 44th State House District race. The winner of the GOP primary will compete against Democrat Mark Venie in the Nov. 4 general election. State representatives serve two-year terms and are currently paid an annual salary of $79,650. Sullivan didn’t participate in our candidate interview session. The following are questions our staff recently posed to the candidates, and their responses to those questions. BUDGET: A struggling economy and forecasts of a slow, gradual recovery don’t bode well for the state’s budget scenario. There are two schools of thought: one seeking more revenue and one simply calling for more cuts at the state level. What is the solution to the ongoing state budget problem? PROPOSAL A REFORMS: The Legislature has been inundated in the last several months with multiple proposals to “tweak” Proposal A. Few now argue the need to revisit Proposal A, but there’s disparity over what needs to be changed. In general terms, how should the state deal with Proposal A’s legacy? What specific, if any, changes do you advocate, and why? EDUCATION: Some observers argue that education will be critical to improving the state’s economic status. What needs to change in the state’s education system to accommodate the transition toward a knowledge-based economy? What does the state need to do to encourage highly educated and talented young people to remain in this state to support the knowledge-based economy? TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the Legislature, and how do you propose to address them? WHY YOU? Why specifically should voters choose you over your opponent? school funding, we have to take a look at keeping property taxes as low as possible in Michigan. The actual economic development and the actual economic interchange is where we, if we have to, gain revenues. I would not change Proposal A, to be honest with you. I’d leave it as it is. There’s other ways to address the problems in the state. EDUCATION: Eighty-five percent of the people in prison today don’t have a GED. It’s absolutely critical that we shore up the education system here in Michigan. We can’t get rid of public schools. We have to work within. The problem with the voucher system — and I’m a big supporter of Catholic schools and so forth — is we need to make public schools a viable entity. There’s got to be a way to improve it and you can do that through competition. You have to have teacher incentives through the district to teach the kids so they become productive. We need to expand what we teach. I would like to see more classes on entrepreneurship and business and how to start a business. What I would do is make the administrators be responsible for meeting standards and reduce the number and size of the administrators; and look to the district becoming more efficient and get the money to education. If you have jobs that people want, they are going to stay. TOP ISSUES: The first two issues are we have to reduce taxes and reduce the size of government. But the real issue is — and it’s my third issue — you’ve got to reform government. Government is made up of people. That means you have to put different people in Lansing. Part of my part-time legislature (idea) is a way to do that. That’s how you change government. If you have career politicians that live off of government, then they will find ways to spend the money. We’ve got to get different people up there. WHY YOU? First and foremost, I believe that I have the experience and the abilities to go to Lansing and do what I want to do. I think there’s too many candidates out there that use all the buzzwords but don’t have the ability to get it done. One of the reasons they don’t have the ability to get it done is that they’re locked into positions because of lobbyists or interest groups that have made donations to their campaigns. I’m not tied down
PAGE 5 ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯
Carlos D. Allison has been the owner and operator of The Digital Document Store for the past nine years.
Dan Kelly is an attorney and member of the Independence Township Board of Trustees, on which he has served for eight years.
CARLOS D. ALLISON
BUDGET: The problem, the way I see it, would be to find the appropriate cuts. I don’t think it’s appropriate for the people and the businesses of this state to be taxed more. (It’s) just like any good business during hard times has to find ways to still stay in exis-
tence with their existing revenue, with the revenue they have coming in. They don’t just get to go out and say, “Give me more money because my business is doing bad.” The government needs to operate more like a business. PROPOSAL A REFORMS: I have read about some of things going on, like how your home is now valued at a higher rate and you’re paying more taxes than the proper assessed value for it. We should restructure Proposal A in the way people are taxed. If your home value declines, then your taxes associated with that home should decline. Your taxes are based on the assessed value of the home. That’s a fair way to treat people. It should work both ways, too. If the value goes up, you should pay more taxes on it. EDUCATION: The education system needs to open up and we need to make more charter schools. I think there’s a cap on charter schools and we need to make education in both public and private (schools) competitive so that it breeds opportunity to get the best education you can get. We need to make more choices available to parents. What the state needs to do is create a more business-friendly economy. The state can’t market its way into making people stay. The businesses and the job opportunities will be a reason people will stay. TOP ISSUES: One is to balance the budget with existing revenues. Whatever that means we have to do, we should do. I can’t tell you exactly, because I don’t know what changes can be made. Second would be to improve the job and business climate in Michigan. We have to make this a state that large cor-
porations and even small companies want to come to. That will create the jobs that will make people stay here. We need to lower taxes and find incentives. The third thing would be to lower taxes. We need to give people back more of their own money, whether it’s in taxes or credits. WHY YOU? They should choose me because I’m a common person just like the people in the area I live in. I’ve had a variety of different jobs. I’m doing this because I want to help the people just like me. I don’t like career politicians. I like people. I want people in public service that have been a janitor, a plumber, or made pizzas and gotten different jobs and paid bills and have struggled and grown up in this area, so they have strong core values and character.
BUDGET: The answer is more cuts in the size of government as opposed to increasing revenues. The problem with increasing revenues, which essentially means increasing taxes, is that you actually cut the amount of economic development that happens in the state and that reduces the amount of revenues that you receive. I’m in favor of a part-time legislature. We can reduce the cost of just the Legislature itself, but more importantly you’ll get different people up in Lansing. I think the Michigan Economic Development Corp. is a complete waste of money. I don’t think politicians should be deciding where we invest or what the next great business is going to be. PROPOSAL A REFORMS: I believe tweaking any sort of legislative proposal such as the size of Proposal A is not the way to address it. When we talk about
JULY 23, 2008
primary voter guide
❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ PAGE 4
by anything when I go to Lansing, other than what I have promised the people in my campaign. I will go to Lansing and fight for reforms. I will fight to lower taxes and fight to reduce government. One of the ways we can do that is with a part-time legislature. It’s not just a popular issue for me. It’s something I believe in.
BUDGET: We need to down size government, period. I believe in a government with a small “g.” There’s a lot of bureaucracy and a lot of red tape involved with our state government. Do we really need a state Surgeon General? We need to have a priority and needs-based budget, not the other way around, not guesstimating how much money we think we have and then spending every dime of it. You can’t keep taxing the same people. There’s no such thing as a bottomless well. I would be in favor of a part-time legislature, along with down sizing the rest of the state government. We need people in Lansing with a vision for five or 10 years down the road and work toward that. PROPOSAL A REFORMS: Proposal A was very good when it was instituted back in 1994. It did bring peoples’ property taxes under control and guaranteed per-pupil funding for education. It has worked and worked quite well, up to a point. I am concerned that people now don’t understand, and you can’t blame them, because the same mechanism that kept their taxes from going up so fast is also keeping their taxes from going down. Proposal A should be looked at again and we should perhaps go with some simpler way of doing property taxes. Some states have gone to a simple percentage of the retail value. We need to do what we can to help out our taxpayers and still fund public education. EDUCATION: The way we deliver education needs to be changed. There’s no “one-size-fits-all” (solution) for children. There needs to be more parental choice. As far as college-educated folks in the state, that’s an interesting thing because I did run across a fellow who wants to bring new projects here and the problem is we don’t have the educated work force because our educated work force is leaving for better opportunities. I think that somehow we have to get those two puzzle pieces together: Bringing jobs and opportunity back to Michigan will keep our young people here. We need to get rid of our cumbersome, crazy
Eileen Kowall has been an Oakland County commissioner since 2003. She is vice-chairwoman of the board's finance committee and chairwoman of the county board's Republican Caucus. She is part-owner of Accurate Woodworking.
Matt Thrasher is a production coordinator and press operator for Allegra Print & Imaging.
tax structure that favors some industries over others. We need to create a level playing field. TOP ISSUES: Once again, it’s a budgeting issue. We have to live within our means, just as families do. I believe in down sizing government. The state government has grown, I believe, by over $4 billion in the last four years. We need to get back to zerobased budgeting. I also believe in reforming government. I don’t think people are influenced as much as people think when they go to Lansing. You know the lobbyists there, and you know the good ones and you know the bad ones, and you stay away from them. At the end of the day, I will do what’s right for the people of Michigan. I will fight for the state of Michigan. There will be no undue influence here. WHY YOU? People are angry, and they’re frustrated. They are fearful. They want government to listen to them. People want good government. Whether a parttime (Legislature) is the magic bullet that’s going to solve everything — I don’t think so. It should be considered as we go forward. But right now Michigan has huge problems to deal with. With my experience as a businessperson, I know what it’s like to live on both sides of the paycheck. I know what it’s like to hang on by your fingernails through tough times. I also believe my experience as an Oakland County commissioner for the past six years, and four years of that as Republican Caucus chair, will serve me and my constituents well in Lansing. I’ve been up close and personal with county government, and I like what I see. I like the accountable approach we have taken. I consider myself a team player. Leadership can take many forms and I have served in leadership roles. Sometimes leadership is leading by
example, sometimes it’s negotiating with people. Sometimes it’s working behind the scenes and getting it done. I will also be very accessible to the community.
BUDGET: We’ve got to cut the spending in the state budget. There’s a lot of different components in the state government that can be consolidated and nobody is doing it. PROPOSAL A REFORMS: There’s a lot of issues that face the state right now and Proposal A is not a priority. The economy is the biggest problem right now. I would focus my attention on fixing that first. So, just leave it alone. EDUCATION: For 100 years were were an industrial-based economy and it’s going to take a lot of work and it will be a struggle to get back into in knowledge-based society. But that is the future. We need to not single out certain people for certain programs and advantages over others in the state. I’m not a believer in affirmative action at all. Everybody should have the right to go to whatever college they want to if they can past the test. You shouldn’t get extra points for race, creed, and color. TOP ISSUES: It’s the economy, jobs, and the environment. I truly believe in my heart that somewhere down the road somebody is going to stick a pipe in and suck water out of the Great Lakes. I’m going to stop that. Like I said before about the industry in Michigan, it was industrial-based and now it’s going to be knowledge-based because that’s the future. As for the economy, I have an idea to consolidate all the law enforcement branches in Michigan. I’m against a new state police post. Consolidate the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and all the other four or five
environmental departments the state has — there only needs to be one. Lay off those agencies and take the millions and millions of dollars from those agencies and give it to the sheriff’s departments and have them assign a deputy 24 hours a day, seven days a week to go around and enforce environmental law. WHY YOU? Because I’m not a career politician. I don’t know any of the people I am running against personally. But you can ask anyone that knows me just what a gentleman and how professional I am. I’m not a lawyer, so I’m not going to pass any legislation that’s got some tricky wording into it on some attachment to some bill representing zebra mussels or something. I’m a straight shooter. People that know me trust me. Eileen Kowall has been in the community for I don’t know how long and I’ve never talked to her, although I’ve tried to many times. I have literally dozens of people that come to complain to me about things that go on in northwestern Oakland County only because they think I have a grip on it and they don’t know who is in charge of getting what fixed. I can’t do much now, but I can point them into the right direction.
BUDGET: We definitely have to make the cuts. We’re spending too much money on unnecessary items. We need to reprioritize where we’re spending the money. It seems like the money never gets to where it’s supposed to be. For years we’ve been robbing Peter to pay Paul, to the point where the DNR had to go to the voters to have them stop taking the money that’s supposed to be their money for conservation. One example would be we have the money, manpower and resources to put additional police officers on the streets to worry about seatbelts, but yet constantly prisoners are released from jail because we don’t have the money or the space to house them. That puts the citizens at risk, and police officers’ jobs are becoming more difficult because of that. PROPOSAL A REFORMS: I believe it should be equal all the way across the board. I’ve heard, for instance, of individuals whose taxes have gone up while taxes have gone down for the people on the other side of the road. Basically you’re talking about the same house. We need a standard, flat rate for everybody, a level playing field. It could possibly be a simple percentage for everybody. That’s the way to go. We don’t need to continue tweaking taxes. EDUCATION: Schools need to try to get parents more involved. It seems today the students have more say in
PAGE 6 ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
Endorsed by Right to Life of Michigan PAC
❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ PAGE 5
how a school should be run than the parents do. I would say that’s part of the problem. Keeping and trying to create more jobs for college graduates falls on government regulations. Basically, the majority of the problems we have in this state are due to government involvement. If we could get vouchers through, we would see a tremendous improvement in our public schools are to performance. That would be a little kick in the butt we need to get them going. Let the markets do their thing. If you let the markets go through their process, everything works out fine. As soon as the government gets involved in everything, they start putting regulations on everything and tell businesses to do things that aren’t right for them and they struggle and say, “Hey, I’m not going to stay here in Michigan.” TOP ISSUES: Everything pretty much links together. You’ve got the budget, you’ve got the taxes, you have the wasteful spending. It all boils down to the increased sized of the government. Just think of how much revenue has been created in the state in the last 10 years. How many casinos do we have in the state now? We’re up to about a dozen, aren’t we? They do $30 million to $40 million a month. You’re talking $200 to $400 million dollars a month from casinos. Where’s the money from that going? We continue to raise taxes on cigarettes, and we just raised the income tax. We’ve raised the sales tax and we’re not getting anywhere. The bottom line is we have to address the spending. Once you address the spending, everything else is going to fall into place and keep taxes low for the people. You’re going to have less government getting involved in business. Let the markets decide. WHY YOU? They should vote for me because I’m one of their own. I’m a working man. I work five days a week just like the rest of us. I know what’s going to be best for the working men and women in the state. I will never increase taxes. There’s more than enough revenue. We just need to get the ball rolling right and spend money where it’s supposed to be spent. We are where we are today due to decision-making and policy-making. It looks to me that decisions today aren’t being made in the best interest of the people. We need to get somebody in there that’s going to find out where the money is going and direct it toward providing the citizens with the services they’re supposed to have. ❏
Endorsed by County Executive Brooks Patterson
FOR STATE REPRESENTATIVE
Endorsed by Michigan Chamber of Commerce
Paid for by Friends of Eileen Kowall • 2333 Cumberland Dr • White Lake, MI 48383
t LET MY PAST EXPERIENCE ec WORK FOR YOU IN THE FUTURE l
I NEED A CHANGE!!
VOTE FOR MY GRANDMA!!
Beverly Opdycke Spoor
White Lake Township • Vote for EXPERIENCE
White Lake Township Treasurer 1992-2008 White Lake Township Trustee 1988-1992
WHITE LAKE TOWNSHIP CLERK
Ready To Work!!
• Vote for KNOWLEDGE
Office of Treasurer for 16 years, fiscal manager for 48 years Township Board and Planning Commissioner for 16 years
• Vote for QUALIFICATIONS
Certified CMA - University of Detroit Certified CPFA - Central Michigan University
I NEED YOUR VOTE ON AUGUST 5!!
• Vote for ACTIVE COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
•Oakland County Senior Advisory Commission •SEMCOG alternate •Past President White Lake Historical Society •Past President Christmas in April •Northwest Vocational Education Center Advisor •Member White Lake Presbyterian Church •Past President, V.P., Treasurer and Secretary of North Canal Preservation Association •Past President White Lake Citizens League
IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE…
•HELP STOP FORECLOSURES/NEIGHBORHOOD EROSION •INCREASE OUR POLICE/FIRE/EMT PRESENCE! •REDUCE GOVERNMENT SPENDING! •WE NEED FEDERAL AND STATE FUNDS TO HELP OUR CITIZENS!
L. Brooks Patterson, County Executive • Patrick Dohany, Oakland County Treasurer • Ronald Voorheis, Former Treasurer • Eileen Kowall, Oakland County Commissioner • Mike Kowall, Past State Representative • Nancy Cassis, State Senator • John Stakoe, State Representative
White Lake Township TREASURER
Beverly Opdycke Spoor
FREE RIDES TO THE POLLS FOR SENIORS!
Paid for by Friends of Margaret Burkholder for Township Clerk, 9899 Coledale Court, White Lake, MI 48386
Paid for by Citizens to Elect Beverly Opdycke Spoor • 4287 Lake Grove Road • White Lake, MI 48383
JULY 23, 2008
primary voter guide
State House/66th Republican
Jason Corosanite and Bill Rogers will compete in the Tuesday, Aug. 5 Republican primary election for their party’s nomination in the 66th state House District race. State representatives serve two-year terms and are currently paid an annual salary of $79,650. The following are questions our staff recently posed to the candidates, and their responses to those questions. BUDGET: A struggling economy and forecasts of a slow, gradual recovery don’t bode well for the state’s budget scenario. There are two schools of thought: one seeking more revenue and one simply calling for more cuts at the state level. What is the solution to the ongoing state budget problem? PROPOSAL A REFORMS: The Legislature has been inundated in the last several months with multiple proposals to “tweak” Proposal A. Few now argue the need to revisit Proposal A, but there’s disparity over what needs to be changed. In general terms, how should the state deal with Proposal A’s legacy? What specific, if any, changes do you advocate, and why? ROAD FUNDING FORMULA: The state’s current road funding distribution formula places more emphasis on the miles of roadway in a county than on traffic density, which tends to favor rural, out-state counties. Please explain why you do or don’t believe that scenario is appropriate. What funding distribution formula changes, if any, should be implemented? What do recommend to close the gap between current funding levels and infrastructure needs? TERM LIMITS: We are hearing more discussion about how the current term limitations are responsible for some of the problems in Lansing as far as resolving budget problems, leadership problems, etc. Do you think changes in term limits are needed and if so, what do you suggest? EDUCATION: Some observers argue that education will be critical to improving the state’s economic status. What needs to change in the state’s education system to accommodate the transition toward a knowledge-based economy? What does the state need to do to encourage highly educated and talented young people to remain in this state to support the knowledge-based economy? TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the lic, private, home, and religious schools. I believe that the institution of marriage is a legal and moral commitment between one man and one woman. WHY YOU? I believe I have the clearest vision for the economic recovery of our state and have the resolve to accomplish it. I have been walking door-to-door since March and have met or spoken to thousands of people in the district. I have pledged to not accept political action committee money and have promised to be the most available and accountable candidate and official. I have experience in Lansing politics and in two crucial areas where we have the greatest opportunity to create new jobs — IT and biotechnology. I went to pharmacy school before getting my doctorate and was involved in biomedical research. I also started a software development company and have been asked to consult on a venture capitalbased IT start-up. Having a working understanding and experience in those areas is going to allow me to better understand the needs of companies that would like to create those types of jobs here in Michigan. I have more than enough talent and experience to represent the people and believe their values haven’t accurately and faithfully been represented by the people we put in office … and quite honestly, I don’t trust anyone else to do it.
Jason Corosanite is a chiropractor and software developer. He has served on the Michigan Association of Chiropractors Governmental Affairs, Insurance, and Research committees; and the Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce's Governmental Affairs Committee. Corosanite has also served as a representative to the Michigan Department of Community Health Information Technology Commission.
Bill Rogers is currently chairman of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners. He has been a Livingston County commissioner since 1999.
Legislature, and how do you propose to address them? WHY YOU? Why specifically should voters choose you over your opponent?
BUDGET: Michigan currently has the 14th highest tax burden in the country. Raising taxes is not the answer. I believe we need to return to the wisdom that Ronald Reagan employed, by lowering taxes, reducing spending, and lessening government. PROPOSAL A REFORMS: The most important issue for me is parity in school funding. How do we tell children that they are worth thousands less than students in other parts of the state? 2X funding was a start, but I believe that every school should receive the same amount per child. ROAD FUNDING FORMULA: There are two issues with road funding. The first is federal. We are a net donor state, meaning that we send more road dollars to the federal government than we receive. This is preposterous when we have recently been assessed as having the fourth worst roads in the country. We currently receive back 91 cents for every dollar we send, whereas a state like Alaska receives $6 dollars for each that they send. We also have donor counties in my district that don’t receive money commensurate with the level of road usage or proportional to the rate of growth in our population. The funding formula is skewed too much towards length of road, rather than use or traffic. There are areas up north that are looking for ways to spend their road dollars when we are suffering down here. TERM LIMITS: I believe the amount of time permitted currently by law (six years for state representatives, eight years for senators) doesn’t allow our elected officials to mature into effective leaders. I’m supportive of extending or possibly abolishing term limits and mov-
ing towards a part-time Legislature. There are 39 other states that have parttime Legislatures and still manage to get the job done. I also believe that they should be paid according to the amount of time working rather than being salaried. One common way to pay legislators in other states is per day of session. Pay and benefits are also not reflective of national trends. A 10 to 20 percent reduction in pay and elimination of retirement benefits would be more appropriate with the level of work being done. EDUCATION: I believe that we need to maintain the current math and science requirements as they stand if we are to graduate nationally- and internationallycompetitive pupils. I also believe we need to expand the number of charter and public magnet schools, encouraging the formation of ones that offer scienceand math-intensive programs. TOP ISSUES: The most important issue for me is the economy and our jobless rate. I believe we need to lower taxes, cut spending, and streamline and reduce regulations in order to get Michigan’s economy moving again. Second for me is health care costs. I’m very supportive of creating a statewide electronic medical record system. National studies have found EMR’s and RHIO’s (regional health information organizations) to be a way to shrink U.S. medical costs by hundreds of billions of dollars annually, reduce medical errors, and improve the overall quality of patient care. Third would be, in general, social issues. In my faith, as well as my politics, I’m first and foremost a Christian. Therefore, I believe that life begins at conception, and that all innocent human life must be protected. I believe that the family is the building block of our society, and that parents must be allowed to fulfill their responsibilities of educating their children among the choices of pub-
BUDGET: We must create an environment that will encourage employers to stay and/or relocate to Michigan. The state has a spending problem. PROPOSAL A REFORMS: Proposal A isn’t designed for a declining market. We may need to adjust for this. ROAD FUNDING FORMULA: Blend the formula. We need more consistency in funding. TERM LIMITS: Eliminate term limits. Minimally increase the terms to 12 to 20 years. EDUCATION: Jobs, an inviting business climate. TOP ISSUES: Economy/Jobs, taxes, and regulation. WHY YOU? The leadership and experience in county government and the community as a business owner. Livingston County is one of the top counties in the state. I have been on the board for 10 years and its chairman for the last three years. We have proven to be fiscally conservative and have been making tough decisions to keep us as strong as possible in these difficult times. ❏
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
primary voter guide
State House/66th Democrat
Donna G. Anderson and Tom Crawford will compete in the Tuesday, Aug. 5 Democratic primary election for their party’s nomination in the 66th State House District race. State representatives serve two-year terms and are currently paid an annual salary of $79,650. The following are questions our staff recently posed to the candidates, and their responses to those questions. Crawford didn’t return responses to our candidate questionnaire. BUDGET: A struggling economy and forecasts of a slow, gradual recovery don’t bode well for the state’s budget scenario. There are two schools of thought: one seeking more revenue and one simply calling for more cuts at the state level. What is the solution to the ongoing state budget problem? PROPOSAL A REFORMS: The Legislature has been inundated in the last several months with multiple proposals to “tweak” Proposal A. Few now argue the need to revisit Proposal A, but there’s disparity over what needs to be changed. In general terms, how should the state deal with Proposal A’s legacy? What specific, if any, changes do you advocate, and why? ROAD FUNDING FORMULA: The state’s current road funding distribution formula places more emphasis on the miles of roadway in a county than on traffic density, which tends to favor rural, out-state counties. Please explain why you do or don’t believe that scenario is appropriate. What funding distribution formula changes, if any, should be implemented? What do recommend to close the gap between current funding levels and infrastructure needs? TERM LIMITS: We are hearing more discussion about how the current term limitations are responsible for some of the problems in Lansing as far as resolving budget problems, leadership problems, etc. Do you think changes in term limits are needed and if so, what do you suggest? ABORTION: Despite vetoes and multiple court rulings striking down various bans on partial-birth abortion, state lawmakers continue to push for making partial-birth abortion illegal in Michigan. Tell us why you do or don’t believe the Legislature should get involved in the issue. Under what circumstance, budget problem requires that the governor and the Legislature work together in a spirit of bi-partisan cooperation and compromise. That said, the governor and Legislature must come to and agreement upon a combination of (1.) spending cuts, (2.) cost-saving government reforms, (3.) new revenues, and (4.) a new business tax structure. In fashioning the budget, the goal must always be to keep Michigan competitive in the world economy. PROPOSAL A REFORMS: Because of severe economic problems, the state of Michigan is failing to provide adequate funding for public education. Therefore, I support the following changes in the current school funding system: (1.) Give local school districts greater ability to levy additional mills in order to increase operating funds; and (2.) When a local school district loses students, cushion the impact of declining student enrollment by allowing the use of an average enrollment figure that includes prior years. ROAD FUNDING FORMULA: The real problem here is not so much the distribution formula, as it is the underfunding of all Michigan roads and highways. Currently, roads and highways are funded through the Michigan Transportation Fund (MTF). Included in revenues that go into the MTF are the present 19cent per gallon gasoline tax, the vehicle registration tax, as well as miscellaneous fees. Rather than increase current gasoline taxes and fees, the Legislature should consider issuing capital improvement bonds to supplement the MTF. TERM LIMITS: Term limits have not delivered the benefits promised by term limit advocates. Term limits have forced the loss of legislative memory, and this loss has created turmoil and confusion in the legislative process. Further, this loss has overturned years of common sense legislation and eliminated skilled, dedicated, concerned legislators and elected officials. Term limits should be eliminated for all Michigan elected officials. ABORTION: We need to work together to reduce the number of abortions. Our goal should be to make abortion rare, safe and legal. Making abortions illegal will not stop abortions but rather drive poor women to the back alley and better-off women to other countries for abortions. Do we want to jail poor women? I support contraceptive research, family planning, comprehensive family life education and policies that support healthy childbearing. EDUCATION: In order to retain talented young people, Michigan’s economy must generate challenging, good-paying jobs — jobs with a future. We also need a strong infrastructure and a clean environment. If jobs and a good standard of living are here, our young people will be here, as well. WETLAND PROTECTION: Protection of wetlands is a state responsibility. We should not leave the protection of our wetlands to the whims of the federal government. An important measure of accountability in our state government is strong environmental protection laws along with the vigorous enforcement of those laws, even it means jail for some violators. BOTTLE BILL EXPANSION: I support the extension of Michigan’s bottle deposit law to bottled water, sports drinks and other noncarbonated beverages. In a few years, the sales of non-carbonated drinks will exceed soft drink sales. Studies show that people return 97 percent of containers for which they pay a deposit. But, they recycle only 20 percent of bottled-water containers because no deposit is required. TOP ISSUES: Education in one. From preschool through college our children’s education will determine their future and the economic success of Michigan. We must set high goals for our schools and give them the tools and funding necessary to succeed. Jobs in another. We must continue to diversify Michigan’s economy for the 21st century by focusing on new technology, such as alternative energy. We need to improve our business climate by keeping taxes affordable and build on our existing infrastructure so that businesses will find our state an attractive place to invest. The environment is third. We need to safeguard our precious fresh water and strive for cleaner air to breathe. We must keep our state from becoming a dumping ground for other states’ and countries’ trash. WHY YOU? I will work hard to bring solutions to Michigan that will solve problems now, as well as for the future. It’s time for change from the old ways which have not been successful. The old mantras of cut spending and cut taxes cannot work and have not worked. We need to invest in Michigan’s future with new technologies, better education and a strong infrastructure. We need to attract entrepreneurs and companies to come to Michigan because we have skilled workers and a clean environment.
Donna G. Anderson is a former Birmingham Marian High School social studies teacher. She also worked for Michigan Bell, AT&T, and Ameritech Publishing in numerous marketing and network management capacities. Anderson established the client Service Department for GoTo, Inc., a Pasadena, Calif. company. She eventually retired from the position of director of search quality, after the company had become Overture, Inc.
if any, should the procedure be available? Do you consider yourself part of the pro-life or pro-choice camp? EDUCATION: Some observers argue that education will be critical to improving the state’s economic status. What needs to change in the state’s education system to accommodate the transition toward a knowledge-based economy? What does the state need to do to encourage highly educated and talented young people to remain in this state to support the knowledgebased economy? WETLAND PROTECTION: There are those in the Legislature and business community who would like to see the state abandon its current role in enforcing state and federal wetland protection laws, and leaving that task to the federal government. Please state why you do or don’t believe such a change should be made. BOTTLE BILL EXPANSION: We periodically hear of calls to expand the state’s beverage container deposit system. Please tell us how the system should be changed, if at all. How can the state make the system less onerous for retailers? TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the Legislature, and how do you propose to address them? WHY YOU? Why specifically should voters choose you over your opponent?
DONNA G. ANDERSON
BUDGET: A real solution to Michigan’s
JULY 23, 2008
primary voter guide
David Law, Larry Leib, and Randy Secontine will face off in the Tuesday, Aug. 5 Republican primary election for their party’s nomination in the Oakland County prosecutor race. The winner of the GOP primary will compete against Democrat Jessica Cooper in the Nov. 4 general election. The county prosecutor serves a four-year term and is currently paid $154,583 annually. PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE: What changes, if any, in the structure of the Prosecutor’s Office are necessary at this time? Are there any new programs you would like to implement to address morale or efficiency? How much authority should assistant prosecutors have in shaping the office’s policies? PLEA-BARGAINING: Although many would agree that a tough stance on crime is necessary, others argue that a no-plea-bargaining policy can stifle the prosecution’s ability to move up the scale of offenders to catch the “big fish.” Please explain when you believe it is and isn’t appropriate for the Prosecutor’s Office to use pleaWHY YOU? Why, specifically, should voters choose you over your opponents?
PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE: There are good, hardworking professionals in the prosecutor’s office. The key is they know their case, and they’re in charge of their case. Giving those trial attorneys discretion is very important. But the buck stops with the elected official. On certain issues I would want to be involved. My belief is most of things in the office are running fine and well. After a review process, I would implement or add emphasis to three things. The first is the cybercrimes unit, and however best we can effectuate protecting seniors, children, and people that are victimized. The second is the review of the children’s sexual assault cases. Third is community involvement. PLEA-BARGAINING: Each case has to continue to be reviewed on a case-bycase basis. There needs to be a philosophy of strong but tough plea bargainPAGE 10 ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯
David Law is currently a member of the Michigan House of Representatives, where he has served since 2005. He was an Oakland County assistant prosecutor for over six years. He is a member of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan and the National District Attorneys Association.
Larry Leib is a Farmington Hills-based attorney. He is a member of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy. Leib served on the statewide executive board of the Michigan Association for Justice from 1996 until 2001.
bargaining. JAIL INMATE POPULATION: The Oakland County Jail has been at or near its inmate capacity for years. Please state why you do or don’t believe the existing jail facility is adequate. What specific initiatives, if any, would you propose to reduce jail crowding as the county’s
prosecutor? What practical — and political — things need to be done to avoid a mandatory release of county jail prisoners? TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the prosecutor’s office at this time, and how do you propose to address them?
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
primary voter guide
❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ PAGE 9
ing, but it can’t be at the expense of public safety. If a case demands it to be reviewed and demands that a plea bargain be looked at for the betterment of society, that’s one thing. But it can’t just be done to move the case off the docket. JAIL INMATE POPULATION: There are a variety of things we can (do) with technology evolving that cover both public safety and yet address jail overcrowding. I’ve advocated for electronic monitoring. That needs to be incorporated even more. There’s different diversion courts, as well. Particularly for first-time offenders, drug courts, alcohol courts, and mental health courts need to be looked at more closely. TOP ISSUES: First, the cyber crimes unit, and really investing time and money in that. With technology evolving as it is today, the Prosecutor’s Office cannot afford to get behind the criminals. The office needs to stay on the front of that and focus on it. The second thing would be a review of the sex assault cases. I am going to look at having a different review process for those cases when I get into the office. Third, I believe, would be community involvement. I do think the prosecu-
trial experience in the Prosecutor’s Office. I’ve been elected as a state representative. A wide variety of the bills that I’ve introduced and/or had passed through the Legislature have been law enforcement-related. Because of my legislative career there, and the law enforcement issues that I’ve followed and trumpeted, I’ve received a Southeast Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police Award. Lastly, I’ve been elected. I think I’ve proven through my elected career so far that I will work hard to accomplish the goals I set.
Randy Secontine is the executive staff attorney for the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office, where he has worked from 1987 to 1996, and 2001 until the present. He is a member of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan and the National District Attorneys Association.
tor’s office is a valuable tool to get into the community, to not only help people, but to help people on the front end to avoid a crime from being committed against them or to hopefully divert them off the path from committing a crime themselves. WHY YOU? I believe I bring the most unique and diverse background to this race. In part, this is a political job and I’ve been in politics all my life. I’ve been in private practice. I worked in the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office for over six years. I have a wide variety of
PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE: While Dave Gorcyca has done a very credible job of setting policy and running an efficient office, the office has lost some leadership and direction and that is sorely needed. Morale is low and there’s been significant turnover. We have to continue to address drunk driving, especially with repeat offenders. I would establish a special unit of the office to address repeat offenders. The best way to run an office is a team-oriented concept. The county prosecutor is nothing more than the manager of the team and, while the manager sets the policy, you have to have really good, professional people helping you. I would give a lot of authority to assistant prosecutors, especially in the district court level, to handle lower-level offenses. One of the big things I would do is
examine the warrants division. I would really put senior people in that division to examine those cases. There are cases that have been brought that shouldn’t have been, and vice versa. PLEA-BARGAINING: Overall, if you write good cases based on solid evidence, there really is no need to pleabargain. If you don’t have the evidence, your obligation is to back up and retreat. Unfortunately, with cases that are being brought that shouldn’t be brought and vice versa, the system is clogged. It’s better to reduce a case and get a conviction than go to trial based on shaky evidence that maybe (results in) an acquittal. The prosecutor’s job is to make sure justice is done — not just get a conviction — and if it means you have to plea a case down to make sure justice is done, I’m for that. JAIL INMATE POPULATION: It’s important to ensure that the drug and sobriety courts are in place. They do a wonderful job in rehabilitating people. They not only sentence them but encourage those convicted to get involved in their community and working with charities and community service. I’m a big advocate for technology. We’ve come a long way in GPS tethers and in-car breath tests to prevent those convicted drunk drivers from PAGE 11 ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯
Randy Secontine, A Prosecutor - Not a Politician ✓The only career prosecutor running for Oakland County Prosecutor ✓17 years experience ✓The only candidate for prosecutor who has tried high profile criminal cases ✓The only candidate with management experience at the Prosecutor’s office
Randy Secontine is Law Enforcement’s Choice:
Police Officers Association of Michigan Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Command Officers Association Southfield Police Department Command Officers Association Novi Police Department Lieutenants and Sergeants Association Clinton Twp. Police Department Captains Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #128 Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #130 Dick Tillman, Director, Oakland Police Academy, Basic Section
Randy Secontine has the support of retired Oakland County Judges:
Hilda Gage, Retired Michigan Court of Appeals, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Barry Howard, Retired Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Gene Schnelz, Retired Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Don Reisig, Retired Ingham County Circuit Court Judge, Former Ingham County Prosecutor, former Drug Czar, State of Michigan Margaret Schaeffer, Retired District Court Judge (47th District Court)
Paid for by the Committee to Elect Randy Secontine, P .O. Box 81785, Rochester MI 48308
JULY 23, 2008
primary voter guide
❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ PAGE 10
is Oakland County’s biggest law firm.
PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE: I’m a more deliberate and measured person than the current prosecutor. I respect what he’s done and how he’s done it, but the leadership has to reflect the leader. I would implement a primary focus on addressing the substance issue in Oakland County. I would enhance the adult drug treatment court and try to coordinate the programs being implemented through the various treatment courts. (Assistant prosecutors) are professionals and have achieved a certain level of success. I do believe they need to exercise discretion and be responsible and accountable for that. There would be certain guidelines they need to operate under. PLEA-BARGAINING: Plea bargaining must be done with discretion, and it is being done with discretion and effectively. It needs to be reviewed. Everything is a case-by-case evaluation, but it’s important that as a component to that evaluation that you have victim input. Smart justice says you listen to what the victim has to say, evaluate all the evidence, and proceed on an informed decision. JAIL INMATE POPULATION: The sentencing is the responsibility of the judicial branch of the government. I would look to the judges to come to the table, along with law enforcement, to develop different programs. When we are successful in addressing
getting behind the wheel of a car. I agree that we need jail space, but it’s impossible in these economic times. We can’t go to the taxpayers. TOP ISSUES: I think the first thing is leadership. As somebody who has been in the courtroom and in the board room, somebody who has been an executive manager, someone who has done budgeting, personnel, human resources, things of that nature, I have the best blend of experience to come in and make a leadership change. The second thing we have to do is look at Oakland County and where we are. We need to look at the bottom line in the budget and make sure we’re spending the taxpayer’s money appropriately. Morale (in the office) is terrible. It’s critical that we do things to build team morale. WHY YOU? I’m a born leader. I’ve been a leader in the courtroom for the last 14 years. I’ve tried criminal and civil cases. I was recognized by the district court for handling stellar pro bono legislation. I’ve also been in the boardroom. I’ve been an executive. I’ve made decisions like budgeting, personnel, human resources. I’ve made decisions that are essential in these tough economic times to running what really
a person’s substance abuse, we help society in numerous ways. One, we return that individual to sobriety, to their family, and to our community as tax-paying workers. We reduce the recidivism rate. That’s what adult treatment courts and sobriety courts are doing. The sheriff’s office had to close the boot camp as a result of reductions. The boot camp is a fabulous program. It instills discipline and work ethic into the participants. We need to find a way to return that to the alternatives for incarceration. We need to look into tethering programs for non-violent offenders and interlock ignition devices for those who show some kind of compliance as we go down their sentence term. Could we use more jail space? Absolutely. However, current economic times don’t make that reality. TOP ISSUES: No. 1 is the issue is the anticipated (budget) reduction that exceeds $500,000. Our budget must be reduced according to our county executive. The Prosecutor’s Office doesn’t create its own budget. The county provides a structure and we must work within that structure. I’ve had a very good working relationship with the more than 100 lawyers in the office. I will speak to each and everyone of them to see what we can do to be more efficient and fiscally responsible. A second initiative in regards to public safety would be substance abuse. Addicts
re-offend at a ridiculously high rate. We need to address the underlying addiction. Substance abusers are getting younger and younger. We need to reach them before they are active users. Third is jail overcrowding. The prosecutor must collaborate with the judiciary to identify ways to effectively use our very scarce jail space. We have to make sure that we are effectively administering education and prevention programs to the inmates while in jail, but also identifying the non-violent, non-drug dealing people so that we’re not wasting space on people who can be outside the jail environment. WHY YOU? Public safety should not left to the inexperienced. I’m not a politician. I’ve never run for political office. However, when it comes to experience as a prosecutor, and effective advocacy on behalf of the citizens and crime victims, I believe no one can touch my resume and performance over the last nearly 17 years. I’ve worked in the warrants, district court, and circuit court divisions. I was named special prosecutor for high profile murder and sensitive issue trials. I’ve done 179 jury trials; 21 involved the charge of murder or attempted murder and secured a conviction. Regardless of which candidate you talk about, the next time they touch a murder case, it will be their first. ❏
Andrea C. Voorheis
White Lake Township Clerk
❏ White Lake Township Trustee: Parks and Rec. Committee ❏ Community Volunteer: Red Cross, Meals on Wheels, White Lake Historical Society Kelly-Fisk Farm, White Lake Presbyterian Church Deacon ❏ 22 years of experience in customer service ❏ Fourth Generation of Public Service in White Lake ❏ White Lake Resident for 40 years
Tuesday, August 5th Vote for
On August 5th Elect
CATHY MORGAN HALL
White Lake Township
For a change, you have a choice!
• • • • 8 years White Lake Township Trustee • 6 years Planning Commissioner 15 years Legal and Accounting Experience • 20 years Michigan Real Estate License 8 years owner of Chef’s Cuisine 25 years Self Employed gives me the resourcefulness, discipline and ability to get the job done the first time without spending excessive dollars
➢ Planning & Sensible Development ➢ Effective Emergency Services ➢ Education & Recreation ➢ Environmental Stewardship ➢ Accountability & Responsibility ➢ Listening to All Residents ➢ Working Toward the Future
Paid for by the Committee to elect Andrea C. Voorheis
3120 Ridge Road, White Lake, MI 48383 248-980-5483
• I WILL demonstrate quality leadership through communication, enabling the good decision process White Lake needs to move forward • I AM a fifth generation White Lake Resident - I am here to STAY for my complete term! • I WILL eliminate grotesque and elaborate waste in the budget as we are currently experiencing • My STRONG real estate background gives me an understanding of free-falling property values, which means living with a slimmer budget • I WILL give continued support of our senior programs, facilities and maintaining our Fire and Police Departments • I WILL NOT sell our land and assets to developers, but will work to preserve our Township Treasurers • I WILL NOT waste pathway millage (90,000) on lobbyists, but will aggressively implement pathways as voted by residents in 2006
Visit www.cathymorganhall.com for more information! cathy morgan hall – you tube video
Paid for by the Committee to Elect Cathy Morgan Hill, 11322 Lakehaven, White Lake, MI
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
primary voter guide
Incumbent Michael Bouchard is being challenged by Jim Stevens in the Tuesday, Aug. 5 Republican primary election for their party’s nomination in the Oakland County sheriff race. The county sheriff serves a four-year term and is paid $136,260 annually. The following are questions our staff recently posed to the candidates, and their responses to those questions. JAIL: The Oakland County Jail has experienced chronic inmate overcrowding in recent months, leading to the early release of scores of non-violent prisoners. A citizen survey indicated overwhelming opposition to a tax increase to pay for a new jail. At what point, if ever, would you support a tax hike to pay for a new jail facility? What, if any, alternatives would you support to deal with the jail overcrowding issue? DEPARTMENT BUDGET: Declining property values across the county and reductions in state revenues have forced all county departments to make changes to address projected budget deficits for next several years. What changes in sheriff’s department budgeting priorities or processes do you advocate to deal with these new hurdles? MARINE DIVISION: The Oakland County Sheriff’s Department Marine Division provides educational, outreach, and law enforcement services on many of the county’s inland lakes during a sizable portion of the year, and the division’s Dive Team is called upon throughout the year for assistance. Please explain why you do or don’t believe the Marine Division is adequately staffed and equipped to serve the county. If you believe the division is in need of more staff or equipment, please be specific about what additions are necessary and how you would pay for them. CONTRACTED SERVICES: The Oakland County Sheriff’s Department is contracted by Commerce and Highland townships — among others in the county — to provide police services. How many deputies do you feel are needed to safely and adequately patrol Commerce and Highland? What changes, if any, are necessary in the department’s contracts with individual municipalities, or the services that are provided? AVIATION UNIT: The Oakland County Sheriff’s Department Aviation Unit, based at the Oakland-International Airport in Waterford Township, has been patrolling from the sky for several years now. Please state why you do or don’t believe the helicopters and their associated personnel and equipare now built into our emergency response plan and have been more fully integrated with our SRT (SWAT). We train and plan for any type of emergency. Additionally, the aviation unit is completely funded by savings I squeezed out of the budget elsewhere. TOP ISSUES: I will continue to squeeze efficiencies out of this budget to ensure that in these tough economic times, the public’s safety needs are being met. This includes creating more response capabilities as our duties in homeland security continue to expand. We will also continue to aggressively pursue innovative and cost-effective alternatives to deal with jail overcrowding. WHY YOU? Having been a full-time officer for 22 years, as well as having a degree in criminal justice and as a graduate of advanced programs in law enforcement agency leadership, I’m uniquely qualified to lead one of the nations’ largest law enforcement agencies, as I have for the past 10 years. I also want voters to know that I will continue to treat their tax dollars with the same respect they do. I’m a public servant and citizens are my customers. I will do everything I can to make Oakland County a safer, better place.
Michael Bouchard has served as Oakland County sheriff since 1999. He was a state senator from 1991 to 1999, and served in the state House of Representatives for a year prior to that. In addition, Bouchard was a member of the Beverly Hills Village Council from 1986 to 1990. He has 21 years of law enforcement experience, is syndicate director for Leadership in Counterterrorism, a member of the National Sheriff's Association Congressional Affairs Committee, and chairman of the Michigan Citizens Corp Council.
Jim Stevens is an automotive design leader for a large engineering firm.
ment have been worth the cost. In what ways, if any, would you like to see the unit’s use or staffing changed? TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the sheriff’s department at this time, and how do you propose to address them? WHY YOU? Why, specifically, should voters choose you over your opponents?
JAIL: Given the strain on our taxpayers these days, adding to their burden is absolutely out of the question. Also, the number of prisoners in our jail is outside of our control and rests in the hands of sentencing judges. With this as a backdrop, we have undertaken many proactive steps on the front end. Our active participation in successful programs, such as Oakland County’s unique Youth Assistance programs, help encourage positive behavior and works to deter young people from a life of crime before they end up in the hands of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office. Another program we established in house is called U-Turn, which allows young people to experience jail first hand and see the consequences that come with criminal behavior. I would rather stop a life of crime before it begins. DEPARTMENT BUDGET: I will continue to look for innovative ways to operate my budget more efficiently, as I have for the past 10 years. For example, I have already saved $1.6 million annually by changing the way we feed inmates in Oakland County. I’ve found ways to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel and fleet costs. I’ve saved hundreds of thousands of dollars more in pharmaceutical and medical care costs. And I’ve brought in millions of dollars by billing
inmates for their time in my jail. I will continue to look for way to provide necessary services, including the use of drug forfeiture funds, so that taxpayers don’t have to pay for expensive but needed tools in today’s law enforcement world. We will devote the remaining resources to programs that affect the safety of the majority of the county residents. CONTRACTED SERVICES: Commerce and Highland are both popular and growing areas. We currently have 29 deputies in Commerce and 20 deputies in Highland. Any changes needed or desired by the contracted areas would have to be approved and supported by residents in those municipalities. Since, in effect, we are their local police department we encourage and suggest what we feel is prudent but ultimately it is a local decision. MARINE DIVISION: The Marine Division is very important to our operations and is a significant expenditure in our budget. While I would like to add to this effort, given the current budget cuts that have been handed to the sheriff’s office by the county commissioners, any increase is not possible. Over the last few years we have added some very important technology, including side scan sonar. With grants and other leveraging actions, we have greatly updated the division abilities without asking for new tax dollars. AVIATION UNIT: The aviation unit is doing a fabulous job on a daily basis. They are catching criminals and literally saving lives all the time. A university study in California concluded one helicopter in the air is the equivalent of about 20 patrol cars on the ground. We have used grants to add technology like infrared and heat sensing to find lost children and fugitives on the ground. The helicopters
JAIL: Overcrowding is no longer an issue. My plan is to put the inmates to work in the community — no more hanging out watching TV. DEPARTMENT BUDGET: Last time I checked my taxes didn’t go down so the budget needs to be addressed. MARINE DIVISION: I will visit each one personally to adjust needs there. It should be accessed by safety needs. I will hire volunteers if needed. CONTRACTED SERVICES: I’ll provide as many deputies as the job takes to keep things nice. I’ll have a back up plan in place for rare occasions of crime sprees. AVIATION UNIT: Don’t waste fuel if it’s not needed, to save money. TOP ISSUES: 1. Crimes and fraud against the elderly will be made severe in punishment. Jail overcrowding will be old history. Inmates will be out working on road cleanups and shoveling snow in the winter for senior citizens, by rotating eight hour shifts. No more quotas on Road Patrols. I want more focus on patrolling neighborhoods and businesses. Stalkers and crimes against women will be on the front burner. I will be available 24 hours a day to personally help anyone that needs someone there to protect them. WHY YOU? I will work hard and will personally meet with all residents to address crime anytime of the day, seven days a week. ❏
JULY 23, 2008
primary voter guide
Jane Boudreau, Mark D. Mitchell, Warren P. Nunlee-Bey, and Harvey Schwartz are competing in the Tuesday, Aug. 5 Democratic primary election for their party’s nomination in the Oakland County sheriff race. The county sheriff serves a four-year term and is currently paid $ annually. The following are questions our staff recently posed to the candidates, and their responses to those questions. Nunlee-Bey declined to respond to our candidate questions. SHERIFF’S ROLE: What do you see as the primary duties and role of the sheriff in county government? Do you see the position as just being a policy maker for the department, or something more? Please explain. JAIL: The Oakland County Jail has experienced chronic inmate overcrowding in recent months, leading to the early release of scores of nonviolent prisoners. A citizen survey indicated overwhelming opposition to a tax increase to pay for a new jail. At what point, if ever, would you support a tax hike to pay for a new jail facility? What, if any, alternatives would you support to deal with the jail overcrowding issue? DEPARTMENT BUDGET: Declining property values across the county and reductions in state revenues have forced all county departments to make changes to address projected budget deficits for next several years. What changes in sheriff’s department budgeting priorities or processes do you advocate to deal with these new hurdles? CONTRACTED SERVICES: The Oakland County Sheriff’s Department is contracted by Commerce and Highland townships — among others in the county — to provide police services. How many deputies do you feel are needed to safely and adequately patrol Commerce and Highland? What changes, if any, are necessary in the department’s contracts with individual municipalities, or the services that are provided? MARINE DIVISION: The Oakland County Sheriff’s Department Marine Division provides educational, outreach, and law enforcement services on many of the county’s inland lakes during a sizable portion of the year, and the division’s Dive Team is called upon throughout the year for assistance. Please explain why you do or don’t believe the Marine Division is adequately staffed and equipped to serve the county. If you believe the division is in need of more staff or equipment, please be specific about what additions are necessary and tools can serve a legitimate purpose; however, they are not essential in every circumstance. In stronger economic times, law enforcement agencies were able to provide employees with cell phones, Blackberries and cars to use, even when not on duty or on-call. However, in times of economic strife such as this, all non-essential items must be evaluated for their cost-to-benefit ratio. The same is true for personnel assignments. Core functions of the sheriff’s office must be adequately staffed and equipped. Beyond that, we need to take a hard look at where our officers are deployed and what effect that has for the citizens of Oakland County. In addition, serious consideration must be given to all avenues where federal, state and local funding is available. CONTRACTED SERVICES: Statistics are created for a reason. The department’s Records Division works hard to keep accurate records and compile statistics. Those records and statistics need to be reviewed and compared to national standards in order to determine whether the department is doing its job and, if so, how well. Also, citizens in the communities where we serve need to be consulted in order to determine whether they feel they are getting their money’s worth. I believe that uniformity in our substations would promote efficiency and lower operating expenses — almost immediately. Shared supervision should be explored because it would avoid duplication of efforts. I also believe each community’s contract should be reviewed with a critical eye towards eliminating unwanted services and inordinate costs. In sum, the Department’s ability to serve individual communities is a privilege and not a right to be taken for granted. MARINE DIVISION: The Marine Division, like any other service we provide, must be measured. We need to determine how many calls for service are received; the number of reported accidents, injuries and deaths; and on which lakes incidents occur. We need to examine deployment to determine if it’s justified. Some say current deployments are made for political, not statistical reasons. Since Michigan distributes more boating licenses than the state of Florida, boating safety should be taught and Marine Division assignments made based on need and not want. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Dive Team will continue to operate as it does today. I would support the redistribution of assigned emergency vehiPAGE 14 ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯
Jane Boudreau is a police officer for the Holly Police Department. She is a former sergeant in the Oakland County Sheriff's Department. Boudreau is a past president of the DARE Officers Association of Michigan, and member of the National DARE Officers Association and Women's Police Officers Association.
Mark D. Mitchell has worked as a United Auto Workers carpenter for Chrysler. He was a volunteer police officer in Royal Oak for 25 years.
Harvey Schwartz was a paid-on-call firefighter and has owned a small business. He is a member of the Novi Citizens Emergency Response Team, and has served in the U.S. military.
how you would pay for them. AVIATION UNIT: The Oakland County Sheriff’s Department Aviation Unit, based at the Oakland-International Airport in Waterford Township, has been patrolling from the sky for several years now. Please state why you do or don’t believe the helicopters and their associated personnel and equipment have been worth the cost. In what ways, if any, would you like to see the unit’s use or staffing changed? 9-1-1 CHARGES: The state House has been asked to consider another round of proposed changes in the provisions governing how Michigan’s counties levy service fees for 9-1-1 emergency phone operations, including a call for voter approval of future fee increases. Tell us why fee increases should or shouldn’t be placed on a ballot for voters to decide. State why you do or don’t believe 9-1-1 systems should be required to annually collect only enough 9-1-1 fee revenues to cover actual service costs. TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the sheriff’s department at this time, and how do you propose to address them? WHY YOU? Why, specifically, should voters choose you over your opponents?
SHERIFF’S ROLE: Michigan law mandates the responsibilities of the sheriff’s office. This includes executing Circuit Court civil judgments; providing primary law enforcement to all inland lakes, and maintaining a county jail. In Oakland County, the sheriff operates a “full-service” department. We provide traditional law enforcement services to the commu-
nity such as road patrol, crime lab services, alcohol enforcement, and more. To be effective, a sheriff must demonstrate leadership to members of the community and department. A sheriff must be committed to work full time in that capacity alone, acting solely on behalf of the citizens of Oakland County and the members that the office represents. A sheriff is often called upon to make difficult, sometimes unpopular decisions. This is especially true in times such as this, when requests for services are increasing and economic resources are decreasing. I am such a person. JAIL: As the Oakland County sheriff I will research best practices being utilized throughout the United States. Programs such as community service, behavioral programming, work release, boot camp, intensive supervision, community corrections, mental health services, alternative education opportunities, electronic monitoring and residential substance abuse treatment are the types of programs that can be used to reduce recidivism and alleviate jail overcrowding. With the current economic climate, a tax increase should be considered only after all other alternatives are exhausted. I support the concept of a task force comprised of members of the community, prosecutors and judges to examine existing programs and grants in an effort to develop a community-based plan for alternatives to incarceration. I would wholly support a plan that included preventative measures, as well. DEPARTMENT BUDGET: I will find ways to eliminate superfluous expenditures, such as “take home vehicles.” These
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
primary voter guide
❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ PAGE 13
cles for members of the Dive Team. Currently, the majority of the Dive Team responds to search, rescue and recovery operations in personal vehicles, which places the county and taxpaying citizens in a position of liability should an accident occur. AVIATION UNIT: The Aviation Unit is funded by privatizing the feeding of the inmates at the county jail. This allowed for the start up and yearly operational cost at no additional expense to the tax payers of Oakland County. This asset is unique, in that it is available to all law enforcement and fire agencies in the county upon request. It’s one tool that benefits every municipality in the county. The unit remains at its original staffing which is inadequate for the program to be effective. Unit staffing needs to be brought to a level that would allow the program to perform at its maximum efficiency. In order to offset the expense of operating the unit, I would like to see funds obtained from drug forfeitures where the Aviation Unit is utilized, placed into an aviation exclusive account that would be available for needed equipment and necessary maintenance. 9-1-1 CHARGES: The 9-1-1 system must remain operational because it is a life-line for our citizens. There are some decisions, which we as leaders, can’t and shouldn’t leave to the citizens. As a result of landlines (traditional phones) in the home being replaced by cell phones and Internet calling, there must be a mechanism in place to replace the lost revenue to support and improve the 9-1-1 system. TOP ISSUES: Jail overcrowding: This will be a continuous problem unless the sheriff, prosecutor and judges create a plan for alternatives to incarceration. Programs that have alleviated jail overcrowding in the past, such as the highly successful “Sheriff’s Boot Camp,” will be reinstated. No longer will successful programs be sacrificed for political reasons. The budget: I intend to be an ally of county commissioners, not an adversary. An audit of expenditures has to be made to develop a realistic assessment of where cuts can be made without compromising safety. Hiring, retention and discipline: I will investigate disciplinary procedures and the apparent failure to use progressive discipline. Here, when considering the most recent eleven employee terminations, 90 percent were returned to their jobs by an arbitrator. Reinstated employees received compensation for lost earnings, overtime, benefits, and more. Some filed lawsuits and received additional compensation. This unnecessary and wasteful practice costs the taxpayers money that could have been more
wisely spent. WHY YOU? The citizens of Oakland County pay for and deserve a leader whose only priority is to be a full-time Sheriff, one who will be accountable, approachable and maintain the highest standard of law enforcement services, all the while taking on the enormous task of reducing costs. I will use my experience in working at the sheriff’s office to effectively manage members of the department. Having a sheriff from outside the department, one with no idea of what it’s like to work in corrections or patrol in an area as large as the county of Oakland can’t be as efficient as someone who has been there. I have recently received the endorsement of the MetroDetroit AFL-CIO, AFSCME Council 25, Michigan Association Police Organizations (Michigan State Police, Detroit Police, etc…) and I’m the only sheriff candidate in 83 counties that has received that endorsement.
MARK D. MITCHELL
SHERIFF’S ROLE: The sheriff should be a non-partisan position. The Sheriff’s Department services all the people. A sheriff should be visible to the public, meeting the citizens you serve. This job requires strong leadership skills and an ability to maintain camaraderie between all departments. A sheriff’s role is to be able to react to any situation with clear and precise thinking and to maintain readiness within the divisions for quick responses in any situation that may arise. JAIL: The jail overcrowding issue is of major concern to all citizens and has been out of control by the administration from the current sheriff. The actual problem could possibly be in the system itself. There is a way to alleviate this problem, but it will take some time. A possible addition to the existing jail would be at best an option to consider. I’m not in favor of raising taxes to build a new jail. There are always ways to cut the unnecessary waste and spending. I’m a staunch supporter of rehabilitating programs. Throwing people in jail is not always the answer. We can counsel these offenders to find out what the root of their problems are and then take appropriate measures DEPARTMENT BUDGET: Centralization in operations is one way of cutting out some extra spending. Does this county really need two helicopters? There is a big cost factor right there. There are many ways to trim costs. CONTRACTED SERVICES: Securing a workable budget is a priority. I would like to study these services to see if this is the best solution for the taxpayers and the citizens. It is my utmost concern to provide the citizens of Oakland County and surrounding areas the safest and most cost-efficient coverage. MARINE DIVISION: This time of the year is the height of the boating and water sports season where people are out enjoying our many lakes. However, special attention needs to be taken as far as
the response times to boating accidents, drownings, misconduct, etc. Quicker response times are specifically crucial in life-saving instances. I propose to have a “Home Post” comprised of a trained and deputized resident volunteer whose job is to be the eyes and ears of their respective lake residence. Having a post on our lakes is a must for better safety. AVIATION UNIT: This question has come up many times during this campaign. The Aviation Unit serves as a helpful entity for the safety of Oakland County. However, does the county need two helicopters at a cost of over a million dollars a year to maintain? In this tough economic slowdown we should be taking a hard look at and differentiate between what is essential for the safety of the citizens and what could be trimmed and still provide effective service. I propose to ask the commission to put this issue to a vote. Let the citizens decide this issue. Yes, I would like to keep this unit. Can I work without this unit? Yes. 9-1-1 CHARGES: I strongly support having voter approval as to whether 9-1-1 fee increases should or shouldn’t be made. I believe that voters need to have more of a voice with regard to future policies that involve their taxes and how they are spent. TOP ISSUES: The No. 1 issue as I see it is the jail overcrowding and early release of inmates. Locking people up doesn’t solve their problems, and in most cases it only adds to their dilemma. People definitely need to be held accountable and responsible for their misconduct. However, putting someone in jail costs taxpayers a lot of money. I would like to see us using our resources for rehabilitation purposes. The Marine Division is also one of my top priorities. Quicker responses to emergencies is crucial in saving precious lives. I would like to begin specialized citizen training programs right away. School safety is another top issue for me. My plan is to get more citizen involvement by accelerating existing programs, and if need be implementing new programs. People will be trained and deputized for quicker responses if need arises. In this country, teenage drinking, drugs, and sex is out of control. With this program, we can catch more issues before they happen. The youth are the future and need a safe and secure environment to flourish. WHY YOU? I’m asking for your vote to be the Oakland County sheriff because I have 25 years of experience in law enforcement. I’m confident in my abilities to efficiently and successfully manage the Sheriff’s Department. For the past seven years, the inmate early release dilemma hasn’t been resolved. I can fix that. If you keep electing the same people to office, you will get the same results. I bring to the table new, fresh, innovative ideas. I will be visible and accessible to the people I serve.
SHERIFF’S ROLE: I believe it’s the sher-
iff’s primary role to protect the people. The sheriff must be vigilant to the needs and wants of his constituents. I don’t believe the role is merely that of a policy-maker. Although, he/she must make some policies, the sheriff ‘s position should not be a political one. He/she is there to protect and defend the people. JAIL: I don’t see a need for a tax increase for a second county jail. There are many ways to alleviate jail overcrowding. I have several options for non-violent prisoners. Tethering, house arrests, boot camp, etc. We need to put more patrols in the neighborhoods and less on the highways. More patrols will mean less crime. Less crime means less inmates. Why not utilize them to clean our highways, parks, etc., i.e. earn their keep and save taxpayers money? DEPARTMENT BUDGET: This is difficult to answer without knowing what the budget is. CONTRACTED SERVICES: Again, a difficult question to answer without actually reading the contracts and seeing what is needed. MARINE DIVISION: This is a very important division. We are most fortunate to have so many lakes in Oakland County. The Marine Division does a great job patrolling them and educating the citizens. Because of the rapid growth of the county, I do believe we need more staff and equipment. AVIATION UNIT: I don’t see a tremendous need for this unit. I would have to check to see what advantage it has and what it has accomplished before commenting further. 9-1-1 CHARGES: Should this be placed on the ballot? I’m not sure. I do believe the 9-1-1 systems should collect only the revenues to cover the actual service costs? This is a service provided to the citizens for emergencies. Let’s not forget that. TOP ISSUES: The three most important issues at this time are jail overcrowding, crime, and the budget. We need to put more patrols in our neighborhoods. More patrols will mean less crime. Less crime will mean less inmates, and hence alleviate the jail overcrowding. I need to take a serious look at the budget. I believe there are many ways to ease it. This is something that needs to be addressed after a lengthy study. WHY YOU? It is time to put a real person in charge. I may not have all of the qualifications of my opponents, but I have the drive of millions. I have been an Oakland County resident for 45 years. I have seen the tremendous population growth. I can realistically see the needs of the citizens without a political agenda. I have owned my own business for 20 years and have the ability to manage people and budgets. I have been married for 45 years. That shows stamina, trust and reliability. ❏
JULY 23, 2008
primary voter guide
Waterford, West Bloomfield
County Board/5th Republican
Fran Amos is challenging incumbent John Scott in the Tuesday, Aug. 5 Republican primary election for their party’s nomination in the Oakland County Board of Commissioners 5th District race. County commissioners serve two-year terms and are currently paid about $33,000 a year. The following are questions our staff recently posed to the candidates, and their responses to those questions. BUDGET: Declining property values across the county and reductions in state revenues have resulted in projected budget deficits for next several years. What changes in county budgeting priorities or processes do you advocate to deal with these new hurdles? ZOO TAX: Oakland County voters will be asked on Aug. 5 to authorize a 0.10-mill, 10-year property tax to pay for operations at the Detroit Zoo. Please state why you do or don’t support the zoo tax proposal. Tell us why you do or don’t support the current zoological authority approach to overseeing the expenditure of revenue generated by such a tax. JAIL: The Oakland County Jail has experienced chronic inmate overcrowding in recent months, leading to the early release of scores of non-violent prisoners. A citizen survey indicated overwhelming opposition to a tax increase to pay for a new jail. At what point, if ever, would you support a tax hike to pay for a new jail facility? What, if any, alternatives would you support to deal with the jail overcrowding issue? TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the county at this time, and how do you propose to address them? WHY YOU? Why, specifically, should voters choose you over your opponent? JAIL: We have done jail diversions. We have taken many people that really don’t belong in jail and put them in other programs. The second issue that we’ve done is we just got a new tether system on board. We’ve got a lot of jail overcrowding because some judges are putting people in there who are non-violent offenders. First-time driving under the influence offenders going in there are really filling the jail up. If we were to do anything with regard to a new jail, I would like to see something more along the lines of an “Up North” version of what is done in Arizona. We could build a low-budget facility for our non-violent people and not give them all the perks they have right now. We have our boot camp, which right now is not running but will be back and running right after the budget year. Those types of camps and the lower-cost type facilities are what we need to look at. When all other resources are expended, I would approve putting a millage question on the ballot. TOP ISSUES: We talked about one already, our jail overcrowding. We need the state to belly up to the bar and start taking some of their prisoners. We are housing the people pre-trial. No. 2 is our budget. Our budget is balanced going into the next fiscal year, 2008-09, and because we do the rolling budget, we know we are in good shape for 2009-10. We’ve already lost revenue, and we are going to lose more. The (home) values are dropping, and it’s going to affect us. We are making all the efforts we can to find ways to be creative to balance that budget. The third issue is bringing jobs into the county. Fortunately, since 2003, we’ve had Emerging Sectors program. We brought in just under $1 billion in revenue. We’ve got about 9,000 jobs that have come in just from Emerging Sectors. Those are dynamic, non-automotive jobs. I’m going to be working with the administration, once again, on Emerging Sectors, and of course on Automation Alley. We have to get nonautomotive work here. It won’t make us recession-proof, but it will make us recession-resistant. WHY YOU? I’ve learned a lot in the last five and a half years, and it’s been interesting. I want to keep on (doing) what we’ve been doing. We’ve kept that budget balanced in some very, very difficult times. We’ve changed the way our employees’ health care is funded. In 20 years, Oakland County is out of the health care business. I want to keep working with the administration to keep this county providing the services it’s providing without raising any taxes. ❏
Fran Amos is currently a term-limited member of the Michigan House of Representatives, where she has held office since 2002 and has served on the House Appropriations Committee. A former Oakland County commissioner, Amos was a member of the board's Finance Committee.
John Scott, a sales engineer with McMasters Koss Co, has been an Oakland County commissioner since 2003. He is a member of the county board's Personnel Committee and vice chairman of the Public Services Committee.
BUDGET: The county has always been very good. I was on the (county board’s) Finance Committee for eight years when I was there. We always looked at our revenue streams two years out. In that case, the county has always been very good at looking at what and how they spend, and restructuring and reforming what they have. I anticipate that is what they’ll be doing in the future. ZOO TAX: As far as the zoo and the tax goes, no. It came up when I was a commissioner before, and I said “no.” The reason is that you can take people’s homes away if they don’t pay their taxes. Going to an authority is a step in the right direction.
(The zoo is) raising an awful lot of money on their own, which I think is awesome, and that’s the direction they need to go. (I will not vote for it at the polls with) the way it’s set up right now. I can’t put a tax on the property of people who are losing their homes. JAIL: Would I approve a tax for it? No. Jail overcrowding has been an issue since I was first a commissioner in 1995. They wanted a new jail then. There are alternatives. They have newer, higher-tech tethers now that can even tell what their alcohol level is, if they are drinking. The folks that are in jail could be pre-trial inmates that aren’t (found) guilty yet. I know they have been working on (speeding up the docket), so that those who are in pre-trial can get out or move on to the state prisons, or whatever is next. I do like the boot camp as an alternative. They can also house them elsewhere. They can house them in other jails at a cheaper rate. I wouldn’t support the tax. The people could, if you put it on the ballot. But again, that’s going to make you lose your home, and I’m not in favor of that. TOP ISSUES: My first thing is jobs. Last year, I got from the state $6 million for Automation Alley. They never got a dime from the state before to help run Automation Alley. Emerging Sectors is the next thing that’s important. Oakland County is, by far, ahead of anybody else in the state, and most in the nation, as far as creating jobs. I’ll do everything in my power to get them attention and more money. Balancing the (county) budget is absolutely crucial. If you don’t balance the budget the first six months and your revenue is coming in short, you have to double-short everybody the last six months when they are expecting to get “X” amount of dollars. The next thing is no tax increases. Again, I don’t want people losing their homes. WHY YOU? I have 35 years of business
experience in the corporate world that I bring to the table. I have eight years of experience as a county commissioner. I have six years of experience at the state. I’m trusted by my constituents, I’m respected by my peers, and have the best interest of Oakland County at heart, and I always will.
BUDGET: We’ve had significant cuts. In fact, our 2008-09 budget was, at one point, at about $5 million in the hole. As of right now, we are in good shape, but one of the things we are looking at is (getting) all the cost savings we can. Of course, our four-day, 10-hour (per day) work week will help a bit. For 2009-10, we are OK. I talked to staff, (County Executive L. Brooks Patterson), and the administration, and we are balanced, but it’s going to be tight. Getting rid of some of the frivolous spending is what’s going to be taking place in the next budget year. ZOO TAX: That came before the board and I voted no. We tried, when the zoo people were there, to get them to change the election date to November. We felt that it would be advantageous if more of the voters — and there will be a lot of them in a presidential race — had the chance to vote on this, rather than voting on it in August. We are in a recession. We can’t be raising taxes. The Zoological Society is there. It’s a good program. I like having the zoo there. But this is not the time to go after (a zoo tax). Oakland County kind of led the plan where Wayne, Detroit, Macomb and Oakland will each have their own zoo authority. The reason we created it that way was, No. 1, we are going to contract for services. So if we aren’t happy with what we are getting for our money, we can pull out. If it were just one large regional authority, we would have one vote and we wouldn’t be able to reduce, cut back, or get things done that we need done.
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
primary voter guide
Waterford, West Bloomfield
County Board/5th Democrat
Jim McCarthy, Kellie Riddell, and Nicole T. Stallworth will face off in the Tuesday, Aug. 5 Democratic primary election for their party’s nomination in the Oakland County Board of Commissioners 5th District race. County commissioners serve two-year terms and are currently paid about $33,000 a year. The following are questions our staff recently posed to the candidates, and their responses to those questions. BUDGET: Declining property values across the county and reductions in state revenues have resulted in projected budget deficits for next several years. What changes in county budgeting priorities or processes do you advocate to deal with these new hurdles? COBO CENTER: Southeast Michigan officials continue to debate proposals to pay for an expansion of Detroit’s Cobo Center, a project that’s regarded as being essential to keeping the North American International Auto Show in Detroit and attracting additional conventions and events. Please state why you do or don’t support Oakland County officials’ resistance to Wayne County and Detroit proposals for a Cobo Center expansion project. Should the county be using the desire for a medical school at Oakland University as a bargaining chip in the talks about expanding Cobo? What’s your vision for a fair and equitable plan to pay for any Cobo project? ZOO TAX: Oakland County voters will be asked on Aug. 5 to authorize a 0.10-mill, 10-year property tax to pay for operations at the Detroit Zoo. Please state why you do or don’t support the zoo tax proposal. Tell us why you do or don’t support the current zoological authority approach to overseeing the expenditure of revenue generated by such a tax. COMMISSIONER PAY/FRINGE BENEFITS: It’s been proposed that county commissioners’ pay be reduced and certain fringe benefits be eliminated after current commissioners’ terms expire. Please state why you do or don’t support the proposal to cut commissioner pay and eliminate some fringe benefits. WATER STUDY: Oakland County officials recently agreed to team up with Genesee County and contribute $125,000 toward a joint study to determine the economic feasibility of constructing an alternative or backup water system to serve much of the county. Tell us why you agree or disagree with the need for such a study.
Jim McCarthy has been an attorney with a private practice for over 10 years. Prior to that he worked 25 years as a prosecutor in Oakland and Wayne counties.
Kellie Riddell is a clerk for the Waterford Township Department of Public Works. She has been a precinct delegate 2004-2006 and is a member of the Waterford Township Democratic Club.
Nicole T. Stallworth is chief of staff for State Rep. John Espinoza (D-Croswell).
What’s your stance on the need for an alternative or backup system? NEW AIRPORT TERMINAL: Oakland County has accepted a $200,000 state grant to design a new terminal for the Oakland County International Airport in Waterford Township. Please state why you do or don’t believe the airport needs a new terminal. If you support such a project, where does a new airport terminal project fit in your priorities for county capital improvement projects? JAIL: The Oakland County Jail has experienced chronic inmate overcrowding in recent months, leading to the early release of scores of non-violent prisoners. A citizen survey indicated overwhelming opposition to a tax increase to pay for a new jail. At what point, if ever, would you support a tax hike to pay for a new jail facility? What, if any, alternatives would you support to deal with the jail overcrowding issue? TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the county at this time, and how do you propose to address them?
JAIL: I oppose any tax hike to pay for a new jail. The old one can be enlarged if necessary. The problem is that they have too many people in the jail that should not be there — especially the mentally ill. TOP ISSUES: Budget and taxes, the roads, jail overcrowding.
BUDGET: First and foremost, we need to recognize the foreclosure crisis as the primary burden causing budget shortfalls. I would support Oakland County starting a land-bank program that would give the county control over foreclosed properties. Land-bank programs are being successfully utilized to rejuvenate other struggling communities, proving effective against foreclosure, blight, and property value decline. I would also endorse programs of assistance for home and business owners who are being foreclosed on by banks to slow or stop the crisis. We need to address financial problems with careful planning and addressing a variety of issues such as the need for mass transit and improved urban development. I support cutting the Oakland County budget without cutting any programs. We will not rejuvenate our economic situation by cutting programs; we need to empower residents and business owners and provide the tools they need to succeed. COBO CENTER: The Oakland University Beaumont medical school is already in the works, and Oakland County shouldn’t tie such a benefit to the community into what could become another in a long list of Detroit scandals. We can not allow our taxes and financial involvement in the project to become another Detroit City slush fund. If we bring any chips to the bargaining table, it should be a renegotiation of terms for water and sewer. Our communities remain almost entirely dependent on Detroit’s water and sewer system, and if Detroit relies on us to
BUDGET: Cut programs, reduce employees, cut benefits, and cut wages. COBO CENTER: I oppose the expansion. I suggest shrinking the amount of autos at the show. Keep the foreign cars out. ZOO TAX: I oppose the zoo tax. I would cut the expenses and shrink the zoo if necessary. COMMISSIONER PAY/FRINGE BENEFITS: I agree with cutting the pay of the commissioners and eliminating all fringe benefits. WATER STUDY: I disagree with this study. Let the commissioners do their own study. NEW AIRPORT TERMINAL: I oppose any new airport terminal. The old one was hardly used. It’s available and should be used.
solve the Cobo issue, then Detroit needs to solve our water and sewer issues. That being said, recent reports that the Illitch family will be involved is a definite positive, and I would fight for a fair and equitable negotiation for the Cobo expansion. ZOO TAX: I know that my opponents are against the zoo authority/tax, but I am in full support of the zoological authority approach. I have heard my opponents echo over and over that they will not support any new taxes; they say more taxes cause more people to lose their homes. The error in this thinking starts with my opponents not proposing any actual solution to the foreclosure crisis and is embellished by the idea that if we don’t introduce mass transit, urban improvements, and tourism, things will get better on their own. I say, “Just stop foreclosing for failure to pay taxes!” If we enhance our urban spaces by supporting the zoo, mass transit, and tourism in general we can provide jobs and get our economy back on its feet. COMMISSIONER PAY/FRINGE BENEFITS: Cut the pay and the benefits. I know what it’s like to work two, three, four, even five jobs to make ends meet. Our county commissioners should know it, too. WATER STUDY: I disagree with the need for a $125,000 study just for water. I’ve worked for Waterford Water and Sewer for three years now, and I worked in drinking water testing and analysis for several years before that. I know a lot about drinking water, and my experience has taught me two things: (1) Oakland County needs its own wastewater treatment facility, and (2) we already have one of the country’s finest and most technologically advanced water utility systems right here in Waterford Township. Do we
PAGE 17 ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯
JULY 23, 2008
primary voter guide 5th Democrats
❯ ❯ ❯ PAGE 16
need a backup water supply? Yes. Do we need to spend $125,000 contracting the study out? No. NEW AIRPORT TERMINAL: The current airport terminal facility is old, not energy efficient, and doesn’t properly serve the airport’s needs. It’s also old with a lot of vacant/unused space. The current plans call for matching funds, and we do need a new facility that is efficient and well utilized, but this project is a low priority. Jobs and the high costs of housing, food, and fuel for our average citizens are my priorities. JAIL: There is no question that the Oakland County Jail is in serious disrepair. I recently toured the facility and was appalled by the filthy and crowded conditions, but I will absolutely not support building a new facility. The bootcamp is reopening and we will need to make several updates and repairs on the current jail facility, but my priority would be decreasing the prison population. Michigan spends more per year per prisoner than per student. It’s no wonder our jails are overflowing. I believe all non-violent offenders should be put on the new GPS locater tether program and be made to provide their own food, shelter, and drug and alcohol testing. With high recidivist rates, the statistics already prove that incarceration is not an effective rehabilitation method. It’s time to stop spending tax payer money sheltering non-violent criminals when a tether can be cheaper and just as effective, if not more. TOP ISSUES: Oakland County needs to plan for the future of the county and its residents. My priority issues this year involve planning for the security of our changing society. We need to slow sprawl and introduce mass transit and green energy policies to provide jobs, compete with other markets, and keep our families and educated work force in Michigan. We can’t hesitate any longer in addressing the foreclosure crisis. The county has the resources to protect our property from foreclosure or value decline, we just need to implement effective policies. Perhaps the most important issue is the increasing need to develop a comprehensive senior care system. We can’t afford to disregard the mental and physical health and welfare of our growing senior population. The incumbents say “don’t reinvent the wheel,” but the wheel is becoming irrelevant in Michigan; it’s 2008 and time to reinvent and re-evaluate.
NICOLE T. STALLWORTH
BUDGET: I propose redirecting a portion of the funding from business attraction, i.e. the Emerging Sectors Initiative, to business stability and retention via investment in a Master Plan for commercial, retail and office space use. In addition, the county should be investing in the identification of resource partners
capable of identifying buyers with a three-year soft second forgiveness provision (provided by the county or its partners) of purchasing homes headed to auction at full market value, thus reducing the uncontrollable property value decline. Lastly, to reduce the annual increasing utility costs, the county should retrofit all lighting systems with either LED or induction lamps. COBO CENTER: The capacity issues that are driving decisions from auto manufacturers about the long-term viability of Cobo as a site for the North American International Auto Show are not simply related to more floor space, but hotel, restaurant, and entertainment issues, as well. If the residents of the city of Detroit don’t have the will to demolish Ford Auditorium or charge a modest admission fee to Belle Isle to keep it clean, why should the residents of Oakland County support a tax for Cobo expansion when those same resources could be more favorably used in demolishing the Silver Dome and putting that land to productive use. I don’t support any regional tax increases. ZOO TAX: Until Oakland County has control of the governance structure of the zoo authority, I will oppose any tax proposal to support its operation. COMMISSIONER PAY/FRINGE BENEFITS: Any citizen serving on the commission should already be gainfully employed, thus I would support introduction of a merit salary schedule; and I certainly would support the elimination of fringe benefits. WATER STUDY: Any studies of this type should be paid for with state grants and not paid for with county general fund dollars. The people of Oakland County don’t need a back-up water system; they need governance representation on the Detroit Water and Sewage Board. NEW AIRPORT TERMINAL: Construction of a new terminal is not a high priority, and should not be on the 2010 priority list at all, unless the state grant was provided from restricted funds. JAIL: I say transport the felons in our county jails that should be in state prisons to the governor’s door-step. If the state were living up to their responsibility, we wouldn’t have such a mess. In addition, if the county were to enhance foster care incentives to reduce the cost of caring for and providing residences for wards of the court, we would have more resources to redirect to jail support services. TOP ISSUES: Stabilize residential property values via introduction of a publicprivate neighborhood stabilization plan focused on the market price purchase of residential properties headed to auction. Business Retention via introduction of a countywide master commercial, retail and office space use plan. Job creation through introduction of an national energy trades institute to train certified electric linemen, line clearance professionals, alternative and energy efficiency professionals to address the known labor shortage within this skill-set. ❏
Here are a few differences between John and his opponent: • John Scott refused to accept pay increases, and donated them to charity • John Scott does not charge taxpayers for his travel • John Scott has never taken a taxpayer or lobbyist paid junket
ON TUESDAY, AUGUST 5th, VOTE FOR A COUNTY COMMISSIONER WHOSE ONLY SPECIAL INTEREST IS THE TAXPAYER.
Paid for by the Friends of John A. Scott, 3896 Lakefront, Waterford, MI 48328
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
primary voter guide
Waterford, White Lake
County Board/6th Republican
Andrew Dabish, Jim Runestad, Joe Saulski, and Josephine Spencer will compete in the Tuesday, Aug. 5 Republican primary election for their party’s nomination in the Oakland County Board of Commissioners 6th District race. County commissioners serve two-year terms and are currently paid about $33,000 a year. The following are questions our staff recently posed to the candidates, and their responses to those questions. BUDGET: Declining property values across the county and reductions in state revenues have resulted in projected budget deficits for next several years. What changes in county budgeting priorities or processes do you advocate to deal with these new hurdles? ZOO TAX: Oakland County voters will be asked on Aug. 5 to authorize a 0.10-mill, 10-year property tax to pay for operations at the Detroit Zoo. Please state why you do or don’t support the zoo tax proposal. Tell us why you do or don’t support the current zoological authority approach to overseeing the expenditure of revenue generated by such a tax. JAIL: The Oakland County Jail has experienced chronic inmate overcrowding in recent months, leading to the early release of scores of nonviolent prisoners. A citizen survey indicated overwhelming opposition to a tax increase to pay for a new jail. At what point, if ever, would you support a tax hike to pay for a new jail facility? What, if any, alternatives would you support to deal with the jail overcrowding issue? TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the county at this time, and how do you propose to address them? WHY YOU? Why, specifically, should voters choose you over your opponent? ings that were going on for this particular vote, and it was contentious. A lot of people felt the people of Oakland County shouldn’t be able to vote on it. After that hearing, I went to the zoo and I was extremely impressed. Since the zoological society took over, it’s a massive transformation. My initial impression was that I wasn’t going to personally vote for it. On second impression, I believe I will (vote for the tax). I support (the way the authority is set up). JAIL: I agree that the citizens are not in a mood to pony up large amounts of tax dollars to build a new jail. You have to look at some alternatives. The county is now utilizing a tether program that sounds like it’s pretty effective and efficient. The prosecutor, courts, and judges seem to be convinced that, for non-violent offenders, this is a way of knowing where they are at — at all times — tracking them, allowing them to get to work and pay some of the bills for the cost of their care. Also, they are working more closely with the medical system to identify those that have medical needs. Before, they were simply warehoused in the jail, and now they are trying to move some of them to the medical system for treatment. Any of these that we can use to reduce costs, I’m in favor of. If it gets to the point that we are going to turn even one violent offender loose onto the citizenry, we have to look at building a new jail. You can’t have predators released out onto the people. Then I would be in favor of asking on a ballot, “Do the Oakland County residents want us to create a jail millage to put on the ballot for you to vote on in the next election?” I believe we can take the abandoned buildings in Oakland County, refurbish them, and get us up and going. TOP ISSUES: The budget is the primary responsibility of the county commission to review and control. There is going to be incredible downward pressure on the budget: declining revenues from the state and property taxes. My approach, as a small business owner, is looking at what’s going on. What’s the investment on every program and service? Are all the services and programs needed? Which ones can be reduced or eliminated? Jobs are the second issue. The state of Michigan is losing people at a very fast rate, the fastest in the nation, and the primary reason is jobs. I think people would agree with the Emerging Sectors initiative. Automation Alley I believe went from
PAGE 19 ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯
Jim Runestad is the owner of Runestand Financial Associates and president of the North Oakland Republican Club. He has served on the Oakland County Friend of the Court Citizens Advisory Committee.
BUDGET: I think the big thing is accountability, and where the money is going. A lot of times, what happens in government is that it kind of opens its wallet and closes its eyes and doesn’t ask for accountability, even when accountability is either the law or asked for by the state. One example is Easter Seals, which is supposed to account for their dollars spent. They actually have somebody whose job it is to account for each dollar that is spent, and they for years haven’t sent in an audit of where their money is going. They get their money from the Oakland County
Mental Health Authority and the Health Department, and for them not to have that accountability is just one problem. Taxes shouldn’t be raised because the money is out there; we just have to watch for where it’s going. It’s the same way as you watch your own budget from your own wallet. ZOO TAX: I don’t think people who are paying $4 per gallon for gas these days are going to vote “yes” on a tax increase, however little or large it may be. I agree that the zoo is a great place. It is regional and something that we should be caring for, but at the same time, it all comes down to accountability and why the zoo can’t continue what it’s doing with the money they already have. That needs to be looked at, rather than handing money to them. I personally won’t (support it), because I want to know where the money is going. There definitely needs to be some oversight, and Oakland County needs to be a part of that, of course. I don’t know how it’s currently set up, so I would have to take a look at that. JAIL: An alternative was brought up by (County Commissioner) Eileen Kowall to tether people. If somebody is going to sit there and wear a tether while at a $500,000 lake house, the punishment doesn’t fit. I asked her to look at (Macomb County Sheriff Mark) Hackel’s program diverting people with mental illness into community programs. Those programs are wonderful. That would help ease the amount of people going into these jails and filling them up. I wouldn’t support any tax increase for a new jail. We can find the money if we search for it. TOP ISSUES: No. 1 is the budget and, again, solving that problem with the accountability. I would personally take my time to find out if everyone the county is giving money to has had an audit. The other issue would be the health and welfare of people with disabilities. The county isn’t doing enough for them. There are programs out there that can
help people, and the people are not being informed of them. Jobs would be another issue. I would ask the private sector that is doing a good job in other areas, like Texas, to come in an help people with disabilities. If the private sector sees they can make money and help people at the same time, I believe just doing that will bring in a lot more jobs. Those will be highpaying, caring jobs for the community, and that’s what’s needed right now. Oakland County is one of the richest counties in the nation, and for us to turn our backs on people with disabilities is a shame. WHY YOU? I’m not your typical politician. I’m somebody that is here to serve the people. I don’t believe in the way things are running right now. It really discouraged me to watch things, as I became a volunteer for people with disabilities. I want to give back, not just for my family or people I served, but I want to give back to the whole community. I’m honest, I have integrity, and I am very hard-working. I will search for whatever is needed.
BUDGET: There are bound to be some areas that can be cut out of the budget. The citizens in this area, and in the state of Michigan, have been overburdened with tax increases, so whatever is to be done has to be on the basis of reductions in either services or programs. I know the commissioners are using the Gosselin Amendment (calling for positions or programs paid for with grants to remain vacant or unfunded after the grant funds are spent), and I think that’s an effective way of eliminating some programs that, if they were continued, could cost the county a lot of money. A final area that could be looked at is municipal golf. It’s a great program, but if it comes to increasing taxes or having municipal golfing, that’s an area I’d take a look at. ZOO TAX: I support the peoples’ ability to vote on this tax. I sat in on the hear-
JULY 23, 2008
primary voter guide
❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ PAGE 18
44 companies to 876 companies in about four years, about $1 billion in new investment. (Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson) has endorsed my candidacy as a small business owner to help continue the success in these initiatives. The third issue is all these regional initiatives. If the Board of Commissioners loses its Republican majority, I believe that there will be incredible pressures put on the commission to accept one after the other regional initiative without constraints on direction, amount or cost, and without consideration of long-term impact for the people of Oakland County. I want to make sure anything done on a regional basis is thoroughly looked at for Oakland County’s benefit. WHY YOU? I believe I have the educational, business, and political background to do the best for the county. As a small business owner in the area, I understand the importance of budgeting and fiscal responsibility. I’ve been active in the Chamber of Commerce, the North Oakland Board of Realtors, delivered Meals on Wheels, and (worked with the) Lions Club. I was appointed to the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Friend of the Court. I am president of the North Oakland Republican Club, which is perhaps the largest and most influential club in Michigan. Most importantly, along with all that community involvement, is experience. I have been attending the White Lake Township board meetings consistently since 2007. I have been at many of the county commission general committee meetings, subcommittee meetings, and caucus meetings. I believe that’s necessary to really understand the full ramifications of the job.
Joe Saulski is an attorney. He attended the Air Force Academy and served as a U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot.
Josephine Spencer is a retired Farmington Hills city employee and former White Lake Township Clerk. She has previously served as the chairperson of the White Lake Township Zoning Board of Appeals, and president of the White Lake Township Historical Society.
BUDGET: You’re looking at a projected $33-million deficit in 2010. I can’t tell you we’re going to trim the fat out of the budget, because they’ve been doing that for five years, and I think (L. Brooks) Patterson has been doing a very good job of that. There are some programs that are going to have to be scaled back. They are going to be good programs, and I’m not too sure exactly what they are going to be, but you’re going to have to tighten up in areas that are not critical areas. Obviously, the areas that are less critical to safety and welfare, in Parks and Recreation and those type of things, savings can be found there. One answer that is explicitly clear is that we are not raising taxes. ZOO TAX: I’m glad the board passed the resolution to allow us to vote. Will I vote for it? No. I’ve been to the zoo and I enjoy it, but I would probably rather pay a little bit more going to the zoo and to park there than raise
taxes on everybody. The zoo is very valuable to the community and region, and everyone sees it as a great place to visit; but with the difficult times we’re having today, I don’t see it as fiscally-responsible for me to impose additional taxes on people, so my vote would be “no.” (The authority) is a good start. There needs to be some tightening up of some of the oversight. It seems to be a lot less oversight than I personally would want on their spending decisions and how they direct that revenue. JAIL: Getting soft on crime is not an option. The demographic reality is that this county, even in the hard economic times, is growing. Crime isn’t reducing and the jail is at capacity. In 10 years, this situation will be worse unless either we get softer on crime or we get more space. There are some other solutions that will help until we can afford more space, and those are some of the gimmicks, I guess, that the county is trying right now. Certainly, getting the state to take care of psychological prisoners will be a way to try to reduce some of the overcrowding and free up bed space. Tethering? I don’t know a single criminal that doesn’t prefer to wear an ankle bracelet than stay in jail. I don’t know if I’m comfortable making them more comfortable. There will be a time when we are going to need more space. We need to start today to make those plans. We are going to have to budget for that. If we start working that into the budget for five or 10 years from now, it can be done. TOP ISSUES: First is the budget and dealing with the current and projected deficits. We have a declining revenue base and we are going to have to make the appropriate cuts. The second issue goes along the lines of growth and opportunity. We need to be able to provide an economic base in the county to support the citizens here, which means using a lot of Automation Alley, the Emerging Sectors ideas and businesses to bring growth to Oakland County. Mr. Patterson has done an outstanding job of promoting the county around the world, and that needs to be continued from everybody. The third is family security. We’ve already addressed the jail issue, but the other issue is dealing with the mortgage
crisis. There is a lot the county can do without spending money. They’ve done a lot of good informational workshops for troubled homeowners. We need to have homeowners be able to afford and keep their homes. That’s vital to every community and family in the county. WHY YOU? I’ll get the job done. I wore a (military) uniform for this country for 14 years. My only job was to complete the mission, and that’s what I do. My educational background is unparalleled. I have an MBA and a JD. I also work in a firm that has to make payroll. I will get the job done, regardless of politics. I am not a politician. I have no personal political agenda. I will be honest and forthright with my colleagues about when they’ve gone astray, like they did when they tried to raise their pay. I have no political ambitions other than to serve my community. My life has been service to my country and community. I will take that, and my values I have learned over my life — duty, honor, country — to the board and serve faithfully.
BUDGET: I think the budget needs to be looked at line item by line item. After working in government for over 30 years, I know there is a lot of excessive waste within each departmental budget, and it should be cut. The county has done a good job managing the budget so far, but I think it can be trimmed in a lot of areas. The days of being able to get a lot of excessive perks have come to an end, just like my personal family budget has been trimmed. The townships are already trimming budgets back, and so is the county. It needs to look very long and hard at every department, at every program, and they need to sit down and bring to the table in a bipartisan fashion a way to reduce this excessive spending, yet still continue to give the services that the residents have all expected to get without raising any taxes. ZOO TAX: I don’t support the tax unless Oakland County has an equal share in managing and running the zoo, and whatever else goes with it. The authority right now, as it sits, is good, but it needs equal representation from Oakland County. If the residents are going to be paying for it, they need the representation.
JAIL: I would probably support placing a proposal on the ballot asking if taxpayers would support a tax increase to expand the jail or build a new one. I do think that there are alternatives out there, so we don’t actually need to build a new jail. I think we can take some of these empty buildings around the county, refurbish them, and turn them into satellite, low-offense-level jails. I think we should reopen the boot camp, and I think we shouldn’t close the Southfield jail. I also think that, for non-violent people who are doing time, we might be better off creating a different type of system. Instead of feeding and housing them in the jail, we can require additional community service and have those offenders spread out amongst all the county communities. They could help our maintenance crews and do their time without going into the jail whatsoever, without being fed or clothed (by the county). They would not lose their jobs. Our communities would be able to utilize free labor and not have to pay overtime in order to get jobs done, say, within the maintenance department in every one of our communities. TOP ISSUES: The budget needs to be looked at line item by line item and department by department. We need to remove the mentality of, “I’ve got a budget and have to spend it this year or I’m not going to get the same amount next year.” The second is jail overcrowding. I think we can use these empty buildings throughout the county. We need to reopen the boot camp program and look at other programs, and also reopen the Southfield jail. With everybody’s budgets falling, the middle class now desperately needs assistance with prescription drug coverage, dental and health care — I’m not saying for all of them, but those that truly need it. I run a nonprofit organization called Huron Valley Community United Way. If I get one phone call a day, I get 10 a day asking for help. All of them are from middle class people who still have a job but they can’t afford to get their prescriptions. The county should step forward, work with the drug companies, and get something going — and not just for Oakland County, but for all the counties. WHY YOU? I have over 30 years of government experience. As a former township clerk, I managed the budget on a daily basis. I made certain that no department was overrunning their budget. I bring the experience that’s necessary. With my career in the city of Farmington Hills, I worked in every department. I am extremely knowledgeable, honest, and loyal. I will let no question go unanswered. I will have an open-door policy. I would want the residents to know that I will vote with my heart and conscience, and I wouldn’t necessarily always vote along party lines. ❏
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
primary voter guide
Waterford, White Lake
County Board/6th Democrat
Emmanuel Dabish, Michael D. Smith, and Susan Wachsberg will compete in the Tuesday, Aug. 5 Democratic primary election for their party’s nomination in the Oakland County Board of Commissioners 6th District race. County commissioners serve two-year terms and are currently paid about $33,000 a year. The following are questions our staff recently posed to the candidates, and their responses to those questions. BUDGET: Declining property values across the county and reductions in state revenues have resulted in projected budget deficits for next several years. What changes in county budgeting priorities or processes do you advocate to deal with these new hurdles? ZOO TAX: Oakland County voters will be asked on Aug. 5 to authorize a 0.10-mill, 10-year property tax to pay for operations at the Detroit Zoo. Please state why you do or don’t support the zoo tax proposal. Tell us why you do or don’t support the current zoological authority approach to overseeing the expenditure of revenue generated by such a tax. JAIL: The Oakland County Jail has experienced chronic inmate overcrowding in recent months, leading to the early release of scores of nonviolent prisoners. A citizen survey indicated overwhelming opposition to a tax increase to pay for a new jail. At what point, if ever, would you support a tax hike to pay for a new jail facility? What, if any, alternatives would you support to deal with the jail overcrowding issue? TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the county at this time, and how do you propose to address them? WHY YOU? Why, specifically, should voters choose you over your opponent? JAIL: You have to start looking at what type of crimes people are committing. With non-violent offenders, it seems like they are so quick to be put in there. Maybe there are other avenues — different programs, trying to get grants or funds from social work companies or organizations that are out there. Especially with the way the economy is, it just seems like you’re going to see a lot more non-violent crimes. This is going to be an issue. As far as taxing, that’s one of those ones that, obviously, I go along with the general population. I don’t agree with building another jail as the end-all, cure-all. TOP ISSUES: The first one is the foreclosure rate, and I believe (Oakland County Treasurer) Candidate Andy Meisner has come up with a great thing. Other counties have had issues with it, depending upon how you’re looking at it. But in order to do it, you need to kind of come up with different mechanisms in which to create a land bank, or other types of situations where you try to help get them out. I know the (Oakland County) Community & Home Improvement (Department) has systems set up where they can help people refinance (their homes). With the struggling market right now, the foreclosure rate (is high), and that hurts all the revenue sharing and everything that’s going on. There are strategies or organizations that you can utilize to help out with that. That’s important to tackle right now. I’m part of the younger crowd, being 27, and I’ve been to other bigger cities. I definitely think mass transit is worth researching to try to establish that connection between the (city and) suburban areas. Obviously, there needs to be a long-term study on that because the infrastructure isn’t there, but I would like to hopefully move forward toward that. I live in a township, and I’m all for growth, but at the same time, we need to know when to kind of slow growth down and what should dictate it. It’s supply and demand: Do you want to build another strip mall, or do you want to have a nice park? What is the quality of life and what do you want to do? I really want to focus on protecting the environment, the waters and streams. That’s what we are known for in this county; we have a lot of lakes. If you keep on building, you’re going to have runoff and industrial waste and all these issues that come with it. WHY YOU? I’m ready to lead. I have the educational background and the passion. I’ve talked to friends, family, and neighbors. My mother is of the PAGE 21 ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯
Michael D. Smith is an office assistant in the Oakland County Clerk's Elections Division.
Susan Wachsberg has worked as an independent real estate appraiser, freelance journalist in television and print media, and was a manager in marketing and research for the Detroit Free Press. Emmanuel Dabish has worked for 25 years in various retail establishments, an is currently a perishables clerk for Meijer
BUDGET: I would have to look at all factors, but one right off the bat would probably be pay reductions for government employees, as applicable. We should see where we can implement a 5-percent or 10-percent wage cut. It may not be popular, but most people aren’t getting pay increases these days. We might have to look at a wage freeze. Short of any windfall coming any time soon, I would probably advocate some form of county park fee increase, or things like that, that people spend their leisure money on. ZOO TAX: Anyone who has ever been to the Detroit Zoo (knows) it’s a truly wonderful experience. Depending on how much individual taxpayers would
have to pay — I would have to look at specific numbers — I probably wouldn’t support the tax proposal. The voters do have a chance to vote on that. If they decide they don’t want it, they can come up with another solution. As far as the zoological authority, I would have to look at exactly what they are doing and what their proposals are. JAIL: I would have to side with the constituents in this issue, although personally I believe the jail should be expanded. If (constituents) don’t support a tax increase, I would seek alternatives such as locating empty buildings. I believe there is one on White Lake Road that used to be a former prison facility and can be used. As for jail overcrowding, I would definitely support a tether program that would help keep track of most non-violent offenders. We could look at sentencing guidelines and see if everything is being followed correctly, or put people to work — give them a broom, if they are non-violent, and let them clean up the parks and streets and save taxpayers’ money. TOP ISSUES: Jobs would be No. 1. We have to get more people working in the face of declining home values and (rising) foreclosure rates. A lot of people are losing their jobs and homes, so we have to figure out how to stop the bleeding. Second would be our natural resources. The lakes area is beautiful. I’m sure that’s a top priority to anyone who has been to this area or driven through, or lived in it. We have to maintain the natural resources and beauty of the lakes area. We have to look at the crime rate. Since people are losing their jobs, it’s somewhat correlated with figuring out what to do with the crime rate. Do we bring in the State Police? Do we offset state budgets for police departments, and try to supplement them through the
State Police? WHY YOU? I want to see the government more streamlined. I want to see the citizens of Oakland County and the lakes area well-protected and well-represented by somebody who has been dealing with the public for well over 25 years. We must take care of our resources, and hopefully the citizens of Oakland County will see me as a breath of fresh air.
MICHAEL D. SMITH
BUDGET: I’m currently working for the county, and the continued viewpoint is that they want to decrease the age of retirement. That’s a big way to get rid of some things through attrition. You’d hope to start cutting costs and maybe sharing offices. With some of the budgetary things, you really need to go line-byline to see where the overspending is occurring. There are some (costs) you can curb with mailings — maybe combine mailings or do more online things. ZOO TAX: With the way the economy is going, you don’t want to keep taxing people. But at the same time, I don’t want to lose such an amazing tourist attraction. It’s 0.1 mills, so it’s minute in comparison to some other (levies) townships and cities are starting to do. But we’ve already lost Belle Isle and a lot of the other draws for kids, students, and schools for field trips. It’s a viable thing. The other option is that you can raise attendance and try to maybe solicit more funds and grants. But everyone is strapped right now. As a taxpayer, I am willing to take the hit because I would rather know that it’s always there. I don’t want to lose the Detroit Zoo and have that closed, as well.
JULY 23, 2008
primary voter guide
❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ PAGE 20
older generation and I’m of the younger generation, and we need to have that connection between (the two) and move forward from where we are at. I think a new voice will help us move forward toward that better tomorrow. I see where we can be, and where we’ve been. Growing up, I saw how great we were, and it seems like we are kind of getting away from that. I want to bring honesty and integrity back into the office, and I feel I’m the best candidate. I look forward to the challenge.
BUDGET: There are two that I can think of off the top of my head. The No. 1 is that we have to deal with sentencing guidelines. We decided in the 1980s to get tough on crime, so we built (more) prisons and now, even non-violent offenders are sentenced and labeled. Then we ask them to go back out into society. So it’s the wrong system in the first place. If we can cut back with those sentencing guidelines, we can eliminate and grab a big part of that budget back. Secondly, we have to look at the size of the budget in the first place and the number of people and the benefits we have. The county commission gave itself a 1-percent raise, and they’re also getting newspapers and club memberships paid for. We have to lead by example. If that’s happening across the board, it has to stop. We can save a lot of money just by looking at all the little fringe benefits that county employees get and cut back on those, at least until better times. ZOO TAX: I think the zoo tax should be on the November ballot, where the public can decide whether to (authorize that). I think the controversy right now is they want to decide that without the people’s voice. We have limited tax dollars and I think it was a mistake that it’s not on the November (ballot). I support it if the people support it. If this is a go, I think I do support (the authority) overseeing the budget because I think they are the right committee to do so. JAIL: I can honestly say that I would never, if I had the power to do so, have a tax increase (for a new jail) because I think our system of incarceration is wrong and irresponsible right now, as far as our taxpayer dollars. I think this crackdown on crime in the 1980s made a balloon out of our system. If we could just adjust our system a little bit, like the Deep South does ... even today they have chain gangs. For non-violent, first-time offenders, they are given a choice of working and cleaning up in the county in exchange for no record and not being incarcerated, and it’s saving them a lot of money. I say there is plenty of room to find money in the system as it is now. TOP ISSUES: The No. 1 issue is fiscal responsibility because of the $19-million shortage they think we are going to have by 2010. The county has always budgeted very well; they has a AAA bond (rat-
ing) in the credit world. I think we’ve done an excellent job, but I don’t think Oakland County has ever faced what they are going to be facing now with the housing market and decline in revenues. I do believe we have to look at some line-item things. We were talking about the jail. One of the things I really would work very hard at is not to put any more burden on the over-burdened taxpayers. I think there is some fat we have to locate and make some tough decisions in Oakland County its employees and its programs. The second is a very big issue of mine. We have to protect our natural resources. We are growing in White Lake. You blink and open your eyes (in White Lake) and there is a new building there. I think it’s really important because so many places build first and think later about how it has an impact on our inland lakes, streams, water resources. We have to plan to protect the most valuable thing we have, our natural resources. White Lake and the county commissioners have a duty to protect that. We have to step up to the plate and get a proposal that will fly so we can get matching federal funds for a mass transit system. We are in the dark ages, compared to other cities and mass transit. Roger Penske is doing some private funding in downtown Detroit and that’s just the beginning of what a separate group is working on for the greater Detroit area. If we get this together, the way that some very, very strong leaders are trying to do and not having people block the effort, we can get matching funds from the federal government and get something in here. My view is to not have people pumping gas in their car and sitting the Lodge Freeway, but actually getting into a train station and getting to their destination. WHY YOU? I believe it’s time that new views and faces should be in the system. I believe that when you’re going to vote for somebody, you have to vote for how they have conducted themself in their own life and how they run things. I am a fiscal conservative. I think I would run and budget, and be a county commissioner, the way I’ve run my own home and private life. That would also relate to how I feel about our natural resources. I think that, if you were to put everything in order, our natural resources are probably our most valuable commodity. At the forefront, there has to be somebody as concerned as much as I am to protect them. We also need someone to look to the future, not only today in our tough times. The growth of Detroit and the Detroit metropolitan area, and the support Oakland County has to give it, is the future of this area so that our young people don’t graduate from high school and then run off to New York or Chicago, where it’s a little more exciting. We have to connect our communities, and it’s important that we communicate with the other townships and counties in order to make things happen for us here in the Detroit metropolitan area. ❏
VOTE DEMOCRAT AUGUST 5, 2008
ABOUT: • LIFELING RESIDENT OF WHITE LAKE TOWNSHIP • 1999 GRADUATE OF WALLED LAKE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL • 2003 GRADUATE OF GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY WITH A BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN LEADERSHIP STUDIES • 2008 GRADUATE OF OAKLAND UNIVERSITY WITH A MASTERS IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION • CURRENTLY SERVING AS THE DEMOCRATIC PRECINCT DELEGATE FOR PCT. 9 IN WHITE LAKE TOWNSHIP ISSUES I WILL FIGHT FOR: ✔ ECONOMY ✔ EDUCATION ✔ HEALTH CARE ✔ STEWARDSHIP ✔ URBAN RENEWAL DISTRICT 6: READY TO SERVE WHITE LAKE AND WATERFORD TOWNSHIP RESIDENTS
A NEW VOICE FOR A BETTER TOMORROW! WWW.ELECTMICHAELDSMITH.COM
michael D. Smith
democrat for oakland county commissioner - district 6
Paid for by Michael D. Smith for County Commissioner • 670 Union Lake Road, White Lake, MI 48386
For County Commissioner (Republican) District #6
“I want to work for you!”
I am eager to create discounted health and dental plans for the middle class! I am determined to balance the budget without increasing taxes or decreasing services or personnel! I am convinced that fiscal responsibility starts with the commission! I am officially endorsed by the Oakland County Deputy Sheriff’s Association!
Endorsed by: White Lake Township Officials: Bonnie L. Elliott - former Supervisor/Clerk, Ronald C. Voorheis - former Treasurer/Trustee, Donna Huntoon - former Commissioner/Trustee/Deputy Clerk, Cathy Morgan Hall - former Trustee/Planning Commissioner and the Oakland County Deputy Sheriff’s Association.
NO QUESTION WILL GO UNANSWERED AND ALL PHONE CALLS WILL BE RETURNED! Visit me online at: www.josephinespencer.com
REMEMBER TO VOTE FOR JOSEPHINE SPENCER ON AUGUST 5TH!
Paid for by the Committee to Elect Josephine Spencer - 5145 Cedar Island, White Lake, MI 48383
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
Terry is a life long resident of White Lake Township. He is married with five Children and ten Grandchildren.
LILLEYClerk White Lake Township
Former head of the Building Department
Vo t e August 5th
Experience that will make a difference
Served as White Lake Township Supervisor from 1992 to 1996
Terry was able to lead White Lake Township out of 3 consecutive years of budget deficits, to a $2 million budget surplus after his 4-year term. Terry was the 1995 recipient of the Wal-Mart Home Town Leadership Award with $5,000 donated to White Lake Township. Terry led a re-organization of the Building Department to increase efficiency in record-keeping and inspection services for citizens and builders.
Currently serving 2nd term as White Lake Township Trustee
During his time in office, Terry continually encourages the Township Board to properly finance projects and to make sure revenues are spent according to their intended purpose. Terry strongly believes that local government decisions should reflect the best interests and desires of the citizens it serves. Terry has a history of continually supporting improvements to both Public Safety agencies in White Lake to ensure a safe community for our families. Terry supports enhancing youth and senior citizen recreational opportunities within the community. As a Township Board Representative on the Senior Advisory Committee, Terry believes in assisting the committee in representing their needs to the Township Board, as opposed to deciding what their needs are.
Created White Lake Township’s first Planning Department
Envisioning residential and commercial growth moving into White Lake Township, Terry saw the need for a plan to direct and manage the new development. By creating the Planning Department, he gave the Township more local control of the planning process while also increasing the efficiency of the Planning Department therefore reducing the workload placed on other township resources. The new planning department was also tasked with updating zoning ordinances in anticipation of directing the anticipated new growth.
Municipal waste sewage disposal projects
In cooperation with Commerce Township, Terry negotiated the first waste sewage disposal agreement for White Lake Township and its first municipal sewer project, securing $10 million in low interest loans from the State of Michigan DEQ. Terry strongly believes that such projects should be available to all areas of the township that wish to preserve the future enjoyment of our lakes.
42 years as self-employed residential builder and home remodeling
This has given Terry the knowledge and foresight to undertake many programs and projects with successful outcomes. Terry believes that the delivery of an efficient service requires strong leadership and teamwork.
Serve 18 years as Township Firefighter and Fire Lieutenant
Terry was a strong advocate for increasing the professionalism and services provided by our combination full-time and paid-on-call fire department in an effort to keep up with the increasing township population. Terry still remains active in supporting non-emergency community projects conducted by the fire department. Paid for by Friends of Terry Lilley, 334 Farnsworth, White Lake, MI 48386
Terry’s experience in all phases of Township Government make him the most qualified to handle the position of White Lake Township Clerk!
Re-Elect Triscia Pilchowski Highland Township Supervisor – August 5th
Triscia Pilchowski has a proven record as Highland’s low tax advocate. When other townships, cities and the state government raised taxes, Triscia used innovative methods to cut costs and keep taxes low.
It’s Time to Finish What We Started
As your Township Supervisor from 1996-2002, I began the following programs for Highland Township:
•Increased police and fire protection without raising taxes •Started the sidewalk/bike path on M-59 •Started the D.A.R.E. program in the schools •Put a liaison officer in the high school •Started the Highland Downtown Development Authority •Created the wellhead protection program •Built and began expanding a central water system through the core area of the township •Founded the Ride with Pride disabled ride program •Founder of Sparks in the Park •Started Hazardous Waste Day •Named Highland the first equestrian-oriented community in the state of Michigan •Oversaw the writing of the new Master Plan •Obtained funding to pave White Lake Road In fact, we accomplished all this while cutting the township operating millage every year that I was Township Supervisor. Tough times call for tough decisions, and imaginative leadership. I know how to get things done, and as your Township Supervisor, I will work diligently until Highland Township is once again providing the services to keep us safe, secure and moving forward economically while preserving Highland’s unique character.
That’s the leadership we need. Keeping Taxes Low
Demonstrated fiscal leadership by holding the line on taxes.
Submitted balanced budgets every year to keep Highland Township financially solvent.
Maintaining Quality of Service
Developed innovative ideas to keep high quality of services even when the state slashed funding for Highland Township.
Endorsed by County Executive L. Brooks Patterson + Sheriff Michael Bouchard + Commissioner Bill Bullard Contact Triscia Pilchowski – If you have questions about the township contact Triscia directly at home (248-887-7205) or (248-887-3791, ext. 127), she is happy to listen to your concerns and answer your questions.
Re-Elect Triscia Pilchowski Highland Township Supervisor – August 5th
Paid for by The Committee to Elect Triscia Pilchowski • P.O. Box 645 • Highland, MI 48357
ON TUESDAY, AUGUST 5th, VOTE TO PUT HIGHLAND TOWNSHIP BACK ON TRACK.
Paid for by the Committee to Elect John Stakoe, P Box 424, Highland, MI 48357 .O.
JULY 23, 2008
primary voter guide
Incumbent Patricia Pilchowski is being challenged by John Stakoe in the Tuesday, Aug. 5 Republican primary election for the Highland Township supervisor position. With no Democratic candidate filed for the ballot, the winner of the GOP primary contest will win the supervisor position. The township supervisor serves a four-year term and is currently paid $65,691 a year. LEADERSHIP: As supervisor, at what point do you believe you should disregard public sentiment, and cast a vote on an item based on your own knowledge and feelings about how an issue impacts the greater community? DDA: It’s been nearly a decade since the township’s DDA was created. Please give us your assessment of the DDA’s plans and its progress since it was established. What, if anything, would you like to see changed about the DDA district or plans? BUDGET: Fiscal uncertainty and challenges at the state level have caused new budgeting issues for municipal governments. At the same time, a continued decline in property values could pose additional budgetary hardships on local governments. What changes in township budgeting priorities or processes do you advocate to deal with these new hurdles? TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the township, and how do you propose to address them? WHY YOU? Why specifically should voters choose you over your opponent? system there is a $15-million project on the table. The more I inquire about it, the more questions I have. We’re talking about an $8 million assessment in a 300-acre area south of M-59. Given the logistics of it I think we need to drop back and take another look at that and that’s what’s going to end up revitalizing the DDA area. BUDGET: As supervisor I did basically a zero-base budget and under that system you go though every line item. You can maintain a relatively static budget. You have to reassess the needs of the township. We have to get creative with our finances and find new sources of revenue. I’m a very successful grant writer and I’ve obtained $1 million in funding for the paving of White Lake Road. I obtained grant funding for the DARE program, sidewalk projects and beautification projects. TOP ISSUES: Fiscal issues are always the first because everything stems from that. That’s maintaining an austere budget and seeking alternative funding programs that help make things happen. The second is the DDA infrastructure issue. I’ve spoken to business people who for six years have been waiting for something to happen and are leaving. What we need to do is focus on this and work with the DDA and Planning Commission because it’s imperative that we involve all the agencies. The third is finishing the job I started years ago. There hasn’t been any movement on the pathways plan and I want to see that finished. I spoke to MDOT and they were willing to come in and finish our projects and it was just left. I got the funding for White Lake Road eight years ago and it’s still sitting there, the DARE officer is gone, and there is a lot that needs to be completed. We can’t just step around every time there is a problem. We have to correct it, we have to find a way and a solution for it and that’s what I’m going to do. WHY YOU? I think it’s a matter of experience. What we’re talking about is managing an organization and it comes down to the skills and ability to handle it. I think I’ve proven that. Highland was moving forward in the six years I was supervisor. I started the DDA, grant programs, Sparks in the Park — one thing after another. Combined with the additional experience as a state representative, I have worked and networked with every organization there. I served as the regional liaison for SEMCOG, and I chaired the (House) Local Government and Urban Policy (Committee). When I left the township we had a very solid budget with hefty fund balances. I’m someone who can advocate for people. I have the management skills and capabilities to move the township forward. ❏
Patricia Pilchowski has served as the Highland Township Supervisor since 2002. Prior to that, she was deputy supervisor between 2000 and 2002. She is a member of the Oakland County Association of Township Supervisors, a delegate and delegate alternate for the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, and a board member of the Highland Downtown Development Authority.
John Stakoe has served as a state representative for the 44th District since 2002. Prior to that, he served as Highland Township's supervisor from 1996 until 2002 and on the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments Executive Committee between 1999 and 2002. Stakoe also served as president and vice president of the Oakland County Association of Supervisors.
LEADERSHIP: It’s very important to weigh the opinions of the people in the community. Decisions are made by seven people on the township board and those people are elected by the residents. There are times when the representative on the board, whether they are the supervisor or clerk or treasurer, is going to base their decisions on not only what they are aware of, but also on what they believe in. In Highland Township’s case, the individuals holding office are very much in line with the people who live there. DDA: The DDA has been moving forward with the recent passing of the Master Plan for the DDA Highland Station district. It was made very clear by the county when we managed to obtain the tax increment financing that funding for infrastructure, such as sewer and water, couldn’t be a part of the project. The DDA has worked well with the Planning Commission and the township to get that moving forward. There has been development that’s occurred in the DDA district in anticipation of the sewers and
while no one is pleased with the fact that it hasn’t happened sooner, it takes a while for the plans to be put into place and there is constant revision made to make the project more efficient. We are ready at this point to move forward with the sewer and water bids. There will be less problems in the end when the project actually takes off. BUDGET: We’ve been very attentive to that the entire time I’ve been township supervisor. That’s something the township takes pride in. I believe that we have done a very good job of containing costs. I do go line by line through everything during the budget process. I take pride in the fact that I involve the township and in-house officials, as well as the township board in the entire budgeting process. Over the years we have made adjustments in things like health care benefits which has saved the township a considerable amount of money. We’ve eliminated retirement for employees hired this year. We will continue to look for ways to save money. In terms of grants, that’s another area where we’ve continued to work. TOP ISSUES: In this economically challenging time, we have a responsibility to the people to not spend more of their money, and to bring money in. At the same time, I’m doing all I can working with the township Planning Department, the county economic planning department, the Huron Valley School District, and the community groups in Highland to make the township a much more attractive community. It is my desire and my intent to see that Milford Road and the industrial zoning part of the township attracts technology-based businesses. We are working with the state on the management plan for the Highland Recreation Area to tie in with Highland’s recreation plan, which will allow us to get grants to connect the residential areas and parks with trails. WHY YOU? I’m the best candidate because
of the experience I bring having worked at the township just short of 21 years. I started out as a secretary and was appointed deputy supervisor and then won the election four years ago. I’ve been exposed to and experienced every aspect of township government and I know how to deal with it. I make myself available at all times. I don’t create any kind of divisions with people, and I build bridges. I’m accountable to the people of Highland Township, then to the people that work at the township. Over the past six years I have refined my management skills and I’ve earned the respect of the people I work with. I’ve built good working relationships with governmental agencies and the communities surrounding us. I believe that I am a good leader and leaders lead, they don’t leave.
JOHN P STAKOE .
LEADERSHIP: I don’t think public sentiment should ever be disregarded. The direction of the community is essentially set by the residents who live there. You’re their elected representative. All of your decisions can’t always follow exactly what people want, because you have information that isn’t always available to the public. (But the public’s sentiment) should be the driving force and the direction you take. DDA: I have a level of frustration with the DDA. I founded it 10 years ago and the goal was to create an identity or feel for Highland. Part of the DDA’s success is incumbent upon infrastructure in that area — water and sewer. I think the people within the organization have worked very hard but need more direction and vision on where we’re headed. We need that infrastructure constructed at a reasonable cost. I had begun construction six years ago on a water system, set up a water board, put work into place for the township to take over, to recover costs so that we could have expansion and revenue stream coming in. That was dropped. With the sewer
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
Help Keep White Lake the Safe Community that it is!! Vote YES to Renew & Restore Proposition 1
Voting YES will…
• Avoid the layoff of up to 4 career Firefighters, while emergency calls continue to increase • Keep Advanced Life Support Paramedic Training • Keep School Fire Safety Education Programs • Keep the Annual Fire Department Open House • Keep the Citizen Fire Academy • Increase and Improve membership of Paid OnCall Firefighters • Avoid a 30% reduction in Fire Department budget • Help to lower Homeowners Fire Insurance Premiums • Help maintain/improve Public Safety!!
Voting YES will…
• Avoid the layoffs of up to 9 officers while crime and calls for service continue to increase • • • • Keep the D.A.R.E. Program Keep the Citizen Police Academy Keep the Lakeland High School Liaison Officer Maintain current level of service with Township growth, preserve response times, increase patrols
CRIME STATISTICS YEAR TO DATE 4/30/08 Homicides 2 Assaults 79 +11.3% Burglary/Home Invasions 30 +36.4% Larceny 123 +23% Calls for Service 6,901 +9.9% Dispatch Runs 3,176 +14.3%
Help Keep White Lake Safe Vote YES on Proposition 1
Help Keep White Lake Safe Vote YES on Proposition 1
Paid for by Citizens for a Safe White Lake • 1336 Waverly • White Lake, MI 48386
•Oakland County, 52nd District Court Judicial Magistrate •Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office Assistant Prosecutor •Michigan Court of Appeals Research Attorney and Judicial Clerk
Magistrate Dan O’Brien
•Private Practice since 1995
Protect Your Rights, Protect Your Family
On August 5th Vote for Dan O’Brien
White Lake Township Clerk
…committed to fiscal responsibility, sensible development, and most of all, to serving you, the people of White Lake!
pd for by the campaign to elect Laurie Lewsley 9507 Steephollow Dr., White Lake 48386
Paid for by Dan O’Brien for Probate Judge / P .O. Box 915, Walled Lake, MI 48390
JULY 23, 2008
primary voter guide
Travis Cota is challenging incumbent Mary McDonell in the Tuesday, Aug. 5 Republican primary election for the Highland Township clerk position. With no Democratic candidate filed for the ballot, the winner of the GOP primary will win the clerk position. The township clerk serves a four-year term and is currently paid $62,901 annually. The following are questions our staff recently posed to the candidates, and their responses to those questions. CLERK’S ROLE: Clerks are often described as the chief financial officer, of sorts, for the community. Please explain the role of clerk as financial officer? Is there a need for changes or improvements in the way the clerk’s office handles these financial responsibilities? What skills or training do you have that qualify you for these financial responsibilities? RECORDS: The township clerk is responsible for record-keeping and storage of the township’s records and documents. What’s the state of the township’s current record-keeping system? What changes or upgrades, if any, do you anticipate having to make in the way records are kept or stored in the township? BUDGET: Fiscal uncertainty and challenges at the state level have caused new budgeting issues for municipal governments. At the same time, a continued decline in property values could pose additional budgetary hardships on local governments. What changes in township budgeting priorities or processes do you advocate to deal with these new hurdles? TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the township, and how do you propose to address them? WHY YOU? Why specifically should voters choose you over your opponent? them all on CD and have a search capability. One of the things we’re looking to change is to go to electronic minutes. We’re looking to go to a paperless agenda packet but it will have some expense to the township. BUDGET: State-shared revenues have gone down quite a bit in the last few years. Our board has been very fiscally responsible in addressing that issue. We have cut back unnecessary positions. We didn’t replace people who left. We’ve made changes in health care for employees which has saved the township a considerable amount of money. We’re always looking at ways to improve the budget and maintain a balanced budget. We haven’t raised taxes in the last eight years that I’ve been on the board and I think that is quite an accomplishment, especially in light of declining revenues from the state. TOP ISSUES: The first is the water and sewer system. It is a huge project that the township is taking on at the request of the business community on Milford Road. It needs a lot of oversight, it’s a very complex and expensive project and it’s eating up a lot of our staff time and resources right now because it’s very important. It will promote growth and changes along that route and we want to make sure that it’s done correctly and at the benefit of the whole community. The community has a rural atmosphere and all the years I took minutes for the Planning Commission the resounding sentiment was, “We moved here for the rural atmosphere and that’s what we want to preserve.” Where you have infrastructure brought in you bring growth and we need to maintain control and have growth in the areas you want it while maintaining the rural atmosphere of the township. Another issue is the local economy, which ties into the budget. We do have a lot of foreclosures in the community which means a lot of people are hurting. I think it’s very important to maintain taxes at the lowest level they can be and keep the burden as low as it can be for the property owners. That’s why we aren’t asking for increases in the police millage and we haven’t increased the township tax rate since I’ve been on the board. WHY YOU? I bring a lot of good experience to the office, I’m very involved in the community and I love Highland. It’s a great place to live, and a great place to raise a family. I’m involved in the senior center and I’m the park director for the township park committee. I get very involved in the community in anyway I can and I think I bring sound principles to the board. I have the financial background and the record keeping background. ❏
Travis Cota has been a realtor with Century 21 Meck for 17 years. He is also the founder/chairperson of Power Network Group.
Mary McDonell has been the Highland Township clerk for the past eight years. She is a member of the Oakland County Clerks Association, Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks, and the International Institute of Municipal Clerks. McDonell served on the township's Zoning Board of Appeals from 2000 through 2002 and worked in the township bookkeeping department from 1993 to 2000.
CLERK’S ROLE: You have to maintain records, payroll, and interior budgets. I think that the budget information should be online for the public. There needs to be transparency in the government. You need to weigh risk before money is spent and work within your own budget. Where there is any excesses in departments within the government I will look to thin it out. It won’t be popular but it has to be considered for the fate of the tax-paying residents. RECORDS: We’ll have to look at departments that supply the clerk with records just to see if there are any fiscally responsible cuts to be made. As far as how records are kept, I am not too
familiar with that. There are certainly classes the clerk should take. The deputy should go to the classes, as well, in case something happens to the clerk. I would groom someone who could fill the position. I would have two people on staff who would attend (the classes). BUDGET: In relation to our state, we need to advocate for the tax-paying homeowners some reasonable relief as far as the assessments. We just went through one of the most horrific real estate market adjustments that we’ve ever seen and everyone is waiting on relief. While folks are losing their jobs and homes and can’t get relief, I would be an advocate of some kind of taskforce to inform people on how to get tax relief. As far as the local economy, the board needs to be viewed by the business community and homeowners as open and approachable. That will give us a chance to help recycle some of our existing structures. I would look for competition in our banking methodology. I would look for competition in our goods and services that we bid out. I don’t know how in these times we can justify something that will look good next to our library. That’s a nice vision but we need to pull back the reins on that a little bit right now. TOP ISSUES: The first is our local economy. Since the clerk has much contact with the public, and they help control the atmosphere that the board does business in, we need to be open and approachable so we don’t miss out on opportunities to create jobs and occupy vacant buildings. The second is creating an identifiable downtown center for community involvement. We need some architecturally pleasing real estate in that core district as long as it won’t be a part of a super large special assessment district. Third, I would really like to drive the point home that I am an advocate only for organized, controlled growth that will enhance and preserve some of the features in our community. We have a way of stick-
ing our head in the sand and seeing which expensive lawsuit we will defend next, especially in our downtown corridor. WHY YOU? I have 17 years of practical experience in the real estate. I have enough social skills to be a legitimate alternative. I am proud of my accomplishments in the real estate business and I wouldn’t trade that for an ability to jump in, day one, and know how to do the record-keeping just as fine as anyone in the clerk’s office now.
CLERK’S ROLE: The role of the clerk as financial officer includes preparing the financial statements every month and paying the bills. We prepare the warrants and give them to the treasurer’s office. It’s very much a check-and-balance system between the clerk’s office and the treasurer’s office as far as the financial part of the township goes. We’re also responsible for the payroll and making sure the payroll taxes are paid on time. The financial part also includes the day-to-day management of expenditures, so that’s approving the bills as they come in and paying the bills twice a month. We are also a signer of checks for the township. There is always room for improvements. We’ve implemented a book-keeping system and a new software program. It ties in a cash receiving program so there is no manual input into the system. When I was bookkeeper for the township the two years before I ran for clerk I received training from the Municipal Financial Officers Association. I took all their governmental training. I’ve kept current on new classes and training. RECORDS: We have a filing system for dayto-day correspondence that comes in. The clerk is responsible for all the financial reports, minutes, records, etc. The clerk oversees the record retention policies that all the departments abide by. Since I’ve been clerk, we’ve put in an indexing system for all the minutes which is great for research purposes. We have
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
primary voter guide
Incumbents Randal Busick and William E. Mazzara, challenger Ric Mueller, and incumbents Dale R. Wiltse and Brien R. Worrell will compete in the Tuesday, Aug. 5 Republican primary election for four Milford Township trustee positions. With no Democratic candidate filed for the ballot, the four Republican candidates collecting the most primary election votes will win the trustee positions. Township trustees serve four-year terms and are currently paid $150 per meeting. The following are questions our staff recently posed to the candidates, and their responses to those questions. TRAILS: A few citizens raised concerns about the future development of equestrian trails in Milford Township as the community’s Board of Trustees recently considered a new parks and recreation master plan. Tell us why you do or don’t think the township has placed adequate emphasis on creating equestrian trails in the community. Do you believe the trails are necessary; and if so, how should the community pay for the trails? SENIOR CENTER MILLAGE: Milford Township voters will be called upon in August to vote on a proposed renewal of a 0.125-mill levy to maintain the Milford Senior Center for the next 10 years. Please explain why you do or don’t support the millage proposal. BUDGET: Fiscal uncertainty and challenges at the state level have caused new budgeting issues for municipal governments. At the same time, a continued decline in property values could pose additional budgetary hardships on local governments. What changes in township budgeting priorities or processes do you advocate to deal with these new hurdles? TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the township, and how do you propose to address them? WHY YOU? Why specifically should voters choose you over your opponent?
Randal Busick has served as a Milford Township trustee since 1985. He is president and chief executive officer of Vehicle Science Corp., and a former Planning Commission member.
William E. Mazzara is an architect and director of facility design and construction for the Henry Ford Health System. He has served as a Milford Township Trustee since 2000. He has also served on the Planning Commission for the last 14 years and is the township board's liaison to the Parks and Recreation Committee.
Ric Mueller is a self-employed independent consultant. He is chairman of the Friends of Milford Skate Park and a member of the Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce. He has five years of experience on the Milford Township Planning Commission.
TRAILS: Of course, given our current budget situation, we’d like to be able to create equestrian trails; but, frankly speaking, one of the issues we’ll be confronting over the next several years is simply getting by. We’ll look at state revenue sharing deductions of around 8 percent, so there’s really not very much money in the budget to consider extra projects. I was out on a bike trail yesterday and found that the equestrian people are using the verge of that trail and their horses are using the bike trail for other purposes. That overlap between biking, hiking and equestrian use doesn’t seem to work very well. There are
some equestrian opportunities in the township already, but we’d like to put more resources in. I just don’t see it in the budget. Our first duty is to keep the township running. We have fire department issues, road issues, and sewage issues to consider. Equestrian trails fit in there, but they aren’t the highest priority for the limited township budget. When I think necessary, I think police and fire coverage and keeping our roads open. SENIOR CENTER MILLAGE: I do support it, but in the current economic circumstances, it’s going to be tough. But I’m confident that the citizens of Milford will step up to their obligation to our senior citizens. We want to keep seniors in place and keep them active in the community and use them as a resource for support and historical guidance. I think it was Plato who said, “If you don’t remember your history, you’re bound to live your life as children.” The current senior activities are working very well and are getting better day by day. As our population base in Milford ages, we need to step up and provide more services to that segment of the community. BUDGET: Very fortunately, by virtue of the master plans in the past that have led to the development we’ve had, our tax base in Milford is much more stable than comparable communities in Michigan. From that standpoint, we are fortunately under less pressure to make cuts. However, we need to keep our foot on the neck of costs. That’s the issue for us. There are things like the fire station, maintenance and the senior center that we can’t defer because they are critical to the community. On the other hand, there are quality of life issues — like equestrian trails — that we may have to defer until Michigan’s economy recovers. We’ll just have to take a look at every non-essential area of services and activities
and see if there’s any fat or excess, or whether we can defer activities or maintenance without incurring additional costs in the future. TOP ISSUES: The first issue is the budget. We’ve been tough on the budget until now and we have to hang tough. Secondly, we have to find out how to maintain our core services in a tough economic circumstance. We need to be ready to emerge on the far end. Third is quality of life, which is easy to lose focus of when the economy is in the tank. But, this is something the board is good at. I’ve been on the board for 23 years, and it’s good at maintaining the community ambiance that we have. We have to stand tough with developers and fiscal institutions who would like to take advantage of the tough economic circumstance to make us bend or break on our zoning and master plan. We have to have the guts and strength to say, “We’ve been tough until now, that’s what makes Milford what it is and it’s going to stay there, so don’t come pleading special cases to us.” WHY YOU? It boils down to experience. I’ve been sitting on this board for 23 years and I was on the Planning Commission before that. I think that I’m the only member on this board that has been through an economic downturn before, in the early 1990s. That gives me the experience that I hope will let me provide valuable input on how to steer through these rocky economic times. I fit into the mix of this board, which is a good mix of local business people, big and small, full-time management professionals and part-timers. With my international experience, I bring a breath of perspective to this board that I hope the voters find useful. I’m also the toughest on the budget.
WILLIAM E. MAZZARA
TRAILS: I’m a parks and recreation com-
missioner and I was intimately involved in that master plan. It’s very clearly stated in that master plan that association with the equestrian groups is one of our focuses. What comes out of that though is a master plan for a parks and recreation group. The intent is to focus on what are the next accomplishable goals: What are we trying to accomplish? We need a master plan because that is how we were successful as a group in acquiring the trail that we have. It is a multi-use trail; it’s not dedicated to equestrian use, but that doesn’t exclude it. It’s not that we don’t entertain the idea of having equestrian trails. Any activity brought in for the betterment of the township is a good activity. But to think that we’re going to go out and accomplish the (acquisition) of property, which we don’t own, come up with funding to secure property and create a trail within a five-year master plan is probably unattainable and definitely needs another approach. When you talk about necessity — “I need” — that’s a lot different than, “I want.” We need to maintain the township in a very hard time, economically. SENIOR CENTER MILLAGE: I do support the renewal of the millage since the senior center was able to secure the millage in our last election. The group that manages the center has done an outstanding job at providing a lot of different activities for the seniors. This is a key part of our community. This is where our youth learn and there’s an advantage to it. It will be a difficult time, but I think the renewal helps seniors have a good center to go to. BUDGET: For myself, I believe this will be the No. 1 issue facing this board over the next four years. This board and the township have been fiscally responsible PAGE 27 ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯
JULY 23, 2008
primary voter guide
❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ PAGE 26 for many years now, so it’s not that we’ve ever overspent. It’s run very efficiently with a minimal amount of staff and expenses. The fact is that this whole drop in housing values is going to hit the tax base in two years. It’s ultimately going to come back to us unless revenue is generated through taxes, and we have to be smart about how we approach this. There are other revenue streams that come into the township that are also being affected by this. We’re not getting the building starts or permits that we used to get, or the volume of revenues that add to the chest. The fact of the matter is that other entities of our own government are off-loading their burden onto the township and other local governments by this 8-percent (revenue sharing) cut. We have to hold tight to where we are right now and we’ve done a good job of that. In the past year or so, we’ve had the opportunity to explore things that were above and beyond what I consider to be our core services, which are the protection of health, safety and welfare. There will be more cuts if we can’t increase revenue to offset the tax base that will be lost. I think it will come down to the sharing of services. All the communities will be affected by this. It could be the opportunity, when building slows down in multiple areas, to start to share staff across townships and cities. TOP ISSUES: The No. 1 issue is the downswing in the economy and the effect on revenue for the township, and how we are going to maintain the township with the dollars that we have. We have to hold the line on expenses and look for opportunities outside of our township to generate revenue. No. 2 has and always will be maintaining the uniqueness of Milford Township. This is a little easier to do nowadays with the downswing in development, but in the next four years, we hope to see an upswing and it’s essential to maintain Milford as a separate entity with the atmosphere that draws everyone here. The third issue is we have to really work together with the village of Milford. I think we are recognized as one community right now and I would like to see movement toward being one government, which may also help with the fiscal responsibility and staying viable. Many years have passed since I’ve been in the township and all I’ve heard is, “In the next five or six years ...” I’ve been here for 20 years. I think it’s time we honestly and seriously looked at being one community and acting as one government in the best interests of everyone in Milford. WHY YOU? It’s all about experience. It’s my life experiences that I think give me the ability to make sound and good
Dale R. Wiltse is a small business owner and has served as a Milford Township trustee since 2000. He retired from the Milford Fire Department after 15 years of service.
Brien R. Worrell is president of Brien's Services, Inc. He has served as a Milford Township Trustee since 1992. He previously served on the township Zoning Board of Appeals from 1996 to 2003. Worrell has also served on the Milford Village Parks and Recreation Commission since 1994.
judgments on issues that confront the board. Most importantly, I truly care about Milford Township as a whole. I’m involved very deeply as a board member for two terms now. I have been a planning commissioner for over 20 years. I have seen this township go from a very different state than what it was, and I’m proud to say it’s a very sound community, and a very good township with a great atmosphere. I’ve been on the Parks and Recreation Commission since its inception and it’s one of the most enjoyable parts of being involved in Milford Township. We’ve brought forth some of the first community picnics that have been here. Our third was last year. We put together a great parks and recreation plan. We acknowledge the fact that there’s 37 percent park land in our area, but still strive to provide the seniors active activity above and beyond what is sometimes offered in our passive park system. Outside the township, I have also been involved in Boy Scouts of America as a scoutmaster for 21 years in Troop 172. It’s the dedication to the community that brings forth enough life experiences to understand where the community is at, what they may or may not be thinking, and to make the best decisions possible in the best interest in the township. I’m also very familiar (with) and confident in handling budgets, and knowing how to indicate manpower and from a financial standpoint it also brings experience.
TRAILS: I do think they have placed adequate interest on that. Is the action taken? No, not yet. In the master plan, they talk about multiple uses, equestrian being one of them. It is not one of their first two priorities in the next two years, but there has been a lot of discussion in the parks and recreation and master plan meetings about setting those trails up so that they could be used by both bikers and horses, like a separate rider path alongside the bike path. There have been discussions about the Milford Road crossing at the Kensington entrance and how they would handle that for equestrians.
I believe the trails are necessary and it’s part of a wider issue with parks and recreation in general. The schools are talking about the importance of a stronger parks and recreation department in Milford, and recreational activities that are organized and supervised by the department that enhance the community and maintain property values. I truly believe that Milford Township is at a point where it needs to look at funding a parks and recreation department for many reasons. There are things that can be done to provide outdoor activities to get the kids away from the computers, and that leads to a better quality of life for everyone. The township needs to work on setting up a fund for parks and recreation, and that probably will require a millage at some point. SENIOR CENTER MILLAGE: If I had to make a choice between a new fire hall and a senior center millage renewal, I’d be more inclined to go for a fire hall. My ultimate hope is that both will pass. Certainly, with that sector of society getting bigger and bigger, the need for senior activities and a place to go and socialize is very important. Whether or not it should be a membership-fee-driven or taxpayersupported endeavor, I have mixed emotions on that and I’m a senior citizen. BUDGET: That’s a tough question for me because I haven’t been directly involved in the budget day-to-day and don’t have a lot of factual budgetary information. But I’m of the belief that we need to look at combining (with Milford Village) and becoming one municipality of some sort — one source, one center, one local government. We already work together jointly with police and fire and other things. I just think there are some savings to be made in that type of government. The township has done well financially to this point. I think there needs to be a concerted effort to put pressure on our representatives in Lansing to get their act together. I’m a strong supporter of live/work communities and I think we should be looking for tech companies that bring jobs to Milford. With gas prices going up, it would be great if a business could relocate to Milford along with its employees and hire people from Milford. To do that, we have to have the right housing, the right
development and the right businesses. I think we should recruit some of those companies from Ann Arbor — biotechnology, research and development firms. That increases your tax base, but we have to balance keeping Milford’s rural character with providing the tax base. TOP ISSUES: One is the current economic conditions. Township revenues exceeding expenses would be ideal. The way I would go is being proactive in the recruitment of viable companies to come here and pay a living wage and offer opportunities to people who live in Milford — as well as people who move to Milford — so they have a solid income, have a high quality of life, and increase the township’s tax revenue. The second is recreation — youth and family activities. Milford Township’s future depends on the ability to draw in business, jobs, economic growth and families, not just two-person households and a retirement community. There’s a lot to offer here. I don’t think people understand or are aware of how much there is. I’ve talked to people who have come in from Brighton and they have no idea the Huron River runs through Milford, and if they wanted to rent a canoe they wouldn’t know where to go. People are looking for local activities and I can’t think of too many communities that have what we have to offer here in Milford. We need to gear towards our families and youth. A youth center would be nice. The third is the fire station. I think as the community grows, the need for additional police and fire is going to become very important. I think we need to bite the bullet and move in that direction. WHY YOU? That boils down to passion. I have a passion for Milford. I’ve lived here for 22 years, and I honestly wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I have always been involved from a community service standpoint. I bring a different point of view. Most of the board has been there eight years. I have the interest in moving Milford in the direction the members of the community (want), which I perceive to be keeping it rural, keeping it Milford; but also I think people want to make sure it’s economically viable, as well. The biggest thing is simply my interest, passion and love for Milford. I’m outspoken, I’ll tell you what I think, and I’m honest. I respect all my opponents, but I think it’s never bad to have a change in municipal government where you get a different perspective and individual. You also need the experience and the consistency of those who have been there for awhile.
DALE R. WILTSE
TRAILS: It does address it in the master plan as far as our usage and I feel that as citizens of our community, we are a legislative body and we have to take the citizens’ input. The equestrian community is very important, but I don’t believe there is money in the very foreseeable PAGE 28 ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ PAGE 27
BRIEN R. WORRELL
TRAILS: There are provisions for trails in the future. Is there money for it right now? Unfortunately, no. Do we see it the future budget? Not in the short term, but that’s not to say it won’t happen. There have been volunteer efforts. The trails have been identified where they could be. It could be a private organization that could come through and initiate that. Are they necessary? If the price of gas keeps going up, then yes. We have a small population, but it’s well-heard within our community that people want this. It’s just like the boy scouts that would like the hiking trails. It’s just like the biking community would like to have biking trails. Eventually, we’ll run out of land, but can we all work together and work something out and that is in the master plan where these areas could be. Again, it’s desirable to have these, but is it a necessity? No, I believe a necessity would be better waste control, a recycling center, things that are more important to the majority of our residents. SENIOR CENTER MILLAGE: I do support the millage renewal. I think our current senior program is working very well and is in need of service in our community. BUDGET: First, we are a stable community. With our current board’s foresight and budgeting practices over the last eight years, we’ve been able to prevent this from hurting us too bad. Our core programs and services have remained intact without any major cutbacks. There have been cutbacks in health care programs within our administration and there have not been big raises for the employees we have. We have employees that multi-task so we’re not hiring more employees to do more tasks. Some of the things, like road maintenance, are controlled by Oakland County. We contribute to it, but depending on what they come back with, their main budgets are what we have to work with and help subsidize. TOP ISSUES: No. 1 is the state of the economy within our state and staying fiscally responsible to our citizens based upon our current environment. No. 2 would be road improvements, even though we’re in a downturn, I don’t want to see our roads become like they were coming out of the last downturn. It took awhile to get Milford Road paved because it was two-tracked, so we need to maintain the level of quality that we have and improve on it. No. 3 would be preserving the Milford community and our way of life by following the master plan and the implementation of a future master plan and sticking tough to our guns when it comes to developers. WHY YOU? We’re all unique and everyone on this board is needed. We all have our different assets. This would be my fifth term; I was in my young 20s when I first got elected. I’m a local business owner. I’m heavily involved with the schools and local sport programs and a lot of local volunteering efforts such as Milford Memories. There’s my experience. I’m not better than anyone on this board; I think you should choose equally. ❏
Supervisor Mike Kowall
is making a difference every day for White Lake Township families.
Mike Kowall is protecting our way of life.
Supervisor Mike Kowall has balanced our budget without raising taxes.
Year after year, White Lake Township Supervisor Mike Kowall has balanced our budget without raising taxes. He has put in place sensible budgets that invest in our priorities while protecting our pocketbook. Because of Mike Kowall’s prudent management of our finances, White Lake Township is rated as one of the best run townships in Michigan.
Supervisor Mike Kowall has helped White Lake businesses create jobs.
Since becoming our supervisor, Mike Kowall has partnered with businesses to create jobs in White Lake Township. And while we’re certainly feeling the effects of the statewide recession, Mike Kowall’s pro-business policies have helped to shield us from the gut wrenching job losses that most other Michigan communities have experienced.
Supervisor Mike Kowall has protected our way of life.
White Lake Township is a special place. It combines the convenience of access to big city attractions with the livability of a small, closely knit community. Because of Mike Kowall’s leadership, we have excellent fire and police departments. Our environment is protected. Our neighborhoods are safe. Mike Kowall has protected our way of life for our families and for future generations.
On August 5th, Reelect Supervisor Mike Kowall
Paid for by Friends of Mike Kowall 2333 Cumberland Dr., White Lake, MI 48383
future for them. I think there may be some very good opportunities to do some sideby-side trails with our existing bike and hiking trails, which can be developed through private donations and fund-raising efforts. I believe the trails are necessary. I don’t think we have the funds to do it as a government. I think that’s where the private citizens need to look at the whole picture and say, “Maybe we can help do this,” instead of having government step in all the time and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars. They can help develop side-byside with government and not strictly wait for someone to do it for them. SENIOR CENTER MILLAGE: I do support it because seniors are a huge part of our lifestyle. We all have mothers, fathers, grandfathers and grandmothers. You have to give senior citizens a place to get together, offer those services especially designed for them and I think the township needs to put its best effort out there. I am a huge proponent of senior citizens’ rights. I asked for senior housing and we finally were able to get a senior housing complex designed and built, and it’s now operational. So many turn their backs on seniors and force them to go elsewhere. BUDGET: The downturn in the housing market is affecting us now, but it will affect us even more in the future. The best economists say it will be another two years before we turn things around. State revenue sharing, I don’t even want to look at it. If we get anything, I’d like to consider it a bonus. We’re very fiscally responsible in our township government with people that are cross-trained and able to multi-task. We don’t use complicated methods of communication; when you call our township, you can find someone on our phones and not be transferred around to voice mail. We run a minimal staff and I think that’s a credit to the entire board. But we know if things continue the way they are, there will be non-essential services that will have to be cut, hopefully not eliminated. TOP ISSUES: We have to maintain a good, tight budget. No. 1 is our core services. Second, we need to look at more shared services both with the village and other communities in the area to give our citizens some of the services they may want or desire. Third, we have to continue to control growth, giving our residents the quality of life they want and what they moved here for — and for their children and grandchildren, they deserve that, too. WHY YOU? My experience, No. 1. I’m going for my third term as a township trustee. I served 15 years in the Milford Fire Department, and I’m a business owner. I think I bring a unique perspective to the board by “being in the trenches,” like we say in the fire service, that some of the other board members may not have. We have a very diverse group of representatives on our board, but I think that I’m the best.
JULY 23, 2008
primary voter guide
Incumbent Mike Kowall is being challenged by Cathy Morgan Hall in the Tuesday, Aug. 5 Republican primary election for the White Lake Township supervisor position. With no Democratic candidate filed for the ballot, the winner of the GOP primary will win the supervisor position. The township supervisor serves a four-year term and is currently paid $73,567 annually. The following are questions our staff recently posed to the candidates, and their responses to those questions. BUDGET: Fiscal uncertainty and challenges at the state level have caused new budgeting issues for municipal governments. At the same time, a continued decline in property values could pose additional budgetary hardships on local governments. What changes in township budgeting priorities or processes do you advocate to deal with these new hurdles? CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: After some initial excitement and debate, adoption of a White Lake Township Corridor Improvement Authority plan for the M-59 corridor has been postponed due to financial considerations. Please tell us why you do or don’t believe the township made the right decision to delay adoption of the plan. At what point, if ever, do you believe the township should adopt and begin to implement such a plan. POLICE AND FIRE MILLAGES: Township voters will be asked during the Aug. 5 primary election to renew and restore a 1.35-mill levy to pay for police and fire services over the next five years. In the meantime, various township officials and residents will explore all the possible police and fire millage options for 2013 and beyond. Please state why you do or don’t believe the township should attempt to consolidate several separate police and fire millages beginning in 2013 as an alternative to what seems like voters being asked to approve police and/or fire levies every other year. Do you support the current millage issue on the ballot? Do you think that with the current ballot issue, the amount of funding from the general fund given to both departments should remain the same or can it be adjusted downward if needed? TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the township, and how do you propose to address them? WHY YOU? Why specifically should voters choose you over your opponent? example. I would like to lead by action. CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: I believe in a corridor improvement authority. I do believe the township took too large of a bite. It should have been smaller. I do think our residents want a gathering center. In today’s dollars and today’s economy, that takes a lot of money. I don’t know at which point the township should bring it back. I don’t think the entire corridor should come back. I don’t think police stations, fire stations, and township halls should be built on the backs of the business community. POLICE AND FIRE MILLAGES: I would think in the current economic times that we remain the same. The voters are accustomed to making the decisions with police and fire. I don’t want to see consolidation. I want police separate from fire. As far as taking all the police millages and lumping them into one and taking all the fire millages and lumping those into one, it would depend. When we first ran the millages, the citizens wanted it for fire equipment but then we had all this money for equipment, but no money for personnel. So then they voted for another millage and the people approved it. I think that police and fire have grown into needing general fund support. That’s like taking money out of their pocket if we take away the general fund and they go through the millage. With the current proposal, a renew and restore would be fine. TOP ISSUES: I think that the budget is one of our main concerns. We need to have not hindsight, but foresight on what to expend our taxpayer dollars on. It takes a good, strong, experienced leader and I have that with my past experience. Communication is another big issue. People only fear the unknown and if you are a good communicator, which I am, you can get the public behind you and you inform them and you help them help you down the road. I also think protecting our township treasures that we have is a big issue. I will not sell township land, and I will not jeopardize the Fisk Farm. I will protect what is our community’s and continue on with our pathways. WHY YOU? I have well-rounded experience. I have 10 years in legal accounting, 20 years in real estate, and eight in business ownership. I know what it’s like being self-employed for 25 years. I have learned discipline, I have learned resourcefulness and to keep going when the times are tough. I’m a fifth generation resident of White Lake Township. I’m kind of boring, but I’m here to stay and here to fulfill my term as supervisor. ❏
Mike Kowall has been the White Lake Township supervisor since 2004. Prior to that, he served in the Michigan House of Representatives from 1998 until 2002. Kowall served as a township planning commissioner for nine years, including two as chairman.
Cathy Morgan Hall works in Wine Sales for Colasanti's Produce. She served as a White Lake Township trustee from 1996 until 2004, and was a township planning commissioner from 1996 until 2002. Morgan Hall was an owner of Chef's Cuisine for eight years.
BUDGET: We are in an enviable position through out the state. We have
enhanced our taxable value in the last three years in excess of $30 million. We’ve created 2,000 jobs in the M-59 corridor. For the last three years we’ve put money into fund equity. Our building department is a lot slower than it was a few years ago, and we did have to lay some people off and move some positions around to live inside of our budget. If it does come to pass that we don’t have the money, then we have to start looking at the services we can adjust and move around. But I don’t see that happening in the near future. CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: The corridor authority is a great tool for communities to improve their business environment. When we first called it out, we called it out for the entire six miles. The initial tax increment financing (TIF) that would have been collected was about $18,000. It would have grown as the township’s value also grew. It would have taken about 12 years before a real significant amount of money would be coming into the authority. We should move forward with it. There’s a couple different ways we could do that. One is going forward without the TIF at all. That would give us the ability to apply for grants. It was the right decision to delay it initially. POLICE AND FIRE MILLAGES: What’s happened over a period of time is there’s a patchwork quilt stitched together. What we’ve asked to do is explore creating one police millage and one fire millage and see if that can work out to take us into the future. I do support the current ballot proposal. That’s imperative; it’s public safety. We can’t go backwards. We’re a growing community. No, I don’t think it’s necessary to tweak the general fund contributions if this millage passes. TOP ISSUES: One of the biggest challenges is fiscal responsibility. We have to be care-
ful where our money is being spent and live within our means, just like you do with your family. We have some major challenges regarding our sewers. Years ago there was a master plan set up, and unfortunately it was deviated from before I got there. One of the things they did was set up a $10 million debt for the township without anyway to pay it back. We’re looking at ways we can go in and fix this without it being a detriment for the whole community. Fortunately we have a lot of development coming in and developers are driving the infrastructure. I think by partnering up with them, we can repair that problem. The third would be maintaining White Lake as a great place to live and raise a family. We’re moving forward with our parks and recreation bike path and walking trails. WHY YOU? I’m a known commodity. I’ve been in the House of Representatives representing White Lake Township and Waterford Township. We’ve made some great strides in the community. We’ve increased the taxable values. We haven’t got the fiscal challenges a lot of the other townships have had and are going to have in the future. We’re making strides with parks and recreation and making strides in attracting new and good companies into the area. We’re keeping taxes at a manageable level and within state guidelines. I’ve dealt with budgets in the state House in the hundred of millions of dollars. Running the township is like running a $15-million-a-year corporation.
CATHY MORGAN HALL
BUDGET: My choices would be line-by-line study of what would have to be changed or modified. Sometimes you have to make tough decisions to keep it fiscally responsible. We have always been a conservative township. You have to practice tough leadership. Sometimes it may mean elected officials taking a cut in their wages to set that
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
primary voter guide
Margaret Burkholder, Laurie Lewsley, Terry Lilley, Marge Loula, Andrea Voorheis, and Anthony Young will compete in the Tuesday, Aug. 5 Republican primary election for the White Lake Township clerk position. With no Democratic candidate filed for the ballot, the winner of the GOP primary race will win the clerk position. The township clerk serves a four-year term and is currently paid $68,340 annually. The following are questions our staff recently posed to the candidates, and their responses to those questions. CLERK’S ROLE: Clerks are often described as the chief financial officer, of sorts, for the community. Please explain the role of clerk as financial officer? Is there a need for changes or improvements in the way the Clerk’s Office handles these financial responsibilities? Why or why not? What skills or training do you have that qualify you for these financial responsibilities? RECORDS: The township clerk is responsible for record-keeping and storage of the township’s records and documents. What’s the state of the township’s current record-keeping system? What changes or upgrades, if any, do you anticipate having to make in the way records are kept or stored in the township? CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: After some initial excitement and debate, adoption of a White Lake Township Corridor Improvement Authority plan for the M-59 corridor has been postponed due to financial considerations. Please tell us why you do or don’t believe the township made the right decision to delay adoption of the plan. At what point, if ever, do you believe the township should adopt and begin to implement such a plan. POLICE AND FIRE MILLAGES: Township voters will be asked during the Aug. 5 primary election to renew and restore a 1.35 mill levy to pay for police and fire services over the next five years. In the meantime, various township officials and residents will explore all the possible police and fire millage options for 2013 and beyond. Please state why you do or don’t believe the township should attempt to consolidate several separate police and fire millages beginning in 2013 as an alternative to what seems like voters being asked to approve police and/or fire levies every other year. BUDGET: Fiscal uncertainty and challenges at the state level have caused new budgeting issues for municipal governments. At the same time, a continued decline in property values is responsible for the safe keeping of the treasurer’s records and all the records of the township. They are also responsible for all the payables. We have a bookkeeper now. But statutorily, we are guided by regulations and there isn’t a lot of discretion as far as how the clerk disperses the money and how the bills get paid. I would like to do a review of that system to make sure it’s compatible and online with the treasurer and the bookkeeper. That way the clerk can review the bills that are outstanding and see what potential investment income is coming into the coffers on a monthly basis. My own financial background is that I’ve worked for a major school district and was involved in accounts payable and receivable. I don’t see any challenges for me stepping into that position at the clerk’s office. RECORDS: We have a serious storage problem. In the last few months our supervisor has procured two large storage units to start moving records and some of the things we are storing to make room for the things we are storing. We have a small building. We have things stacked in hallways, we have things stacked in public restrooms. One of my priorities would be systematically going through and see what can be scanned and saved, and shredding records that are outdated. Some could be given to the library and some handed over to the historical society, but that takes the time and manpower to do it. I think election document storage is the only thing we can do with it. CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: Oakland County didn’t feel with the economy tanking rapidly that this was the time for them to forgo the taxes that we would be capturing. Without their support we didn’t feel we could go forward. However, we spent almost $100,000 looking into those programs. My goal would be to bring it back well before 10 years. It’s going to be a very short-term postponement. I think in two to three years we’ll be back and running with it. It was the right call to delay it. POLICE AND FIRE MILLAGES: I think it would be an excellent idea to look at consolidating the various millages. We would need to get information out there to explain that these aren’t increases but consolidating of various items. Historically, our general fund has always paid for public safety. I believe we have to keep augmenting the police and fire budgets. We would have to cut our police and fire services if we didn’t. PAGE 31 ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯
Margaret Burkholder is a real estate manager for First American Real Estate, where she has worked for 20 years.
Laurie Lewsley has been employed in township assessing and clerk departments, and has been an election official. She is a former realtor and small business owner.
could pose additional budgetary hardships on local governments. What changes in township budgeting priorities or processes do you advocate to deal with these new hurdles? TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the township, and how do you propose to address them? WHY YOU? Why specifically should voters choose you over your opponent?
CLERK’S ROLE: I’ve been the owner of a small company, a real estate company for 34 years. I also worked with FEMA in administering federal grants. I do believe that we need to make some changes in budgeting. The clerk’s office needs to have more financial power. They need to be able to make more decisions at the clerk’s level rather than them coming from the supervisor’s level. I think the new person working with grants in the supervisor’s office should be working in the clerk’s office. RECORDS: I would recommend off-site storage and additional election document storage, because the paperwork we have in the assessor’s office, the building department, every single department has to be backed up. The clerk maintains records for both the fire and police department budgets. We should have those available in storage, as well. CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: They made the right decision to place that on hold. It should be put back on the table when this recession period is over. I don’t think we should be spending money from the township on laid-off autoworkers, senior citizens and people that don’t have any money. We need to concentrate our efforts in other directions for now. POLICE AND FIRE MILLAGES: I’m a firm believer in earmarked dollars, period. I don’t think we should increase the township operating budget. Police are totally separate from the fire department. There’s going to be times when police are
going to need more money, and the fire department is going to be fine. In other years it may be reversed. Every single dollar should be accounted for and if the taxpayers vote for a millage for the police then money should go to police. There shouldn’t be a consolidation of any sort. You should go back to the community every four years. I support the current renewal. I don’t support reducing the general fund contributions to police and fire if it passes. BUDGET: The township should be run more like a business in that you need to have a bare bones budget that everyone can access at any time and then the board should vote on the importance of a wish list, which are items that are going to be a priority. We should send people the bare bones budget from the clerk’s office and show them, “This is what we have for the next three or five years and this is our wish list. Call me if you want to add to it.” TOP ISSUES: I agree that the M-59 corridor is important. I would love to see more commercial space. I would love to see more jobs come to White Lake. We need commercial establishments to come in and pay taxes. We also need to increase the police and fire personnel. We don’t have enough EMTs in White Lake. I would like to enlarge the senior center access. In the next 10 years, we’re going to need more senior services available. WHY YOU? People should choose me because I am coming from a small business background. I’m not part of the township regime we have right now. I’m there to see change. I have a lot of good experience and a finance background. I’m well qualified for the clerk’s position because of that finance background.
CLERK’S ROLE: Actually the clerk is the keeper of the financial records. She has no duties as far as investments. The clerk
JULY 23, 2008
primary voter guide
White Lake Clerk
❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ PAGE 30
They are not fully funded by the millages we now provide. Even with the increase in commercial growth, it’s going to merely keep pace with what we need in terms of equipment and maintaining what we currently have. BUDGET: Our biggest challenge is going to be deciding if we’re going to have a hurdle. We received more money from the state this year than we anticipated. That’s always changing. I don’t think we’re going to be in this recessive economy for long enough for any of us see our property taxes decrease. The growth in the commercial sectors will be able to prop up the current budget as long as we add no new increase. We should weather this just fine. There’s a lot I would change about the budget. I don’t like the way things are allocated. Things can be shifted around. These are times for real belt tightening. Maybe we could do more projections in the budget, taking a cue from the county. But, no, I don’t see big problems with the process. TOP ISSUES: One is managing our growth in such a way that we maintain that rural feeling that so many people move out here for. We have a master plan and we should stick to it. We need an ordinance about clear cutting trees on vacant land before the site plan has been approved. The second thing is we have to find a way to increase the space we are now conducting government in. We need to update our technology in there so we are more information-friendly. I’d like to see more online. Thirdly, I don’t feel we need to increase our park lands and our farm lands drastically. We’re blessed to have Pontiac Lake Recreation and Highland Recreation Area. What I would like to see increased is our trail system. We need to make our township accessible and pedestrian-friendly. WHY YOU? I’ve been a self-employed small business owner for over 14 years. I don’t believe the township government is a business but a service to the community. I believe you are an employee to every resident in this community. I’m someone that doesn’t just like to sit behind the steering wheel. I want to participate. I want to be standing at the counter when people come in. I want to be hands-on. We can use more of that. I bring a naturally socially friendly attitude to the office that seeks to solve the problems and issues in White Lake.
Terry Lilley has served as a White Lake Township trustee since 2004. He was township supervisor from 1992 until 1996, the community's building official from 1981 until 1985, and a firefighter and lieutenant from 1967 to 1985.
Marge Loula is a clerk in the township's assessing department. A certified public accountant, she is also chairperson of the White Lake Beautification Committee and treasurer of the White Lake Historical Society.
CLERK’S ROLE: I’ve been a selfemployed for 42 years as a residential builder in the township. I’m currently in my second term sitting on the board as township trustee and making financial decisions. I’ve been a past township supervisor, spent over 18 years as
a firefighter and over four years as township building official. I’ve been concerned over the last four years that the financial reporting from the clerk’s office lacks some substance. In the sewer fund, I can get an answer but when I asked for a breakdown per project, there have been some shortcomings. Some of the financial responsibilities have drifted away from the clerk position and I would like to see them brought back. Elections; the financial portion of the township, and the record keeping are the three main duties. I am concerned as a township trustee and will be as township clerk that the financial reporting is accurate. The monies should be spent on what it was supposed to be spent on. That also means making sure the bills are paid on time. RECORDS: Currently the records are probably being stored all over the place. One of my recommendations would be having a more permanent place to not only store them but other department records, as well. We certainly lack utilizing the resources of files when it comes to making board decisions. A lot of times information can’t be found. We’re not looking at past history, which is important for making decisions. CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: It’s a great plan. It included a small downtown area in White Lake but also expansion of that along M-59. Taking that up with the monies from Oakland County is the right way to go. If we want to continue with the corridor, then I think it would be more appropriate to ask the citizens of this township to vote extra for that purpose than use general funds. I’m not convinced the financial reporting that I’ve seen is adequate to continue with that at this time. POLICE AND FIRE MILLAGES: I think over a period of years it is becoming extremely confusing for the people of the township because basically every four years they are asked for a renewal. We’ve come a long way with police and fire to make them good departments. That confusion at some point may cause us to have cutbacks if people don’t vote for renewals. By consolidating those into
long-term funding solutions, that will build stability into the township budget and guarantee our personnel. I would like to stay with earmarked millages rather than an overall general operations increase. The money the people vote in should go to exactly what they voted for. I support the current renewal. I’m opposed to using funds for other than what their intended purpose was for. The current general fund contributions shouldn’t be reduced if this millage passes unless we tell voters that’s what we’re going to do. BUDGET: The township does a good job in the budgeting process. There’s no doubt the money’s being spent and the project and programs we have need to be projected out on a long-term availability. But we have built some strong financial stability. TOP ISSUES: The three most important issues at this point are our sewer and water expansion and the growth of the M-59 corridor. In the coming year, we’re going to spend a huge amount of money on infrastructure. That needs to be well managed. We need to pull a team together to ensure that. We don’t have a water and sewer director. The corridor is a huge thing that needs planning and large amounts of money. WHY YOU? I’m a life-long resident. I have 42 years in residential building. I’m currently in my second term as township trustee and serve on the advisory panel for the Dublin Senior Center. I’ve served as supervisor from 1992 to 1996. I’ve served 18.5 years as a firefighter and lieutenant. I also served 4.5 years as building official. I will listen and respond to your concerns. I think my leadership ability speaks for itself, as does my experience.
CLERK’S ROLE: My experience is as a CPA (certified public accountant) in Michigan. I have prepared financial statements and was an auditor for both profit and non-profit organizations. The financial department in White Lake is handled under the supervisor’s office currently. As the clerk, I would want to be much more active in the decision-making and the bookkeeping and with the
records that are kept in the financial office. Currently, I don’t think the clerk’s office handles the accounting and bookkeeping. But it should. My idea would be to have all those books adjusted before the auditors even come in the office. We spend a lot of money and overtime preparing documents for the auditors; that could be done and should be done before the end of the year audit. As far as the budget, I would be helping out overseeing the finances and would also be running the elections. I don’t know about changes to be made out there. I’d have to see once I get in there. RECORDS: Being in the building we are in, we have limitations. It seems the records are stored as best they can be in a place of that size, but they really need extra room. We do have back ups to the server. There is talk of putting everything out on disks and recording everything, but it’s very expensive to do that at this point. They need a lot of things as a growing township needs. I’d have to readdress that situation once I got in as clerk. CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: At this time I don’t have enough information actually to answer the question. Is it good or bad for White Lake? I think it could be good for the M-59 corridor. It does need quite a bit of improvement. They need a lot of money to do that. My feeling is that quite a bit of money would be directed from the general fund we should be using for police, fire and library on the corridor authority. I would like to see it passed, but I would also like to make that decision based on the numbers first. POLICE AND FIRE MILLAGES: I support our police and fire the way it is set up right now. I think they do a great job. The taxpayers in White Lake deserve the best and I’m not sure the voters would go for one large millage. I think it’s easier for people to take it in smaller increments. If you try to handle this large millage, I would be afraid they would see than and vote it down. That happened a couple years ago, and it was a larger increase and it was turned down. I’m not sure the people would be happy or willing to dedicate anymore millage. If you break it down for them, I think it will be easier to handle. I support the current renewal. I don’t see any problem with using that general fund money. Any money from the general fund is up to the township board and that’s what they are elected to do. BUDGET: They could do a lot more as far as projecting out more ahead of time instead of waiting for the last minute and writing out a budget. If you have an idea if you’re increasing or decreasing they don’t do enough of that at the township. We need something from the supervisor’s office on down that goes to every department to PAGE 32 ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
primary voter guide
White Lake Clerk
❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ PAGE 31
know what’s going on. We need to go to different people and ask them what they see coming down the pipe. Uncertainty is the worst thing you can do for business. We want people in White Lake to know what’s coming at least three years ahead of the game. TOP ISSUES: The three most important issues are, first, the police, fire and library. That’s the business we’re in. All the rest is auxiliary to that. I’d like to see our library have great programs and expand on those programs. Of course, safety is our main issue. Second is the sewer expansion and keeping our water clean. I’m concerned about the run off into the water. The sewers are being expanded to keep that runoff away from the water. People should be aware that everything they dump in their drains goes into the lakes. Third, we need to make sure we keep and preserve the natural open space we have. That’s one of the main reasons people move out here. We have to make sure it’s clean and we have parks and recreation. WHY YOU? I have lived in White Lake for 20 years. I have a financial background and I’m a certified public accountant. I’ve written financial statements and auditing for non-profit and for-profit agencies. I believe in fiscal conservancy. I can save the taxpayers quite a bit of money. I’ve served as treasurer of the White Lake Historical Society. I served on the Beautification Committee and the Alpine Ski Patrol for the past five years.
Andrea Voorheis has been a White Lake Township trustee since 2004. She is a coordinator for TJMaxx, where she has been employed for four years.
Anthony Young is a sales representative for the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Group.
CLERK’S ROLE: Clerks are the chief financial officer but also the records and elections are main responsibilities. In the last two years we’ve gotten a new system that alerts departments to certain line items to throw up a flag to show this budget item need to be checked. That’s really helped. As a trustee we see the budget monthly and if it’s above a certain point I go in there and ask what’s going on. There’s always things that can be done. Obviously more accountability needs to be done. There have been come crazy bills that have gone through. Sometimes money comes out of a department’s budget and they don’t even know that it’s happening. That’s a problem. Communication is a big part in the bill paying. I don’t have huge skill, but I have my home skills, my life skills. I know how to budget. But also my four years as township trustee have given me tons of skills and knowledge on where we should be at certain times of the year and what can be cut and what can be increased. RECORDS: Yes we have procured some pods that are outside and I have a hard time with the storage of records outside. The township is small and we
need bigger records storage. I hate going into the woman’s restroom and seeing these file cabinets. But we have to keep certain records by mandate of the state. Electronic storage is a good way, but I’ve been told through some of my classes as trustee that microfiche, believe it or not, is more reliable. I’d like to see more of that. CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: I was disappointed we had to delay that program. It would be great to have. I would love to drive to White Lake from Waterford and see this great entrance gateway with the funds we capture from the county. It was by far the best move to table it. It was done with regret. We really had no choice. And yes, I’m sure that within less then four years, if the economy turns around, we can start right where we stopped. POLICE AND FIRE MILLAGES: If anything I think the residents get tired of us continually asking them for millages, but now we’re just renewing it back to what it was before. I get tired of doing millage after millage and it’s great to support police and fire. We should consolidate them so we don’t have to keep going through these millages all the time. If this current millage passes, maybe their current general fund contribution could be used for other things like maybe improving the clerk’s office and some of the records issues we talked about earlier. BUDGET: We haven’t given ourselves raises and we have changed employee insurance to save the township money. We are experiencing some growth and we’re one of the few townships in the county to see an increase in the budget and development. There’s not really too much I would change about the processes or priorities right now. We just need to watch carefully. TOP ISSUES: The budget has to be one of them. I would keep a close, tight watch on what’s being spent and how. The overtime in the clerks’ office is a problem. As a team player, I would be there in the trenches saying, “We need to get this done and done today.” The third challenge is the development in the township. We’re getting things left
and right. We have to make sure it’s brought in according to the master plan. We can’t just bring in things to bring them in. There are certain areas for commercial development and that’s where it should stay. We need the green space. It’s one of my favorite things about White Lake. We can’t get rid of it. WHY YOU? I was born and raised in White Lake and I plan on living and dying in White Lake. It has a soft spot in my heart. There’s nothing I won’t do for White Lake; it’s my home. I have a long family history here. White Lake is me. We have so much to offer and I can be the person to offer it to you. I have many years of customer service (experience) and I’m a people person.
CLERK’S ROLE: White Lake is very diligent with their finances. I’ve enjoyed talking with the department about how diligent they have been. We should be technologically-advanced. On the finance matters, we should take an active role in setting guidelines for working with the township supervisor and the board. The background that I have is that my family has a business and I have converted them all into information systems and converted their paper records into computer records. After looking at the information at the township, things work well and they’ve been very good at running their financial operations. RECORDS: We need to digitize the information that are required by the state to keep and then continue on being progressive about it with all of our information coming in via paper record but also stored on digital record. Some things need to be stored and accessible on the website, as well. We could reach out to some of the area colleges and ask them to give us a hand in this because they have internship available so we can reduce the amount of manpower it takes to digitize this information. We could use some microfiche and also flash drive mechanisms. There is a big need there in terms of record storage. CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: I think the state is all in a freeze of their
spending. It’s important to do the planning now. We might delay what we’re going to do. But 10 years out we should lay down the expansion of the corridor. That’s occurring now. We have retail development that’s coming in. It’s all coming. We need to lay it out before it hits. I’d say probably bring it back within eight years and have a plan ready to go. I’m not sure if it was the right call to delay the plan. POLICE AND FIRE MILLAGES: I think it’s important that we do consolidate the millages. It should come back though every four years; I think that’s prudent. If the current ballot question does pass, we should ask the chiefs about the growth in the township in the commercial sector. As that grows so does the need for more public safety aspects. Dollars will come from that, too, to provide public services. If it does pass, the general fund contributions to those departments would have to be based on the community needs. There will be additional income coming into the township as those commercial centers grow. BUDGET: We can’t spend more than we make. There are certain process we haven’t tapped into to streamline some rhetorical process. That’s important. We have to do our business with the least amount of costs. We’re on the cusp of seeing how streamlined we can be. We’re being aggressive in that area. As clerk, we have to make sure we’re communicating with all departments. We should make reductions where we can and provide the best services we can. The departments have gone through a lot of scrutinizing in how they run operations. Their accountability has been great. TOP ISSUES: Three issues are 10-year planning and accountability, improved communication to the public, and safety. We need strict adherence to the Master Plan. There’s a lot of time and money put to our plans. We don’t need dictation about how our plan should be. But people need to know what the plan is and we should get people involved. Let’s be accountable to that plan for the decisions that we make. I think it’s important that we communicate heavily. If we don’t communicate, people feel like they don’t know and like we’re using the tax dollars inappropriately. We can have more meetings telecasted and podcasted. With all the development that’s happening, make sure we increase in safety, too. We need safe places for people to walk. This needs to be a safe place for all of us to raise a family. WHY YOU? I plan on living here my whole life. I’ve seen the changes. I’ve seen the lack of leadership in the community and I think I can provide good leadership. I can bring a lot of technological-based services to the township and make the clerk’s department efficient. I will bring transparency in our government. I’m trusted in my community and I can get the job done. ❏
JULY 23, 2008
primary voter guide
Incumbent Forrest J. Brendel, Todd T. Birkle, Carol J. Burkard, Morgan Fredrickson, Nicholas Grabowski, John M. Morawski, incumbent Michael C. Powell, Matthew Shelly, Jack Smith and Mary K. Smith will compete in the Tuesday, Aug. 5 Republican primary election for their party’s nomination for four White Lake Township trustee positions. The four candidates that receive the most votes in the GOP primary election will face off against Democrat Michael E. Long in the Nov. 4 general election. Township trustees serve fouryear terms and are currently paid $8,014 annually. The following are questions our staff recently posed to the candidates, and their responses to those questions. CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: After some initial excitement and debate, adoption of a White Lake Township Corridor Improvement Authority plan for the M-59 corridor has been postponed due to financial considerations. Please tell us why you do or don’t believe the township made the right decision to delay adoption of the plan. At what point, if ever, do you believe the township should adopt and begin to implement such a plan. POLICE AND FIRE MILLAGES: Township voters will be asked during the Aug. 5 primary election to renew and restore a 1.35 mill levy to pay for police and fire services over the next five years. In the meantime, various township officials and residents will explore all the possible police and fire millage options for 2013 and beyond. Please state why you do or don’t believe the township should attempt to consolidate several separate police and fire millages beginning in 2013 as an alternative to what seems like voters being asked to approve police and/or fire levies every other year. Do you support the current millage issue on the ballot? Do you think that with the current ballot issue, the amount of funding from the general fund given to both departments should remain the same or can it be adjusted downward if needed? BUDGET: Fiscal uncertainty and challenges at the state level have caused new budgeting issues for municipal governments. At the same time, a continued decline in property values could pose additional budgetary hardships on local governments. What changes in township budgeting priorities or processes do you advocate to deal with these new hurdles? TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the township, and how do you propose to address them? to say I wouldn’t look at it again down the road. As far as the actual millage elections, I’m in favor of insuring that those are always on major election dates, primary and general. I’m not in favor of having them in stand-alone elections like a school board election. I do support the current millage on the ballot with some conditions. One is that police and fire are going to have to look at consolidation of some of their services. A lot of costs have gone up over the last couple years — fuel for example. Depreciation of operating a fleet of police vehicles was a big expense. They’ve added video cameras and mobile date computers to their patrol cars. That’s a big expense. In the next model year, police cars are going to have side-impact air bags, which means changing prisoner transport cages in the back of the police vehicles. That’s all added costs that the police budget is going to be expected to absorb. Since 2004, the general fund contribution for police and fire has gone down about $300,000. I would like to see that contribution reduced in the future, but first of all two things: We’re not approving this millage to create other general fund operations. We can’t take $200,000 out of police and fire operations to fund a new position or operation in the general fund. BUDGET: White Lake is in an enviable situation as far as commercial growth. However, there are a lot of steps we will have to take to look to cut or consolidate services with other municipalities, whether it be police and fire and cutting some of our contributions to them, but I think there’s a lot of things we can do internally. In my role with Oakland County, I have faced some of these challenges. I oversee a $14-million budget. We have a budget task that we put in place where we have to cut expenditures over the next three years because we haven’t hit rock bottom yet, as far as declines in property values are concerned. We’re going to have to take a proactive approach, and there are several little things that we can do that can add up to big changes. For example, the way township purchases fuel for it’s fleet vehicles, they can obtain a fleet fueling card and not pay taxes on fuel at the time it’s purchased. That’s a savings right out of the box because right now the township has to apply to the federal and state government to get these taxes refunded to us, and that’s about 40 cents per gallon. TOP ISSUES: The most important issue PAGE 34 ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯
Forrest J. Brendel has served as a White Lake Township trustee for over 11 years, and has owned and operated a business in the township for over 30 years.
Todd T. Birkle was a Waterford Township trustee from 1994 to 2000. He's served as chairman of the White Lake Planning Commission. He is current the manager of support services for Oakland County.
WHY YOU? Why specifically should voters choose you over your opponent?
FORREST JAY BRENDEL
CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: I think they made the right decision in postponing it. What I was told is that we’re going to get money from the county and we were refused, so we would just be taking money from ourselves. Why would we start something that we already have? Unless things change within the tax base, I will never see it happen. We don’t benefit from it. Why have it if we’re collecting our own money and putting it in a different bank? POLICE AND FIRE MILLAGES: I think it’s a good idea to put all the millages on one thing and run them for a 10-year period instead of every time we vote. We have new people coming in who don’t know what’s going on. Some people think the millage is a renewal, some people think it’s a new millage. If we combine them in 2013 and put them on a 10-year period, hopefully it will all work out. I support the current millage. We need our police and fire. We have too much invested to look to Oakland County. It’s nice that when you call an officer, you usually know them. It would be nice to raise the millage up and have police and fire standing on their own and not get any money from the general fund, and use that money for a new township hall and other things the township needs. There’s a possibility the general fund could be lowered, but you can’t guarantee it. We have to see what we get. BUDGET: We’ll just have to look at what money is coming in and cut accordingly. We can’t really cut police and fire, but if we have to cut some personnel in different departments, that’s what we’ll do. We have no choice. TOP ISSUES: The No. 1 priority is the budget. We need to keep this township up and running. I think we’ve done a
good job this past year of keeping money saved. I think the new board will continue the good work. The second thing is the fire department and the third thing is the police department. We need to have good equipment and personnel. WHY YOU? I feel I’m experienced. This is my fourth term as a trustee and I’m kind of a people person. If a citizen has a problem with getting something done through the township, I go out and try to work with them. I was born and raised in the township. My business is here. I’m not going anywhere, and I know the background of this township and how it’s been over the last 30 to 40 years.
TODD T. BIRKLE
CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: I think the township saw the writing on the wall that the plan was not going to pass through the Oakland County Board of Commissioners. I think the township needs to go back to the drawing board and define the area of the actual corridor improvement area and narrow it down a bit. I am in favor of a corridor improvement authority. One of the goals in my campaign is to work with business owners or people that own vacant buildings in White Lake, especially along the M-59 corridor, and attempt to get these buildings filled with new tenants. New businesses mean new jobs and more tax revenue, therefore offsetting some of the investment in the corridor. I don’t know how successful these are going to be over the next couple years given the fiscal constraints, but I’m in favor of the concept itself if there is a good return on investment to that plan. POLICE AND FIRE MILLAGES: At this point, I am not in favor of consolidation of the millages. I agree that if in a political climate and the millages fail, the township would be in a world of hurt to try to recover in a fast manner. That’s not
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
primary voter guide
❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ PAGE 33
facing the township right now is the budget and the fact that we are in a downturn as far as residential values. We need to look at and control our expenditures and look at ways to consolidate services. That is really my area of expertise in my role with Oakland County. I oversee a budget of $14 million dollars; that is larger than the White Lake operating budget. I’ve had experience with budgeting and making cuts and looking at ways to consolidate. Another issue of importance is the water and sewer system in the township. I think there is a need for a longterm master plan, especially as it applies to the sewage system, and where we are going to shift our flow. We’re looking at doing expansion to the system, yet I know the Commerce system we send our flow to is about at its max, I believe, without making some improvements. There’s talk about sending our flow to Pontiac via Waterford. We would have to have some say with the Pontiac system, but I think that’s a big issue that needs to be dealt with in the near future, as well as possible iron filtration for our water. Our water has a lot of iron in it; you can see it on the sidewalks in our neighborhoods. Another issue is the traffic flow in our community and the need for more traffic studies. You hate to have the traffic be stop-and-go on M-59, but there needs to be a little more stop and also some road improvement. I think something that brings businesses here is a good park and trail system. If that brings redevelopment into the community then that is something that I want to see happen. WHY YOU? I believe you should be involved in the community in which you live in, and I’ve been involved in White Lake since I moved here in 2004. I’m presently the chairperson of the Planning Commission. I was an elected township trustee in Waterford from 1994 to 2000. Also in my role with Oakland County, I oversee a budget of $14 million dollars, which is larger than the operating budget of White Lake, and I supervise 42 employees. I feel that I have a good sound understanding, especially on the budgetary issues. I pledge to the people of this community that I will provide them with a responsive voice on the township board.
Carol J. Burkard has been White Lake Township's clerk since 2000. She was previously a township trustee and a White Lake Library employee.
Morgan Fredrickson is a retired operating engineer. He is a former member of the Huron Valley Board of Education, serving from 1982 until 1994 as president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and trustee. He was president and owner of ML Fredrickson LLC, a crane safety consultation company.
CAROL J. BURKARD
CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: I was the only vote on the board that asked not to postpone the authority. I felt that the authority comes in two parts. The beginning is setting up the boundaries and we could have started that process and been ready. Our consultants recommend we do that and I agreed with them.
I believe the authority is the direction the township should go. If you look at most townships, they have one or a downtown development authority. It’s crucial I feel in the growth of White Lake Township. The information I had was that the county was not willing to look at this at this time, but they’ve looked at them elsewhere. I would hope from month to month the supervisor would be in contact with the county to see when we’re ready. I believe this is one of the most important issues that has come before us in my 12 years on the board, to take our township into the future in a correct way, to prevent deterioration and promote our economic growth. I would like to be on the board if that comes up again. POLICE AND FIRE MILLAGES: In 2013, that’s going to give us a few years for that committee to be studying thoroughly on combining them. I tend to say the combination of public safety is a good idea, but until that study is done, I won’t give a definite on that. I want to see their figures first. I definitely support the renewal of the police and fire (millage). That is for the officers and for the pay of the volunteer firefighters. I think it’s wonderful that White Lake has its own police and fire departments and we need to support them. The amount of funding can always be adjusted downward if needed. Right now from what the general fund gives, we look at it very carefully to see what is requested and everything seems to be fine so far. Hopefully in 2013, if they do a combination, the general fund may not have to support them. Right now, if this levy passes, it will raise in the first year approximately $1.7 million that will support our police and fire departments. BUDGET: Right now, White Lake, out of every township in Oakland County, is the only one that I know of that is not really hurting at this time because of the amount of commercial development that is happening. We’re very fortunate. Plante & Moran just happened to come in and look at our auditing book and just they couldn’t believe how fiscally-healthy our township is. We were happy to hear that.
Our auditors, Janz and Knight, just gave the report to our three in-house officials saying the same thing. At this time, I don’t see anything that’s going to hurt our township. We have a very conservative board now. Hopefully we will in the future too, because we have put ourselves in a healthy position. TOP ISSUES: When we take our oath of office, public safety is No. 1. The passage of the millage is very important for public safety. We also need to look at our roads to see if public safety is able to get through alright to get to a safe spot. We also need walking and bike paths that are safe for our residents to use is always important to me. No. 2 is our environment. Fifty percent of White Lake can never be built upon because it’s either a wetland, state land, or a lake. We always have to be mindful of our fragile environment and our shrinking natural resources that we are caretakers to. No. 3 is our infrastructure, which is important so that we have clean water and a sewer system. WHY YOU? I have been on the board for 12 years and I’ve been a public servant in White Lake for over 20 years with my service at the library. I’ve been a trustee before, the township clerk for eight years, and I really feel that the experience that I’ve had and the development that’s gone on in White Lake the last 12 years, I would like to continue being a part of it. I believe my experience speaks for itself on the record and I really care about my township and its residents and I would like to continue as the people’s partner.
solidate this stuff so the voters get to vote on it once. Almost every election, there’s a millage up there for approval or renewal. Let’s make it easier for the voters and not ask them every four years. It would be easier as far as funding the police and fire. I support the current millage and general fund contributions should remain the same. That’s where the problem begins when we downgrade the police and fire from the general fund and then if we don’t have a millage increase or renewal, then we have a lot of layoffs. It should stay as it is so that in the lean times, we can still fund police and fire. BUDGET: I think that is where my experience with the school board comes in. You have to look at what fat we do have out there, but you try not to hurt your citizens. Sometimes it’s a necessary evil, but let’s look at the things that don’t hurt the citizens and (find out if) they are really necessary. TOP ISSUES: One of the first issues is the growth that we have out here. We have to get a handle on it. I certainly don’t want to punish business, but at the same time I don’t want M-59 to have a lot of vacant buildings. That increases crime and adds to the blight. The second issue is government is not as responsive to people as it should be. In other words, I think politicians after being in office for two or three terms have their attitudes change from “I’m here to service the citizens,” to “The citizens are here to serve me.” I think we have to look at that and change our attitude and look at our citizens as customers and not the other way around. The third will be the police and fire millage. I think that it’s important to keep our police and fire protection at it’s present level. I would encourage our citizens to take a hard look at it and absolutely vote for it. WHY YOU? I think with my experience. I’ve served on the school board for 12 years and as treasurer, secretary, vice president and president. I think I have a good handle on public funding, how the state operates, and things like that. I think right now, with the economy being what it is, you do need experienced people and that’s why I’m running. I think that most people who do know me know I tried to respond to everything when I was on that school board and nothing has changed. I do care and am responsive to their problems.
CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: I think they made the right decision putting off that adoption. I’m opposed to a certain extent. I would like to see the corridor improvement taken to the voters to see if that’s what they want. Right now, you’re sort of not using the money that they voted for the purpose they voted for. If the voters approve it, who am I to say? POLICE AND FIRE MILLAGES: Let’s con-
CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: I think it was a good thing that it was held up so this can all be looked at in another light. You do want to build and I like the way it’s building, but in my opinion, I don’t like to see strip malls. I don’t want to see us become another Waterford. They have a ton of strip malls down M-59. What we need is what we have right now, which is the PAGE 35 ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯
JULY 23, 2008
primary voter guide
❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ PAGE 34
MICHAEL C. POWELL
CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: The final approval on the corridor improvement authority was postponed due to the inability of the taxing authorities to come together and agree to the tax increment financing portion of the authority. It needed to be postponed, but quite frankly, it has been postponed too long. I believe it should be readopted, but in a different shape. If in fact you can get taxing authorities to allow the capturing of their tax authority in the district, that’s great — it provides money for improvements. There’s another aspect that hasn’t been talked about yet, and that’s the ability to control development and its standards within that authority. That’s just as equally, if not more, important than collecting funds for initiating projects. It is very difficult for Waterford to go back and reinvent its frontage on M-59. If we don’t deal with that now, we will never be able to. POLICE AND FIRE MILLAGES: On the surface, it seems to make sense to consolidate the police and fire funding to one separate question. My major concern is that you do have to go to the people to ask for renewals, and we’ve lived through good and hard times — sometimes (the voters are) angry at government, sometimes not. To have all the money removed from public safety from one vote would be devastating to the township. However, I’m very much in favor of separating the millage of police from fire. I think the people have to be given the choice and the opportunity to understand what the millage is going to be used for. I do support the current millage. The problem is that police and fire are carefully controlling their costs and are strapped to the minimum, which makes it difficult for them to provide the services we ask of them. As White Lake grows in the business and residential population, we need to keep up with the demands on both those forces. Currently White Lake donates $1.2 million from the general fund to the police and fire fund. That is taken right out of the general operating expenses for the township, which puts those expenses above what the revenues are over the past two or three years. Fortunately, we have not dipped into the fund equity account each of the past three years. However, this year due to the decline of revenues and the expenses going up, we probably are going to have to dip into the fund balance, which is the savings account of the township. With this new millage, I would like to see less funds from the general fund being used to run police and fire. It will in fact take a slow weaning of those departments away from the general fund, but I am in favor of that. BUDGET: The state revenue sharing has been dropping over the years and PAGE 36 ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯
JCPenney. I think that’s fantastic. I was for Meijer because I didn’t want to drive a ton of miles to shop. It has not really affected our flow of traffic that much and I think it’s done a great job. Other townships don’t like us doing this because they think we’re getting too big. I don’t look at it that way because it’s closer for them to come in to shop. So for us holding off, I don’t think it’s Oakland County that made us see that. I think we saw that ourselves. POLICE AND FIRE MILLAGES: White Lake Township needs a strong police and fire department. I come from a family of law enforcement people and in our area I think it’s needed. The upcoming election is to maintain what we’ve got; it’s not to increase the millage. I’m on the committee to look at it for 2013, and I can’t speak any more on it until the committee meets, which is going to be a number of items over the next couple years, I’m sure. Yes, I support the current millage issue on the ballot. The general fund allocations can be adjusted downward if needed and that has to be looked into. If circumstances dictate that, fine. BUDGET: It’s going to be the township’s responsibility not to spend more than they get and they are doing that now. I agree you might have to have a consolidation of several areas, even directors. You’re going to have people who know what they’re doing in those particular areas, but there is no way that you’re going to be able to crosstrain a person in finance with a person in engineering. But you can consolidate a director who will handle both areas and hope they can have a good working communication. Another way you can do it is to consolidate police and fire department positions with other townships. That’s something you might have to look at in the future, even if your fire and police departments don’t like to hear that. I know that’s happened in the Upper Peninsula, where my son works as a police officer, and they encompassed four cities. That saved a lot of money. I hope we don’t have to do that, but it seems like that might be in order. TOP ISSUES: The township is monitoring the budget, they do it at every meeting. I firmly believe that. I know what our township has done in the past 40 years and what I see today is more positive than what I’ve seen 20 or 30 years ago. Monitoring the quality of the business that comes in, that’s where we’re going to get our revenue. That is growth. White Lake is the water wonderland. We still have that and it will still draw people in. We may not be
Nicholas Grabowski is a member of the White Lake panel looking into potential public safety millage consolidations for 2013 and beyond. He has been a youth basketball coach for over 40 years.
John M. Morawski is the retired and former owner of Union Lake Typewriter Service. He previously served as vice president, president, and treasurer of the Cedar Island Homeowners Association.
getting taxes from home values right now, but that’s not going to be forever. I agree with the roads and the traffic, and getting the Oakland County Road Commission involved. I have been pushing for a light on Jackson Boulevard and Ormond Road. We need it there bad, but the county says we don’t need it. WHY YOU? I’ve lived here in the community for 42 years. I’m retired now, so I have time. I’m not taken up by a full-time job anywhere. I feel I can represent the community because I know enough people over here. I helped developed several athletes out of Lakeland High School. I’ve coached basketball for 42 years. I work with the youth and communicate with them as well as I do with people my age. I just feel it’s time for me to add my experience. I’ve also worked with a large corporation that brought in $3 billion a year. I’ve also worked with subsidiaries throughout the country, so I have a working knowledge of how things should be done. JOHN M. MORAWSKI CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: I felt that postponement was a prudent thing to do. It didn’t have a clear cut program of what it was going to do for us. It wasn’t laid out well or put to a test. Again, I would have to go along with budget constraints that the township is facing. I don’t think it has to get on board with a lot of new programs and issues to fund because money is going to be tight in the coming years. POLICE AND FIRE MILLAGES: I’m not in favor of combining the millages. I prefer to have them separate so that people have a good understanding of what those millages are for and what departments are going to. They may feel like one department is not adequately serving them and this is a chance to make their voices heard. Yes, I support the current millage. I have personally voted for all the police and fire protection millages because I think it’s very important. I live in a very nice neighborhood and I want it to stay that way. I would like to see the general fund adjusted downward because there are many other things the township needs.
Maybe police and fire can stand on their own if they look at other ways of gaining revenue and funding, like charging for false alarms. This is going on in other communities and it has been a revenue stream. It’s not a burden to taxpayers because if you’re not having one of these instances, it’s not going to cost you a penny. BUDGET: I think the township is going have to look long and hard at what other communities are doing to cut expenses that aren’t going to impact the township too badly. They’re talking about turning off lights that aren’t needed or changing the hours of the township hall as L. Brooks Patterson has said on the county level by having 10-hour days, and maybe have the township closed one day. We’re looking at things that will cut expenses and hopefully not cut personnel. But, we don’t know how much money is coming in. TOP ISSUES: No. 1 is the budget, No. 2 is the fire department and No. 3 is the police department. We’re going to have to look at ways of saving money and addressing the shortfall that may come along. The police and fire departments both need adequate funding. They have my support for the millages that they ask for because we need up-to-date equipment and training and personnel who are professional. The only way to get that is to spend money on these things. WHY YOU? I’ve owned three successful businesses in my life. I’m retired right now. Retirement gave me some challenges and I’ve met them and I’m ready for new challenges. I feel like I’m ready to give back to the community something that it has given me, (which is) a wonderful place to live. I feel I can do that for other people by being elected to the township board. I have been able to serve on my subdivision board as president. I’m also on the board of directors for two condo associations that I’m affiliated with. So I have a good understanding of budget needs and getting along with people who have other ideas and opinions, and coming to good solutions to benefit them all.
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
primary voter guide
❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ PAGE 35
the non-statutory revenue sharing will continue to drop if not be eliminated. The predictions from the county assessor and the local assessor are that property values are going to drop, which is where we get most of our funding for the local government. There are two ways to keep our budget balanced. One is cut expenditures. The township may have to look at extending use of cars a longer time for both police and fire and office personnel. We have a number of other areas we have not had to cut yet, but will have to be looked at. We have to maintain our revenue to sustain our expenditures. The other thing is we are in the enviable position of still looking at new development in White Lake. The residential market has flattened out, but the industrial and commercial market is still growing and we’re blessed with that. Our new assessments have remained the same due to the increased controlled development along the M-59 corridor. TOP ISSUES: The first is the budget. After sitting on the board for the last three years, I am very concerned with the forecasting of much lower revenue and the expenses going up due to the fuel costs. When the current board took office we requested that we not only be provided a summary of what expenses and revenues occurred during the previous month, but every check that was written and every expense that was expended from each department on a line-by-line basis so we can monitor how the money is going and it wasn’t just summarized at the end of the month or quarterly. The reviewing of those details is going to become more important so that we can realize how we can control the expenses in the township. We only have control over the expenses, not the revenues. My No. 2 concern is the roads and the traffic. Being a civil engineer, I’m very much aware of the overwhelming impression of the traffic and the poor condition of the roads here in western Oakland County. The Road Commission for Oakland County and all the other departments claim they don’t have funds, so we have to be extremely creative as to how we take care of those issues. I believe that a regional traffic study needs to be undertaken to determine how the routing of traffic can be designed away from the more residential areas and spread out to more of the north-south roads instead of the ones that are currently used. And my major concern is the gravel and dirt roads in the township. The third biggest concern I have is development — the quantity and the quality. I’m extremely opposed to any strip shopping centers. If we don’t put forward these standards that developers have to meet, they will buy proper-
Michael C. Powell has served as a White Lake Township trustee for the past four years. He is a civil engineer with Civil & Environmental Consultants. Powell is the dangerous building hearings officer for Commerce Township, and the past municipal engineer for Highland Township.
Matthew Shelly is the owner and operator of a technology company that frequently works with municipalities. He has been a lakes area youth sports coach for nearly a decade.
ty and tell us what to approve instead of us telling them what we want. It’s important that White Lake install the ordinances and the corridor improvement authority to set standards and warn developers when they come in that we will not accept strip shopping centers or the overdevelopment of the frontage of M-59 without a lifestyle center, a multiuse facility or a campus-style center. WHY YOU? I would like the opportunity to serve the residents of White Lake Township for another four years. I moved into the lakes area in 1958 and graduated from the Walled Lake Schools. I have been a municipal engineer since 1982 dealing with the sewers and water services, the quality of the lakes and the roadways of those communities that I represent. So I have a good background of all those items that this township is going to be faced with over the next four years and beyond. I’m also a professional civil engineer that has worked with all the surrounding communities, Commerce, Milford, Waterford, West Bloomfield, Novi, and Wixom. I have a great relationship with them. I’ve worked with the Oakland County Drain Commission and the road commission, the DEQ, and the DNR virtually on a weekly basis. Therefore, I have a very good understanding of how those agencies work. I have owned a White Lake Township business since 1989. I have a very good understanding of how the township functions and the more technical aspects of the township itself. Prior to my election three years ago, I would have to sit through all the public meetings and just give my recommendations because I didn’t have a say on what happened. Since then, I have used my experience over the last 30 years to bring everything that I’ve learned to the benefit of White Lake Township. Therefore, I’m asking the residents to give me another chance to continue what has been started and reelect me to the White Lake Board of Trustees.
CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: I think it was absolutely the right thing to do, given the revenue sharing cuts and
the other fiscal restraints that our community will be looking at. I don’t think this was the time to implement such a plan given the grand nature and the entire corridor strip for the entire length of M-59. I don’t think we have the financial plan in place to attack such a large area. I do think we should implement a corridor plan. I do believe in the future implementation will be necessary for White Lake Township to move forward. I would also like to see a lot more input from the citizens. I’ve seen the PowerPoint presentation that they prepared for the citizens. It has to be a reflection of what the residents want. POLICE AND FIRE MILLAGES: I am absolutely in support of consolidating them. Getting back to fiscal responsibility of taking care of tax dollars, I think that consolidation, maybe looking into a department of public safety might be a more cost effective way to utilize these dollars in the future. I would love to explore all avenues that this committee is looking at for providing this information to the voters in the future. It seems that these renewals come up quite often compared to other communities that I’ve dealt with, so I would like to explore those other options available to us. I support the current ballot issue. I think we need to have a strong police and fire presence. Without looking at the full budget that the trustees have access to, I would say the general fund contributions can be budgeted up or down depending on the situation that occurs. There’s no set in stone funding in today’s environment. You have to explore all opportunities to best utilize the funding available to you. BUDGET: With the state revenue sharing within Michigan, from a budget standpoint, you have to get creative. You have to look at every line item. I think the people have a right to know what’s being spent on fire, what’s being spent on police, and what’s in the general fund of each department. If you open it up and have some good discussion regarding that, you’ll find some ways to offset those revenue shortfalls.
TOP ISSUES: The three most important issues are budget, growth and the residents. I think that the budget is going to get more difficult and difficult decisions will have to be made. We need people making those decisions who have an open mind in all the different avenues that are available. I’ve worked in a lot of communities. I run a business that has been in the lakes area for 15 years. There are a lot of things we can do as far as consolidation of services and department of public safety, where you still have public staffing, but you don’t necessarily have a director of each position. I’m not really in favor of merging with other communities, especially police and fire, at this time but it is something that we can look at in the future. As far as growth, we have a lot on the business side. I think we are doing a much better job when it comes to monitoring the quality of growth that is coming in, like the JCPenney vs. the Wal-Mart project. I also think we need to do some long-term planning. Why is M-59 being dug up every other month? Why can’t we look at these things as a long-term plan and come up with a master plan for the whole community? What about a wastewater treatment plant? We need to take a step back and say, “We’re not just going to be a small community moving forward.” We need to look at some of these bigger projects and see what the return on investment will be for the township and its residents. That can only be done through a master plan. With the tools and technology available such as GIS, where you can lay maps on top of each other and see where water and sewer system pipes would go in the future, why are we doing it two to three times? That’s such a redundant waste of labor costs. If we need to put a little more of expenditure now, it will save our residents money in the future. We need to start looking at these other avenues. Third is residents. I do believe we need to get more community members involved. We do have parks and recreation in place, but no one knows about them. You can go behind the township wall to that park and there’s no one there. We built that with the understanding that a soccer league was going to come there. We need to get our residents more involved, utilize what we have in place, and start bringing people to our community. I think that the elected officials on a day-to-day basis try to get a newsletter out on the Internet and get some feedback from the residents as to what they would like to see. As trustees, we have a responsibility to get White Lake on the map again. WHY YOU? I’ve been in the lakes area my entire life and have always given back to the community. I’ve coached PAGE 37 ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯
JULY 23, 2008
primary voter guide
❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ PAGE 36
football for nine years, baseball, basketball, YMCA. I started the youth wrestling club in the area. It’s time for me. My children are both going to high school; that part of my life is coming to an end, as far as coaching them. I have run a technology company in the lakes area for 15 years, and we specialize in municipalities. I’ve dealt with municipalities all across the tricounty area and almost every community of Oakland County for years. I have the knowledge of what needs to be done and the experience of seeing other communities’ successes and failures. I want to give back to the community. I think the board has done a great job, but I think there are things that we can do better. I just hope that if I’m elected people will know I will do the best I can for everyone.
Jack Smith is a member of the Oakland County Credit Union Board of Directors.
Mary K. Smith is a quality control analyst for a large firm in Southfield and Ann Arbor. She is a member of the Pontiac Lake Horseman's Association for the past seven years, and a member of Hiking Michigan.
CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: I think the township made the right choice in delaying. A plan is definitely needed but with the economy and building slowdown, there wasn’t much sense to move ahead if you don’t have the funding to support it or the business and development to go in there. It’s going to be a number of years before we see some increases in movement and growth in the tax base to help support any new programs. Until there is support from the state or any other organizations to help support an expansion, there’s no need to move forward with that type of plan. POLICE AND FIRE MILLAGES: You always run the risk when you combine two millages into one that if that gets voted down, it drastically impacts the township and the ability to provide those services. I’m also concerned that if you’re asking citizens for money every election, voters wonder what is really going on and why you’re asking for renewal of millages. I’m kind of perplexed as to which direction the township should go. I imagine it would be a good campaign and educational opportunity for citizens. To help them understand that the combination of millages, knowing they won’t be asked for a renewal for a certain amount of time, could be a benefit to the taxpayers. I do support the millage on the ballot. The township needs fire and police protection. One of the reasons people come and live in White Lake is that these services have a personal touch and a connection to the community. If the renewal of the millages covers the support of those two areas, then the funding from the general fund can be reduced. But if the collection of taxes is lower than expected because of the foreclosures of homes and drop in property values, then the general fund will need to continue to contribute, possibly more. BUDGET: The revenue sharing cutbacks from the state have definitely affected
the township. I think the township has done an admirable job of being fiscally responsible up until this point and I believe they will continue to do so. But as far the future, the township needs to look at collaboration of services with other townships in our surrounding area to help save on expenses across the board. I know that the fire department currently has a mutual aid grievance with some of the other townships that connect to us and that seems to be working out well and they’ve done it for years. I would like to see the township get into a rolling budget planning so that they’re developing budgets two, three, four years out. That gives them a better insight of what’s coming on the horizon, what they can and cannot afford and make the appropriate cuts early so then it isn’t so severe. TOP ISSUES: I think the top priority would be new technology. I think there’s a lot of new things and ideas out there that can make things more efficient and run smoother. Whether it’s allowing citizens to have more access to the township services online or being able submit things differently, looking at the paper processes and seeing if we can automate some of those steps to save time and money. Financial literacy across the board is a big detriment to citizens everywhere. The school system is not teaching literacy to understand checkbooks, credit cards and home morgages and that helps add to the problems of the downturn in the market. The township can help by helping to offer classes to the citizens to help get them the education they need for financial literacy. Thirdly, we need to maintain the community. White Lake in my opinion is No. 1 in Oakland County. The community offers so much more to folks and that’s a primary reason they want to work, live and raise a family in White Lake Township. We have a lot of rural areas, green space, nice businesses and I’d like to see us maintain that community atmosphere. WHY YOU? The fact that there are 11 candidates running shows how much
interest there is in serving the community, but I feel that I’m at the top of that list to want to serve the citizens of White Lake. I’ve spent a number of years working for Oakland County and serving on the retirement board as a trustee. I serve as a director on the Oakland County Credit Union Board of Directors, and as a treasurer for the Sierra Heights 2 subdivision. I’ve served on different boards over the years and I feel now is the time to serve the White Lake Township residents.
MARY K. SMITH
CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: I think the delay stemmed from Oakland County, not White Lake. I think the delay is a good thing. Maybe they need to reevaluate what they really want and are looking for. Is it going to be off of Elizabeth Lake Road, is it going to be off of M-59? They really need to ask the citizens of White Lake, “What do you really want?” It’s more than just posting a notice in the local newspaper, or maybe it’s picking up the phone and doing a survey like Independence Township is doing. I think a downtown authority would bring new, unique businesses to White lake and that would be a good thing. POLICE AND FIRE MILLAGES: I’m in favor of the millage on the ballot. I’ve even offered to go door-to-door for the police and fire department. The reality is White Lake is severely understaffed in our police department. We have top-notch police and fire departments. Our citizens are accustomed to having these services and with the growth that we’re experiencing, it’s pulling more people into White Lake. We don’t have the officers to accommodate what we’re going to be seeing when these stores open and people start coming. We have to have some officers added and that’s what this millage will do. In terms of a rollback in the general fund contributions to police and fire, the amount of funding from the general fund shouldn’t go down. Look at what’s going on in Pontiac. They are in a world of hurt. They don’t have the police force now. They’re scaling back. We need to educate our citizens. People want a nice environ-
ment and open space but they also want to feel secure and safe. If you would look at the number of police officers in White Lake compared to the citizens, you would understand how understaffed they are and how well they do their job. BUDGET: The township is going to have to be able to consolidate positions, if you don’t have money coming in; it’s the tax and spend theory. You can’t spend more than you have coming in. If you have three people running the residential department, do you need three people because how much residential is going on? How many positions in White Lake overlap and how many are crosstrained to be able to move into other areas? That’s what the industry does is cross-train so they can be lean and mean and move into other departments when times are tough. Everyone is hurting out there, and that’s what got Michigan in trouble: they’re spending more than they’re making. TOP ISSUES: The three most important issues to me are growth, safety and the citizens. We’re a growing community. I don’t oppose development, but we have to do it responsively. I’m concerned that White Lake is booming, but what are we bringing to White Lake? How are we attracting people to move to White Lake? A JCPenney is not going to attract a homeowner to purchase a home in White Lake because the wages just aren’t there. We need to attract businesses that are more unique like, a Google in Ann Arbor. We have the parks system, we have the ski slopes, but White Lake needs to do a better job and attract people to move here. It’s not just about building. If you go to these places, these people do not live in White Lake and they’re not spending their dollars here. They are just clocking in, taking their wage and leaving. I’m not a career politician. I’m not on the board. I don’t work for a major company. I’m a citizen of White Lake, and I’m concerned the township isn’t listening to the citizens and that the officials have their own personal agendas. WHY YOU? I don’t have a huge background in politics, but I’m a member of this community. I love this township, I feel as if our township officials have stopped listening to the people and I feel that I can be a voice for the people and say, “Hey, maybe people don’t want this.” I think they are starting to fail at that. There’s just too many shady politics sometimes. I have no agenda. I’m just a concerned member of this community and I want to be able to raise my son in this township and appreciate the quality. Everything that I had growing up, I want him to have. ❏
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
primary voter guide
Incumbent Margaret Birch is being challenged by Cheryl Stoutenburg in the Tuesday, Aug. 5 Republican primary election for the Waterford Township treasurer position. With no Democratic candidate filed for the ballot, the winner of the GOP primary will win the treasurer post. The township treasurer serves a four-year term and is currently paid $81,963. The following are questions our staff recently posed to the candidates, and their responses to those questions. TREASURER’S ROLE: What do you see as the primary responsibilities of a township treasurer? What specific changes, if any, are needed in the way the Waterford treasurer conducts business? What are your qualifications for holding this position? INVESTMENTS: What investment instruments are at the disposal of municipal treasurers? Since risk is an inherent part of investing funds, which available investment instruments would you prefer to utilize as treasurer and which would you try to avoid using? How would you describe your investment philosophy for public funds? BUDGET: Fiscal uncertainty and challenges at the state level have caused new budgeting issues for municipal governments. At the same time, a continued decline in property values could pose additional budgetary hardships on local governments. What changes in township budgeting priorities or processes do you advocate to deal with these new hurdles? TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the township at this time, and how do you propose to address them? WHY YOU? Why, specifically, should voters choose you over your opponents?
TREASURER’S ROLE: The primary responsibilities would be balancing the budget, the collection of taxes and assessments, and collecting the fees for dog licenses. I have an excellent business degree in finance from Walsh College, which I think is really strong. I have been in accounting since I’ve been in the workforce. I think that’s a strong feature for me. INVESTMENTS: I would say I’m very conservative. I would use just about any instruments backed by banks. I would definitely avoid the stock market, if that was even an option. We need a wide-variety portfolio so you can have funds invested long-term and short-term that get the highest, safest amount of return. I would avoid anything that’s not backed by the FDIC. My investment philosophy is conservative. I am very conservative with my money, and I would be conservative with the township funds also. BUDGET: I think the assessors office needs to reduce their fees to help offset costs. Property values and actual market values aren’t equal, and something has to be done. All our taxes went up but our values went down. We’ve got to cut costs. TOP ISSUES: No. 1 is property taxes. Something needs to be done with the value assessments, and property taxes need to decrease. We have less people paying because of foreclosures and that burden shouldn’t be placed on those who do pay. Second is balancing the budget since revenues will be less. It will be a huge challenge. We need to cut costs. Raises have to stop and people need to learn to live with less. Township employees shouldn’t be any different. It’s tough out there. Third is attracting businesses to fill vacant spaces in strip malls. It’s not very nice looking and we need to entice people to come to the township. WHY YOU? I’m qualified for this position. My accounting background and education allow me to balance the budget and make safe investments with the taxpayers’ money. My background in accounting gave me various experiences in various departments. I’ve lived in Waterford my entire life. I do love the township. I think it can do better. I’d like to see it grow. I think we’re losing a little bit of ground, we aren’t quite doing well enough and people are going elsewhere. We have beautiful lakes and it’s a great place to grow up and live and retire. I would just like to see a change in the township. ❏
Margaret Birch has served as Waterford Township's treasurer since 2006. She previously served on Oakland County's Pension Board and the township's general pension board. She was educated at the Municipal Treasurers Institute at Central Michiga
Cheryl Stoutenburg is an accountant for Bill Moore Rental Properties. She serves as treasurer for the Waterford Township Historical Society, and holds business administration degrees from Oakland Community College and Walsh College.
TREASURER’S ROLE: The township treasurer’s office collects taxes but it’s also the treasurer’s role to handle the day-to-day (financial) operations of the township. We get the revenue in the form of taxes and state-shared revenue. I developed a cash flow where I know weekly what exactly is coming in and going out of the township. The main thing is to invest the money properly to meet the day-today operational needs of the township. I have instituted online banking which is something I wanted to institute. This will allow people to pay taxes through the Internet like you pay other bills. Along with the finance director, I will establish a two-year
rolling budget which will give us a forecast so that we can plan ahead and know what is coming in the future. You’re probably aware of the audit that just occurred. We were able to increase our fund balance from 7.49 percent to 10.72 percent. which was an increase of our unrestricted fund balance of $1.6 million. Considering this was a difficult economic time, that was quite a good savings. Part of that I invested in longterm investments and was able to capture some investments in the first quarter of this year. I’m qualified and experienced. I’ve been the treasurer. I’ve been on two pension funds. I’ve completed the threeyear treasurer’s institute at Central Michigan University (CMU), which I started before I became treasurer. It outlines all the duties and functions of the treasurer. INVESTMENTS: My investment policies are conservative. I just wrote a nationally-certified investment policy for the township which outlines what we can invest in. I do invest in CDs, money markets, government agencies and at times commercial paper, but only paper that is bank-backed. I obtained a free service with money markets that evaluates banks and gives me their asset quality. Southeast Michigan has the most trouble with their banks in the state. I’m also investing in Oakland County’s local government investment pool. They’ve been able to capture rates which I can use short-term to increase our returns. BUDGET: As you can tell, by having an increase in our unrestricted fund balance, we have cut expenditures. We’re watching our expenses. I want to have a two-year rolling budget and make all department heads aware of expenses for the next two years. Also, we want a five-
year forecast so we can plan for the future. We also, because of our finance department, are allowed to get budgetary figures much faster. When we do our budget we have actual figures we can utilize. It will really help us plan for the future like the county does. TOP ISSUES: One of the main issues is our revenue sources, and they comprise two issues. One is the taxes we collect. Tax revenue is flat this year and will decrease next year. I think we need to do our two-year rolling budget. Another issue is our water department. I think it would be wonderful to cut ourselves off from Detroit. Hopefully with our state-of-the art water department we can redevelop and remodel the Pontiac sewage disposal plant and become self contained. Water is one of our greatest asset in Waterford. Also, we need to make sure we have the resources to cover the services that are most important to our citizens, like police and fire. WHY YOU? I’m qualified, and I love the job. I’ve graduated from the CMU treasurer’s institute. I have over 20 years experience in investing, which is the main job of the treasurer. You have to save and squeeze every penny. I’ve lowered banking fees, I have a good handle and experience and it shows by my ability to capture interest. I have the foresight to see what’s happening in the future because rates are declining right now. You also have the other hat of being a (member of the township board). I’ve taken an active part in our community. I think that’s another hat the treasurer has to wear. I love my community, I think that we’ve made a lot of progress in the time I’ve been in office. I care and I think I do a good job.
JULY 23, 2008
primary voter guide
Challengers Anthony Bartolotta, Kenneth H. Hempstead, David J. Kramer, Garry Nielsen; and incumbent Bette O’Shea will compete in the Tuesday, Aug. 5 Democratic primary election for their party’s nomination for four Waterford Township trustee positions. The four candidates that receive the most votes in the Democratic primary will face off against incumbent Republican Trustees David Maloney and Stan Moore for four trustee positions. Township trustees serve four-year terms and are currently paid $10,976 a year. The following are questions our staff recently posed to the Democratic candidates, and their response to those questions. BUDGET: Fiscal uncertainty and challenges at the state level have caused new budgeting issues for municipal governments. At the same time, a continued decline in property values could pose additional budgetary hardships on local governments. What changes in township budgeting priorities or processes do you advocate to deal with these new hurdles? COMPOST SITE: New state requirements for the operation of compost sites has prompted the township to close down its site on Hospital Road. In the meantime, a group of township officials is conducting a feasibility study to determine the economics behind running a compost facility under the new requirements. Where does operating the compost site fall on your list of priorities for the township? Please state why you do or don’t believe the closing of the compost site should prompt the township to break the community up into districts and issue waste hauling contracts so all residents receive compost pickup service. CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: The Waterford Board of Trustees recently approved an ordinance creating a corridor improvement authority (CIA) for the Telegraph Road corridor, and appointment of the new authority’s governing board members. Please state why you are or aren’t comfortable at this time with township tax revenues being captured for public improvements in the CIA district. What kind of improvements would you like to see in the CIA district? TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the township at this time, and how do you propose to address them? WHY YOU? Why, specifically, should voters choose you over your opponents?
Anthony Bartolotta has owned the Imperial Auto Wash in Waterford Township for over 15 years.
Kenneth H. Hempstead served as a 51st District Court judge from 1969 until 2001, and was justice of the peace in Waterford from 1964 until 1968.
David J. Kramer is a recently-retired assessor for Independence Township, where he was employed for 22 years. He has served as president of the Watkins Lake Owners Association, and a member of the Watkins Lake Improvement Board.
BUDGET: I think the next four years will be really challenging for this township board with the housing crisis, state revenue cutting and all the other cuts we are experiencing. Like everyone else here, I don’t know what the budget will consist of but we’re going to have to cut down to bare bones. We’re just going to have to see where we’re going to have to cut. I, myself, run a business and I know how to balance a budget. I know that, when my checkbook is down and I only have so much to spend, that’s what I spend. It seems to be the most challenging time this township has ever seen because of the foreclosures we’re going through right now. We’re going to have to make cuts. I don’t know if that means layoffs. So far the board’s done a good job of not laying off employees and keeping our head above water. I think we’ll have to make cuts in departments all across the board. COMPOST SITE: It’s really sad that the compost site had to close down because of the new requirements. The reason Waterford closed it down was costs. I think the compost site was a really good thing for the community but I guess with the way times are now with the budget, the township can’t afford to keep it operating under the state requirements. I don’t like the idea of dividing the township into districts for pickup. It keeps taxes up. I don’t mind paying the fee for pickup; it’s reasonable and basically I don’t want my taxes to go up. I moved here for the low taxes. It’s just really sad times right now with the state bringing requirements like this. I used that site a bunch of times; it was very cheap and reasonable. I would love to see it come back. CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY:
I’m in favor of it 100 percent because it involves where my business is at. It’s suburban blight in that area and one of the reasons is the mall. That mall is just becoming a ghost town. It’s been that way ever since Great Lakes Crossing went in. The area needs sprucing up. It’s the gateway to Waterford. It needs to encourage business owners to clean up their places to make it a more viable place to live. We don’t need more muffler shops, check cashing places or cell phone shops. We need decent restaurants and a downtown area for Waterford. What a beautiful thing to have, a baseball stadium. We could put in a downtown area there. Once it gets going it will pay for itself. This is the perfect way to get it kick-started. I am all for it. TOP ISSUES: The No. 1 issue is the budget. I think the township board has done a great job and we don’t need any cuts right now. Second is the Summit Place Mall Area. The Summit Place Mall needs to attract some developers. We need to give them incentives and make that area come back alive. I don’t have a third issue. WHY YOU? I’m 54-years-old; I’ve got a stake in the township. I’ve been in business 16 years in Waterford and lived here for 10 years. I don’t plan on going anywhere. I believe I can bring to the board a business view. I know how to make cuts when necessary; I keep my head above water. I love Waterford. I think the township has a lot of potential. I’ve done a lot of volunteer stuff in the community and I will continue to. I want to make it a better and safe community. I’m a person that won’t bite my tongue: I’m outspoken and it’s just the way I am.
KENNETH H. HEMPSTEAD
BUDGET: First of all, I’m the only one here that doesn’t know the budgeting process, so I have to learn that and see if I agree with it. I would suggest that we need to cut the budget to bare bones because we’re not going to get a lot of money from state agencies. I would say that house values are going to go down for a while, so we’re going to have to take a look at that and see if there are areas in the township budget that we can save on. That’s my main concern, fiscal responsibility. COMPOST SITE: My understanding was one of the biggest problems was that we didn’t own the land where the compost site was located. That’s another thing we’d have to examine if we’re going to retain it as an edifice of the township. We’d have to acquire some land that we aren’t using at the present time. As for restrictions, I think it’d be the job of the various supervisors and/or their representatives to go to Lansing and see if we can’t change the restrictions and see what area they would bend in and which areas they wouldn’t. I would think the idea of dividing into districts is good and let the bids begin. Several other communities, Ann Arbor for instance, vacuums leaves at the curb and sells the refuse to the citizens at a reduced rate. The product is excellent. I can’t see wasting it, I can’t see burning it and I can’t see doing without it. I don’t know where on my list considerations this exist because I don’t know what all the considerations are at this time. It’s important though and I think it should be worked out and we should check all possibilities and see whether we can run it as a municipal
PAGE 40 ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
primary voter guide
❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ PAGE 39
issues and still address the needs of the citizens of the township.
BUDGET: The recent audit of Waterford’s financial situation has come out with flying colors, but that’s for right now. I just read that the income was about $42 million and the expenditures were $41 million, so it’s pretty close. I’m happy to hear that the township is solvent, but with the mortgage crisis we’re in and state funding declining I would anticipate that in the next couple of years we’ll have trouble. A reason I’m running is because I have the experience with budgets from my previous advertising career to take a hard look at all of that and see what we can do to keep Waterford solvent. I wouldn’t know, of course, until I get elected what those areas are. The audits seem to think that staffing necessary to run the township is just fine, but we’d have to keep a close eye on it because, as I said, I would expect a decline in the next year or two. COMPOST SITE: I’m dismayed at the closure of the facility because I think it’s a necessary facility for the community. There has to be a way to continue its operation. I understand and appreciate the cost of monitoring the runoff and contaminants and apparently it was decided it wasn’t cost-effective. If elected, I would look at other expenditures to make sure the money that we do have is being allocated where it’s most necessary. This is an important facility. A side benefit of it is it helps with suburban blight, which I think is a major issue for the township. So, I think it needs to be looked at and continued. CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: I’m 100 percent in favor of the CIA. I didn’t know that it was tied into Telegraph but I am all in favor of that. It’s a favorite issue of mine, the suburban blight. I think it’s a problem in the township. I don’t know about anyone else here, but in other corridors — M59 and Dixie Highway — it’s fast food chain after fast food chain or muffler shops, and it’s very unattractive. We don’t have a viable downtown congregating place that’s attractive like some of the other communities, and any kind of attempt at beautification and revitalization I’m 100 percent in favor of. I don’t think it’s a waste of taxpayer money because if it can be made more attractive it can attract more businesses. Beyond that I feel the government has a social responsibility to its citizens to make sure that the community they live in is a place that they can be proud to live in. TOP ISSUES: I would say maintaining the services we provide our citizens is the first. They’ve come to expect it and need it. We should do it without raising taxes. The budget is the second. How can we ignore it? The state is experiencing
PAGE 41 ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯
operation or turn it over to private enterprise. CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: I’m in favor of the CIA. I’m in favor of adopting something that will help improve the corridor. I don’t know whether, at this time, it’s advisable and how much we’ll be spending on it. It seems to me you’d have to look at that and see whether the overall advantages are to our best interest and the total interest of the community, not just those conducting business on Telegraph. I would have to see the layout and respective cost and benefit from it before I pass on that. TOP ISSUES: I would say No. 1 is the budget because of the horrible economic times that we’re all in. It will be coming upon us to review it until we’ve sharpened our pencils as much as we can. The second is to find other means of supporting the township. Taxes are imminent but there has to be another way of doing it that’s constant and doesn’t fluctuate. One way is to be proactive with our Legislature and get them to listen to our problems and suggestions. I’m certain they’d welcome an exchange of ideas. Third is taking a look at our long term goals — what do we have in mind for future development, and where is it going to be? We need to see if our master plan is still what we thought it was. If not we need to adopt a new one, use it and not abuse it. WHY YOU? In 1964 I ran for the office of justice of the peace in Waterford and I was elected. I served until 1969 and was also appointed in Pontiac and Royal Oak. In 1969 I ran for district judge and was the first in the 51st District Court. I served there for 35 years. I believe that my experience in these offices and private practice will allow me to properly serve the people of Waterford. I established the first drug-free facility in Oakland County which is still in existence and currently occupies two buildings on North Oakland Boulevard. I’m well aware of the needs of the people of Waterford from several standpoints. My education and experiences qualify me to serve the people of Waterford.
Garry Nielsen is the owner and creative director of Nielson & Associates, an advertising firm. He ran for a seat on the Oakland County Board of Commissioners in 2004.
Bette O'Shea has been a Waterford Township trustee since 1993 and works as a medical technologist for POH Regional Medical Center in Pontiac. She is chairperson of the Hess-Hathaway Historic Farm Committee and the township board's liaison to the Planning Commission.
DAVID J. KRAMER
BUDGET: I think historically the township board has balanced the budget very well. The Plante & Moran audit report came out and gave a glowing review of the township board’s fiscal responsibility. These challenges to budgets are faced by all local governments. Waterford, of course, is no exception. I don’t know, at this point in time, where money could be saved in lieu of the crisis we’re in. I do know there are proposals at the state level to
defray even more property taxes for people who are in the foreclosure process. I think the township board needs to look at that and address their consensus of opinion to the state as to the impact that would have on local government. We may need to look at a freeze in hiring except for essential positions. I don’t have enough intimate knowledge of the budget at this time to say clearly what could be cut or sustained. I do think the board is going to work together and minimize the change in services to local residents. COMPOST SITE: This is a big issue. I think there are many residents of Waterford Township that are upset with the closing of the compost facility. I understand that these state regulations are stringent and the township isn’t presently prepared to meet the financial obligations. The people of Waterford were banned from burning leaves 12 to 15 years ago, which is a good thing, but there was no alternative in place except to take them to the compost site which is now closed. There are alternative ideas for dealing with organic compost in the township, one of which would be to consider the possibility of independent contractors to come in and find a viable way of making it a for-profit enterprise to remove our organic waste. Cities like Royal Oak vacuum the leaves at the curb, take it back to their DPW yard and next spring sell it to their residents. I don’t know if that plan would work in Waterford Township, but I do believe we should explore these alternatives rather than just throwing our hands in the air and saying, “We’ve got state regulations we can’t meet.” I would discuss the concept of districts for collection. It would still be a free enterprise system, but we need to think about our carbon footprint as a township. In my neighborhood, garbage companies operate five days a week. I could not even begin to tell you the plethora of garbage companies operating in my neighborhood. Smith’s Disposal alone makes three trips through my
neighborhood in one day: one for compost, one for recyclables and one for garbage. It’s my belief that if we divide the township into districts and require that free enterprise garbage operating companies competitively bid for those districts, we can reduce the carbon footprint, provide greater safety for our pedestrians and children on the streets, and have predictable traffic in our neighborhoods. CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: The CIA is a good working tool to improve a specific area. The captured tax dollars are spent within the district. I do believe there is a time limit on the district and ultimately those tax dollars will be spread across and used across the whole township. It will encourage commercial development in the area, which brings in more tax revenue. So while the revenue is captured in a specific district during a period of time, ultimately the revenue is spread across the entire township’s needs. I don’t know what plans the township has specifically for the CIA but the concept of the CIA has worked in other communities and if history is any guide it will be a benefit to Waterford Township, as well. TOP ISSUES: The first is garbage collection by district and competitive bid. I believe that would reduce our carbon footprint by reducing the number of trucks operating. It would reduce blight and protect our pedestrian traffic. The second is the CIA which would help encourage economic growth and beautify our township. The third is the budget. It’s part and parcel of a township trustee’s responsibility. WHY YOU? I think everyone here brings experience with them. I served in Independence Township as an assessor for 20 years. That gave me great insight as to how local government works. I believe that experience prepares me for dealing with issues that come before the board and gives me understanding as to why some things work and other don’t. It helps me to decide the priority of
JULY 23, 2008
primary voter guide
❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ PAGE 40
one of the worst downturns of any state. Waterford seems to be solvent but it’s perilous and we don’t know, with increasing foreclosures, what the future holds. I would expect revenues to decline. The third is beautification efforts and redevelopment. There are ordinances that support beautification and certainly redevelopment is exemplified in the Summit Place Mall problem. We need to look to the future. What do we want this community to be? WHY YOU? As a 23-year resident, I know Waterford and I love Waterford as much as I’ve railed against its blight. I know how beautiful Waterford can and should be. My career is behind me, though I still run an independent consulting firm from my home office. At my executive position in the advertising industry I routinely oversaw multi-million dollar budgets. Whatever I’d be facing with Waterford should come as no surprise and wouldn’t be difficult for me to understand or deal with. Beyond that, the reason why I am running is the same as in 2004. I’m beyond disgusted and appalled with the Republican/Bush administration. While I realize that the township board’s issues are largely budgetary and non-partisan in nature, I think that we can’t help but be affected by our political philosophies. Up until this year the board was occupied by three Republicans and one Democrat. Whether I win or not, I hope four (Democrats) do. I would be just as happy if the four others here today won in place of a Republican.
BUDGET: Having been a part of the board that everyone is complementing because Plante & Moran gave us a fourstar rating for the way we’ve handled it, we have a reserve of 10 percent roughly and that’s wonderful under these times when other government agencies aren’t doing so well. What we’ve done to help with our budget is to go outside and find grants. The police and fire have written a lot of grants. The departments have, too. We’ve had the opportunity to side up with other government agencies and try to share fire or police protection with those agencies so that we didn’t have to service or buy new equipment on our own. It’s going to be trying the next four years but I think that the momentum has been set with what we have going right now and I think if we keep going with the staffs we have, who are very cognizant of the need to be careful, I think we’ll stay ahead of it for the next four years. I hope by that time the economy will have a better turn. COMPOST SITE: I’m upset they closed the compost site because it did allow some of those people who would be less industrious about their debris a place to take it and it was out of the streets and not cluttering the township. With this recent storm, I’m wondering where the debris is going. The testing of the soil
and runoff was fairly expensive and had to be done frequently. It’s not like you can test once a year. That means someone has to be out there all the time. The regulations that they are requiring are an expense that the township doesn’t have funds to handle right now. The only thing I can think of is a pop bottle collection or something to start kicking it off but those are the reasons that we can’t really just jump back into having a compost site. It’s just too bad because we care about saving the environment and being environmentally concerned and we turn around and now can’t help the environment in what seems like a practical way. I am looking forward to the results of the study but I’m apprehensive that they may not be able to afford it. CORRIDOR IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY: It’s a tool to manage areas that can’t be managed by the government, the township for example. It gives us money to jump start projects for businesses and improvements. It’s a beautification that will draw people in. The ghost town that we’re seeing at the Summit Place Mall isn’t totally the fault of the business people. They tried, and a lot of them have just had to give up because they’ve not had actual store use to support them being there, even with some of them getting special treatment with their rent. So, yes we’re looking into revitalizing and the CIA was one tool that was offered. It takes about six months for all the necessary steps to go into place. They’ll be meeting and deciding where the money should be invested. It’s a tool that brought funds into the township for us to use to improve these areas. TOP ISSUES: The budget is the first. It’s a priority because that’s what we do. We’ve raised and spent and saved. Negotiating our contracts is part of the budget. Second is finding new ways to bring money into the government aspect of the township. We’ve had unique things in the township to achieve that. Maybe we can have the residents take a dollar out of their taxes and set up some kind of matching fund for a community center. The third is maintaining the quality of life that Waterford residents expect even though we are in dire straits sometimes. Whether it’s keeping the residents safe or providing the basics, we’ve done marvelous things like the nature center. We’ve been preserving and taking care of things but I would like to keep that going. WHY YOU? I’m hoping that my experience on the board, since 1993, will give me the privilege to serve the township again. I have a unique background with being in the health care system. I care about Waterford. I’ve run for trustee each time because I’ve not had any political goals to use it as a stepping stone. I’ve lived in Waterford since 1968; I’ve raised my girls here. I would like to keep that for those kids coming up. I have a grandson I would like to share the community with. I would like to be a steward of the township to make that possible. ❏
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
primary voter guide
Carl David Anderson, Mary Ellen Brennan, Robert H. Giles, Lisa Gorcyca, Thomas E. Kuhn, and Rebecca S. Walsh will face off in the Tuesday, Aug. 5 primary election for two seats on the Oakland County Circuit Court bench. The four candidates that receive the most votes in the August primary will compete in the Nov. 4 general election for the two judge positions. Circuit court judges serve six-year terms and are paid approximately $140,000 per year. The following are questions we recently posed to the candidates, and their responses to those questions. JAIL: The Oakland County Jail has experienced chronic inmate overcrowding for months, leading to the early release of scores of non-violent prisoners. A citizen survey indicated overwhelming opposition to a tax increase to pay for a new jail. What do you see as a circuit court judge’s role in addressing the jail inmate population issue? What, if any, alternatives would you support to deal with the jail overcrowding issue? ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING: When is it appropriate for you, as a judge, to use alternative sentences rather than impose a traditional jail term? What sentencing alternative proposals, if any, would you suggest upon being seated as a judge? JUDICIAL DISCRETION: As a judge, how faithful do you feel the bench should be in accepting a prosecutor’s recommendation for sentencing? At what point would you stray from the recommended sentence, either in favor of or against a defendant? Please provide examples. TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the circuit court at this time, and how do you propose to address them? WHY YOU? Why, specifically, should voters choose you over your opponents? request your vote at the Aug. 5, 2008 primary and the Nov. 4, 2008 general election.
MARY ELLEN BRENNAN
JAIL: I will impose alternative sentences whenever appropriate. The programs I will consider are placement in adult treatment court, work release and home tether. Adult treatment court is appropriate for individuals who have substance abuse issues that impact their decision-making. Work release and home tether are appropriate for the non-violent offender. Both restrict the defendant’s freedom but allow him or her to stay employed. These programs cost the taxpayers less than jail housing. Adult treatment court holds people accountable while also providing the tools and support to change their lives. ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING: I will look at each case individually to decide when to impose traditional jail time vs. an alternative sentence. Factors I will consider are the nature of the offense, the attitude of the offender, the life experience of the offender, and the input of the victim (if there is one). Jail is appropriate for a repeat offender who takes no responsibility for his/her behavior and has no desire to change the way he/she makes decisions. In other cases, the goal is rehabilitation. A first-time offender who seems to understand what went wrong and shows genuine remorse and an understanding of the harm he/she caused would be a candidate for alternative sentence. Some alternative sentences I will consider are intense substance abuse counseling, work release programs and volunteering at facilities where a person can obtain a sense of perspective about his/her life and role in the community. JUDICIAL DISCRETION: When imposing a sentence, a judge should consider (but not necessarilty agree with) input from all participants in the sytem — victim, prosecution and the defense. However, in doing so, a judge should at all times remember that a primary purpose of sentencing is to protect law-abiding citizens from criminals. Sentences exceeding guidelines and recommendations are appropriate in cases of violent crimes or when the victimes are more vulnerable, such as with children or senior citizens. TOP ISSUES: The top issues facing the circuit court are jail overcrowding (addressed above); docket management; and lack of a mental health court. I will address docket management issues by running an efficient courtPAGE 43 ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯
Carl David Anderson has his own law practice in Troy. He currently serves on the Oakland County Bar Association's Board of Directors.
Mary Ellen Brennan is currently the judicial attorney/case coordinator for the 44th District Court. She has worked in various divisions of the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office.
CARL DAVID ANDERSON
JAIL: In order to alleviate the jail overcrowding situation, Oakland County Circuit judges must utilize alternative sentencing when dealing with non-violent criminal offenders. Alternative sentencing approaches that should be used include supervised probation, monitored work release programs, and drug court programs. In addition to alternative sentencing approaches, reasonable bonds need to be set by both district court judges and circuit court judges involving individuals charged with non-violent crimes. ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING: Alternative sentencing is a cost-effective way of keeping the jail population at a manageable level, and without
having to incur huge costs for the construction of new county jail facilities. The cost for a new Oakland County Jail is estimated to be over $100 million, and the additional expense associated with the operation of a new jail is approximately $20 million per year. Alternative sentencing approaches such as supervised probation, monitored work release programs, and drug court programs are all positive and cost-effective ways of sentencing non-violent criminal offenders. Alternative sentencing approaches should be used on a regular basis by both circuit court judges to keep the prisoner population at a manageable level. Violent criminal offenders should remain incarcerated in the Oakland County Jail until their case is fully adjudicated. JUDICIAL DISCRETION: When a person pleads guilty to, or is found guilty by a jury of a criminal offense, that individual is sent to the probation office for the preparation of a pre-sentence report and sentencing recommendation. The presentence report gives the judge crucial background information regarding the person to be sentenced. While the prosecutor’s recommendation and defense counsel’s recommendation for sentencing are factors the court may listen to, the judge needs to sentence a defendant based upon the overall protection and safety of the citizens who live in the community. Individuals who commit violent criminal acts need to be incarcerated for the protection and safety of the community. Individuals who commit non-violent criminal offenses such as property crimes or drug offenses, are good candidates for alternative sentencing options such as monitored work release programs, supervised probation, and drug court programs. TOP ISSUES: The three most important issues facing the Oakland County Circuit Court at this time are jail overcrowding,
increasing the utilization of alternative dispute resolution programs, and increasing the use of computer technology in the court system. Both the circuit court judges and the district court judges in Oakland County need to work together to set reasonable bonds and sentences for non-violent criminal offenders. Incarceration is most appropriate for violent criminal offenders to keep the community safe. Since 97 percent of all Oakland County Circuit Court civil cases settle before trial, increased emphasis on early civil intervention conferences, mediations, and arbitrations should be pursued by the court. This will help keep the length of litigation and the cost of litigation to a minimum. Lastly, with the great increase in computer usage, e-filing programs and the use of other computer technology to keep the cost of litigation and the time individuals must spend in court to a minimum needs to be aggressively pursued. WHY YOU? I have been a litigator for my entire 31 year legal career. The position of Oakland County Circuit Court judge requires a person serving in this role to be a person with broad based litigation experience. I’m the only candidate running for the Oakland County Circuit Court who has over 100 completed criminal and civil jury trials. In addition, I’m the only candidate running for the Oakland County Circuit Court who has broad based experience in family law, criminal law, civil law, equity law, arbitrations, and mediations. This is the exact experience I will be called upon on January 1, 2009 to perform as an Oakland Circuit Court judge. All the other candidates running for Oakland Circuit Court judge will need six to 12 months to learn the entire job, and they will do so at taxpayer expense. Due to my broad based experience as a litigator, I will be able to perform this job on day one, at no expense to the taxpayers of Oakland County. I respectfully
JULY 23, 2008
primary voter guide
❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ PAGE 42
room. I will be on time and prepared, set a high standard of professionalism and expect lawyers to be on time and prepared, as well. I will have a good working knowledge of the files on my docket. I will adhere to the case flow management guildes set forth in the Supreme Court Administrative Order. I would support a pilot program for a mental health court. A mental health court functions much like adult treatment courts by sentencing non-violent offenders to mental health evaluation, intense counseling, and medication compliance assistance. All of this takes place within the community. WHY YOU? I have been an attorney for 18 years. For the past six years, as the judicial staff attorney/case coordinator I have been responsible for all aspects of docket management for civil and criminal cases. I conduct pre-trial and settlement conferences, review files before trial or hearing, identify eventiary issues and assist the court in making rulings. I’m in the courtroom every day. I have served in that uniquely neural position, allowing me to evaluate files from a judge’s perspective. I’m most qualified for this position because of the broad experience, skills and temperament that I will bring to the bench. In addition to having significant criminal and civil courtroom experience, I possess the common sense, humility, and life experience that comes with being a married mother of three children. I’m committed to creating a courtroom that is efficient and productive and where justice is served.
system. I know the stresses and opportunities it offers. These experiences have helped form my passion for the law. I have spent my career helping people negotiate an often intimidating judicial process. I’m a good listener who weighs both sides and is able to make tough decisions. My success as a prosecutor of crimes against children has compelled me to be well prepared; I will bring this work ethic to the bench and expect attorneys who appear before me to be prepared as well. My courtroom will be a place where all people are treated with respect and dignity.
Robert H. Giles is an assistant Oakland County prosecutor, currently serving as chief of the child sexual assault unit. He has taught courses at the Oakland County Police Academy. Lisa Gorcyca has been an assistant Oakland County prosecutor since 1993 and is currently the chief of the domestic violence division. She is a former major crimes prosecutor and has been an instructor at the Oakland County Police Academy.
JAIL: My role as a circuit court judge in addressing the jail overcrowding issue is to mete out sentences that balance the protection of the public against fashioning an appropriate sentence for the crime committed. Sentences must take into account defendant’s who are repeat offenders, seriousness of the offense and those who prey on elders and children. There currently exist a number of jail alternatives I support and some that I would encourage expanding. GPS tether systems are a useful and successful jail alternative I support and in appropriate cases should be utilized more frequently. Use of tether is also more cost-efficient than the price of daily incarceration. Work release programs also free up jail beds and allow defendants to continue employment while paying their debt to society. Lastly, drug courts are successful programs that boast a low recidivism rate and free up jail space. ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING: The most appropriate factors in the determination to utilize alternative jail sentences are the seriousness of the offense, past criminal history of the defendant and likelihood of rehabilitation. As a sitting judge, I would encourage expansion of GPS tethering. Mental Health Courts should be explored since the jails have neither the resources nor expertise in dealing with the mentally challenged in our criminal justice system. I would also utilize programs supported by the Department of Community Corrections such as Step Forward and alternative incarceration centers. JUDICIAL DISCRETION: A prosecutor’s sentencing recommendation is but only one factor in the sentencing equation. A judge should hear and consider information from the defense regarding mitigating circumstances as well as information from the probation department who conducts a lengthy pre-sentence report. Due to the passage of statutory sentencing guidelines there is little room for arbitrary sentences. The court may depart from the mandated sentencing range, but only if there exists a substantial and compelling reason. Substantial and comPAGE 44 ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯
ROBERT H. GILES
JAIL: Jail sanctions must be reserved for defendants whose crimes are repeated, violent or represent a severe abuse of the public trust. If the sentencing guidelines don’t mandate a jail or prison sentence, it’s incumbent upon every judge to use reason and common sense when determining what jail sentence, if any, is appropriate. Often, for non-violent offenders who are eligible, the opportunity to serve their sentence on probation gives them the chance to correct their behavior without suffering a jail sentence. Probationary sentences enable a judge to utilize the resources of the community, including churches, schools and other community based agencies. This helps not only the offender but allows the community to have a stake in the rehabilitation of the offender. However, in order for probation to work effectively, the court must provide consistent oversight and be prepared to act when offenders do not carry out the terms of their probationary sentence. ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING: If the mandatory sentencing guidelines don’t require a jail or prison sentence, the
use of alternative sentencing is essential and in the public interest. Many of the programs currently in place enable the justice system to work with defendants in the expectation that their behavior can be corrected and that they can be productive members of our community. Alternative sentences give defendants with substance abuse issues, for example, the opportunity to address and correct their behavior; a process that offers the prospect of rehabilitation and can be provided at a much lower cost to taxpayers than incarceration. A defendant found guilty of a violent crime or who is a repeat offender should not be eligible for alternative sentencing. JUDICIAL DISCRETION: In exercising their power to sentence, judges must be independent, thoughtful, well informed and fair, and must be willing to make tough decisions. Judgment is a critical element as a judge weighs the recommendations of a prosecutor and the probation department as well as the other factors that might be appropriately considered in exercising judicial discretion. The victims and their families, defendants and their attorneys and the public interest each present important considerations in how a sentence is determined. I would listen to the recommendation of the prosecutor and probation department, but would always sentence in the manner I believe is fair, while following mandatory sentencing guidelines. TOP ISSUES: One of the most serious issues facing the Oakland County Circuit Court is jail overcrowding. On several occasions recently, overcrowding in the Oakland County Jail has forced the court to release large number of inmates before completion of their sentences. This is demoralizing to law enforcement, victims and the community at large. Judges can help manage the size of the jail population in the judgment they bring to the sentencing process. The Michigan Sentencing Guidelines can give judges the option of jail or alternative methods of sentencing. When the circumstances allow, judges must consider alternatives that can give offenders opportunities to correct their behavior as an alternative to
incarceration. It is also incumbent upon a judge to set bond for defendants in a manner that protects society and ensures the appearance of the defendant at all court appearances. Docket congestion poses a serious problem to civil and criminal litigants alike. Adjournments and delays are, at times, unavoidable, but judges have a responsibility to act when there is evidence that litigants are using delays as a tactic. I have seen how unreasonable delays add financial and emotional burdens to both victims and defendants. Justice delayed is, in effect, justice denied. As judge, I will require attorneys to be prepared when they enter my courtroom and will not allow delay to be used as a way for a party to gain an advantage. I also will be reasonable when circumstances indicate that a delay is necessary. Overall, my practice will be to use my discretion in the interest of a speedy trial for each litigant. Families and children are becoming more and more a part of our judicial system. Whether it is because of divorce, neglect, delinquency or being the victim of a crime, children and families are being drawn into the judicial system. It’s important for judges to understand how the judicial system can ensure that families and children get appropriate help and services. I will use the powers available to me as judge to require agencies in our community responsible for providing appropriate services to families and children to effectively carry out their responsibilities. WHY YOU? The experiences that have most influenced my decision to run for judge are two years as a clerk for the Honorable Damon J. Keith, judge of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and my work as assistant oakland county prosecutor in charge of the Child Sexual Assault Unit. From Judge Keith, and the judges in Oakland County, I learned how a judge prepares for his role on the bench and how to run a fair courtroom. My work as a prosecutor has earned me a reputation as empathetic and tough. I have stood many times with people during their first encounters with the justice
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
primary voter guide
❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ PAGE 43
pelling reasons only apply in exceptional cases. The reasons justifying departure should keenly and irresistibly grab the court’s attention and be recognized as having considerable worth in determining the length of the sentence. TOP ISSUES: Jail overcrowding is a perpetual problem. With limited county resources it is vital the justice system appropriately addresses the difference between violent and non-violent offenders and balance the protection of society against holding offenders accountable. Docket congestion is another major issue facing the court. Due to the high volume of cases, it’s important that the courts are efficient as possible. Litigants want and should have their cases decided on an expeditious basis. I would consider implementing “rocket dockets” and utilizing more alternative dispute resolutions. The alarming number of youthful offenders appearing in court must be addressed. It’s my goal to keep youthful offenders from entering the adult criminal system via a combination of punishment, deterrence, rehabilitation, mental health treatment (when necessary) and education. I would create a partnership with schools so that students could see first-hand the ramifications of criminal behavior and drug and alcohol abuse. WHY YOU? The circuit court is commonly referred to as the trial court and trial experience is what I would bring immediately to the bench. Having tried over 150 trials and handled over 10,000 cases, my courtroom experience is unmatched. I have dedicated my entire 15 year legal career to public service and to protecting victims of crime as an Oakland County assistant prosecutor. My vast experience in trying murder, rape, domestic violence, and elder abuse cases, where families and victim lives are torn apart and emotions run deep, have provided me a training ground for the development of an even handed but firm temperament. I have an avid grasp of courtroom procedure, rules of evidence and protocol. I am accustomed to working long hours on case preparation and research both of which are habits that will transfer to the bench.
Thomas E. Kuhn is a former Royal Oak City Commissioner and currently a trustee for Oakland Community College.
Rebecca S. Walsh is an attorney practicing in medical malpractice, personal injury megligence, no fault, and automobile insurance case. She has been employed at Fieger, Fieger, Kenney, Johnson & Giroux; and Cory & O'Brien, Mitchell & Leon.
THOMAS E. KUHN
JAIL: We need to assure that violent criminals are in jail. The safety of our citizens, their families and their neighborhoods is the highest priority. In recent years, a number of Oakland County courts have successfully established drug courts to address non-violent substance abusers. Drug courts utilize intensive, community-based, treatment, rehabilitation, and supervision for drug defendants to cut high recidivism rates. These courts divert
non-violent, substance abusing offenders from jail into treatment: They help break the cycle of criminal behavior, alcohol and drug use, and incarceration. They also play a critical role in helping families and teens deal with youthful drug addictions. Drug courts reduce crime by lowering rearrest and conviction rates, improve substance abuse treatment outcomes, and reunite families; as an important side benefit, they also assure measurable cost savings for the taxpayers. ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING: I support tough, fair sentencing for criminals. The state sentencing guidelines help to set out the parameters for sentencing: certainly violent criminals need to be in jail. In addition to the violent criminals, our courts have been inundated with non-violent substance abusers, and with the mentally ill. Previously, these groups weren’t a major responsibility of the courts; however, the mental health support system in our state has been shredded in recent decades forcing many of these individuals into the criminal justice system. We need to get non-violent substance abusers into intensive, community based treatment, rehabilitation and supervision programs to cut the number of repeat offenders. We need to get the mentally ill into community-based programs that address their illnesses. JUDICIAL DISCRETION: A judge is required to be independent. Because citizens have the opportunity to vote for the judges who reflect their community, neighborhood and family values, judges should use their own independent judgment in sentencing criminals. The state establishes guidelines for sentencing, and prosecutors, and probation officers give their recommendations; however, in our system of separation of powers, the final decision on sentencing reasonably rests with an independent judiciary. TOP ISSUES: Case Management: I will address delays in our justice system by being hard-working. I will be at court every day and use extended hours. I will work to settle cases promptly, and utilize alternative dispute resolution when appropriate. Prison/Jail Overcrowding: Public safety
must never be compromised; however, we must reserve prison space for violent offenders and expand boot camps to prevent young, non-violent offenders from graduating to a life of crime. Integrity: We need to have judges with the highest integrity and dedication to hard work. A judge must also have great legal ability, fair-mindedness and excellent judicial temperament. I believe that I’ve demonstrated these qualities during my 23 years of private practice as an attorney, and through my 16 years of service as an elected official in Oakland County. WHY YOU? I will serve the citizens with the highest integrity and commitment to justice. I’m committed to treating attorneys, parties and all other citizens coming before the court fairly — with respect and dignity. I will do everything possible to efficiently use the time spent at court by attorneys, parties and other citizens, creating longer and more flexible hours. I will expedite decision-making. I will make judicial decisions promptly while displaying a high level of competence and knowledge of the law. I will continue to be greatly involved in the community. I’m aware of the values of our citizens. My extensive public service makes me knowledgeable about Oakland County, and its community, neighborhood and family values. I will reflect those values as an Oakland County Circuit Court judge.
REBECCA S. WALSH
JAIL: Circuit court judges do not play a direct role in the jail overcrowding issue. Indirectly, they play a role through the sentence that is imposed, however. I believe judges must consider alternative sentencing for non-violent offenders. This consideration should balance several factors to determine whether the offender is a candidate for some type of alternative sentencing, or if jail is the correct option. This should be a case-by-case analysis, and should be done for every criminal sentenced. ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING: A circuit court judge’s role is to impose a sentence that is appropriate for the crime — including the nature of the crime,
whether the person is a repeat offender, and the impact on the victim. There are many options for alternative sentencing. In fact, a new tether has been developed that can detect alcohol and drug use of the person being monitored and alert police. This, and many other options, should be considered by the judge in sentencing criminals. However, these must be balanced against the impact on the victim and society. Ultimately, the judge needs to remain open-minded to the options to craft a fair sentence. JUDICIAL DISCRETION: Recommendations from the prosecutor and the use of a pre-sentence report are helpful, but should not be relied upon exclusively by the judge. Each case should be considered on its own, and sentencing based upon the sentencing guidelines, the impact to the victim, and any other pertinent factors. Often, the victim and other witnesses are allowed to speak to the judge at the time of sentencing. All of these factors should be considered, along with the recommendation of the prosecutor, in handing out a sentence. TOP ISSUES: Judical independence — it is essential that our judges remain independent and not become advocates for any party. Today, this is especially important and I will make it a top priority in my court. 2. Docket management — I will be on time for court and will be prepared — every day. In addition, the tradition of the judge being involved in the process of bringing the parties together to try to narrow issues, and settle cases, has in large part, disappeared. I will bring that back to my court and will work hard every day to make sure that the parties are only litigating the necessary issues. 3. Civility — Professionalism and civility have been left behind, as well. They will be priorities in my court. All persons entering my court will be treated with dignity and respect and will leave my court understanding what has happened. WHY YOU? I have many years of experience in the courtroom. I have practiced in more than 12 counties in Michigan, both divisions of the U.S. District Court and in eight other states. I have tried long, complex cases and short, simple cases. I have been involved in many jury trials. I appear in court frequently. In addition to my experience, I have been recognized by the U.S. District Court for my pro bono work in helping the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I lecture frequently and have been a requested speaker by the Center for International Legal Studies to speak in Europe on the topic of tort reform and its effect on the judiciary in the United States. I’m willing to spend the time and energy necessary to make sure that justice is handed out in a fair, honest and independent manner in every case that comes before me. ❏
JULY 23, 2008
primary voter guide
Mark Frankel, Barbara Benko Murphy, and Daniel A. O’Brien will compete in the Tuesday, Aug. 5 primary election for a non-incumbent seat on the Oakland County Probate Court bench. The two candidates who receive the most votes in the August primary will face off in the Nov. 4 general election. Probate court judges serve six-year terms and are currently paid approximately $140,000 per year. The following are questions our staff recently posed to the candidates, and their responses to those questions. CASELOAD: The Oakland County Probate Court’s annual caseload statistics indicate steady growth in the number of new cases filed over the past four years. Please state why you do or don’t believe the probate court has adequate personnel and financial resources to accommodate the increasing caseload. What changes, if any, do you advocate to help handle the growing caseload? MEDIATION: Those involved in cases handled by the probate court can seek a resolution outside of court through mediation. Please state why you are or aren’t satisfied with the probate court’s mediation program. What changes, if any, do you advocate in the program to better serve the public and ease the court’s caseload? CHILDREN’S ADVOCATES: Volunteers are appointed by the probate court to represent the best interests of a minor on a minor guardianship case by investigating and reporting on the child’s and the proposed guardian’s situation. Please tell us what changes, if any, in the child advocate program you would support. TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the circuit court at this time, and how do you propose to address them? WHY YOU? Why, specifically, should voters choose you over your opponents?
Mark Frankel has experience in probate/general civil trial and appellate courts, as well as a prosecuting attorney. He has been a probate and circuit court facilitator, discovery master, receiver, conservator and guardian, fiduciary and trustee.
Barbara Benko Murphy has practiced law in Troy, with a focus on probate and family law. She has held the appointed position of guardian ad litem in cases involving the aged and children, and has been a probate law and legal research and writing teacher at Oakland University.
Daniel A. O'Brien has a general litigation practice that deals with commercial and criminal law, divorce, wills, trusts, and other areas. He is a former assistant Oakland County prosecutor and electrical engineer, and has worked as a magistrate.
CASELOAD: Recently enacted probate statutory law has helped ease the burden on the court by streamlining the administration of simple estates. I will work with the court administration and with the members of the probate bar to further streamline the handling of estates. Much of the pressure can be elevated by my setting an example in the courtroom, by opening court promptly and having my staff prepared to handle matters quickly. I will work to make sure that parties appearing before me are heard and that their matters are decided quickly and decisively.
MEDIATION: I’m the only candidate for probate court that is qualified for both the circuit and probate court mediation panels and the only candidate that regularly conducts facilitative mediation. I’m a firm believer in the use of mediation to resolve issues in the probate court. Many disputed probate matters are conflicts between family members. Mediation undertakes to get the parties to sit down and discuss their dispute and to devise their own resolution. I have found this process to be a valuable tool in healing such rifts between family members. Additionally, mediation reduces the number of cases that the court must try, reducing the court’s caseload. CHILDREN’S ADVOCATES: The attorneys and lay people that volunteer as child advocates and guardians ad litem do an excellent job. They are concerned and dedicated. They are fearless in reporting abuse and neglect. Their only focus is on what is the best for the child. They are invaluable to the court. We do have to be vigilant and ensure that all new volunteers, attorneys and non-attorneys, are adequately trained so that they appreciate their responsibility. TOP ISSUES: The most important issues facing the probate court are the increased caseload occasioned by the aging of the population, the increased incidents of elder abuse, and juvenile crime. I will work with the court administrator and the probate bar to further streamline the probate docket. I will continue to work with volunteer groups which provide important educational and support services, such as Youth Guidance and the Citizen’s Alliance, to reduce elder abuse and juvenile crime. I
will be vigilant on the bench when addressing youth offenders to reduce recidivism. WHY YOU? I’m the only candidate with extensive probate litigation experience and the only candidate that is endorsed by all the Oakland probate judges. Judges appoint me as a personal representative, trustee and conservator because of my experience and integrity. I’m dedicated to the protection of senior citizens and incapacitated persons. As an experienced facilitator, and the only one among the candidates, I understand the importance of helping parties to resolve disputes themselves, and, when a resolution is not possible, I know a judge must make a fair decision. I will ensure parties are treated fairly and with respect and that their rights are protected.
BARBARA BENKO MURPHY
CASELOAD: My prediction is that the probate court’s annual caseload will continue to grow over the next decade due to the aging of the baby boomers. We will see more guardianship and conservatorship petitions filed for these individuals and then in the following decades we will see an increase in cases filed in probate court involving estates and trusts as the baby boomers pass away. The probate court does not act in a vacuum, it’s part of county government, and therefore is allocated limited resources. As the caseload grows court administration with the chief judges will address how to allocate resources. Currently, the probate judges don’t handle exclusively probate matters, they also share family law cases. Cases are also resolved through referees and mediation.
MEDIATION: The benefits of non-binding mediation are: cases can be scheduled earlier then when the court has a trial date often months away; it can be more affordable for parties vs. a trial and trial preparation; it can allow the parties more time to settle their case by scheduling more than one appointment with a mediator; it allows the parties to express their concerns without the rules of evidence; and if the parties arrive at a settlement mediation allows the parties a guaranteed result as opposed to having a judge decide their case. I have had good experiences with mediation conducted by an attorney. I would encourage mediation at an earlier point in each case. CHILDREN’S ADVOCATES: I have been court appointed to advocate for children as a guardian ad litem (GAL) for over 14 years in Oakland and Wayne counties. A GAL conducts an investigation regarding a petition and makes a recommendation to the court as to whom should be appointed the child’s guardian. A GAL should visit the child, review the guardianship petition, follow up with any other individuals (i.e., school counselor, proposed guardian, etc.) and ask questions to ensure that the proposed guardian is a safe, responsible choice. I would like to begin an annual mandatory training program for those who are appointed as GAL’s. The program that I attend annually in Wayne County only takes an afternoon a year and it updates the attendees on law, procedures, and how-to’s.
PAGE 46 ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
Experienced criminal prosecutor and civil attorney Rated Well Qualified by the 3,000-lawyer Oakland County Bar Association* Endorsed by lawyers and Oakland County Circuit and District Judges Endorsed by law enforcement organizations Endorsed by the Chairs of the Oakland County Democratic and Republican parties Endorsed by Democratic and Republican elected officials Endorsed by the South Oakland Bar Association
*2004 election. The OCBA has not rated candidates for the 2008 election
primary voter guide
❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ PAGE 45
THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR CIRCUIT COURT
Paid for by Mary Ellen Brennan for Circuit Judge Committee 322 N. Old Woodward, Birmingham, MI 48009
Retain Mar y McDonell Highland To w n s h i p C l e r k
“I appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve the residents of Highland. Thank you.”
TOP ISSUES: Scheduling. I would seek to revamp the scheduling process to avoid long waits in probate court for litigants and attorneys. I would exercise compassion and schedule adequate time when hearing cases involving the elderly, mentally ill, disabled, and children. Courtroom Accessibility. I would make the courtroom more accessible for those with disabilities (i.e., move the parties closer to the bench for those with hearing disabilities, designate an area for wheelchairs). I would use my teaching skills to inform and educate litigants; and encourage creative solutions to resolving probate law and family law cases. WHY YOU? Probate judges hear probate and family law cases. I have devoted my career of over 14 years to probate and family law matters. I have been court assigned cases by the Oakland and Wayne County probate judges to represent children, elderly and the mentally ill. I have taught probate law and legal research and writing at Oakland University. My teaching experience would make me an asset to the bench because I can explain in lay person’s language my decisions and I’m a patient listener. I have a passion for protecting the rights of children, the elderly, and helping families work out issues amicably whether it’s a will contest or a child custody battle. I have depth of experience in probate and family law matters including guardianships, conservatorships, mental health hearings, estate administration, adoptions, abuse and neglect, juvenile delinquency, divorce, custody, and parenting time.
DANIEL A. O’BRIEN
CASELOAD: I will spend substantial time speaking to all of the clerks and staff to learn first-hand what their concerns are about the increasing caseload, and their ideas for handling it. Serious study must also be given to determine the rates of growth of different case types, the judge/staff-hours necessary to handle them, and the expected rate of growth of the different “populations” that generate them. If projected growth would overwhelm the current resources, I would first hire additional clerical personnel, and then consider seeking legislative authority to utilize highly-skilled lawyers for part-time positions, who would exercise specific judicial authority, as I am presently doing as a judicial magistrate. These part-time judicial positions would not appreciably increase costs, primarily because they would not be eligible for benefits. Since judges are the most costly resource, I would work to significantly increase the work I could handle before asking for more judges. MEDIATION: I think mediation is great, if the parties are open to mediation, the case presents issues appropriate for mediation, and the parties can afford mediation. While some say “the best resolution is the one the parties make
Mary L. McDonell Experienced:
•Experienced Township Servant for 18 Years – CLERK – Bookkeeper –Recording Secretary – Zoning Board of Appeals •Municipal Clerk Certification, MSU •Graduate of MTA Governance Academy •Oakland County Clerks Assn., past President •Michigan Election Law Accredited
•Chair, Highland Twp. Parks Committee •Chair, Highland Senior Center Advisory Council •Member, Highland Business Association (received HBA’s “One Step Beyond” Award) •Judge, LEGO First Competition •Volunteer - Sparks in the Park, Milford Memories, 4-H, Christmas in April (Rebuilding Together), Girl Scouts, Milford High School Parent Council and Band Council, Highland Middle School and Highland Elementary School Parent Councils
Will Continue To:
•Represent All Residents •Have Controlled Growth and Development •Keep a Balanced Budget (Without New Taxes) •Maintain Highland’s Rural Atmosphere •Bring New Services to Residents
VOTE Tuesday, August 5
Paid for by Friends of MARY MCDONELL • 3540 Burwood Lane, Highland, MI 48357
themselves,” I have seen cases where the best resolution would have been for the judge to make the decisions he or she was elected to make. Almost nothing focuses the lawyers’ minds on their cases like knowing that the judge will make tough decisions, and is prepared to try cases. Also, not all mediators are suited to do the work of mediation, but have sometimes received their appointments for political/personal reasons, and to pad their resume. The court’s certification of a mediator only means that he completed the class, and is not a certification that he is a good mediator. CHILDREN’S ADVOCATES: Two keys to a successful child advocate program are well-trained advocates, and vigilant, thoughtful judges who are in touch with the advocates and their cases. I would make sure that I had a good working relationship with the advocates, and that I understood their strengths and their limitations. Advocates are bound to be more effective when they are placed in the proper situation, so that their primary duties are in their strengths. I would also provide as many opportunities as possible for the advocates to obtain regular, quality training experiences online and live. I would make this training available to the guardians, as well. TOP ISSUES: This survey has addressed at least three important issues: caseload, children’s advocates, and assisted outpatient treatment. A key ingredient to effectively dealing with these issues, over which I would have direct control, would be developing a staff, working with me, who are always at the service of the people who come to the court for resolution of their problems, not just management. I would be personally available to my staff and to attorneys to discuss cases in a way that encourages candor and resolution of problems. When people walk into my courtroom, I want them to see a judge who is working hard, and who is familiar with the cases and people that come before me. Recognizing that a judge needs to be able to see issues from all perspectives, I would provide additional time every week for meeting with lawyers and staff to discuss the effectiveness of the court. WHY YOU? I have seven and a half years of judicial experience as a judicial magistrate, making decisions that directly affect the safety and well-being of the people of Oakland County. I’ve had the opportunity to deal directly as a judge would with citizens, attorneys and police. No other candidate for probate court has any judicial experience. Mediators don’t make judicial decisions. They simply present compromises. Additionally, as a research attorney for over two years in the Court of Appeals, I analyzed the records of hundreds of cases, including probate matters throughout the state. As a trial lawyer for 18 years in criminal and civil cases, I gained a unique insight into the role of judging. No other candidate has had such broad and substantial experience. I will be ready on my first day to assume and effectively exercise the authority of the office. ❏
JULY 23, 2008
primary voter guide
52-2 District Court
Joseph G. Fabrizio, incumbent Judge Dana Fortinberry, Mark W. Lyon, and Fred Miller will compete in the Tuesday, Aug. 5 primary election for a 52-2 District Court bench seat. The two candidates that receive the most votes in the primary election will face off in the Nov. 4 general election. District court judges serve six-year terms and are currently paid approximately $138,000 per year. The following are questions our staff recently posed to the candidates, and their responses to those questions. JAIL: The Oakland County Jail has experienced chronic inmate overcrowding for months, leading to the early release of scores of non-violent prisoners. A citizen survey indicated overwhelming opposition to a tax increase to pay for a new jail. What do you see as a district court judge’s role in addressing the jail inmate population issue? What, if any, alternatives would you support to deal with the jail overcrowding issue? ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING: When is it appropriate for you, as a judge, to use alternative sentences rather than impose a traditional jail term? What sentencing alternative proposals, if any, would you suggest upon being seated as a judge? JUDICIAL DISCRETION: As a judge, how faithful do you feel the bench should be in accepting a prosecutor’s recommendation for sentencing? At what point would you stray from the recommended sentence, either in favor of or against a defendant? Please provide examples. PUBLIC DEFENDER PROGRAM: A report by the National Legal Aid & Defenders Association concludes there are significant deficiencies in the manner in which 10 Michigan counties — including Oakland — provide counsel to those who are deemed unable to afford a defense attorney. Please state what, if any, problems you see in the way Oakland County’s indigent defenders are provided representation. TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the 52-2 District Court at this time, and how do you propose to address them? WHY YOU? Why, specifically, should voters choose you over your opponents? law provides for a one-time deferral of a conviction for first-time offenders for such crimes as minor possessing alcohol, possession of marijuana, domestic violence and for other crimes committed by offenders under the age of 21. These statutes allow the court to grant a dismissal of the charge upon successful completion of a period of strict probation. As judge, I have implemented a highly successful sobriety court program. Utilizing the method known as “therapeutic justice,” alcohol-addicted repeat drunk driving offenders are strictly monitored through daily testing, intensive therapy, 12-step program attendance, weekly probation oversight and biweekly court hearings. Positive behavior is rewarded and negative behavior is swiftly sanctioned. Most participants attain and maintain sobriety during the program and following graduation, resulting in fewer drunk drivers threatening our loved ones on the roads of our community. JUDICIAL DISCRETION: While the prosecutor can make sentencing recommendations and must indicate a lack of objection prior to the court utilizing some sentence deferrals allowed by law [e.g. MCL 769.4a in domestic violence cases and MCL 436.1703(3) in minor in possession of alcohol cases], sentencing is strictly the job of the judge. I always request input from the prosecutor and all crime victims who wish to speak at a sentence hearing, and I always order restitution for crime victims where it is requested and verified. I also listen to defense counsel’s elocution on behalf of his or her client, and to the defendant if he or she wishes to make a statement. It would be improper for me to provide an example of a situation where a deviation from the recommendation of the prosecutor would be appropriate. Each case must be decided on its own merits, in the interest of justice for all concerned. PUBLIC DEFENDER PROGRAM: I read this report and don’t agree with its conclusions. It has been my experience that all indigent defendants in Oakland County are provided very competent legal representation, regardless of the ability to repay the county for those services. Convicted offenders who can afford to pay, however, are required to do so as a part of sentence at the 522 District Court. The reason for this is simple: If the convicted offender does not pay for his attorney, the taxpayers of Oakland County must do so. I do not believe that law-abiding citizens who have never even seen the inside of a courtroom should regularly be
PAGE 48 ❯ ❯ ❯ ❯
Joseph G. Fabrizio is the founder of Fabrizio & Brook. He has represented individual and business clients, including financial institutions and banks.
Dana Fortinberry was elected to the 52-2 District Court bench in 2002. She has been a magistrate, trial attorney, and prosecutor.
JOSEPH G. FABRIZIO
JAIL: This is an important issue that has been even further aggravated by the recent elimination of Oakland County’s Boot Camp program and the closing the jail in Southfield. To avert early releases, the three branches of government must work together in
the spirit of cooperation to find a successful plan to end the problem. The adoption of Public Act 140 will allow the court to handle overcrowding in a more sensible manner. Recent jail renovations and programs such as work release, inpatient drug treatment and drug court all help ease the issue of jail overcrowding. ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING: Alternative sentences are appropriate only when they fit the facts of the criminal case. Every case is unique, and the sentence must fit the crime. Whether a traditional jail term, or an alternative sentence, this fundamental concept cannot be compromised. Programs such as work release, in-patient drug treatment and tethers are a few alternatives that should be considered. JUDICIAL DISCRETION: A sentence should always fit the facts of the case. As a judge, I will always keep an open mind as to the arguments and recommendations set forth by both the prosecutor and defense attorney. However, a sentence shouldn’t be blindly rendered based only on recommendations. The ultimate decision as to sentencing is the judge’s to make after full consideration all of the facts and circumstances. PUBLIC DEFENDER PROGRAM: Problems with the current system probably relate more to underfunding than to anything else. However, this is not a problem that is easily solved in this economy. If elected as a jurist, I will make sure that justice is served, and that any attorney appointed to represent an indigent defendant in my courtroom is qualified and prepared for the proceedings. TOP ISSUES: Civility — I will exhibit proper judicial temperament. Individuals who appear before me will be treated with courtesy and respect, and will be given an adequate opportunity to be heard and to meaningfully participate in
the judicial process. Respect — I will respect the value of other people’s time. All hearings will be held in a timely manner in order to ensure jurors, parties and witnesses can return to their regular routines as soon as possible. I will work hard and make fair decisions in a timely manner. Facilities — The 52-2 District Court facility has not kept up with the population growth in this district and is ill-suited to serve the needs of a district of this size. The need for a larger facility is yet another reason to show up on time, properly schedule hearings and issue decisions in a timely manner. WHY YOU? I will uphold the oath of office, and will make every effort to restore the public’s confidence in its judiciary.
JAIL: In 2007, the Legislature amended the County Jail Overcrowding State of Emergency Act, thereby largely removing most judicial participation in jail overcrowding issues. The circuit and district courts now are represented on a Jail Overcrowding Committee, which meets periodically to set minimum bonds for prisoner release upon declaration of an overcrowding emergency by the sheriff. The new process appears to be working well. I still make it a point, however, to go over jail inmate lists weekly to check for bench-warranted and newly-arrested defendants who are being housed at the jail. I then accelerate scheduling of those individuals so their cases may be processed as quickly as justice allows. This accelerated scheduling saves taxpayer dollars and protects our communities by preserving valuable jail space to insure that repeat and dangerous offenders can be kept behind bars where they belong. ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING: Michigan
SPINAL COLUMN NEWSWEEKLY
primary voter guide
52-2 District Court
❯ ❯ ❯ ❯ PAGE 47
required to bear the cost of providing defense counsel for those who choose to break the law. No one, however, has ever been denied the right to counsel at the 52-2 District Court for any reason. TOP ISSUES: Protecting our community from repeat and dangerous criminal offenders. I am dedicated to protecting our families from criminal behavior. That is why I am endorsed by the Police Officers Association of Michigan, Oakland County Sheriff’s Command Officers Association and Michigan State Police-Groveland Team. Effective management of court resources in a time of declining tax revenue. The 52-2 District Court is among the most fiscally-responsible courts in Oakland County and the state. I eliminated the $900,000-peryear budget deficit taxpayers paid before my election. Embracing innovative methods to end recidivist criminal behavior and educate youth about the justice system. I created a state-recognized sobriety court program, making sober and productive citizens out of alcoholaddicted drunk driving offenders. Court in School takes real court cases to high schools, allowing students to see real defendants sentenced for crimes like marijuana possession, drunk driving, minor possessing alcohol and retail fraud. WHY YOU? Your district judge is the first line of defense between criminal offenders and your community — not a job to trust to someone with limited experience. My depth of experience and proven dedication far exceeds that of any candidate in this race. Experience as a trial attorney, as a prosecutor and as magistrate prepared me well to serve as judge. I have forged a reputation as an innovator. As prosecutor, I created a special team to prosecute sexual offenders who victimized children. That team was so successful that I received an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties. Continuing to innovate as judge, I created the sobriety court program to get drunk driving offenders sober; the Community Service Garden, a productive alternative to jail for non-violent offenders; and the Court in School program to educate young people about the consequences of criminal behavior and substance abuse.
Mark W. Lyon has been a licensed attorney in Michigan for 32 years. He has served as a hearing panelist for the Attorney Discipline Board.
Fred Miller has been an attorney for 21 years, serving as assistant prosecutor for Oxford Village, and Addison and Oxford townships. He also has experience in family and juvenile law, as well as civil litigation, real estate and estate planning.
MARK W. LYON
JAIL: I have long been a proponent of youthful offender diversion programs. When used properly and creatively, they provide an opportunity for a defendant to avoid the damage and stigma associated with a permanent criminal record. In many cases, unfortunately, jail is the only alternative; however, for non-violent offenders, high-tech alternatives to jail such as
tethers and GPS systems can be effective. Sooner or later, our citizens will have to deal with the reality that we need more jail space, but that issue will be dealt with by the state and counties. ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING: As stated, I am a proponent of alternative sentencing and would always look for ways, within the law, to structure creative alternative sentences. After considering the nature of the offense, and the “nature” of the defendant and the circumstances involved, pleas “under advisement” are excellent tools that are too infrequently used by judges. These pleas can be combined with community service, court costs, and probation and can be very effective. JUDICIAL DISCRETION: Sentencing recommendations are frequently worked out between police officers, defense counsel, and in many cases with input from the probation department, and those recommendations are clearly acceptable to the court. I would stray from the recommendations if I observed an abuse of discretion by a prosecutor, such as an excessive sentence in a minor case where the “punishment doesn’t fit the crime,” or in a case where a recommended sentence was clearly lenient to the point of being obviously an injustice to the public. PUBLIC DEFENDER PROGRAM: Everyone is entitled to a defense, including the indigent. While I have not seen the report, I can tell you that indigent defendants are disadvantaged through the appointment of too often unskilled attorneys, resulting from inadequate compensation for appointed counsel. In many cases, skilled or experienced attorneys will simply not accept appointed cases. TOP ISSUES: 1. Operating the court, to the extent possible with the highest degree of fiscal responsibility through sound business management practices. 2. Providing a forum for the orderly resolution of cases that might be resolved through a judge’s involvement in chambers and scheduled settlement conferences, thereby avoiding trials and
proceedings that erode court resources. 3. By being elected, to eliminate any lingering doubts, questions or concerns shared by the voters of the district regarding the controversies that have occurred in the court over the past several years. WHY YOU? I have 32 years of extensive legal experience, including trial court litigation (civil and criminal); and business expertise including corporate, real estate, business and family succession planning. I hold a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in psychology. I’m a former mediator in the Oakland County Circuit Court, and I’m a hearing panelist with the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board. I was appointed to a four-year term on the Michigan Military Appeals Tribunal. I’m a Vietnam veteran (Captain, U.S. Army intelligence, 1971). I served for six years as a Key Volunteer Coordinator with the 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment (Michigan’s Band of Brothers) supporting families of Marines through two deployments to Iraq. It was a labor of love “beyond the bumper sticker.”
JAIL: In June of 2007, six district court judges were responsible for having sentenced over 50 percent of the inmates who were incarcerated in the Oakland County Jail. In June of 2008, that percentage had been reduced to 24 percent. This is due to alternative sentencing. The sentence should be tailored to the defendant and the crime. For example, if the defendant is a substance abuser and his or her crime was directly or indirectly based on obtaining drugs, that defendant should be placed into a rehabilitation/ education program rather than jail. Nonviolent criminals should be sentenced to community service or other programs that would benefit society. ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING: Alternative sentencing must be considered for nonviolent offenders and those who have substance abuse issues. Eighty-five percent of the people currently incarcerated in Michigan are substance abuser. We must treat those issues to preclude further criminal activity by those people.
This will also protect society and result in financial savings, as jail costs $80 per day and treatment and counseling costs much less. JUDICIAL DISCRETION: A prosecutor’s recommendation for sentencing should always be reviewed and considered, as well as any recommendation made by the probation department, but shouldn’t be bound by those recommendations. A Judge must tailor the sentence to the crime, the defendant’s involvement in it, his or her prior criminal record, education level, substance abuse issues and mental health issues. A sentence should ideally protect the public and educate and rehabilitate the defendant. PUBLIC DEFENDER PROGRAM: There are many problems with the system. Many judges want to move their docket as quickly as possible, so they encourage pleas rather than trials. Many attorneys who don’t encourage their clients to plead are not rewarded with higher level appointments. It’s often more economical for courtappointed attorneys to have their clients plead rather than go to trial. Attorneys cannot make a living doing court-appointed work; and, while there are many experienced, well-qualified court-appointed attorneys, many are inexperienced. Court-appointed attorneys have not received a pay increase in years and rarely receive monies to pay for experts to support their defense. They are expected to make a case against assistant prosecutors, who are paid well, have technology and services available to them, and receive training at public expense. The courts must provide a comprehensive approach for indigent defendants and not make speed and docket turnover the main goals. TOP ISSUES: 1. Returning integrity to the 52-2 District Court. 2. Instituting a drug court and dealing with substance abuse issues and getting the community involved to help and realize that substance abuse is a major issue and must be addressed on a county, state and nationwide level. 3. Alternative sentencing to benefit the community and defendants. WHY YOU? I am qualified for the position of district court judge. I have been an attorney for over 20 years. My practice encompasses the areas of law over which a district court judge presides. I have tried over 75 jury felony trials and more bench trials than I can count. I have handled hundreds of civil cases and landlord-tenant matters. I’m in court on almost a daily basis. I’ve been an assistant prosecutor and a defense attorney. I’m a court-approved family law mediator with special training in domestic violence. I have arbitrated cases. Furthermore, I have the temperament to be a good judge. I’m patient and impartial. I will restore integrity and faith in the community with regard to the judicial system. ❏
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?