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LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS Dearborn / Dearborn Heights
Nonpartisan Voter Guide November 4, 2003 Election
NOV. 4 GENERAL ELECTION: In addition to the candidates running for 2-year terms on the District 7 School Board included in this guide, two (2) candidates are running unopposed for two 6-year terms. Citizens in the Dearborn Public School District will have the opportunity to vote for two candidates running unopposed for two 4-year terms on the Dearborn School Board. ABOUT THE GUIDE: The League of Women Voters of Dearborn/Dearborn Heights contacted candidates for biographical information and answers to questions on issues. The answers are printed as submitted and have not been edited, except for necessary cutting when replies exceeded the stated word limitations, indicated by an ellipsis (…). Publication of this Voter Guide is solely in the interest of public service and in no way is to be construed as an endorsement by the League of Women Voters. The League takes no responsibility for any of the views or facts stated by the candidates. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order. Published by the League of Women Voters of Dearborn/Dearborn Heights, © 2003, LWV-D/DH ABOUT THE LEAGUE: The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization established in 1920 to encourage citizen participation in government. It never supports or opposes any political party or candidate. Membership in the League of Women Voters is open to all citizens of voting age. For information about joining or contributing to the LWV, or for information about elections, call 313-278-6476 or on the web at www.lwvddh.org. LWV-D/DH President: Christina Sullivan; Voter Service Director: Betsy Cushman. MISSION STATEMENT: The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.
League of Women Voters of Dearborn/Dearborn Heights 120 N. Military Dearborn, MI 48124-1035
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS Dearborn / Dearborn Heights
Voter Guide November 4 2003 VOTE FOR 3
What is your opinion of a regional mass transit system, such as DARTA?
Dearborn Heights City Council: 4-Year terms
Candidates were asked to provide biographical information and answer 3 questions. All answers restricted to 50 words. The City is facing one of the most serious budget deficits in its history. As a City Council member, name at least one specific action you would propose the Council take in the next 6-12 months. To address the cuts I would again review the budget of each department, recommending more cuts to “luxury” items such as cell phones and cars. Departments must continue to find ways to cut spending at administrative levels so that service provision can be maintained. Everyone must do their part. What are your solutions to the current problem facing the City concerning city trash disposal?
B.A. U of M-Dearborn, Ph. D. Candidate, Political Science, Wayne State U. Research Analyst/ Evaluator, Wayne State U. Instructor, School of Social Work, Wayne State U. Memberships: Alliance for Non-Profit Research, Maltese-American Community Club. Volunteer Mentor, U of M-Dearborn Women on the Move. Michigan Political Leadership Program Fellowship.
Trash disposal is not a problem – we continue to collect trash on time and dispose of it properly. Landfill space is available to meet our needs. As for the incinerator, I propose that we conduct a study to weigh the costs and benefits of continued incinerator operation and our alternatives.
Regional transportation is important for economic growth. People need to access jobs and services across city lines. The current system wastes money. I support a regional transportation system as long as costs for this system are distributed evenly between those using it and those benefiting from it.
Kenneth R. Baron
Vietnam Era Veteran. Married, 29 years, 2 grown children. Owner, Dearborn Heights business, Ken Baron’s Florist and Gifts for 28 years. Resident, 27 years. Elected to council, two terms. Volunteer for Kiwanis, Key Clubs, Goodfellows, Ecorse Creek, Chamber of Commerce. Current and Past member of many city boards and commissions.
By law, we must, and do have a balanced budget. We have lost approximately two million dollars in state shared revenues, which has been absorbed in each city department. We now need to monitor the monthly budget reports very closely, working with Department Heads to make any necessary adjustments.
Our trash is and will continue to be collected. The Waste to Energy Incinerator (Inkster Road, north of Van Born) is privately operated. The current bond money holder should be searching for a new operator. When the incinerator is not operating, our trash is taken to a landfill.
In the past, regional mass transit has been centered in the city and funded, in a large part, by the suburbs. I am not in favor of further taxing our citizens to pay for a system that will not be a benefit to our city.
Lifelong resident of Dearborn Heights (44 years). Graduate of Annapolis High School, U of M (B.A. Degree) and University of Detroit (Juris Doctorate Degree). Practicing attorney for 16 years. Married to Kim Constan, three children. Elected two years ago. Running for reelection for a four-year term on the Council.
A mass transit system is a I have knocked on doors worthy goal. Detroit is during this campaign and I earned my way through home to the Big Three and haven’t heard complaints school at Wayne State and regarding trash disposal. If families depend on people Detroit College of Law, by buying cars. It is a Catch a problem exists, a city staying home and working 22, less cars sold=less council member must be hard. I am married and jobs. The largest obstacle prepared to bring the together we are raising four is lack of existing contractor before the handsome young sons. I infrastructure and the cost Council and demand have served our community to build one. improvements. If as a city councilman, improvements cannot be commissioner of the Zoning guaranteed the contract board, and little league should be reviewed. coach. Responses are printed as submitted. The League has made no corrections and takes no responsibility for any of the views or facts stated by the candidates. An ellipsis (…) indicates the 50 word limit is exceeded. ©2003 League of Women Voters of Dearborn / Dearborn Heights ►Vote Tuesday, November 4, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Freeze wages and the hiring of additional personnel. Begin the proposed budget for each City Department at zero, requiring an adequate justification for each dollar requested. Pass a resolution calling for immediate funding from Federal Homeland Security dollars for our first responders, our local police and fire departments. Just as families must prioritize its spending, a city must tighten its belt, and be prepared to review annually every city department. During difficult economic times, government must be prepared to make a full accounting and prioritize spending to make the most of precious tax dollars.
The City can dispose of its’ trash at local landfills. The problem is the loss of water and tax revenue if the incinerator remains closed. Dearborn Heights must work with the other four communities in the sanitation authority to help find an experienced replacement operator for the incinerator.
I strongly support a regional mass transit system. The City of Dearborn Heights must work with our neighboring communities to develop a mass transit system that connects Dearborn Heights to our neighboring communities in an efficient and cost effective manner, without duplicating services.
Dearborn Heights City Council: 2-year terms
Candidates were asked to provide biographical information and answer 3 questions. All answers restricted to 50 words. The City is facing one of the most serious budget deficits in its history. As a City Council member, name at least one specific action you would propose the Council take in the next 6-12 months.
I would like to determine exactly what percentage of the cities budget is encumbered by our pension obligations. After a detailed analysis, determine where possible, if legal and proper to correct adjust reduce or eliminate especially any duplicate and or self serving pensions that former politicians granted to themselves. The budget is the council’s main responsibility. I will put my accounting experience to use balancing that budget. The budget has two main parts, expenses and revenues. We must lower expenses while providing service. At the same time we need to be more aggressive in obtaining state and federal grants. What I will NOT do is raise taxes or “tax collection fees.” With the Justice Center open, I would recommend moving the Recreation and Community Development Departments to City Hall, and begin a departmental merger. I would sell the old fire station, and close the Canfield Center until conditions improve.
VOTE FOR 2
What is your opinion of a regional mass transit system, such as DARTA (Detroit Area Regional Transportation Authority?
What are your solutions to the current problem facing the City concerning city trash disposal?
I am a physical planning professional with a Bachelors Degree in Architecture, University of Detroit 1966; a Masters Degree in Urban Planning, Wayne State U. 1969. I am licensed by the State of Michigan as an architect 1971; as a professional community planner 1975; and a residential builder 1991.
Presently we are land filling due to the loss of our former trash facility. We should recycle, however it costs more; better ways of doing things usually do! We should partner with other communities and the county to burn trash to produce electricity, and promote renewable land fill gas recovery.
I am married to former State Representative Bob Brown. I raised my family including four boys in Dearborn Heights, put myself through college while I worked as a waitress and earned my college degree with honors. I have fifteen years experience in accounting and reconciliation for the Third Judicial Court.
We need to continue the good services the citizens of Dearborn Heights expect. The process to the average person should be invisible except that they put it on the curb or take it to the recycle bins. Council however needs to implement the most inexpensive environmentally safe disposal system. The current problem is with the incinerator, which is overseen by 5 area communities. The incinerator’s bondholders have expressed “no confidence” in the current operator. I would wait for the bondholders to hire a new operator and seek a buyer for the incinerator’s ash landfill, which would generate revenue.
I believe in the DARTA proposal and I voted for it! As a licensed professional community planner, I understand and personally worked on designs of regional/city planning, urban design and transportation schemes here and abroad. I personally professionally recommend the adoption of a DARTA proposal to our residents. I believe in mass transit. DARTA is a question not even the experts can agree on. Mass transit should service our existing urban centers and limit the destruction of our green space. It should be convenient and fairly funded. No funding system should be implemented without taxpayer approval.
Catherine L. Heise
Small business owner, trial attorney, Wayne County Circuit Court Mediator and litigation arbitrator. BA in Economics, Wayne State, 1984; Juris Doctor, Detroit College of Law, 1988. Professional musician and former union member. Appointed by Robert A. Ficano to Wayne County Arts Commission; Board member, Dearborn Heights Chamber of Commerce.
I do not support DARTA. It is an attempt to raise our taxes for an undefined, $2.5 billion project which will not benefit the vast majority of Dearborn Heights residents. Our current bus system needs a management overhaul – not more taxpayer money.
•36-year resident of Dearborn Heights •Retired Captain Dearborn Heights Police Department after 26 years of protecting and serving the residents of Dearborn Heights •Police Officer of the Year (1990) Pvt. John Lyskawa Post •Over 20 Departmental Citations and Awards •Developed Senior Citizen Volunteer Program in Police Department •Accomplished Grant Writer
•Continue the lobbying effort in the legislature through the Michigan Municipal League to retain our lost funding. •Reduce unnecessary programs and analyze all current job descriptions in an attempt to reduce the budget while maintaining critical services. •Work with the Unions in exploring the possibility of a Public Safety Director.
I would enforce the current contract with Waste Management making sure that they followed the contract as it is written. In the interim period I would research and analyze different ways that we could continue quality service to the resident in the most cost effective manner. I would also explore…
DARTA was established to improve the regional mass transit system in Southeastern Michigan serving Wayne, Macomb, Monroe, and Oakland Counties as well as the City of Detroit. By establishing a regional mass transit system such as DARTA the counties and local communities will get an improved transportation system without duplication…
The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization which encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government. For more information, call 313-278-6476 (www.lwvddh.org on the web).
District 7 School Board: 2-year terms
Candidates were asked to provide biographical information and answer 3 questions. All answers restricted to 50 words.
Graduate of Annapolis High School 1986, currently work for City of Dearborn. I am currently what you would call a long shot, I have NO previous experience, except for life in general.
VOTE FOR 2
What are the advantages or disadvantages of continuing to compete for students through participation in Schools of Choice?
Schools of Choice is what some parent have been wanting for years. Since, we started schools of choice our enrollment has increased every year. We get money for every child that attends District # 7. With “No Child Left behind” the disadvantages with “Schools of Choice” is classroom size, we need … I support “Schools of Choice” for the millions of dollars it has brought into the district, keeping D7 out of financial distress. I believe it makes the district focus more on improvement so that we continue to draw in students and add to a diverse student body and learning community.
How should the district prepare teachers for the mandates required under “No Child Left Behind” and “Education Yes”?
The district must look at how many teachers they have that specialize in what they went to college for. And we may have to hire new teachers or looking at the qualifications of our current staff to see if they can go back and get there Masters Degree.
How can the district meet the constant need for upgrading technology while budgets continue to be tight?
Well, with the bond proposal that was passed a few years ago. The District has not taken its first steps in educating our children. In this economic time we are all tightening our belts. We must look at all alternative ways for funds.
Gilbert David Nuñez
Student at University of Michigan, majoring in political science. Recent graduate of Annapolis High, finishing at top of class and as active student leader. On Board since December 2002. Experience includes internship for Congressman John Dingell and years of child care services. For more information, please visit official website www.gilbertdavid.com.
I encourage and support professional development for teachers in learning new techniques and methods of teaching. Assistance with paying for relevant college classes should be policy. Teachers of a “highly qualified” status are a product of the district, and we should do all we can to support them.
I support D7’s uses of a technology bond for many of its updates. Other sources, such as grants, can be written to attain additional funds, and programs, such as Schools of Choice, bring in additional revenues that I think can be used to continue increasing this district’s technological capabilities.
Graduated Annapolis High School 1975. Schoolcraft College – Legal Secretary – 1980. Occupation – Legal Secretary – Masco Corporation. Married, 2 daughters – live in D-7 my whole life
Prepare teachers? Isn’t that the reason a person wants to be a teacher?
Tight budgets or not, we have to have the latest technology!
I don’t like School of Choice. I feel you should live in the district in order for your children to attend our schools.
Janet R. Spehar
•Graduated South Lyon High School in 1984 •Graduated from Central Michigan University with Bachelor of Science in Economics and Political Science •Work experience in Management •Married “stay-at-home” mother of two children & resident of D7 for 10+ years •Volunteer Teacher’s Aide at Dearborn Early Learning Center
Teachers should be ready to: explore new methods & materials for teaching, upgrade their qualifications if necessary, and become experts at quickly identifying those children who may need extra help. And they should be prepared to be very patient.
I believe that D7’s technology needs have been meet and maintained adequately since the technology bond passed in 1998, but if specific technology funding were unavailable hard choices would have to be made. I would not agree with funding technology needs at the expense of sports or academic programs.
To keep student enrollment up and per-pupil funding at adequate levels the D7 community would have to: convince private school students to come back, move more families with children into our district, or periodically open our schools to children from other communities. It’s the best solution currently available.
District 7 has always Technical skills are key to offered a quality student success in the job educational environment. market. The District must “Schools of Choice” has make instructional confirmed that families in technology a priority, neighboring districts systematically upgrade recognize the value of a D7 equipment and streamline education. Parent seek out other expenditures. Opportunities for public and our high standards in both academics and citizenship. private grants and Our successful participation community partnerships must be expanded. Strong in “Choice” acknowledges what residents have always technical skills make D7 known, D7 is outstanding. students competitive in a global economy. Responses are printed as submitted. The League has made no corrections and takes no responsibility for any of the views or facts stated by the candidates. An ellipsis (…) indicates when the 50 word limit is exceeded. Note: Two candidates are running unopposed for two 6-year terms for the District 7 School Board.
Joslyn Y. Sylo
B.A. in Education from Michigan State University, then a Master of Science in Education Administration from Texas A&M University. After teaching elementary and high school for 10 years, I moved into District Administration. Currently, I am Director of Special Education in the Wayne-Westland Community Schools.
Quality teaching is the key to meeting state and federal mandates. District 7 has shown improvement in testing data measuring student achievement. By using the Michigan Curriculum Framework teachers can set goals that align with state and federal guidelines. The District must ensure teachers’ understanding and use of the Framework.