Your vote really counts ... because so few bother
Here´s something to behold: When Brazil conducted a national election this month, my Brazilian neighbor headed to his county´s consulate in Chicago to vote.
He had to unless he wanted to forfeit his citizenship.
Brazil is one of 22 countries that mandate voting.
Now we turn to Lansing.
Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope projects as few as 13 percent of eligible voters will do so in next month´s municipal primary election. His High-number prediction: 16 percent.
And guess what: That would be a very good turnout.
I´ll leave it to you to ponder what this means for democracy - those of you who haven´t already turned the page.
One thought from me: Aa small number of people have a lot of power in Lansing. Keep this mind: Twelve years ago, a little known woman won a seat on the City Council by 27 votes. She´s still on it. Her name is Dunbar.
She´s on the ballot again this time, along with 28 others.
That´s a lot of candidates for five spots: mayor and four of the eight seats on the City Council. It´s the most anyone I´ve talked to can remember. The races, all of which are nonpartisan (hey, when virtually everyone is a Democrat, it really doesn´t matter, does it?) break down this way:
Mayor: Five are running. The top two vote-getters will go on to the General Election in November.
City Council 2nd Ward: Five are running, including incumbent Tina Hough-ton. Two will survive.
City Council 4th Ward: Seven are running, two will go on.
At-Large City Council: Two spots are up. Twelve are running, of whom from will continue to the General.
The mayor´s race is why the pathetically small turnout is going to be a little less pathetic than usual. Virg Bernero is hanging it up after three terns. The turnout is likely to rival the 2005 race, when Bernero beat incumbent Tony Benavides.
You´re spared one race in the primary: city clerk. Only two are running, so they don´t need to submit to a primary.
You´ll see them on the General Election ballot. If you bother to see one, but don´t get me started again.
Many of you will get your ballots soon, thanks to absentee voting. The City Clerk´s Office will start sending them out Friday. And the number of them is growing rapidly. Looking at the mayoral election years of 2005, 2009 and 2013, absentee voting represented 19, 42 and 64 percent of the vote, respectively. Event two years ago, when it was all Council races, absentee voting was 59 percent. And Clerk Swope says they are preparing absentee ballots at a record pace for this year´s primary. So, if you´re old-fashioned and go to the polls on Election Day, you could be even lonelier than usual. But don´t get me started.
City Pulse has always waited till the issue before the election. Obviously, that´s not very useful to absentee voters.
So, this year we bumped up our preview to now. What follows are brief profiles and Q&As with the 22 candidates who responded to our questionnaire, warts and all. We didn´t correct anything. The only editing we did was to end answers at 50 words, which is what we asked for.
If answers were longer than the cutoff, you´ll see ellipses. (As the one who had to edit the answers, I´m definitely learning 50-word limit.) We picked five topics we think are on the minds of most citizens or at least should be.
What you do with it up to you in the privacy of the voting booth or, for absentee voters, the bathroom or wherever you mark you ballot.
but don´t get me started.
We asked the candidates these five questions. Read on for responses.
1. The City Council is about to consider an ordinance to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries and related businesses largely through zoning, at the behest of residents who think the city has too many dispensaries. Critics say it is too restrictive and will dampen a multi-million-dollar business with enormous potential. It could also set the precedent for how the city regulates recreational marijuana should it be legalized, which is widely expected and could bring to city and county tax revenues.
Where do you stand?
2. Tax credits have been used as an economic development tool, but critics say they are a giveaway to developers. Where do you stand on tax credits?
3. Mayor Bernero and former mayor David Hollister say the city´s perhaps $600 million in unfunded liabilities threaten the city with bankruptcy.
Do you agree? If so, what should be city do and specifically should the city sell or at least study the sale of the Lansing Board of Water & Light as a hedge against bankruptcy?
4. Mayor Bernero has proposed a 6-year, 1.0 mill dedicated tax levy to improve roads and sidewalks. That would cost $50 a year for a house valued at $100,000. Where do you stand?
5. Preservationists say the administration and the City Council don´t sufficiently support preservation, as most recently demonstrated by the fight over Scott Park. Where do you stand on preservation? How can the city foster more preservation?
THE TOP TWO MOVE ON TO THE GENERAL IN NOVEMBER
CANDIDATE Judi Brown Clarke
At-large City Councilwoman since 2014, as vice president twice, president last year. Chair the Development & Planning Committee; city representative, Planning Board; chaired Ways and Means Committee and the Personnel Committee; chairwoman, Tri-County Regional Planning Commission and Capital Area Michigan Works Board.
I introduced a draft medical marihuana ordinance that incorporates best practices from across the nation and aligns with state laws. The maximum number of licenses shall be capped at twenty-five (25), and implemented in a two-phase process in order to balance serving patients’ needs and spreading economic development.
I believe a key part of an economic development strategy is to use tax incentives as a tool of economic development to compete with other states and globally for investment, jobs, and income. However, we need to diversify our efforts and provide incentive opportunities for small businesses.
Bankruptcy is a possibility if we do not continue the fiscal prudency of the Hollister and Bernero Administrations, recognizing the barriers of Proposal A, Headlee Amendment, collective bargaining rules & state revenue sharing. I would not sell the LBWL; we would be sacrificing its sustainable revenue in the long-term.
There are limited federal and state dollars coming to Lansing to improve our roads and sidewalks; therefore, we, as a community, will have to be part of the solution. As Mayor, I will ensure these dollars are uses specifically for the improvements as the public intended.
There are difficult times when fiscal arguments compete against preservation, like Scott Park. Our preservation tells our history, which is why I voted on the resolution that approved the establishment of a historic district for Central United Methodist Church. We need to encourage and support efforts like this.
Harold Leeman Jr.
1st Ward Councilman, 1996-2007; Chaired Michigan Works Board, Office of Aging Board and Tri-County Regional Planning Commission.
We do have so many dispensaries in the city of Lansing. As mayor, I believe in respecting the voter’s decision as the Ballot Box and Federal of State of Local Line
As mayor and as a farmer councilman who supported over 90% of the Tax credits for E commerce development from 1996 to 2007. Therefore. We have to “grow” as a city! [followers always needed]
Yes I do agree. [Please note: the US govt. is 20 million dollars in debt, and I don’t see the dems or GOP raising the issue over + over as Mr. Hollister has been?] The city should study, not sell unless the voters agree by 60% yes!
Against any more new tax levys. As Mayor I will cut taxes and lower the amount of money for the police and fire and court system for starters!!! [over 70% of FY17/18 goes to police and fire]
I’m pro preservation! Look at my 12 year record on city council. As mayor, I will make it a 24/7
State Representative (5 years); Ingham County Commissioner (10 years); Michigan Municipal League; Staff for State Sen Gary Peters and for State Rep Paul Condino.
I will see what is in effect, if anything, when I become Mayor. I’m committed to working with City Council and interested parties to ensure we have a policy that allows enough facilities to serve residents while considering the wants and needs of our neighborhoods and business corridors.
I will use tax incentives to help bring good jobs and development to our downtown and commercial corridors throughout Lansing. We’ll use metrics to ensure incentives are necessary for the project to happen, necessary for gap financing, and provide local residents the opportunity to bid for jobs.
Lansing makes its annual payments but has unfunded pension and health care costs that could threaten our future prosperity. I will bring together parties to craft a deficit reduction plan. We will consider all options, but the BWL is a Lansing asset and I support keeping it a municipal … .
Fixing roads and sidewalks is the top issue that I hear about. My plan includes showing the public which roads are being fixed with current dollars and setting priorities for future dollars (state and local). Lansing voters will decide if they want to increase their taxes for roads and sidewalks.
Lansing must preserve and maintain our parks to ensure strong neighborhoods-- it attracts and keeps families here. We also should preserve other existing infrastructure, when possible, in our community to honor our history and treasured assets. This includes ensuring maintenance and redevelopment of historic building and facilities.
THE TOP FOUR MOVE ON TO THE GENERAL IN NOVEMBER TWO WILL BE ELECTED
Michigan State Police
I have held many positions of leadership dealing with critical issues affecting peoples lives.Through all this have learned the value indecisive or poor decision making.
I remain committed to public service and working hard to improve the lives all. I have worked with businesses and community groups collaboratively to address concerns and worked with government funds to achieve measurable goals.
Federal law precludes marijuana businesses from using banks.
Advocates have high expectations for tax revenue, yet without a clear way to track transactions to collect revenue.We need tough but fair regulations locally, and federal changes to marijuana law to permit marijuana businesses to use banks.
Tax credits have been used successfully in the past, but they're overused and given to almost every project that comes along.Too often the city gives away tax incentives without getting much in return. I support tax incentives that provide real public benefits, such as improving roads and sidewalks.
The city needs to assess its priorities, and rebuild the budget from the bottom-up, focusing on fixing the roads and keeping the public safe. Infrastructure is the top priority for Lansing residents, and it should also be a top priority when drafting city budgets. Privatization is not the answer.
I support this, but we need a more transparent process on how and where the funds are spent. But that's not enough.We must also make the case to state lawmakers and the governor's office as to why cities like Lansing need an increase in state revenue sharing.
Many of the problems we're seeing, including the controversy with Scott Park, are due to a breakdown of communication.We need more transparency, trust and collaboration at all levels.All affected parties must be brought to the table at the beginning of the process, not the end.
Born and raised in Lansing.
I have a medical marijuana card, and as a patient myself,i do believe the proposed ordinance is too restrictive. the zoning requirements are terrible. as a council member, I would scrap that proposed ordinance and start from scratch.
I am not sure,i would screen the developers before allowing a tax credit to make sure if they deserve it or not. some developers don't even need the credits, but get them anyway to make profit.
not sure if i agree or not,i would to need to see facts before i make that decision, but if what the mayor said is true. I would suggest raising the cigarette tax , also increase traffic fines to fund the liabilities.
well if the only costs $50 a year, thats affordable to everybody and it would help fix the roads and sidewalks. i dont see a problem with it.
i do believe we need to do better with preservation. more funding is the key.
KATHIE DUNBAR 49
Nonprofit director and three-term incumbent Council member
"For nearly 12 years, I've been a tireless advocate for social justice, community and economic development, environmental stewardship, urban revitalization, citizen engagement, and sound fiscal management."
I support licensing and regulations that ensure safe access to safe medication. I do not support licensing criteria to which business owners in other industries are not subjected (minimum account balances, surety bonds) or zoning restrictions that serve no other purpose than to limit the number of dispensaries.
Development incentives allow urban core cities to compete with rural/suburban communities for new investment,jobs,and tax revenue. I support incentives that improve our city's long term economic position and provide a tangible public benefit, e.g, mitigate environmental contamination, reduce neighborhood blight, rehabilitate functionally obsolete properties.
Local elected officials should receive ongoing training in municipal finance, especially unfunded liabilities.A short term surplus today does not lead to financially solvency tomorrow. I'm open to studying all possible solutions because none of us has the answer. Without compelling financial projections, I cannot consider selling the BWL.
I support the ballot initiative.Voters should be allowed to decide if they're willing to pay more to improve roads and sidewalks. I work with many lower income residents who have mobility challenges, and they're willing to pay to reduce the number of hazardous sidewalks they travel every day.
I value preservation.As an official who represents all of Lansing, though, I sometimes have to weigh the interests of preservation against the greatest common good. In most cases, those interests are aligned. In rare instances, they are not.We can foster more preservation by incentivizing historical restoration.
THOMAS JAMES HARRIS JR.
U.S. Army Reservist
20 yrs. in the U.S.Army in positions of authority and leadership; worked with foreign and domestic affairs internationally. "As a leader I will be transparent and will inform the people about the issues of the city.
I'm in favor of the medical marijuana dispensaries. It will provide some financial relief to some of the city's economic problems. Far as the zoning, that will help regulate where the dispensaries are placed. They definitely should not be placed near schools. They should at least be placed somewhere ....
There shouldn't be any giveaways to economic developers. I'm sure they are going to make their money in the long run
First I would want to what are these unfunded liabilities?Why are they unfunded. What can we do to prevent this from happening again in the future. We should at least study the sale of the Lansing Board of Water & Light, and make sure it benefits the people ....
I'm all for that! We should also make sure we lower taxes to make up for that $50.
I feel the city council and the administration should work with the preservationist to preserve anything in the city of Lansing. As a council member, I wouldn't mind helping preserve anything in our city. In order to get more people involved, the change must start from the top. As ....
THE TOP FOUR MOVE ON TO THE GENERAL
IN NOVEMBER, TWO WILL BE ELECTED
Attorney, Elder Law of Michigan Inc.
Legal Aid Attorney; intern, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development; Master in Public Affairs student; Board, Educational Child Care Center; Representative, State Bar of Michigan Representative Assembly; member of various LGBT and women’s equal rights groups; former regional director, College Democrats of America; president of MSU Law School Democrats and University of Indianapolis College Democrats.
While following zoning ordinances is important, the current dispensaries are not violating zoning ordinances. We should not force out businesses that are following state laws, are not a nuisance, and are not environmental hazards to our community. Tax revenue and jobs are vital and we should not be hindering investment.
I absolutely agree that tax credits have been used as giveaways to developers. Instead, put this money in the hands of neighborhoods and community organizations to help the middle class and redevelop our neighborhoods. Using tax money to build expensive condos does little to move Lansing in a positive direction.
Selling the LBWL is a non-starter. If elected, I will fight it tooth and nail as it is a short-sighted move and leverages the future of our children for short term gain. To address unfunded liabilities, we must honor our commitments by looking at progressive taxation to cover these burdens.
Reinvesting in our neighborhoods is priority number one for me, but the proposed tax levy does little to address the systemic failure of our infrastructure and how we fund its redevelopment. We must look beyond increasing property taxes as a way to pay for our much-needed, citywide infrastructure overhaul.
Preservation is vital for Lansing to retain its history and legacy. The city should embrace community organizations and their views on retaining Lansing’s rich history. This not only applies to buildings, but also our cultural and natural treasures. We should increase investment in our parks, not hack away at them.
Yanice Y. Jackson
Managing editor - The Chronicle Newspaper
15 years of business experience in human resources, marketing, project management and communications. Managing Editor the Chronicle Newspaper. Regional organizing director in the 2016 Clinton presidential campaign. B.S. in broadcast jurnalism from Eastern Michigan University, MBA in marketing from Clark Atlanta University.
I believe there should be accountability when it comes to being able to open a medical marijuana dispensary. I don’t believe that anyone should be able to open this type of business unless there are some guidelines to hold them accountable as far as consumer safety. In addition, I do …
I believe there should be an incentive for developers that build in the city of Lansing especially in instances where vacant real estate is being utilized. Tax breaks are a good incentive as long as they are properly measured and do not put a strain on the city budget.
The financial health team that David Hollister used brought up good points that should be examined. I do agree that this is a delicate situation that has to be addressed before it is too late. I do not agree with selling the Board of Water Light. This way we …
The people of Lansing want new roads and this is a major issue for the community. A mileage is an excellent avenue to explore. I also believe we should explore other ideas that would contribute to improving our roads and infrastructure.
The City can work closely with communicating with Lansing area groups in regards to future city planning and making them aware of future city development that effects historical sights and buildings. Good communication between parties is essential to building strong relationships that are positives in our community.
Guillermo Z. Lopez
Retired/ Trustee, Lansing School Board of Education
Retired from the City of Lansing after 30 years in the Human Relations and Community Services Department. 17th year as a Lansing School Board trustee. “Having worked for the City of Lansing gives me the knowledge base of how city government runs from the inside.
The citizens of Michigan approved this law, therefore we must make our best effort to fulfill their mandate. We must find the right regulations so that the public mandate and the needs of the local community are satisfied. The State Legislature is currently working on state regulations, so whatever …
We should use all tools available to move the city forward. What has been missing is keeping the developers in check when tax credits have been given. They need to be held accountable and ensure that they keep their commitments made in exchange for tax credits, abatements or any …
After careful review of the Financial Health Team’s report and other financial reviews, and if all points to the need to sell city assets, we need to consider them, including the Lansing Board of Water and Light. This, of course, would be of last resort to me.
I am not necessarily opposed to this tax, however, before I would vote for it, I will ask for a thorough review of our budget and look at the priorities. If those in the budget are not what the city needs at this time, we would need to change …
The city needs to have a preservation plan which would include a listing of building or properties designated as historical properties. Then the city needs to come up with a plan to preserve those properties which would include partnerships with preservation groups, the state and other national groups that … .
Community organizer/data entry at Recycling Center
“Because of my experience organizing I have a defined political ideology: every vote, every budget will be indicative of that.”
Regulations should provide creation of a responsible and vibrant cannabis community in Lansing. We need to regulate and create an open and transparent process involving neighborhood associations and communities without overregulating and missing out on a potential major revenue source for years to come.
I think that tax credits should be used sparingly. Regionally we’ve entered into a race to the bottom when it comes to tax credits. Economic development can be a useful tool to create jobs and needed amenities; but we cannot continue Council’s rubber stamp mentality.
I don’t think that our city faces imminent bankruptcy. Because our utility provider is public we’re afforded transparency, accountability, and lower pricing than comparable municipalities. We should continue paying down our account at a steady rate and make it known that Lansing pays its debts.
In general I’d like to see a millage passed; better roads and sidewalks increase livability and walkability in our neighborhoods. BUT I’d like to see a concrete plan laid out for Lansing residents to ensure that our working families are seeing and experiencing the progress that they’re paying into.
We can’t put a price tag on our historic landmarks. Preservation conserves culture and heritage in our neighborhoods and city. As a City Councilor, it is my obligation to stand up for what Lansing resident’s value. I will put neighborhoods first, not special interests.
ALEXANDER s. RUSEK
Attorney, White Law PLLC
President, Ingham County Bar Association Young Lawyers Section ; treasurer for the Ingham County Board of Commissioner's Equal Opportunity; board member of the MSU College of Law Alumni Associations.
The spread of medical marijuana dispensaries has overtaken our primary business corridors and neighborhoods.
The number and density of dispensaries must be smardy regulated in the best interests of residents, businesses, patients,and the medical marijuana industry.We need to 'NOrk together to plan for the future of Lansing.
Tax credits incentivize development on property that would otherwise remain vacant or dilapidated.While I support tax credits that will spur growth in Lansing, each tax credit must be closely examined to ensure that Lansing will ultimately benefit,and if the City does not benefit, developers must be held ...
Lansing, like many Michigan cities, faces a great threat from future unfunded liabilities. Lansing will not come under the control of a state emergency manager or go through bankruptcy if we properly plan.While I do not currently support the sale of the Lansing BWL, all solutions must be ...
The condition of our roads and sidewalks is a great concern for all Lansing residents. Estimates put the cost of rerurning our roads and sidewalks to average condition at $236 million.A 1.0 mill tax will only make a small dent, and more comprehensive action must betaken.
Lansing must preserve its beautiful parks and green spaces. I promise to work with neighborhood residents, the Parks Board, other City Council Members, and the next Mayor to develop a comprehensive plan to maintain and improve our parks for future generations.
Associate executive director, Michigan Association of School Administrators
Six years on the Lansing School Board, including three as president and two as secretary. "I've balanced budgets, worked collaboratively toward shared goals, and made tough decisions on behalf of the residents of Lansing - including developing our strategic plan and helping the Lansing Pathway Promise Bond become a reality for Lansing's children:'
The law has passed, it's time to craft Lansing's response.We must develop a regulatory and enforcement action plan that that guarantees best practices and patient and public safety. I remain open to input, but we must work to address the concerns of the critics and advocates alike.
Tax incentives can be a powerful tool to spur development, but they must be used sparingly and only in the best interest of Lansing residents. Many communities have been able to impose public art requirements, blight mitigation measures, and other types of return-on-investment for tax incentives-why not Lansing?
We need to bring everyone to the table to address unfunded liabilities, Lansing is not alone in this issue. I don't believe that we should hastily sell off our city's assets before exploring all options.We need to collaboratively develop a long-term vision for Lansing before making irreversible decisions.
This millage will not scratch the surface of our roads and infrastructure issues. I believe we should first develop the plan that says how this money will be spent and where we can expect to see improvements, so no, I do not support the proposal in its current form.
As a 4th generation Lansing resident, preserving our history is very important to me and it needs to be given more consideration. Many people choose to live in Lansing because of the quality of life offered in this city-that includes parks, history, trails, diversity-we must respect that.
THE TOP TWO MOVE ON TO THE GENERAL IN NOVEMBER
Retired City of Lansing internal auditor
Lansing resident 30 years; former staff member to City Council and budget control supervisor to Police Department. "As the Council member representing the 2nd ward, I would bring both a fresh financial expertise and a neighborhood perspective with no onthe-job training needed."
I, too, expect recreational marijuana to be approved by Michigan voters soon. Marijuana, whether for medicinal or recreational use, is a substance like alcoholic beverages and prescription medication that needs reasonable regulation and licensing. The use of zoning as the primary instrument for this is the wrong approach.
Tax credits are an important tool to encourage investment where it might not otherwise happen. They need to be targeted. Council needs someone who can thoroughly understand the proposals and is willing to ask the tough questions before approval is granted.
Segal Consulting identified 52 options we might take toward addressing unfunded liabilities.With labor unions, the administration, the City Council, and representatives of neighborhoods and business at the table, we must decide on which to implement.Selling the BWL would not be in the best interest of Lansing citizens.
This may, if fact, be the best route to take. However, the administration has not done a good job of showing Lansing residents that it manages tax payer dollars efficiently or for the purpose intended.
Lansing's historic places need to be preserved and showcased. While there may be incidents where our current needs mandate the destruction or conversion of a historic place, the administration has not been very convincing or transparent in that regard.
JEREMY A. GARZA
Safety director & recording secretary Plumbers and Pipefitters Union local. Served on the City of Lansing's Plumbing Board for the past six years. "I am looking forward to give a voice back to regular working people that all too often have been overlooked by politicians at City Hall."
I support providing access to patients in need of medical marijuana. That said, we need sensible regulation of dispensaries, because there are far too many pot shops - especially on the south side. We should regulate marijuana dispensaries in a similar manner as liquor stores.
The City Council has given away tens of millions in taxpayer dollars to corporations without requiring them to give local workers a fair shot at the jobs their own tax dollars are helped create. We need policies that require giving local workers a chance at these jobs.
I do not support selling the BWL. Instead, we need to generate more revenue so we can properly fund our retirees. It's unfair to expect city taxpayers and retirees to carry the burden while allowing rich developers and campaign contributors to get out of paying their taxes.
I would need to see the exact wording of any proposal.There hasn't been enough transparency of where our current millage tax dollars are going. Fixing our roads should be a top budget priority for the city, and that includes making corporations pay their fair share to help fund repairs.
We need to have a more open dialogue in our city when it comes to preservation and other issues.The outgoing mayor has taken a my-way-or-the-highway approach to just about everything. I am hopeful that a new mayor and Council will be more inclusive and bring preservations to the table.
Program advisor at Michigan State University
Served as a City Council member since 2010, over 15 years of experience in community engagement work, and has served in leadership roles on many community and executive boards throughout the city over the last 20 years.
I am confident that the city council will pass an ordinance that is fair and equitable to all interested parties. I have no intention of over regulating this industry, but I do want to ensure that patients have access to quality medication.
Lansing has been very successful in leveraging a variety of tools to attract and retain many businesses over the last several years. Tax credits are one of the tools available to urban core cities to help them to compete with open green development. Tax incentives assist in leveling ...
The City’s situation is not unique to Lansing; in fact, most cities are facing similar challenges. In facing these challenges, the City and the State Treasury jointly funded a study that was recently completed and presented to the Financial Health Team and interested parties. Based on their study, a …
I fully support asking the voters to decide on whether or not they want to increase their contribution to sustain public services.
We have created many historical districts and have approved historical tax credits during my tenure. I support preserving our city’s history, but it must be a balanced approach.
Julee M. Rodocker
Electric Materials Buyer, Consumers Energy
Operations Manager at Meijer, Inc. managing and mentoring teams of 100 employees and overseeing $50 million annual budgets. President, Old Everett Neighborhood Association. “I have championed neighborhood watch efforts, helped numerous neighbors solve problems and getting the city to be responsive. I fought against zoning changes and irresponsible development and helped to keep Lansing Gardens in our neighborhood.” I support Lansing patients having safe and convenient access to medical marijuana. However, we have too many dispensaries which has negatively branded Lansing and driven away home buyers and businesses. Either medical or recreational marijuana should not become our community’s main economic driver as it has too many unintended consequences.
I believe we have focused too much on tax credits for large developers to the detriment of our small businesses and the benefit to taxpayers is not clear. We have allowed outside influences to drive our development instead of our master plan and community visioning process.
We need to address our unfunded liabilities that were caused by poor decision-making by previous administrations. I do not support the sale of the BWL, which is a short sided move for a temporary situation. Our city gains more economically by owning BWL and having its long-term revenue.
I do not support any additional millages at this time as it is not clear that our current road millage funds were not misused. I believe under a new administration we can use our existing millages and funds to more responsibly fix roads and sidewalks.
Lansing has a terrible track record of destroying historic assets. Thriving communities use these assets as foundations for their economic development. We need to change our community culture and policies to value these cornerstones of our community. Destroying Scott Park was not guided by accurate information but misguided self-interests.
THE TOP TWO MOVE ON TO THE GENERAL IN NOVEMBER
28 School community liaison
Working in the school enables me to see first-hand how families are affected by national policy and local issues.
Through educating, motivating and organizing with the school community members, neighbors, public and private organizations we effectively meet the ever-changing demands of our children and their families.
I strongly believe in doing all we can to put resources and opportunity in the hands of Lansing residents. I will fight to see that developers that work in Lansing are in the business of making money not taking money.
I agree that unfunded liabilities threaten our financial stability. I support working with unions, academia and the Lansing Financial Health team to explore all options. It is important that the city is loyal to the people that have given their lives and prime to the city.
Segal Consulting identified 52 options we might take toward addressing unfunded liabilities. With labor unions, the administration, the City Council, and representatives of neighborhoods and business at the table, we must decide on which to implement. Selling the BWL would not be in the best interest of Lansing citizens.
Even with the new MI gas tax rates the proposed mileage is necessary. We need to find local solutions to road funding. I support collaborating regionally and lobbying to the state and MTF to create a new funding model that reflects the rising cost of road construction and maintenance. We believe in historical preservation. There has to be open communication and transparency around this subject. The Scott Park debacle should have been handled differently. The voices of the community should always be respected and considered. My campaign stems from the principles that enable participation; Educate, Motivate and Organize.
24 years of community service. Cannabis Advocate.
We need to license, tax and regulate the dispensaries and use the taxes generated to fund our schools, after school activities and fix our roads. We also need strong leadership to make sure the funds are properly managed.
Lansing has allot to offer. The right developers will put Lansing residents and our communities best interest first and pay there fair share in taxes. If a developer is not willing to pay there fair share in taxes then maybe there not a good fit for our community.
We should examine the miss handling of funds that got us here in the first place and people should be held accountable. I don’t believe selling Lansing board of light would be in our communities best interests.
I don’t agree with raising property taxes. It seems taxes are constantly raised but nothing ever gets done. The money gets taken but the work never done. We need better accountability for the millions already spent before we continue to burden our citizens with more taxes. I believe parks are a crucial part of a healthy community. We need to preserve and protect the parks we have before there sold to special interests developers that pay no taxes..The current council has failed to implement the will of the people and it is time to vote for …a
THE TOP TWO MOVE ON TO
THE GENERAL IN NOVEMBER
Brian T. Jackson
Former Lansing assistant city attorney; college intern, Indiana State Senate; student member, Junior City Council and Mayor’s Youth Advisory Board
I support the legalization of Marijuana. Currently, it’s the conflicting laws and enforcement methods that create the most instability. People should not go to jail because of marijuana. With that said, many residents do not want a dispensary on every corner. I support a cap on dispensaries.
The City needs its taxes. It cannot just “giveaway” tax credits without gaining value. It’s important to balance the desire for development with the needs of the residents living in the neighborhoods. Tax credits should be reserved only for developers/ments with a real plan to improve quality of life.
Studies show that the City’s unfunded liability is a major problem. The City should make a concerted effort for economic growth or else retired employees could lose benefits. This problem is so big that all options, including the sale of BWL should be on the table.
Road improvements are a top priority for many residents. Some roads are dangerous conditions and a matter of public safety. The State and Federal government has not forwarded enough money to make the needed repairs. The people should vote whether they want to pay to have them repaired locally.
Preservation is important, but it’s not most important over all else. Leadership should balance preservation with practicality. Preservation should be the default unless there is a substantial and compelling reason otherwise. Leadership should be responsive and accountable no matter what they decide.
James McClurken 63
The Cedar Corridor shows the need for dispensary regulation near parks, schools and residences. Without regulations expansion will likely continue without thought for effects on the community. Dispensaries should pay reasonable taxes. I am happy that the Lansing City Council is exercising due diligence about regulations in public, transparent forums. The city no longer uses tax credits to attract development. The two incentives that remain are those given by the State of Michigan under the Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act and by the United States Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Redevelopment Fund. I support using these mechanisms to transform Lansing’s unused … The Lansing Fiscal Health report discusses money-saving options for preventing bankruptcy; it does not recommend selling the BWL which generates millions of dollars Lansing. I do not favor selling BWL, public parks or other public assets, all of which are important for rebuilding livable and walkable neighborhoods. Selling them …
The State legislature is unlikely to act responsibly, so Lansing residents must act on their own. The city residents now pay at 1 mill, $1.8 million annually for these repairs. Before we again raise taxes again, however, I want to be make sure our funds are used as intended. …
I believe that preservation of historic structures and neighborhoods are critical for placemaking and enhancing Lansing’s distinct character. The city can foster preservation by commencing a survey of city assets. The survey report can serve as a master plan to guide restoration in every instance possible. to …
Kathi Ann Raffone 73
A Lansing resident for 31 years; regular speaker at Council sessions and committee meetings. “While living in Tecumseh, I helped organize a task force to acquire a community auditorium. The goal was realized and in 1982 Tecumseh was awarded the State of Michigan Community Achievement Award for the project.”
There definitely has to me some regulation, the same as with liquor establishments. Even prescription drugs are regulated. As for the methods, I think the council needs to go back to square one. They put the cart before the horse on this issue not anticipating the fallout.
Tax incentives are necessary, but have been totally overused by the current administration.
Contrary to statements by Berners, it is a problem of mismanaging the money. The last thing you want to do is liquidate our assets! Furthermore, the city derives valuable income from BWL and enjoys local control.
No! I’ve yet to see one of Berners’ millages applied as promised. Not one.
To this day, I am sick over the demolition of the historic City Club. Gone! And for no reason. So many historic sites have been last forever and little attention paid to the significance of their place in our city’s story.