Carol Wood brings to mind Groucho Marx in the movie “Horse Feathers” when he sings:
I don’t know what they have to say
It makes no difference anyway
Whatever it is, I’m against it!
No matter what it is
Or who commenced it
I’m against it!
Your proposition may be good
But let’s have one thing understood
Whatever it is, I’m against it!
And even when you’ve changed it
Or condensed it
I’m against it!
Whether it was her opposition to historic
districts 10 years ago, improvements for Francis Park two years ago,
Waverly Road sidewalk improvements last year and a ballot initiative
this year to get the ball rolling on developing the Red Cedar Golf
Course property, Wood has consistently voted against progress. While she
tries to portray herself as issue-oriented, Wood’s real role is to
oppose the administration and its allies on the Council. In other words,
“Whatever it is, I’m against it.” Witness how often the media turn to
her for comment on new proposals by the administration: They know they
can count on her to argue against them.
Moreover, Wood shies away from taking a
leadership position where she could do the most good. She brags now
about having a pro-millage sign in her front yard, but where was she in
the crucial weeks leading up to the vote in May? When this city needed
Wood to bury the hatchet with Mayor Virg Bernero and Kathie Dunbar to
get this year’s millage passed, she was nowhere to be found, playing coy
with her true position on a proposition that raised the taxes of few
Lansing residents while saving the jobs of the policemen and
firefighters she claims to support.
Had she used even an ounce of her
political capital right off the bat, this city would not be minus two
fire stations and 44 cops.
To see Wood get away with a no-vote on
the needless restrictions to the growing medical marijuana businesses
when she led the charge on clipping this necessary service was nothing
short of infuriating.
Lansing voters, by a wide margin, said
loud and clear in November 2009 that they want Bernero as opposed to the
visionless Wood as its mayor. Yet, she steadfastly refuses to meet him
even halfway on major issues.
Communication goes both ways and Bernero
can be prickly to deal with, but Wood has turned down opportunity after
opportunity to be the bigger person.
Instead of giving Wood a fourth term, we
would urge Lansing voters on Tuesday to vote for incumbent Derrick
Quinney and newcomer Rory Neuner for the two open At-Large seats on the
Lansing City Council.
We haven’t always agreed with Quinney.
Pushing the pause button on the Red Cedar Golf Course sale because he
“lacked information” was a cop-out. His office is one floor away from
the mayor: Go find out what you need to know.
That said, Quinney stood tall on the
Market Place project. If taxpayer money is going toward a private
project, the least we can expect is decent wages for our skilled
tradesmen and women.
Quinney also understands that 63 percent
of Michigan voters in 2008 said “yes” to legalized medical marijuana.
Sure, regulations are needed, but they should not be disguised as a
backdoor attempt to shut down honest entrepreneurs.
For the second At-Large seat, we
enthusiastically support Neuner. The Yale and University of Chicago
graduate has a strong grasp on progressive public policy. The
31-year-old provides a sound, thoughtful, well-studied mind who will
approach each decision through the lens of what’s best for the city of
Lansing as opposed to what’s best for her.
Neuner is a consensus builder. It isn’t
her way or the highway. As project coordinator for the Transportation
for Michigan Coalition, she’s needed to meet people partway on issues.
We’re convinced she’ll do that on the Council.
We appreciate the enthusiasm of Common
Wealth Enterprises CEO Tom Stewart. We’re hesitant about his lack of
experience with city of Lansing issues, having moved into the city less
than a year ago. He is someone to keep an eye on, though.
John Krohn also is right on some issues,
but his “no vote” on the millage is too troubling to overlook. We’re
afraid he may not have a full grasp on the complexity of the city’s
funding troubles, particularly with Gov. Rick Snyder eliminating
statutory revenue sharing in favor of his new “best practices” scheme. A
world-class city can not offer third-rate services.
Carol Wood has to go. A lot of her
strength lies in her willingness to help neighborhood groups and other
organizations with their special needs. But voters need to look beyond
their narrow interests to what will help the city overall. Fortunately,
the city has two excellent choices for the two At-Large openings on the
Council in Neuner and Quinney. Voting for them and not for Wood in
Tuesday’s primary election will lay the groundwork for defeating her in
the November general election.
With Councilman Eric Hewitt thankfully
opting not to seek re-election, voters in the 1st Ward have an
opportunity to send to City Hall an experienced hand who has made a
career of building bridges as opposed to walls.
Lynne Martinez, a former county
commissioner and state representative, is even-tempered, responsive,
balanced and progressive. When it came time to push for the millage
increase, Martinez was there to lend a hand. She understands what needs
to be done to run an effective city and has the connections to make
She’s not where we’d like to see her on
the medical marijuana issue, but at least she’s not lining up with
Neogen executive Jim Herbert and his ilk and their wild accusations that
medical marijuana and crime go hand-in-hand.
Candidate Jody Washington steadfastly
believes there’s a link but can’t produce a thread of statistical
evidence to back the claim. For being a professed non-politician,
Washington is doing a fine job learning the trade with her overly
massaged positions on the Market Place vote and whether she would have
voted for a higher millage rate had she been on the Council.
Harold Leeman’s experience and
progressive outlook might be grounds for returning him to the Council,
where he served 12 years representing the 1st Ward. But his rude
combativeness toward other candidates in this race and his effort to
shut down being videotaped at a public forum suggest an unattractive
personality change from his former affability. After nearly five years
of the Bernero v. Wood silliness, a premium must be put on diplomacy.
Joe Manzella is an ideological soulmate
with the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, which should be enough to
give anyone pause. And we’d encourage political neophyte Phil Damico to
vote in a millage election before anyone casts a vote for him.