City Pulse endorsements


For governor: Gretchen Whitmer

In 2018, there’s absolutely no question Gretchen Whitmer is the right person to lead Michigan as governor. The reasons are numerous.

With a seemingly unhinged, bombastic chauvinist frightfully navigating our country, voters must push back on Tuesday by putting strong, progressive-minded women in offices big and small to keep our commander-in-chief in check.

This transformation starts at the top.

Michigan, after eight long years of the “One Tough Nerd,” is in sore need of a recalibration of priorities.

We need a governor willing to not only take positions on social issues, but also drive change on issues such as expanding the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Sure, keeping a positive business environment is important, but not at the expense of everything else, as has been the Nerd’s modus operandi since taking office.

Gutting local government funding. Drastic cuts to higher education. Insufficient investment to our roads and bridges.

Token increases to traditional K-12 education. It’s forcing us all to pay more in tuition and local taxes while big business pays shockingly little in state government taxes after all the special giveaways are factored in.

If our decision were based only about experience, this endorsement would have to go the other way. No Michigan governor has ever had more governmental experience than Bill Schuette’s lifetime of weathervane politics. He’s made a fine career for himself expertly shifting positions as the wind blows.

It’s about the right experience. Whitmer’s 14-year legislative tenure and short stint cleaning up Stuart Dunning III’s mess in the Ingham County Prosecutor’s office has been consistently about standing up for people and demanding common sense in decision-making.

Her claim to fame isn’t that she pours coffee at events for 10 people or more. Whitmer is leading movements. Whether it’s pushing back against Right to Work or rallying 10,000 frustrated, disenchanted women and men in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s inaugural, Whitmer has given voice to our outrage with a megaphone.

Her government knowledge, history of promoting left-of-center priorities and strength in speaking out against the injustices done to working men and women, ethnic minorities, the LGBT community and others make her a tremendous choice to right the ship and lead Michigan as governor.

Whitmer made a fine choice in tapping Garlin Gilchrist II to be our next lieutenant governor, and we enthusiastically support him, as well. His background in technology and organizing progressive change will serve as a beacon to professional millennials. Michigan is not a backwater, flyover state that’s only worthy of visiting for weddings and holidays. Gilchrist reflects of how Michigan is the perfect place to live, work and play while incubating the ideas of tomorrow.

For attorney general: Dana Nessel

For attorney general, Michigan is on the verge of moving from a chief law enforcement officer with a history of stepping on the LGBT community whenever it’s politically convenient to an equal rights leader who happens to be a lesbian.

Dana Nessel was one of the attorneys who demanded the legal system recognize the marriage of April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse. Today, same-sex marriages are legally recognized from coast to coast.

When the Legislature refused to expand the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity, Nessel picked up the mantle in 2015 and began organizing a statewide ballot initiative. The political practicalities of pushing the initiative eventually sank “Fair Michigan,” but Nessel emerged as a leader willing to push the envelope to advance cultural change for the better.

Nobody has ignited the energy of progressive reform this campaign cycle in Michigan more than Nessel. During an icy, miserable Saturday in the middle of April, Nessel drove thousands of enthusiastic supporters to Cobo Hall in support of her attorney general candidacy in the face of a split among Democratic Party family members.

Michigan needs these same voters and their likeminded friends to support candidates like Nessel up and down the ballot this year as much as Michigan needs an Attorney General to stand up to shady corporations that exploit people and the environment for monetary gain.

For secretary of state: Jocelyn Benson

It’s not hyperbole to say nobody wants to be our secretary of state more than Jocelyn Benson. The 41-year-old former dean of the Wayne State University Law School has been running for his position since 2009, if not earlier.

Her advocacy on voting rights issues, vision on promoting election security and commitment to limiting branch office visits to 30 minutes or less proves there’s nobody more deserving of the job.

Benson literally wrote the book on how secretaries of state can promote a healthy democracy through an easier, but secure, voter registration process. She’s looked into best practices with other state’s election officials and earned several impressive endorsements along the way.

When he retired, former Elections Director Chris Thomas, long considered a fair arbitrator of Michigan’s election law, made Jocelyn Benson his first open political candidate endorsement. In her two Democratic Party convention runs for this office, Benson has faced no notable opposition. The main reason? She’s so competent, so passionate and so darn likable, nobody saw the need to run against her.

Also, this job isn’t a political stepping stone for Benson. She simply wants to improve this office for the benefit of Michigan residents. We’re fortunate, as voters, to be in position to hire her.


For U.S. senator: Debbie Stabenow

Call us old-fashioned, but we don’t think 43 years of experience working to improve public health and food safety while promoting Michigan-based industry and affordable higher education is a bad thing.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s movement up the political ladder is a testament to her ability to work across the aisle to make needed changes in mental health, prescription drug costs and water quality, among so many other areas.

She is one of 100 U.S. senators, but she’s still been able to roll dozens of her ideas into those huge federal omnibus bills they pass in Washington. Stabenow is level-headed and respected. Her strong constituent relations team has followed the tradition set by former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin.

She’s willing to stand up to the president when he’s out of line while still being the regular person you can approach with a problem if you spot her shopping at Horrock’s.

We’re proud to call Stabenow a hometown product and happily endorse her bid to serve another six years in the U.S. Senate.

For U.S. Representative, 8th District: Elissa Slotkin

If there’s anybody that deserves to be removed from his job, it’s U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop. His immediate closure of the 8th Congressional District field office in Lansing upon taking office kicked off four years of general neglect for the west end of his district. We didn’t always agree with Mike Rogers, but at least he’d make fairly regular Lansing-area appearances so we could have conversations about his stances on national issues. Bishop’s picture might as well be put on a milk carton.

His work in Washington isn’t that different.

From what we can see, he’s just another conservative, run-of-the-mill face in the crowd that’s only been recently thrust into the spotlight now that his re-election prospects are being seriously threatened.

There’s nobody better to threaten them than Elissa Slotkin. With a military intellegence background and strong early roots in the district, Slotkin is a well-spoken, intelligent pragmatist who won’t be lost in the D.C. morass. She’ll likely emerge as a leader as she gets some years under her belt and bring back something more back to Lansing than a periodic visit from rightwing nut Ben Carson.

U.S. Representative, 7th District: Gretchen Driskell

Likewise, the 7th District has another opportunity to remove one of Congress’ most conservative throwbacks in Tim Walberg with a genuine, personable and extremely capable public servant in Gretchen Driskell.

Eaton and Jackson counties are fortunate the former Saline mayor and state legislator gave this seat another run after the Trump nightmare of two years ago. Residents have an opportunity to elect a hard-working professional not driven by rigid, far-right, religious ideology.

Driskell’s commitment to work with all people isn’t some deathbed conversion. It’s been a staple of who she is during her time in public office.


State Senate, 23rd District: Curtis Hertel Jr.

For the state Senate, incumbent Curtis Hertel Jr. in the 23rd District should be as automatic as putting your shoes on before leaving the house. The former Ingham County register of deeds encompasses everything you want out of a public official: hard working, phenomenal grasp of the issues and compassionate. All the while he’s reasonable enough to work both sides of the aisle when need be.

State Senate, 24th District: Kelly Rossman-McKinney

Next door in the 24th Senate District, the general repudiation of Trump and everything he represents must continue through the election of successful public relations professional Kelly Rossman-McKinney. Her ability to raise more money than any other Democratic state senatorial candidate speaks to her moderate, cross-party appeal, particularly with the business community.

To say she’s a quality candidate is an understatement. She’s sharp. She understands how to work with all people. She’s approachable. She won’t be sidetracked with offbeat ideological tangents like an end to mandatory childhood vaccinations.

Remember, her opponent, Tom Barrett, kicked off his campaign at antigay marriage Orchard Mills and took pride in sponsoring legislation in the House that makes English the state’s official language.

Outside of all of that, the irony of Rossman- McKinney succeeding Rick Jones, who once called her a hooker, is too rich to not be fulfilled in this Year of the Woman.

State representatives: Sarah Anthony, Kara Hope, Julie Brixie, Angela Witwer

For the state House, the Lansing area will see a full-scale turnover of its delegation. We look forward to Ingham County Commissioners Sarah Anthony and Kara Hope joining Meridian Township Treasurer Julie Brixie in continuing the fine public service we’ve seen from current and past state House members.

We’d like to give a special mention to Angela Witwer in the competitive Eaton County-based 71st House District. In order to assure a Governor Whitmer the most receptive legislature possible, Democrats must to be elected from these swing districts.

Rolling back the bottomline-all-the-time-approach of Snyder & Company will require partners in the Legislature willing to stand with Whitmer. No county in the Lansing area is more important in sticking a finger in the eye of Trump and general Republican shenanigans than Eaton County.

Without Eaton County voters picking Driskell, Rossman-McKinney and Witwer, Trump allies will walk away from the mid-term elections believing residents are generally accepting the direction the President is taking this country. We know that’s not the case.

For her part, Witwer is an upstanding member of the community with 22 years’ experience as a business owner in the health care field. She’s served on the Waverly School Board and a host of other community boards.

STATE SUPREME COURT For Michigan Supreme Court: Sam Bagenstros and Megan Cavanaugh

The Democratic Party nominated two qualified individuals to the high court in renowned civil rights attorney Sam Bagenstos and appellate attorney Megan Cavanagh. Bagenstos, a University of Michigan law professor, served as the principal deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights under President Barack Obama. Cavanagh, the daughter of former Justice Michael Cavanagh, chairs the state Bar’s Appellate Practice Section.

If voters feel a need to cast a vote on the other side of the aisle, the City Pulse recommendation would be Justice Elizabeth Clement on the Michigan Supreme Court. This Snyder-appointee drew the ire of the rigid conservatives for having the gall to not buy into the Chamber of Commerce’s convoluted legal argument to throw Proposal 2 off the ballot.

Her willingness to form a centrist block on the Supreme Court with Richard Bernstein and Bridget McCormack has made her an outcast among far-right Republicans. She’s earned the Michigan Education Association endorsement for ruling that schools have the power to ban weapons from their property.

54-A District Court

Cynthia Ward

We had a tough time with this one. Ayanna Neal and Cynthia Ward share strikingly similar judicial philosophies as they vie for a vacancy on the bench at Lansing’s 54-A District Court. But in the end, it all came down to experience, and City Pulse — along with the entire Lansing City Council — thinks Ward is the one for the job.

Ward served as an assistant dean and professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, among other law-related jobs dating back to 1995. Her experience as a civil rights lawyer, which includes a license to practice law in three states, will be absolutely essential to ensuring all defendants are treated fairly within the local judicial system.

She served as the inaugural director of the Women and AIDS Clinic at Rutgers Law School where her work representing women with HIV/ AIDS was featured in Marie Claire Magazine. She was also honored for her advocacy work with the “Rising Star” award from the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey.

As a self-described “outsider,” we can count on Ward to approach cases fairly, with a sense of respect and dignity. It’s clear she’ll owe no political favors if elected to the bench. Lansing can depend on Ward to address the root cause of criminal cases — whether that’s addiction or mental health — and bring a fresh approach to the bench.

Ingham County Board of Commissioners


City Pulse enthusiastically supports the re-election of Victor Celentino, Ryan Sebolt, Bryan Crenshaw, Todd Tennis and Mark Grebner to the Ingham County Board of Commissioners. Recently appointed Commissioner Thomas Morgan should stick around too. Democrats need to remain in control of county government.

Accordingly, City Pulse also extends an endorsement to Derrell Slaughter, Chris Trubac, Emily Stivers and Mark Polsdofer. Although Chairwoman Carol Koenig resigned while she pursues another position with the county, her name will still appear on the ballot. And a vote for Koenig could ultimately convince her to return to the post.

In keeping with our policy this year not to endorse any Republican, we are not choosing sides in the race between Republican Randy Maiville and Democrat Brandon Currin. We don’t know enough to endorse Democrat Brandon Currin over Republican Randy Maiville. We do know that anyone still calling himself a Republican in the Age of Trump is not worthy of office. For the same reason, we are not endorsing Randy Schafer, who has drawn no opposition.


East Lansing Board of Education Kath Edsall, Terah Chambers, Thasin Sardar

Diversity and inclusion are an important part of any school district, and these three candidates have made it clear they will promote acceptance for all students at East Lansing Public Schools. Voters will be able to select four candidates for the Board of Education. City Pulse has selected three who are worth standing behind.

Kath Edsall brings plenty of experience to the position, having served on the board between 2013 and 2016. She’s a parent of four students and four recent graduates. She owns a small business. Edsall, a lesbian, has vowed to advocate for underserved student populations and take a stand for enhanced diversity in hiring.

Terah Chambers, an associate professor of K-12 educational administration at Michigan State University, brings plenty of public education knowledge to the table. She said she’s driven by the need to make an impact — not just through publications and research presentations but with measurable progress in student achievement.

Thasin Sardar has also spent plenty of time volunteering both within the school district and throughout the community, including his work with East Lansing’s Islamic Center. He wants to extend his focus to the economically disadvantaged and those who have been denied opportunities. We need his voice on the board.

These three candidates have expressed a host of progressive ideals that simply can’t be summed up in a few paragraphs. We encourage voters to find out more for themselves by visiting candidate campaign websites and selecting those who will likely make the greatest impact.

Williamston Community Schools Board of Education: Greg Talberg, Nancy Deal, Sarah Belanger, Christopher Lewis and Michele Bisard

Intolerance for transgender students — and the entire LGBTQ community — has surfaced behind a contentious recall election at Williamston Community Schools. Progressive thinking from the board is essential in order to promote the acceptance of all students in the small, rural community. Vote for the incumbents.

Greg Talberg, Nancy Deal, Sarah Belanger and Christopher Lewis understand that specific policies are required to ensure all students can feel safe and welcomed at the school district.

Those protections were long overdue and are now needed more than ever as widespread bigotry continues to pervade the community.

A vote for the incumbents ensures that students — regardless of their gender identities — will receive the acceptance they deserve. Challenger Karen Potter previously labeled transgender students as “confused” and suggested their transition is a “poor” life choice. Williamston cannot allow that intolerance to lead the district.

City Pulse also endorses Michele Bisard for another seat on the board. Whereas Jeffery West and Julie Conley stand against the protective measures, Bisard has taken a firm and collaborative stand for their necessity. Don’t kick Williamston back another decade. Vote Talberg, Deal, Belanger, Lewis and Bisard on Tuesday.


Lansing Community College Board of Trustees: Lawrence Hidalgo Jr. and Samantha Wilbur

This endorsement is about striking a balance between a fresh perspective and proven leadership experience. Voters will pick two candidates.

City Pulse supports Lawrence Hidalgo Jr. and Samantha Wilbur.

Lansing Community College serves an important role for local students both in terms of affordability and educational quality. Additional resources — like student success coaches and tutoring services — implemented under Hidalgo’s guidance have only allowed the college to solidify its value within the community.

Hidalgo, who has served on the board for more than a half-decade, has a proven track record for enhancing the student experience at LCC. His work is far from done. We need to keep him on the board for another term.

Shaquila Meyers and Samantha Wilbur both seem to have the educational passion needed to drive the community college to continued success. But it was Wilbur’s specific vision for the college — voiced largely in an interview with the student news-paper The Lookout — that solidified our endorsement.

Wilbur recognizes community colleges create a place where everyone — regardless of socioeconomic status, age, race or sexual orientation — can come together for access to education. She wants to make voter registration a part of student registration and adjust board meeting times for more community involvement.

“They meet at the exact same time as Lansing City Council, which means if you want to be civically engaged, you can’t participate in both aspects, and you should be able to because they impact each other,” Wilbur told The Lookout, noting she’d also like to implement a fully functioning onsite health center for students and staff.

Proven experience from Hidalgo and a fresh perspective from Wilbur will guide LCC to a brighter future.

Michigan State University Board of Trustees Kelly Tebay & Brianna Scott

If any Michigan-based institution is crying for new leadership in 2018, it’s Michigan State University. The toll the school has suffered from the Larry Nassar scandal is immeasurable, and while John Engler is a limited-time deal, the Board of Trustees has proven not to be.

None of the eight resigned despite nobody knowing or doing anything about a sexual predator violating young women under the guise of medical treatment for more than 20 years under their watch.

MSU needs trustees with the right experiences and perspectives to change a culture that is about reporting misconduct first and dealing with the politics second. Kelly Tebay and Brianna Scott fit those qualifications.

Tebay is, herself, a sexual assault survivor from her days at MSU. As a former student, she feels she wasn’t properly prepared for the precarious social situations that students find themselves in that can result in rape. She has experience raising money and balancing the books for large entities like the United Way. Being in her 30s, Tebay is still paying off her college debt and knows the heavy financial burden that today’s college education brings to middle-class families.

The board can benefit from Scott’s legal background on both the criminal and civil sides of the law as they continue to navigate through the final stages of the $500 million settlement with the Nassar survivors.

As a woman who was pregnant while at MSU, Scott knows the trials and tribulations young families face while trying to balance child care with finishing an education. This understanding of the real-world situations young parents face will be a helpful perspective to this board.

University of Michigan Board of Regents Paul Brown & Jordan Acker

Paul Brown has a strong political pedigree. His grandfather was a U.S. senator and his father was U.S. Rep. Sander Levin’s running mate in the 1974 gubernatorial race. His labor and legal background will make him an exceptional regent.

For the other slot, Jordan Acker is committed to using the school's $9 billion endowment to lower students’ massive debt load. He’d also like to expand the school’s reach to Macomb County and Grand Rapids, two of areas that could benefit from the presence of a Big Ten school.

Wayne State University Board of Governors Anil Kumar & Bryan Barnhill

Dr. Anil Kumar completed his residency in urology at Wayne State University and has gone on to grow a successful small business in the field. He’s at a time in his life where he’s able to serve. He sees Wayne State helping increase opportunities, particularly for urban students and he as the skills to do so as a member of the Board of Governors.

And, finally, Bryan Barnhill is a political up-and-comer who has worked as the Detroit mayor’s chief talent officer. He’s been a part of Ford Motor Co.’s Corktown Redevelopment Management Team, the United Way and the Michigan Political Leadership program. This Harvard grad’s fresh outlook will be a welcome change on the Board.

Michigan Board of Education Judith Pritchett & Tiffany Tilley

For the Michigan Board of Education, the Democrats nominated the perfect mix of candidates. Judith Pritchett has decades of public-school administration experience while Tiffany Tilley has notable political chops, having done work with several such figures as U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. As a team, we expect them to be able to advance the policies needed to improve our K-12 education system.


Proposal 1: Recreational Marijuana: Yes

If you already support a lucrative recreational marijuana market in the state of Michigan, go ahead and skip this one. This endorsement isn’t for you. City Pulse instead wants to quell concerns from the folks caught up in a new era of “Reefer Madness” and those who can’t yet spot the innumerable benefits written into Proposal One.

To start: We suggest you roll one up before you head to polls. It might just open your mind to the millions of dollars this initiative could generate for local schools and municipal government. It might also allow you to realize that Michigan for decades has wasted millions — if not billions — of dollars to prohibit a simple plant.

The proposal would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana on their person and keep another 10 ounces (and up to 12 plants) back at home. It would also enact a 10 percent sales tax to support schools, roads and local governments. These areas could certainly use some extra cash.

Even if you want to look past the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of responsible marijuana use, it’s hard to ignore the boon to the statewide economy. The Senate Fiscal Agency estimated a system for regulating recreational marijuana would generate up to $287 million in combined sales and excise taxes by 2023.

The sales tax would bolster the state’s School Aid Fund. Excise taxes would be divided among road improvements, schools and local governments that allow these marijuana businesses to operate. And that’s an important point: Local cities will still be able to decide independently if they want to bring this industry into their communities.

A system to regulate recreational marijuana would also curb black market sales that have been able to continue while the state struggles to come to terms with its medicinal marijuana industry. State guidance would help to ensure that products coming from these vendors would be consistent, reliably safe and heavily regulated.

Let’s also not forget the pressure that would invariably be taken off law enforcement if they didn’t need to worry about catching pot smokers for harmless crimes. Our already crowded judicial system could instead turn its focus to the more pressing issues, like domestic violence and opioid addiction, that still face the state.

Officials at the American Civil Liberties Union contended more arrests are made nationally for marijuana possession than all violent crimes combined. It also found that black people — although they smoke no more pot than white people — are much more likely to be arrested for possession. It’s a clear racial disparity.

Nine states have already made the leap into legalizing marijuana. Michigan — with comparatively higher possession limits and lower tax rates — is poised to become an important part of that movement. Our economy can’t afford to miss the opportunity.

Neither can law enforcement. Support this proposal on Nov. 6.

Proposal 2: Redistricting: Yes

The ability for independent citizens to redraw congressional legislative boundaries based on communities of interest makes indefinitely more sense than having self-serving state legislators draw districts that advantage themselves.

Proposal 2 is a sensible reform modeled after other successful redistricting commissions in California and other states. It adds much needed public transparency to a process in which political boundaries are cooked up by Republican powerbrokers behind closed doors.

Proposal 3: Voting reform: Yes

Proposal 3 represents all of the voting reform Democrats have wanted to pass in the last 25 years, but weren’t able to because Republicans held the gavel in the state Senate.

Being able to vote absentee for any reason is a convenience that should be warranted to anybody in today’s busy world. Same day-voter registration allows people who get involved in the political process late in an election cycle to participate. Currently, those who are not registered to vote must do so 30 days before an election, which is an antiquated requirement in an era of computerized instant information.

And, finally, mandating that voters have the option to vote straight ticket by filling in a single bubble on the ballot speeds up the voting process in a state with one of the country’s longest ballots. For Republicans to kill this option a few years ago is nothing more than a political game designed to slow down voting lines in Detroit and other urban areas.


East Lansing Public Schools Operating and Sinking Fund Millages YES and YES

Another easy endorsement. School districts depend on taxpayer support to remain operational and the ability to provide access to quality public education is more important now than ever. East Lansing can’t afford to turn its back on the school district. The future of our children is far too important.

The operating millage supports general fund activities including classroom instructional programs. It’s an essential requirement for the district to siphon its full, per-pupil foundation allowance from the state of Michigan. And the sinking fund millage will only allow further enhancements to security and technology.

School shootings have placed our country on edge in recent years. The community owes it to our students to do everything possible to keep our school buildings safe. It’s not a tax increase — only a 10-year extension of the existing sinking millage.

Farmland and Open Space Preservation Millage YES

This one was a no-brainer. Everyone can reap the benefits of cleaner air, cleaner water and the protection of agricultural lands. Food security is essential, and a vote of support for this initiative ensures the scenic landscapes of Ingham County’s wildlife spaces and farmlands remain in a state of protected, natural beauty forever.

Vote yes on this millage or watch development slowly swallow your hunting and fishing lands. The funds raised from the measure — a shockingly small $14 per year for homes valued at $200,000 — are used to induct primarily agricultural land, in perpetuity, into a conservation easement. And it’s an incredibly small price to pay.

More than 5,900 acres have been preserved since this initiative was passed 10 years ago, and it creates a buffer zone between the county’s more rural areas and increasing developmental pressures from urban hubs like Lansing and East Lansing. This initiative is one of the only sure-fire ways to prevent continued urban sprawl.

The best part: Unlike other millages, this program has a sunset. Once officials are able to secure between 25 and 50 percent of the county’s agricultural lands, they plan to dissolve the program. The mission would be accomplished. But the efforts, like they should, depend on continued voter support. We think it’s worth it.

Ingham County 911 Telephone Surcharge Proposal YES

Nobody wants to dial 911 but we expect the emergency service to operate seamlessly when we need it.

City Pulse encourages voters to rally behind Ingham County’s proposed surcharge increase for dispatch services. Nobody wants to pay more money either. We get it. But the current system is outdated and more funding is essential for a replacement network that is much more reliable, resilient and accurate for law enforcement.

Existing revenues aren’t enough to replace the system. The current surcharge is 42 cents per month; This proposal would increase the charge to $1.80 per month. It’s a relatively small request but it would generate about $3.7 million annually to fund the 911 call center and upgrade to a new, next-generation radio system.

The county needs to leap to a statewide dispatch network by 2021 anyway. A vote for this surcharge increase would only ensure that local first responders are able to keep up with the pace. At the end of the day, it’s an extra $15 per year and it’s a small price to pay for the ability to save more lives in our community.

Lansing Annexation Proposal YES

The proposal would annex an 11-acre parcel of Delta Township between Jolly and Waverly roads into the city of Lansing. A local landowner, Craig DeVoogd, is the driving force behind the initiative. City officials said he’s using the measure as a last-ditch effort to launch a medical marijuana growing facility on the property.

The two property owners on that strip, where medical marijuana businesses are prohibited, agreed to bring the issue to a vote. Voters in Lansing, which previously opted into the medical marijuana industry, will now need to collectively approve the merger to make it work. It’s a fairly slim chance, but it’s worth a shot.

Lansing City Council President Carol Wood suggested that even if the measure were to pass, DeVoogd would need to seek a zoning change to allow any medical marijuana operations on the property. She’s against the proposal and suggested her colleagues would likely be unwilling to bring another marijuana shop into town.

But regardless of whether DeVoogd accomplishes his ultimate goals, the annexation of the land would inevitably drive additional property taxes into city coffers. That alone makes the proposal worth a vote of support. Lansing could use the extra cash for road repairs, pension liabilities and additional police officers to patrol city streets. Moreover, it will give Lansing Police jurisdiction in a troubled area, another plus.


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