October 24, 2012 - A call for change
After what seems like an endless campaign period, our community is about to cast their ballots. Our votes will impact federal, state, county and local candidates and issues.
Residents of Independence Township will be voting for basically a new leadership team at the Board of Trustees level. While the Supervisor, Treasurer and Clerk are running unopposed, the trustees who make up four members of the new board are being chosen on November 6.
We hope you are as excited about this change in leadership as we are. For too many years, there has been a cloud of doubt over what some considered a dysfunctional board.
As candidates who received significant support from the community but were not the top four vote getters, we feel we ran for the right reasons, to give back to the township and steer the local government in a positive direction.
We would like to ask voters who supported us in the primary to consider and put their support behind David Lohmeier (R), Ron Ritchie (R), Andrea Schroeder (R), and Jeremy Mitchell (D) for the four trustee positions.
We are asking supporters to cross party lines but this election is not about what's best for the party, but what's best for the township. Join us in supporting these four candidates as a strong leadership team that will keep their neighbors and the community in mind when making decisions.
Al Pope and Joette Kunse
Library millage support
Would we vote to give more money to our township library? With today's economy?
We will vote "yes" on Nov. 6 because we spend only $33.95 per resident for all books and ebooks, newspapers and magazines, movies, music, games and videos, computers and printers, many children, teen and adult programs and other activities and of course staff and building utilities and maintenance.
We will because we want our community learning and entertainment options to more closely match our neighbors'. We don't now. We've never had a millage increase since our library's first days (1965). The Library Millage Tax Proposal will add $16.49 to our current $33.95 in library spending for each of us for a total of $50.44. Our neighbors are now spending $53.35 in Springfield, $61.30 in Brandon, and $64.32 in Orion.
We will vote "yes" because we get our tax back as we read and listen to more books and more e-books at much lower cost than we pay to Barnes and Noble or Amazon.
We will vote "yes" because though we have tech at home it occasionally balks and pushes us to a library computer or printer. And we know too that expanding our library tech resources is vital for those don't yet have them at home.
"Yes" is a bargain! We get more and better low cost learning, low cost entertainment, low cost club and meeting spaces. We add value to our homes and to our own lives. We give our children learning and social resources for their successes so they can secure our country's future.
We will vote "yes" to give a little bit more, $56 if our home is worth $200,000, for our library tomorrow.
John and Mary Jane Scharfenkamp
Return McGinnis to board
As parents of three Clarkston graduates and now empty nesters we write this letter supporting the re-election of Cheryl McGinnis for Clarkston Community Schools Board of Education.
Cheryl's legacy in this community is seen every time you walk into any building. For nearly 20 years Cheryl has advocated for this community's children and their need for an excellent education. She has co-led several community bond initiatives which funded the then much needed new buildings at both the elementary and secondary levels while also providing equity to our older buildings in size and structure.
These bonds provided the foundation for learning at Springfield Plains, Independence Elementary and Clarkston High School to handle the increased student population that surged in the late 1990s and early 2000 from 5,000 to over 8,000. Everyone in this community has benefited from these facilities; first and foremost our students and second our tax paying community.
Through out these years, Cheryl has also served this community by co-leading the first Health and Fitness Fair at Springfield Plains with district Physical Education coordinator, served as PTA Council President, and President CHS PTSA where she worked to provide extensive alcohol awareness education for four years.
Recently she facilitated a creative partnership between the school district, the high school PTA, Oakland County and Independence Township to obtain funding to install a traffic signal and resolve a long-standing safety issue at Clarkston High School.
In her second year as school board president, (her fifth as a board trustee), she has worked to create a consistent, responsible and inclusionary process for participation at board meetings. She projects impartiality and demonstrates a willingness to compromise to reach consensus in the best interest of students. Our community is fortunate to have her as an advocate. Re-Elect Cheryl McGinnis as Trustee, Clarkston Community Schools Board of Education.
Debra & Howard Mitchell
This past Oct. 18 was the 40th anniversary of the clean water act.At the time it was passed, with bilateral support, 2/3 of our nation's waters were considered un-swimmable and un-fishable. Now, 40 years later, only 1/3 meet that definition.
But between unfathomable judgments issued by the Supreme Court and defunding programs providing oversite, we are in serious danger of slipping backwards. Protection of our most valued resource must be made a priority in our local elections.
It is because of this that I urge every citizen in Independence Township to vote for Jeremy Mitchell and Kevin Bushroe.
Jeremy has taken great pains to learn as much as he can about stormwater and the source of impact. The effort he has made at understanding how to effectively manage our resource from his position, should he be granted the privilege, has been energetic and admirable, not to mention extremely responsible.
I unfairly criticized Linda Richardson in the past regarding stormwater management. Her influence is severely limited due to how the program is administered in the state. The actual difference in our impact is leveraged by the decisions that our Township Board and trustees make. Having someone who is not just aware, but actively seeking low impact knowledge is vital for future protection and minimization of our impact. Jeremy gives me hope.
Kevin Bushroe does as well. His father in law is Jim Brueck who was active in construction of the award winning rain garden in Depot Park and is certified in Native Lakeshore Management. Kevin's wife Anne, is in the process of Starting a new Environmentally sustainable line of party-ware. I don't think Kevin could be anti-good environmental management if he wanted to be!
The headwaters of three different watersheds are in the boundaries of Independence Township. How we deal with issues affecting impact is particularly important, not just for the ecology, but for taxpayer savings. Upwards of a million dollars has already been spent locally as a result of poor management, and there are several more ongoing issues. I doubt there is a single current member who understands that.
Both Jeremy Mitchell and Kevin Bushroe are aware that protection is much more cost effective than addressing a problem after it has emerged. Please join me in supporting these two candidates on November 6th. Your watershed and your wallet will benefit by your doing so.
Tammie Heazlit, hydrogeologist
McGinnis has experience
I am writing in support of Cheryl McGinnis for school board. I have known and worked with Cheryl for over 15 years. She is a dedicated member of our community.
In addition to serving on the Board of Education, she has served in a variety of positions with PTA and was co-chair of the Bond Committee for Springfield Elementary and Clarkston High School. Her three children have attended and graduated from Clarkston schools and she has remained active beyond the time her children were in school.
She truly cares about children and is committed to making decisions in the best interest of all students. I urge your support for Cheryl McGinnis to continue on the Board of Education.
Learn lesson for library
Some years ago, my wife and I owned a vacation home near Rogers City. One night my wife woke up with severe abdominal pains and I rushed her to the Rogers City hospital where she received excellent care. But as often happens, familiarity breeds contempt. The citizens of Rogers City quit supporting their hospital; preferring to drive to Petoskey or Alpena for medical care. Their Rogers City Hospital is now a nursing home and Rogers City no longer has emergency care facilities.
Our Independence Township Library provides services that are first class; met our grandchildren's needs while growing up in Clarkston as well as the special needs of my wife and I. Perhaps, with I75 at our doorstep we could receive the same quality services by driving to Rochester Hills or Birmingham. We have a community that we can be proud of, so let's not marginalize that pride by financially crippling our library. Vote YES on the library mileage proposal.
Philip O. Dutton
Picks for city council
In the hope that any endorsement I make does not scare everyone else away, I will be voting for Richard Bisio, Peg Roth and Carol Eberhardt for the City of the Village of Clarkton council unless one of them does something truly ridiculous in the next two weeks.
Bisio because he has made an honest attempt to inform the public and at least appears to abide by the law even if no one else on the City Council is willing to agree with him. Roth for her outstanding work with city businesses, organizations and public events. This is the lifeblood of the Village of Clarkston and we could not exist without it. Carol Eberhardt is a long term resident with a wide range of skills and experience. She knows the village from before we were a city and probably has more experience and knowledge on this issue than all the other candidates combined. I do not know her opinions on current city issues but having a new voice on the council is worth the risk.
I will not be voting for Joe Luginski as mayor, although it doesn't matter since he is running unopposed. He is a nice person and I'm sure he has good intentions but he appears to be advised by only a few select people and in my opinion is not representing everyone.
I will not be voting for Mr. Sabol as he appears to have little respect for the public and the fact that others may have opposing opinions. He lost the election the last time he ran, had little involvement with the city after that, was appointed to the council by the mayor, and then appointed by the mayor to the Planning Commission where he demanded the right to vote simply because he said so. In his LWVOA questionnaire, he says he will not vote for unbudgeted expenses but he already has when he voted in favor of dipping into fund reserves only 2 months after passing a knowingly artificial and erroneous budget which he also voted in favor of. We do not need people like this on our council and they should have no control of how our tax dollars are spent.
On a different but related matter, I am at a loss to explain why our elected officials allow the city manager to violate state law, City Charter, local ordinance and council resolutions. Unfortunately for us, this is solely up to them as the public has no control over city employees and what they do. I hope the new Council, whoever they may be, will make a performance review one of their first priorities as it is required by the city manager's contract and has never been done. Given the city manager's recent incorrect and misleading statements in the Clarkston News, I can only hope that the council will regain control of the city on behalf of all those they have been elected to represent.
Brooks for Congress
Preston Brooks is a resident of Clarkston and is running as an independent for U.S. Congress in our Eighth District, for all the right reasons. He is concerned about the power of special interests and money in politics. I have met him and unreservedly support his candidacy in this time of toxic political partisanship.
Preston is currently a professor at Oakland University and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He served on the USS Nimitz and led the USS Coontz, a guided missile destroyer, before he retired from the Navy. Learn more at www.brooks4congress2012.org.
Reform school board
The upcoming election gives us the opportunity to replace two of the four board members who have shown contempt for the public time and again, Cheryl McGinnis and Barry Bomier.
Mr. Bomier has wisely chosen not to run, so voters should focus on ousting Cheryl McGinnis, but at the same time voters should keep in mind that school board candidate Kelli Horst supports Ms. McGinnis's board practices.
Ms. McGinnis supports wasting over $35,000 on the failed May 8, 2012 special election in a year that already had three elections scheduled, and hundreds of millions of dollars in irresponsible deficit spending.
She supports rules that board members must direct requests for information through the superintendent, board president, or FOIA that information, and cannot speak to the public without a disclaimer nor about any future action they may take as a board member, show anger at a board meeting or publicly, answer the public's questions, enter school buildings without appointments, request documents from district vendors or building-level staff, talk to students without permission of parents and the board, and go to meetings as volunteers or invitees and speak against issues voted upon by the board.
Also, the superintendent should send a letter to all building principals that board members visited without approval and be warned that they cannot visit those buildings, board members must make it crystal clear they are speaking for themselves, and citizen complaints cannot be brought up by a board member at a board meeting. Complaints must be communicated to the board president.
She believes not saying anything when questioned by the public is appropriate behavior for a board member, board members should not respond to citizens, board meeting minutes are meaningless and motions are meaningless.
Ms. McGinnis used our tax dollars to hire a lawyer to tell board members all of the above without the board's approval – minutes from Feb. 13, 2011 school board meeting.
Now is the time to change the board from an irresponsible board that fights giving the public, press, and board members information, to a responsible, transparent school board that works for everyone.
Susan Boatman, Joan Patterson and Better Reilly are the only choice.
Michael & Lori Powell
Need for library
Since moving to Clarkston in 2008, my family has really learned the importance of how a healthy community needs a library like ours, the Independence Township Library. My family feels right at home at the library and we take advantage of all it has to offer. When we drive past the library without stopping, my kids announce we are passing "their" library and ask, why aren't we stopping?" With all it has to offer, why wouldn't they ask? There is such a wide range of access to books, videos, computers, magazines, contests, friends, games, and the list goes on. Furthermore, the programs at Independence Township Library are phenomenal. Our favorite would probably be the Summer Reading Program.
Unfortunately, many cuts have been made and there could be more cuts to come. The summer reading program was reduced by two weeks and all after school children's programs had to be eliminated! The library is now closed a total of 23 days as well as being closed all summer Sundays. We need to make reading with our children a priority starting when they are babies. The library programs foster reading and provide literacy rich, hands-on experiences in an interactive environment.
The preschool story time program also promotes independence. I believe if you capture the child's interest early, libraries and literacy will continue to be an enjoyable and valued part of their life. Our library needs our "yes" votes to stop these cuts and keep these valuable programs alive. Please vote yes for the library millage on Nov. 6.
Horst has facts
I would like to show my support for Kelli Horst, who is running for a seat on our school board Nov. 6. I've known Kelli for many years and have always respected how she always puts student needs above everything else.
Kelli thoroughly investigates all the facts pertaining to an issue and has a full understanding of those issues before she speaks. This is what leadership is all about. Having a full understanding of an issue and then making decisions based on that understanding.
I have been reading all the articles supporting other candidates, and I cannot seem to find the actual facts to back up their statements. For too long the public has been led by misinformation, personal agenda, and rumor.
In a letter to the editor by Kelli Horst in the Oct. 10 Clarkston News, she puts all the "facts" in writing and challenges that understanding the facts is what will lead our future board members to make fiscally responsible choices.
I feel with Kelli on our school board we can get back on track fiscally while still continuing to focus on our children and their needs. It's time for a change, and I believe Kelli Horst is just what this school district needs to get back on track.
Aliaga and Ritchie
Nov. 6, vote for Jose Aliaga and Ron Ritchie for Independence Township trustee.
Jose Aliaga is young man who will bring enthusiasm and fresh ideas to the Township Board. He supports the Master Plan and the continuance of controlled growth, while allowing new business to come in and offering current busineses support.
Mr.Aliaga came to Independence Township a few years ago from Peru without fluency in English. He has worked very hard, obtaining a Bachelor in Political Science at University of Michigan while earning his citizenship. We need bright, hardworking people as trustees on our board like Jose Aliaga.
You may already know him,since he has visited hundreds of voter's homes in the township this election season to explain his reasons for running for this position.
Mr. Ron Ritchie has served on the Township Planning Commission for the past three years. He is always prepared to discuss the project, present new ideas and demonstrate insightfulness on each project. As a long-time business owner, he understands budgeting and business planning. These are valuable assets for a member of the Township Board.
Mr. Ritchie supports the Master Plan and has worked diligently on the Planning Commission to preserve it and manage growth in Independence Township.
He chaired the Dixie Highway Improvement Project and began working and planning with business owners in that area.
Let's give our new Supervisor Kittle the assistance he needs to move forward with these two, enthusiastic, qualified Trustees--vote for Aliaga and Ritchie, November 6.
Joan and Del McCrary
Mitchell for trustee
I had the opportunity to have lunch with Jeremy Mitchell, a candidate for Independence Township trustee. The longer the meeting, the more I became impressed with this young man.
He and his wife were looking for places to live. After arriving in the Clarkston area, they asked their real estate agent to look at possibilities. They, like many long-standing residents, fell in love with the township and settled here.
Jeremy is a perfect candidate for trustee. He has no axe to grind, is concerned about the community, ecology, open space, local businesses, fiscal responsibility, effective governing.The more you become acquainted with Jeremy, the more you respect his values.
Please vote for Jeremy Mitchell for Independence Township trustee.