Source: Sherman Publications

Group feels 'Positively Clarkston'

by Mary Keck

April 18, 2012

When a letter arrived in your mailbox from “Positively Clarkston” over the weekend, you may have raised an eyebrow. Who was behind the mysterious post?

Answer: Mayor Joseph Luginski, former mayors Steve Arkwright and Sharron Catallo, City Manager Dennis Ritter, and City Councilman Eric Haven, who say the message isn’t funded by the city but by a growing group of concerned citizens.

According to organizer Luginski, “there’s another side of the story” that you may not have heard. Positively Clarkston residents are responding to the view that the city should be dissolved, which is advocated by resident and former City Councilman Cory Johnston. In particular, the Positively Clarkston group is interested in opposing the arguments expressed lately in Johnston’s letters to the editor. In their mailing, they asked “haven’t we let a few detractors assault our community long enough?”

What’s their side of the story?

“We want to continue having our own governance because it’s nice to be able to control your own destiny,” Luginski explained. Their Positively Clarkston publication states, “although we understand that times are very tough and that nobody wishes to pay more taxes than necessary, we believe that the premium we pay is well worth the value.”

From Johnston’s point of view, the city is not controlling its own destiny.

“There’s no reason to pay higher taxes if I’m not getting anything for it,” he said. “No one enforces the ordinances, and the city doesn’t have the funding to exercise the control they say they want.”

As for the accusation of negativity about Clarkston, Johnston says, “I’m 100% for [Positively Clarkston’s] slogan. I’ve lived here for 32 years, have served in the government, and shop here as much as I can.” What he’s not so positive about is the city’s governance. He believes it’s “inept and getting worse.”

While Johnston doesn’t plan to formally respond to Positively Clarkston’s letter, he intends to move forward with his petition to dissolve the city.

To discontinue the city or not is the question, and the view most supported by the Clarkston public remains to be seen. Ritter and Luginski have stated they’ve received a lot of encouraging words from the public in response to their mailing.

Positively Clarkston is a leaderless group that hasn’t held any regular meetings but formed out of “an understanding that we shouldn’t let an opportunity to say that Clarkston is a vibrant, productive community get away from us,” says Dennis Ritter.

The fledgling organization has no current plans to meet again but hasn’t ruled out future actions in support of maintaining the City of the Village of Clarkston. For more information, interested parties should contact