Meet the Candidates Questions
It’s no longer a secret that I was approached several weeks ago by the Chamber of Commerce’s Wayne Oehmke to prepare some questions for last night’s Meet the Candidates event. Reporters from The Macomb Daily and The Source also supplied questions.
I supplied ten questions, five for the Mayoral candidates, and five for the Council candidates. In the end, three of my five Mayoral candidate questions were used in the debate, and three of my five Council candidate questions were used.
Since the event is now over, I’m releasing the questions. The ones that were used during the event will appear with an asterisk (*) before them.
I really wanted the Smart Meter question to be asked, but since the “Smart Meter candidates” chose to skip the event, perhaps it is just as well.
My sincerest of thanks to Mr. Wayne Oehmke for this honor and opportunity. I was very pleased to contribute to this event in a material way. If all goes according to plan and the creek doesn’t run high, I hope to do the same thing in 2017. However, I was informed last night that it was Mr. Oehmke’s final Meet the Candidates event, as he is currently in the run-up to his retirement next Spring at 75 years of age, followed shortly thereafter by his upcoming marriage! Congratulations, sir, thank you for your service to our community, and best of luck to you in your retirement and new marriage!
Moreover, thank you very much to the readers of this blog! You are the reason why I keep plugging away at this, and I derive great pleasure from being able to be involved in our city’s politics at this level. Simply put, without you, I wouldn’t have opportunities like this. I truly appreciate your willingness to read, agree or disagree with me, and tell your friends. Thank you!
Questions for Mayoral Candidates
*1. Both of you gentlemen served our community as City Council members, and both of you were in conflict with the other council members during your first terms in office. As Mayor, having a good working relationship with all council members is crucial. Did you overcome your initial difficulties with the other members of council, and what will you do to keep the working relationships healthy and strong, even if the members of council are not the people who you are running with?
*2. The Mayor’s personal actions and statements reflect heavily on the city’s image and influence people and businesses who are considering a move to Sterling Heights. The city strives to provide a welcoming environment to all, regardless of their race, religion or sexual orientation. How well do you think your own public image will serve the city’s need to be welcoming to people of diverse backgrounds? Do you agree that being welcome to such diversity is beneficial to the city?
3. In the summer of 2014, City Council unanimously passed an ordinance forbidding discrimination against members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. The ordinance was eventually struck down after a petition drive successfully forced council to either put it to a vote of the public or rescind the ordinance. Each of you two gentlemen were on opposite sides of this issue. Can you explain why you were either for or against it at the time, and tell us whether you have changed your mind on the issue since then?
4. Our city is populated by people from a wide variety of religious faiths and groups that don’t always get along smoothly. Recently an issue arose where a new Islamic mosque was proposed in a residential area on 15 Mile Road, and there was turmoil in the city as a result. Can you explain what you feel the proper role is for the Mayor when the city is facing a conflict such as this?
*5. Our city’s charter mandates that certain types of decisions are made by volunteer residents serving on boards and commissions. The code of ethics specifies that the Mayor and members of council not exert undue influence on those boards and commissions, which are staffed by people nominated and approved by council. What is your philosophy regarding this restriction and how do you intend to honor it?
Questions for City Council Candidates
*1. Do you agree or disagree with the assertion that as a City Council member, you are bound to make your decisions in strict accordance with the laws of the city, state, and federal government, as applicable, regardless of your personal, religious, or political feelings about the law?
*2. With the sunset of the Michigan Personal Property tax, some replacement revenue is supposed to come from Lansing. If this replacement revenue leaves a large gap in funding, will you cut services or raise taxes?
3. For approximately five years, a great deal of time during City Council meetings has been spent discussing the issue of so-called Smart Meters. Some think that City Council should ban the installation of these meters in Sterling Heights, while others say this issue is outside Council’s purview. What do you think?
*4. One persistent issue in Sterling Heights concerns the emergency services provided by the Police and Fire Department and the costs associated with each. Do you feel Sterling Heights has a good model for how these services are provided, and if you would change anything about how those services are provided, what would it be and why?
5. Can you explain to the audience how you feel about the non-partisan nature of City Council, and whether or not you feel it is appropriate for the Council to remain officially neutral in the perpetual political debate between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party?