Our endorsements for August primary

June 26, 2018

Voters in Birmingham, Bloomfield Township and Bloomfield Hills will be determining the fate of primary candidates in the Tuesday, August 7, election, either at the polls or through absentee ballots which are now being mailed out by municipal clerks. 

 

A local ballot question on safety paths will face Bloomfield Township voters, and voters in  Bloomfield  Township and Birmingham will cast ballots on a SMART transportation tax renewal question.

 

This is a primary election in which you will be deciding who best can represent your party in the November general election, so you must vote on candidates in just one political party.

 

Downtown newsmagazine sent questionnaires to candidates in contested primary races, the answers to which can be found in the special Voter Guide inside this edition or online at downtownpublications.com.

 

When making our recommendations we considered a number of factors based on answers from candidates and our institutional knowledge of candidates and issues. In determining who we thought could best represent a party heading into the November contests, we looked at both views of the candidates, their ability to run a competitive campaign and how quickly they could assume office should they make it through the general election balloting.

 

9th Congressional District – Two-year term

Bloomfield Township

Democrat

All three Democratic candidates, Martin Brook, Andy Levin and Ellen Lipton, share pretty much the same views on the issues, have law degrees, and all three bring some semblance of experience to the table. While the betting money is on Levin, we’re not swayed by the fact that the family has been in Congress for decades. We may be spitting in the wind, but we’re going with ELLEN LIPTON. A lawyer and scientist, she had a good three-term run in Lansing, with an accomplished legislative record in the House, which is difficult when you’re in the minority party. In this race there is no GOP primary, and the district, which runs through south Oakland and Macomb counties, favors Democrats, so it could be one of the handful in the county where the primary will likely determine the winner in November.

 

11th Congressional District – Two-year term

Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills

Democrat

This sprawling district zigzags just north of Pontiac into western Oakland County and part of western Wayne County. While five candidates are running, we struggled over two – Tim Greimel and Haley Stevens. One can’t ignore Greimel’s 11 years experience, spanning local school board, county commission and as current state House Minority Leader, where he fought for Detroit's Grand Bargain and for expanded Medicaid coverage. We were most impressed with HALEY STEVENS who jumped into this race early, willing to take on the Republican incumbent, who then opted not to seek re-election. She is running a strong, aggressive campaign, a good indication of the energy she would bring to the November contest. As for her skill set if she gets to Congress, her experience as part of the Obama Auto Task Force charged with bailout of the auto industry has allowed her to build a strong network of contacts on The Hill and has proven her ability to navigate complex issues through the legislative process with both parties so she won’t just be a “back bencher” as often happens with freshman members. Bright, understands the issues – Stevens is primary voters’ best bet.

 

11th Congressional District – Two-year term

Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills

Republican

Seeking the Republican nod are five candidates. One is known as the “Accidental Congressman” because he served a short stint in Congress by pure happenstance. Another, a female millionaire, with zero experience and a reputation as an embarrassing Trump acolyte who outdoes even her master in terms of abrasiveness. The other three, Klint Kesto, Mike Kowall and Rocky Raczkowski, all have legislative experience of varying degrees. We are more than familiar with all three, having been around the Oakland political scene enough decades to know where the bones are buried, as they say. Our choice in this primary – MIKE KOWALL – has represented over 50 percent of this geographic district as state Senator, including as current Majority Floor Leader. He's run these broad races before, and we suspect he may be more attuned to the district's residents, which is who a congressman is supposed to represent.

 

12th State Senate District – Four-year term

Bloomfield Township

Republican

This is a heavily Republican-leaning district that meanders into the north part of the county, and there is no Democratic primary. Not to disparage Rosemary Bayer, the Democrat in November, but it is very possible that the winner in the Republican primary will prevail in the general election, thanks to gerrymandering. This district was redrawn for the current term-limited incumbent to include Bloomfield Township, along with Franklin, Beverly Hills and Bingham Farms – and then those communities were ignored by him. There are two current state representatives running who both understand the issues, although their approach to them differs. We are disturbed by reports that the state rep from the north part of the county either has or will be receiving financial support from a charter school lobbying group (GLEP) which is backed by some members of the western Michigan DeVos family that wields considerable control over those who take their special interest money. That quid pro quo system is part of the problem in Lansing now. Our endorsement goes to MICHAEL MCCREADY, not because he is a local boy but because he has shown an independent streak in his voting record when he felt it would not be in the best interest of his district or the state, even though he knew he would incur the wrath of party bosses and the far-right crowd in Lansing. We need that type of leadership. McCready – high ethical standards, keeps in touch with the district – the candidate best suited to represent Republicans.

 

40th State House District – Two-year term

Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township

Democrat

Term limits leave this seat open, and potentially vulnerable to be flipped from its long-term Republican hold. Democrats have two strong candidates – Nicole Bedi and Mari Manoogian – who are similar in their viewpoints, and either would be capable of representing their party in the November general election. NICOLE BEDI has run this campaign before, in 2016, coming fairly close, when it was more solidly Republican. An involved local activist, mother of two and a scientist, her edge in life experience – an intangible factor, we readily concede – makes her a better candidate to move on to November.

 

40th State House District – Two-year term

Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township

Republican

We’ve given this race a lot of thought, and we admit we’ve gone through a conversion over who we think is best for the party. We eliminated people who were doctrinaire and ideologues. We have come to the conclusion that DAVID WOLKINSON has grown up and evolved since we first met him through a campaign for this very office in 2012, and believe that in the ensuing years he has expanded his viewpoints. He is well-prepared to represent the party heading into November.

 

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP

Safety Path Millage Renewal

Residents in Bloomfield Township are being asked to continue their safety path program by backing  an existing Safety Path Millage, which was previously approved on August 5, 2014 for up to .4655 mills for five years. The renewal will be for an additional five years beginning  with the December 2019 levy, for the same amount, up to .4655 mills per $1,000 of taxable value. The township safety path program, which began 20 years ago, has produced about 70 miles of paths for residents and connected the township to neighboring communities. There are currently 4.2 miles left to be completed of this successful program, and we recommend a YES vote on this renewal.

 

BIRMINGHAM, BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP

SMART Millage Renewal

Voters in Birmingham and Bloomfield Township are being asked to renew a millage for the SMART (Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation) transportation system. Bloomfield Hills has long been an opt-out community. While this is a renewal, there will actually be a minor increase for residents if approved, from .9863 mills formerly authorized to one mill for four years, covering 2018 through 2021, inclusive, as the previous millage expired in 2017. As SMART  provides not only busses for the general public, but transportation support for the elderly and disabled, a YES vote would be smart. 

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