From Jim Jacek
Each week we are featuring candidates running in the upcoming November 5 election in Allen Park. This week’s candidate is Maureen Armstrong who is running unopposed for Treasurer. Here is her story: I have served as the Allen Park City Treasurer for the past eight years. Prior to being elected to that position I was the Deputy Treasurer for ten years. I grew up in Allen Park and graduated from St. Frances Cabrini. My husband Jim and I raised our three children in Allen Park two of whom still reside in the city.
While in office I have partnered with Oakland County to provide the service of credit card payments for any type of fees or costs such as payment of property taxes, water bills, licenses, permits and police department services. The general public can make payments by means of a credit card or electronic check, through our website. Over the counter payments are accepted in the Treasurers’ office and Police Department. The city receives 50% of Net Enhanced Access Fees collected from both Online and Over the Counter Payments. This past year through Comerica Bank I set up the Automatic Withdrawal (ACH payments) for tax payments. Tax payers are able to have their payments withdrawn from either a checking or savings account on the actual due date. This is just one more convenient payment option for our taxpayers.
Over the last eight years in office I have attended classes and seminars sponsored by the Michigan Municipal Treasurers Association of which I am a member. I am the only Treasurer in the history of this city that has met the requirements of the MMTA to earn the Michigan Certified Professional Treasurer certification through Central Michigan University. I am a member of both the Wayne County Treasurers Association and the Michigan Municipal Treasurers Association.
I encourage our residents and taxpayers to offer suggestions on how I might improve our services in the Treasurers’ office at any time.
I thank everyone for their support these past eight years and look forward to serving the public the next four years.
By Jim Jacek
This week’s meet the candidate feature is Michael I. Mizzi, running for city clerk. Michael has been in the city clerk’s office since December 1995 starting as a part timer. Beverly Kelley was the city clerk back then, and she brought Michael aboard to help out. In August 1999, He was appointed by the mayor and council as the deputy elections clerk, until 2002 when he was appointed the deputy city clerk. John Weise came into office in 2003 and served under him for 4 years. Michael ran for the office of city clerk in 2007 and won. He also won the next two elections after that. In 2019 Michael Mizzi is running for his 4th term as city clerk. Michael went to Cabrini for both grade school and high school, graduating in 1994. After high school, he went to Henry Ford Community College for 2 years, and then Western Michigan University. Michael worked on Fridays and weekends during election time in the clerk’s office while attending school. In 2001, Michael married Jennifer McDonald. They now have 3 children, Matthew is 13 and attends Allen Park Middle School. Jacob is 8 years old and attends Bennie Elementary, and just as of April 19, 2019, has a daughter Maya. He is an assistant leader in both Cubscouts and Boyscouts. He lives on Cortland in Allen Park, and lived in southern Allen Park on Kennebec Street during his childhood . He is running for city clerk again, because he loves what he does, and he loves serving the citizens of Allen Park. Be sure to vote for him on November 5.
Michael feels out of the many functions of the Clerk’s Office the most important is election security, from voter registration to the equipment used on election day. Michael will always strive to improve the integrity of security throughout the entire election process.
City Council Candidate Dennis Marcos: My wife and I have pretty deep roots in Allen Park. I attended Englewood school, Arno, South Junior High and graduated from APHS.My wife’s family (her maiden name is Schafer) were AP residents when Allen Park was still a village. Her Great Grandfather George Schafer was an Allen Park village president in the 1950’s. So, we have a great interest in the well being of Allen Park.As a teenager I worked at many Allen Park businesses. Sid’s Mobil, Scalici’s bar, Alberts supermarket, Dula’s party store, the old Martin gas station on Southfield, a part time letter carrier for the AP post office, and as a music teacher at La Prima Music which was located on the corner of Allen and Wick. I learned at an early age the importance of having a solid retail base in our city. It was while working at the music store that I got the opportunity to become a partner in the business. We became one of the largest independent music store chains in the country with 8 base stores and 4 satellite stores around metro Detroit for over 16 years.For the next 25 years I worked in the automotive dealer sector as sales manager, finance manager and general manager for some of the largest dealerships in the state. Because of my background, I’ve learned to manage multi-million dollar businesses, and manage and train hundreds of employees.Although currently retired, I continue to play music with a group of 6 dedicated musicians. Our sole purpose is playing benefits throughout the year for the fight for Alzheimer’s. We generate about $20,000 a year for the “Longest Day”.I believe the path to success is hard work, communication and complete honesty with whomever you’re working with.I believe the citizens of Allen Park deserve honesty and someone that will be very open and forthright with them. If asked a question, I will answer to the best of my ability. If I don’t know the answer, I will find it.The city was put into a very difficult situation two administrations ago when the council and mayor at the time unanimously voted in favor of the failed movie studio deal. That left Allen Park with a huge debt for years to come. We all need to understand that is the reason our city has very little excess to work with. As council members we need to find every available grant and source of additional income for our city.While our city was under emergency management, I had 2 meetings with Joyce Parker, our state manager. I was told that when we recovered and were in the black we would be eligible for a rollback of at least some the millage we were assessed. So far, that hasn’t happened. It seems the state keeps changing the bar. I take this as a challenge and will do everything I can to find out why and what will it take.I will be the first to tell you, I am not a politician, nor do I want to be one. I’m simply an Allen Parker that wants the best for our city. As a councilperson, I believe my job is to do what the people want. I will also try to get more of our residents involved in our city. The only promise I can make, is that I will never suggest or vote for any tax increase unless the citizens vote for one. The job of the city council is to do what the citizens want!
From Jim Jacek
Every week we are featuring candidates running for city council. This week’s featured candidate is Bob Stites. Here is his story: I have been a resident of Allen Park since 1955, attended grade school at St. Mary Magdalen in Melvindale and graduated from Melvindale High School. I received my Associates Degree in Criminal Justice from Mercy College of Detroit while attending night school.
I spent the next three years and seven months serving our country in the United States Army, honorably discharged in September of 1970 and awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and Good Conduct Medal.
I was hired as a Police Officer in Allen Park in December of 1970 and assigned as a road patrol officer until injured on the job in 1985. No longer physically able to work on the road, I was given the position of Officer to the Chief of Police.
I was the first Safety Town Officer, System Administrator for the Departments Computer System, Traffic Safety and Engineering, Emergency Management, and Executive Protection Officer (working in conjunction with the United States Secret Service, Michigan State Police Wayne County Sheriffs and Detroit Police agencies).
Additionally, I assisted the Chief of Police in the preparation of the Police Department’s annual budget and recommended the purchase of all equipment and supplies used by the police officers.
I assisted in the research, development, implementation and training of officers in the 16 downriver communities on the in-car computer system and the 800mhz radio system.
I educated the citizens and trained the officers when the 9-1-1 system and File of Life program was implemented.
Our department’s computer system was the cutting-edge technology. We served as a demonstration site for departments throughout the United States, saving the city thousands of dollars in software maintenance costs.
I was a coach and administrator for 15 years with the Allen Park Athletic Club (APAC), Allen Park Festivities Commissioner for 7 years, (during this time we contributed over $200,000.00 to various city departments and programs), Zoning Board of Appeals Commissioner for 2 years and Marketing Committee member for the Made in Michigan Festival including the Classic Car Show sponsored by the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) for 3 years.
I am an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Legion and Saint Francis Cabrini Parish.
I have been endorsed by:
v the Allen Park Police Lieutenants and Sergeants Association
v Allen Park Police Officers Association
v Wayne County Police Lieutenants, Sergeants and Corporals Association
v Allen Park High School Football Booster Club
v Allen Park Athletic Club (APAC).
I have been married to my beautiful wife Melissa for 27 of the best years of my life. We have two adult children who attended and graduated from the Allen Park school system and we were blessed with our very first grandchild earlier this year (all of whom are Allen Park residents).
I served and protected the citizens of Allen Park for 35 years as police officer and I have continued to serve the citizens of our great city as a commissioner and volunteer. If elected, I will strongly support our Police and Fire departments, as well as maintain and improve city services. I will support our recreational programs and improve our parks, eliminate blight, and demand strict enforcement of our ordinances and codes. I want to encourage home ownership in order to stabilize our neighborhoods, balance the budget and always work to protect and maintain our neighborhoods where our families have always lived.
I will serve all citizens with honesty and integrity in the upmost professional manner. I look forward to working with your Mayor and City Council members. We are a team - each and every citizen - and together we will succeed.
LET ME BE YOUR VOICE!
By Jim Jacek
Every week we are featuring a candidate running for city council in Allen Park. This week’s featured candidate is Tony Lalli. Here is his story: “I, Felice "Tony" Lalli was born and raised in Italy until the age of eleven. My Father passed away when I was a year old. My widowed Mother struggled to care for my sister & I so she sent me to the United States to live with and be raised by my Uncle & Aunt in Pennsylvania. My Mothers sacrifice enabled me to have a better life in this great county. I spoke no English but I learned the language and adapted to my new homeland. In 1964, I became a proud citizen of the United States.
In 1968, I graduated from Cannon McMillan High School in Canonsburg, PA. I was a member of the wrestling team, drama club and proud of my school.
After attending school during the day, I spent hours & weekends being taught cabinetry and furniture making at MDP cabinet shop in Canonsburg.
I was awarded a scholarship to learn tool & die making from Westinghouse Electric in Pennsylvania but chose to serve my country. Due to my carpentry experience, the Navy promoted me to 3rd Class Builder Petty Officer in the Navy Seabees MCB121 (battalion). I served as a Navy Seabee in Vietnam from 1968-1970 and was honorably discharged.
Before deployment to Vietnam, I helped rescue victims of Hurricane Camille in Gulfport, Mississippi. I was awarded a Letter of Commendation from the Navy Admiral, Commander in Chief, for outstanding performance of duty during those rescue efforts.
After returning home from the military, I moved to Michigan in 1970 and resided in Allen Park with relatives.
I worked road construction until I was hired as a Cabinet Maker in local cabinet shops that did home improvement.
In 1970 I met Maria. She resided in Allen Park and graduated from Allen Park High School. We were married at St. Frances Cabrini church in 1971. Maria participated in many organizations/commissions throughout our marriage.
We purchased a home in Allen Park over 36 years ago. We were blessed with and raised 2 children that attended and graduated from schools in Allen Park. Our children participated in a variety of activities at their schools as well as through parks & recreation. Both have gone on to successful careers. Four years ago we were blessed with a grandchild who is being raised in Allen Park.
In 1977, I hired with Ford Motor Company. I was a Carpenter/Supervisor/Leader for many years at their Research & Engineering center in Dearborn. I was also a project Manager for a major construction renovation on campus. I was a very active member of UAW Local 245 for 30 years.
In August 2007, I retired from Ford Motor Company after 30 years of service.
During my years working, I found the time to be actively involved with our community.
I am an active member of St. Frances Cabrini parish since 1971. My wife and I chaired the Cabrini Festival Italian Booth for over 30 years. I am also an Usher at St. Frances Cabrini church.
I am an active member of the Father Saylor Knights of Columbus 3774 in Allen Park for over 35 years. I have held a variety of offices during those years. I have helped raise money for mentally impaired children and I am presently, District Deputy overseeing 5 councils.
I am a former Chairman of the Allen Park Community Relations Committee and the Allen Park 50th Anniversary Committee.
I have been active & past President of the Allen Park Kiwanis Club since 2007, helping to raise funds for the children of the world. We also maintain the Duda/Kiwanis Park on Park Avenue. I am again, President of the AP Kiwanis Club.
I have been an active member of American Legion Post 409 in Allen Park since 1994.
I am a Life Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. In my spare time I build & donate flag boxes for families of deceased Veterans.
I've been a member of the Allen Park Elks Club since 2008.
I've been a volunteer of the Allen Park Street Fair for the past 8 years.
I've been delivering Meals on Wheels to Allen Park residents since 2007 to present.
I've been an active member of Downriver for Veterans since 2017 and am presently a Board member.
I've been an active member of the Allen Park Democratic Club since 2007 and am their Vice President.
I belong to the Allen Park Chamber of Commerce and I am one of their Directors.
I first ran for Allen Park City Council in 2007 and was elected to the top council seat as Mayor Pro-Tem. Upon the resignation of the Mayor in June of 2011, I was moved up from Pro-Tem and served as Mayor from June to November 2011.
It would be an honor to serve the citizens of Allen Park. If elected on November 5th to serve on the Allen Park City Council, I will continue to be a strong advocate and voice for all citizens of Allen Park.
I will enforce ordinances and with the help of the new administration, I would propose looking into grants to help augment city services to keep our city safe and clean. I will work to keep improving the infrastructure.
I will work cooperatively and respectfully with city officials.
I have always supported our Police and Fire. I will encourage economic growth in Allen Park by working with businesses to invest in our great city.
With all of my leadership experience and community involvement, I will continue to be a strong advocate and voice for of all citizens of Allen Park. I appreciate your vote of support on November 5th.
Let's Keep Allen Park Moving Forward
Felice "Tony" Lalli
Tony Lalli for AP city council
Every week we are featuring a different candidate running for city council. This week’s featured candidate is Gary Schlack. Here is his story: “My name is Gary Schlack and I live in what’s known as northern Allen Park with my beautiful wife Bridget and our son, Gary Jr. We are parishioners of St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church, live in a modest bungalow, and I proudly drive a union made Chevy Malibu.
Most of us have moments in life that we wish that we could relive again and again. The moment you wish you had a DeLorean that could go from 0 to 88 MPH in the blink of an eye! For me, that moment came last July. I was exhausted and terrified and overwhelmed, but I stood in the middle of a cold, dimly lit hospital room holding my newborn son for the first time. I couldn’t believe it, while another part of me felt like I knew him my entire life. As I looked down at his little face, and he looked back up at mine, I promised to do whatever I could to give him the greatest life possible.
And as your next City Councilman of Allen Park, it is my desire to serve our community by giving your family and mine the greatest life possible. Our City is filled with citizens that care for the future of our City and all of its tree-lined streets and brick houses. Yet, we must always strive to push the envelope and go beyond!
I was born and raised in southwest Detroit, but spent a lot of time in Allen Park playing bass guitar in a band and blowing way too much money on Superman comic books. After graduating from high school, I studied political science and business at Michigan State University.
At the end of my sophomore year, I decided to put my education on the shelf and enlisted in the United States Army. I felt a strong urge to do something bigger than myself and decided to serve our country like my father and grandfather before me.
Upon returning home, I went back to school and became the first in my family to earn a college diploma. I started my career as a middle school social studies substitute teacher, but later branched out to work in the transportation industry. Today, I am an ocean imports logistics manager at DHL Supply Chain.
These are just a few life experiences that shaped who I am. I want to build an even greater downtown that drives economic growth. Downtown is the central core and commercial area of our City. Lack of a vibrant downtown signifies to residents and visitors alike that we are not as prosperous as we should be and that the future looks bleak. We must work to bring the heart of our City alive, pumping with business and diversity.
We do that by making smart investments to increase revenue while eliminating burdensome taxes affecting small businesses and working-class residents. It's extremely important to motivate entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, and merchants to build and invest in our community and ensure that everyone gets a fair shot. Creating innovation will take our City into the future, just as it had in the past.
I want to improve our roads, parks, and infrastructure. Our community should not have to endure neighborhood flooding, potholes, or crumbling sidewalks. This spring has made it quite apparent that our drainage and sewer systems can’t be ignored! Failure to do so will create more heartbreak and unnecessary financial burden. It is the responsibility of those on City Council to seek out and find solutions. It won't be cheap. It won't be easy. But it must be done!
And finally, make sure public safety is always a #1 priority! Our police department and fire department, the finest and bravest among us, should never go without what they need to ensure our safety. They put their lives on-the-line for us and therefore we must willingly provide them the resources to match.
In my campaign, I have knocked on over 1,400 doors so far and my team and I are committed to going into every neighborhood by Election Day. We are knocking on your door and listening to your stories about your child’s first home run in Champaign Park, when you bought a yard gnome that brought you luck all year at the Allen Park Street Fair, or your concern that your house will flood again the next time it rains.
If given the honor and privilege to serve as our City’s next City Councilman, I won’t sit back on the sidelines and expect results, but I will be out in the community getting my hands dirty. Councilman or councilwoman are just titles, the job is being one of six key advocates for our great City in good times and bad! And that means always listening to you, not just on election year! Because when the fire gets too hot, you know someone in City Hall has your back!
Real change doesn’t happen by sitting. Real change happens by doing! This election is incredibly important! My name is Gary Schlack, and I am asking for your support, your help, and your vote this November. And together, as a community, will work together to make sure Allen Park always remains a strong community today, tomorrow, and always!
Every week we are featuring a candidate running for city council in Allen Park. This week’s featured candidate is Matthew E. Valerius. Here is his story: My name is Matthew E. Valerius and I am honored to be on the ballot this November for a seat on the Allen Park City Council.
My wife, son, and I have been Allen Park residents for 19 years and love this city that we call home. I am blessed to have served as a teacher at Cabrini High School for 12 years teaching English and Public Speaking. Currently, my educational role is as a Special Education Inclusion Specialist at West Middle School in the Taylor School District.
As an educator for 16 years, I truly believe in the learning process as well as the importance of communication, not just in the classroom but in the area of public service too.
I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a dual major in English and Communication Studies from Mercy College of Detroit in 1994. I also hold a Master of Education degree from the University of Michigan Dearborn in the area of Special Education-Learning Disabilities and completed a Master of Science degree from Madonna University in the field of Educational Leadership. I proudly served in the U.S. Army and Michigan Army National Guard as an 11Bravo Infantryman.
If elected to serve as a member of the Allen Park City Council, I will serve the citizens as a voice in city government. I do not have any personal agenda other than to speak for the people of this city. As someone who has taught the value of open and effective communication, I understand the importance of listening as well as talking and if elected to serve the citizens of Allen Park as a council person, I will listen to the residents of this city and represent them to the utmost of my ability.
I thank you for the opportunity to serve the citizens of Allen Park and am honored to be on the ballot this November.
From Jim Jacek
Every week we will feature a candidate running for city council in Allen Park. This week’s candidate is Steve Gary. Here is his story: Hello, I am Steve Gary, and I am currently running for a position on the Allen Park City Council. I am 36 years young, a single dad, with one son Dakota. My son and I also have two cats, Pounce, and Starfire. I have been a part of Allen Park, and the downriver area for my entire life. I am a third-generation Allen Parker. I come from a family that has vast roots in public service including Firefighters, Police Officers, and Public Service (DPS) workers. (None of which who have been employed or are employed in Allen Park.)
One of the major strengths that I bring to the table as a potential Allen Park Councilman is the ability to manage multi-million dollar public sector budgets, particularly in the areas of facilities services and infrastructure. Additionally, I have a plethora of experience in public and private sector buildings and infrastructure. This experience is key as buildings and infrastructure are the “framework, and the nuts and bolts” that our city is built upon, and what holds it together. In addition to living and breathing it, I love math, science, engineering, budgets, buildings, and infrastructure.
I currently hold two Associate Degrees from Henry Ford College. My first is an Associate of General Studies (AGS), and my second is an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in the areas of Engineering (buildings), and Energy Technology. Along the way of achieving both of my Associate Degrees, I also studied Computer Information Systems (CIS), Human Resources, Management, and Labor Negations. I am currently completing my Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) majoring in Engineering and Energy Technology from Siena Heights University. I will be completed with my undergraduate studies and my BAS at the end of this month (August 2019). In the near future, I will begin my graduate studies in obtaining a Master’s Degree, placing me on the path to my ultimate goal of attending law school to obtain a Juris Doctorate.
I am a member of The Knights of Columbus, The fraternal Order of Eagles, The Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, The American Society of Power Engineers, and The Southeastern Michigan Powerplant Engineers Society.
My current and past union affiliations include the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA) Local 71 AFL-CIO, Dearborn Schools Operating Engineers Association (DSOEA), Dearborn Federation of School Employees (DFSE) Local 4750 AFL-CIO, Dearborn School Employees Independent Union (DSEIU), and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 876 AFL-CIO.
Over the past 10 years or so our city has definitely been through some turbulent times financially. Thankfully with hard work from our citizens and stakeholders, we have bounced back to more stable grounds. With that said one major project that I hope to begin since property values have risen and stabilized is to look into lowering taxes returning hard-earned dollars to those who earned them our Allen Park taxpayers. The first part of this project will begin as soon as I am elected and assume office by investigating the city’s feasibility to lower millages and rollback our current tax rates. Allen Park was once a city with high property values and low tax rates. If feasible it would be great to return to those times.
Back in 2011 Allen Park taxpayers were gracious enough to approve millages to assist our beautiful city during quite possibly the most financially turbulent times Allen Park has ever seen since we became a city in 1957. It is important we work on this to instill trust in our citizens, taxpayers and stakeholders who I believe will be more than willing to assist us again in the future if the need arises.
This is my second time on the campaign trail here in Allen Park. The first time was when I was 28 back in 2011 when I first ran for Allen Park City Council. I was unable to run in the last election cycle as work commitments did not permit me to do so as I was on the second shift in 2015.
In closing, I do not have any agendas or connections to any special interests. The only agenda if you will that I have is ensuring that our city remains the GEM of downriver, and now we must begin in polishing our beautiful GEM.
We must ensure that our city operates in a fiscally responsible manner, and hopefully, we can work together to lower taxes and reduce regulations so that our city prospers for many years to come. When I speak of lower taxes, we must do it in a manner as property values rise so we do not cut any existing services or the benefits and pay of those who work hard to provide those services.
In November please remember me “The Man With Two First Names, STEVE GARY for Allen Park City Council.”
Phone: (313) 458-9141
Website (coming soon) www.stevegaryforcouncil.com
By Jim Jacek
Every week we are featuring a city council candidate. This week’s candidate is Chad Morrow. Here is his story: I moved to Allen Park less than a year ago. I grew up in Northern Michigan and spent over 10 years working at ABC Warehouse. While with the company, I spent some time in the Novi location which is when I first fell in love with the metro Detroit area. I eventually went back to Gaylord though and a few short years later left ABC Warehouse after 10 years of employment for a new opportunity.
I went to work at Extreme Powersports and what a huge change that was. I had worked for 10 years with the same people for the most part, and now had all new faces as well as a whole new industry. Some of the skills you pick up in sales are communication skills and the ability to listen, both which were important in adapting to a new environment, as well as important skills to be an elected official.
It was while working at Extreme Powersports that a close friend of mine who had 2 previous battles with brain cancer, informed me he was about to fight round 3. The chemo and radiation previously took a great toll on him and he decided this time he was going to use Rick Simpson Oil, made from cannabis. His this battle was his shortest.
It was then I truly saw the miraculous benefits cannabis could offer and I took a job at a dispensery in 2015. It started off great, seeing the amount of people getting relief, and knowing i was truly helping others. As in many parts of the state, there was much confusion in law and raids ensued. I showed up to work and the building was locked and empty. It was raided and closed. After seeing all the hurt in patients eyes and feeling their hurt in messages, I decided then to step up. We created a charter with the city, I then opened my own shop while others reopened theirs and we took care of patients. Unfortunately the governor had yet to sign the dispensery licensing act's into law and our charter didn't trump state law and the raids happened again. It was a long two years with wins and losses on both sides but ended with all 9 shops shuttered and each owner taking a slap on the wrist.
I learned a lot about laws, politics, policies and people. The one thing I took away the most though, was how great it felt to truly help and represent the people. From donating to charity, hosting community events, being a voice, to getting random thank you cards, it felt amazing. I then knew I found my calling, and that was representing the people, taking action, and being the change we're want to see.
Fortunately when everything was over up North, an opportunity arose for me to come back downstate. I'm opening a new business in Westland, a vape shop also concentrating on CBD health products. Even though I knew I'd be working in Westland, I chose Allen Park for several reasons. The close knit small neighborhood feeling is phenomenal. The schools are excellent and where there's excellent schools, there's excellent people. In the short time I've lived here, I've made several quality friendships and whenever I cross the path of a fellow Allen Parker I don't know, I always get a warm smile and a hello.
My decision to run for council came when some fellow residents were talking about past lawsuits and their concern of some current ordinances that are potential lawsuits as well. They had commented that every seat was up and I simply said now's the time to get involved, not necessarily thinking about myself. One person looked at me and said "you're right, you should run. You love speaking up, helping others, and no one I know is more selfless than you. " I realized how serious they were, and after some thought, I thought how better to meet my new community than to hit the ground running and be a real productive member of it. Going door to door only confirmed I made the right decision. Hearing the resident’s concerns and knowing that not only can I be their voice, I can be a part of forming solutions, well that's an honor I not only look forward to but full on embrace.
Things I heard were we need change, a new face, a new direction. Many residents were of course concerned with recent and past years flooding, quality of roads, financial stability, lawsuits, fire department funding, cannabis facilities, and basic services like dangerous tree removal from city land. Of course these things cost money and knowing Allen Park supported cannabis legalization with 57% support, I mentioned to many the path of petitioning the question of these facilities to November's ballot and there was much enthusiasm. I thought what better way to show the people how hard I'll work to represent you than to start now and show them the way rather than waiting until November. I believe it should be up to the voters of Allen Park to decide, after all it's your city, not mine or whomever the 7 members of the council turn out to be in November.
Of course this isn't a cure all. Many of the things we need cost money and we must with diligently to create revenue without passing the expense to residents in the form of taxes. In fact, creating more avenues of revenue could even bring residents taxes down. Michigan is expected to bring in more tax revenue than every other state except California. I want you the constituent to hold the decision if we'll capture that revenue and embrace these in our community, or let them go elsewhere. Your community, your voice.
We must find ways to entice businesses to come invest in Allen Park, while encouraging small business growth as well. After all, small business is the backbone of America. I look forward to seeing not just business growth, but community growth as well. Growth is comes in many ways. As a young teen who got into mischief, I grew out of that. Years later with the dispensary, I grew into a leader. I've been able to take negatives and nurture them into positives. I was awarded an honorary award for activism from the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws. I've traveled the state speaking to councils, legislators, at events, and have been interviewed by media throughout Michigan. If a voice is what you want on city council, I'm your candidate.
I'm truly hoping that my campaign will encourage others to get out and be more involved. Not a lot of young people run for office. We only had roughly 2500 voters at the mayoral primary race. I'd really like to see people excited to vote, eager to discuss current issues with candidates, and more eager to see the results come in.
As a council candidate, my duty is to earn your trust and confidence so you'll give me your vote in November. It's not always easy when so many politicians give you the same robotic happy talk and rarely deliver on campaign promises. That won't be the case with me upon being elected your councilman. I'll be transparent and have wide open lines of communication. I will listen to you and address your concerns. I think two of the most important qualifications are to simply put your own opinion aside, and listen to fact, reason, and most importantly, your constituents. The other qualification would be you've gotta be able to speak for the people and stay up to date on things the people concern themselves with, regardless if you yourself support it or not. Our job as councilman and women are to represent you, and not our own ideals.
People want change, change won't happen unless we're willing to think differently, openly, and even a bit out of the box. I look forward to speaking with you all between now and November, hearing your concerns and listening to your ideas. Working together, we can grow, pay off debt, have confidence in our city, develop great relationships and most importantly.... truly let the Pearl of Downriver shine.
By Jim Jacek
Every week we are featuring a candidate that is running for city council in Allen Park. This weeks featured candidate is Dan Loyd. Here is his story: In 1997 my father, a teacher at Allen Park High School, proposed a course titled Impact on Government. At the center of the course is the idea that an individual citizen has the greatest ability to impact government at a local level, and those decisions made on that level have the greatest impact on a citizens life. Since I was a small child, I watched my father speak to the Allen Park City Council about the importance of supporting our police and firefighters; the importance of public infrastructure; and the importance of maintaining the level of community that has made Allen Park a place people want to raise their children, and where those children return to raise their own families.
In the weeks and months since deciding to run for council, I have been greeted with one consistent question from friends and family: “Why would you want to do that?” My steadfast response has been the lessons I learned from watching my father; it is an individual’s civic responsibility to serve their community if they are able.
For the last five years, I have worked as a High School English and Social Studies teacher. Four of those five years have been spent in Allen Park Public Schools (three at Allen Park Community School [Go Penguins!] and most recently at Allen Park High School [Go Jags!]). Furthermore, I have been fortunate enough to coach everything from chess to wrestling within our city. Everyday members of the community entrust their children to me so that I may train them in the skills necessary to live in a civil society: the ability to understand the world through another’s eyes, the ability to develop opinions based on facts, and how to make clear, evidence based arguments.
If elected to council, I would make use of these skills to best serve the interests of the citizens of Allen Park, so that people will continue to look to our community as a place to make a life.
I want to help build a diverse and inclusive society where individuals who look differently, pray differently, and love differently strive together for the same goal: a better Allen Park.
For such a future to thrive it is necessary to ensure a safe place to live and work; public spaces for citizens to gather to play, learn, and grow; and finally, a vibrant business community where the entrepreneurial spirit can take root and meet the needs of Allen Parkers.
As citizens of Allen Park, we are incredibly fortunate to be protected everyday by a steadfast and dedicated group of police officers and firefighters. We are equally fortunate that many of these individuals are our neighbors. In my role as head wrestling coach, I have had to call for emergency services. In those adrenaline filled moments, there is no substitute for the reassurance of seeing a neighbor and a friend arrive on the scene.
As it stands now, 51% of the police and fire operating budget is supported with the public safety millage passed in 2013. If that funding were to be lost, it would be devastating to the institutions entrusted to protect us. Therefore, steps should be taken to secure the same level of funding is enshrined in our city budget, so that those who are willing to risk their lives for our safety, don’t also have to worry about their livelihood.
Our public spaces provide Allen Parkers places to play, interact, and grow. As a child growing up in Allen Park, I developed lifelong friendships playing APAC baseball on our city’s diamonds and as a Bulldog on the gridiron of Cunningham Park. As we continue to grow as a city, we must make a priority of maintaining these spaces to strengthen our community and developing new spaces and opportunities for children to play and grow together.
These spaces and programs are not only for our youth, but should be available to all citizens. It is important that we provide opportunities for adult learning and recreation, so that new friendships and bonds can be developed between our citizens, whether they are nine or ninety.
One of our public spaces that provides the most opportunity to the citizens of Allen Park is the Public Library. I will never forget the day I was first able to sign my name on the back of an Allen Park Library card. Whether I knew it then or not on that day, I gained access to a whole new world of knowledge and opportunities.
Our public library provides Allen Parkers access to tools and resources necessary to be competitive in the modern world. If it is an individual using the computer resources to update their resume, to research new skills, or to gather amongst neighbors to discuss new ideas; we need to work to bring the Allen Park Library into the 21st century so that it will continue to provide access to the world for future generations of citizens.
Finally, an essential aspect of creating the city we all deserve is the continued development of our business community. Since I’ve moved back to Allen Park from college in 2011, the city has made tremendous strides in developing a lively downtown area. Every year it seems we have a new, exciting place to gather with friends for a meal, a cup of coffee, or a drink. It is crucial that we continue to work to support our enterprising neighbors who feel they have the ability to fill a need within our marketplace.
This means working with governmental agencies, such as the Downtown Development Authority, to maintain our public infrastructure and continue to host public events that make Allen Park an attractive area for residents to walk, dine, and shop.
Ultimately, I believe myself to be smart, capable, and attuned with the needs of my fellow citizens. But what makes me truly qualified to hold the office of an Allen Park city council member is my sacred respect for democracy developed all those years ago watching my father.
It is a respect that grew during my time studying at Central Michigan University. A respect that continued to grow in my postgraduate studies at the University of Detroit-Mercy, and it is a respect that I work to instill in the minds of my students every day.
Therefore, if I am fortunate enough to be selected by the people of Allen Park to represent them, I will uphold the sacred duty entrusted to me to serve the members of this community.