Grosse Pointe FarmsFebruary 13, 2013
Farms Council candidates provide information to voters
By K. Michelle Moran
C & G Staff Writer
GROSSE POINTE FARMS — On Feb. 26, the Farms will hold a special election to fill the City Council seat left vacant by the death last year of Mayor Pro Tem Joseph Leonard.
Two candidates — Joe Ricci and Liz Vogel — applied by the Jan. 7 deadline to vie for this non-partisan seat. Neither has served on the council before. Voters will select one of these candidates to serve the remainder of Leonard’s term, which expires in November 2015.
Voters can obtain absentee ballots between now and Feb. 23. On Feb. 23, the City Clerk’s office will be open until 2 p.m. for this purpose. Absentee voters can also cast their ballots in person until 4 p.m. at City Hall Feb. 25. Absentee ballots must be received at City Hall no later than 8 p.m. Feb. 26.
On Election Day, Feb. 26, the polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. For more information, contact the City Clerk’s office at (313) 885-6600 or click on the election information tab on the city’s website, www.ci.grosse-pointe-farms.mi.us.
To help voters prepare to make their decision, the Grosse Pointe Times asked both candidates to respond to three questions, in 100 words or fewer per question. Here is some background about the candidates, in their own words:
1. Vital information (including age, education, occupation, number of years of residency in the Farms and previously held elected offices): age - 63; BS degree +Masters degree in Occupational Psychology; semi-retired (my sons run the family dealerships) which we have owned since 1979; I have lived in the Farms for 30+ years; Offices held: President National Jeep Dealer Association; 15 years President Detroit Jeep Dealers Advertising Board; President Florida Condo Association. I consider myself a conservative.
2. What is in your background, or what sorts of experiences have you had, that you think would make you a good council member? Besides over 35 years of running successful automobile dealerships with over 63,000,000 in annual sales and my educational background; I am not a politician. I am not looking to use this position as a “spring board” for bigger things. I do not have an agenda. I have the time to focus on the issues. I start with a clean sheet of paper and I owe no one any favors. I have the experience, I am committed to our community and I ask a lot of questions. I am also a great negotiator. I’m fair and willing to listen to both sides. I’m a finesse person not a “bull in a china shop”.
3. What do you feel is the most pressing issue facing Grosse Pointe Farms, and how would you address this? I think we have three pressing issues that will surface over the next three to five years. The shortfall in the unfunded pension plan for city employees; The Mack Ave & the Mack/Moross gateway issues and excessive water run-off and the rising cost of our water bills. I would get involved in the pension, the ordinance and the beautification committees. I would be looking for ways to get the pension plan 100% funded by increasing income and reducing expenses. I would like to establish neighborhood monitors to make sure the building department would be alerted to ordinance violations.
1. Vital information (including age, education, occupation, number of years of residency in the Farms and previously held elected offices): I am 30 years-old and a life-long resident of Grosse Pointe Farms. I am Executive Assistant to the President of one the top beer distributors in the State of Michigan. I have a M.A. from Loyola University Chicago, B.A. from Albion College, and I am a proud graduate of South (2000) Brownell (‘96) and Richard (‘93). I have run for office as a write-in candidate for Farms Council. I have been present Farms Council meetings for 2 years. I am currently serving as a member of the Farms Communications Committee.
2. What is in your background, or what sorts of experiences have you had, that you think would make you a good council member? I am passionate about public service and bettering my community. I understand the issues that concern us as neighbors, businesses and individuals. Examples of my involvement in the community in the last five year involve the following: Vice President of the Hill Association, Trustee of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society, Steering Committee for Racing For Kids, and religious education instructor for three years. I am particularly proud of the collaborative involvements which have resulted in significant fundraising for these organizations. I have gained experience in dealing various departments, residents and groups to bring about a successful outcome.
3. What do you feel is the most pressing issue facing Grosse Pointe Farms, and how would you address this? Safety of our residents is paramount. Although the crime rates remain low, the type of crime has become more brazen. Unfortunately we have experienced a number of home invasions recently. Fortunately, through the dedication of our hard working public safety, they have solved these crimes. I support our public safety as they adapt to changing criminal activity. I also support the court system as they prosecute these offenders. We must maintain high standards and improve upon the security of this city so that current residents have peace of mind. This will attract new residents, particularly young couples and families.