PLEASANT RIDGE — After 20 years as mayor of Pleasant Ridge, Ralph Castelli will not be running for re-election this November. That opens the door for someone new to be the face of the city for the first time since the early ’90s.
Frank Rubino, a current city commissioner, and resident Kurt Metzger will go head-to-head on the Nov. 5 ballot as the only two candidates.
For Rubino, being part of local government is nothing new. Outside of being a Pleasant Ridge commissioner for four years, Rubino has also been a councilman and city manager in Fraser.
His plan, if elected as mayor, is to bring the Pleasant Ridge community together and working toward the same goal.
“I think, as mayor, you are the chairperson of the City Commission and you try to do the best for the city,” Rubino said. “I want to keep the finances where they are right now — keep them safeguarded so we don’t have problems in the future. I also want everybody talking in the city. People who live on the (east side) of Woodward, we are one community and it is our community.
“I think with my background and knowledge of how government should be run, I would do the best job.”
Rubino said another of his biggest tasks would be to keep the Pleasant Ridge Police Department intact and working for the community. The police in Pleasant Ridge are like none other, he said, and he doesn’t want the community to lose that.
“We have contracts with other municipalities for our water and public works trucks, but our police vehicles are the only thing in our city that goes up and down the streets with our name on them,” Rubino said. “Not many communities can call and say they are going to be out of town, but because of the uniqueness and smallness of our city, we are able to do that. It is just the kind of Police Department we have and I don’t want that to change.”
Metzger, too, feels public safety contracts are important, as the Fire Department contract being pulled from Ferndale and given to Berkley two years ago was a turning point for the city.
Metzger has lived in Pleasant Ridge for 26 years and is the founder and executive director of Data Driven Detroit, a think tank that promotes positive community development.
“Two years ago, I really started getting involved and attending every commission meeting and Planning Commission meeting to track what was going on in the city,” Metzger said. “I was looking for ways to make Pleasant Ridge a more engaged and active community. I’m interested and excited for the opportunity to lead the city and the opportunity to connect.”
While Pleasant Ridge is a half-mile-long city sitting between Royal Oak and Ferndale, Metzger said he feels there is no reason for the city to not be involved more with the happenings in metro Detroit.
Metzger said people in Pleasant Ridge have been happy with decisions being made for them, but he thinks getting everyone more involved in local and neighboring governments would benefit all.
“I think we have been somewhat isolated from the table of discussion, so I want to look into how to move this region forward and how to collaborate with different entities,” he said. “I think my vision for Pleasant Ridge is being a lot more inclusive and a lot more engaged with the Detroit metropolitan region. How can we have a bigger voice at the table, and how do we get engaged with our neighbors in Ferndale and Royal Oak?
“We have been a small town and kept our heads down like nothing else impacts us, but things are changing all around us, and we need to be seen as a bigger player and have a voice in these issues.”