Newcomers named to some city councils

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published November 15, 2017

GROSSE POINTES — Even though they weren’t contested, the city council races in Grosse Pointe Farms, Park and Shores are still bringing some changes.

In the Farms, incumbents John Gillooly and Peter Waldmeir were re-elected, but joining them as a council member is James Farquhar. After 14 years as mayor, Farquhar decided not to run again for that position this year, but he did decide to run for a council seat. Farquhar served as the Farms mayor for 14 years and was a council member for two years prior to that. He was the city’s first elected mayor; the council used to select a mayor internally from among its members.

According to unofficial vote tallies available at press time, Waldmeir was the top council vote-getter, with 2,122 votes, followed by Farquhar with 2,095 and Gillooly with 2,012. Gillooly, an attorney, was named to fill a vacancy in December 2016 when City Councilman Martin West left his seat. The three council candidates ran for three four-year council seats.

At Brownell Middle School, home to one of the largest precincts in the Farms, Precinct 5 Chair Stefany Segesta said turnout had been “really steady” throughout the day.

“At one point, we actually had people lined up” all the way outside the gymnasium where voting takes place, she said, pointing to the doorway. Segesta said the line occurred around 5:30 p.m., when many voters were just returning home from work.

She said the new election equipment — which the Farms was using for the first time Nov. 7 — was “working really well.” Ballots weren’t getting jammed in the new machines, and she said these machines tell poll workers what’s wrong with a ballot when they do return one.

“It was a lot easier to set up than I thought it would be,” Segesta said of the new voting equipment. Communities that had August primaries, like Grosse Pointe City and Grosse Pointe Shores, first used the new machines during those elections.

In the Park, incumbent City Council members Daniel Grano and James Robson will be joined by newcomer Lauri Read, an attorney who has lived in the Park for the last 25 years. All were unopposed in their bids for three four-year terms. Read ran for the seat vacated by Laurie Arora, who didn’t run for re-election this year. In her submission to the Grosse Pointe Times voter guide, Read stated that her priorities include “fiscal responsibility,” infrastructure improvements, public safety, services, and “open, accessible, responsive and responsible city government.”

Read was the top vote-getter with 1,309 votes, followed by Robson with 1,206 votes and Grano with 1,184 votes.

Incumbent Park Mayor Robert Denner, who ran unopposed for a two-year term, received 1,295 votes, or 93.03 percent of the total cast in that race. This was Denner’s first time running for mayor. He was appointed in 2015 to serve out the remainder of former Mayor Palmer Heenan’s term. Denner also served on the Park City Council from 2003 to 2015.

In the Shores, newcomer Matt Seely, the CEO of a Detroit-based manufacturing company, will join incumbents Bruce Bisballe and Robert Barrette Jr. around the council table. All were elected in an unopposed contest for four-year terms. City Councilman Alexander Ajlouni didn’t run for re-election this year.

Seely, who has lived in the Shores for 17 years, said in the Grosse Pointe Times voter guide that his main goals are to “continue to ensure that the city offers the highest quality public safety, services and park as well as maintain fiscal discipline.”

Bisballe was the top Shores vote-getter with 309 votes, followed by Seely with 307 votes and Barrette with 297 votes.

Voter turnout in the Shores was low, with only 18 percent of the city’s 2,432 registered voters — or 436 — casting ballots Nov. 7. The only contested race on the Shores ballot was a special election for the 1st District state House seat formerly occupied by Brian Banks. Democrat Tenisha Yancey won the seat. In the Shores, Yancey received 100 votes. Republican Mark Corcoran was the Shores favorite with 299 votes. Libertarian candidate Gregory Creswell got 13 votes in the Shores.

Farms Municipal Court Judge Matthew Rumora — who also serves as the judge for Grosse Pointe Shores Municipal Court — was uncontested in his bid for another four-year term. In the Farms, he received 2,802 votes, or about 99.36 percent of the total cast in the judicial race, with write-ins accounting for a handful of additional votes. In the Shores, he received 360 votes; no write-ins were reported for the municipal judge. Rumora has been the Farms judge for the last 29 years and the Shores judge for the last six. In the Grosse Pointe Times voter guide, Rumora said that his goals were to “handle cases fairly and expeditiously, and to treat everyone with courtesy and respect.”

Park Municipal Court Judge Carl Jarboe also will be getting another four-year term, having run in an uncontested race for re-election. Jarboe has been the Park’s judge for the last 22 years, having been first elected in 1995.