Eastpointe mayoral candidates weigh in

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published August 20, 2019

File photo

Advertisement
Advertisement

EASTPOINTE — After serving as mayor of Eastpointe for 12 years, Suzanne Pixley announced earlier this year that she would be retiring at the end of her current term. Five candidates have come forward and are asking the residents of Eastpointe for their votes this November to be the next mayor. 

The candidate elected this November will serve a four-year term ending in November of 2023.

For this piece, all of the candidates were asked the same four questions. All of the interviews were conducted by phone except for the interview with Tonia Gladney, who was reached by email.

Harvey Creech

What is your relevant education and experience and how long have you lived in Eastpointe? 

“I’ve lived in Eastpointe for more than 55 years. I graduated from East Detroit High School. I was a union representative for UAW No. 228 at Ford. I’ve been involved in the city in several ways over the years.”

What qualifies you for office? 

“I have enough knowledge to know our city needs some help. I want to get away from the political background and make things nonpolitical. I see the city on an upswing and I want to keep it there. We have had too many mergers with other communities and contractors running things, like our parks. We need to get our city back under one roof.”

What would your priorities be if elected? 

“My priorities would be to keep the status quo and not backslide. We’ve had some bad turns in the past. We are paying a whole lot more than we need to be. The political address toward the people is we have to move forward even if it costs us money. I don’t want to see more taxes, but if we need it, we need it.”

What is your message to Eastpointe residents? 

“We have to move forward, we can’t move backwards. We can’t fall farther back. Moving forward would mean addressing our education system. There’s too many computers and not enough education. So many people, if you take their cellphones away from them, they become helpless.”


Cardi DeMonaco Jr.

What is your relevant education and experience and how long have you lived in Eastpointe? 

“I moved to Eastpointe when I was 8 years old. I’ve been on the City Council for a little over four years and was on the Zoning Board of Appeals before that. I went through the East Detroit Public School System and graduated from East Detroit High School in 2006 and went on to the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a degree in software engineering.”

What qualifies you for office? 

“I wouldn’t run if I didn’t think I would be the best candidate. I enjoy government work and trying to solve complex problems, and I would like to see the community do great things.”

What would your priorities be if elected?

“My first priority would be to work with the community members to get our boards and commissions filled. The main difference between the mayor and City Council members is to appoint those members and get as many people involved in the community as possible. Bringing forward new boards or commissions would be something I’m interested in as well. We recently created the Arts and Cultural Diversity Commission and the Parks Commission, and they both were able to do a lot of good since they were formed. We have a downtown area around Nine Mile and Gratiot, and we would like to improve opportunities for creating more nightlife and business there.”

What is your message to Eastpointe residents? 

“I am very dedicated to the city. I am very passionate about the city and living there. I have been on City Council longer than anyone other than the mayor. I also have a lot of ideas and ways that we can improve the city. I want to do as much as we can for Eastpointe, and I can help move things forward.”


Tonia Gladney

What is your relevant education and experience and how long have you lived in Eastpointe? 

“I have made Eastpointe my home during the last 10 years. I graduated with an associate’s degree in criminal justice law enforcement administration from Wayne County Community College and a bachelor’s in criminal justice (from) Ferris State University. (I) facilitated for Detroit School of Arts.” 

What qualifies you for office? 

“I am an advocate for the things not right within our city government. What qualifies me is watching city council not act on the needs of the people for years, focusing on and passing personal agendas not related or beneficial for all Eastpointe residents. Without any concerns of maintaining tranquility the citizens deserve. As Mayor I would work with the citizens of Eastpointe and implement change.”

What would your priorities be if elected? 

“When I am elected, I will create a safe environment for the neighborhoods continuing working with our neighborhood watch program and improve the quality of the school system, bringing new businesses to the community while working with senior citizens. … (I want to) restore our city to achieve (its) full potential as we move forward in Macomb County with a strong community (and) increase property ownership, entrepreneurship for business and better neighborhoods.”

What is your message to Eastpointe residents? 

“There is nothing we cannot achieve if the city government and the community is working together for the common good. … My strong desire is for Eastpointe City to remain a family town due to my passion and love for the city I call my home. Working with residents to improve the quality and values throughout the city. Bringing back the values that brought me to Eastpointe.”


Michael Klinefelt

What is your relevant education and experience and how long have you lived in Eastpointe? 

“I have lived in Eastpointe over 20 years, since I was in elementary school. I have a bachelor’s in political science from Michigan State and a law degree from Wayne State.”

What qualifies you for office? 

“I am a licensed attorney in Michigan and California. I have always been involved, even as a kid, with city service and committees. I’ve been on City Council for four years and served as mayor pro tem for most of that time. I also worked for past Michigan representatives and senators working on policy issues and drafting legislation.”

What would your priorities be if elected? 

“The City Council sets the priorities for the city, and the mayor serves as a guiding force to help make sure everyone’s views are heard and everyone feels their voice is heard. … I think Eastpointe is in a good position right now to grow in terms of community activities and what we have to offer for both new residents and those who have lived here for decades. We can capitalize on our diversity and location — particularly with our proximity to Detroit. People are looking for places to live right now that aren’t an apartment or something downtown. We want to make this a good place to live.”

What is your message to Eastpointe residents? 

“I want to make this a community people are excited to live in. I’d like voters to consider experience and ask them to watch our City Council meetings to understand which candidates bring a lot of knowledge to the city and know the issues inside and out.” 


Monique Owens

What is your relevant education and experience and how long have you lived in Eastpointe? 

“I’ve lived in Eastpointe almost 10 years. I have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and I am a certified AED instructor. I was a police officer with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department for 11 years and graduated with police certification from Schoolcraft College in Livonia.”

What qualifies you for office? 

“My experience as a councilwoman from the last two years and my background as a police officer shows I have also been a community leader. I also am a small business owner and can connect with other business owners in the community.”

What would your priorities be if elected? 

“My priorities would be to increase home ownership. I want to empower renters to become homeowners. The houses that we take back from Macomb County, I want to give renters the first chance to buy them and become homeowners. I want to encourage people to be investors in the city by investing in their homes. This will increase revenue in the city that we can use to improve infrastructure, which in turn will draw in new businesses and more jobs. I also want to keep on pushing for increasing revenue sharing from the state and seek more grants for things like parks and energy efficient measures in the city.”

What is your message to Eastpointe residents? 

“Vote for Monique Owens because I get the job done. I have the experience and history to show that’s true. … Most of the things I wanted when I ran for City Council have come to fruition. When I ran as a councilwoman, I pushed for a neighborhood watch program and now we have one, for instance. As mayor, I think I can get even more done.”

Call Staff Writer Brendan Losinski at (586) 498-1068.

Advertisement
Advertisement