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 Voters in St. Clair Shores opted to reelect three incumbents to City Council.

Voters in St. Clair Shores opted to reelect three incumbents to City Council.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske

Incumbents win reelection to St. Clair Shores City Council

School millages on track to pass

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published November 5, 2019


ST. CLAIR SHORES — City Council members Peter Accica, Ron Frederick and Chris Vitale all won reelection to their seats, according to unofficial results from the Macomb County Clerk’s Office.

Accica received 6,394 votes, Frederick 6,381 votes and Vitale 6,058 in the Nov. 5 election, compared with challengers Justin Maniaci, who received 3,696 votes; Gordon Miskelly, who received 3,158 votes; and Lawanda Turner, who got 2,412 votes.

Preliminary results showed a 22.2% voter turnout in St. Clair Shores for the election, during which voters chose candidates for the City Council. Mayor Kip Walby was also on the ballot, although he did not face any challengers. He received 9,307 votes.

Accica, elected to his second term in office, said that he was happy that more residents got involved in the race this year, but he is happy to be back serving with the other incumbents.

“Congratulations (to) everybody that ran. They all did it because they love the city like I do,” he said. “Everybody does their thing. We’ve got a good mix.”

Looking ahead to the next four years, he said that the most important issue is rectifying the problem of the lead service lines.

“That’s going to be the most important now,” he said. “Everything else can be put on hold.”

Frederick, who has been in office since he was appointed in 2005, said that he wants to continue to repair and replace infrastructure in the city, as well as the roads, along with working with other government agencies on water quality.

Reelection tells him that “we’re doing the right thing,” he said.

“From my personal perspective, we all work hard in our own way up there, and I feel that what we’ve already accomplished, which is not done, says that we’re on the right road,” he continued. “With the new city manager and some other things that are happening, we’re looking forward to a good future for St. Clair Shores.”

Walby agreed.

“Not everything’s perfect; there’s always issues. I think we usually work quickly to address issues, to get on top of them,” Walby said. “It’s a very good feeling when you’re an elected official to see that kind of support. It’s very humbling.”

Vitale said that he had a hard time finding joy in his 2015 reelection, which occurred just after the passing of Councilman Anthony Tiseo, but that he is humbled that residents chose to reelect him again this year.

“I’ve made no secret that one of the best ways to support police is continued focus on attractive commercial districts and quality neighborhoods, and that makes criminals feel unwelcome,” he said in an email interview. “I’ll take my reelection as a message to keep this focus.”

More St. Clair Shores residents cast absentee ballots than turned out to the polls on Election Day, according to City Clerk Mary Kotowski. She said that 6,354 residents sent in absentee ballots, compared to 4,382 ballots cast at the polls, which she said was still a great turnout.

Referring to the more than 20% of voters who participated in the election, Kotowski said that “usually the year mayor is on the ballot, we always see a higher turnout.”

“Part of it plays to people getting involved in pre-election season and the gear-up to 2020.”

She said seven people took advantage of Election Day registration at her counter, and a few others registered in the days leading up to the election. There were no problems to report on Election Day, she said.

Heading in to vote Nov. 5, Chris Quinn said that he was generally pleased with what the City Council was doing for St. Clair Shores, although he would have liked to see citizens pick the next city manager instead of that governing body. He said he also thinks some city services, like those provided by the Department of Public Works, could be improved.

But he and other voters seemed to support the three incumbents running for reelection.

“I think the incumbents have done a very good job, but I would like to see a change too,” said resident Steve Wochaski. “More progression of the city.”

“I’m generally pretty happy, but I’m always open to changes that haven’t occurred to me,” said resident Tony Phillips before he headed in to cast his ballot at Precinct 1 at Assumption Cultural Center.

He said the city needs to focus more attention on the safety issues related to rising water, as well as water and sewer problems, “crumbling infrastructure” and sinkholes.

Walby agreed that those are issues that he and other elected officials need to continue to prioritize.

“There’s a number of good projects and we’re working to keep things moving forward,” he said.

Resident Ned Herman said he supported the incumbent candidates mostly because he didn’t like the alternatives.

“I’m not looking for a change. I didn’t like the people who were running, so all my votes were for incumbents,” he said.