Luebs runs unopposed in November mayoral race

Mayor looks forward to more time serving city

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published October 7, 2015


CLAWSON — Looking back at the past eight years that Penny Luebs has been mayor, she reflected on the growth of the community.

During her four terms, the city has secured grants for road reconstruction, kept and maintained the Clawson Police Department, maintained and improved parks, built relationships with community groups and supported new and existing small businesses with initiatives like the One Stop Ready program.

“It’s marvelous being a part of the growth process,” she said. “So generally, I think of what I would like to do or see as a homeowner or family, and move forward with those ideas.”

Luebs, 61, said she is proud that during her watch, a community food pantry and garden blossomed, the Clawson Farmers Market began and she saw the start of a kids theater, a trick-or-treat trail and an appreciation picnic for volunteers and employees.

“Community events is one of my fortes,” she said. “I think if I can get people out, they get to know their neighbors and look out for each other, and that’s what makes a community is neighbors helping neighbors.”

Luebs is running Nov. 3 for her fourth term as mayor. This is the second time that she is running unopposed.

Clawson City Clerk Machele Kukuk said voter turnout in general elections in Clawson has ranged between 14 and 24 percent. Kukuk said the 24 percent was an election with opposition and a millage proposal.

“When it is an unopposed election, we still average between 14 and 18 percent,” she said. “So yes, some people do vote no matter what the election is for.”

Luebs served her first mayoral term in 2007 and has served on City Council since 2003.

“I had been to council for problems in my neighborhood and wanted to be part of the solution versus the commenter or the complainer expecting others to do things,” she said. “Like the old Swedish proverb, ‘The only helping hand is at the end of your arm.’

“But I’ve since learned to ask for help.”

Luebs said she has enjoyed the experience and enjoys being a part of the community and accessible to residents. She feels it is important to remain responsive to people who live and work in Clawson.

“I think that they feel that they’ve been listened to after they talk to me — that I hear them. I haven’t given them the answer they want, but I’m respectful,” she said.

Luebs said she has learned a great deal about the community through her consecutive terms.

“Clawson is steeped in tradition, so they are used to doing the same things, and introducing new ideas takes time to mull over,” she said. “And I haven’t been successful over all of my ideas, but that’s OK; there’s another new idea coming around the corner.”

Luebs said that serving as a mayor for consecutive terms also has allowed her to acquire more wisdom and experience.

“I can have the answer now instead of saying, ‘Let me get back to you,’ and taking two days to find out the answer,” she said.

Luebs also said she would continue to focus on providing city services.

She said Clawson is a special place where generations of families call home and support one another, which is demonstrated in the generosity of the residents.

“It’s a phenomenon that people who come to Clawson stay in Clawson,” she said.

Luebs plans to tackle what’s next on her to-do list in her next term.

Mayoral priorities include creating a bike path in Clawson, emphasizing recycling throughout the community, installing battery charging stations, maintaining quality of life for residents, installing playground equipment, creating a volunteer coordinator and collaborating with community groups for the well-being of the community and to streamline resources.

“I’d love to have the green roof and geothermal and move forward with solar energy and those kinds of things (at City Hall),” she said. “But my philosophy is I can’t expect people to do what I can’t do myself. So, if I want to push more environmental concerns, then we should be leaders also.”

When asked why she is running unopposed once again in a November election, Luebs said, “The joke around town is that nobody else wants to do it.”

Luebs is a full-time social worker for Easter Seals and has five children and eight grandchildren. She has lived in Clawson since 1980.