Madison Heights, Hazel Park voters to decide mayor, council

Madison - Park News | Published October 13, 2021

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MADISON HEIGHTS/HAZEL PARK — In the Madison-Park News’ coverage area, voters in Madison Heights and Hazel Park will decide the next mayor and council for their cities. There are also two school proposals.

Candidates were asked, in 75 words or fewer, to state their top goal(s) if elected. If a candidate went over the word limit, (…) replaces the rest of the answer.
(I) indicates the candidate is an incumbent.

The answers are printed verbatim except where material is omitted due to personal attacks or items we know to be false or that are blatant misrepresentations.

Hazel Park Mayor
Two candidates are running for one four-year term.

C. Jerry Bertrand
Age: 80
Occupation: Retired / GM 30 years
Municipality of residence: Hazel Park
For how long: 25 years
Online campaign information:
Education: Associates degree, Stationary Engineer from Navy
Previously held elected office: None
Top goals: Repair roads, reduce water rates, improve senior programs, address neighborhood problems, and improve communication between city and garbage contractors.

Michael Webb (I)
Age: 54
Occupation: Automotive Technician / Business Owner
Municipality of residence: Hazel Park
For how long: 34 years
Online campaign information:
Education: Automotive Technician Degree — Motech
Previously held elected office: Hazel Park City Councilman
Top goals: Continue moving the city forward by encouraging and attracting: New Industry / Jobs; Restaurants / Downtown; Residential Home Growth; Watching over the budget and continuing to be fiscally responsible so that Hazel Park can continue to thrive for the future; Promoting a hometown atmosphere and community spirit.


Hazel Park City Council
Three candidates are running for two four-year terms.

Beverly Gibson
Age: 59
Occupation: Empty nester / Entrepreneur
Municipality of residence: Hazel Park
For how long: Bought first home here in 1985
Online campaign information:
Education: Residential Bldrs Licensing Edu., License (Exp) Real Estate Licensing Edu., License (Exp.) Residential Bldg Inspection Edu., Cert, (Exp.) Real Estate investment edu., Motech, Mi. Auto Master Mech. Master Certified (Exp)
Previously held elected offices: Delegate x2
Top goals: Make Hazel Park the FRIENDLIEST CITY ANYWHERE! Get people involved, people helping people! Hearing/responding to residents/business owner needs. Beautify City, Support Peace Officers, build strong healthy relationships between officials/community, improve traffic flow, create volunteer network to assist elderly, handicapped & low income residents. Continue the good things happening, encourage MORE, various community events, activities, resident input, increased transparency, Make Hazel Park the JEWEL of the Tri-County area!! Be-Blessed! PLEASE! Volunteer! Donate!

Luke Londo (I)
Age: 33
Occupation: Senior Public Relations Manager, Rock Ventures
Municipality of residence: Hazel Park
For how long: 5 years
Online campaign information:
Education: Bachelor’s of Science, Political Science — Northern Michigan University, 2014. Currently in progress toward a Master’s in Public Administration — Northern Michigan University (expected to graduate 5/22).
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: I plan on making government more transparent and accessible by meeting constituents where they are – primarily online. This includes Council directing improvements to the city website and social media. I aim to help implement the Parks and Recreation Master Plan to update our parks’ infrastructure and make them more accessible, especially to disabled residents. Lastly, I’d like to work on additional methods of revenue capture to improve our budget and service offering for our residents.

Alissa Sullivan (I)
Age: 44
Occupation: Entrepreneur/Self-employed
Municipality of residence: Hazel Park
For how long: 23 years
Online campaign information: ForHP
Education: Currently attending SVSU for Certified Public Management
Previously held elected offices: Hazel Park City Council (last four years)
Top goals: Continue implementing no cost social programs like partnering w/other communities to acquire social work services to enhance the safety and efficacy of our first responders when responding to mental health or addiction crisis’s.  Developing teen programs, including job and adult life readiness planning.  More senior programing, including support services like yard maintenance. As the council liaison to our Environmental Sustainability Commission, I plan to implement the re-greening of Hazel Park; replenishing our diminished tree…

Madison Heights Mayor
Two candidates are running for one two-year term.

Roslyn Grafstein (I)
Age: 51
Occupation: Business development consultant
Municipality of residence: Madison Heights
For how long: Since 2004
Online campaign information:
Education: Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA); Economics degree; Computer Information Systems degree; MSU Citizen Planner; MML Elected Officials Academy (level 1); MEDC Redevelopment Ready Communities; MSU Water School
Previously held elected offices: Madison Heights City Council
Top goals: If elected to stay Mayor I will continue seeking out new businesses that align with our community, create good paying stable jobs and provide services requested by our residents. I will continue meeting with sponsors who want to collaborate with us on more private/public partnerships to provide additional park amenities and programs. Finally, I will continue working with residents and outside partners to improve the safety of all who live and work in Madison Heights.

William J. Mier
Age: 62
Occupation: Computer Software Manager
Municipality of residence: Madison Heights
For how long: 30 years
Online campaign information:
Education: BA in Economics from University of Michigan - Dearborn
Previously held elected offices: Lamphere School Board - Appointed in 2013, elected in 2014, re-elected in 2020, currently Treasurer
Top goals: Working together to determine what is best for the community, that is the only way we are going to be successful. Creating family recreation opportunities to bring the community together. Working to lower the crime rate, help citizen’s establish a rapport with those that are here to protect us. Promote economic development within the community to increase the tax base. Provide strong leadership to continue to move the City forward.

Madison Heights City Council
Six candidates are running for three four-year terms.  

Toya Aaron
Age: 50
Occupation: Coordinator, Volunteer Services
Municipality of residence: Madison Heights
For how long: 13 yrs
Online campaign information:
Education: Master Degree Industrial Organizational Psychology
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: I will advocate for better safety tools. I will work on opportunities to keep residents updated on events, projects and changes. I will use my expertise as an Industrial Organizational Practitioner to develop trainings to further growth to the city.

Mark Bliss (Write-in] (I)
Age: 36
Occupation: Vice President of Marketing at Rightsline Software
Municipality of residence: Madison Heights
For how long: 3rd-generation lifelong resident
Online campaign information: cilmanbliss
Education: IT Project Management Certification - Comptia; Bachelor of Science - Marketing Management, Western Governors University
Previously held elected offices: 8 year member of the City Council, with 4 years as mayor pro tem
Top goals: I want the city to be as great for my kids as it was when I grew up here. To do that, we need to keep making every tax-dollar count, and focus investments towards parks and public safety. If voters write my name in the open line at the bottom of their ballot, I’ll keep fighting for them, running events like Trail Tunes, and I’ll keep finding creative solutions to the challenges our city faces.

Sean Fleming
Age: 49
Occupation: Telecommunications
Municipality of residence: Madison Heights
For how long: 22 years
Online campaign information:
Education: Journeyman In Electronics/Emergency Management
Previously held elected offices: No answer given
Top goals: I will advocate to bring diverse programing and resources for the disabled.  I want to make our city a great looking city with beautification projects that include businesses and transforming code enforcement by instilling a humanistic yet effective approach.  I will collaborate with the chamber of commerce and our city to help small businesses to succeed.  Finally I want to maintain a well trained and staffed professional first responders.

Bob Gettings (I)
Age: 69
Occupation: Retired from the City of Madison Heights, Recreation Coordinator
Municipality of residence: Madison Heights
For how long: Over 50 years
Online campaign information: None
Education: Bachelor of Science in Recreation and Park Services, Wayne State University
Previously held elected offices: Madison School District, Board of Education Trustee 1996-1997, 2002-2006 and 2007-2009; Madison Heights City Council 2009-2013, 2015-2019, 2020-Current
Top goals: I want to focus on making sure the necessary resources are committed to our city services.  Madison Heights excels in this area when compared to our neighboring communities.  When reviewing budgets I will do my best to bring creative ideas to the table.  I am very passionate about recreation activities for all and specific programs targeted for older adults.  I’d like to see new activities and programs in these areas.

David M. Soltis (I)
Age: 54
Occupation: Health Care
Municipality of residence: Madison Heights
For how long: 12 years
Online campaign information: No answer given
Education: MPA — Masters in Public Administration
Previously held elected office: 2 terms City Council MH
Top goals: My goal and top priority since elected is the safety of our community. I made it my objective to increase the capacity of our public safety: Law Enforcement and Fire/EMS. Never defund our police is my goal. Instead, we reinstated (SIU) Special Investigation Unit to eradicate violent crimes and human trafficking and adding additional patrol officers. Secondly, since first elected I want to continue helping our seniors with their needs. They deserve our help.

Quinn Wright
Age: 41
Occupation: Financial Advisor
Municipality of residence: Madison Heights
For how long: 15 years
Online campaign information: quin
Education: B.A. of Advertising, Michigan State University
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: We are a diverse city, both in ethnicity and opinions. I want to bridge those differences by acknowledging they exist.  I want to see us urgently modernize our recreation, address community mental health, and strengthen support for our first responders. My goal is to create opportunities for neighbors to feel real community, where we recognize each other’s hardships, celebrate each other’s wins and work to lift each other up through policy and authentic representation.

Lamphere Schools’ operating millage renewal
This proposal would renew and continue the authority of The Lamphere Schools to levy up to 18.00 mills for general school district operating purposes on taxable property in the School District to the extent that such property is not exempt from such levy.

The original authority to levy 19.75 mills, which currently expires with the School District’s 2021 tax levy, has been rolled back to 19.37 mills by application of the Headlee Amendment to the Michigan Constitution.

If approved, this proposal would renew and continue the authority of the School District to levy the statutory limit of 18 mills on non-homestead (principally industrial and commercial real property and residential rental property) and allow the School District to continue to levy the statutory limit of 18 mills on non-homestead property in the event of future Headlee rollbacks of up to 1.25 mills.

Under existing law, if approved, this proposal would also limit the levy of the authorized mills on principal residences to that portion necessary to allow the School District to receive the full revenue per pupil foundation allowance permitted by State law. The School District levied 14.5 mills on personal residences in 2021.

Shall the limitation on the total amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property, except property exempted by law, situated within The Lamphere Schools, County of Oakland, State of Michigan, be increased as provided in the Michigan Constitution, in the amount of 19.25 mills with 18 mills being the maximum allowable levy ($18.00 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation), for a period of ten (10) years, 2022 to 2031, inclusive with the 19.25 mills being a renewal and continuation of an authorized millage which expires on June 30, 2022?

This operating millage if approved and levied, would provide estimated revenues to the School District of Thirteen million, nine hundred ninety-three thousand, five hundred fifty-nine ($13,993,559) Dollars during the 2022 calendar year, to be used for general operating purposes.


Madison Schools’ bonding proposal:
Shall Madison District Public Schools, Oakland County, Michigan, borrow the sum of not to exceed Eleven Million Four Hundred Thousand Dollars ($11,400,000) and issue its general obligation unlimited tax bonds therefor, for the purpose of: replacing roofs at the High School, the Middle School, and the Early Childhood Center; and remodeling and re-equipping the High School, in part for classroom, security, mechanical, electrical, and other infrastructure improvements?

The following is for informational purposes only: The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bonds in 2022 is 1.80 mills ($1.80 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a -0- mill net increase over the prior year’s levy.

The maximum number of years the bonds may be outstanding, exclusive of any refunding, is twenty-five (25) years. The estimated simple average annual millage anticipated to be required to retire this bond debt is 2.22 mills ($2.22 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation).

The school district does not expect to borrow from the State to pay debt service on the bonds. The total amount of qualified bonds currently outstanding is $10,400,000. The total amount of qualified loans currently outstanding is $-0-.

The estimated computed millage rate may change based on changes in certain circumstances. (Pursuant to State law, expenditure of bond proceeds must be audited and the proceeds cannot be used for repair or maintenance costs, teacher, administrator or employee salaries, or other operating expenses.)