Voters to decide city councils, ballot proposals

Southfield Sun | Published October 21, 2015


In the Sun’s coverage area, voters will decide a mayoral race, two city council races and two ballot proposals Nov. 3. Following are profiles of the candidates and the exact wording of the ballot proposals. 

Candidates were asked, in 150 words or less, to state the top items they wish to accomplish if elected and how they would go about accomplishing them. If a candidate went over the word limit, (…) replaces the rest of the answer. (I) indicates that the candidate is an incumbent. The answers are printed verbatim.


Lathrup Village City Council 
Five candidates are running for two four-year terms and one two-year term. 


Bruce Copus (I)
Did not return questionnaire by press time. 


Ian A. Ferguson

Age: 51

Occupation: Automotive Engineer

Municipality of residence: Lathrup village 

For how long: 19 years 10 months 

Online campaign information: My facebook page 

Education: Oak Park High School (Diploma), Propulsion Engineering Certificate (United States Navy). I also hold an Associate of Science from Morristown Junior College, Batchelor of Science with a minor in Mathematics from Alabama A&M University, and Masters of Science in Management from Walsh College of Accountancy and Business.

Previously held elected offices: None

Top goals: City government is lacking the consistency to invite, foster growth, and keep informed those citizen groups that are the root of our community. On line communication (Facebook, city website, etc.) are in place, but not maximized. I plan to improve information sharing on line as it is made available, and meeting those groups directly.

Lathrup Village has wonderful green spaces, locally recognized Children’s Garden, a point of destination for the weekly summer music in the park, and our historic residential district. We have been praised by other cities that desire our level of energy and togetherness. I plan to work with those citizen groups that are committed in preserving the quaintness of the city, and promoting our strengths so that we can attract growing young families to our city.

Lathrup Village is not just a drive through city, with its downtown that does not attract much foot traffic, with some (...)


MyKale L. Garrett (I)

Age: 45

Occupation: Project Coordinator

Municipality of residence: Lathrup Village 

For how long: 8 years 

Online campaign information:

Education: Masters of Information Systems

Previously held elected offices: Mayor Pro tem - Lathrup Village, MI 

Top goals: I am running for reelection so I can continue to be a catalyst for moving the city of Lathrup Village forward. When reelected, the three things that  I will continue to be focused on is being dedicated to increasing economic development, promoting safe and secure neighborhoods and working as a progressive advocate and liaison for local government at the state level. I have always been wholly committed to impacting my community in the best possible way.


Mike Keenan

Age: 54

Occupation: Information Technology

Municipality of residence: Lathrup Village

For how long: 16 Years

Online campaign information:

Education: Bachelor of Business Administration- Operations Research, Eastern Michigan University

Previously held elected offices: None

Top goals: 1. Quality of public education.  If we want to attract more families to our city, we need to either work more closely with Southfield Schools and/or investigate what it may take Lathrup Village to align with another local District.

2. Improve City to Citizens communication. The methods and processes used by the city today are not sufficient for keeping residents aware of important items that may be affecting them. We need to leverage modern day technology and improve communication with our citizens

3. Improvement of City Services/Amenities. Over the last few years, it appears to me that some of our City Services, Community Organizations, and amenities have declined. I would like to understand why this may be happening and see how the city, residents and government, can work together to improve.


Donna P. Stallings

Age: No answer given. 

Occupation: President DSK Solutions, Inc.

Director of Community Development and Governmental Affairs

Municipality of residence: Lathrup Village 

For how long: 15+ years 

Online campaign information:

Education: Computer Information Systems – 2 Years – Detroit College of Business

Theology – 2 Year Study – Bible Training College

Bachelor of Arts – Family Life Education – Spring Arbor University

Previously held elected offices: No answer given. 

Top goals: Issue 1 – Tax Burden on Residents, Especially Senior Citizens

Solution 1 – I will strategize with city, state and federal officials to find supplemental resources that provide opportunities to cut taxes back to 2012 levels through fiscal management to reduce & eliminate the growth rate of property taxes. Also, findings solution to our sewage management model that reduces the additional “tax” of rising sewage rates.

Issue 2 – Work to Develop Business and Family Attraction

Solution 2 – Lathrup Village has been an oasis for many families and businesses. My 25 years as a business entrepreneur serving as president of a major technology company – along with leading a team of volunteers to raise over $2M charity dollars – has afforded me many relationships and resources that would potentially bring business and economic development opportunities. While identifying new businesses that “fit” our community’s landscape, it is equally important to enhance (...)

Southfield Mayor
Two candidates are running for one partial term ending Nov. 20, 2017.


Sylvia Jordan 

Age: 59

Occupation: Administrator- Victory Learning Center, Children’s Technological Academy

Author, Businesswoman

Municipality of residence: Southfield 

For how long: 28 years 

Online campaign information:

Education: Cass Technical High School,

Michigan State University –BA in Urban Development

Oakland University-Graduate Studies

Previously held elected offices: Elected to City Council 1997 (2 year term)

Re - elected to City Council 1999 (4 year term)

Re-elected to City Council 2003   (4 year term)

Re-elected to City Council 2007   (4 year term)  **** had to resign when I ran against previous Mayor in 2009

Re-elected to City Council 2011   (4 year term)

Serving a total 16 years. Chosen by my colleagues to serve as Council President 5 years, Pro Tem  for 4 years. 

Top goals: Strong Neighborhoods

• Strengthen Code Enforcements

• Family, Cultural, Educational, & Entertainment in Southfield

• Increase Library Hours of Operation & Accessibility

• Work diligently using resources. Strategies identified to increase Library hours- giving people access to learning. Culture is importance to Southfield. It is our attractor for residents to remain and businesses to thrive; Commitment to improving our roads.

Public Safety

• Commitment to our Police & Fire

• Community Policing

• Training & Equipment

• These commitments are unwavering.

Welcoming Business Development

• Advancing our International & Technological Hub

• Entrepreneur Support & Expansion

• Assist in Navigating the Northland Mall Redevelopment

• Community Benefits Agreement resulting in Jobs

Southfield is financially sound; corporate businesses are catalysts in attraction of other businesses. It is essential to work with entrepreneurs, and small businesses. Northland Mall will be redeveloped, however the precise development must be brought forward with creative ideas and negotiations.


Kenson Siver 

Age: 69

Occupation: Educational Consultant

Municipality of residence: Southfield 

For how long: 48 years 

Online campaign information:

Education: BA from Oakland University; Master’s and Doctorate degrees from Wayne State University

Previously held elected offices: Elected to the Southfield City Council in 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2013

Top goals: My top three priorities for Southfield come directly from resident feedback over the past year. From speaking with thousands of residents at their front doors and at civic and neighborhood events, I have the pulse on the city.

1.     Roads — Hands down, deteriorating roads is the top concern of voters. I will push for more road construction and see that quality work is performed.

2.     Code Enforcement — As mayor, I will call for a total review of code enforcement and appearance codes. I believe more code officers need to be hired.

3.     Rental Property Oversight — Mayor Siver will go after landlords — be they of single-family homes or apartment complexes — who do not maintain their properties. Since the mortgage crisis Southfield has experienced a significant rise in rental homes. A number of properties are held by out-of-town parties who are “milking” them for profit and not (...)

Southfield City Council 
Eight candidates are running for three four-year terms and one two-year term.


Daniel Brightwell

Age: No answer given. 

Occupation: RETIRED Corporate Finance & Accounting Manager

Municipality of residence: SOUTHFIELD, MICHIGAN 

For how long: SINCE 1980. 35 YEARS 

Online campaign information:

Education: MBA in Finance. The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

B. A. Degree, Morehouse College

Previously held elected offices: NONE 

Top goals: 1. Stabilize the Budget and make sure Road Funding Dollars are spent on Roads Only.

My MBA Degree in Finance and over 30 years in Corporate Finance responsible for a $100 Million a Month Billing operation and $6 Billion asset base prepared me to oversee and prepare Southfield’s $166 Million Annual Budget. As a former Auditor I will make sure Road Bond dollars are spent on Roads only and the Road Construction is done correctly, on schedule and where most needed.

2. Maintain our Excellent Public Safety Record (Police, Fire & EMS).

I will insist that every Public Safety Millage dollar authorized in May of 2011 is spent as intended by the voters. I will push to hire more Police Officers and Firefighters. I will insist that every Southfield Streets Improvement Bond dollar is spent on road construction projects as voted on in May on in 2015.

3. Maintain and Grow our Property Values (...)


Lloyd C. Crews (I)

Age: 40

Occupation: College Professor – Oakland Community College 

Municipality of residence: Southfield, Michigan 

For how long: 8 years 

Online campaign information:

Education: B.A. in Political Science – Clark Atlanta University

M.A. in Political Science – Clark Atlanta University

Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies – Wayne State University 

Previously held elected offices: N/A 

Top goals: Southfield is a city that is too good not to be great! As a member of council, I will continue to lead aggressive collaborations related to economic development. I will work with community organizations to support a targeted plan to attract choice restaurants and businesses. I will work with local real estate agencies and brokers to create joint marketing efforts with the city to attract new homeowners. Telling the great story of Southfield will help market the city, grow the economy, and once again make Southfield a destination. I will collaborate with neighborhood associations and other residents to review city codes and solidify the Southfield Standard. In addition to working to increase resources for public safety, I will continue support for neighborhood watch programs. I will work tirelessly to lead innovative ways to respond to an ever-changing world and focus the city on the future.  For more information visit


Donald F. Fracassi 

Age: No answer given. 

Occupation: Mayor of Southfield, Michigan 

Municipality of residence: City of Southfield 

For how long: 68 years (since 1947)

Online campaign information:

Education: University of Detroit, Lawrence Technological University, and Cranbrook Academy

Previously held elected offices: 2015 to Present - Mayor of Southfield

2014 to 2015 – Southfield City Council President

2010 to 2015 - Southfield City Council Member

2008 to 2010 - Southfield City Council President

2003 to 2008 - Southfield City Council Member

1973 to 2001 - Mayor of Southfield

1972 to 1973 - Acting Mayor of Southfield

1971 to 1972 - Southfield City Council President

1967 to 1971 - Southfield City Council Member

Top goals: As Mayor and former Council President I have two main agendas:

1. The daily and immediate challenges of Southfield;

2. long-term issues and concerns that are more complicated to deal with.

Asked “what 3 things do you want to accomplish?” - one must understand that every day the plate is full. If I have to select 3 top priorities, they would be:

1. Infrastructure (roads, sewer and water) - continue Southfield’s 3 year road plan;

2. Keep Southfield financially sound and reduce taxes;

3. Public Safety – although crime is down 72% and fire runs continue to respond on average of less than 5 minutes, we must continue to seek qualified recruits to fill vacancies.

Neighborhoods are vitally important – ongoing attention must be given to our residential population, like code enforcement, rubbish pick-up, curb appeal, etc…

 In addition, focus on future economic development, Northland Mall, and the City Centre District.


Diane Fuselier-Thompson

Age: No answer given. 

Occupation: University Administration/University Teaching

Municipality of residence: Southfield, MI

For how long: 21 years 

Online campaign information:

Education: Diane is a PhD Candidate at the University of Illinois. She received her MSW and BA degrees from the University of Michigan.

Previously held elected offices: N/A

Top goals: Diane has been a homeowner and resident in the City of Southfield for the past 21 years and would focus her efforts on increasing opportunities for community input into City Council decisions, with thegoal of increasing community engagement in city planning. She would introduce new initiatives to increase the use of technology for homeowners and businesses to provide impact statements on proposed planning projects.

Creating new collaborative economic development initiatives is a second priority to build collaborations with universities, communities and local businesses. Diane would take a leadership role to encourage new economic initiatives, while developing our local emerging student leaders, specifically in alternative energy and the STEM fields.

A third goal is to Build Bridges with community and public safety to improve safety and enhance our marketability among global companies as a preferred destination to live and work in a safe and diverse community.


Sidney Lantz (I)

Age: No answer given. 

Occupation: City Councilman 

Municipality of residence: City of Southfield 

For how long: 50 years 

Online campaign information: No answer given. 

Education: Graduate of City College of New York 

Previously held elected offices:  N/A

Top goals: 1.Economics and lowering taxes. We must be vigilant in keeping assessments at a reasonable and fair rate as well as monitoring the cost of city services, water rates and utilities. Lowering the cost of living would encourage new residents and businesses to locate here and enhance our tax base.

2.The safety and well-being of our Southfield residents and businesses is of prime importance. We must maintain close ties with our community; continue to support our Police and Fire Departments with appropriate staffing and first rate equipment.

3.As Councilman for the past 32 years, I have been intimately involved in the growth and development of Southfield as a prosperous and diverse city. We must continue to closely monitor development without compromising our standards.  We must make capital improvements to our aging infrastructure with better sewers, roads, bridges and buildings. I am known as “The Man Who Cares”.


Tawnya Morris

Age: 47

Occupation: President and CEO, Abayomi Community Development Corporation 

Municipality of residence: Southfield 

For how long: 19 years 

Online campaign information:

Education: Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University and Masters in Health Services Administration from the University of Michigan

Previously held elected offices: Southfield Democratic Precinct Delegate

Top goals: 1.  Elevate Community Values

As a Southfield councilperson, I’m willing to use my engineering experience to provide proper oversight, management and execution of city roads and construction projects so that the roads and building design projects are completed right the first time, on time and within budget.

2.  Enhance Public Safety Resources

As a Southfield councilperson, I’m willing to use my grantwriting experience to secure grants to help hire more police and firefighters without raising taxes so our city can obtain public safety staffing headcount back to historical levels.  

3.  Increase City Revenue and Job Growth

As a Southfield councilperson, I’m willing to develop revenue generation and enhancement strategies such as shared services with neighboring communities and eGovernment programs. Efficiencies in technologies will increase productivity and lower the cost of government. This will allow us to implement programs and services that will make our city more attractive to young adults and growing families.


Linnie Taylor

Age: 60

Occupation: Senior Payroll Administrative Auditor 

Municipality of residence: Southfield

For how long: 20+ years 

Online campaign information:

Education: Masters’ Degree - Human Resources Management

Bachelors’ Degree - Business Management

Certified - Elected Officials Academy - Michigan Municipal League

Previously held elected offices:  Southfield City Council -(2009 -2011) - Unanimously Appointed

Top goals: Road repair and maintenance, Maintaining public safety, and code enforcement.

Southfield must repair and maintain roads with quality materials to reduce the length of time the roads would be under construction and to improve travel time around the city of Southfield.  Not using quality materials could keep Southfield under construction longer and could cost the taxpayers more money over the long run, and make it difficult to travel around the city.

To protect public safety, I will work with Federal and State legislators to secure grants that will keep Southfield’s police officers and firefighters well equipped.

When it comes to code enforcement, I will review and update city codes that keep the city from quickly enforcing ordinances’ that protect Southfield’s residents, businesses, and property values. In addition, I will work to form a committee of residents and city officials to eliminate codes that no longer apply to the community and (...)


Tiffany Tilley

Age: 38

Occupation: Licensed Real Estate Agent 

Municipality of residence: Southfield 

For how long: I first moved to Southfield in 1996 and became a home owner in 2009. 

Online campaign information:

Education: I have a Master of Business Administration from the University of Detroit Mercy and a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership and Communications from Rochester College.

Previously held elected offices: Precinct Delegate

Top goals: 1. High property taxes has been an issue in Southfield for many years. This is a major issue for current homeowners as well as prospective homeowners. As a licensed realtor, I understand the impact high property taxes can have on the growth of the community. As a council member, I will work to find ways to lower residential taxes while also expanding our business base.

2. As Southfield continues to recover from the economic downturn, many businesses were forced to close their doors or leave the city. As a council member, I will work to promote the benefits of operating a business in Southfield. I will also work with local businesses to make sure city policies stimulate more business opportunities.

3. Michigan roads are a major issue state wide. As a council member, I will work to bring more resources to the city to improve our roads.

Contact information (website, Facebook link, email (...)