Voters decide St. Clair Shores City Council seats

St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published October 22, 2013

In the Sentinel’s coverage area, voters will decide the race for City Council Nov. 5. Candidates were asked, in 150 words or fewer, to state the top items they would wish to accomplish if elected and how they would go about accomplishing them. If a candidate went over their word limit, ( … ) replaced the rest of their answer. (I) indicates the candidate is an incumbent. The answers are printed verbatim.

St. Clair Shores City Council
Six candidates are running for three four-year terms.

Peter Anthony Accica
Age: 55
Occupation: Organizer /Field Representative Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 2
Municipality of residence: St Clair Shores
For how long: 55 Year
Education:  Lake Shore High School graduate; Tile Marble Terrazzo apprenticeship; Bricklayers and Allied Craftworker Instructor Certification Program
Previously held elected offices: none
Top goals:

I will honor the work of our seniors by making sure we preserve and enhance services like the Senior Activity Center, Helping Hands, transportation, and senior meals. My professional background is in taking projects from blueprint to reality. I can ensure that important projects for seniors get done. 

I will help ensure a safe and clean St. Clair Shores by supporting our police and fire departments, eliminating blight, reducing rodent problems, and maintaining a walkable community. Jobs help keep neighborhoods strong and I believe that city funded projects should employ city residents.

I will be your independent voice on City Council I am not beholden to any faction or special interest. I will work to pass a tough ethics ordinance including banning gifts to public officials, disclose conflicts of interest, and crack down on nepotism.

John D. Burtch
Age: 63
Occupation: Attorney (33 years)
Municipality of residence: St. Clair Shores
For how long: since 1983
Education:  B.A., Michigan State University / J.D., University of Detroit
Previously held elected offices: none
Top goals: Establish policy recognizing that for a community to remain vibrant it must be built upon four principles: Safe — Peaceful — Neat — Clean. Making decisions guided by these “4 Pillars” provides a solid foundation for tomorrow and beyond. Focus on these principles, other good things will follow. These principles provide for essential community services. We depend on having water when we turn on the faucet, trash picked up, streets maintained, and reliable skilled fire and police in responding to our needs.

Provide leadership in connecting with all aspects of the community. Each part of our community is an ingredient for being successful. Young families, senior individuals, business and schools all are part of the team. Recognize and welcome what some might see as challenges and instead see the opportunity it presents. Inspire each other.

Rehab Blossom Heath Park and establish a high quality hotel within the City.

John Caron (I)
Age: 42
Occupation: Engineer, General Motors
Municipality of residence: St. Clair Shores
For how long: 42 years
Education:  Lakeview High School, 1989
Michigan Technological University:  B.S., Metallurgical Engineering 1993
Purdue University:  M.S., Engineering, 1998
Previously held elected offices: Appointed to St. Clair Shores City Council in December 2011.
Top goals: We must maintain St. Clair Shores’ fiscal stability.  City Council has to be diligent in reviewing the budget to ensure city funds are well spent on necessary expenses.  As a member of City Council, I go through the budget page by page and line by line to ensure taxpayers’ funds are being spent wisely.

Another priority is to continue to use my private sector experience to improve how St. Clair Shores delivers its services.  I used my experience during the awarding of the new waste hauling contract, which yielded a $1.5 million savings while offering more amenities. 

We also need to continue improving the City’s facilities.  In the next few years, we could be expanding the Senior Center and making improvements to Blossom Heath Park.  I will work to make sure resident input is heard and both are fully-functional and useful facilities that residents can enjoy.

Peter Rubino (I)
Age: 47
Occupation: Financial Planner
Municipality of residence: St. Clair Shores
For how long: 37 years
Education:  Attended Macomb Comm. College
Previously held elected offices: Not provided.
Top goals: The number one issue will always be the budget. I will continue be fiscally responsible. In 4 years we have been able to cut millions from the budget and grow our rainy fund in excess of a $1,000,000.

I have been a strong proponent of supporting our Police and Fire. I have worked with our departments to expand our services. Increasing our ambulance coverage has been a benefit to residents and increased our general fund. I will continue to work with all departments to improve our public safety.

Lastly I will continue to push for increased rodent abatement. It does no good to have our city on the news showing that we have a rat problem. We must work with residents to tackle this problem as soon as possible.

Candice B. Rusie (I)
Age: 32 years old
Occupation: Attorney
Municipality of residence: St. Clair Shores
For how long: approx. 23 years
Education:  Lake Shore High School - 1999
Wayne State University – BA in psychology - summa cum laude 2004
Michigan State University College of Law – Juris Doctor - magna cum laude 2007
Previously held elected offices: St. Clair Shores City Council, elected 2009
Top goals: Continue fiscal responsibility and conscientious stewardship of resources – smart budgeting and purchases while maintaining/increasing resident services.  No “no-bid” contract extensions.  Ensure fair bidding processes.  We’ve tackled structural budget issues and non-essential general fund spending while protecting the “rainy day fund” even in tough economic times. 

Continue resident- and business-friendly services, initiatives, and communication.  Continue analysis and revisions of ordinances and practices to make SCS more attractive and competitive while balancing the competing and complimentary needs of all members of our taxpayer base.  Increase accountability, fairness, and “customer service” at City Hall – and recognize that residents are our bosses, not our customers.

Continue fairness in decision-making:  Decide each issue based upon issue itself and its fit with residents’/businesses’ best interests and SCS’ long-term goals, not on the identity of party/parties pursuing it.  Insist on complete information and analysis.  Concentrate on making right decisions, not decisions “right now.”

Erin Alána Stahl
Age: 43
Occupation: Self-employed. Currently contracted to do various factory work.
Municipality of residence: City of St. Clair Shores
For how long: 15 years (have worked in SCS for 27 years)
Education:  — Bachelors of Science degree from MSU (C&T Entrepreneurship)
— Masters in Finance degree from Walsh College (with honors in 2006)
— Senior graduate of, including the Wisdom program, Livonia, MI
— Former trustee of the SCS General Employee Pension Board.
— Certified Quality Business Management Process trainer
— Financial Peace University (currently facilitating courses for young adults)
Previously held elected offices: 2003-2007 SCS City Council
2007 SCS Mayor Protem
Top goals: Honoring me with your vote enables me to be more effective in exposing and eliminating continued problems like:

A) Videotaping  union contract negotiations for council then allowing public review after approved.
B) Making certain FOIAs into free, permanently updated, citizen documents.
C) Allowing audience participation on agenda items after discussion but before voting.
D) Analyzing the budget differently (including “Jackpot” pensions/benefits).

2) ETHICS: Burn the New Ethics Policy presented to council—it causes more problems than it fixes. Then adopt AND follow existing City Charter Employee Ethical Code of Conduct as a foundational way of life/business in SCS.

3) SIDEWALK REPLACEMENT PROGRAM:  2012 SCS admitted to attempting to overcharge residents $76,000 in just 1/10th of SCS. I will have us continue our 2004 discussion to turn the maintenance of sidewalks over to the homeowners except for city right-of-way repairs.