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Voters to decide local races, renewal of OCC operating millage

Royal Oak Review | Published October 22, 2019

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In the Royal Oak Review’s coverage area, voters will decide races for Clawson mayor, Clawson City Council, Royal Oak mayor and Royal Oak City Commission, as well as a proposal for the renewal of the Oakland Community College operating millage.

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.

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

Reese Scripture

Age: 53

Occupation: Tax Auditor

Municipality of residence: Clawson

For how long: 7 years

Online campaign information:

Education: B.S. Political Science B.S. Public Administration, B.S. Accounting, Masters Degree: Nonprofit Management, Masters Certificate: Taxation

Previously held elected offices: None

Top goals:

• Delivering competent, transparent, and ethical leadership.

• Restoring fiscal responsibility and protecting city services.

• Respecting Clawson’s unique mix of cherished traditions and progressive spirit.

• Proactively engaging with residents and other local leaders.

• Planning for the future, not reacting to it at the last minute.

• Exploring opportunities that benefit Clawson, not ignoring them.

• Bringing professionalism to the job.

Deborah Wooley (I)

Age: 55

Occupation: IT Analyst

Municipality of residence: Clawson

For how long: Forty (40) years

Online campaign information:

Education: Oakland University

Previously held elected offices: Clawson City Counsel, Clawson Mayor

Top goals: 

Infrastructure — With the support of Clawson residents, redirect tax dollars to infrastructure as current debt obligations expire.

Marketing Campaign — Create a marketing packet that is available at City Hall (and other city buildings), Board of Education office & distributed to local realtors. I would like to focus on ALL things great about Clawson.

Environment/Sustainability — Create a committee that works with the City Planner, Commissions and City Council to ensure city ordinances are environmentally friendly.

Clawson City Council
Four candidates are running for two four-year terms.

Howie Airriess (I)

Age: 71

Occupation: Steel and Trucking Industry

Municipality of residence: Clawson

For how long: 67 years

Online campaign information: Facebook

Education: Oakland Community College; Business/Business law

Previously held elected offices: Clawson City Council 12 years (incumbent)

Top goals: My top goals if elected, are centered on continued building of the infrastructure, road repairs through available state and federal grants, keeping my finger on the pulse of the community needs and stability through my knowledge and experience. I know where we’ve been and listen to where the community wants to go. I’ve immersed myself in community clubs and projects. Living in Clawson and raising my family here, highlights my passion and commitment to Clawson.

Kathy Phillips

Age: 61

Occupation: Associate Broker/Realtor

Municipality of residence: Clawson

For how long: 39+ yrs.

Online campaign information: Facebook @ Kathy Phillips for Clawson

Education: Degree in Graphic Arts

Previously held elected offices: Clawson City Council from 2007-2015

Top goals:

• Transparency: Through public discussions and better communication with the citizens. No behind closed door decisions.

• Integrity: Rebuild trust in local government. My track record shows that I can be trusted to make sound and educated decisions in the best interest of our city. 

• Financial Stability: Work towards stabilizing our financial situation by spending city money responsibly, planning ahead, not making last minute decisions. Rebuild and retain the trust of city employees and citizens.

Jeff Gaglio
Candidate withdrew from the race, but his name will still appear on the ballot.

Louis J. Samson

Age: 67

Occupation: Microwave / Cellular Engineer

Municipality of residence: City of Clawson

For how long: 45 Years

Online campaign information: Facebook Committee to Elect Louis Samson

Education: General Studies Degree from City University, Bellevue Washington

Previously held elected offices: Clawson School Board 8 years

Top goals:

• Bring back ethics and integrity to the Clawson City Council by developing new procedures for council meetings. Open meetings only.

• Keep Clawson a safe environment for our citizens and children

•Make Clawson a Business Friendly Community.

• Control  taxes and spending

• Help the Council get more involved with the community, be accessible to the Community. “Call Lou at 248-914-3585”

Royal Oak Mayor
Two candidates are running for one two-year term.

Stephen Miller
Did not return questionnaire by press time.

Michael Fournier (I)

Age: 40

Occupation: Innovation, Commercial, & Business Development

Municipality of residence: Royal Oak

For how long: 17 Years

Online campaign information:

Education: B.A. Michigan State University; MBA University of Notre Dame

Previously held elected offices: City Commissioner from 2011 – 2016;  Mayor Pro-Tem 2015-2016; Mayor 2016 -Current

Top goals:

PUBLIC SAFETY: Keeping Royal Oak among America’s safest cities is paramount. We’ll attract and retain the best police & fire personnel and protect public safety funding.

CARING FOR ELDERS: Caring for our elders remains a top priority. We’ll continue to foster a viable environment for seniors to thrive and age in place — focusing on housing, transit, and service needs.

STORMWATER & ENIVRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY: Continue to improve stormwater management and implement out municipal sustainability plan.

Royal Oak City Commission
Six candidates are running for three four-year terms.

Kyle DuBuc (I)

Age: 40

Occupation: Director of Policy & Advocacy, United Way for Southeastern Michigan

Municipality of residence: Royal Oak

For how long: 17 years

Online campaign information:

Education: BA in Community Relations, Michigan State University

Previously held elected offices: Royal Oak City Commissioner, 2011-Present

Top goals:


I’m leading on citywide environmental initiatives. Preserving trees and green space, reducing stormwater runoff, and promoting renewable energy is essential for a healthy, sustainable future.


I created the senior citizen task force because meeting the needs of our aging population requires strategic planning and implementation of “aging-in-place” policies.


Our parks are the heart our community. I’ve championed new investments in parks across the city and will continue working to strengthen neighborhoods.

Tom Hallock

Age: 64

Occupation: Retired USPS Maintenance Manager

Municipality of residence: Royal Oak

For how long: 36 years

Online campaign information: Facebook Hallock4ROCC

Education: 1 year Michigan State. Thousands of hours of Federal Training: OSHA, EPA regulations, FMLA, FLSA, Labor Relations, Equal Opportunity, etc.

Previously held elected offices: Royal Oak City Commissioner, 2001-2—5, Mayor Pro Tem 2003-2005

Top goals:

• Eliminate millions of dollars in No Bid contracts and unethical No Bid contracts to political donors that cost taxpayers extra.

• Get rid of the multi-million dollar annual structural deficit that will deplete city reserves in a few years.

• Protect our Single Family neighborhoods from being filled up with duplexes, apartments, backyard houses and abutting 5 stories and taller apartments.

• Put major city changes to the voters for approval, such as bike lanes, charter debt override.

Randy LeVasseur (I)

Age: 55

Occupation: Real Estate Attorney

Municipality of residence: Royal Oak

For how long: 31 years

Online campaign information:

Education: Bachelor and Law degrees — University of Michigan

Previously held elected offices: current Royal Oak City Commissioner

Top goals: City government should be about delivering services residents want, in a high-quality manner and cost-effective way. Too many elected officials lose sight of this. I would stop giving away taxpayer money to developers, handing out no-bid contracts to political supporters, and hiring PR firms to convince people the politicians are doing great.  Instead, funds should be used to better maintain our parks and roads, reduce the rat problem, and provide taxpayers relief.


Pamela Lindell

Age: 58

Occupation: volunteer & community activist

Municipality of residence: Royal Oak

For how long: 26 years

Online campaign information:

Education: college

Previously held elected offices: no previous offices held

Top goals:

Reinstate senior/neighborhood town halls with commissioners/city manager for transparent accountability involving city spending.

Require minimum 3 bid process on new contracts.

Follow Master Plan for development benefiting:City-small businesses-citizens.

Prioritize support for:Animal shelter-seniors/senior center-library

Public Safety: Spend millage money to equip all fire stations with full staff and equipment. Reevaluate bike lane safety. Step up Rodent Control, utilizing sealable,rodent proof refuge containers.


Belem Morales

Age: No answer given

Occupation: Attorney

Municipality of residence: Royal Oak

For how long: Ten years

Online campaign information:


Wayne State University, Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Political Science

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, Juris Doctorate

Previously held elected offices: First time candidate

Top goals:

Communication with Residents: I’m committed to being accessible to residents to provide updates and seek input on city matters via twice monthly coffee hours.

Environmental Sustainability: Adopting environmentally sound practices for new projects and reevaluating existing ones will ensure our city aligns with this objective.

Public Safety: Recommitting to public safety to keep up with the city’s needs will enable Royal Oak to maintain its continuing reputation for being among the safest cities in America.

Patricia Paruch (I)

Age: 68

Occupation: Environmental lawyer (retired)

Municipality of residence: City of Royal Oak

For how long: 44 years

Online campaign information:

Education: B.A., University of Detroit, 1972; J.D., Wayne State University School of Law, 1992.

Previously held elected offices: Royal Oak City Commissioner, 1979-1989; Mayor, 1989-1993; appointed to Royal Oak City Commission 2014, re-elected 2015.

Top goals:

1. Maintaining excellent public safety. Remaining one of the safest cities in Michigan is challenging. By law all public safety millage monies must be spent for public safety, but transfers from other funds jeopardize other essential services.  

2. Upgrading our aging roads, water/sewer services, and sidewalks in a way that promotes environmental sustainability and enhances our great neighborhoods.

3. Enhancing city amenities like our parks, senior centers, Library, Animal Shelter and Farmer’s Market.

Oakland Community College Operating Millage Renewal Proposal

This proposal authorizes Oakland Community College to continue to levy 0.7545 mill for operating purposes for 10 years as a renewal of millage previously approved by the electors in 2010, which expires with the 2021 tax levy.

Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be levied on all taxable property within the Oakland Community College district, State of Michigan, be renewed at a rate of 0.7545 mill ($0.7545 per $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a period of 10 years, 2022 through 2031, inclusive, to provide funds for College operating purposes? It is estimated that if the millage is approved and 0.7545 mill is levied in 2022, it would raise $45,065,057 for the College.