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Positions and Issues

Community Experience

Nine-year member of the Nims Neighborhood Association Board, currently serving as Vice President

Muskegon Citizens Police Academy graduate, 2012

West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commissioner

GVSU Muskegon Innovation Hub advisory board member

Muskegon Rotary Club member

LEAD (Leading Efforts Against Discrimination) Muskegon member

Why should voters elect you?

I’m a dedicated public servant who shows up for citizens year-round, not just when there’s an election, and I faithfully represent their interests at City Hall.

If voters elect me, I’ll continue to embrace accountability and transparency in government, while working to ensure that resources and opportunities are made available fairly – not monopolized by the wealthy or well-connected. During my time on the commission, I’ve witnessed efforts to sell public assets, award opportunities, and provide loans and grants without competition or an equitable process. While I recognize that life in general is not fair, our city deserves a mayor who will insist on fairness in government.

Meanwhile, I strive to be a good steward of public resources. 

The current mayor blocked a special audit of the Public Improvement Fund, from which hundreds of thousands of dollars had been spent unlawfully and without proper approvals. I pursued that audit for the sake of transparency and to shore up public trust.

My opponent voted to charge residents a new assessment fee simply to continue operating the same old street lights. I listened to residents and stopped that assessment, while prevailing with another to upgrade our street lights to LED technology, saving the City more than $300,000 per year and reducing our carbon footprint.

I’m committed to empowering residents, strengthening public safety (including properly staffing our fire department), enhancing our parks system, improving roads & biking infrastructure, embracing environmental sustainability, and promoting good governance.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities?

Good governance

Transparency, accountability, community engagement, and sharing resources fairly and equitably. Also, good governance includes serving residents efficiently and effectively. I’d like to pursue a regional fire authority with other municipalities. Funding that would cover administrative costs across several departments could be redirected to fire-fighting personnel and equipment. 

Parks & recreation

Make parks focal points of neighborhoods, accommodating residents of all ages, and enhance public access to waterfronts and waterways. Invest more in facilities, equipment, and programming to support play, sport, fitness, fellowship, and life skills. Let’s have a parks attendant system, whereby workers are assigned to their own parks, dedicated to monitoring maintenance needs, supporting park programs, and serving as a City Hall resource for neighbors.

Streets – safe, well-lit, clean, and complete streets. 

Residents deserve safe streets in EVERY neighborhood. Beyond programs to stop gun violence, dangerous speeding needs addressing. Stop or yield signs can be added to unmarked intersections, traffic calming measures implemented, and speed enforcement increased. 

With LED upgrade cost-savings, let’s add more light posts to neighborhood streets or otherwise help residents install their own lights. 

To help maintain clean streets, the City can inform residents when street sweeping is scheduled so people can move their cars. 

For “complete streets,” we must address the deteriorating road conditions. Directing more resources toward long-lasting repairs or replacement of roads is necessary. Meanwhile, curb cuts at every corner improve accessibility, bike lines support safer cycling, and bus shelters make using public transit more convenient.

 

What is your opinion of proposed/completed changes
at Pere Marquette beach?

Pere Marquette Park and beach are magnificent assets for which we must be good stewards of for the benefit of today’s residents and future generations. Let’s be careful not to damage or overdevelop these awesome natural resources. Still, we can find balance, so that commercial activity may occur, providing business opportunities, creating jobs, and enhancing the beach-going experience. Let’s not turn PMP into a version of the Atlantic City Boardwalk though, but instead pursue holistic development of our City’s waterfront, with PMP beach, Lakeside District, and Downtown complimenting and supporting one another’s success.

Paving over dunes for 90+ RVs is inappropriate and conflicts with considerable feedback received over the years. As such, I sought to have our Master Land Use Plan reflect widespread public opposition to an RV Park at the Ovals. I remain steadfastly opposed to replacing critical dunes with asphalt for motorhomes.

I support working with residents. Let’s respect their contributions to past visioning sessions by pursuing a pedestrian promenade along Indiana Ave inside the Ovals, featuring picnic areas, beach-oriented retail chalets, and food trucks. Meanwhile, let’s find a healthy balance inside the natural area of the Ovals, pursuing dune restoration, accessible boardwalks, hammocks, and a gazebo overlooking Lake Michigan. Many residents want to help with such. If elected mayor, I’ll pursue meaningful community engagement in concert with creative, capable, and dedicated professionals in City Hall to foster a process of co-creation, so that residents can contribute to and take ownership of what’s happening around them.

What do you think about the course downtown development is taking, and what else would you like to see there?

There has been substantial redevelopment of downtown in the 8 years I’ve been on the commission, and I am proud to be part of this progress. Yet, I recognize that many residents feel detached from what’s happening, whether shut out of opportunities or unable to afford downtown living and activities. It’s important that we build an inclusive and accessible downtown benefitting the full spectrum of our citizenry.

I’d like to see our core downtown better integrate with the Midtown area and the Pine Street corridor for mutual benefit and support. Meanwhile, let’s connect our Laketon Trail with our Lakeshore Trail via Sanford and Terrace streets, making our downtown more accessible to nearby neighborhoods and more welcoming to cyclists across Greater Muskegon.

Meanwhile, with new development, I’d like to see more local trades people on construction jobs and an emphasis on purchasing from local businesses. Keeping money in our local economy has a multiplier effect that supports more lives and livelihoods. 

Also, environmental sustainability should be emphasized, from “green” building practices, with heightened energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy; to “re-use, reduce, and recycle” initiatives; to infrastructure for electric vehicles. Not only does that make good environmental and economic sense, but it makes for good marketing. I’m proud to champion progressive policies paired with fiscal prudence, which benefits existing residents and makes our city more attractive to a growing number of remote workers, many of whom live in coastal states subject to high living costs and extreme weather.

What is your impression of the crime rate in Muskegon and the effectiveness of the police department?

In recent years, data indicates criminal activity has trended lower overall. However, gun violence remains a real and growing concern for residents and business owners in some areas. While attending neighborhood meetings, residents want to know why they can’t find media coverage of shootings that happened or why there’s little-to-no communication from City Hall about incidents. A lack of information leads to distrust and fear. Better communication would help, both in reporting on events and how we’re responding to them. 

Progress is often made on the metrics that are tracked. Let’s monitor gunfire activity more closely. With data, we can assess the effectiveness of programs and determine if they need to be re-tooled or otherwise replaced by new initiatives. 

Meanwhile, I applaud the Muskegon Police Department for being proactive in making community connections, using neighborhood officers and programs like the Muskegon Public Safety Youth Academy and the Citizen Police Academy. I’d like to enhance community policing, directly incorporating or partnering with trained social workers to help trauma-stressed and under-resourced residents who are more likely to have legal run-ins. Meanwhile, I’ve heard frustrations from various residents about the turnover with their neighborhood officers or that they’re pulled from neighborhoods to patrol the beach in the summer. We have wonderful neighborhood officers, so I can understand why residents want them around more. With paid parking revenues exceeding expectations at the beach, let’s look to bringing back rangers at Pere Marquette Park to assist with public safety as well as park maintenance. 

Don’t Forget to Vote!

Make your voice heard on November 2nd!

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