First, a warning. This will be a long post.
As part of the endorsement process, the Michigan Chronicle asked each candidate to fill out a questionnaire to help us make our decision. Most of them responded, some of them did not. If you don’t see a candidate here it is because we did not receive an answered questionnaire from that candidate. Due to space constrictions we were not able to include even the questionnaires sent to us by the candidates we chose in this week’s print edition. However, thankfully, no such space restrictions exist online. Therefore, for those among you who like to have as much information as possible about each candidate before making your decision, we decided to publish each and every answered questionnaire that we received. Regardless of who we decided to endorse. Because at the end of the day, despite what we may think, the decision should be – and is – still up to you. The voter. And you deserve all the info you can get.
Why do you want to remain on the council?
I would like your vote to re-elect George Cushingberry Jr. as your representative in District 2 because I feel that Detroit is going in the right direction in the areas of financial solvency, education, and improved services. My many years of experience in Government affairs on a Federal, State, and Local level is extremely valuable to the Council and the best interest of the people. Being selected as Council President Pro Tempore by my colleagues is an additional honor and a sign of respect that can be measured in so many ways. In the next 4 years, I want to continue to be a champion for literacy with citizens of all ages. I will continue to be drum major for reading literacy because “In order to succeed, you must learn how to Read”. Did you know that over 50% of applications to the Match Detroit program are rejected because people cannot read or write legibly? Literacy is a crisis for a City and Country that wants to remain competitive on a global level. With your vote to re-elect me, we can continue on a path of common sense and long term growth in jobs and educational opportunities for citizens.
- Now that you are an incumbent, how do you see the job and why are you still the best person to get this job done?
- The main reason that I feel that I am the best person is that I take the time to read and research documents and listen to all sides of an issue to make an informed decision.
- As an employee of the people, I am obligated to listen to their concerns. The job is very interesting and rewarding in the sense that you are responsible for the day to day operations of the City by enacting ordinances and policies that are set in place by a majority vote of the full nine members. Serving as a Councilmember is a not for profit job, and I like that because people are like a human being with wants and needs. Public service means serving the needs of the citizens and, I feel that I am the best person for this job because unlike the other candidates, I have a proven track record of success, experience, and getting things done. In 4 years I have been a strong advocate for technology upgrades to city services and looking to fill over 100 jobs in Information Technology with the City. I have been a strong advocate for literacy and training. My motto is No Detroiter without a Job who really wants to work.
- If re-elected, what would be your top priorities that you would tackle during your first year in office and why?
- Exiting all State of Michigan Control over City Of Detroit Finances and governance with balanced budgets and a sound fiscal plan.
- Making it right by giving financial and health care restitution to City Retirees, especially Police and Firefighters under 65 years of age who were hit the hardest by the bankruptcy proceedings.
- Literacy and Reading by children and adults by continuing to go to K-12 schools and reading to students, especially children in K-6 grades. Supporting Public education by %1000 percent helping to eliminate the use of Substitute Teachers as regular employees as a cost savings measure for Detroit Public Schools.
- Real Time notifications to citizens in District 2 on demolition and blight removal schedules in neighborhoods via City of Detroit Website by District, Street, or Zip Code.
- Rebuilding and Reopening Sheldon Johnson Recreation Center with an Olympic size swimming pool passing the legacy of what Mr. Johnson wanted for African Americans to learn how to swim, preparing them for aquatic careers in local, state, and Federal Government.
- Assist City residents to re-energize the City with a new City Airport facility that will handle commercial traffic and train students of all ages at a new High School on the grounds of the Airport so that students will be able to attain FAA Certified careers in Aviation, Aviation Law, Drone Management, and other courses as needed.
- Detroit still has a serious problem with poverty illiteracy, and joblessness. Many Detroiters are not qualified for most available employment opportunities in the Detroit metro area. What can the council do to close the gap between available – and anticipated – employments opportunities and those who need opportunity the most?
- The council can be a serious advocate for education and training programs for people who want to pursue careers or change careers. Internships with the skilled trade unions will expose Detroiters to jobs in electrical work, plumbing, carpentry, bricklaying, and other careers. Reopening recreation centers and schools require people who have the training to do the job. We currently have a Skilled Trades Task Force chaired by Council President Brenda Jones who frequently meet in council chambers. Interested persons in a skilled trade should come to the Task Force meeting and meet some of the members. They will give you information that will help an interested person out. There are opportunities for young and old people to do something new. I feel that the knowledge of the skilled trade members in their specific trade can help rebuild neighborhoods and improve the quality of life. Councilmembers would be encouraged to read to children in their districts to promote literacy and education, including sending staff members to educational institutions speaking to students about Detroit Governmental Affairs.
- What specific issues are you most concerned about in your district?
- The condition of Outer Drive West regarding pot holes and neglect. I strongly encouraging District 2 residents to continue to contact Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, County Commissioners Irma Clark Coleman and Burton Leland, to expedite Wayne County Road Commission to repair the road ASAP.
- Mental health services because there are too many sick people who walk along Woodward Avenue that need help and treatment.
- Drain and sewage backups in homes because of lack of maintenance. I want a neighborhood drain cleaning program that will provide needed maintenance to the neighborhood.
- Continue Efforts to keep the Fire Department Station on Curtis and Livernois active and running in top notch shape.
- Is Detroit heading in the right direction?
- Yes it is. The Council should keep turning it up to keep Detroit on a path of financial solvency and providing services in a timely manner. Smart Policing will enable Police Departments to interact with citizens showing that public servants have the citizens back when it comes to their needs. We intend to help the Fire Department cut false runs by %50 implementing triangulation with a phone call and drones to give the Department the heads up on an active fire or, if someone is calling in a false alarm. Our Information Technology staff under the leadership of Mayor Duggan and CIO Beth Niblock have made major strides in communicating information to Citizens and, can only get better. With your vote to re-elect George Cushingberry Jr., the man for you in District 2, we can continue on a path of long term growth in jobs and educational opportunities for City residents.
- Why do you want to be a council member?
I want to represent District #2 because I feel we’re lacking the leadership needed for continued growth in our community. I want to serve the citizens in my district with integrity and accountability. I will fight for the citizens of District #2, with them, as I serve them. I was mentored by my sister-in-law, the late Councilwoman Brenda Scott, to truly serve the public. Her focus was “Always Putting Citizens First.” I want to serve the citizens of District #2 by putting their needs and concerns first. I will focus on community development, economic growth, city services, and public safety.
- What qualifies you to be a member of the Detroit City Council? How do you see the job, and why are you the best person to get this job done?
I’m qualified to be a member of Detroit City Council because I have over 10 years of labor and community activism experience. I’m an Organizer with Southeast Michigan Jobs with Justice (SEMJwJ) where I fight for worker’s rights and injustices everyday. I’m a member of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) and have formerly represented CLUW on the AFL-CIO Executive Board. I have also served on the Executive Board of CLUW as Treasurer, and was also a Financial Trustee for SEMJwJ. Currently, I also serve as the Training Coordinator for the Detroit League of Women Voters. I worked for United Airlines for 21 years as a Sales and Service Trainer where I was a union member of the IAM. I am also a Delegate for Precinct #239. I have a degree from Marygrove College in Psychology and Political Science. I feel that all of my experiences will enable me to be a fighter on City Council for my district with a concern for the struggles for everyone I would represent. I see the job as a liaison between the constituents in my district and the Mayor’s office. As the councilperson for District #2, I would be responsible for serving the citizens and addressing their concerns to ensure continuous growth and development within the district.
Additional responsibilities would include reviewing and approving contracts submitted by the Mayor and other City Departments, in addition to reviewing, changing and/or approving the city budget. The councilperson would also review and approve/or not approve legislation that pertains to the city of Detroit, including the following: the sale of disposition of City Property; settlement of Civil Litigation involving the City; employee request for legal representation; requests for rezoning of property, development agreements, complaint petitions from the public regarding City Operations and Departments. I would be the best person to get the job done on council because of my integrity, accountability, and my dedication to my district and its residents.
- If elected, what would be your top three priorities that you would tackle during your first year in office and why?
When I’m elected to represent Detroit City Council District 2, I want to address economic job development, public safety, and neighborhood revitalization. Economic job development—I want to increase the number of business within the 6 Mile, 7 Mile, and Livernois business districts. Doing so will enable business owners to hire more Detroiters within District 2, which will in turn help the District to thrive economically. Public safety—I want to expand Project Green Light to more businesses within the District in order to reduce crime. I want to work in conjunction with the Police Precincts to give block club groups and organizations the resources necessary to create or expand their own neighborhood watch groups. Neighborhood Revitalization—I want to increase neighborhood revitalization by eliminating blight and abandoned homes.
- Detroit still has a serious problem with poverty, illiteracy, and joblessness. Many Detroiters are not qualified for most available employment opportunities in the Detroit metro area. What can the council do to close the gap between available – and anticipated – employment opportunities and those who need opportunity the most?
City Council can help close the gap between available and anticipated job opportunities by ensuring that Detroiters benefit by getting needed jobs and training from new development and opportunities coming into the city. Council representatives need to make sure that residents benefit from Community Benefit Agreements that are voted on by council to ensure that city residents get the training and jobs needed for the growth of our community.
- What specific issues are you most concerned about in your district?
I’m most concerned about crime, blight, and revitalization of our neighborhoods.
- Is Detroit heading in the right direction? If not, why not? What should the city council do to turn things around and what should be the prescribed course correction for the city? If you think Detroit is doing great, please explain why.
I feel Detroit is definitely headed in the right direction. The development in Downtown and Midtown is very exciting. I would like to see that same type of development move into District 2 (6 Mile/7 Mile/Wyoming). I would like to see more development of retail stores and small businesses in these areas.