Four candidates vie for three seats on City Council

Incumbents Eric Haven, Jason Kneisc, and David Marsh and challenger Scott Reynolds are running for three open seats on Clarkston City Council in the Nov. 7 election.

Eric Haven, 69, is employed as Director of Gift and Estate Planning for the Woodside Vision Foundation and has lived in Clarkston 44 years, since 1973.
Why are you running for City Council?
I have been both a resident and a business owner in Clarkston during my life here. I was a member of the village council when Clarkston became a city 25 years ago. I am a strong advocate of the protections city-hood, knowledgeable planning, careful zoning and our historic district bring to the community, principles I believe need preserving.
I believe Clarkston is a unique and enviable jewel in Oakland County, a 19th-century Mill Village which has kept its identity and charm. I have seen the city go through many phases, but I have never been more enthused than I am today about its future.
I’m a current member of the City Council, the Planning Commission and serve as chairman of the Friends of Depot Park. In all these capacities my responsibility, along with those who serve with me, must be to think about the future of our town, continually asking the long term question, “What type of community do we want to be in 25 years?”
Downtown parking?
Clarkston is experiencing tensions that every desirable destination inevitably incurs: (1) traffic, (2) parking and (3) infrastructure issues, but we are overcoming these stresses in innovative ways. The City Manager and parking committee are doing a great job in finding novel and practical solutions. Generally speaking, however, we are successfully engaging our many industrious and creative citizens, and utilizing professionals where needed, in problem solving. Thereby we are increasing our community’s vitality (vibe) and property values. I think Clarkston has an exceedingly bright future, and we will continue to enhance its desirability as a place to live and work by dedicating ourselves, both personally and governmentally, to qualitative improvements in all areas.
Bisio, CBC Joint Venture vs. City of the Village of Clarkston lawsuits?
The city council’s position on these issues is a matter of record.
Want to see the Bisio suit’s 18 records?
The court has already ruled once on this important issue.
Top three issues facing the city?
The city needs to find more opportunities for raising revenue so our taxes can be reduced over time while improving our assets. Limited paid parking is a partial answer. I also have hope for making community plans so appealing private philanthropy will become engaged as in other nationally recognized historic villages.
Our master plan is due for rewriting. This public process will give us a great opportunity to express, as a community, what we want to look like in 25 years. I will be involved every step of the way on the Planning Commission. We have all seen paintings of our past. Now we get to create pictures of our future.
My personal favorite area of opportunity is making continuous improvements to our central recreational area, Depot Park. I want it to be known for its beauty, accessibility and resources as a place of recreation and repose for every generation of Clarkston citizens and those from surrounding areas. Stay tuned.
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Scott Reynolds, 49, has lived in the Clarkston area and now the village for a total of 16 years. He is a degreed electrical engineer having graduated from the University of Michigan and has worked for a leading automotive supplier for over 24 years.
Why are you running for City Council?
We love this village, but sit in any council meeting and you might grow concerned as I did. The success of the downtown district was not expected and now the cost of maintaining this “destination of choice” is leading to compromising positions in terms of costs and priorities. WE CAN DO BETTER.
Downtown parking?
We live on E. Washington Street and have been directly impacted by the success of the downtown area. What was a quiet street has now turned into a weekend parking lot and is very unsafe. People park on both sides of the street, in front of drive ways and block intersections. Emergency vehicles would struggle to get through. Having sat in a number of the Parking Committee meetings and city council meetings this is recognized as a major issue. I believe in a term called Creative Destruction – meaning let’s remove preconceived notions on how to solve this and see what comes out of this process. Homeowners are feeling the space constraints and the city is lacking financial means to handle all the extra people coming into our village. I would be happy to join this committee should I be elected.
Want to see the Bisio suit’s 18 records?
In a recent City Council meeting, the city attorney addressed council to bring up to speed many of the participants who did not have the history of these law suits. I am not an attorney, but in the case of Bisio vs. City of the Village of Clarkston it remains unclear to me how the City benefits from this case continuing. Our good name is being thrown around in the courts and yet we have no knowledge about what we are fighting for. I can see how it would benefit the city’s attorney though. My campaign is one of transparency and as such I would request that our city attorney also be held to this standard.
In the case of CBC Joint Venture vs. the City of the Village of Clarkston, I do not have enough of the facts about this case to state a position at this moment. This case involves CBC Joint Venture’s appeal to rezone 59 S. Main Street, known as the Sutherland House, for use as a restaurant for those unfamiliar with the case. I will state this though – it is very clear to me that many people in our city from all walks of life are concerned about the whole of Main Street becoming one large commercial strip. I would share this same concern as it would radically change the character of this great city.
Want to see the Bisio suit’s 18 records?
I am not an attorney and so the letter of the law tied to the Freedom of Information Act or FOIA which is a large portion on this suit is not my area of expertise. However if the City Council does receive these documents from the city attorney then my position would be to release them to the public.
Top three issues facing the city?
Parking – Engage with this committee directly, deploy some creative destruction in this process and begin to think out of the box. Some good initial work has been started and I applaud those efforts of the current Parking Committee.
Humility, Respect and Transparency – Having walked to almost all 400 of the houses in the village to meet people as part of this election, many people are so fed up on the infighting that takes place in City Hall, in social media and in the paper. I am a New Voice, an Independent and Forward thinker, an attentive listener and a kind and committed neighbor. If you want change then vote to send this message.
Strengthen our Fiscal Responsibilities. Many people do not realize that the city runs on about an $800,000 operating budget. As the city is almost fully developed, the opportunity to increase this operating budget is low. We need to be mindful in our approach to spending and clearly separate Needs from Wants.
Top three priorities?
I welcome the growth and complexities of our community. I plan to participate as both an attentive listener that honors the history of the village, while also contributing as a problem solver that supports the growth and enthusiasm that is happening all around us.
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Jason Kneisc, 41, has lived in the city for over four years, and is currently in a management role at an information technology company.
Why are you running for City Council?
I am running for reelection in order to continue making a positive impact in the community. I place the community needs first and foremost and believe my life experiences are of value as the council continues to tackle issues in this complex environment.
Downtown parking?
I think we have made some good steps to address concerns. This is a complex issue and we should be careful. I believe we should be waiting to see the effects of enacted changes in order to determine next steps. This seems like a logical course of action that most people I talk to want to see.
Bisio, CBC Joint Venture vs. City of the Village of Clarkston lawsuits?
I am not a lawyer myself but I believe it would be inappropriate to comment on these legal matters.
Want to see the Bisio suit’s 18 records?
Again I would be out of line commenting on this legal matter. To clear up some confusion, the case is about what is covered under FOIA and what is not. The case is not about what the actual content of the records is. This is fact and readily available to the public.
Top three issues facing the city?
When I ran for Council in 2015 I listed these as the top three issues. I still stand by that assessment.
Progress – Clarkston has been very fortunate and is a thriving community. Progress brings challenges such as new business growth and parking. These challenges must be continually evaluated on an ongoing basis as they will change frequently.
Generational Challenges – Clarkston is a home and destination for groups of people that represent not only various ages but differing wants as well which can be challenging to accommodate all groups. This is a challenge but also the CVC’s potentially greatest strength, all generations learning from and living in community with one another.
Management of Existing Resources – Another priority is the management of current resources like buildings and equipment. How do we continue to be the best stewards of the taxes that are collected? How do we leave future generations in the best possible position to be successful.
The way that I help solve these issues is by doing what is right and placing the needs of the community first and foremost.
Top three priorities?
Foster more community cohesiveness.
Ensure living in the city meets resident’s expectations.
Promote civic awareness amongst the residents.
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David Marsh did not respond with answers to the questions, but emailed to The Clarkston News, the other three candidates, and the city attorney, “I would recommend that any current member of City Council refrain from addressing any questions relating to ongoing litigation. As journalists you should, and probably do, know better than to ask any member of council to make comments on ongoing litigation. Thank you.”

One Response to "Four candidates vie for three seats on City Council"

  1. Mike Fetzer   October 12, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    A politician seeking public office who refuses to comment on issues of pressing importance to the community, hiding behind the pathetic excuse that the matters are the subject of litigation, is simply unsuited for public service. The candidate either lacks knowledge of the issue or has failed to envision a position in the matter, lacks vision or, worse, candor. It is perhaps one thing for a public official already involved in an official matter subject to litigation to refrain from comment in the pending matter, but simply lame and Trumpesque for a new candidate to refuse to truthfully articulate views or a position to voters indicating where the candidate might lead if elected…

    Reply

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