Letters to the Editor

Reader offers positive suggestions

Dear Editor,
A while ago, I noted all the signs supporting the incumbent council candidates paid for by “Friends of CVC” and asked on Facebook for anyone to explain the reasons for this support. No response.
I was glad to see Frank Schoebel’s letter in The Clarkston News (“Support for incumbents Catallo, Sabol,” Oct. 19) explaining support for these candidates but disappointed because it does not go beyond nice generalities about what the incumbents can or will do if re-elected.
Rather, the letter is a jeremiad against citizen participation in city government. It lambasts people “disrupting” council meetings, apparently by asking questions and criticizing things like the council’s spending tens of thousands of unbudgeted funds on planning for an unnecessary addition to the village hall that was ultimately rejected because the city can’t afford it.
The letter says people “unfairly imply improprieties by our public servants,” yet the same edition of The Clarkston News shows the council members escaped criminal liability for violating the open meetings act only because they were supposedly confused about what the law requires.
The letter says people “falsely accuse City Council members of their intentions to raise taxes” after several council members repeatedly stated they want to renege on the promise to reduce the city’s operating millage after the library millage was adopted. And then there are those “newspaper columns to polarize the community.”
Apparently there should be no criticism of what city government is doing because the incumbents have “good intentions.”
The letter asks for positive suggestions. How about these changes from what the incumbents have consistently supported: Budgeting before spending taxpayer funds. Meaningful and accurate minutes so people can tell what the council did and why. Respectful treatment of people who speak at council meetings. Making public records available without delays and abstruse theories of why city records should be kept secret.
Richard Bisio

Interest in doing best for the city

Dear Editor,
I am Mike Sabol, current Clarkston City Council member and I am running for re-election to the council this year. This will be my third term to go along with nine months as an interim appointee. I am also the ex-officio council member on the city Planning Commission.
Over the past year or two there have been many statements and inferences by a group of people opposed to the activities of the City Council. It is often very hard to respond to such statements that come from a non-factual basis.
As an incumbent council candidate, I and my fellow incumbent candidate, Sharron Catallo, ask you look at our words and the facts. Our votes and discussion as council members show our real intent.
As a case in point, there have been recent statements, in print and verbally, inferring we are planning on raising taxes. Please review the City Council minutes on the city website and Independence TV regarding tax rates from the meetings of June 13, 2016, and September 12, 2016, to see our real intent.
To be clear, outside of the improbability, let alone near impossibility of such a thing, there is no reason for us to even be considering any tax increases at this time and we have no intention to vote to support any tax increase proposals.
Another issue is the discussion regarding the DPW building. Many were told it was a foregone conclusion – a new building being proposed would happen regardless of the cost. Signs were posted throughout the city, letters were written – nothing based in the facts.
To prove this point – when the final data was presented, the proposal failed before the council. My position all along was I needed all of the data to make my decision and that was also the position of every other member, including Sharron.
More broadly, we ask you think through our words and actions when considering how you will vote. We are citizens, your neighbors and friends, volunteers, giving our time to the city and yet this small group claims there are nefarious deeds taking place to support their positions.
They act as if our motto is “Today Clarkston, Tomorrow the World.” Our true interest is to do what we believe is best for the city. We have been doing that all along. We ask that you take this into account when you vote.
Mike Sabol

Catallo committed to city

Dear Editor,
In 1980 my husband and I moved to the Village of Clarkston. We raised our children here and now they are raising their children here.
In the early 1980s, I took part in an M15/Main Street study group. Even then, I recognized how fragile the preservation of character and charm was.
In 1984, I was elected to council and in 1986 I was elected Village President. In 1992, when we became a city, I was elected mayor and I held that position until I retired in 2008 to care for my aging parents.
During my time on council we became a city and created a charter: “to secure the benefits of local self government.” We established our own police department and had a dedicated force from 1992-2009. We installed community water lines to all homes and businesses.
The City of the Village of Clarkston made major improvements to the downtown streetscape and repaved the roads within the city. In Depot Park, we rebuilt the gazebo and increased the size and equipment in the playground thanks to the generosity of residents and community organizations. The charm of the city was also protected by a strengthened Historic District ordinance and repairs to the city’s own infrastructure.
I believe the City of the Village of Clarkston today represents the vision of what so many were working to achieve: a thriving downtown and charming and beautifully-kept neighborhoods with new families joining our long-time residents in our small and unique city.
Today, I am more committed to the City of the Village than ever before. Since returning to council in 2013, working with the present council has been a great experience and has made me realize there are very good people who are still committed to do what is best for this great community.
Mike Sabol is one such person; and I believe that supporting Mike for re-election benefits the community as a whole.
I know that while I have many years of experience to draw upon, this election calls for candidates who are dedicated to doing what’s best for the Clarkston in the years to come.
I believe that I have demonstrated a commitment to working for what’s best for the community for the past 36 years and am committed to working to maintain the charm and attraction of this place we call home for all of us.
Sharron Catallo