Letters to the Editor

Experience matters

Dear Editor,
It upset me a great deal, just a few days after his burial, to see the image of the late Senator John McCain this past week used in political attack ads.
It is a disgraceful sign of the continued lack of integrity in our political system, which is certainly not what Senator McCain stood for.
As a Viet Nam veteran myself, I know what it means to serve with integrity, commitment and character, something Congressman Mike Bishop appears to be lacking.
No matter what any attack ad may say, Elissa Slotkin’s demonstrated integrity and commitment to serving our country is explicit and defines her as a person and as a candidate.
She has spent her life serving our country as a CIA officer, serving three tours in Iraq, a top official at the Pentagon, and as someone with the unique experience of working for both Republican and Democratic Administrations.
Ms. Slotkin’s experience truly speaks to how committed she is to fighting for our country regardless of brazen partisan politics.
Dennis Ritter
Independence Township

Road millage support

Dear Editor,
I served on the Clarkston Board of Education 1973-81, and learned first hand that it’s far easier to complain and criticize than it is to support and build up.
In this vein, I strongly support the proposed Township Road Improvement Proposal, and commend Supervisor Kittle and the Board for their leadership.
Everyone complains, rightfully, about our roads, but often say, “Someone else should pay for it.” And then nothing happens.
I plan to vote for the Road Improvement Proposal and urge others to do the same. Yes, it’s an increase of taxes, but we know exactly what they will go for, and funding from the Oakland County Road Commission will be drawn in as well. All of us will benefit.
Bob Walters
Independence Township

No to gerrymanders

Dear Editor,
Professional politicians of BOTH parties abuse the power to draw the boundaries of their own districts in order to get elected and stay elected. Every ten years following the census, voters are moved in and out of carefully drawn districts in order to give the political party then in power a majority in as many areas as possible.
Districts like our own Michigan Eighth Congressional District stretch like a snake (or gerrymander) from Rochester in Oakland County, through Livingston County and ends with Lansing in Ingham County.
The Michigan Constitution states that districts, “… be composed of compact and contiguous territory as nearly SQUARE in shape as possible.” How many snakes are square?
This coming November, voters can end gerrymandering in Michigan by voting YES on Proposal Two.
If passed, Proposal Two will establish a 13 member independent commission to draw the districts consisting of four Republicans, four Democrats and five independents. Finally, independent voters, who outnumber both Democrats and Republicans nationwide will have a voice in the redistricting process.
Eliminating gerrymandering in Michigan is long overdue. In a 1892 court decision, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Morse wrote: “By this system of gerrymandering, if permitted, a political party may control for years government, against the wishes, protests, and votes of a majority of the people of the State …” Vote Yes on Proposal Two in November. Gerrymandering is wrong regardless of which political party it favors every ten years.
Henry S. Woloson
Independence Township

Slotkin out of context

Dear Editor,
It seems that, when politicos can’t say enough positive about their record, they go on the attack.
Witness Congressman Mike Bishop’s TV ad in which he quotes the late John McCain, who called Elissa Slotkin untruthful. Slotkin, of course, was simply upholding the policies of her then-boss and McCain antagonist, President Barack Obama. So she became McCain’s target, Bishop taking her words out of context. It would seem Bishop has had plenty of time in office to stress his achievements.
Apparently not. Shame on him.
Bob McGowan
Independence Township

Consider solid choices for City Council, reader says

Dear Editor,
In the Village of Clarkston, it seems those with the most time in local government have the least knowledge of the rules, ordinances, charter and laws that define a government, and little ability to follow them. Maybe they have been ignored for so long they think that’s the way it works. It shouldn’t be.
Sharron Catallo is again running for City Council. Former city council member Eric Haven is running for mayor. Both are nice people that I have known for many years. Unfortunately, both seem to have no idea that there are rules, rules meant to protect the public from people who don’t care about or follow the rules.
Sharron Catallo spent $2,836 of unbudgeted, unapproved city funds last year to buy and plant trees. When asked at a public meeting, she said she didn’t know how she would be able to follow the rules that control spending of city funds and never followed them in the past (Oct. 9 and 23, 2017, council meeting). Trees are nice, but do we really want people illegally spending our tax money without oversight and approval?
Both Catallo and Haven wanted to raise our taxes by having us double pay on the library millage we voted for. Even though they voted for the rollback several times, they said they didn’t understand it even though they were both on the city finance committee. It was explained to them by a new council member and the public. Why would we elect people who don’t understand what they vote on and want to raise our taxes?
They both think the city attorney should keep secrets from the City Council and public and be paid with our tax dollars to do so (Bisio v. City of the Village of Clarkston now before the state Supreme Court). They think there should be closed meetings so the public doesn’t know what they talk about (Clarkston News,Sept. 15, 2017). Who are they representing with these ideas? It certainly is not the public they are elected to represent.
Both were on the city council when they approved a drive through coffee shop with ground water pollution problems in a residential area. A drive through anything is prohibited by the city’s Zoning Ordinance and why can’t we address pollution problems instead of ignoring them?
Both are against any expansion of the commercial area but approved new businesses that caused the parking problem to worsen downtown and on residential streets. It took the newly elected council members to solve the problem these experienced members created. That solution is also bringing in needed revenue to do the things that were ignored in the past. The solutions were consistently opposed by Catallo with a clear appearance of bias and favoritism.
Both allowed and supported the city getting into multiple law suits and letting the city attorney do whatever he wanted without reporting to anyone, at the taxpayer’s expense. Those issues are still in the courts and the council is now afraid to act because the costs have become so high. The city’s record of victory in the courts is dismal. This is not representation, it is negligence.
Eric Haven heads up a group called Friends of Depot Park that has somehow taken control of our Depot Park and appears to be able to do whatever they want with little or no approval from the city council. While they have been successful in getting grants for playground equipment, they completely ignore the maintenance of what exists. Why add more when they can’t take care of what they already have?
Let’s elect people that are willing to learn and represent the people instead of only representing the city attorney and special interests. Let’s elect people who will ask questions instead of blindly accepting whatever the so called “experts” say (Haven-July 23, 2018, council meeting). We know their experts are not always right, they have said so. The purpose of the city council is to protect us from wrongs, not blindly accept them and hide them from the public that must pay the bill.
We are a very small city, “village” if you prefer, so it is easy to know who is running for an elected position. Just because we know them, perhaps even like them, does not mean they should be governing.
Recently deceased Senator John McCain is quoted as saying, “As long as people can do things without penalty, they’re going to continue to do them.” It is long past time to change the way things have been done in the Village. Please consider voting for Percival, Cascone, Detkowski, Swayne and Wylie.
Cory Johnston