Friday, September 16, 2011

Dearborn Heights Candidate Forum Sept. 28

On Wednesday, September 28, candidates for the Dearborn Heights City Clerk, City Council, and the District 7 School Board will participate in a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Dearborn – Dearborn Heights.

The evening will begin with an explanation of the one ballot proposal on the November 8 General Election in Dearborn Heights, the Headlee Override Millage Proposal. Speaking will be Eric Lupher, Director of Local Affairs for the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, who will give a broad overview of what the Headlee Amendment is and what an override means, and Daniel Paletko, Mayor of Dearborn Heights. This portion will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

At 7 p.m. the candidates for City Clerk, Janet S. Badalow and Walter J.Prusiewicz, will participate in a 30-minute forum. There will be an opportunity for written questions from the audience, asked by the moderator, Jenni Dunn, a member of the League.

The City Council candidate forum will be held immediately following, at approximately 7:30 p.m. There are 5 people running for 3 openings. It is scheduled to last 1-hour and there will be an opportunity for written questions from the audience, asked by the moderator.

At approximately 8:30 p.m. the candidates for the District 7 School Board will participate in a forum scheduled to last for one hour. There are 4 candidates running for 2 positions on the school board.

The forum will be held in the City Council Chambers at the Dearborn Heights City Hall, 6045 Fenton. The public is invited to attend.

In addition to the moderator, Jenni Dunn, the president of the League of Women Voters, Mary Bugeia will welcome the speakers, candidates, and members of the audience. The evening will be videotaped by WDHT for rebroadcast on local access government cable television channels on WOW, Comcast and AT&T.

Betsy Cushman chairs the Voters Service Committee. Members include Chris Sullivan, Dennis Kirchoff, Joe Borrajo, Judy Carty, Judy Patrick, Mary Bugeia, Carolyn Buell, Barb Adams, Jenni Dunn and Kathy Gapa.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bullets and Ballots - Remember Sept 11th

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was home with 3 children as we watched the videos from New York and worried about what’s next. The screen presents fiction more often than facts, so it took awhile to understand the reality of this attack. Meanwhile many had to leave the TV and take care of the day’s work. On that day, election workers were handling Dearborn’s Mayoral Primary. Sometime later I was in the voting booth when my husband called with alarm. He had heard a radio report about rioting in Dearborn and worried about our safety.

The fear from that day has echoed through the years with a patriotic fervor and a decade of war, but I wonder why the pledges of patriotism haven’t produced civic engagement. Voter turnout is embarrassingly low for a nation so proud of its legacy. At great risk others demand a voice in dictatorial nations, while we dismiss our own democratic process.

Proponents of 2nd amendment rights tout the value of a well-armed citizenry to protect against tyranny, but I’d like to call on a well-informed citizenry to practice democracy. Sergeant Molly carried the water and loaded the cannon because she had no other recourse for liberty. Now she has the right to vote so that her first line of defense is the ballot box. Hold the line with this basic right and restore voter turnout as a patriotic duty.

LWV began 90 years ago to arm new voters with information about candidates and issues. Our heritage continues with a busy Voter Service Committee, a League hallmark in our own community for 60 years. Candidates and voters are urged to participate fully in the campaign process and on election day. One vote can sometimes make a difference, but when the majority of potential voters sit it out, do you wonder that a motivated minority gets more of a say? From one election to the next, we have basically told candidates to “call someone who cares”, so they do. What will our city and nation be like 10 years from today if we amped up our fervor for making democracy work at home? Let’s find out.

By Jenni Dunn