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Royal Oak City Commissioner - Full Term {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

THREE 4-year terms available.Vote for no more than THREE.
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    Sharlan Douglas Public relations consultant

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    Kim Gibbs Attorney

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    Richard Karlowski Engineer

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    Melanie Macey Attorney

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    David Poulton Attorney

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Biographical Information

Please provide biographical information and explain why you are running for City office and relevant qualities and skills you would bring to the position.

What are the top 3 Priority Issues that the city should address and what actions would you take regarding each of them?

I grew up outstate on a horse- and Christmas tree farm, graduated from Michigan State with a BA in journalism and got my first job in Detroit right after I graduated. I’ve worked in public relations and marketing since then, first as a consultant then using those skills as an executive with a business incubator, the Eight Mile Boulevard Association and a chamber of commerce. I established my own consulting firm in 2005. I studied planning in the graduate program at Wayne State University. I’ve served on the Royal Oak Planning Commission for 11 years and am a past president of the Michigan Association of Planning. Along with my planning experience, I think my marketing knowledge enhances the decisions we make at the commission table.
Public safety: Our budget must give police officers and firefighters the training and equipment they need to succeed. At every step of the way I have voted for a new police station which we will build once bond financing is secured.

Helping seniors age in place. People should be able to stay in the homes for as long as they choose or find reasonably priced single-floor living in the city. We should seek new transportation options for those who can no longer drive. We should preserve and strengthen the R.O.S.E.S program and the home improvements loan fund for low-income people.

We must support our neighborhoods and home values. We need firm but fair code enforcement. We must maintain our network of parks and support our schools. The school bond issue, which I support, will contribute to that success. Many young owners chose Royal Oak because of our vibrant downtown. 180,000 square feet of new downtown office space will attract young professionals who want to live near their jobs.
A Royal Oak home owner since 2002, I am active in the community and have been for the past 15 years. As an attorney with a great deal of real estate and finance experience, I am running for City Commission because Royal Oak is an unbelievable city. However the past few years have shown our elected officials doing a poor job of listening and acknowledging the concerns of our residents. The elected officials have exceeded the City borrowing limits set by the Charter. Residents are concerned about the rats in our neighborhoods, the flooding of our streets and basements, the City not having an RFP for the development of the new City Center, handing over a $5.5 million dollar subsidy to the developer and the selling of city property worth at least a million dollars for $1.00. Given the current administration's incompetence in managing the City's finances, I believe I'm the best choice to address these failures and future issues with the City.
The three issues where I will focus, in no particular order, are:

1.) prioritizing neighborhoods, including addressing the rat infestation and fixing our roads and sewers, 2.) keeping resident costs low, 3.) maintaining and improving public safety.

Over the past five years our millage rates have increased 50%, including a special street millage and public safety millage. Our roads remain pothole marked and jarring to drive. Residents pay exorbitant amounts for minor repairs to our sidewalks, and in fewer than ten years, the work often has to be repeated. Our tax dollars are not being used wisely, as shown by the recent vote of city officials to sell valuable downtown real estate for $1.00, with an additional subsidy of $5.5 million dollars of tax payer money to a developer that is politically tied to the current administration. The costs of this project add up to at least $2,000.00 per household. $2,000.00 per household would be better used to address the sewer flooding and rat infestation.
Age -59. Royal Oak homeowner since 2006.

Member of the Citizens Traffic Committee & Royal Oak Historical Commission (organized Civil War Day at Orson Starr House last 3 years), former member of the Royal Oak Zoning Board of Appeals

BS – Michigan Technological University, MS – University of Michigan Certified Quality and Reliability Engineer – ASQ

Over 30+ years of experience, over 24 in my current position with GM.

I became interested in running after watching/attending City Commission meetings and speaking at the podium. Believe a fresh way of doing business is needed.

I will bring an engineering skill set to the Commission. A decision making approach based on data, not just opinion. An ability to question the status quo and compare methods used by other cities to seek out the most efficient way (not just the cheapest) to deliver the services the residents expect.
Transparency & Trust: No votes on issues the same night as the public hearing. Resident input must be considered before any decisions are reached. All city contracts and development agreements will be via the Request for Proposal (RFP) process. All major bond proposals to be voted on by residents.

Neighborhoods to be a Priority, not an Afterthought: Keep Royal Oak family friendly – budget for upgrade/care for parks, ensure adequate police presences outside downtown, insist on code/zoning enforcement on builders and rental properties. Sewer/street/sidewalk maintenance should be paid for by current tax dollars, not special assessments.

End Crony Capitalism and Corporate Welfare - All city development project to go through an open Request for Proposal process with amount of tax breaks and other tax funds requested being a criteria for selection. Never again will we give a developer $5.5 million dollars from the general fund, all without an open bid process.
I am a 13-year resident of Royal Oak. We bought our home here and have since welcomed three children into the world. I’m a lawyer with a background in legal services work, specializing in the past representing survivors of domestic violence and families embroiled in the child welfare system. I’m now at the University of Michigan Law School, where I help students who hope to pursue careers in public service. I have been active in the community as a PTA chair, a Sunday School teacher at St. John’s Episcopal Church, and as a trustee of the RO Library Board.

I love Royal Oak. I’m running to help shape the city where my children are growing up and to make sure we live up to our potential. I believe we can improve people’s lives and our community. I want to bring out the best we as a city have to offer: increasing citizen engagement, bringing creative problem-solving to our city’s challenges, and listening to and including all residents’ varied viewpoints. Royal Oak is a vibrant city, and together we can make it a welcoming place for all families, seniors, and young professionals.
Responsible Development: Keep our attractive downtown vibrant but right-sized to our city. We should stay on pace with our potential but not outpace it. Royal Oak is growing, but slowdowns are inevitable. The commission has approved projects to meet downtown office space goals. A downtown hotel is being built. Let’s monitor these projects and take steps to ensure future development can be supported and meets the needs of all.

Green: Our trees, parks, and green space make our city special. We need to protect our resources both for their inherent value and the impact on our lives. We have a unique opportunity with the development of Normandy Oaks. Together we can shape a grand space we can all be proud of.

Senior-friendly: As Baby Boomers enter golden years, we must be responsive. We need more senior housing and senior-friendly (single-story) new developments. We must bolster the local transit options and hours. We need to consider seniors as downtown changes – amenities and activities that are attractive and keep everyone involved. Keep the Farmers Market in focus and accessible.
I am a 45 year old, married, father of three. After several years of difficult economic times, Royal Oak is moving in the right direction. I am seeking re-election to the City Commission to ensure we remain focused on matters that will enhance our property values and allow us to remain a strong and vibrant community.

As a City Commissioner, I have looked out for Royal Oak taxpayers, made our community more secure and safe and held our government accountable. The residents of this city have demonstrated their trust and confidence in my abilities by electing me to the City Commission in 2009 and 2013.

Also, as a small business owner, I understand what it means to have to live with the regulations and taxes local government imposes. I believe our city government must be less bureaucratic and more responsive to its citizens’ needs.
Public Safety – As a City Commissioner, I led the effort to crack down on local motels that had become magnets for dangerous criminals. I am committed to ensuring our community remains safe and secure by maintaining highly skilled and trained Fire/E.M.S. and Police personnel.

Accountability – I remain committed to prioritizing our budget to fund city services in the most efficient manner possible and will oppose wasteful expenditures. We must also hold accountable anyone who endangers this city. I will continue my efforts to clean up sloppy construction sites that have blocked sidewalks, interfered with adjoining properties and left dangerous conditions accessible to children.

Thriving Community - Royal Oak has been recognized as a city with some of the fastest rising home values in the country and one of the best places in Michigan to live. We see the construction of a downtown hotel, development of office buildings and creation of hundreds of new jobs. I am committed to continuing to make decisions that create a positive environment to sustain this unparalleled growth.

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