City Candidates Eye Safety, Streets, Uptown, Neighborhoods, Home Values
Tom Baird's South End Forum Draws Good Crowd, Lively Discussion
September 19, 2009
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By: MyBayCity Staff
With contested seats in four wards, the discussion was lively at the hour and a half long 3rd Annual Candidate Forum Thursday night.
An overflow crowd attended the South End Citizens District Council sponsored Candidate Forum and the Bay County Child and Senior Center on Broadway.
"The purpose of the Candidate Forum was to give the residents of Bay City an opportunity to see, hear and understand the viewpoints of all nine City Commission candidates" said South End CDC Chairman and moderator of the event Thomas Baird.
Candidates for City Commission races in the 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th wards this year the forum had the opportunity to answer questions of the public concerning issues facing the City of Bay City.
First Ward City Commission President Chris Shannon, running unopposed, also attended and took part in the question and answer session.
All of the Candidates were allowed 3 minutes to introduce themselves to over 50 people in attendance and explain their backgrounds and some of the reasons on why they would like to be elected to the City Commission.
Said Mr. Baird: "There were four main themes that drew questions from the audience. The areas that were addressed was the conditions and funding of street repairs and improvements. The Uptown at Rivers Edge development project received considerable discussion. Another area that was discussed was declining home values and blight in some neighborhoods and how that would be addressed. The number one topic for the Candidates was the issue of Public Safety and how that would be addressed in future budgets."
1st Ward - Chris Shannon, current 1st Ward City Commissioner and Commission President. Homeowner and resident for the past 15 years after moving back to hometown. Employed with Michigan Works.
3rd Ward - Wendy Legner, current 3rd Ward City Commissioner; employed with the Bay City Public School District formerly as elementary school teacher now working the in the Administration Department. Married to former 3rd Ward Commissioner Kurt Legner.
3rd Ward - Dennis Banaszak, former 3rd Ward City Commissioner, lifelong resident of Bay City; currently unemployed to economic cutbacks. Dennis serves on many community organizations.
5th Ward - James Irving, retired heavy equipment operator who has worked throughout the State of Michigan. Has returned to live in Bay City. Serves on the South End Citizens District Council.
5th Ward - Magen Trask lifelong resident of Bay City; employed with Bay Futures economic development organization. Magen is also a member of the South End Citizens District Council and serves on numerous Boards of community groups in Bay County.
7th Ward Doug Sommer has lived in Bay City for the past decade and owns Accent Building Company. This is his first time running for political office.
7th Ward - Marlene Goupil, lifelong resident of Bay City and retired after 34 years with GM. This is her first time running for political office.
9th Ward - Kellie Snyder, current City Commissioner who was appointed to fill vacated term when current Mayor Charles Brunner was elected. Kellie works in a legal office. She also serves on numerous community groups in Bay City.
9th Ward - Larry Elliott, longtime City resident employed with the State of Michigan. Larry has served on numerous City groups in leadership roles.
1st Ward candidate Chris Shannon stated "he sees himself as a consensus builder." He shared a number of thoughts on seeing the City address the roads and funding of them. One of the ideas he shared was the possibly of charging tolls over City bridges. Commissioner Shannon who is running unopposed further discussed on the need for consolidating services with neighboring communities to
3rd Ward candidate Dennis Banaszak discussed the ever rising costs of providing police and fire protection. He stressed that he strongly supports public safety in order to keep Bay City a safe community. He also addressed the slow economy and his efforts to help promote the development known as the Uptown at Rivers
Edge. He sees good things happening for Bay City when the economy comes back around.
3rd Ward candidate Wendy Legner would like to continue working on Bay City's problems for another four years. She shared that she works for the residents of Bay City. She is willing to make tough decisions and wants to provide the best possible services with the limited resources that are available. She is working on ways to restructure some City departments. "There has to be better
communication with the residents and City Hall to address problems" Legner stated.
5th Ward candidate James Irving now retired is concerned with many of the tough issues facing Bay City. That is why he became involved with the Citizens District Council. He strongly supports the Police and Fire departments and in fact "I would like to see the City hire more police officers." He would like to see the City develop the Uptown property into a small casino. The roads also need to be addressed. James didn't favor in raising of any taxes in Bay City.
5th Ward candidate Magen Trask wants to keep Bay City safe and clean. Strongly supports the Police department and would take a look at all ways to provide better Fire department protection. Magen stated "She would continue to promote the development of the Uptown property." "I have been involved with the new YMCA coming on board in the downtown which would provide a catalyst for future
development." Magen believes that neighbors have to look out for their neighborhoods to keep them clean and safe. Her passion for the City was clearly seen and she wants to make Bay City a better place.
7th Ward candidate Doug Sommer, a newcomer to politics. He has been learning how the City government operates and stated that he doesn't have all the answers but is willing to learn about new ways of getting things done and improved. Like all of the candidates he supports a strong public safety department. Sommer stated "I'm concerned about Bay City and want to help in improving things."
7th Ward candidate Marlene Goupil a first time candidate stated that "I running to address some of the issues facing all of the residents. The need to fix our streets and keep our taxes down." She further discussed "Looking at attracting good paying jobs to Bay City for younger generation coming out of College." Marlene also wants to keep our neighborhoods clean and see some good development of the property in the downtown area.
9th Ward candidate Kellie Snyder wants to keep working on the City
Commissioner. She shared that she enjoys assisting the residents on matters that they have with the City. She talked about her efforts to do as much with the City budget as possible with limited resources. "Go after grant money and come up with a plan to fix City streets" Snyder said. Kellie wants the City to continue to find ways to provide better Fire protection for all of the City
residents. She supports a strong Police department.
9th Ward candidate Larry Elliott shared his long involvement over the past decade in 9th ward. Larry wants "To find ways to give tax breaks to residents who move into Bay City or make improvement to their homes." Larry supports both the Police and Fire Departments and would like to see an increase in manpower if possible.
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