The Gazette has its election guide online.
City of Kalamazoo:
17 Kalamazoo City Commission candidates vary on economic issues
Kalamazoo City Commission: Questions and answers
Kalamazoo City Commission: Meet the candidates
1. What should be the No. 1 priority of the next City Commission?
2. Declining residential and commercial property values and stock-market losses in the city’s pension fund are creating shortfalls. Recognizing that most of the budget goes to employee salaries, specifically what services would you cut or what revenues would you increase? Be specific.
3. Kalamazoo City Commission: Do you favor or oppose the anti-discrimination ordinance? Why?
4. Would you support a 1 percent tax on meals and drinks served in Kalamazoo County restaurants and bars to build an arena in downtown Kalamazoo? Would you support $4.5 million in city money proposed for related infrastructure costs?
5. On a traditional A-to-F grading scale, what grade would you give the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety and why? Has the department gotten better or worse under Chief Jeff Hadley?
6. Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley has said the department has no intention of enforcing federal immigration laws. Do you agree with this position? Why?
7. The next City Commission could be asked to consider a measure that would make policing marijuana the city’s “lowest enforcement priority.” Would you support or oppose such a measure? Why?
8. Some groups have advocated requiring businesses receiving tax abatements to allocate a percentage of the jobs they promise to create to low-income individuals or ex-felons. Do you support such a requirement?
9. A millage request for 0.6 of 1 mill to fund Metro Transit is on the city’s ballot Nov. 3. Do you favor or oppose this levy? Why?
10. How should the City Commission balance spending for downtown development and residential revitalization projects?
City of Portage:
Jobs, weathering the economy are priorities for Portage candidates
Portage City Council: Questions and answers
Portage City Council: Meet the candidates
1. What should be the No. 1 priority of the next Portage City Council?
2. Declining property values are creating serious budget problems for Portage, and shortfalls for other communities. Recognizing that most of the budget goes to employee salaries, specifically what services would you cut or what revenues would you increase?
3. What qualifies you to serve on the Portage City Council?
4. The council has recently looked at its industrial tax-break policy and questioned if it should be changed. Do you favor the current policy or would you prefer to see changes made?
5. The city has maintained the same millage level for several years. In today’s tough economic times,should the city consider having a millage election to increase the general fund budget levy of 7.5 mills?
6. Portage has been proud of not laying off city workers to deal with declining revenue, instead relying on retirements and attrition for a smaller staff size. Does it appear layoffs might be needed, though, to balance the next budget in2010?
7. The recent council has said that it feels it is offering a “transparent” government process that is open and responsive to residents’ concerns, from dealings with city staff to bringing matters to the council. Do you agree?
8. Substance abuse involving young people has been identified as a big concern in recent years in Portage.Do you believe the city has addressed that issue and, if not, what should it do?
9. What do you see as the biggest problem Portage must deal with in the coming year, and how would you deal with it?