Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2011 Election Preview

This article was last updated November 20, 2012.

Michigan will saw several elections in 2011. This was a preview of elections in Michigan and Kalamazoo County. Elections earlier this year are summarized below.

Kalamazoo-area Election Guide 2011

November 8

This is the day for local city elections.

Kalamazoo City Commission

All seven seats on the Kalamazoo County Commission were up for election. The seven commissioners are Mayor Bobby Hopewell, Vice-mayor Hannah McKinney, Don Cooney, David Anderson, Barb Miller, Stephanie [Moore] Bell, and Robert Cinabro. Cinabro was appointed to replace Terry Kuseske, who died mid-term.

Cinabro ran for a full term, and all the other incumbents sought reelection. Challengers Nicholas Boyd, Antwon Hunter, Robert Patterson, Michael Perrin, Nicholas Wikar, and Andrew Worden also ran. Perrin and Worden ran as fiscal conservatives. Boyd was an unsucessful candidate in 2009. Boyd and Wikar were endorsed by the Kalamazoo Chamber of Commerce over Cooney and Moore/Bell. All of the incumbents were reelected.
See who filed Tuesday to run in the Nov. 8, 2011 election for local government positions in Southwest Michigan

There was a proposal on the ballot to decriminalize marijuana by making it the "lowest possible enforcement priority". This would not have much practical effect, though. The ordinance passed overwhelmingly, winning every precinct.

Portage City Council

The mayor of Portage, Peter Strazdas, ran for reelection. Three of the six seats on the commission were also up for election. Those seats are held by Cory Bailes, Patricia Randall, and Elizabeth Campbell. Cory Bailes was appointed to replace Margaret O'Brien, who was elected state representative. Randall was elected to a two year term, succeeding Ted Vliek, who was appointed to fill the vacancy left when Larry DeShazor was elected state representative.

Reed ran for reelection and Bailes and Randall ran for full terms. Jim Pearson, a planning committee member who lost to Randall in 2009, sought a seat. The Kalamazoo Chamber of Commerce endorsed everyone except Randall. Campbell, Pearson, and Randall won the three seats.

Mattawan School District

The district voted on a 59 million dollar bond measure after voting down an 88 million dollar tax increase in May. The millage was defeated for a second time.
Mattawan going back to voters for $59M for new elementary schools

February 22

This is one of four yearly election days in Michigan. The only jurisdiction with an election locally was Comstock Schools, which sought a millage renewal. It was rejected.

Comstock voters to decide 2.5-mill tax renewal

May 3

This is the date for school board elections. Kalamazoo, Portage, and Gull Lake all have contested races. There are also various millages on the ballot.
Election Results

Tax questions appearing on the May ballot include new library in Paw Paw, renovating South Haven high school, township millage renewals
7 candidates running for school board in Kalamazoo; 5 in Portage
Complete list of area school board candidates.
Complete list of library board candidates.

KRESA Millage. This is a renewal of a "temporary" millage that affects all the Kalamazoo County-based school districts. It is funnelled through KRESA to the districts to avoid limitations on the amount of taxes that districts can levy. It was billed in 2005 as a "one-time tax". In 2008, it was sold as a renewal of an existing tax. This passed roughly 2:1.

Stop the KRESA Tax

Kalamazoo. There were five candidates for two seats. Incumbent trustees Liz Henderson and Eric Breisach are retiring. The candidates are Demarra D. Gardner, Jennie Hill, Lissette Mira-Amaya, Jennifer Pollard, and Mark Totten. Totten is the best-known, having spent a small fortune in a losing bid for the democrat nomination for state senate in 2010. Totten and Hill won the two seats.

Portage. There were five candidates for two seats. Board President Kevin Hollenbeck and Vice-President Melanie Kurdys are running for full terms. Hollenbeck was appointed to a partial term following a resignation. Also running are Tom Eddy, Ted Hartridge, and Kevin Hoffer. The board has been divided over the issue of the status of Superintendent Marcia Wells. According to the Gazette, "Eddy is a former school trustee who was on the board that hired Wells; Hoffer is a Portage parent who has been critical of administration, and Hartridge attended a recent board meeting in support of Wells." Eddy and Hartridge were elected.

Kurdys and Hollenbeck for Portage School Board

Gull Lake. There are four candidates for two seats. They are Laura Burr, Loyal Eldridge II, Paul J. Foust, and Lorence R. Wenke. The best-known is Wenke, who was a three-term Republican state representative who lost a 2010 primary for state senate. Burr and Eldridge were elected.

The Kalamazoo library board race is uncontested, while there are six candidates for four spots in Portage. Betty Ongley, who held many positions in Portage over the years is the best known.

August 2

There was nothing on the ballot in Kalamazoo County for this election.

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