Monday, January 07, 2013

2013 Kalamazoo Election Preview

This article was last updated August 13, 2013.

Michigan will see several elections in 2013. This is a preview of elections in Kalamazoo County. The first three election days were mostly quiet.  The November election will have Kalamazoo and Portage city elections.

Southwest Michigan Politics: An early look at area elections in 2013

February 26: Nothing was on the ballot in Kalamazoo County.

May 7: There was a renewal of the countywide Car-a-van/Metro Connect millage.
Bus Tax Never Dies
Kalamazoo County voters to decide May 7 whether to renew property tax for countywide transit
There were also several school millages on the ballot, including a 62 million dollar millage in the Kalamazoo Public Schools. They all passed.

August 6:  Nothing was on the ballot in Kalamazoo County.

November 5: This is the day for local city elections.

Kalamazoo City Commission

All seven seats on the Kalamazoo City Commission are up for election. The seven commissioners are Mayor Bobby Hopewell (on since 2003), Vice-mayor Hannah McKinney (1997), Don Cooney (1997), David Anderson (2005), Barb Miller (2005), Stephanie [Bell] Moore (2007), and Robert Cinabro (2010). Moore changed her name back from Bell after her husband was convicted of sex crimes.  All were elected in 2011, Cinabro to his first full term.

All the incumbents are seeking reelection except for McKinney, who is not.  Nine candidates are seeking the open seat:

Mike Perrin: beer salesman and Republican nominee for state house in 2012
Birletta Bean-Hardeman: unlikely to be competitive
Nicholas Boyd: unsuccessful candidate in 2009 and 2011
Tracy Hall: leftist democrat lesbian WMU instructor--running with Cooney and Moore
E. Allen Hayes: democrat pastor
Fred Lawrence II: unlikely to be competitive
Jack Urban: democrat former Kalamazoo County Commissioner
Jeff Weisman: founder of downtown neighborhood association
Rico White: member of Kalamazoo Planning Commission

Nov. 5 election: 6 incumbents, 9 challengers make up Kalamazoo City Commission field

There may be a proposal on the ballot to "reform" the charter by electing the mayor separately and inplementing staggered four-year terms for the other seats (similar to the system Portage uses).  They could also implement a ward system, which would end any chance of electing a Republican in Kalamazoo.
Kalamazoo City Commission continues discussion on significant proposed charter amendments

Portage City Council

The mayor of Portage, Peter Strazdas (mayor since 2005), is running unopposed for reelection. Three of the six seats on the commission were also up for election. Those seats are held by Claudette Reid (2005), Ed Sackley (2005), and Terry Urban (2001). All three were reelected in 2009.  Sackley will not seek reelection.  Urban and Reid are running for reelection.

Four candidates will compete for the open seat.
Nasim Ansari: Republican former county commissioner
Connor Farrell: 26-year-old democrat with no particular accomplishments
Richard Ford: attorney, politics unknown
Kevin Park: stay-at-home dad, politics unknown

Six candidates seeking 3 seats on the Portage City Council; Strazdas unopposed for mayor

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