A few dozen residents and others attended the candidate forum Tuesday at the . The audience generated questions focused heavily on resident involvement, transparency, respect and civility for the council, and enduring the current financial hard times for the municipality.
Current Mayor James Cooper and Mayor Pro Tem Ted Kedzierski had a mayoral forum first, in which the questions became rather pointed and specific. Following their forum, eight of the nine candidates seeking a seat on the city council answered a series of questions.
Elias Ropotos was not present.
Among the questions:
- What will you do to bring civility to the council?
- Do you think the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Committee were implemented adequately?
- Why is this election so contentious?
- What is your relationship with the local schools?
- Does the Shores do a good job of being transparent?
- What are your views on consolidation?
Although they each said it a bit differently, the candidates agreed upon one answer. They do not believe the election is contentious and are happy there are so many engaged residents who want to help the community.
Alexander Ajlouni described it as being passionate and all of the council members said they believe the Shores is fortunate to have such a wealth of candidates. Additionally, they noted that differences of opinions do not automatically equal contentious.
Brian Geraghty said having a difference of opinion is not only the democratic process but in part sometimes due to the differing definitions of success between individuals.
They also agreed to varying degrees about the Shores needing to become more transparent.
Some suggested televising every public meeting that happens and making sure the airing of it is at a reasonable time when those who could not attend could actually watch if they so desire.
Bruce Bisballe said he would like to see the council members' full packets of information for meeting be available for download on the Shores website. He noted the difficulty in following a meeting when the council members have more information than what is actually made available to the public. This is a practice already observed for the most part by Grosse Pointe Woods.
In addition to many of the other suggestions, Kay Felt said she would like to see the Shores put less effort into figuring out how to block Freedom of Information Act requests through time extensions or other administrative measures and simply be upfront about the information.
Some candidates addressed the three-minute rule that is strictly enforced for public comment during meetings saying they'd like to see public comment handled differently.
The candidates also spoke to their ideas for fiscal budgeting and planning. Most said they would like to see more of a long-term or multi-year budget be put to use to ensure the financial health of the community.
The full , will be aired at 7 p.m. daily from Oct. 17 to 23 on Comcast channel 22 and AT&T channel 99.