Our F2H Votes series brings you candidate interviews and information about the 2019 local elections in Farmington and Farmington Hills. Follow local election news on social media with the #F2HVotes19 hashtag.
Jackie Boleware, 69, is retired and a 22-year resident of Farmington Hills.
Timbercrest Homeowners Association; Farmington Area Juneteenth Committee Co-chair; Healthy Farmington Hills Coalition; Co-Founder Farmington Concerned Citizens.
Why did you decide to run for a seat on council?
I am running for a seat on City Council because I love the City, have a long-standing record of public service, and have a vision of building a better community by partnering with others to foster environmental justice, economic justice, racial justice, gender justice, and senior justice. The City is best when everyone reaches their full potential.
What unique strengths will you bring to the table?
My strengths are varied, and in addition to years of public service, include experience in Strategic Planning, Process Improvement, Management Consulting, Human Resources, Benefit Administration, Change Management, Data Analysis, Contract Negotiations, Health Care Policy, Supervisory and Managerial Leadership, and most importantly working effectively with both labor and business, and diverse coalitions.
What one issue do you plan to address first if you win a seat in November?
One of the most pressing topics of today is Smart cities. The Smart city technology can reduce costs and resource consumption, increase the touch points between citizens and government, and transform life and working environments. I would make this a focal point of my tenure to ensure that we are making the most efficient use of our our physical infrastructure, responding to changing circumstances, and engaging citizen participation in a way that positively impacts our community.
The city has taken on a significant project in the renovation of Harrison High School as a community center. Do you have any concerns about the project? What role do you see council members playing as construction begins?
Community Centers build a strong sense of community by providing space for residents to participate in recreational, artistic, and group activities in a safe space. The citizens have already incurred a large cost in renovating Harrison High school as part of the school community. Now that the building is closed to future educational activities, it makes sense for the City to retrofit the building for another community purpose. The City has made a promise that no additional tax payer funding will be required for the renovation and upkeep. I would ensure that promise is kept. And that the Center has programming and activities for all of its constituent groups.
Farmington Hills officials often hear from concerned residents when major projects (like the new office building at 12 Mile & Drake Roads) affect surrounding neighborhoods. How will you respond to those concerns and ensure that residents feel heard and represented in the process?
Many residents believe that major projects are green-lighted without the surrounding neighborhoods’ input. It is essential that residents be given adequate notice, and in various forms: letters, emails, site notices, and local and community publications. It’s important that ongoing dialogue be held between the city, the project owner, and local residents to ensure that all sides are heard in the process, and that each is aware of the other’s concerns, and address how those concerns can be mitigated. Economic development is a vital part of a healthy city; with the understanding that it must contribute to the quality of life for its citizens.
What role you believe the arts play in building a stronger and more resilient community, and how will you support the arts as a council member?
Art is the mirror of our soul, and reflects our culture, values and belief. It is a vital part of all healthy communities. As a mixed media artist and patron of the arts, I can’t imagine living in a city without it. It’s important that we continue to fund, support and make space for the arts.
Both cities are looking at whether it makes sense to create a municipal broadband system. What’s your take on this idea?
If we are to move the City forward into the future, and accelerate economic growth and development, we must move on a municipal broadband system. A broadband system will replace the present copper wiring system with fiber optics that can be updated by technology, without digging up the ground with its incurring cost. It’s a crucial component of my Smart city initiative and makes the city more attractive because it positions the city for tomorrow’s jobs and economic growth, and improves the quality of life for its citizens.