Your Voice: Politics doesn’t belong in city government

TO THE EDITOR:

Partisan divisiveness has found its way into Farmington. This campaign season has been one like no other. A record number of seven candidates are vying for three seats on the City Council. Of those seven, three have banded together to create a “slate” in which resources were pooled and promises have been made.

The City Council plays a vital role in the day-to-day life of the residents. Your five elected officials are responsible for the very things that have immediate impact on your quality of life; setting the millage rate, identifying capital improvement projects, and balancing the budget.

Together, Maria Taylor ($4,801), David Delind ($6,430) and Johnna Balk ($3,004) have raised $14,235 to support their joint candidacies. Of that amount 60% ($8,604) was received from outside of Farmington, and in many instances outside of Michigan. $3,800 is directly from political parties and PACs.

In stark contrast, the other four candidates individual fundraising totaled less than $5,000.

Steve Schneeman and Geof Perrot both filed a reporting waiver that funds/expenditures did not exceed $1,000; Jacob Nelson raised $2,030 of which $1,605 was self-funded; Cathi Waun raised $1,175.

Campaign finance information can be verified online:

https://oakland.mi.campaignfinance.us/iCommitteeSearch.php

The combined slate has also paid $4,070.99 for services to Guerrilla Politic. According to their website, Guerilla Politic is “a new kind of branding and advertising agency for progressive candidates and causes.” (source: http://www.theguerrillapolitic.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/theguerrillapolitic)

The political marketing and funding also brings other benefits, such as access to endorsements and photo opportunities with elected officials at the State and National level.

The relevance of such endorsements in a municipal non-partisan election should be questioned along with whose interests and agendas are served.

Perhaps this is the “new normal.” Perhaps all local elections going forward will be fought by dollars instead of intentions. Farmington is by no means alone in this change. Novi, Royal Oak and other Detroit metro cities are experiencing similar campaign seasons with slates of their own, funded by the same political and branding services. This is not grass-roots campaigning, this is a Nationally operated, extraordinarily well-funded political organization with a very specific agenda. If the slate is successful, Guerilla Politic will have succeeded in creating a majority voting block onto Farmington City Council.

It’s my sincere hope that the Citizens of Farmington will vote to uphold the integrity of the City Council by selecting candidates who put Farmington first. To look beyond the rhetoric, the shiny mailers, the photos with political representatives, the endorsements from political parties and to choose individuals who understand the task beholden upon the City Council and make decisions based on what’s best for the City, not the political organizations that paid for the seat.

Partisan politics has no place in municipal government. We hear over and over that “local elections matter” so let’s keep this election local.

Vote November 2nd.

Sara Bowman
Mayor of Farmington

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