By Paul Rozycki
Recently, a forum hosted by registered candidates Tanya Rison (1st ward) and Lakeisha Tureaud (7th ward) presented a disturbing omen for the November 2 city council election. The meeting, where voters could have a chance to meet written candidates for Flint City Council, was held in Kearsley Park on September 18, and all five candidates in writing, as well as those on the ballot were been invited. There had to be food, music and a chance to meet and greet the candidates.
The rally was scheduled to run from noon to 5 p.m. and it seemed like a well-organized event. I stopped around 1 p.m. and found only a handful of supporters present and tables for just two written candidates – Rison and Tureaud. These candidates were well prepared and had literature tables, children’s gift bags and snacks. A food truck was on site, ready to handle any crowds that might arise.
Apparently none have. I left and had planned to come back later when there could be more people and candidates present. About an hour later I drove by again and the parking lot next to the Kearsley Park pavilion was empty. Everyone was gone. I learned that they had left for a meeting in Ward 1, where they had a group, and that a few other people showed up.
Admittedly, it was more than a month before the November 2 election, it was a beautiful day, and there were plenty of other things to do. This year, city council is the only thing on the ballot, and off-year elections generally have a low turnout. But it’s a shame there was so little response at the rally for the candidates.
The new council will have a number of important issues to deal with – the city’s budget and finances, how to spend COVID money, a rising crime rate, racial divisions, living under the city’s new charter, and perhaps most importantly, restore a sense of civility to the board and to each other. Flint City Council should not be the poster child of ineffective and disorganized governance. This past year has been a series of marathon meetings, endless bickering, personal and racial slurs. Whatever Flint’s other issues are, the board’s image is hardly an incentive to move to or invest in Flint.
Registered candidates are generally unlikely to be successful, but in a low turnout election, where some of the registered candidates are running large campaigns, they might be more important than usual this year.
Either way, it’s up to Flint voters to make their voices heard and vote for the city council they want to represent Flint. Because the enumeration was delayed, this election is based on the ward boundaries of the past ten years. With the new census numbers, the neighborhoods are sure to change to reflect Flint’s population changes. These new neighborhood boundaries will be in place for the 2026 elections when, according to the city’s new charter, the mayoral and city council elections are held concurrently with the governor’s elections.
Here are the candidates running for Flint City Council on November 2.
In the 1st (Northwest Flint), Ward Eric Mays is without opposition on the ballot. Nevertheless Tanya rison presents himself as a candidate written against him.
In the 2sd Ward (Northwest Flint), Ladel Lewis and Audrey Young are competing for the council seat. Outgoing Maurice Davis lost in the primary elections.
In the 3rd Ward (northeast Flint), AC Dumas and Quincy Murphy come forward to replace the incumbent Santino Guerra, who has chosen not to stand again. Richard jones runs as a written candidate in the neighborhood.
In the 4e Ward, (East Flint), incumbent Kate Champs is contested by Judy Priestley.
In the 5e Ward (central Flint, downtown), where there was no primary competition in August, titular Jerri winfrey Carter run against Joseph Schipani.
In the 6e Ward, (West Flint), Tonya Burns and Claudia Perkins-Milton is running to replace incumbent Herbert Winfrey, who has chosen not to run. Leslie Haney stands as a written candidate.
In the 7e Neighborhood (center, east of Flint), holder Monica galloway is contested by Allie Herkenroder, who is on the ballot, and Lakeisha Tureaud, who presents himself as a candidate in writing.
In the 8e Ward, (Southwest Flint), incumbent Allan Griggs faces a challenge of Dennis pfeiffer.
In the 9e Ward, (Southeast Flint), incumbent Eva worthing faces a writing candidate Steve barbier.
Find out about the candidates
Next month there will be forums and meeting opportunities to get to know the council candidates. The Tom Sumner Program will interview all candidates, both those on the ballot and those registered in writing and these interviews can be found on its website Tomsumnerprogram.com or to WFOV, 92.1 to Flint. The website of the League of Women Voters, Vote411.org, is also a valuable source of information on applicants. Most applicants have their own website where they explain their background, their views on the issues and the reasons for their application.
Other Genesee County Elections
Flint voters won’t be the only ones picking local leaders on November 2. Fenton and Flushing elect mayors and council members. Burton elects its board members. Clio elects the members of its municipal commission. Grand Blanc elects its municipal council and a review committee and the township of Davison elects a clerk.
As has been the case for several years, in addition to voting at traditional polling stations on November 2, all voters will have the opportunity to vote by mail. Absentee ballots can be mailed or dropped off in drop boxes located at City Hall and city fire stations. Voters can register until polling day, and some of the candidate forums are likely to register voters.
With the loss of over 20,000 residents of Flint, the next few years can be critical and we need a board that is ready, willing and able to tackle the issues. A new tip won’t solve all of Flint’s problems, but it can be a step in the right direction. Because this is an off-year competition, this year’s council election will likely be easy to ignore.
Take the time to learn about the candidates and take the time to vote. Do not put it back.
GEV political commentator Paul Rozycki can be contacted at [email protected]