By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — The race for Dearborn Heights City Council will have 10 candidates on the Aug. 8 primary ballot with eight moving on to the Nov. 7 general election.
In the council race are current Councilman and attorney Robert Constan, real estate agent Ali Almuna architect Ned Apigian, entrepreneur Mohamad Baydoun, Ford Motor Co. engineer and retired Marine Bill Bazzi, business owner Jeff Mallad, retired housing project manager and contractor Denise Maxwell, former Taylor water commissioner Larry Mitchell, business development manager Lisa Oshanski and union plasterer Tom Wencel.
Each candidate was contacted and asked to answer questions about why they are running for council. Bazzi, Mitchell, Maxwell, Apigian, Mallad, Oshanski and Almuna did not respond by deadline.
Question 1: Why are you seeking election for city council?
Baydoun: I am running for office because I believe that I could provide a fresh perspective, enthusiasm, and outside-the-box thinking to our City Council. I am asking people to consider my background as a small business owner and community volunteer when they cast their vote and have been working hard going door-to-door to introduce myself to residents personally. I want everyone to see that I will be a hardworking, transparent, and accessible council member.
Constan: I have the background, education and experience necessary to serve as an effective member of the Dearborn Heights City Council. I am a lifelong resident of Dearborn Heights. I bought a Home in Dearborn Heights and to raise my family here. My law practice is located Dearborn Heights. I have 100 percent perfect attendance and voting record, both while serving as State Representative and as a member of the Dearborn Heights City Council. I have introduced bills and legislation and have been successful in having my legislation enacted and signed into law. I will represent your interests if re-elected to the Dearborn Heights City Council.
Wencel: I have a vested interest in Dearborn Heights. I have 3 children and 12 grandchildren, all who live in Dearborn Heights. My 90-year-old mother still lives in Dearborn Heights in the house I grew up in. I’ve spent my entire adult life volunteering and working on literally hundreds of programs to improve our city and I will continue to do so if given the opportunity to serve the residents of Dearborn Heights.
Question 2: What do you see as the biggest issue the city faces in the future?
Baydoun: If elected to City Council, my top priority is improving the quality of life for all Dearborn Heights residents. This goal manifests itself in a number of ways: rejuvenating programs and services for seniors, improving city services while enhancing public safety, maintaining fiscal responsibility and a balanced budget, cutting red tape to encourage business and job growth, revitalizing parks and recreation opportunities for our youth, and restoring trust and transparency in our local government.
Constan: One important issue facing Dearborn Heights that is facing older suburban communities: aging housing stock, cuts to State shared revenue, providing first class city services at a lower expense to tax payers. Dearborn Heights must partner with neighboring communities when possible to share the cost of city services. We need to keep property tax rates low to attract home buyers and new businesses to Dearborn Heights.
Wencel: All important issues can be addressed in what I think is the top issue and that is making Dearborn Heights a destination city. Making our city a destination city for young families can be achieved by providing facilities such as top-notch parks and playgrounds, business growth and amenities such as, bike paths and trails, and first class educational opportunities. We can attract middle age people by maintaining and increasing property values and by providing state-of-the-art public services. Dearborn Heights can be a destination city for senior citizens by maintaining and improving senior centers, senior services, activities and offer opportunities to encourage senior involvement in the city.
Question 3: Why should residents vote for you?
Baydoun: I’d love for residents to know just how deep my love for our community runs and how sincere I am as I seek to serve as their voice on city council. I see great opportunities ahead for Dearborn Heights but only if every resident, from Joy Road to Van Born, feels heard and properly represented by their government. I am approaching this as a 24/7 responsibility and hope to earn the support of my neighbors!
Constan: I have the background, education and experience necessary to serve as an effective member of the Dearborn Heights City Council. I am a lifelong resident of Dearborn Heights. I purchased a House in Dearborn Heights and chose to raise my family here. My Law Office is located in Dearborn Heights. I have 100 percent perfect attendance and voting record, both while serving as State Representative and as a member of the Dearborn Heights City Council. I have initiated legislation both as a member of the State Legislature and the City Council that has been enacted and signed into law.
Wencel: I was born and raised in Dearborn Heights. I may not know the answers to all the issues facing our city but I promise you this, I will thoroughly investigate all information available to me and make decisions based on what is best for our city and the residents of Dearborn Heights. I am often asked, “Why are you running for City Council? It’s a thankless job and no one will give you any respect!” My answer is simple because I care, I truly care about our city! “Pick up a pencil and vote for Wencel August 8th!”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])