Dearborn Council Candidates

1) Please provide as much information as possible about your personal and professional background. (75-word limit.)
2) Please tell us what compelled you to run for office. (50-word limit.)
3) Describe and prioritize the top two issues on your agenda. (100-word limit.)

Robert Abraham
1) Councilman Robert Abraham has served his hometown since January 2002 and remains committed to delivering first rate public services. He is a third generation, lifetime Dearborn resident and a 1985 Fordson High School graduate. He is CPA with a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Computer Science from Hillsdale College (1989) with All-American honors in track. Bob has worked to help make improvements in Dearborn and his goal remains to balance services and safety with financial challenges.

2) Committed to the Community. Actively involved in a variety of Community Service Organizations: Director of the Board and Treasurer of the Henry Ford Community College Foundation, Director of the Board and Treasurer of the Fordson High School Varsity Club. Supports local Veteran Organizations.

3) The top priority as a councilperson is to “listen” to the voters and take action! Given the economic uncertainties and financial challenges, the power and voice of the people is now more important than ever. The leaders of our community must have the political will power to make the most difficult decisions and prioritize our services, while we try to balance the budget. With two full terms on the Council I have the knowledge, professional background, education and experience to provide Dearborn with strong leadership when it is needed most. Please vote for Councilman Robert Abraham.

David Bazzy
1) 51 years-old. Lifelong resident. Married 25 years to Cherie. Three children: James, 22; Nicholas, 20; Jake, 17. Bachelor’s degree from University of Michigan (1981). MBA from Wayne State University (1990). President Kenwal Steel and Kenwal Pickling companies (1989-present). Redeveloped eyesore facility into vibrant business district in east Dearborn. Charter Commission Chairman (2005-2007) Zoning Board of Appeals Comissioner (2000-2005) Dearborn Recreation Commissioner (1991-2000).

2) In the last 5 years I have watched the city struggle in both residential/neighborhood issues as well as commercial issues in both west and east Dearborn. I believe that with my background as president of Kenwal combined with my experiences in city hall that I could make a positive impact in the city. I am driven to succeed and believe that enthusiasm if elected will carry forth throughout the city.

3) I am passionate about this city and it starts with neighborhoods. But the difference in my thoughts is that in today’s environment it starts with vacant and foreclosed properties. It starts with current policies that although not intended to do so discourage home ownership and encourage investor/rental properties in all neighborhoods around the city. These policies have to change in order to attract homeowners back to the city that is the only way to stabilize home values and improve neighborhoods. I also want to see us create a small business tax incentive to both work to keep those business owners who are struggling due to the economy/3 straight years of Michigan avenue road work/ and or parking issues as well as recruit new small business to the area.

Patrick D’Ambrosio
1) 40-year Dearborn resident engaged to Kitty Shooshanian. I have four children who have graduated from Dearborn high schools. I am past president of the Dearborn Exchange Club, member of Divine Child, Goodfellows, Italian American Club, Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter, Boy Scouts, Optimists and Elks. I have worked with the Senior Outreach Program for years. I’m an automotive supplier who works with the Big Three. I’m experienced in budget planning and contract negotiations.

2) I decided to run for Dearborn City Council because I didn’t care for some of the actions taken by the present council. If for no other reason I will show up at the meetings to address concerns of the residents. The council can use more business background experience.

3) One of the top priorities facing the city of Dearborn are the vacant and foreclosed properties – both residential and commercial. We need to create incentives to attract both residential and commercial buyers back to our city. Enforce maintenance of properties to maintain property values. By doing this we will solidify and increase our tax base, which in turn helps all aspects of the city budget. We need to help create new jobs in our city. We need to restore our recreation program back to past levels for the betterment of our children.

George Darany
1) 50 year resident, 53 years old. Single. Sister and mother are also 50 year residents. Bachelor’s degree in economics from University of Michigan–Dearborn (1978). Dearborn Councilman (2007-Present); Realtor (1994-Present); Owner, Dearborn’s Classic Trolley (1986 – 2007); City of Dearborn Consultant (1980-1982), Dearborn Rotarian of the Year (2008-2009), President, Dearborn Goodfellows (2008-09), U of M Community Service Award (2006). Volunteers for Dearborn Firefighters Burn Drive, Dearborn Schools, senior citizen events. Usher at Sacred Heart.

2) I believe in giving back to the community that has given me so much. I have always been a strong advocate of Dearborn. I have worked for the City and the Dearborn Chamber of Commerce, so I have gained the experience necessary to move Dearborn forward during these trying times.

3) The budget is the number one concern. The City knows that we’ll be receiving less money from the state and property taxes for the foreseeable future, so we cannot continue to spend the same way. We need to seriously look, with residents’ help, at prioritizing City services and then decide which are essential and which should be scaled back or eliminated. I’m NOT in favor of raising taxes to save our services, but residents should play a MAJOR role in deciding what they prefer. Also, I will push for stricter enforcement of residential codes so our neighborhood values maintain high.

Sharon Dulmage
1) Married to Jim. Three grown children. Dearborn Resident 47 years. Registered Nurse. Working with senior citizens. Employed by Fidelis Secure Care as a care manager. Former Director of Nursing. Liberal Arts HFCC (1973). Nursing, HFCC (1985). Bachelors Business Administration, Detroit College of Business (1998). CMU 2002.Currently active in numerous community organizations including Oakwood Hospital’s Clinical Ethics Committee, 2009 recipient HFCC’s Community Role Model Award. Former Trustee Dearborn Board of Education and Henry Ford Community College.

2) Concern for OUR community is why I am running for City Council. I am concerned with the lack of growth in our business districts, I recognize the need to stabilize our neighborhood without cutting services and increasing taxes and I believe that my experience with business and public funding would be as asset to improvements in those areas.

3) Growing our business districts, which would result in expanding the tax base thereby increasing revenue. My 3 R’s for growing the business districts is to Recruit, Raise (as in nurture) and Retain. Business will not come to us so we must ACTIVELY recruit and HELP business and retail move to Dearborn, nurture them and retain them! Stabilize our neighborhoods by ensuring the rules are followed the same for all of us and closer monitoring or vacant properties. Neighborhood stabilization is necessary to attract new families to Dearborn and to keep those we have.

George Hart
1) I have served as a Dearborn City Councilman for 14 years. A Wayne County Commissioner for 7 years. Michigan State Senator for 20 years. United States Army for 3 years. I am a product of the Dearborn Public Schools, HFCC, attended Wayne State University, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Worked as a sales representative for Stuart Wilson and Village Ford.

2) As an interested resident of Dearborn, I am proud to have been a part of this Premier City, as it is well known throughout the state of Michigan. I am compelled to take action in the spirit of cooperation with my colleagues for the well-being of the city.

3) Among the many things that I would address as a Councilman, balancing the budget and halting property value decline in — are key issues on my agenda. We need to be able to operate a budget and cut unnecessary costs without giving up essential services. We have to work efficiently to share costs and purchasing with other government entities and give Dearborn residents the best value possible for their money. Moreover, when dealing with property value decline we need to adhere to the strict enforcement of codes and protect owner occupied homes as well as create incentives to bring more businesses into Dearborn.

Nancy Hubbard
1) I am a lifelong Dearborn resident who is currently a member of the Dearborn City Council. I am a graduate of Dearborn Public Schools, attended HFCC and Michigan State, and worked professionally in organizations ranging from an advertising agency to the City of Dearborn in a variety of capacities. I have also always been active in many of Dearborn’s service clubs and community groups. My consistent focus throughout has been on serving customers.

2) I ran for public office because I didn’t believe the Council at the time was serving the best interests of our community. I knew I had a perspective that Dearborn needed at the time — one based on the simple but profound premise of public service. Dearborn still needs that perspective.

3) My top agenda is protecting and preserving our neighborhoods. We’re doing that by enhancing safety through expanded Neighborhood Watch Programs and new anonymous phone lines for people to use as our Police Department’s eyes and ears. We’re doing that by expanding the number of neighborhood associations to encourage more people to get involved. We’re doing that through our Neighborhood Stabilization Program which is acquiring tired houses and removing them for additional green space and development opportunities. I also want to continue to offer residents the services they want and need by diversifying our tax base with new, growing industries.

Patrick Kiernan
1) 46 years old. Lifelong resident of Dearborn. Co-Owner and Vice President of Kiernan’s Steak House: Family owned and operated for over 44 years in Dearborn. Served our country in the United States Marine Corps from 1983-1989 when I received my honorable discharge. Edsel Ford graduate. Member of Dearborn Chamber of Commerce, Dearborn Elks and American Legion. Proud Father and Grandfather.

2) I have not liked the direction that I have seen the city going in; I have decided to get more involved by running for council. I believe that the leadership skills that I acquired as a Marine and my experience in owning and operating my own business make me a great candidate for council.

3) The number of foreclosed, vacant homes and businesses are of great concern to me. It lowers our property values and the purchasing of these homes for rentals, I feel, doesn’t help the situation. We must encourage the selling of foreclosed homes to people who will own and occupy them. I would like to waive a buyer having to put money in the city escrow account to people who will buy these homes to own and occupy them. I also want to maintain the physical responsibility of providing a balanced budget with the least inconvenience to tax payers and city employees.

Brian O’Donnell
1) I am 36 years old; I have a BS in Biology and an MBA. I have been married over five years; my wife Julia and I have one child, and expecting a daughter in December. I have worked in the pharmaceutical industry for almost ten years. Professional experience includes: working with many individuals of diverse backgrounds, implementing government regulations and other legal initiatives, constant evaluation of expenditures, and conducting return on investment analysis.

2) Dearborn is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. The city needs fresh ideas however; to conquer challenges it faces now. The “way we have always done it” is no longer a working model for progress. My skills and motivation will enable me to help move Dearborn forward.

3) The priority I will discuss is being a good steward of taxpayer’s money. I will give back 25% of my base city compensation for four years to verify that I am committed to get Dearborn moving again. A major concern is the drop in revenue from the taxable valuable of our Dearborn homes, coupled with increasing city expenditures. Each of us in some way has been impacted by this recession: from a direct pay cut to declining retirement income. I have taken the lead on this issue, and will continue to look for ways of accomplishing more with fewer dollars.

Suzenne Sareini
1) I was elected to a fifth term on Council in November 2005. My public service began in the 1970’s volunteering for several local organizations. I am 58 years old; a life time resident; a mother; small business person; a proud Military Mom; and hold both real estate and insurance professional licenses. I am a Trustee of the Advanced Technology Academy, appointed by Lake Superior State University in 2005 and serve on the ATA Ford Partnership.

2) I can say without hesitation that my experience and knowledge are needed more than ever to navigate through the challenging times ahead. My record shows that I care about public safety, our senior citizens, business districts, our schools; and strong and stable neighborhoods. I will not waiver in hard times.

3) Maintaining our neighborhoods (vacant homes; property values), bringing new industries to Dearborn, and balancing our service mix against our budget challenges are the primary issues. We have to work with young families who want to purchase a home in Dearborn and we need to seek out newer industries (Green Technology; Alternative Energy) that would benefit from our colleges; training facilities and services. Given our past efforts, we are starting from a better place than most cities in Michigan, but we will need to work to leverage these advantages and secure our future. It is about achieving balance without increasing taxes.

Ali Sayed
1) Ali was born on January 2, 1981 in Dearborn. Raised among eight siblings and two loving parents, now married with a child. Ali completed Dearborn High School in 1999. Ali Is currently pursuing a degree in Public Administration. Founder of HYPE Athletics, where Dearborn youth are given the opportunity to excel in various sports, and receive social services such as counseling, mentoring and tutoring. Ali Sayed’s plan includes having a voice for the future.

2) My desire to represent Dearborn has been a life long dream. I see Dearborn moving in a direction that will not be able to keep up with pace of society with Technology and with safety. I want to decrease crime; I want to increase communicative effort with the city and residents.

3) Job Growth, Business Retention, Economic Development — Dearborn must work towards partnerships with corporations and organizations alike to encourage new businesses in Dearborn. Family Services, Youth Prevention Services, Crime Prevention Services — I would encourage a move that will involve families to become more involved with the neighborhoods and parks, to assist the city in maintaining the standard of living. City Management, Communication, Reform — I want to help develop a more effective management system to relief the burden on tax payers. Increase communication efforts with departments and residents. I would work hard to institute leadership reform and improve in appropriate decision making.

Mark Shooshanian
Did not respond.

Thomas Tafeslki
1) Dearborn-born in 1970, I am a proud product of the East and West ends of our city. I attended Maples Elementary and Junior High, and Fordson High School, graduating in 1988. I earned a Bachelors of Arts degree from The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1992. As a financial advisor for an area company, I appreciate the importance of looking closely at detail, even as we plan for the long-term.

2) I’ve served Dearborn since 1999 on two City Commissions and City Council. It’s been my overriding interest to ensure we rebuild Dearborn in a way that strengthens us today, yet wisely preparing for tomorrow. It’s a dual skill that works well in business and it’s vital to local governance.

3) My fundamental belief regarding government service is that people come before politics. While there are numerous issues we could address here, without commitment to the public’s agenda or a motivation to serve, policy means little. Yes, we must tackle paid parking, we must attract investment in our city and we must always put neighborhoods first. But, encouraging ever-greater civic participation is key to long-term success. One way to advance this is development of a partnership involving our schools with the City’s police and fire departments in order to nurture a vocational interest in public safety among Dearborn’s youth.

Doug Thomas
1) Served on the Dearborn City Council for 21 years. Lifelong Dearborn resident. Past President and Lt. Governor of Dearborn Kiwanis. Past Chairman Board of Directors Fairlane YMCA. President Dearborn Inter-Service Club Council two terms. President Dearborn Hills Civic Association for two terms. Graduate of the Dearborn Public Schools. Liberal Arts Degreewith Major in Political Science from Bowling Green University Veteran, United States Army – First Lieutenant. Married to Jane and have three children. Owner of Fairlane Travel for 29 years.

2) As the City Charter calls for, I ran to be the check and balance of the Administration. I am not a person to go along to get along. I am well known for being the watchful eye over the City’s expenditures and I try to be the champion of the “Taxpayers Concerns.”

3) Retail as we knew it is gone. What will replace it is tourism by The Henry Ford. With 1.7 Million visitors (same as Williamsburg Virginia) along with an entrance off of Michigan Avenue rather than Oakwood Blvd. enabling the tourists to avail themselves to the fine restaurants and bars in West Dearborn. These tourists then can walk, take a trolley or ride a horse drawn carriage in more pleasant weather. The entrance of The Henry Ford off Oakwood Blvd. does not help our businesses on Michigan Avenue. Tourism will be the savior of Dearborn.