Dearborn Election Preview

Mayor
John O’Reilly Jr.
1. Who are you? (50-word limit)
I have served in a number of Government positions since graduating from Law School. First as staff counsel in the Michigan State Senate. In addition, I served as President of the Dearborn City Council from 1990 until 2007 when I was elected Mayor. I obtained an Associates Degree from Oakland University, a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Detroit and a Law Degree from the University of Detroit School of Law. I have been a member of the Michigan Bar Association since 1980.

2. Why are you running for office, and why should people vote for you? (75-word limit)
My goal is to continue the task of positioning Dearborn to be a vital successful Community well into the future. We have a history of providing the best services for our residents will maintaining a responsible budget. To continue that success we must find ways to reduce unnecessary costs and and make sure that everyone is paying their far share of the tax burden. I am seeking to attract new home buyers, particularly young families by insuring that their impression of our town is positive. This starts by insuring everyone’s safety which is why I will not compromise our police and fire services.

3. What are two key issues facing the city and what should be done about them? (100-word limit)
As a mature community we must update our older neighborhoods to keep them attractive and in demand. We have begun the process that will reduce the number of homes per block in areas with small lots and let home owners increase their lot size to build garages and additions to their homes. Getting excess cars off the street is part of that goal. The bigger challenge is to maintain excellent services with a substantial decline in City revenue. The amount of decline in property values over the past few years directly corresponds to how muchmoney the City has to provide services to Dearborn residents and people whocome to Dearborn to work shop and receive an education. Even if property values go up dramatically, Proposal ‘A’ will keep local governments from catching up with rising costs. The capacity to fund public safety and essential quality of life services will require innovative solutions and enhanced partnerships. I am prepared to continue to address these challenges and retain the quality of life that is Dearborn.

Edward Binkley
Did not respond by the deadline.

City Clerk
Kathleen Buda
1. Who are you? (50-word limit)
My name is Kathleen Buda and I am seeking my 5th term as Dearborn City Clerk. My education includes all 12 years at Sacred Heart Dearborn, H.F.C.C. and a B.A. from Mercy College of Detroit. I became Clerk in January 1998 and hope to continue as long as the voters will have me.

2. Why are you running for office, and why should people vote for you? (75-word limit)
I have lived in this wonderful city for 50 years and still have a deep desire to serve our wonderfully diverse community. Dearborn voters: please remember to cast your vote on August 6 for Mayor, Clerk and Council!

3. What are two key issues facing your office and how will you address them? (100-word limit)
We strive for professionalism and maintain a high level of public service. During my 16 years as Clerk, we have made much of what we do available on-line. My door remains open to all residents who would like to offer suggestions and/or complaints.

Khalil Dakhlallah
1. Who are you? (50-word limit)
My name is Khalil Dakhlallah, 57 years old, and I am a husband and father to an amazing family. I have worked in the City of Dearborn for over 15 years. I currently work at Edsel Ford High School as the student services Liaison, the 19th district court as a weekend court officer, and with Dearborn Recreation as a park manager in the summer.

2. Why are you running for office, and why should people vote for you? (75-word limit)
I am running for office for several reasons. It is time to have a fresh face and fresh start within the City Clerk department. I want to encourage people to be more involved as well as continue to uphold the high standard and professionalism that has been the office of city clerk for the past years. To be honest, as fragmented and controversial as this job has been for the last few years, I am here to make a difference. The office needs change, and I will bring my diverse mind into office and do as best I can. Working with the city for the past 15 years has allowed me to know the ins and outs, ups and downs, and I would love to continue giving my time to the City of Dearborn.

3. What are two key issues facing your office and how will you address them? (100-word limit)
I believe the office of the City Clerk does a good job in many areas. However, I believe they lack the proactive approach to educate the citizens about the registration and voting process. During election time, efficiency should be at high rise, to avoid long lines and angry citizens. Posting results online will always make things easier for the citizens of Dearborn. I will have extra voter registration applications at the desk in order to assist in any help they need rather than just explain where to access these forms. I will also bring the office up to date and make sure the forms are constantly being updated online (i.e garage sale permits, dog permits, etc).

City Council
Robert Abraham
1. Who are you? (50-word limit)
I am the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Virginia Tile Company. I graduated from Dearborn Fordson High School in the Class of 1985 and from Hillsdale College with Bachelor of Arts in Accounting & concentration in Computer Science with class of 1989. I was granted his Michigan Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license in 1992. I’ve been a councilman for the City of Dearborn since 2002.

2. Why are you running for office, and why should people vote for you? (75-word limit)
Our community deserves strong leadership. The City Council is an integral part of the local government! As I complete my third term of office as a City Councilman, I have been able to work together with the other Councilmembers, the Mayor and Community leaders from many groups and organizations to provide direction, vision, strategy and action. I still bring fresh ideas, energy and a professional financial perspective from pre-911 and post-911 eras. I tend to be more of a “financial advisor” and decision-maker” than a politician

3. What are two key issues facing the city and what should be done about them? (100-word limit)
The purchase of the new City Hall property demonstrates a clear long-term vision and plan to reduce operating expenses, unnecessary costs and therefore provide more resources for general services, like recreation, parks, pools, libraries and the museum. Leaders must make the tough decisions (the right decisions), even if they are not always popular choice for special interest groups. I have demonstrated an ability to lead and make decisions based on the facts and information. I will continue to support the essential programs that provide a unique distinction between Dearborn and other communities in this area.

I truly understand the City’s financial challenges and the tools available to solve these problems. I work hard to understand the service mix and priorities for neighborhoods; maintaining the high quality services is the biggest challenge during a time of financial cutbacks and shrinking revenues.

Jane Ahern
1. Who are you? (50-word limit)
My name is Jane Ahern, and I’ve lived in Dearborn for nearly twenty years since graduating from the University of Michigan—Dearborn in 1993. My career history includes coordinating the political science internship program at the University, working in customer service , and volunteering in our city’s community organizations.

2. Why are you running for office, and why should people vote for you? (75-word limit)
As a member of my neighborhood association and chair of the city’s Budget Revenue Enhancement Subcommittee in 2010, I know how citizen involvement can address problems that the city faces. The subcommittee I chaired made recommendations leading to an improvement in the city’s revenue outlook. I am running so that I can continue my service, and I ask for your vote because I have shown through my leadership that I can represent your interests.

3. What are two key issues facing the city and what should be done about them? (100-word limit)
Two key issues that we face are the budget and city services. In order to fund the services we all enjoy, including our police and fire departments, we need to encourage more people and businesses to come to Dearborn. This means that city leaders must advocate for the city as a great place to live and to invest by emphasizing our city’s recreational opportunities and recent projects such as the construction of the intermodal passenger rail station on Michigan Avenue. I pledge to use every opportunity as a member of council to attract new residents and entrepreneurs.

Tarek Baydoun
Did not respond by the deadline.

David Bazzy
1. Who are you? (50-word limit)
I am the son of working class parents who grew up by the old Adray store, a husband of 29 years and a father of 3 children. I am the uncle to many and the foundation of my families strength in their catholic religious faith. I am community advocate which is why I moved the headquarters of Kenwal to Dearborn.

2. Why are you running for office, and why should people vote for you? (75-word limit)
I am running for office because I believe that my strengths in business and government are essential in helping to guide the city through the difficult fiscal times all older communities are facing today. I believe I make the ideal candidate because I am not only independent in my thought process but my only focus is to be a city council person, not mayor, judge or state legislator. Lastly I am committed to the residents period.

3. What are two key issues facing the city and what should be done about them? (100-word limit)
First issue is the neighborhoods, we need to rewrite rental ordinances and reward good landlords while punishing the bad landlords. We need to impose criminal background checks as suggested by former candidate Mike Albano to make sure we are not bringing criminal elements into our neighborhoods. We also need to create neighborhood patrols specifically in those areas where crime has become a problem. The 2nd item vacant buildings in east and west Dearborn, where we need to create a liaison to work with businesses wanting to expand and/or move into the city. We need to make Dearborn a place easy to do business in, it is difficult enough to make business work but impossible if we don’t create a prop business environment.

Susan Dabaja
1. Who are you? (50-word limit)
My name is Susan Dabaja, and I was born and raised in Dearborn. Dearborn is also the city where my husband and I are raising our three children. I have practiced law in the city for over 9 years, and have been very active in a number of different organizations.

2. Why are you running for office, and why should people vote for you? (75-word limit)
I want my children to have the same fond memories growing up in Dearborn that I have. I want to give back to a city that has given me so much. Working with Dearborn families and small businesses in my law practice, I have a keen insight into what is important to the people who live and work here. I firmly believe I have the experience, qualifications and independence to best serve residents on council.

3. What are two key issues facing the city and what should be done about them? (100-word limit)
In my view, one issue is keeping Dearborn’s streets safe and sound. This means investing in our police, fire and EMS departments to maintain our staffing levels, keep our workers safe and give them the proper tools.

A second issue is our budget. It will be several years before property tax revenues return to the levels they were before the economic downturn. So we must be creative and find ways to maintain the level of public services our residents have come to expect. We can’t cut more services because that will be harmful to our city in the long run.

Stephen Dobkowski Jr.
Did not respond by the deadline.

Sharon Dulmage
Did not respond by the deadline.

Patrick Melton
1. Who are you? (50-word limit)
My name is Patrick Melton. I am a life long resident of the city of Dearborn. I grew up in the Edsel Ford High School. I went to Nowlin, OL Smith and Dearborn HS. I am a Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputy with 25 years experience as a police officer. I am the Director of Law Enforcement there. I am also a US Army veteran.

2. Why are you running for office, and why should people vote for you? (75-word limit)
I am running for office because I am the only person running that is on council or that is a candidate that has true public safety background. I understand the budget needs of Public Safety and feel that my experience and knowledge will be a great compliment to the council. As you want 7 different perspective and knowledge basis that will allow you to bring good solutions to the council.

3. What are two key issues facing the city and what should be done about them? (100-word limit)
First issue is a high number of vacancies in our business district. Dearborn is the home base to a number of large employers and learning centers that provide us with an influx of daily visitors who, along with our residents, are prime targets for supporting a downtown with better eating, shopping and entertainment options.

Another issue is our rental homes in Dearborn. I will listen, ask questions and talk to my colleagues on the council. I will spend some time getting understanding constraints and limitations in order to collaboratively work with council members to identify solutions.

Brian O’Donnell
1. Who are you? (50-word limit)
I am a 40, an operations manager with a fortune 200 company. I have a Bachelors degree and an MBA. I have been married for nine years and have two children. Prior to Council, l I was a City Beautiful Commissioner and the V.P. of the Federation of Neighborhood Associations.

2. Why are you running for office, and why should people vote for you? (75-word limit)
My civic activities helped me understand how vital community input is when decisions are being made that affect the city. The role of council member allows me to be a greater voice for the citizens during these unprecedented times when difficult decisions based on the financial crisis must be made. I am running for re-election to continue the work of helping to ensure that Dearborn remains a wonderful place to live, work and play.

3. What are two key issues facing the city and what should be done about them? (100-word limit)
The issue that will need to be addressed moving forward simply stated is the budget. The next council will have to deal with many continuing negative economic pressures. For example, millages will be expiring, and very tough decisions regarding pools, libraries, police, fire department, consolidation, outsourcing, city services, and just about every other aspect of any activity the city engages in. I will make a difference by continuing to be being open minded, and not beholden to any person or group of people. I will continue my practice of being accountable to, and answer to, all the citizens of Dearborn.

Colette Richards
1. Who are you? (50-word limit)
I am an advocate for families with special needs children, immediate past President of the Dearborn PTA Council, Dearborn Rotary Board of Directors member, involved in many community organizations and a Dearborn Public Schools employee. I am a hard worker, dedicated and self-motivated, independent and a team player.

2. Why are you running for office, and why should people vote for you? (75-word limit)
I am running for office because I want to bring a new voice to City Hall. I want people to feel like they can come to the council with their issues and feel comfortable doing so. I am approachable, listen well and know how to look at all sides of an issue and find compromises that everyone can live with. I will be an independent voice that will make decisions based on all the facts.

3. What are two key issues facing the city and what should be done about them? (100-word limit)
I believe two of the key issues are our business district and our neighborhoods. I believe we need to survey the businesses and find out how we can streamline our process for opening a business here without lowering our standards. I think we need to ask our residents what they want to see in our business district and be more proactive about bringing businesses here. We need to work closer with our realtors to bring new families to Dearborn and with the neighborhood associations and local police to keep our neighborhoods safe and welcoming for new residents.

Mike Sareini
1. Who are you? (50-word limit)
I am 41, married with 5 children and a lifelong Dearborn resident. Growing up my parents taught the importance of community service. My 18-plus years of sales experience has taught me invaluable people skills and my Law degree affords me the knowledge necessary to make critical decisions. I am a very passionate person that sets goals and achieves them.

2. Why are you running for office, and why should people vote for you? (75-word limit)
I am running for office because I believe that I can make a valuable contribution to the City Council. I grew up watching my mom help many people as a councilwoman and I know and understand the process, which makes me job ready day one. I am a very dedicated person; at the age of 34 while working full time I went back to school to complete my education at U of M in Dearborn. I then went on to Law School on weekends and nights in Lansing and graduated Cum Lude, and passed the Bar. I did all this while working full time in sales for Ford and finished #1 in Michigan and #3 in the Country.

3. What are two key issues facing the city and what should be done about them? (100-word limit)
Clean and safe neighborhoods are my priority. Like you, my home is in Dearborn and I am raising my family here. I believe that rental homes in our city should be held to the same high standards that owner occupied homes are held to. Like you, I want to insure that my children live in a clean and safe environment. I will work hard to maximize our resources, taking advantage of opportunities to reduce the cost of services without losing the quality and streamline the process for residents to access the services that are paid for by their tax dollars.

Mark Shooshanian
Did not respond by the deadline.

Thomas Tafelski
1. Who are you? (50-word limit)
Born and raised in Dearborn, I attended Dearborn Public Schools, graduating from Fordson High School in 1988. I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1992 from UM-Ann Arbor. I belong to the Dearborn Polish Legion, Dearborn Elks, the Fordson Varsity Alumni Club and to Divine Child Parish.

2. Why are you running for office, and why should people vote for you? (75-word limit)
The best thing that I or any city council member can do is expect ethics, accountability and transparency in the conduct of government. Also, I feel my role is to listen and ask the tough questions as well as collaborate with residents and business owners, when possible. There are reasons that Dearborn was the amazingly strong community that it historically has been. I think our best days can be ahead of us and not behind us.

3. What are two key issues facing the city and what should be done about them? (100-word limit)
The process of developing and implementing policy must be open and involve taxpayer input. Previous Dearborn mayors have done an outstanding job in assembling committees on a variety of issues. Real leadership means motivating residents and business owners to participate in the process that their taxes pay for. 
 In my view, the word “community” is much more than a noun. “Community,” especially in Dearborn, is a verb. It’s always been a call to action. Let’s collaborate with neighborhood associations, let’s seek public-private partnerships and identify grants to provide what our people need and want. Let’s get this community moving again.

Krystin Taylor
1. Who are you? (50-word limit)
I’m 27 years old. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs. I went to Eastern Michigan University, where I met my fiancé, which brought me to Dearborn. I earned my Masters in Integrated Marketing Communications in 2009, completed my law degree in May, and took the bar exam in July.

2. Why are you running for office, and why should people vote for you? (75-word limit)
Because the Dearborn residents’ voices are continually shut out of the decisions made in the city. Because, too often, residents believe decisions are a foregone conclusion and there is no space for actual dialogue. This has lead to a severe lack of trust, and for good reason. As your city councilwoman, I would be proactive to open lines of communication so that we can have an informed discussion. Visit my blog to learn more: www.kristyn4council.wordpress.com.

3. What are two key issues facing the city and what should be done about them? (100-word limit)
Transparency and accountability. One great example is the City Hall move. In May, the Council was asked to vote on the issue with almost no information. This is unacceptable. I stood up and demanded information and the opportunity for public input. I will work to ensure that the residents are informed of the issues, before the vote. I have shown I can effectively open lines of communication, that I am not afraid to ask unpopular questions, and that I can bring Dearborn resident’s voices to the table. I am now asking for your vote for Kristyn Taylor on November 5th.

Tags: