5 candidates vie for 2 Heights city council seats; D7 votes on tech bond, charter amendment

Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — The Nov. 3 general election here will feature five candidates running for two council seats, and a technology bond and charter revision proposal for District 7.

Incumbents Lisa Hicks-Clayton, 50, and Ned Apigian, 77, and challengers Troy Brown, 49; Ray Muscat, 61; and Wassim “Dave” Abdallah, 49, are on next Tuesday’s ballot.

Brown has lived in the city for 16 years and works as a controls engineer, which he believes will help him serve the community if elected.

“As a controls engineer, I have to not only address issues but offer a solution,” he said. “I can take that same strategy to solve problems within the city.”

Brown became interested in running for city council after the August 2014 flood.

“As a resident I found problems within the city,” he said. “I know we can table ordinances to make a change because residents deserve better.

As for those problems, Brown said the biggest areas he would address if elected are transparency with the public, maximize the resources within the city, get back to a five-day work week and fixing flooding issues.

A skilled tradesman at Ford Motor Co. for 42 years, Muscat has been a resident of city for 50 years.

“I’ve been attending city council meetings regularly for the last 15 years,” he said. “I am invested in the city and I want to give back.”

Muscat named blight, ordinance enforcement and transparency with residents as his three issues he thinks are the most important.

“We need to communicate better with the residents to let them know what is going on,” he said. “A better website and increased social media presence could help do that.”

Abdallah has lived in Dearborn Heights for 15 years and has worked as a real estate agent for over 30 years in the area.

“I want to give back to the city and make the community better for everyone, and as a real estate agent I know what services residents need,” he said. “I will put my skills to market the city to bring in more businesses and residents into the city.”

The biggest issues Abdallah sees are keeping neighborhood streets safe, maintaining and improving city services and getting the city back to a five-day work week.

“New strategies will help regenerate the neighborhoods making Dearborn Heights a great place to live and work,” he said.

Hicks-Clayton worked as an educator and administrator for 23 years and was first elected to the council in 2011.

“I appreciate the opportunity to serve the community, bringing forward resources, programs and knowledge in government,” she said. “I strongly advocate for communication and civic engagement by offering e-letter communication and information resources for residents.”

Hicks-Clayton also serves on several regional and state task forces and committees to gain knowledge helping strengthen and add value to the community.

Her biggest areas that need to be addressed are city budget, communication and regulating the condition and operation of rental housing within the city.

“We need to come together to think of and plan long term solutions and position ourselves to make necessary changes to be a viable community in the future,” she said.

A council member since 2009, Apigian runs his own architect firm in the city.

“Serving on the city council has been a pleasure for me,” he said. “I understand the system and want to continue giving back to the residents.”

Apigain said can use his skills as a licensed architect to help address zoning issues within the city.

“For me, rewriting and enforcing ordinances are the biggest issue we currently have,” he said. “Housing rules and regulations, tree cutting and fences need to be addressed.”

In D7, district officials hope to get the technology bond approved after it was rejected by voters in February to allow for $4.6 million in upgrades.

If approved, the charter amendment would permit items or news published by the city to be posted online, published in a newspaper or both.

On election day, poles will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For more information on the election, candidates or proposals go to vote411.org.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com)