After serving eight years as a Council Member for Rochester Hills and Treasurer and Commissioner of OPC, it is truly an honor to be a candidate for Mayor of our wonderful city – Rochester Hills. The premise of my candidacy is about community engagement, providing honest and trusted leadership with integrity.
My background includes 30 years of Management, Business, Finance, Budgeting and Community Planning experience and an education in Law, MA, MBA and a Certified Planner. For the past eighteen years I have been the CEO of Metro Community Development, an organization that focuses on Community and Economic Development, to create economic development in sustaining small businesses by providing capital and technical assistance, and was instrumental in raising over $52 million in grant funds through public and private partnerships.
I learned from my parents something very fundamental…. Community is people and people matter. I learned that public service is about people, honesty and integrity. It’s not your name that is important, instead it is what you have contributed to the community. I stand as a candidate for Mayor based on these core values.
At the dinner table when my family and I discussed becoming a candidate for Mayor, my daughter said “Dad – we are well set …you have a successful career. Do the issues matter to you so much that you are willing to give up what you have and take on that responsibility?” My answer was clear, “It matters and it is very important to me.” It is important to me because we need to build an inclusive and livable residential community today that will last for the future generations to come. Since I joined the City Council in 2005, I became concerned of issues that affect the quality of life and advocated for solutions to those issues. After 8 years serving and legislating on City Council, I still feel I have work to do. There’s more that I can give back to the community that has done so much for my family and I.
As a Council Member I advocated for many issues, including:
- Utilizing shared services where appropriate to reduce city expenses in areas such as merging our 911 dispatch with the county to save $750,000 annually, unfortunately we delayed this by 5 years costing taxpayers almost $4 million.
- Investing in our road infrastructure to protect property values and continue to attract new economic development to our city.
- A strong advocate for long term budget planning.
- Initiating the ballot proposal with residents to amend the charter for preservation of parks;
- City wide trash hauling services without adding any additional tax to the residents, and promoting recycling;
- Opposing expansion of Tienken Road to five lanes;
- Tax incentives to support existing businesses and to attract new businesses;
- Opposing the development of water reservoirs due to lack of a business case, and opposing the development in the parks;
- Recapturing expiring millages and repurposing those for local roads; and
- Opposing the leasing of parks and cemetery for oil and gas drilling.
Just as any CEO of a corporation is accountable to its shareholders, the Mayor of a city, must be accountable to its residents. My commitment is to Honor the Charter, respect term limits, and preserve parks and green space exclusively for recreation purposes. I strongly believe in the Charter and I will honor both the spirit and principle of the charter. To me:
- Residents come first and I will insist that resident voices are heard and will be part of the critical decision-making process.
- Exploiting public office for personal gain will not happen and I will treat the office of Mayor with dignity and respect.
I will focus on –
- Strategic Plan – I propose to develop a long-term strategic plan with engagement of residents, businesses, non-profits, health, and educational institutions.
- Regional Plan (without provincial thinking) – I propose that our city should be part of a regional plan for housing, employment, transportation and economic development to sustain a viable community.
- Aging in Place – We are experiencing a change in our demographics. One in four of our population will be a senior by 2025. There will be a wealth of knowledge and skills that the community can tap into as residents retire and our population of older adults increases. Harnessing the expertise and experience of the aging population is one of the key assets that, I believe, can help sustain a viable future community.
- Community Policing – a collaborative partnership for problem solving between city government, law enforcement, residents and business community to preserve and sustain a safe community. I will designate one officer for each district to work closely with homeowner’s association and businesses.
- Roads and infrastructure – We all know better roads preserves the property values. I propose to develop a ten year plan for better roads and infrastructure. Specifically, I will work to develop a revitalization plan for south of M-59 to improve housing, infrastructure and economic development.
- Greening the City – We should increase our recycling efforts and work towards the goal of sending zero waste to landfill. The economic solutions for future will increasingly depend on the use of renewable energy sources. To continue to preserve the city as a residential community and to be a community that is environmentally friendly, the city must actively pursue renewable energy sources. It is important we address the landfills in our community. Testing and assessment for environmental concerns and developing a safety plan will be pursued.
- Keep Taxes Low – Taxable values have increased over the past couple of years, and we’ve seen numerous tax increases. We must resist the easy solution of going to residents for increase in millages. I plan to eliminate frivolous spending such as contracts with lobbyists, personal promotional videos, using city resources for personal promotion and marketing and unnecessary travel. I plan to continue the rolling 3-year budget that I fought diligently to enact so we can manage the City’s budget effectively, efficiently, and economically.
- Quality of Life – A healthy quality of life requires a healthy living environment. There is a lot of concern from residents on the health hazards because of smart meters and cell towers. We cannot and shall not brush them away. The primary purpose of any city government is to ensure the health, welfare and safety of its residents. I will work with the residents to engage DTE Energy, Consumers Energy and other companies to conduct testing and provide a report so that we are all educated on the effects of the smart meters and cell towers.
What is critical is – how we respond to challenges, while continuously moving forward to the future. Keeping the same or status quo is not a solution in good times and bad times.
Rochester Hills grew from a township of 1,900 to a city of 73,000 not by happenstance or chance or by one individual but because of what has been happening regionally, nationally and globally. We are never a finished product, more of a community that evolves and is presented with new challenges while old challenges continue to linger. For all the challenges we face we need collective thinking and community based solutions.
I want to see an inclusive city, where all residents are treated with dignity and respect. This is the city where my wife, Anitha, and I made home for the past 18 years and raised our daughter, and followed my belief of community based public service. This is the city where I have seen people helping people and serving others without any expectation of anything in return. Volunteerism comes naturally and it is this inspiration that gives me the energy and passion to lead our city into the future. As I meet old friends and make new ones on this journey, I can’t help but be excited for our future together. I ask you to join me in “Building a Better Future Together – The Best is Yet To Come!” Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me 248-396-4858.