For the past seventeen years, I have been a proud resident of the city of Rochester Hills and I am committed to giving back to my community that has given me so much: a safe, wonderful home to share with my wife and raise our daughter, and neighborhood, parks, and schools that have allowed us to establish meaningful friendships with people like you. Over the years, I have had the privilege of being actively engaged with Avondale Youth Assistance, Paint Creek Trailways, Green Sp ace, OPC, Friends of the Paint Creek Trailways, and Neighborhood House. These organizations thrive because of the many who volunteer their time, energy and resources. I am constantly impressed by their commitment, their generosity , and passion for enhancing th e quality of life in our community.
With a day job in Community and Economic Development, I often ask myself, “What makes a community flourish?” I think of Rochester Hills and the answer is clear: it is each one of us. The ownership of our city lies within us. The pride and passion for our city I see in my neighbours and co – volunteers continues to inspire me daily. Ownership means being responsible and accountable to one another. That commitment is fulfilled when we engage with and be engaged by our neighbours.
There is a constant state of perpetual change we experience. Economic and social challenges , change in demographics, the need for a more walk able and bikable community, preserving the residential character , continuing to have solid successful schools and higher educational institutions, preserving the economic vitality – all essential for a good quality of life. I t is important to move into the future with a proven leadership and community focus to build a sustainable future. With a strong vision and dedication, that change can preserve the vitality of our city. Given my professional background over the past thirty years and involvement in our community, and inspired by my co – volunteers I have decided to become a candidate for Mayor of our wonderful city – Rochester Hills. If given the opportunity, I will work to sustain the social and cultural richness of our city and ensure strong economic development moving into the future so that our children can continue to enjoy all that makes our city great.
It is humbling for me to have all of you here and to have the opportunity for me to become a candidate. My background is in Management, Administration, Organizational Development, Finance, Budgeting and Community Planning. As a Certified Planner, I get to learn many aspects of community planning and economic development. I have been CEO of a community and economic development organization over the past 18 years. Moving Organizations from insolvency to solvency, starting and building a solid organization with operating reserves, helping neighborhood to transform, creating job training and work force development, and creating capital for sustaining small businesses have been central to my career and I plan to bring this depth of experience to addressing our city’s challenges moving into the future . Each year, developing a results – based budget and evaluating outcomes based on data is a norm of my management practice and something I believe should be a norm in our city hall. I believe in people. I believe in communities.
During my eight years as a city council member, I took my responsibility towards the community very seriously and operated with honesty, trust and integrity. I always took the role of advocacy, even if that meant being alone during Council discussion, and never failed to share my honest thoughts on issues. I believe cities should be inclusive and governance should value the concerns and opinions of all residents. Lack of effective civic engagement around decision – making leads to resident dissatisfaction.
Just as I demonstrated with my time on Council, I strongly believe that holding elected office is both a privilege to be handled with dignity and humility and a responsibility that must be exercised with car e and good planning. My approach is to think globally, plan regionally and act locally. As such, a few goals that I would like to share with you tonight.
First, the Citywide Master Plan needs to be updated every five years, but to done with substantial input from residents, businesses, non – profits, education, health and other institutions. The plan should develop a Vision statement that focuses on strengthening neighborhood, inclusive of historic neighborhood, and preserving asset values for homeowners. The Master Plan should also provide data on demographics, education, and the characteristics of the city that provide insight into resident quality of life and economic opportunities for businesses to thrive.
Second, Aging in place will become the norm with changing demographics. By year 2016 our senior population of 65 and above will be about 16.8% and that trend will continue to grow to 25% by 2025 and beyond. Of this demographics about 40% will be 85 and above. We have to be a community that addresses the need s and challenges of the changing demographics while we continue to be attractive to the millennial and future generations.
Third, Ideas such as community policing, creating complete streets with walkable routes, bike lanes throughout the city, mass trans portation, using technology to increase service delivery and efficiencies, preserving parks and open space exclusively for recreation, addressing the landfills, reducing the bureaucracy in day to day operations, eliminating duplication, partnering with surrounding communities, and increasing cost efficiencies will be the norm in City management. Furthermore, preserving the residential character, historical neighborhood, investment in roads, infrastructure, and delivering public services in an effective, efficient and economical way are vital to sustain a thriving community, our city – Rochester H ills.
Additionally, I will work to create strategic and accountable partnerships regionally that engage multiple sectors to consistently improve the economic conditions regionally.
Lastly, there is one lesson I use every day in the business world that can be applied to our city governance: a culture of customer service should be at the forefront on all issues. Every decision has a consequence. All decisions should incorporate the concerns of residents and be established with the principles of fairness, relevance, respect and dignity.
If given the opportunity to be mayor, I will incorporate these principles and act on the goals I’ve outlined here today so that our city can continue to prosper, and preserve the community character for future generations to come. Our work today should lay the foundation of a better future for the next three generations. What matters most is … “It is not what we have today…it is what we are going to leave for future generations”.
This campaign will be focused about the future, about moving forward and being positive. This campaign journey will be community outreach and engagement and I can only do it with your help. The ownership of this campaign lies with you. I will listen and learn. I cannot spell SUCCESS without “U”. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining me in this journey. GOD BLESS!