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2012 Primary: Six Vie for Dexter Township Board of Trustees

Steve Feinman, Michael Howard, John Emerick, Bill Gajewski, Carl Lesser, and Jason Maciejewski are campaigning for the Dexter Township Board of Trustees.

Editor's note: This article is part three of a three-part series profiling the candidates for office in Dexter Township for the .

Dexter Township has three candidates on the ballot for township supervisor, while Clerk Harley Rider is running unopposed. Two Republicans are running for the treasurer's seat, and six candidates and competing for four seats on the Board of Trustees.

Dexter Patch sent out questionnaires to each of the candidates, and the following were their responses:

Candidate: Steve Feinman

Office sought: Dexter Township Trustee

Political affiliation: Democrat

Occupation: N/A

Education: N/A

Previous elected office: Appointed trustee for Dexter Township

What are two key issues in your community? Public safety, roads and drainage.

How will you address these issues?

1) Build a permanent fire station and emergency services center along the North Territorial Road corridor to ensure optimum response time.

2) Establish a road and drainage advisory board to prioritize and recommend improvements on both public and private roads.

Candidate: Michael Howard

Office sought: Dexter Township Trustee

Political affiliation: Republican

Current occupation: Owner of DMJ Building Co., Inc.

Education: Dexter High School, U.S. Navy Seabees, Washtenaw Community College (courses in accounting, business, labor law).

Previous elected office: Dexter Township trustee (2000-2008)

What are two key issues in your community?

The preservation of our rural character and the protection of our lakes has always been an important issue. In addition, I believe in zoning fairness with less bureaucracy and more focus on the individual needs of the people. Less bureaucracy helps keep our taxes low. I believe in a government by the people and for the people.

Dexter Township’s zoning ordinance is actually more restrictive than the Building Energy Code. We are not serving the people properly by adopting unfair regulations.

How will you address those issues?

We need to support conservation design. This is an innovative technique that can not only help preserve our rural character, but it can also help protect the water quality of our lakes.

Bureaucrats marginalize human judgment in favor of impersonal procedures and regulations. The zoning ordinance needs more flexibility to allow us to make common sense decisions to benefit the people that we serve.

Candidate: John T. Emerick

Office sought: Dexter Township Trustee

Political affiliation: Republican

Current occupation: Fine dining and cuisine

Education: Western Michigan University (B.A.),  National Healthcareer Association Certified Phlebotomist

Previous elected office(s): None.

What are two key issues in your community? Protection of individual rights of liberties from overzealous and abusive bureaucrats. Protection of our rural atmosphere and natural resources.

How will you address those issues?

Zoning ordinances, as well as other powers generously granted to local and larger government must err on the side of liberty and rights of individuals and property owners so long as one does not infringe on the rights and liberty of another. Regulation being onerous and burdensome is a sign of the ignorance, incompetence and disregard of bureaucrats for their fellow citizens. Fiscal responsibility and the wise use of public money is equally important in reducing the tax burden.

Protection and improvement of the present state of the township, meaning both the natural resources and community character, is of great importance and can be easily accomplished by wise and acceptable zoning policies, public participation and communication with our friends and neighbors as well as common-sense solutions.

Candidate: Bill Gajewski

Office sought: Dexter Township Trustee

Political affiliation: Republican

Current occupation: Professional Registered Pharmacist, RPh.

Education:Ferris State University (B.S.); Schoolcraft College (A.S.); Professional Licensed Residential Builder; Professional Licensed Realtor.

Previous elected office(s): None. Appointed to the Zoning Board of Appeals from 2002 through 2011.

What are two key issues in your community?

1) Preserving the rural character, natural features and water resources of our community is of paramount importance. We can preserve these quality of life assets via common sense flexibility in our zoning ordinance. We need this flexibility to design with the environment not on top of it. We do not want to become Anywhere, USA, by losing our sense of place and our sense of community via large lot zoning. This can easily happen with a too restrictive, overreaching zoning ordinance.

2) I am also running for office because of complaints from our citizenry. Complaints from respected members of our community, including doctors, a dentist, a Christian church, a religious group, and everyday citizens. Complaints about bureaucrats who follow the cult of process and procedure with "The Death of Common Sense."

In Philip Howard’s book, “The Death of Common Sense,” the author explains that this is exactly what happens when a government is dominated by bully bureaucrats. At a Zoning Board public hearing, a former supervisor of Dexter Township said, “I am ashamed of what our township has become. Dexter Township has become a bunch of bureaucrats gone bezerk.”

Also, a legislative official appointed by Township Supervisor Patricia Kelly told me: “There’s only 37 farmers in our township … so why should we listen to them?”

I don’t believe in populism. I respect the rights of every individual. I will listen to and represent all the people of the Dexter Township including our farmers, our lakes community, our religious community, our residents of Carriage Hills devastated by the tornado, and the general public. I would be honored to serve all the people of Dexter Township in the way they deserve to be served.

How will you address those issues?

As a Special Agent of Change, my mission is to break away from the failed land-use policies of the past as rigid traditional zoning. Instead, I plan to encourage sustainable, low-impact conservation design. This innovative technique will preserve our quality of life, our home property values, our rural character, and most importantly, our lakes.

I will eliminate overreaching restrictive regulations that have negative consequences on the citizenry. I will make the zoning ordinance more user-friendly to the citizens we are pledged to serve. We need common sense flexibility in our zoning ordinance not more rigid restrictive rules. There is no need to regulate everything under the sun. We are here to serve the public not control them. As Winston Churchill said: “Rules are made for the obedience of fools and guidance of wise men.” I definitely will bring common sense back to government.

Name: Jason Maciejewski

Office sought: Dexter Township Trustee

Political affiliation: Democrat

Occupation: Chief information and planning officer at The Senior Alliance

Education: University of Michigan (B.A., M.P.A.)

Previous elected office: Dexter Township trustee, (2008-present)

What are two key issues in your community?

My top priority is to establish a permanent fire department substation within Dexter Township in order to continue the significantly quicker response times our residents have experienced from the temporary substation on North Territorial. A permanent substation should be centrally located in the area of North Territorial and Dexter Town Hall roads in order to provide the maximum response time improvements. It should not be a super-sized structure, but rather a building appropriate for our residential and recreational characteristics. I also support continuing the activities of the Public Safety Advisory Committee as it has developed key needs assessment and service evaluation documents on public safety matters.

Second, I support the formation of a Roads Committee comprised of township residents to conduct a comprehensive review of the issues faced with our roads and recommend a township wide strategy for maintaining and resurfacing roadways. Over the past four years I have supported projects to fix and improve many of our roads, including Hankerd, Noah, North Lake, Brand, Red Mill, Quigley and others. This summer work will be done on Wylie and Fleming. The major projects on North Territorial and Dexter-Pinckney must be followed up with cost-effective routine maintenance in order to extend the life of these roads.

Editor's note: Trustee Carl Lesser did not respond to the questionnaire mailed by Patch.com.

Kevin McNulty July 09, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Fairly good exchange but quite a bit of vagueness here. "Bureaucrats?" Who? Wasn't aware we have bureaucrats. "Bully bureauracy?" Of them who are the bullies? "....overreaching restrictive regulations that have negative consequences on the citizenry?" Be specific, use examples. "Complaints from respected members of our community, including doctors, a dentist, a Christian church, a religious group, and everyday citizens." Be specific, use examples, name names. “There’s only 37 farmers in our township … so why should we listen to them?” Who said this? By "vague" of course I mean no supporting detail. In the years I have lived here I have seen none of these issues and I think if one is going to write this in seeking office, there should be details, and names. I hope there is a debate set up so I can ask for some specific facts and some names.

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