Traverse City Record-Eagle

October 28, 2010

Letters at Issue: Elections: 10/28/2010


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Strong collaborators

I endorse Mary Marois and Scott Hardy for the Traverse City Area Public Schools school board. Both Mary and Scott have experience managing multi-million dollar budgets and are well known in the community as strong collaborators and dedicated volunteers.

Both care deeply about children. Mary's commitment to improving the lives of children and families has earned her recognition on the state and national levels. Scott's commitment is evidenced by his past service as a school board member and City Commissioner.

Their actions and decisions on the TCAPS board will be made in the best interests of children of the district.

Jan Warren

Traverse City

Correcting an injustice

The truth is, the Traverse City area barely escaped the environmental degradation a planned biomass incineration plant would have created. Opposition to biomass was huge, yet no apparent recourse existed to stop Traverse City Light & Power from pursuing it. Persistent and urgent protests fell upon seemingly deaf ears. The petition drive to put Proposals 1 and 2 on the ballot was an emergency measure undertaken to correct this injustice.

Negative statements about the proposals are misleading. The city commission will not be doing the work of TCL&P. The truth is, TCL&P will be doing the will of the citizens.

Gail Semer

Traverse City

Voice for tourism

I would like to endorse Rep. Wayne Schmidt for State Representative. Rep. Schmidt has been a big voice in Lansing supporting tourism especially in northern Michigan.

He has been a big advocate for Pure Michigan which has brought thousands of people to our area.

As a former manager in the hospitality industry, Wayne understands the importance of hospitality in our area.

Northern Michigan needs strong leadership in Lansing, and that leadership comes from Wayne Schmidt.

Please send Rep. Wayne Schmidt back to Lansing Nov. 2.

Alex Mowczan

Traverse City

Exceptional ability

Marian Kromkowski is the obvious choice for Leelanau County Probate Judge. For 17 years she has served as a judicial officer; her reputation for excellence is based on hard work and fairness.

Marian Kromkowski is a lawyer with exceptional ability and exceptional respect within the bar.

Marian Kromkowski is a woman; the six-judge Leelanau County bench lacks a woman's input and ideas.

Marian Kromkowski and her husband are dedicated parents.

As a citizen, Marian Kromkowski has spoken for peace. The First Amendment freedom to speak about public questions is the very breath of the life of our government.

F. Randall Karfonta


Would be a good judge

I write this letter in support of Mike Stepka for 86th District Judge. I first met Mike several years ago when he guided me through my divorce. I had confidence in him from the beginning and assured him I would be completely honest with him. He was always straight with me with advice and I learned to trust him as an attorney and a friend. After the divorce, he agreed to be my attorney in any other future needs.

I would trust Mike in any endeavor. I know he would be a very good district judge. He has my vote.

Robert G. Heyden


A hand-picked board

I am writing in opposition to Traverse City Proposal 1, because I don't want elected officials running my electric utility. I respect the City Commission, but as a Traverse City resident and Traverse City Light & Power customer, I want people running TCL&P that are hand-picked based on their professional experience. I believe that the good coming out of Proposal 1 is that it has brought together people from across the political spectrum, all of whom oppose the proposal. When was the last time that happened?

Vote "no" on Proposal 1.

Tim Werner

Traverse City

Experience, dedication

If experience, dedication and community involvement are important attributes for Probate judge, then Larry Nelson is the best qualified for the job.

Larry is a down-to-earth, common-sense and caring family man, who will best fulfill the responsibilities of Probate Judge.

One could look far and wide and not find anyone more qualified. Please vote Nov. 2 and consider Larry Nelson for Probate judge.

Leigh and Linda Payment


Cares about the people

Ralph Soffredine is a dedicated and honest individual who has worked very hard to make our Traverse City area community a better place to live. I am honored to endorse him for the position of county commissioner. His experiences and integrity are qualities that will benefit all citizens. The bottom line is that Ralph cares about people and our community.

Jim Pavelka

Traverse City

Clear and concise

I appreciate the League of Women Voters for organizing the very helpful non-partisan local debates. Prior to attending the Traverse City Area Public Schools school board debate, I had some ideas about who would best serve the school board, but had not made any decisions. In my opinion Jennifer Schell Bonifacio was outstanding; she was clear and concise; she answered the questions put to her; she had good ideas, but was not dogmatic; and, perhaps most importantly, she was respectful of the other candidates, a statement that cannot be made about one of the candidates.

Bonnie Willings

Traverse City

Not beholden

"Friends of Wayne Schmidt," our State Rep's campaign committee, clearly demonstrates he has lots of chums known as Political Action Committees.

Browse Michigan's Secretary of State website; review the sources of Schmidt's money. You'll be amazed at the number of generous donations from Michigan PACs — insurance companies, banks, real estate agents, health professionals, energy interests, auto dealers and so many more.

From July 2008 through the most recent data (August 2010), at least 230 PAC checks totaling over $84,000 have landed in Schmidt's campaign war chest.

That's why I'm voting for John Scrudato, the no-strings-attached Democrat, not beholden to special interests.

Ann Laurence

Traverse City

Years of public service

The Grand Traverse County Deputy Sheriff's Association has endorsed retired police chief Ralph Soffredine for 5th District Grand Traverse County Commissioner.

Soffredine has demonstrated years of positive public service through a variety of elected positions. As the former Traverse City Chief of Police, a Traverse City Area Public Schools board member, or his current position as a City Commissioner for Traverse City, he's always put the safety of the public first.

He continues to demonstrate leadership in times of crisis. He has always established his support for law enforcement and pledges to continue if elected to the County Commission.

Paul D. Postal Jr.

Traverse City

The writer is president of the Grand Traverse County Deputy Sheriff's Association

Skilled, knowledgeable

As a professional investigator for 20 years, I have worked with hundreds of lawyers in both civil and criminal matters before district courts, including Mike Stepka. I have found Mike to be among the most skilled, knowledgeable, understanding and insightful lawyers with whom I have ever worked, always fairly evaluating the facts of the cases. Mike Stepka is not a politician beholden to any special interests and will always judge cases and people fairly. Kevin Elsenheimer is a politician, term-limited, looking for somewhere to land, and his experience in District Court is minuscule compared to that of Mike Stepka.

Thomas M. Williams

Traverse City

Skilled mediator

I am a practicing attorney in Leelanau County. I have known Marian Kromkowski for 30 years. Her resume reveals her superior qualifications and broad professional and community accomplishments. See her resume and view her short video:

She has the distinct experience of 17 years as a court referee dealing with the very kinds of matters she will encounter in probate court. Her reputation as a skilled, effective mediator is known statewide. Marian advances effective and humane approaches to this difficult field of Probate/Family Court practice. For dedicated and outstanding service, vote Kromkowski for Leelanau Probate Judge on Nov. 2.

Mardi L. Black

Suttons Bay

The most qualified

Mike Stepka is hands-down the most qualified candidate for 86th District Court Judge. He has handled three times the cases of his opponent. Mike's community involvement is equally impressive. He is a Grand Traverse County Commissioner, he is on the Public Health and Safety Committee, the Community Corrections Board, the Women's Resource Center Board and the TART Trail Board.

On Nov. 2 I'll be voting for Mike Stepka.

Marc Cram

Traverse City

Keep politics out

Traverse City Light & Power's board members are volunteers, appointed by the City Commission, and are free from politics. This is done so they can make the best possible decisions for our community. They have shown this in a number of ways, including low rates, high reliability, removing the bay side coal plant and being a leader in renewable energy. City voters created this board to keep politics out of energy planning. Let's keep it that way.

Please join me in voting "no" on Proposal 1.

Michael Strom

Traverse City

The power to help

A "yes" vote would secure operational funding to create a countywide senior network.

This action would bring new and established offerings closer to seniors' neighborhoods.

Satellite services combined with the talents of trained aging resource specialists will help active retirees continue to live inspired and productive lives.

Your yes vote will help make a countywide senior network a reality, providing new senior gathering spaces. As a voter, you have the power to help our seniors by marking yes on the ballot Nov. 2.

Tina Tank

Traverse City

A stepping stone?

We went to Kevin Elsenheimer's website to learn why he was running for 86th District Judge. There we found boasts of influential endorsements, a protector of prosperity, boasting of his 40.5 percent of the votes in the primary — and it sure smells like a political run for office, not a run for the 86th District, which should be about the community. It sure feels to me that district court is a stepping stone for his political goals.

Look at and you will see he is involved in his community because he cares. You know who has our vote.

Tim and Joanne Tuck

Traverse City

Fair, level-headed

Cheryl Gore Follette, current Northwestern Michigan College Trustee, is running for re-election. After 18 years of serving the college and her community, we know her experience and knowledge will serve her well into the next term.

Over the years you've heard her on TV, read her comments in the paper. She is fair, level-headed and speaks up for students and quality, even if she's the sole dissenter.

We're fortunate to have one more opportunity to vote Cheryl Follette for NMC Trustee. Bring back the woman who brings wisdom to the board that no one can match!

Dave and Cathie Martin

Traverse City

Real experience matters

I have known Marian Kromkowski for 13 years. Her work as a domestic relations referee in the 13th Circuit and Wexford and Missaukee counties, handling many of the same matters heard in Probate court, will allow her to start work on her first day. She is honest, hardworking and caring; respectful, fair and firm. Contrary to recent claims, she is not an "extremist" but believes in justice and human rights for all.

I can't vote for Marian because I live in Benzie County but I would encourage everyone in Leelanau County to vote for her. Because real experience matters.

Rebecca Garland

Lake Ann

Skills and dedication

Rep. Dan Scripps is an effective advocate for issues that are important to us, including funding tourism promotion and public education, clean energy and our environment. He has introduced legislation that has the support of the entire tourism industry, to permanently fund the job-creating, nationally acclaimed Pure Michigan campaign.

We are fortunate that an individual with the skills, ethics and dedication is our voice in Lansing. We hope you will join us in casting your vote to keep him there.

Jim and Chris MacInnes


Jim MacInnes is president of Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa in Thompsonville.

Expressly prohibit taxation

Mr. Ray Franz said that there was no negative impact from the water bottling plant in Mecosta County, but that's because citizens intervened. If Mr. Franz wants the same plants here, why is he against Dan Scripps' bill, which protects our right to intervene?

If elected, does he plan on repealing those same rights extended to our other waters?

His fliers are falsely accusing Dan of "trying to take away our private water rights," and attempting to "tax well water," when the bills expressly prohibit the taxation of groundwater, and only grant groundwater the same protection covering our other waters.

Nicole Birkett


Integrity, independence

Kevin Elsenheimer has shown integrity in every decision he has made, keeping in mind what is best for northern Michigan. Kevin was the first elected conservative to back the Traverse City Film Festival, stepping forward the first year when that was not a popular idea. Kevin rallied to help initiate the festival in the best interest for tourism and the economic impact it would bring to our area, and has been an active supporter each year.

That's the kind of independence we need as our next district judge.

Tracy Kurtz

Traverse City

Will consolidate services

Secretary of State candidate Jocelyn Benson is a remarkable woman and is endorsed by the Detroit Free Press as "superbly qualified to bring greater transparency to Michigan elections."

Ms. Benson is a nationally recognized authority on election law and has already written a book on the best practices of secretaries of state across the country, including Democratic and Republican ideas.

She fought the initiative to use foreclosure lists to challenge Michigan voters, which her opponent supported. She will also save taxpayer money by consolidating services.

Vote Benson.

Donna J. Miller

Traverse City

Pro-business, pro-school

Kalkaska and Grand Traverse counties this year have the chance to cut the strings of the downstate public interest puppeteers. Instead of us constantly electing an anointed state rep from Traverse City's back door, Chicago-style politics, we can truly elect a pro-business, pro-local school, pro-northern Michigan representative in John Scrudato.

John can listen to both sides of the story and make decisions that need to be made. John is not a professional politician, his concern will be the residents of the 104th who elect him. John has my vote for 104th state representative.

Jerry Ruskowski

Traverse City

New era of transparency

In his first term as a county commissioner Ross Richardson has challenged the culture of cronyism, insider dealing, and inefficiency which has beset Grand Traverse County government for too long.

With his calm and thorough approach, Ross stood up to the "old boy" network. He challenged no-bid contracts. He blew the whistle on the septage plant disaster. He proposed sensible improvements to the Senior Center and to our street system.

With the common sense of a successful businessman, Ross Richardson can lead Grand Traverse County into a new era of transparency and improved services within our limited resources.

David Fredrickson

Traverse City