Traverse City Record-Eagle

October 27, 2010

Letters at Issue: Elections: 10/27/2010


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Independent candidate

Megan Crandall has been a breath of fresh air to the Traverse City Area Public Schools board, proving herself to be a problem solver, critical thinker, and independent voice.

She has been a natural leader, both on the board and in her many other community efforts, such as the Traverse City Young Professionals. These are precisely the attributes our state representative needs and uniquely qualify Megan for this position.

Please join me in supporting Megan Crandall for 104th District state representative; she is an "independent" candidate we can all be proud of.

Ev Bowen

Traverse City

More than 900 cases

In regard to Kevin Elsenheimer's experience, check out his web site where among other truths you will learn he was involved in over 900 court cases in Antrim County, including 35 trials, has experience with the Michigan Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. Recent letters to the paper omitted his experience in Antrim County as an Assistant Prosecutor and also that he is a member of the State House of Representatives.

Like Mike Stepka, he accepted contributions from PACs which he used for prior campaigns. No corporate funds are being used for this campaign.

Patrick E. Skarnulis

Rapid City

Protecting jobs

I am thankful I have a congressman in Washington who understands and is fighting for a better Immigration policy. He co-sponsored legislation that focuses on border security and immigration enforcement. He supports enforcing our borders by increasing the number of U.S. Border Patrol agents, protecting our jobs by ensuring that illegal immigrants are not taking American jobs by creating an employment eligibility verification system, reforming the H-2A temporary agricultural worker program, and stopping the use of identification documents by illegal aliens.

I applaud Dave Camp for fighting to protect American jobs for American workers. Vote for Dave Camp Nov. 2.

Eric F. Grebe

Traverse City

Honest, hard-working

On Nov. 2 I'll be voting for Mike Stepka for 86th District Court judge. He's got the experience and qualifications for the position. He is dedicated to the community, as proven in his work as a Grand Traverse County commissioner, his volunteer work for the Women's Resource Center and the Third Level Legal Aid Clinic. He will stand up for what is right and properly apply the law as it is supposed to be applied.

Mike is honest, hard-working, and he's got my vote on Nov. 2.

Cynthia Klingler

Traverse City

Honest, compassionate

Mike Stepka is clearly the best-qualified candidate to serve as judge for the 86th District Court. Mike was raised in Traverse City, and his commitment to this area is evident.

Mike has volunteered his legal services for the Women's Resource Center, Third Level Legal Aid Center, the Domestic Violence Task Force Team, and the Sobriety Team.

Mike received the Pro-Bono Award Recipient in 2007 for work he has done in Grand Traverse, Leelanau, and Antrim counties.

He is an honest, fair, intelligent and compassionate individual, with 20 years of experience in our community.

Please join me in supporting Mike Stepka.

Brenda Dunscombe

Traverse City

District court cases

When selecting the next 86th District Court judge, it is important for the public to know that the district court website reveals Kevin Elsenheimer has only 88 cases with his name assigned (including when Antrim County was the 87th).

The rest of his claimed cases, according to the district court administrator, were cases that Antrim Prosecutor Charles Koop's name was assigned to when Kevin worked as an assistant prosecutor in the early 1990s.

Kevin may have "worked"on a portion of those cases, but they cannot be verified.

You have to rely on Kevin's count, and he is a politician.

Amy Dorman

Traverse City

Defended industries

The Michigan Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association bill had the opportunity to affect both the Michigan wine industry and Michigan grape farmers. This bill could have had an unfortunate impact on one of our state's only thriving industries.

Because of this industry I am in a career that is providing a life I would have not had in our region otherwise.

Wayne Schmidt listened to me when I spoke with him about this issue. Thank you, Wayne Schmidt, for listening and defending the wine and agricultural industries in Northern Michigan.

Brian Lillie

Traverse City

Marine, businessman

Second Congressional District candidate Fred Johnson is best.

If you like living in a district filled with boarded-up buildings, high unemployment and schools that are closing, then vote the way you have been for the past 50 years.

However, if you want to live in a district more dedicated to its residents than Washington, D.C., insiders, where new businesses are grown, good jobs are produced, education is supported and resources are protected, then vote for a Marine, educator, father and businessman.

Fred Johnson for Congress.

Mary Robling


The writer is Second Congressional District Democratic chairperson.

Board structure delivers

We should expect three things from the Traverse City Light & Power board — reliable service at the lowest price, financial stability, efficient management of resources and development.

That requires 100 percent dedication to a single mission by the right mix of non-partisan commissioners. We cannot expect an elected City Commission and overburdened city staff to meet those expectations.

The TCL&P board may have stumbled, but they made corrections precisely because they are not directed by politicians, past or present, ideologues or hidden agendas.

We have a board structure that delivers on business and resident expectations.

Vote "no" on Proposal 1.

Donald Coe

Traverse City

A good choice for us

Kevin Elsenheimer is our choice for 86th District Court judge.

He grew up in our Grand Traverse region, attended local schools and Michigan colleges. Practiced law in Antrim County, and our court systems.

Kevin has experience in communication in a courtroom, office of law, and, indeed, in the Michigan House of Representatives.

Our choice for Kevin Elsenheimer is a good choice for us, and the right choice for you, too.

Please consider your vote to be for a fine man, Kevin Elsenheimer, 86th District Court judge.

Barbara J. Bradford

Edward A. Bradford


Superior knowledge

I have known Mike Stepka for about 20 years now. Mike was a new attorney just beginning his career. I had just moved to the area to continue mine, also in the practice of law.

Mike's involvement in the development of specialty/diversionary courts has helped individuals where incarceration is not appropriate to assure they receive necessary assistance.

Mike has handled thousands of cases in district court, has superior knowledge and expertise, and an excellent work ethic, integrity, and temperament for district judge.

I heartily endorse him for 86th District Court judge and invite you to join me in supporting him.

Gary R. Berstrom

Traverse City

Professional integrity

I have known Mike Stepka for more than 13 years. He is conscientious, hardworking and has personal and professional integrity. Mike has handled hundreds of civil and criminal matters in the 86th District and 13th Circuit Courts and has argued cases before the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Twenty years of courtroom experience will allow Mike to be effective from his first day on the bench if he is elected.

I would encourage everyone to join me in voting for Mike Stepka for 86th District Court judge.

Thomas R. Dundon

Traverse City

Forward thinking

A vote for Ralph Soffredine for County Commission means a vote for forward thinking.

As a former chief of police, Mr. Soffredine knows the importance of providing services within the city and county limits, not only for residents, but those working, shopping, and using entertainment services in the area.

Mr. Soffredine will do what is in the best interest of Grand Traverse County with respect to development.

Colleen P. Shannon

Traverse City

Common sense

I support Rep. Wayne Schmidt. I feel he has done a great job in his first term. He feels that as a family has to curb its spending to their income, government should do the same.

He supports cutting government spending and eliminating unnecessary programs.

If you want to cut government waste and create jobs you will need to support Wayne and people like him.

It is time to get rid of the tax-and-spend legislators and bring common sense back to Michigan.

Please vote Wayne Schmidt Nov. 2.

William Deniston


Work for the community

When selecting the next 86th District Court judge, the decision should be made carefully, based not only on experience, but what the individual has done for the community as well.

One of the candidates is a Grand Traverse County commissioner, does volunteer work for the Women's Resource Center and Third Level Legal Clinic, and is the recipient of the pro bono award from the prestigious local bar association.

He's also helped create specialty courts that give non-violent offenders a second chance, which saves us money.

Mr. Stepka — you have my vote.

William Fowle

Traverse City

Trustworthy, helpful

I have known Larry Nelson since we were Boy Scouts together in the 1950s. Larry has kept the scout promises ... trustworthy, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, cheerful, etc.

With his law degree and contact with district and circuit courts, I know Larry will continue the basic tenets that he was exposed to in scouting.

Please join me in voting for Larry J. Nelson as probate judge for Leelanau County on Nov. 2.

Mike Kirt

Lake Leelanau

Some numbers on L&P

Here are some numbers I hope residents will consider when voting on Traverse City Light & Power's future.

Perfect safety record: Three years running.

Reliability: 72 percent to 83 percent better than surrounding providers.

Rates: 25 percent lower than surrounding providers.

Last rate increase: 2006.

City "dividend": $1.38 million; 84 percent from businesses, non-residents.

Renewable energy acquired: 10 megawatts of wind, two of landfill gas.

If control is given to the city commission, we'll do our best to run TCL&P as well as the current board. We may be better at public relations.

I hope our numbers would be as good.

Chris Bzdok

Traverse City

The writer is mayor of Traverse City.

Deserves to be judge

Mike Stepka has the most experience in the district court and he deserves to be our next 86th District Court Judge. He's been in the district court almost on a weekly basis for the last 20 years. He does pro bono work, civil, court-appointed criminal, among other things. He helped create specialty courts that save taxpayer money and helps rehabilitate non-violent criminals.

Mike's got my vote!

Paul E. Newhouse

Traverse City

Fits the definition

According to the Record-Eagle, Ralph Soffredine, Traverse City's long-serving former police chief, serves on 13 different boards and commissions since his retirement. If you're looking for the definition of a good ol' boy, you've found it — and a "tightly wrapped" good ol' boy, to boot.

Just read the stories about Mr. Soffredine's campaign piece being sent out by TCL&P, one of the 13 boards he sits on. I can't be the only one tired of reading the name Soffredine and the word controversy in the same story.

It's time to retire Ralph and re-elect Ross Richardson as county commissioner.

Rick Shimel

Traverse City

Removed from politics

We are writing as a business with two training and manufacturing plants in Traverse City that are customers of Traverse City Light & Power to urge voters to vote "no" on Proposal 1.

We believe it is far better to have a dedicated board of directors removed from the politics of the City Commission while still answering to the city through two board members who are City Commissioners and City Commission appointment of the rest of the board.

Most city commissioners think it would be a bad idea for the commission to run TCL&P.

Vote no on Proposal 1.

Steve H. Perdue

Traverse City

The writer is president and CEO of Grand Traverse Industries.

Most devoted

Why am I supporting Ross Richardson for county commissioner? I worked with Ross on the Garland Street subcommittee and for 18 months on the Citizens Operational and Financial Analysis Committee, exploring the city's operations and how to improve them. Ross is the hardest-working, most questioning, one of the most devoted-to-finding-out-the-facts committee members.

He has the interests of this county's citizens at heart, not some crony. He continues to impress me with his intelligence, decision-making and dedication to us. Join me Nov. 2. Please vote for Ross.

Ellen Fivenson

Traverse City

Courage and compassion

When did it become a disqualifying activity for a candidate to care about victims of the violence of war?

Marian Kromkowski's speaking out on these issues, on her personal time, takes courage and compassion and represents a true sense of patriotism.

Marian Kromkowski's unique qualifications have been outlined by many. Her background — in family and criminal law, as a domestic relations mediator and referee, conflict resolution expertise and innovative ideas on improving court procedures — speaks for itself.

Marian Kromkowski's active defense of human rights is another indication of her character to honorably serve as Leelanau County probate judge.

Mary Easthope

Lake Leelanau

Commitment to community

I am writing to support Wayne Schmidt's election to the Michigan House of Representatives, 104th District.

As a resident of Kalkaska County my experiences with Wayne and his staff have always been met with a willingness and openness to listen and discuss any issue presented. My particular contacts have involved natural resources, recreational corridors and community visioning and I have always had a positive contact. His commitment and presence in this community is second to none.

I believe Wayne to have a vision for success over the many unique challenges not only for the 104th District but our entire state.

Robert Burgin


Community interest

Leelanau County, vote for experience, high ethics, community interest, and courtroom finesse to elect Larry Nelson the next probate judge.

Judy Petroskey

Traverse City