Traverse City Record-Eagle

October 21, 2010

Letters: At Issue: Nov. 2 Election: 10/21/2010


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A proven leader

I have known Ralph Soffedine for 48 years. He has always been a winner and someone you wanted on your team. He was an All-American football player at Central Michigan University and led our team to a championship season in 1962. He has been a winner in every endeavor of his life.

In Traverse City he has served as police chief, fire chief, school board member, president of the Rotary Club, currently on the City Commission, and many other boards. He is a proven leader. Please vote for Ralph Soffredine for the County Commission. We need him.

Al Bishop

Traverse City

Very suspicious

I am appalled that the recent promotion of Ralph Soffredine by Traverse City Light & Power has been written off as just a coincidence.

Ed Rice contradicted himself with two separate quotes in the Record-Eagle's Sept. 30 article: "...never even crossed my mind," then "Light and Power ran the mailer by its legal counsel to make sure it was permissible." Doesn't sound like a coincidence to me.

I'm very suspicious and I certainly hope Mr. Soffredine files these "coincidences" on his campaign finance report, due Oct. 22, as a generous in-kind contribution from a public utility.

Diana Ketola

Traverse City

Looks at big picture

I served as a county commissioner representing Garfield Township for two terms, and I now serve as a trustee on the Garfield Township Board. A big part of the commissioner job was to attend the town board meetings, share ideas and listen to the board member who represented the people of Garfield Township. There have been 37 regular town board meetings since Ross Richardson was sworn in January of 2009, and he has only attended seven of those meetings.

Ralph Soffredine has been involved in the community, he has shown that he is responsible with money and he looks at the big picture to get the problem solved. Please join me in supporting Ralph Soffredine to represent both the city and Garfield Township.

Molly Agostinelli

Traverse City

Money deserves better

The roads in my neighborhood have been characterized as some of the worst in the county. They are truly in a sorry state. The upcoming County Road Commission millage, if passed, will provide the Grand Traverse County Road Commission and others with a revenue stream designated for road repairs. That's where I see the problem. The current group of County Road Commissioners have in the recent past proven to be fiscally irresponsible and incapable of making sound business decisions. Giving millions of dollars to this group of incompetents would be a travesty.

My money deserves better. You make your choice.

Bill Schulz

Traverse City

Strong, fair, informed

As a retired Northwestern Michigan College faculty member, I continue to have a keen interest in the college and respect for its importance in our community. Grace and I believe Cheryl Gore Follette has demonstrated the qualities needed on the Board of Trustees during these difficult times.

Raised on a cherry farm, Cheryl appreciates the value of hard work, and the value of a dollar. She has the knowledge and experience to be forward-thinking and has been a strong, fair, informed voice on the board.

We urge you to retain Cheryl Gore Follette as NMC Trustee.

Bob and Grace Rudd

Traverse City

Dumb or clever?

I recently received a postcard asking me to vote against Traverse City Proposal 1, suggesting voting no would "Keep Politics out of Your Power Company," and should not "Let Your Power Company's Future be Decided by Politicians."

The next day I opened my L&P bill, accompanied by a colorful insert featuring their board member/politician Ralph Soffredine, highlighting his resume, with the same photo he uses in his campaign material for the County Commission.

If the postcard senders are that concerned about politicizing L&P, were they unaware of this Soffredine plug sent out just days before the election? Dumb? Or clever?

Marley Navin

Traverse City

Vote for common sense

A vote for Ralph Soffredine for County Commission is a vote for common sense. Mr. Soffredine has already served on the city commission for many years and has provided logical and valuable input and direction on a number of local projects. He understands the impact of growth on our community and is committed to finding solutions to problems.

Please join me in voting for Ralph Soffredine on Nov. 2.

Kathleen K. Shannon

Traverse City

A man of integrity

Please join us in supporting Mike Stepka for the 86th District judgeship. We have had the opportunity to observe Mike in court and were very impressed with his calm presence, his obvious preparedness and knowledge, and his concern for his clients. Mike has been in the 86th District courtroom each week for the past 20 years.

Mike is a man of integrity and would serve our community well.

Dan W. and Carolyn Habel

Traverse City

Shame on L&P

My county commissioner Ross Richardson knocked on my door two months ago and left me one of his very informative campaign brochures. He wrote about many issues, including the "culture of cronyism" in Grand Traverse County.

Last week I opened my Light and Power bill, including yet another example of what Ross was talking about ... a full-color puff piece featuring none other than his opponent, Ralph Soffredine, L&P's October Man of the Month.

I don't think it's merely coincidence that this mailer comes out during the October billing cycles when the election is Nov. 2. Shame on L&P.

Harold "Doc" Aeschliman

Traverse City

Best qualified

Mike Stepka is, by far, the best qualified candidate for the 86th District Court. He has appeared in the 86th District Court hundreds of times in the last 20 years representing clients in misdemeanor, felony and civil cases. He helped create diversionary courts; these courts are innovative and save the taxpayers money. His opponent has appeared in court less than 100 times in the last two decades (according to the court's web site). The opponent is a term-limited professional politician who just needs to run for another office.

Mike Stepka is the right choice for 86th District Court.

Martha "Marti" Johnson

Suttons Bay

Mature, intelligent

Leelanau County is fortunate to have two good candidates for Probate Court judge. I have voted in all Leelanau elections since moving to Glen Arbor many years ago. On Nov. 2 I shall be voting for Marian Kromkowski and ask you to do likewise. Reviewing Marian's 17 years experience as a referee, where she performs duties similar to that of a judge, her mediation background helping families resolve difficult issues and her respected law practice convinces me that this mature, intelligent woman is the best choice for Probate Judge.

Mary Sutherland

Glen Arbor

Does his homework

In his first term, David Marshall is a strong presence on the Leelanau County Commission. He does his homework, and his good-humored, thoughtful approach to those who disagree as well as those who agree with his proposals moves the Commission forward.

We will all benefit from Marshall's second term as he uses his knowledge and experience to continue developing the area economy and protecting our priceless natural treasures while holding tight to the county's purse strings.

I urge voters in Cleveland, Empire and Glen Arbor Townships to return David Marshall for a second term on the County Commission.

Dorothy Barker

Glen Arbor

Hard work, common sense

There isn't a better person anywhere to represent me, my family or our district.

Drafted while in college, married with a child on the way, eligible for a deferment but "chose to serve his country," returning three years later to restart his life after receiving the Bronze Star.

Thirty years, a medical first responder and volunteer fireman.

Twenty-nine years, a valued council member.

Six years, council president.

Thirty years, an owner of two successful businesses.

He understands hard work, common sense, responsibility, business, budgets, management, priorities, cooperation, accountability and results.

You just met 101st House District candidate Ray Franz.

Bruce P. Bowen


Record speaks for itself

I own Renn Studio in downtown Traverse City. Marian Kromkowski came to me through a friend, nearly 18 years ago. I've watched as Marian and her husband Matthew have raised three beautiful, well-adjusted daughters.

Through our years of conversation on a myriad of topics, I've witnessed the qualities of a person I'm honored to call my friend. The "word" of this election for both candidates appears to be "experience." Marian's record speaks for itself. I urge you to watch her short video at

You'll see what I mean. Vote Kromkowski for Leelanau Probate Judge.

Darl Renn

Traverse City

Fair, firm, respectful

Please support Mike Stepka in his bid to serve the people as judge for the 86th District. I have known Mike for 13 years and believe he will be fair, firm and respectful to individuals who appear before him. He has given countless hours of selfless service in our community and knows that "tough on crime" is not "smart on crime."

Our community has a variety of alternatives to incarceration that are proven to reduce crime, recidivism, and save taxpayer dollars.

Let's elect the person who will use them ... Mike Stepka.

Greg Stone

Traverse City

Understands our area

The 86th District is three counties, not just one. I like that Kevin Elsenheimer's family came from Leelanau, that he was born and raised in Grand Traverse County, and of course that he's represented Antrim County in the Legislature.

It sounds to me like he understands our area and that will help make him a good judge. He gets my vote!

Victoria Pratt


Approachable, responsible

I support Marian Kromkowski's candidacy for probate court judge, based on her performance as an attorney and 17 years as a judicial referee and court mediator.

Marian has demonstrated her expertise in family and criminal law, as well as her great integrity, both vital attributes for a judge.

Colleagues cite her as level-headed, approachable and responsible.

Marian proves she can assume the responsibility of a probate court judge and represent Leelanau County residents with compassion and impartiality.

Gaytha McVay

Lake Leelanau

Best prepared

Guesswork has been taken out of the upcoming probate court election. Marian Kromkowski is the clear choice. Judges must first be attorneys but, once on the bench, cease to be advocates.

Typically, voters cannot predict if a candidate can make that transition; however, Marian Kromkowski, in her work as a mediator and referee has, unlike her opponent, already made hundreds of impartial recommendations and decisions.

Having practiced law in Flint for 20 years before serving 13 years as a District Court Judge, I recognize the rare opportunity we have to ensure that the best prepared person is elected.

Artie Lancaster


The writer is a retired 67th District Court judge

Will vote to repeal

When the U.S. House brings repealing Obamacare to a vote, will McDowell vote for it or against it?

I know Dan Benishek will vote to repeal it.

Marybeth Wallick


Vast experience

With the state of the economy, county and city governments are forced to make cuts in their budgets.

We encourage voters to compare candidate "qualifications" before voting Nov. 2.

For years, former Traverse City Police and Fire Chief Ralph Soffiedine administered a multi-million dollar budget for the police and fire departments.

Currently, Ralph serves on the Traverse City Commission, where he continues to use his expertise dealing with the city's multi-million dollar budget.

Ralph's vast experience with budget, policy and decision making far outweigh his opponent Ross Richardson's.

Please vote for experience, vote for Ralph Soffiedine Nov. 2.

Pat and Dennis LaBelle

Traverse City