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Tag Archive | "Patricia Troost"

Candidates for Cedar Springs City Council


 

There are seven people running for four seats on the Cedar Springs City Council. This year’s ballot will look a little different, however. It is the first election under the new law dealing with recalls. There will be three people vying for two seats, and then the two candidates facing recall, Patricia Troost and Ashley Bremmer, are each running against another opponent. The voter simply votes for one or the other.

Running for two seats:

Mark Fankhauser

Mark Fankhauser

Mark Fankhauser was appointed to finish out another councilor’s term in 2012, and is now up for election. He has served as mayor for the last year, and is seeking reelection to continue serving the people of Cedar Springs. Fankhauser has lived in the district 33 years, and is a Captain-EMS Coordinator for the Grand Rapids Fire Department.

The Post asked, what previous experience/skills do you have that you could use in this office? He said he has attended multiple Michigan Municipal League Conferences, which are designed to educate public officials. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the Rockford Community Credit Union for the last 14 years. He has also been active with the Labor movement, holding several officer positions within the organizations he has worked for.

Fankhauser feels the most important issue facing the City of Cedar Springs is proactive improvement of the infrastructure, which protects the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Cedar Springs.

The accomplishments he is most proud of in his term on the Council are: First, seeing a dynamic re-purpose of the property at 95 N. Main Street, now the future home of the Cedar Springs Brewing Company. This was once a vacated building/lot in need; now a unique business that will complement the other businesses within Cedar Springs. Second, would be the recent transition to the Kent County Sheriff Department providing police service. Albeit unique changes, yes; these changes were based on facts, not opinions or emotions.

Perry Hopkins

Perry Hopkins

Perry Hopkins has lived in Cedar Springs since 2010. He is a naturopath, therapeutic body work practitioner, Dr of Metaphysics, and owner/operator of Kin of Hope Natural Health & Perry’s Place llc for herbs, teas, and more…!

The Post asked what previous experience or skills could he use in office? He is involved with multiple boards/ committees in the Cedar Springs community, including a trustee on the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, a trustee on the Kent Theatre Board, the Community Action Network Board, Cedar Springs Planning Commission, and Chairman of the Cedar Springs DDA. He also serves on various event committees in Cedar Springs. He said he is most proud of being a part of the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce and bringing more events and happenings to the Cedar Spring Community.

Hopkins said he was prompted to run for office when he noticed there was a shortage of nonbiased citizens running for city council.

Hopkins feels the most important issue facing our district is being divided. “As a community we need to work together and help the community as one entity grow and become strongly united. The only way to make this happen is to work with every person, business, committee, board, group, or organization that has the community’s best interest in mind,” he said.

Pamela Conley

Pamela Conley

Pamela Conley has lived in Cedar Springs 15 years. She is a teacher and coach at  Forest Hills Central High School. The previous skills and experience she brings include one term on the City Council, as well as terms on the Cedar Springs Board of Education, Cedar Springs Library board, PTO Board of directors, and the Cedar Springs Garden Club.

Conley said she is running for office again because she feels a strong responsibility that citizens need to participate in local government, and she was asked by a large number of neighbors and fellow citizens to seek another seat.

What does she think is the most important issue facing the community? “We have the perception that the local citizens are not being including in the decision-making process in our community. Decisions about the image of the community as well as the control of and management of Skinner Field have been made with little or no opportunity for input from the citizens.”

What was she most proud of accomplishing while on council previously? “During my term on the council we established Veteran’s Memorial Park and made substantive improvements to the water/sewer system,” she said.

Running for one seat:

Ashley Bremmer

Ashley Bremmer

Ashley Bremmer, one of the council members named in the recall, is running for her seat. She has lived in Cedar Springs 9-1/2 years. Previous experience/skills include serving on the Council since 2011, and serving on the planning commission prior to that.

Bremmer said she initially decided to serve on council because a member resigned and there was a seat that needed to be filled for the remainder of that term. “I decided to apply and I was the only applicant. That November I ran, unopposed, for the election. I decided to be on city council because I wanted to see the direction of where the city was going, be a part of the positive changes for the city, and make sure that the city was a good and safe place to raise my family. I had no, and still have no hidden agenda to be on city council. I take each issue as it comes, and try to make the best decision at the time, for the city.”

Bremmer says there are many important issues facing the city. “We have a tight budget, the streets and sidewalks need work, we have a new contract with Kent County Sheriffs Department that are all important. I think the really important issues that are facing the city are being sidetracked by personal agendas, hidden motives, hurt feelings, and people that are making a mockery of our council and city.”

There are several things Bremmer is proud of accomplishing while serving, including the bathrooms at the staging area, the Cedar Springs Brewery coming to town, and the sidewalks that did get replaced. What she is personally proud of is “representing my city and the council in a respectful and dignified manner. I have not lashed out when lies were spread, the council became divided and even took part in recalling me. I have been present for council meetings when there were tough decisions to be made. And most importantly, I respected the diversity of our council, without trying to influence them or use outside sources to get my way.”

Molly Nixon

Molly Nixon

Molly Nixon is running against Ashley Bremmer. She graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 2001, and moved back to Cedar Springs in 2008. She is living in a home her family built in the 1800s, and that she grew up in. She is a Central Station Dispatcher at EPS Security, and a nursing student at Grand Rapids Community College. She says that her interactions with the general public through her employers for the last 15 years have given her skills she can use on the council. “I have learned to keep my professionalism and hear what is being said in the face of anger, fear, and character attacks. I bring a civility that the council has lacked at times. In the event that I do not persuade other council members to see things my way we are still neighbors, and we will leave the meeting respecting each other. I believe that facts, not people, are up for discussion.”

What prompted Nixon to run for Council? “I have been in support of coming to an arrangement with the Red Flannel Festival since it was first an issue. In the time that I have been engaged with the political process, I have noticed that the council operated on pride and secrecy. Calling closed meetings in situations that are questionable at best. They also rely too heavily on attorney client privilege. In sorting through the council documents I found property bought by the city for no reason other than it was a good deal, decisions against the express wishes of residents, placing restrictions on parking vehicles on private property, and property that was bought with the purpose of building a new library left vacant for reasons that I still do not fully understand. Some of these issues have been resolved, but that is only because the public has been voting in council members who are accountable.”

Nixon thinks the most pressing problem is that City Hall is “a place of secret meetings and make it up as you go rules.” But she sees another problem as well. “I also seek to reclaim Cedar Springs as my home. It always was, and always will be Red Flannel Town, USA. I want to put that back on every street corner of this town. The personal pride of a few people alone erased that. Feelings were hurt and the discussion was ended prematurely to suit the personal comfort of the city officials involved.”

Running for one seat:

Patricia Troost

Patricia Troost

Patricia Troost one of the council members named in the recall, is running for her seat. She is currently serving as Mayor Pro-Tem. She has lived in Cedar Springs for five years, and is a Paralegal, at Reisinger Law Firm, PLLC . She said that skills and experience she brings to council include, “Research knowledge and being able to look at both sides of an issue and not holding a grudge if I don’t agree or if there are different of opinions.”

What prompted her to run for office? “The code ordinance officer came to my home and told me I couldn’t park in my driveway- front of my garage as my drive-way was gravel at the time with weeds/grass growing and according to the ordinance that was considered my lawn. I asked who made up this stupid rule and was told the planning commission and then City Council made the final ruling and I stated that I needed to run for city council then.”

What does she believe is the most important issue facing the community? “A lot of our residents are still trying to recover from the recession and meeting basic needs.  I believe that we as a community can come together and help each other where we can and not just me it’s an US. There are resources that residents may not know about and we as leaders can assist in getting them.” She is working with The City of Cedar Springs Area Chamber and North Kent Community Services with their Seats and Feet’s Campaign (and personal items). They are collecting underwear, pajamas, socks and items you cannot get with a food stamps card with drop offs of donated items at various businesses. “The Chamber and business owners care about Cedar Springs and are here 365 days a year and I think it is great how they have agreed wholeheartedly to help me promote this campaign, as well as with North Kent Community Services…they are a great resource.”

Troost said she is most proud of when a young Eagle Scout came to City Council with a plan and idea for a new pavilion at Morley Park and asked if the City would partner with him. “It was amazing to see this young man wanting to give back to his community at such a young age and I believe that my fellow council members and I encouraged young Kevin to look outwards at others and see a need and that if we all work together we can make a difference and that he carries that with him as he grows up and continues it as well and passes it on.”

Rose Powell

Rose Powell

Rose Powell is running against Patricia Troost. Powell has lived in the City of Cedar Springs since November 1970, and has been a registered voter since 1971. She is recently retired. She graduated from Cedar Springs High School, as did her husband Chris, and their children, Gina, Brynadette, and Christopher. Powell said that previous experience includes serving on the Cedar Springs board of elections, DDA, planning commission, Chamber of commerce, and being a Rotarian. She was also a downtown business owner, and also employed as an office manager/sales person for 2 other Cedar Springs businesses.

Powell is running for council because: “I decided to get involved again, when I realized our City council voted to take down our Cedar Springs City flag and destroy it. I trusted our councilors to do what was right for the citizens, tax payers, and voters of Cedar Springs and surrounding community. The destruction of $4000.00+ of our people’s property, paying a law firm $11,000 to defend those actions, while telling us it was for the good of our city was appalling. After spending many…many hours studying CS. city Budget, I came to one conclusion. There’s something rotten in Red Flannel Town.”

Powell says her goal is, with the help of fellow citizens, to “guide our CS City policies, finances, and reputation in a positive direction. There will always be problems to solve. Together our community can do it, and do it well.”

 

 

 

 

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Apology


 

My apologies: It was brought to my attention at the April Council Meeting, that I needed to apologize to others for my private e-mail sent to Patricia Troost, which was read by a citizen of our community at the public forum. I had thought that an earlier e-mail apology to Patricia was received by her in good truth and that my mistake in judgement had been forgiven. It was never my intention that this e-mail would be made public and ultimately involve hurt feelings to those who were mentioned in the e-mail.

Therefore, I am asking that those involved please forgive my mistake in judgement.

 

Bob Truesdale, 

Cedar Springs City Council

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Go ahead given on recall petitions


Cedar-Springs-new-logo

Cedar Springs resident Mark Laws can begin collecting the signatures he needs to recall City Council members Ashley Bremmer and Patricia Troost. The two councilors had 10 days to appeal the decision of the Kent County Election Commission, who approved the language on the petitions 2-1. But they opted not to appeal this time, and are instead leaving it in the hands of the voters.

The recall petition language reads:

1) On July 11, 2013 Ashley Bremmer/Patrica Troost voted to go into a closed session, to hear complaints against council member Truesdale. The Open Meetings Act 267, 15.268, 8a allows for a closed session if it is requested by the person to be disciplined or reprimanded. Council member Truesdale made no such request.

2.  On November 14, 2013 Ashley Bremmer/Patricia Troost voted to change the city logo and tagline. For many years it has been procedure of the council to not take action on an item not previously on agenda for public input and comment. This change in the logo and tagline was not presented to the public for input or comment before the change was made.

While Bob Truesdale voted with the rest of the council to go into closed session for that July 11 meeting to hear complaints against him by the council, he says he was unaware of his rights. During a special meeting in December, he alluded to the previous meeting and noted that it was illegal for the council not to explain to him when they took him into closed session that he could call it off anytime. “Some of you really pounded on me,” he said, “and I said nothing in my defense.”

At  last Thursday’s City Council meeting, the council voted 6-1 to authorize City Manager Thad Taylor and their attorney to investigate whether anything illegal did occur regarding the July meeting. An outside agency will need to investigate the matter.

The second complaint on the petition refers to the new logo for the City of Cedar Springs, and the complaint is that the public did not get to see or comment on the logo before it was voted on.

According to Kent County Elections Director Sue deStiguer, the recall law has changed drastically, and the Cedar Springs recall will be the first test of the law since it went into effect in January.

The language on the petitions is good for 6 months from the date it was approved—March 7. However, the signatures (170 of them) must be gathered within a 60-day window. It used to be 90 days. “Any signature older than 60 days is automatically stricken,” explained deStiguer.  The amount of signatures needed is based on 25 percent of the votes cast in the last presidential election.

Another change is that there will be no justification or explanation from the defendant (the council members) on the petition. The language will be as you see above.

A local recall can now only go on a May or November ballot, where previously it could go on the February or August ballot.

The ballot will also look differently. It will say recall election partial term ending, and the two candidates will automatically be on the ballot as running to fill that term. And that may be confusing for some people. “If the voter wants them to complete the term, they vote for them,” she explained.

 

 

 

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Recall language approved


Cedar-Springs-new-logoLast Friday, March 7, was the third time the Kent County Elections Commission has held a clarity hearing on the petition language filed to recall two Cedar Springs City Council members. It was approved 2-1.

Council members Patricia Troost and Ashley Bremmer have 10 days from last Friday to appeal the decision.

According to Elections Director Susan deStiguer, the petition language was approved 2-1. Chief Probate Judge David Murkowski expressed concern about the factual portion and voted no.

Resident Mark Laws filed the petitions. The first time he filed, they were rejected by the Elections Commission. The second time he filed, the Election Commission approved them 2-1, but the Council Members appealed, and Circuit Court judge Mark Trusock reversed that decision Friday, February 21. Laws then immediately filed new language. That is the language approved last Friday.

It reads:

1) On July 11, 2013 Ashley Bremmer/Patrica Troost voted to go into a closed session, to hear complaints against council member Truesdale. The Open Meetings Act 267, 15.268, 8a allows for a closed session if it is requested by the person to be disciplined or reprimanded. Council member Truesdale made no such request.

2.  On November 14, 2013 Ashley Bremmer/Patricia Troost voted to change the city logo and tagline. For many years it has been procedure of the council to not take action on an item not previously on agenda for public input and comment. This change in the logo and tagline was not presented to the public for input or comment before the change was made.

Watch the Post for more details next week on the status of the petitions.

 

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Court reverses decision on recall


by Judy ReedCedar-Springs-new-logo

A Grand Rapids judge has overturned a January decision by the Kent County Elections Commission approving recall petitions for two Cedar Springs city council members.

The Commission voted last month that the petitions submitted by Cedar Springs resident Mark Laws against Ashley Bremmer and Patricia Troost were of sufficient clarity for voters to know what they were voting on and why. Circuit court judge Mark Trusock reversed that decision Friday, February 21.

Laws filed new petition language at the end of the hearing, and a clarity hearing will be held on March 7, at 8 a.m., in the Training Room located on the 2nd floor of the Kent County Administration Building, 300 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

According to Cedar Springs City Clerk Linda Branyan, the new language reads:

1) On July 11, 2013 Ashley Bremmer/Patrica Troost voted to go into a closed session, to hear complaints against council member Truesdale.  The Open Meetings Act 267, 15.268, 8a allows for a closed session if it is requested by the person to be disciplined or reprimanded.  Council member Truesdale made no such request.

2.  On November 14, 2013 Ashley Bremmer voted to change the city logo and tagline.  For many years it has been procedure of the council to not take action on an item not previously on agenda for public input and comment.  This change in the logo and tagline was not presented to the public for input or comment before the change was made.

This will be the third time Laws has filed the petitions. The first time, the Kent County Elections Commission ruled against the language.

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Petition language approved for recall


Ashley Bremmer

Ashley Bremmer

Patricia Troost

Patricia Troost

The petition language to recall two Cedar Springs City Council members was approved by the Kent County Elections Commission Wednesday morning at a clarity hearing.

City resident Mark Laws filed the petition to recall Patricia Troost and Ashley Bremmer.

According to Elections Director Susan deStiguer, the petition language was approved 2-1. Chief Probate Judge David Murkowski expressed concern that the language might not be clear enough and voted no.

This was the second attempt by Laws to file petition language. The language was denied at the first hearing, because a new law says the language must be both clear and factual. The Election Commission’s approval of the petition language does not mean the statements are true, only that they are clear and provide facts. The language reads:

The new language (reason for recall) reads:

“1) On July 11, 2013 the city council motioned and supported to adjourn to a closed session and then adjourned. The Open Meetings Act 267, 15.267, 8A allows a closed session if the named person requests a closed hearing. No such request was made.

2) City council has a protocol in place requiring any change of import to be on agenda for public input and comment before it can be acted on by council in a following meeting. Former council member Merlington wrote this protocol. The new logo that was approved in November 2013 council meeting was not presented to the public for input or comments.”

The first reason applies to a council meeting where then Mayor Bob Truesdale was allegedly taken into closed session without asking for one and yelled at by other council members. The second reason has to do with the process of adopting the new logo.

Councilors Troost and Bremmer have 10 days to appeal the Election Commission’s decision to Circuit Court. If the court approves it, or if they fail to file an appeal, Laws can begin to collect signatures. If enough signatures are collected within the time frame allotted, and they are all valid, the recall would be on the ballot in November.

 

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New recall petitions filed


 

New petitions were filed last Friday, January 10, with Kent County, to recall Cedar Springs City Councilors Patricia Troost and Ashley Bremmer.

Resident Mark Laws filed the new petitions after the language on two previous petitions was rejected at a clarity/factual hearing on December 31. Elections Director Susan deStiguer said that none of the three on the committee thought the petition held any facts.

A clarity/factual hearing has been set on the new petitions for January 29, at 8 a.m.

The new language (reason for recall) reads:

“1) On July 11, 2013 the city council motioned and supported to adjourn to a closed session and then adjourned. The Open Meetings Act 267, 15.267, 8A allows a closed session if the named person requests a closed hearing. No such request was made.

2) City council has a protocol in place requiring any change of import to be on agenda for public input and comment before it can be acted on by council in a following meeting. Former council member Merlington wrote this protocol. The new logo that was approved in November 2013 council meeting was not presented to the public for input or comments.”

The first reason applies to a council meeting where then Mayor Bob Truesdale was allegedly taken into closed session without asking for one and then verbally lambasted by other council members. The second reason has to do with the process of adopting the new logo.

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