DEARBORN HEIGHTS – Three candidates have thrown their hats in the ring for Dearborn Heights’ mayor. Their names will appear on the August 8 primary election ballot. The top two will advance to the general elections on November 7.
The AANews asked the candidates the following three questions:
Q1. Why do you feel you are a qualified candidate for the job?
Q2. What is one of the biggest challenges facing the city and what would you do to meet it?
3. How do you see the Arab American presence in the city and your relationship with the community?
… And here are their answers accordingly:
Daniel S. Paletko (incumbent)
Education: Crestwood High School, AA Degree from Henry Ford College, BBA from the University of Michigan–Dearborn, MBA from the unive
rsity of Detroit, MST from Wayne State University.
Profession: Current Mayor of the City of Dearborn Heights, Certified Public Accountant, former State Representative of the 17th District, retired
manager at Ford Motor Company.
Family: Single with two children.
A1. This is the most challenging job I have ever had and I have proved to do it well. I was able to take the city from a $5million deficit to a $5.4 million surplus. I have also increased fire personnel and improved fire and police services. I have the pleasure of maintaining solid relationships with union leadership, which is key in running a city. Because I am a life-long resident, I have a knowledge of Dearborn Heights and its policies that bring something to the table that very few others have. My experiences help me to guide the City.
A2. The economy still faces many challenges. We are due for another recession. I have the experience, education and skills to handle the financial challenges from a recession. As a CPA, I am able to find ways to maintain city services without over taxing our residents. Economic downturns can destroy local revenue streams. Inflation due to increased healthcare or energy costs often require careful management of the budget. The state can eliminate a large portion of the city budget without notice. I have the tool set of experiences and education to anticipate and respond effectively to economic crises.
A3. The Arab Americans are the heart of our community. They have brought a rich culture and faith as a guide to their commitment to Dearborn Heights. Arab Americans consistently show a commitment to and passion through their business, education, religion or culture. This commitment is central to Dearborn Heights success as a strong and vibrant city. They reinvest in homes and businesses to increase our city’s viability. I am proud to say that many of my closest friends are Arab Americans. These relationships are very dear to my heart.
Education: B.A. in political science/government and education from the University of Florida.
Profession: Dearborn Heights City Council member, President of Golfview Manor Civic Association, former teacher on the U.S. Army post, Ft. Ord and in Livonia schools, former director of KinderCare Learning Centers.
Family: Mother of three.
A1. I have the ability to listen and understand, communicate complex issues and build consensus with diverse groups. As a member of the Dearborn Heights City Council, I have dedicated myself to listening and responding to residents’ needs and concerns. As mayor, I will continue this tradition and offer a comprehensive economic development plan with growth through innovation by leveraging my strengths as a leader and consensus-builder. I’m committed to ensuring the success of our City by working with community leaders to close gaps, so Dearborn Heights will be “the cty with a future.”
A2. You deserve an economy that works for you. I will ensure that the small businesses and entrepreneurs building our labor force maintain healthy relationships with our Economic Development Department. A healthier economic environment is necessary for our entire community to grow and thrive. This includes: Review and update the five-year Master Plan and utilize available resources, maximize the city of Dearborn Heights Economic Development Department and adopt business-friendly ordinances and policies, such as one-stop shop business licensing.
A3. The Arab American community has strong commitment to the city and neighborhoods they live and work in. Dearborn Heights is a growing community and in large part the cities new growth can be contributed to the Arab American community. Evident throughout the city with new Arab American owned businesses and homes revitalizing neighborhoods and business districts throughout the city of Dearborn Heights. I’ve been proud to call many in the Arab American community friends and honored to work with many more on important issues in the city.
Education: Western High School, criminal justice degree from Schoolcraft College.
Profession: Manager of a corporate security group.
Family: Married with three children.
1. As a homeowner and resident of the community, I understand how important it is to be committed and transparent to residents. As a former Westwood Community School Board member and a current member of the Crestwood School District Board of Education, I work for the people. This will be the same in the office of mayor. I want to see that a strong, confident, courteous and caring administration is offered and that we will always keep the mind set that our residents are our #1 priority. We must focus on the ever-growing needs of the community.
2. Our residents have asked for and continue to look for a transparent and accountable administration. They have requested equal representation and services to make Dearborn Heights – one. I will strive to do my best and make the quality of life for our residents my priority. Working with all citizens and community leaders as a team to reach goals. Making sure that the key areas such as public safety, police, fire an DPW remain high and the needs of our changing community are met.
3. I see that the Arab American presence is wonderful for the city of Dearborn Heights. I continue to attend the Annual Images and Perceptions conference and as a Latino American, I always have an open mind towards the Arabic culture as well as the many other different cultures. I am so thankful to all who taught me about the Arabic food, language, customs and beliefs. The Arabic culture is rich with tradition and faith and can bring many wonderful assets to our city. This is what makes Dearborn Heights a strong community and I will continue to foster positive relationships.