Excuse Me, Are you Listening? 8-16
Monday, August 31, 2009

Dear Readers,

Thank you for helping me through the primary.  November 3 is almost here. Politics is a different space for me.  It’s going to be about keeping balance in a skewed society. 

Politicians are human beings and when they cease to be, then a problem occurs.  There are a lot of things that have happened since I’ve been running.  One of the most interesting, was a situation with two elected officials (accompanied by four men) at the establishment that I had my “wait and see” event at on the night of the election.

They were loud, intimidating and boisterous as they walked through the door and disrespectful to the waitstaff.  I’m wondering how some manage to fly under the radar.  I wish that professionalism and decorum was made mandatory attributes during election time.  It’s really not about fighting it’s about working together to figure out what our common goals are to move this city forward. The behavior was unacceptable.

It’s interesting that in four years the dynamic of our city has changed dramatically. People are smiling less.  The country has changed dramatically too.  However, we must continue to ask questions based on fact not what you perceive or what someone else tells you.

I have a friend who told me a story about a person who was dispersing negative information about a person.  When she asked the person to provide specifics.  The negativer person couldn’t respond.  

Very interesting.  When are we going to start asking for more information. When are we going to start questioning our own truths?  Are we believing only because the end result may solely benefit “me” or “mine”?  In the grander scale, nothing works like that.  When are we going to figure out that disagreeing doesn’t mean tearing a person down, it means building together to find a commonality.

Surveys, Questions and Answers - Oh my!

Politicians receive a lot of questionairres and surveys about what they believe in.  I've had my fair share during this election cycle and decided that I was going to share my answers with you.  I haven’t been endorsed by any specific group, political action group (PAC) or union.  I want you to understand the process.  The only way that I can do that is to show you so that you can have answers too and understand the political process better.  Below is a letter, survey and answers regarding a request from The League of Women Voters:

August 25, 2009
Dear Candidate,
The League of Women Voters (LWV) is preparing to publish a Voter Guide for the Lansing General Election.  The questionnaire is attached to this email.  The voter guide will include coverage of the candidates for Lansing City Councilmember At-Large. Printed copies of the LWV LA voter guide will be distributed to the Lansing branches of the Capital Area District Library, MSU’s main library, community centers and certain local businesses such as Schuler Books and Music.  We regret that scheduling conflicts prevent the League from sponsoring a Lansing Candidate Forum this fall.    
Biographical information and views are being solicited from all candidates who have qualified to appear on the ballot.  We will need your response by September 4th to be included in the Guide, which we plan to print by September 8, 2009.
Please focus on communicating your ideas, your vision for the community and refrain from attacks on opposing candidates.   There is a word limit of 45 words for your personal statement and 35 words for the answer to each question, but please keep in mind that all candidates have the same limits and the same opportunity to reach the voters.  There is no need to write a new Personal Statement, if you are satisfied with your statement in the LWVLA Lansing Primary Voter Guide.   If you use Microsoft Word, you will find a spell check and word count by opening the Tools icon at the top of your screen.  It is always a good idea to use your spell checker.  When word limits are exceeded, our policy is to cut the response at the word limit followed by an (....).  We will print material as submitted and will not make corrections in spelling, capitalization, grammar or punctuation.  Please do not send campaign literature or other political material.  
Please find the questions below and respond by email.
 Thank you for your participation.  All the voters will benefit from your responses in this Voter Guide.
Kathy Esselman

Personal Statement

I'm a proven community leader and a 20-year resident. I publish The New Citizens Press. I've worked for the United Nations, Michigan House of Representatives and Jackson National Life Insurance Company. I desire to serve Lansing with integrity while offering a fresh innovative perspective.

1.  What is the role of the At-Large Councilmember on the Lansing City Council?  What special qualifications would you bring to this office?

To assist in the formulation of good public policy and to govern accordingly. I'm results oriented and a team player. I've the ability to respond to constituent concerns in a timely and informative manner.

2.  The debate about the sale of the North Parking Ramp has resulted in increased costs to both Lansing and LCC.  How could the city and other parties communicate better in the future?

The ability to listen to all sides and giving individuals an opportunity to provide solutions to rectify misunderstood perceptions on both sides is important. Respectfully disagreeing is also critical in effective communications.

3. Regional cooperation has been discussed for decades yet rarely implemented.   What services could be consolidated for greater efficiency between the City of Lansing, Lansing Township, East Lansing and/or Ingham, Eaton and Clinton Counties?

As we individually become less fossil fuel dependent, opportunities to regionalize mass transit could be explored, especially as we consider transportation from rural to densely populated areas.

4.  Do you support or oppose the Ordinance amendment No. 1139 amendment which moves the licensing of canvassers, street peddlers and itinerant merchants to the City Clerk's Office and removes the exemption provision?  Why?

Licensing occurs at the City Clerk's office currently.  Moving the licensing of  “peddlers” from Council to the City Clerk's office streamlined and standardized the process and made it consistent with the handling of other licenses.

5.   There is a lack of sidewalks, safe crossings, and bike lanes on many Lansing roads, particularly South Cedar and Aurelius Road. What ideas do you have for make Lansing more accessible for walking and biking?

As construction continues in Lansing, now is an opportune time to explore alternate funding sources like MDOT and federal stimulus money and community grants for a coordinated approach to making our streets more accessible.

There is a new questionairre that just came out as well.  I’ve had some really interesting ones and wanted to show you one of the easy ones.  Thank you again for your support get out and vote and tell or take a friend.  You can make a difference.


Rina Risper

P.S.  In the next edition, I will be printing my responses to the Lansing Chamber of Commerce.  Very interesting interview as well. If anyone has any questions about the above, please call me.


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