Council Candidate Profile: Susan Woods

Wednesday, October 4, 2017, 11:49 am
Ann Nichols and Jeanette McWaters

Susan Woods is one of two incumbents running for re-election to East Lansing’s City Council this November. (There are a total of three candidates for two open seats.) The founder of the East Lansing Film Festival, Woods told ELi she got into City politics “not of design,” but because she “started in neighborhood organizations, stood up for a zoning issue at neighborhood group and was asked to run for council.”

Woods gives as her reasons for running “achieving something, and finding solutions to problems.” Asked about challenging problems she has faced as a Councilmember, Woods says it was “hardest to vote on closing Bailey, but the outcomes were greater in the long run. We don’t give up, such as plans for the Park District.” (Read more about the closing of the Bailey Community Center here.)

Woods’ goals if elected for a second term include helping the City attract more jobs, “which will hopefully keep students here after graduation,” to “increase arts and aesthetics in the City,” and to add “more events for students when students are on campus.” She adds that she’d like East Lansing “to get away from just being about sporting events” and to “increase the density of downtown to make the City more attractive and more vibrant.”

One problem she’d like to address is “finding a way gain revenue to pay increasing legacy costs and to maintain a safe city” as East Lansing is “faced by decreased funding from state government.” The best solution, according to Woods, is “a city income tax, which spreads the revenue source to those who don’t live here but use all city services.” The tax is necessary, she says, because “state government only allows a 2 mil increase in property tax, which would not meet the City’s financial needs, and would affect only property owners in the City.”

Woods said the answer to the City’s financial problems does not lie in an agreement with MSU to contribute enough money to render an income tax unnecessary. “For this year, it is dead in the water,” she opined. “Maybe in the future. MSU has the ball.”

Asked about the Park District, the redevelopment project at the blighted corner of Abbot and Grand River that was recently withdrawn, Woods said that “Convexity [the developer] will need to go back to the drawing board and we will need to renegotiate.”

Finally, Woods addressed the perennial issues and tensions between town and gown. “The City Council is always dealing with these issues,” she said. “One of my proposals was the creation of the Welcome Back Dance Party.”

See Woods’ resume here.

You may also be interested in:

ELi's voter guide to the November 2017 City Council election

Candidate profile on Aaron Stephens

Candidate profile on Ruth Beier



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