Six Candidates for Three City Council Seats

Friday, July 26, 2019, 9:30 am
By: 
Alice Dreger

In the running for City Council (clockwise from upper left): Mark Meadows, Warren Stanfield, Erik Altmann, Lisa Babcock, Jessy Gregg, and John Revitte.

A total of six candidates now stand for the three East Lansing City Council seats on the November 5 ballot. They are Erik Altmann, Lisa Babcock, Jessy Gregg, Mark Meadows, John Revitte, and Warren Stanfield. Audrey Yonkus had filed, but pulled out of the race today.

The East Lansing City Clerk’s office is showing that these East Lansing residents have successfully completed the paperwork necessary to get on the ballot. (Michigan campaign finance regulation will later require more paperwork.)

The three Council seats are opening up because the four-year terms of Altmann, Meadows, and Shanna Draheim are expiring. Draheim has said she is not running for re-election out of concerns about her family life and her increasing job responsibilities at the Michigan Municipal League.

The five seats on City Council are all at-large. After the election, the five Council members – Ruth Beier, Aaron Stephens, and whomever is elected or re-elected – will decide who among them will serve as Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem for the next two years.

The five members of East Lansing’s City Council make major decisions for the people of this city.

They decide who will be the City Attorney and City Manager and determine how much those individuals will be paid. They decide how taxpayers’ money will be spent and to whom public lands will be sold or leased.

East Lansing’s Council members also decide whether to settle lawsuits like the retaining wall case, the Country Mills case, and the whistleblower wrongful termination case.

They decide whether to give tax incentives to developers (and their friends and relations) and to businesses like Costco, whether to outlaw noisy air conditioners or relax noise rules for downtown establishments, whether to increase or decrease certain taxes and fees, and what the priorities of City workers will be.

As noted, Council members here also decide who among the five of them will be the Mayor, a job that these days comes with more power than ever. Council members, particularly the Mayor, determine how much, how little, and when the public will be let in on many important matters.

The members of Council have the power to change important zoning codes and approve or disapprove many redevelopment projects, and to determine to some extent the regulation of marijuana, the handling of environmental concerns, and where you can park.

ELi is bringing forward profiles of the candidates to help voters get to know them all. This week we published the first two, on Jessy Gregg and Lisa Babcock, from ELi’s Brad Minor. ELi will also be surveying readers to find out what the big election issues are for them.

 

Note: This article was updated at 3:20 p.m. to reflect Yonkus's withdrawal from the race.

 

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