Many people feel that
if they want to have more control of their living environment that they
have to move out of the city. If they move to a suburban community
they will only have to relate to a smaller township or village government
that is more personal and closer to them. Many people feel that the
neighborhood association system in Grand Rapids has lost its political
power to affect city government and has few official administrative tools
to affect the neighborhood.
The present City
Commission has made improvements on the process of bringing city government
closer to the community in some areas and make mistakes in others.
The Community is dynamic and always changing. The target is always
moving. It takes new ideas and a fresh prospective to recognize the
needs of the present.
I believe that
we need to develop a new approach to neighborhoods. I believe that we need to decentralize some of city government's
oversight of our neighborhoods. We have accomplished a lot of what I
envision for neighborhood oversight and nurturing with historic
designation. Where historic designation has been assigned, the drift
towards deterioration has been reversed through local control.
Some neighborhoods do not fit into the category of historic designation but
most should be given local control and monitoring by residents who have the
interest and capability to partner with the city to protect and restore the
vitality of their neighborhood.
I believe that neighborhood councils should have a
significant, official roll in reviewing and controlling building permits,
zoning appeals and changes, and review and be able to affect the delivery
of city services to their neighborhood.
I feel that all communication from City Hall to the neighborhood residents
should be given directly to neighborhood council members or mailed to
neighborhood residents. In the past city staff has communicated with
neighborhood staff members and felt that the neighborhood had been informed.
We should encourage the establishment or renewal of the
relationship between city government and citizen councils in every
neighborhood. These councils should have the opportunity to
meaningfully participate with the City government in regulating and
implementing the enforcement and encouraging the following of laws that
affect the well being of the neighborhood. (zoning, housing,
parks, police, etc.)
Our city employees need to respond in a more personal way to
residents who need their service.
We need to continue to encourage and give incentives for city
employees to live in the City of Grand Rapids.
An e-mail response opportunity is