Letters to the editor May 4

(In response to Atlas opts for partisan elections, The Citizen, April 20, page 4)
Democracy requires an
involved citizenry
Dear Editor,
“If you want to run for office in Brandon Township (Groveland? North Oakland County?), you have to run as a Republican.”
That’s what I’ve heard over the years. In townships that seem to be packed with Republican voters, it seems to me that identifying candidates by party results in a couple of things: You will get some Democrats deceptively running as Republicans, and , 2) you will get people voting their stereotypes rather than listening to what a particular candidate thinks about a particular issue. An unfortunate side-effect of this partisan voting is that some highly qualified Democrats are discouraged from running for local office. Most voters will not take the trouble to hear what a candidate thinks about any particular issue. Instead, if there’s an “R” next to their name, that’s all they need to know about that candidate in order to vote for them. Nuance is lost.
Here’s what Patrick Major, Atlas Township Trustee has to say in last week’s issue of The Citizen about identifying candidates by party on the ballot: “It’s a down and dirty easy way for people to figure out which candidate would be most likely to represent them. That’s why we have two parties and the differences between them.”
It’s also one of the reasons we have so much polarization in this country. It’s easy to believe you know everything about a candidate if you know their party affiliation. That’s true on both sides of the “aisle”. It would be grossly unfair to a moderate candidate of either party, to assume anything about them based on the stereotype you carry in your head about “our side” or “the other side”. Some aspects of your stereotype will probably fit; others, with a candidate who is free from “the party line” probably won’t. It may take some discernment on the voter’s part, but aren’t citizens able to figure that out? The outcome, if party affiliations are not noted on the ballot, will be more in line with what voters want at the local level, issue-by-issue, than you get with voting by stereotype.
An assumption of a candidate’s values based primarily on party affiliation could be wildly misleading. Better to hear what the candidates themselves have to say about the issues that concern our local communities. Democracy requires an involved citizenry.
Sherrie VandePutte
Rocking & Raking success
Dear Editor,
We had over 70 volunteers step up to help our Senior Citizens and handicapped neighbors with yard work on April 27 for our annual Rocking and Raking.
Our 12 work teams consisted of Cub Scout Pack 531, Cub Scout Pack 135, Mindset Group Home, Brandon High School Student Council, Lions Club and St. Anne Church. We had volunteers from ages 7-70 and completed 51 homes! The volunteers worked diligently and in spite of the hard work, kept a smile on their faces. The residents that they helped were so grateful and some even made cookies for them. As we all know, there are many hands involved with a huge project like this.
We want to thank our Rocking and Raking Team: Candee Allen, Faye Bindig, Sharon Gibbons, Jayson Rumball and Kim Zernec.
We couldn’t have completed this many homes without the help of Tim, Bo & Lou from TS Lawn Care, Dan Zernec, Jeremy & Shaun from Chesnutt Outdoor Services and Barry Bass from Bedrock Express.
We want to thank all those who helped put on the luncheon for the volunteers: Linda Person, Faye Bindig, Jayson Rumball, Bob and Maxine Stockley, Frosty Boy of Ortonville and Bob and Karen McArthur.
Also thank you to our wonderful sponsors who helped pay for the t-shirts for our volunteers and supplies for this project: Tim from Ace Hardware of Ortonville, Lake Orion Home Depot, Masonic Lodge #139, Ortonville Lions Club, Ortonville Rotary Club, St. Anne Church, Mindset Group Homes, MDTS, Supervisor Kathy Thurman, Judith Wallace, Edna Burton Senior Center Auxiliary Board, Rumball & Wojtkowicz, PLC.
Last, but not least, we want to thank The Citizen newspaper staff for always helping us promote our events and for their support throughout the year.
Kim Zernec