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The improved G.R. Mayorial Poll

The future mayor of G.R.   50 members have voted

  1. 1. Who should it be?

    • George Heartwell
      31
    • Jim Rinck
      10
    • Rick Tormala
      8
    • Jackie Miller
      1

Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.

60 posts in this topic

This was created in order to better reflect the current mayor's race, and to help you to get to know each candidate. I'm in the process of contacting each candidate to see if they would like to add something to this discussion. While I am doubtful I will get a response, anything I do get will be posted here unaltered and unchanged. There will also be one biography per mayor with large headings to hopefully separate them.

From each candidate's web page:

George Heartwell

Mayor George Heartwell was installed into office on December 30, 2003. He won his election to office with 84% of the votes cast in a three way primary election. Taking more than half the votes meant that Mayor Heartwell would not have to compete in a run-off General Election. Because the job of Mayor is considered part-time in Grand Rapids, Mayor Heartwell serves as President and CEO of Pilgrim Manor, a retirement community of the United Church of Christ. He has held this position since October of 2005. Pilgrim Manor has a staff of 140, an $8.0 million budget and provides housing for as many as 163 senior citizens in nursing care and assisted living. Mayor Heartwell came to Pilgrim Manor from Aquinas College where he designed and implemented the Community Leadership Institute. While at Aquinas, Heartwell taught undergraduate courses in community leadership.

George Heartwell is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, a graduate of Western Theological Seminary with Masters of Divinity degree. For 14 years prior to his appointment at Aquinas Heartwell served as Pastor of Public Ministries at Heartside Ministry, a faith-based program serving the homeless poor. While employed at Heartside Ministry he established a medical clinic, clothing and furniture center, residential recuperative care center, employment and job training program, general educational and computer training programs and a worship center. He was known as an innovator who could bring creativity and resources together to meet human need.

During the last eight years of his tenure at Heartside Ministry, Heartwell held elected office as a City Commissioner in Grand Rapids, MI. The Third Ward, which he represented, has a population of approximately 68,000 people and is the most racially and economically diverse of the city

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I vote Heartwell. I could go on and on about why, but it comes down to the fact that I believe he's a good guy who has been in office while great things have happened in GR. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

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I have not voted in the poll because, well, I don

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I vote Heartwell. I could go on and on about why, but it comes down to the fact that I believe he's a good guy who has been in office while great things have happened in GR. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

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I have not voted in the poll because, well, I don

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Like trying to sell: Garfield Park, Indian Trails, 201 Market (at a loss). I think everything good that happened while Heartwell has been mayor was set in motion before he became mayor.

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201 Market: Is $35 Million a loss?

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A little more information on George's record:

I did some checking around - the city was going to sell 201 Market for 35 million, but the cost to move the city facility was going to be an estimated 64 million. So, a 29 million $ loss. Heartwell signed a confidentiality agreement for the mystery development, which he then lost. While under the agreement, he was emailing Peter Secchia about the development, which violated the agreement he signed. At the same time, the other city commissioners were kept in the dark. This whole fiasco cost the city $100,000. You can read more about it here: http://www.wzzm13.com/news/local/grmetro_a...x?storyid=52660 Based on that story, I would have expected a lot more skepticism from him, instead of "My level of confidence has steadily grown over the process."

As far as the hybrid, that was purchased by us - the taxpayers. George asked the city to buy it for him after pledging not to use a taxpayer provided vehicle. He changed his mind when his own car was totaled.

Finally, I'd say that Rick has been more active that George in the community; the difference is that Rick is actually out in the neighborhoods. George can be seen at social gatherings, ribbon cuttings, and conferences. I've never seen him in my neighborhood. I don't think he even came and walked door to door during the Garfield Park controversy like Commissioner Bliss did. That's my experience, I guess you have yours.

I think George comes across as a nice guy, but I think he is out of his league.

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To be fair, the $29 million loss would be offset by increased tax revenue. I don't think the city/mayor would even be talking to developers about deals if it weren't somehow in the city's best interest. What's in the city's best interest is debatable, of course.

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I think George comes across as a nice guy, but I think he is out of his league.

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A little more information on George's record:

I did some checking around - the city was going to sell 201 Market for 35 million, but the cost to move the city facility was going to be an estimated 64 million. So, a 29 million $ loss. Heartwell signed a confidentiality agreement for the mystery development, which he then lost. While under the agreement, he was emailing Peter Secchia about the development, which violated the agreement he signed. At the same time, the other city commissioners were kept in the dark. This whole fiasco cost the city $100,000. You can read more about it here: http://www.wzzm13.com/news/local/grmetro_a...x?storyid=52660 Based on that story, I would have expected a lot more skepticism from him, instead of "My level of confidence has steadily grown over the process."

As far as the hybrid, that was purchased by us - the taxpayers. George asked the city to buy it for him after pledging not to use a taxpayer provided vehicle. He changed his mind when his own car was totaled.

Finally, I'd say that Rick has been more active that George in the community; the difference is that Rick is actually out in the neighborhoods. George can be seen at social gatherings, ribbon cuttings, and conferences. I've never seen him in my neighborhood. I don't think he even came and walked door to door during the Garfield Park controversy like Commissioner Bliss did. That's my experience, I guess you have yours.

I think George comes across as a nice guy, but I think he is out of his league.

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I honestly think that if anyone is to be truly effective the mayor should be full time. If we want to be a major city we need to act like one. I'm not tipping my hand here, but if Mayor Heartwell was full time in all aspects, then he may be able to do more.

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I'm not to sure making Heartwell or any future mayor full-time will help. Currently, the mayor plays just a ceremonial role. That's not to diminish Heartwell or future mayors of Grand Rapids. I'm not sure how making his job full-time will help when his power (if any) is severely limited. If he were a true executive, then I could see his job warranting full-time status. That way he could oversee the government and implement his policy. Of, course because quite a bit of executive power is with Kurt Kimball, I don't see why the mayor would even need power or hours -- it seems redundant.

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I'm not to sure making Heartwell or any future mayor full-time will cut it. Currently, the mayor plays just a ceremonial role. That's not to diminish Heartwell or future mayors of Grand Rapids. I'm not sure how making his job full-time will help when his power (if any) is severely limited. If he were a true executive, then I could see his job warranting full-time status. That way he could oversee the government and implement his policy. Of, course because quite a bit of executive power is with Kurt Kimball, I don't see why the mayor would even need power or hours -- it seems redundant.

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Is city manager an elected position?

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I've really wondered that, myself. What real power does a mayor have in a Manager-Council form of government? I'm only used to to the Strong Mayor-Council form of municipal government where the mayor is both the ceremonial 'head of state' and the chief executive office (i.e. 'head of government'). I don't think mayoral elections in a city ruled under a manager-council form of government carry anywhere near the weight as a strong mayor-council type government, but I could be wrong.

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I've really wondered that, myself. What real power does a mayor have in a Manager-Council form of government? I'm only used to to the Strong Mayor-Council form of municipal government where the mayor is both the ceremonial 'head of state' and the chief executive office (i.e. 'head of government'). I don't think mayoral elections in a city ruled under a manager-council form of government carry anywhere near the weight as a strong mayor-council type government, but I could be wrong.

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...

BTW, are there any other communities in Michigan with this so called "strong mayor" concept? Do these "strong mayor-councils" allow for a mayor to vote? I believe that this weak mayor type of government has grown quickly in other parts of the country.

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From my understanding of how things work you're probably right. Mayor Heartwell is basically a member of the commission, but with a title. So, his power is a vote. I assume the real power comes when a mayor is asked to cast a deciding vote.

BTW, are there any other communities in Michigan with this so called "strong mayor" concept? Do these "strong mayor-councils" allow for a mayor to vote? I believe that this weak mayor type of government has grown quickly in other parts of the country.

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Just wanted to remind everyone that tonight is the:

Neighborhood Business Mayoral Debate

This event will be televised live on GRTV (Cable Channel 25) from 7:00-8:30 PM with additional air times after the debate. The debate will be moderated by Andy Guy, the managing editor of Rapid Growth, and will be held at the Wealthy Street Theatre (1130 Wealthy St SE).

Thursday, July 26, 2007

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

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From my understanding of how things work you're probably right. Mayor Heartwell is basically a member of the commission, but with a title. So, his power is a vote. I assume the real power comes when a mayor is asked to cast a deciding vote.

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That's great to hear of Andy Guy moderating. I'm hoping someone presses transit, parks, and preservation.

BTW, The Press formally endorsed Mayor Heartwell.

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Has Tormala sufficiently explained the fiasco that are his personal finances? I can't really have much confidence in a guy who can't keep promises to a bank. He's had two home foreclosures in the last 2-3 years (rough estimate).

His supporters giving him money to help him financially rubs me the wrong way too.

Tormala acts like the budget hawk for every nickle and dime that will resonate with the ears of "average" citizens who might vote for him. I"m sick of his grand standing when his personal financial capabilities are not up to running a hot dog cart.

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Don't know if this was already mentioned. The mayor is the tie breaker in the event of a tie vote among the other commissioners. So I guess there is at least a little power with the post.

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