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Angelo Berlasi and Caitlyn Stephenson working the polls today in Royal Oak. Photo John Hardwick.
Election Round Up: WIN IN ROYAL OAK
By Crystal A. Proxmire
Originally printed 10/31/2013 (Issue 2144 - Between The Lines News)
One Royal Oak Wins: Human Right Ordinance Affirmed
Royal Oak has affirmed its Human Rights Ordinance tonight with 54% of the vote. Proposal A protects LGBT individuals from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations. The ordinance was approved by the City Commission earlier this year, but it was put up for a public vote when a small group of residents petitioned against it.
Not only is Proposal A important in Royal Oak, it is being watched by legislators across the state on both sides of the political aisle. Bipartisan discussions have advocated for amending the state's civil rights law - Elliot Larsen - which would be amended to include sexual orientation and gender expression. Royal Oak is seen as a litmus test for those efforts.
Royal Oak City Commission
There are three open seats and four candidates running. The one candidate, Diane Hargan who opposed the Human Rights Ordinance, publically speaking out against it in Commission meetings and online, lost her bid.
Two pro-equality candidates: Jeremy Mahrle and Sharlan Douglas won their bid and so did incumbent David Poulton who had voted against the Human Rights Ordinance because he believed that the public should vote on it.
Ferndale Re-elects Dave Coulter By Wide Margin
Ferndale was facing an interesting Mayoral election, with four candidates running including two gay men who have already served as Mayor and County Commissioner. Current Mayor Dave Coulter has prevailed over former Mayor Craig Covey by a 15 point margin. Having two gay men running against each other brought national attention to the small suburban community, though in reality the issues facing the city have little to do with equality and diversity since it is already a very welcoming place.
Ferndale also elected openly gay candidate Greg Pawlica to the city council.
Marijuana was also on the ballot and Proposal A won by a 2-1 margin receiving 70% of the vote.
Pontiac City Council And School Board
Mike McGuinness is the controversial former Chair of the Oakland County Democrats who pled no contest to a series of felonies tied to registering fake Tea Party Candidates in 2010. McGuinness lost his bid for a seat on city council. McGuinness was up against incumbent Kermit Williams who was unopposed when he claimed his first term in the 7th District of Pontiac in 2009.His husband, Ronnie Karpinski, was running for the Pontiac Library Board. He came in seventh in a field of nine. The top six vote getters won seats on the board.
KZOO Candidate Tracy Hall
Kalamazoo City Commission
Tracy Hall, a candidate for the City Commission in Kalamazoo narrowly missed being elected. The top seven vote getters in a field of 15 were elected and Hall came in eighth.
If elected she would have been the first out lesbian to do so.
Holland Candidate Donald Martin
Holland City Council
City Council Candidate Donald Martin lost his bid for a seat.
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