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FridayMusings Friday, October 14, 2022    Helping define Livonia Quality of Life

The Tour de Livonia makes major announcement

The 2022 Tour de Livonia is now officially in the history books and everyone involved is just plain overjoyed with how many biking enthusiasts participated in the inaugural ride. Over 400 riders, yes, that's right, over 400 riders took part in this year's event. Bikers toured Livonia in either the 6-mile family route or the 17-mile individual route. 

Riders were generous in their praise of the event and most can't wait to Tour de Livonia again next year.

This brings me to the big announcement from Veronica Cruz, Tour de Livonia Director. The 2nd Annual Tour de Livonia will be back again next year on Sunday, September 17th, potentially on the same date as the Good Old Fashioned Neighborhood Corn Roast.

So let's ask two follow-up questions for your consideration:

Would you like to see the Good Old Fashioned Corn Roast continue as a Livonia tradition?
Should the 6th Annual Good Old Fashioned Corn Roast be on the same day as the Tour de Livonia

Note: The Livonia PTSA Council is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) that cannot and does not endorse candidates, but can provide information about relevant candidates to applicable stakeholders. 

1)(Resources)  What is the State/Federal Legislature’s role in providing resources to address access to computers, food, Wi-Fi, special education services, and other student support services? 

Laurie Pohutsky: The Michigan Legislature appropriates funds through the state budget, including dollars for the School Aid Fund and individual programs and services within it. 

Penny Crider: No reply (will update if a reply is received) 

2) (COVID Impact and Relief)  To mitigate the impact of Covid, there have been federal relief funds disbursed to school districts. Do you think these funds have been valuable in the way they have been allocated and utilized?


Laurie Pohutsky:  These funds helped increase per pupil funding to a record high and allowed for investments in historically underfunded areas. I do think that the COVID relief funds have been valuable and think that the way in which they were allocated gave individual districts the flexibility to use them as they see fit. 

Penny Crider: No reply (will update if a reply is received)

3) (Funding)  Even with the equalization of the per pupil allowance there are still educational funding inequities due to the existence of hold harmless districts. What are your proposals to address this to ensure that schools are adequately funded? 

Laurie Pohutsky: The most recent budget that was passed in June was the first we have passed since my time in office that focused primarily on equity rather than equality. I think it is important to see what issues this budget addresses and which remain in order to develop the most effective proposal. 

Penny Crider: No reply (will update if a reply is received) 

4) (Millages)  Voters have continually passed operation millages, sinking funds and bonds in our district – did you support these ballot measures? What are the pros and cons of addressing district needs this way?


Laurie Pohutsky: I have supported these ballot measures, including with public endorsements. While these measures provide more certainty regarding the amount of funding coming in (in contrast with state budgets that can fluctuate depending on political will), there is also an element of uncertainty when it comes to whether or not the measures will pass. Although these ballot measures are typically supported in our community, it still presents a risk. 

Penny Crider: No reply (will update if a reply is received)


5) (Mental Health)  What ways could you, as a legislator, help schools and districts support student mental health and behavior interventions?


Laurie Pohutsky: The Legislature has appropriated funds for more mental health professionals in schools. Additionally, legislation has been introduced to provide a pathway for those studying to be mental health professionals to gain experience and mentorship under a current professional within the district, which would help increase the number of these professionals and hopefully encourage them to continue working in schools. 

Penny Crider: No reply (will update if a reply is received)

6) (Vouchers)  The Michigan PTA has advocated against the Let MI Kids Learn petitions. The bills they support would create so-called student opportunities scholarships and would grant tax credits to donating individuals and companies which could deplete the state budget by up to a billion dollars after five years. If the petition signatures are validated by the Secretary of State, would you support their passage?


Laurie Pohutsky: I would not support the passage of the Let MI Kids Learn initiative. I stand firmly opposed to the policies in it. 

Penny Crider: No reply (will update if a reply is received)


7) (Seizure Safe Schools)  The Michigan PTA has also advocated for Seizure Safe Schools (HB 4970). Do you support this bill that would ensure schools are well-equipped with the tools necessary to provide a safe and enriching environment for students living with epilepsy and seizure disorders?


Laurie Pohutsky: I voted yes on HB 4970.

Penny Crider: No reply (will update if a reply is received)

Enough is enough. I am

mad as hell and can't

take it anymore. 

Penny Crider second from right.

Ken Crider on the right. Posted on the

Penny Crider campaign website.

The Livonia PTSA Council sent seven (7) questions to the candidates running for the Michigan State House of Representatives District #17. Incumbent, Laurie Pohutsky (Democrat) and Challenger, Penny Crider (Republican). The questions and responses are in the column to the left.

Representative Laurie Pohutsky answered all questions. Crider did not respond.

Local issues. Local values. Local Livonia. Instead, candidate Crider chose to run a version of the Willie Horton ad with urban pictures of violent attacks by blacks on whites. Not one or two but many.

The typewriter would have shared the ad here but it is so repulsive that I could not bring myself to place it here.

Her conclusion? Vote the Democrats out of office.

Citizens for Sanity is the source for this 2-minute ad that makes the Willie Horton ad pale by comparison.

Enough is enough Penny Crider. You had a chance to respond to local issues by a local parent organization, the PTSA Council. Instead you posted an ad for your Facebook followers. An ad that has no place in Livonia.

Even more reason for Livonia to support Laurie Pohutsky for re-election.

Two community leaders, Treasurer Lynda Scheel and Councilman Scott Bahr are included on the Crider campaign website which to some observers implies an endorsement.

With Scheel being the past President of the Livonia Board of Education I would encourage her to assist in making sure that Crider responds to the PTSA questionnaire, and answering questions dealing with our Livonia schools. Not posting ads that underscore her unwillingness to address the issues affecting Livonia's quality of life--the quality of schools.

Councilman Bahr should object to the type of campaigning used by Crider with her endorsement of the Citizens for Sanity internet ad campaign saying that this ad is not reflective of the politics Livonia deserves.

Both Scheel and Bahr need to speak up and speak out condemning the use of this ad or let your silence speak for an endorsement.

Mail Address
19514 Livonia 48152
E-mail address
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After three long years, Livonia will once again be gearing up for the Annual Bowling for Backpacks fundraiser, November 19, at Merribowl Lanes!

Please see links below to register and information for donations and sponsorships available. They are offering a discounted price for early registration!

Please come out and have a fun afternoon of bowling, with a great door prize and exciting raffle items! But most importantly showing your support for Blessings in a Backpack.

Saturday, November 19, 2022, 2:00 - 4:00 (registration begins at 1:00pm)

$22.50 (bowler) $12.50 (Non-bowler)


$25.00 (bowler) $15.00 (Non-bowler)


Bowler includes: 2 hours of bowling, shoes rental, 2 slices pizza and pop

access to raffle gifts, door prize

Non-bowler includes: 2 slices pizza and pop, access to raffle gifts, door prize


Please register online prior to the event!

Get tickets at

Visit the website at

Connecting with your hometown. Neighbors working together.

Sit down to a homecooked spaghetti Dinner with members of the Rotary Noon and Rotary AM Clubs to raise funds to eradicate polio.

Livonia is a progressive community, raising money for worthwhile causes.

Since 2020, LEARN has hosted this bi-annual event providing metro Detroit drivers with tail and brake light repair services free of charge.

This public service aims to prevent unnecessary police stops, expensive tickets and fines, and possible court appearances, to benefit the greater community.

Need service?

Show up or register in advance to make sure we have the right equipment for your vehicle:

Want to volunteer?

Volunteering is a great way to learn how to offer a similar service to your community. Sign up here:

Livonia 1835 Hall of Fame Induction Remarks by Steve Spreitzer Class of 2022

Several readers have asked about the comments of Steve Spreitzer, a graduate of Bentley High School, currently President and CEO of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, founded in 1941 and which over time has evolved to mediate cultural and racial differences. 

With our Livonia City Council taking up the issue of a non-discrimination ordinance in the coming weeks' Musings felt it appropriate to share Spreitzer's comments.

His comments shared here begin after his introductions of family and friends in attendance:

I want to recognize my colleagues I have worked with over the years and upon returning to Livonia a year ago, with a special shout out to Sr. Nancy Jamroz, Betty Pluto, and the Felician community along with Delisha Upshaw and Laura Janicka who work tirelessly to fight racism and discrimination.  

Thanks to the work of the Livonia Human Relations Commission (HRC) chaired by Richard Glover who is flanked on the Commission by Haitham Fakhouri, Becky Drzewicki, Carmen Kennedy, and longtime Rosedale Elementary School Social Worker Denise Collins Robison.  

I want to thank Mayor Brosnan for her support of the HRC and the diversity-related efforts which she is leading in the city. As I travel around the state, I don’t see too many elected officials advocating as you have Maureen, especially in such a politically divided community. May you find the support necessary to be even more courageous. 

I also want to thank former Livonia Police Chief Curtis Caid and current chief Tom Goralski for participating in the Michigan Roundtable’s monthly police and community trust-building program

Finally, I am grateful to my colleagues at Masco headquartered here in Livonia who are an exemplar in the DEI space and a driving force behind the efforts we see in Livonia. Thanks for your leadership Sue Sabo and your support of the work of the Roundtable. Other strong supporters of the work of the Michigan Roundtable with a Livonia presence include Consumers Energy who are strong supporters of the work to honor difference by working to advance, inclusion, equity and racial justice.

The work to know and care about the “other” is a lifelong journey for all of us. While we are at different places on our journey, no one of us is that far ahead of the other and quite frankly we need each other to be whole and to one day end racism and other forms of exclusion and oppression all of which dwell deep within us, our institutions and society. Livonia is not unlike any other suburban community in that regard, but we can be distinguished by what we do to become a place where all folks are welcomed & treated well.

I sure have learned a good deal since I left Livonia for college back in the fall of 1974, when I had no Black friends and was very unaware of the challenges other people faced. A few of those lessons include

  1. Relationships are the antidote to prejudicial thinking and the pathway to allyship. Theologian Thomas Donehue said love is fidelity to the demand of relationships.” Part of the poverty of having been raised in an essentially racially homogenous community is I knew so few folks of other races and religions, especially during my formative years. 

  1. Those who haven’t had the opportunity to understand racism need safe places to be heard without fear of being called racist so they can one day become brave, perhaps one-day anti-racist. Most of us have what I would call benign ignorance, meaning we simply don’t know. 

  1. Social problems like racism, misogyny and homophobia call for a justice response, not charity which patronizes the marginalized allowing us to feel good because we listened to a few folks, hired someone of another race or even placed them on a committee then we don’t understand the contempt expressed by folks who we think should be grateful. 

Bishop Dom Helder Camera, who led a Brazilian sister diocese of the Archdiocese of Detroit said when he fed the poor he was called a saint, but when he asked why they were poor was called a communist. Pivoting from charity to justice, from DEI to anti-racism is hard work, requiring deep humility 

The 82-year-old MI Roundtable for Diversity & Inclusion recently declared itself a social and racial justice organization to go deeper to stop these problems at their roots, to challenge organizations to hold their employees accountable, to review policies and practices which actually perpetuate harm, and to take an anti-racist approach to community engagement. To accomplish this we borrowed a 4 part framework from the U of M School of Social work, which I will quickly summarize:

First is we have to examine those things which keep us from understanding racism or other forms of oppression, be it our power, privilege, benign ignorance or the growing problem of white resentment which we have seen rear its ugly head these past 6 plus years. 

Second, we must center the voice of the marginalized, humbly listening to their life experiences and challenges which are foreign to so many of us.

Third, our strategies to drive change must be created by those folks, not folks who look like me. An example would be incorporating the concerns of the folks most impacted by discrimination in a revised NDO.

Washtenaw Co. Assistant Prosecutor Victoria Burton Harris so appropriately shared at a recent Roundtable conference, that those who are closest to the problem are closest to the solution.

Lastly, we must hold ourselves accountable to the people most harmed because of their racial religious or other identities.

Please give me a shout if you would like to tell me your story, ask questions or disagree with me. I need your input to continue to grow in my understanding and practice.