July 31,2020 Your Source for Livonia Happenings
Clarenceville set to have two new Trustees as two incumbents step down
Livonia Public Schools may have a race shaping up with two challengers squaring off with the four incumbents. But that is not the case in the oldest school district in Michigan as Clarenceville will not have a campaign but will be seeing two new faces serving on the Board of Education.

Two incumbent Trustees are retiring. The two stepping down include Matt Boettcher, President of the Board, who was first elected in 1997 and Brenda Uren, Secretary of the Board, who was first elected in 2008.

Replacing Boettcher and Uren will be newcomers Pam Shroud (pictured left) who has two daughters, one just graduated and one will be a freshman this year, and Chris Kluesner (pictured below left), who has three children, one just graduated and he has two twins who will be Juniors this year.
Matt Boettcher is an attorney employed with Plunkett & Cooney in Bloomfield Hills. He is a graduate of the University of Detroit and grew up in Livonia. Matt and wife Heidi have four children including three sons who are graduates of Clarenceville High School.  

Brenda Uren is a graduate of Clarenceville and has lived in the district all her life. Brenda is employed as a manager. She and husband Jim have two sons, both graduates of Clarenceville High School. Volunteer activities include Botsford's Parent Teacher Organization board member, coordinator of the ABC craft shows and various other activities within the district. 

Two other incumbents rounding out the field include Shari Krazel, Treasurer and Jeffrey Bunker.

With no campaign shaping up in Clarenceville attention in the hometown will focus on the Livonia Public Schools.

Helping our hometown become acquainted with the candidates running for Trustee on the Livonia Board of Education
Now that there is a campaign for Livonia Board of Education with six candidates having filed FridayMusings will be sharing comments by the candidates as they ratchet up the campaign in a difficult Presidential election year. Our school board candidates will be on the same ballot as our Presidential election. Today we are sharing comments from Dan Centers:

I am excited to announce my campaign for re-election to the Livonia School Board!

Since May of 2014, I have been serving our community on the Livonia School Board. Over those six years we have developed new programs, renovated all of our school buildings, lowered class sizes, added new sport offerings, and given our teachers a long overdue raise. This has been a tremendous challenge, but we accomplished it by working collaboratively and making decisions that put kids first.

Now, we are facing our largest challenge yet: keeping students and staff safe, while providing quality instruction. I have been working hard, assisting Senator Polehanki on the State of Michigan’s Return to Learn Committee, while also being a member of the Livonia Public Schools’ Return to Learn Committee.

Based on this current work, over six years of school board experience, and my time as a classroom teacher, I believe that I am the right person to continue to lead our district through these unprecedented times.

All candidates running for School Board are welcome to submit comments on issues facing our public schools. Other candidates include Crystal Frank (I), Karen Bonifield (I), Tammy Bonifield (I), Madeline Acosta, and Nicole Hoskins Goudreau. 4 will be elected.
The hot button race in Livonia is for the Republican
nomination for State Representative
With the race for the Republican nomination for Congress not picking up steam or interest in Livonia there remains only one hot button race to follow for the upcoming election next week. It is on the Republican side of the ballot. State Representative.
Republicans have a choice on August 4th in the race for State Representative. The winner will take on Democrat incumbent State Representative Laurie Pohutsky. A campaign that will be watched across the state and is already being targeted by Republicans who hope to win back a seat lost in 2018 when Pohutsky narrowly defeated Livonia City Councilman Brian Meakin.

FridayMusings has been following the Republican race, studying the endorsements, public statements and Facebook postings.  Regina Gargus, Penny Crider and Martha Ptashnik  are all on the face of it platform Republicans. Each are right-to-life, want to curtail spending and oppose any restrictions on guns. So the issue in deciding how and who to endorse comes down to how their message is being delivered, the style, content, and tenor of conversation.
Gargus is an enigma. Her opposition to the state-wide shutdown is loud and vociferous, using language or sharing memes at times that stop short of a rational discussion. And then she will post some wonderful recipes and comment positively on individuals on the city council who are diametrically opposed to her political positions. No endorsements and with a shrill approach to stating her positions she can not be considered a serious candidate. I think she could offer some serious discussion on a number of issues if she was so inclined.

The race comes down to two wings of the Livonia Republican party. The first is the dominant paradigm of city politics that elected Jack Kirksey Mayor for 16 years. They have, with obvious connections in Lansing that appear to be tied in to the Michigan Republican Party with strong support of Lansing insider organizations. Past Mayor Jack Kirksey, Former Councilmen Jim McCann, John Pastor, Brian Meakin, John Walsh, current Treasurer Lynda Scheel along with current city councilwomen Kathleen MacIntyre, Cathy White and County Commissioner Terry Marecki have all endorsed Ptashnik. Add to that the Great Lakes Education Project, the major supporter in Michigan of for-profit charter schools, and you have a formidable candidate, who with little political experience is clearly in a position to win the nomination by creating an image of a well connected Livonia resident.
Another wing of the local Republican scene brings a solid candidate who articulates positions that have been hers for years, especially having worked as the district representative for State Senator Patrick Colbeck during his two terms. Her endorsement by Lynn Mills, Livonia's outspoken advocate of the right-to-life movement in Michigan brings solid support to Crider. Add to that the endorsement of pro-gun advocates like Roger Little, owner of Shooters Service, and pro-business leaders like George Demopolous, owner of the Senate Coney Island and the grassroots organizing that has been her hallmark for the 8 years of service to Colbeck actually should make her the candidate to beat but with the Lansing lobbyist groups lining up with Ptashnik that advantage appears to have been taken away.

The last minute billboard countering an earlier billboard on racial profiling was a political bold move. Her TV coverage detailing the billboard reminded this observer of the last minute TV coverage by Rob Donovic in the City Council race that may have given him a boost in narrowly winning the 4th and last council position. Many political insiders called the billboard "brillant."

Both Ptashnik and Crider received the endorsement of Right-to-Life of Michigan. Always a key endorsement in any primary. Look to those voters aligning with Mills to help get out the vote for Crider.
But the candidate who will bring the best campaign if not the most money from outside organizations against Pohutsky in November is Martha Ptashnik.

Ptashnik is a Churchill school teacher supported by organizations wanting more of the public school money provided to for-profit charter schools. Pohutsky is a trained scientist supported by environmental groups wanting her continued support for clean water. Ptashnik by virtue of her endorsements supports for-profit charter schools. Pohutsky supports our historic Public Schools. Pohutsky is for a woman's right to choose. Ptashnik adopts the position of right-to-life. A serious debate could be had on a number of issues if the outside groups would hold off on the massive mailings and let the candidates run a local campaign. Don't count on it.

Ptashnik has waged a positive, marginally issue-oriented campaign based on a headline approach to the issues. A headline without the substance of the issue. She will need to move more to specifics on issues to expect to win in November. Her strength as a public school teacher, support from those who know and have led Livonia in the past give her the advantage and should, if she is allowed to run her own campaign based in Livonia and not out of Lansing, could give Livonia a state representative race for the ages.

Martha Ptashnik has shown that she deserves your vote in the Republican primary for State Representative on August 4th.
We shall see how the endorsements fall in November as we see how the campaigns shape up. It should be a good one.