How are you going to pick your Lansing City Council candidates?

I’ve come to realize that one of the more important groups in my life is the Lansing City Council.

Lansing State Journal web video interview of four city council candidates

Lansing State Journal web video interview of four city council candidates

Think about it.  They directly affect the streets I drive on, the police protection I get, the fire protection my home receives, the kinds and quanity of businesses in my city, the taxes I pay and a list of other things that could go on for a single-spaced page or two.

Three questions:  (1)  What special skills, knowledge, values and attitudes does a city council-member need to be effective?   (2) Where and how do I find this information that I need to make a knowledgeable vote?

At the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 3, I will join other city of Lansing voters at the polls to select four council-members from eight candidates.  Voters will elect council members in the second and fourth wards and two at-large who will represent the whole city.

Where do you find candidate information?

Here’s where I’ve looked:  our daily newspaper, the Lansing State Journal which seems to cover the city council on a hit or miss basis and in very little depth; televised city council meetings on Comcast’s channel 12 with all their raucousness and attitude; the city of Lansing’s website which has a section for city hall, including the council and various city departments and various neighborhoods meetings where council members attend.

What are the alternatives in gaining information about the council and about city operations?

How are you going to pick your candidates?  You like somebody because you heard good things about them in the coffee

Lansing City Council candidate Rina Risper interviewed by the Lansing State Journal

Lansing City Council candidate Rina Risper interviewed by the Lansing State Journal

shop?  You like a candidate’s looks?  You’re voting against a candidate and by default the opponent gets your vote?  You have significant knowledge about the candidate and his/her positions, knowledge and character?

The Lansing State Journal has interviewed candidates over live web television and archived those for voters.  Have you seen the first interview with four candidates, Brian Jeffries, Jessica York, Sandy Allen and Harold Leeman and a second with one, Rina Risper?

I invite you to leave your comments and your suggestions.

Wes Thorp, an experienced blogger, blog coach and student of social media, is a former newspaper reporter and a retired staffer from the Michigan Legislature. He has served as the manager of the State Capitol press corps from the 1970s to the 90s where he was a conduit between the news media and the legislature, the executive branch and interest groups. He also worked for newspapers in Illinois and Michigan after graduating from the Michigan State University School of Journalism where he was a part-time adjunct instructor teaching basic newswriting.

One response to “How are you going to pick your Lansing City Council candidates?”

  1. Rob South

    Who would have thought starting a blog about city hall would cause so much consternation. I really wish I deserved to be on your list. Hopefully soon. But I’ve run into more bureaucratic hurtles getting City Beat approved that sometimes I feel like shutting my office door and pretend I’m working…. ’nuff said for now.

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