Monday, July 09, 2007

The Coolest City in Michigan

My campaign run for Mayor this Fall is just a logical next step in the twenty years that I have lived in this cool little city. Many of the suburbs that surround Detroit look pretty much the same. Homes in subdivisions built in the last century, streets laid out in grids that do not encourage walking or bike riding, and struggling downtowns, if there is a downtown at all, are repeated in mind-numbing repetition. Ferndale is helping change all that.

Twenty years ago, Ferndale was at a crossroads. The storefronts downtown were mostly empty. Wig shops and nail salons were about all there was. Shoppers had flocked to the malls, built further and further out in the exurbs. Residents were fearful of crime and blight. An adult theatre and a massage parlor were sitting on Woodward in the middle of the town.

That has all changed. And that change came steadily and methodically. No single person can take all of the credit. The Ferndale Police Department kept the city safe. Mayor Goedert opened up city government to progressive ideas, and increased parking, including on-street parking downtown. Little bars and clubs opened up. Mayor Porter led efforts to repair our infrastructure.

The gay community had a huge role to play as well. Without a gay neighborhood or community center to call home, the Detroit GLBT community found itself in a diaspora. Palmer Park was abandoned in Detroit due to horrendous and violent crime. Birmingham was too expensive for many, and Royal Oak looked to become the "Boystown" or "Castro" of Detroit. But that city was not overly welcoming, and Ferndale had unique and affordable housing, and a downtown that showed great potential.

The rest is history. Young couples, singles, and gays moved to the city. Everyone began improving their homes and planting amazing gardens. Trendy stores and eclectic businesses began moving in. The Pub Crawl, the Art Fair, the Pride Festival and the annual Blues Festival
brought tens of thousands of visitors to Ferndale and they liked what they saw.

We agitated for mass transit, and we voted to oppose the Iraq War. We passed decriminalization of medical marijuana, elected the first openly gay councilman and the first openly gay county commissioner. We enacted a human rights ordinance. Now we are becoming known as a "Green" city.

My plans for the city? More of the same. Walkability, green policies, safe streets, diversity and friendly city services. High property values, no new taxes, more trees, and a fun and vibrant downtown. That is what Ferndale's future holds. That is what I want to do as mayor.

4 Comments:

At 8:39 AM, Blogger Brian said...

With over 1/2 of all Ferndale households being families, there is no mention of how you would encourage family life or the school system.

What type of mass transit would be encouraged? I would think this would be driven by the state legislature.

While it is important to recongize the rights of the GLBT community, Ferndale does a fine job of that as it is. The focus on this seems to take away from any real problems, like the empty storefronts on Woodward (though they are few) and the fact that our tax rate is as high as some of the upper-income neighborhoods in the suburbs!

 
At 1:49 PM, Blogger longwalker said...

No one will move here but gays, and a few transient groups who tend not to stay. The area will end up with horrendous crime just as Palmer Park did. I hope being an easier community to police that we can avoid such a fate. Trying to put police and fire under the control of the city manager bodes poorly for the future of our law enforcement. You are not family friendly and families are what makes a community. More houses will not sell and renters will not maintain their properties. Our only hope is for higher gas prices, forcing people to move in closer to their places of employment. Wiht all due respect you are only thinking of your own narcissitic desires!

 
At 8:24 PM, Blogger phlalanx said...

as a republican i think craig will make a good mayor, he has experience, a political education and seems to be an all around nice guy, it's not like he just fell off the turnip wagon. he's instituted a lot of idea's, some i have not agreed with, but all in all he's done what he felt is best for the city.

 
At 3:13 PM, Blogger Craig Covey said...

Promoting a vibrant city, encouraging green policies, and supporting public safety and opposing tax increases would all benefit families. The school system is managed by the elected Board of Education.

The evidence is that young families ARE moving in at substantial rates. As are lots of young couples who will be starting families.

 

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