Blue Water Healthy Living
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Five candidates seek three spots on Marine City Commission

Photo courtesy of Andrew Pakledinaz Marine City Commission candidate Andrew Pakledinaz.

One name on the ballot for mayor

By Barb Pert Templeton

The Nov. 8 general election ballot will find have five candidates seeking to fill three four-year terms at the Marine City Commission table plus Jennifer Vandenbossche is running unopposed for a two-year term as mayor.

Current Marine City Mayor Cheryl Vercammen decided not to run again and so did Commissioner Wendy Kellehan. 

Mayor Pro Tem Jacob Bryson and Commissioner John Kreidler are hoping to return to the commission table and are being challenged by newcomers, Michael Hilferink, Andrew Pakledinaz and Rita Roehrig.

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Vandenbossche’s spouse, David Vandenbossche, formerly served as the mayor of Marine City and is currently a member of the St. Clair County Board of Commissioners representing District 7. The mayor is elected by the voters and one candidate may run unopposed for the top spot.

Blue Water Healthy Living sent out questions to all five candidates plus the mayor on Oct. 17 requesting responses be sent by Oct. 28. Four of the five commission candidates responded, but Hilferink’s reply came in after the deadline. Mayoral candidate Vandenbossche did not reply

Responses from Commissioner John Kreidler, Andrew Pakledinaz and Rita Roehrig follow here.

Some responses were edited for space. 

Bio information for John Kreidler(I): Not originally from Marine City, Kreidler was born in Parkersburg West Virginia but lived all over the country while growing up due to his father’s job. The family eventually ended up in Michigan and he graduated from Marysville High School. He attended SC4 and then worked at Macomb Center for the Performing Arts where he began a career in the live event industry that led him to travel the world working in various areas of the production industry.  Kreidler has been married to his wife, Christy for 34 years and they have four children, two grandchildren, two dogs, three cats and four goldfish. He’s been a technical consultant for both the Snug and Riverbank Theatres and they moved to Marine City in 2017.  

Photo courtesy of City of Marine City
Commissioner John Kreidler.

Blue Water Healthy Living: Why are you seeking to return to your seat on the Marine City Commission?

Kreidler: I believe I can add my perspective to the commission and help to make decisions that affect our city positively moving forward.  I think the diverse makeup of the Commission can help us to understand the consequences of the decisions we make whether they are intended or unintended.

Blue Water Healthy Living: Do you feel your absences at many monthly meetings this year, (it appears you missed six out of nine) affects your representation and work on behalf of city residents?

Kreidler: Yes, unfortunately it does. My work is freelance and therefore my schedule can be unpredictable. Thursday through Saturday are the most likely days of the week that I will be working an evening event. We as a commission are considering changing the meetings to Monday or Tuesday as this would help with implementation of decisions more quickly by the city manager since the city offices are closed Fridays.

Blue Water Healthy Living:  What projects or developments are you hoping to help make happen in the city over the next two years?

Kreidler: I believe cities that are designed for people are the best places to live. Reducing motor vehicle traffic increases foot traffic. Our city has a distinct advantage over many others in that the main business district on Water Street isn’t a through street. This keeps speeds down typically below 20 mph which makes it safer to walk. This is why I would support a “Road Diet” on Broadway and S. Parker, lowering speeds and reducing the number of lanes while providing bike lanes.  I would also support a remote parking and “Trolley” system to bring in tourists without bringing in more cars.  This would eliminate the need for parking minimums for businesses and make better use of the land in the city.  I will support Mixed Use Zoning so that residents can be within a 15-minute walk to essential services

Blue Water Healthy Living: What unique skills do you feel you bring to the table for residents in the city who hope to see the negativity at commission meetings over the last year become a thing of the past?

Kreidler: Growing up being the “new kid” all my life has given me the skills to keep the peace while still standing up for myself.  I also bring the unique perspective of having lived and traveled to so many places. I hope we can be an example to the generations to follow of good local governance with civility while making the difficult but necessary decisions.

Bio information for Andrew Pakledinaz: He was born and raised in Shelby Twp, but moved to Marine city with his wife a few years ago. Pakledinaz works as an engineering detailer and has experience in accounting as well. He is the current president of Friends of City Hall, and has roles on the Planning Commission, Historical Commission, and the 300 Broadway Committee.

Blue Water Healthy Living: Why are you seeking a seat on the Marine City Commission?

Pakledinaz: I’m seeking a seat on the commission because I want to do what I can to keep Marine City moving in a direction that satisfies both the needs of residents, as well as the wants of visitors. I believe in a healthy balance between the two. I also want to preserve the historic charm of the city. Marine City’s history is an asset, and as such, we ought to do what we can to make the most of it. Additionally, I believe I can be an advocate for folks on the west end of town, as well as younger families in our city. As a younger man, I understand what issues younger families may have that could be overlooked by other commissioners. Finally, I have no ulterior motives when it comes to decision making. I vote only for what I believe would optimally support the city and its residents.

Blue Water Healthy Living: What projects or developments are you hoping to help make happen in the city over the next two years?

Photo courtesy of Rita Roehrig
Marine City Commission candidate Rita Roehrig.

Pakledinaz: Of course, our roads and infrastructure are a top priority. Aside from that, I believe the city needs to focus on Parker Street and the west end of town. Water Street has become a bustling destination which is fantastic, but we are at a point now where if we put that same level of focus on Parker, we could see major improvements to the city. Parker should be the street that residents can find all their day-to-day needs fulfilled on, and at the moment, it has fallen short. These issues also extend to the K-Mart Plaza, which needs to be revitalized as well. Our residents should not have to leave town to find basic necessities, and I’d like to help solve that problem.

Blue Water Healthy Living: What unique skills do you feel you bring to the table for residents in the city who want to see the negativity at commission meetings over the last year become a thing of the past?

Pakledinaz: Unlike some of the other candidates, who have already made it clear that they are burdened by grudges and drama, I have zero interest in that sort of behavior. I am interested in one thing- improving our city. I’m friendly with the current commissioners as well as the city employees I’ve met. I firmly believe that as commissioners, part of the job is to respectfully communicate with residents, city employees, and other commissioners in order to facilitate helpful policies and decisions. If I happen to disagree with another commissioner, then so be it. Disagreements are vital to healthy debate, and without debate, we can’t effectively govern. I’m hopeful that after the election, the commission will be able to have a fresh start and leave the drama behind for good. In all honesty, a good commission is boring to watch, city government should not be some sort of bizarre spectator sport

Bio information for Rita Roehrig: Growing up in Ira Township, I learned a lot about local government from my mom, Rita M. Roehrig, who was the Ira Township clerk, treasurer, and supervisor for many years. I graduated from Algonac High School and have a two-year degree from SC4 in Computer Applications. I lived in Miami and Houston before moving back to the area and to Marine City in 1999. I understand small business, having been a small business owner. 

Blue Water Healthy Living: Why are you seeking a seat on the Marine City Commission?

Roehrig: I believe in transparency and actually listening to the people of Marine City. Selling the Guy Center is a perfect example of not respecting the citizen’s wishes. The city needs more commissioners who will watch the budget during these inflationary times. We should spend more on roads and infrastructure and not spend over $290,000 on bike paths. I believe there should be more balance between attracting visitors and the needs and wants of the people who live in Marine City and between the downtown businesses and all the other great businesses in the rest of the city.  

Blue Water Healthy Living: What projects or developments are you hoping to help make happen in the city over the next two years?

Roehrig: Roads and the budget would be major concerns. I want to pursue another park on the north side of town with a splash pad if we can get grants and use city money responsibly. We need to work on getting building permit fees that are in line with neighboring communities and not to the building inspector, who we pay and give 75 percent of the permit fees. The commission also needs to reevaluate a community center that the citizens of our city can actually use. I want to build trust with the community, so they will come to meetings to speak out and know that we will listen to them and genuinely consider their concerns and issues.

Blue Water Healthy Living: What unique skills do you feel you bring to the table for residents in the city who want to see the negativity at commission meetings over the last year become a thing of the past?

Roehrig: My years working in the hospitality and customer service sectors mean I will listen to the concerns of all the citizens and businesses of the city. One side of the commission often made negativity an issue at past commission meetings because you disagreed with them. Discussions and disagreements are how the democratic process works. The commission should represent what the people of the community want and need, not the special interests of a few. I’m not afraid to speak up and stand up for the citizen’s concerns.

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