Rotta takes out petition to run for mayor

April 23, 2013
Tom Rotta

Tom Rotta

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON – Tom Rotta is the fourth person to announce that he has taken out a petition to run for mayor of the City of Ludington. It is probably safe to say that Rotta has been a thorn in the side of city hall for the past few years. He is an activist who has made it his quest to question the actions of elected and appointed city officials. Rotta operates the website, which is a forum to discuss current events.

“My vision for Ludington is to have city hall readopt a laissez-faire (hands-off) approach to area affairs and have a resurgence of the prosperity we have known in the past,” Rotta told MCP. “The government of this country, this state, this county and this city have moved towards a failed and unfair system of forming ‘partnerships’ with business ventures and economic development initiatives that defy the free market capitalism that made our country great.”

“We sink $150,000 of public funds into the downtown each year that come not only from Ludington citizens but the other public bodies in this county. A lot of that is spent on experimentation, downtown festivals, cronyism, and pure waste. That’s mostly money taken away from the public taxrolls. The chamber of commerce, the convention and visitors bureau, the Jaycees, and the businesses themselves could and should dictate how best to manage the survival of our downtown, not the current mayor and city manager of Ludington, who have both shown their incompetence in running the rest of the city. Administrative duties of our city do not encompass marketing or micromanaging the downtown.”

Rotta said he would cut tax rates and “count every public penny” starting by getting rid of the Downtown Development Authority millage and move to roll back the tax increment financing “which robs from the poor to give to the rich.” He said he is against tax abatements.

He said he also would like to fix the city’s streets and build more sidewalks. “It is an embarassment to have our streets in such bad repair and miles of streets within school safety zones that lack sidewalks.”

He said he would like full transparency of city hall, its actions and paperwork. “To this end, I plan on working to abolish committees that do not have to follow the Open Meetings Act, and I plan on implementing a policy to see that more of the official paperwork, contracts, and processes are to be posted readily-available on-line for the public.

“City Clerk (Deborah) Luskin has already began some of that process in her last four years, I plan on working with the clerk staff to go further, faster. I will respond to those people that feel they are not getting information they are legally deserving of, and make sure they get it at a reasonable, legal price, if any.”

Rotta said he realizes he has developed an antagonistic relationship with the city council and its administration. He has publicly made it known that he is not a fan of City Manager John Shay. “I would immediately ask for a resignation from our current city manager if elected, and implore the city council to fire him in December if he doesn’t.”

Rotta has frequently accused Shay of perjury and violating the Michigan Open Meetings Act.

“I will consistently try to build bridges with the city council, as fellow elected officials, but I guarantee there will be conflict as our philosophies are dissimilar.”

Rotta said he sees the role of mayor to preside over city council but not to run the city council. “I would try to remind them regularly of the implications of the ordinances they are considering to pass, and try to pass along my laissez-faire attitude to them whenever possible.”

“Ideally, I would be on the same page as the City Manager, a position I would highly favor phasing out over time, probably four years time. In that way, Ludington could elect a mayor in 2017 that would be able to rule with a popular mandate instead of being hampered with the undemocratic city manager system. I myself would not run for reelection, a pledge I made back when I ran unsuccessfully for City Councilor in 2011.”

Others who have announced they have taken out petitions for mayor are Councilor-at-Large Kaye Ferguson Holman, former councilor and retired police captain A. Pete Engblade and Dave Kosla.

Citizens have until 4 p.m. May 14 to turn in petitions for mayor and city council seats. Also up for election are council seats in the second, fourth and sixth wards. The August primary election is Aug. 6 and the general election is Nov. 5.



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