Atwood, Rush reclaim Baldwin posts
Baldwin supervisors Tom Rush and Randy Atwood, victors in the March 12 Baldwin Township election, spoke positively after the election about their work for Baldwin. Chuck Nagle and Brad Schumacher, the unsuccessful challengers were meanwhile critical of the election results.
Rush went into the election finishing a three year term, while Atwood completed the two years remaining in the term of Jim Oliver after Oliver left the township.
Rush had 244 votes to Nagle’s 74 in the March 12 election, and Atwood came out with 187 votes to Schumacher’s 140.
Here are the responses from Rush, Nagle, Atwood and Schumacher about what they thought of the election results, and what Rush and Atwood see for Baldwin’s agenda in the next three years. Nagle and Schumacher were also asked about any plans for running again.
Nagle’s situation was unique among the four in that he is on the Princeton School Board. He knew that if he was elected to the Baldwin Board he could only serve on one of the two boards.
Nagle called his loss and its margin, “As expected,” and explained why.
“It’s very difficult going up against an incumbent,” Nagle said. “I didn’t go out and do any campaigning this year,” referring to his unsuccessful run last year against Baldwin incumbent supervisor Jay Swanson. “I didn’t knock on any doors. There was no candidate forum.”
Another reason for his loss, Nagle said, was what Nagle called Baldwin’s low voter turnout “Apathy runs wild in Baldwin” to the point where not enough residents in the township care how their tax money is spent, Nagle said
Nagle continued that he took the risk that he might win by expressing his view about the Baldwin board voting for the 112th Street reconstruction project that will be shared between Baldwin and neighboring Livonia Township. Nagle charged that Atwood and Rush “flip flopped to support a pork project” in their voting on the project.
Nagle said that Swanson about a year ago had wanted Baldwin to work on the project and when it came up for the vote at that time, Swanson voted yes, while Baldwin Supervisors Atwood, Rush, Kim Good and Larry Handshoe voted no.
Swanson then worked in the months after that vote to get as many board members to vote his way on the project, Nagle continued.
Swanson has defended his pushing for the project by saying it was a long time in the making to correct sight lines and grades on the street that had become known as Roller Coaster Road and where two girls in a car were injured, one fatally. Swanson also pointed to Baldwin saving $30,000 for its portion of the project by doing it jointly with Livonia.
During the second vote that took place last year on whether Baldwin should be part of the project, Rush and Atwood voted yes, and Good and Handshoe voted no, upon which Swanson voted yes to break the tie.
Nagle campaigned that Swanson, as a resident along that stretch of road, should not have voted on the motion because Nagle felt it was a conflict of interest.
An attorney consulted by the township ruled that in some cases including this one, it is not a conflict of interest if the project would benefit the township as a whole.
Nagle had not changed his stance after last week’s election, calling Swanson’s tie-breaking vote on the “unethical.”
Which board to be on?
Nagle was asked if in the event he had won the Baldwin election last week, would he have chosen the school board or the Baldwin board to be on?
If he had been elected in Baldwin, the next 10 days after the election “would have been the worst days in my life trying to make the decision where I could do the most good,” he answered. Nagle says he would have a “direct impact” on Baldwin’s citizens if he was on the Baldwin board, but by remaining on the school board, he can save the taxpayers “millions of dollars.”
Will Nagle run again?
“I will absolutely run again next year against Kim Good if she is unopposed,” Nagle said. He added that he is not saying he won’t run if there is another person running against her.
Rush said that winning the race over Nagle was what he had expected. “I thank the people who voted for me and look forward to serving the people in the next three years.”
Work that Rush sees ahead for Baldwin includes more development of Baldwin’s Young Park through laying down a boardwalk and constructing a pavilion there. Rush also talked about the plan to develop a parcel called Goose Lake for some recreational use. Also on the agenda, is drafting a comprehensive plan and Baldwin’s new planning commission will be able to work on that, he added.
Rush said he took to heart comments from many attendees at the March 12 annual Baldwin town meeting that the governing board needs to draft/improve capital improvement plans, one for Baldwin’s fire and rescue department, and one for the rest of Baldwin’s needs that include its public works department, and its roads and bridges.
Rush said he will be working with Baldwin Fire Chief Mike Rademacher on that and also look into the maintenance equipment issues that maintenance worker Terry Carlile brought up at the meeting.
“We’re trying to be practical and are letting people know (of the needs) so there are not any surprises,” Rush said. Rush said he does not want another surprise like the one years ago where Baldwin bought a demo fire truck for $285,000 and learned later that it had to spend more money on equipment to make the pumper truck usable.
Rush said he agrees with resident Betsy Wergin’s comments at the annual meeting that the board has to show the residents where money for a capital fund would go. Wergin is a former state legislator who is now on the state Public Utilities Commission.
“We do the best we can with preventive maintenance to provide longevity for the roads,” Rush said. Referring to the issue raised about the 112th Street project, Rush agrees with Swanson that it should be done now jointly with Livonia to save Baldwin money.
This year’s Baldwin election saw Schumacher’s second unsuccessful attempt to beat Atwood for a seat on the board. Schumacher lost in a three-way race in that first contest two years ago, in which Atwood had 122 votes, Schumacher had 118, and Lester Kriesel garnered 105.
Schumacher’s perspective on his loss this time was: “I think the outcome (Atwood 187 and Rush 140) will speak for itself. My opponent worked harder in the last 30 days than he has for the entire previous 23 months.”
Schumacher charged that Atwood has not worked hard enough as a Baldwin supervisor, especially in his role as a liaison between the board and the township’s planning commission.
Schumacher tried a different approach to campaigning this election. He explained that he received the endorsement of Princeton Township supervisor Greg Anderson and also of Baldwin planning commission chair Peggy Patten.
Will Schumacher run again for election in Baldwin? “Absolutely,” he answered. “If you don’t think I’m a contender, you’re fooling yourself.
Expanding on his having Anderson back him in his run again this time for the Baldwin board, Schumacher said that not once has Anderson voted in his 17 years on the Princeton Township board to “spend tax money on a personal project touching his property.”
Schumacher charged that Swanson “runs the township like a CEO of a company.”
It would have been better if Swanson had abstained from voting on the 112th Street project and had worked harder to convince the entire board why they should all vote for it, Schumacher said.
The 112th Street project is not a bad one, it’s just “how we got there,” Schumacher continued. “It’s like being treated like employees of Jay’s company. There needs to be a team. Randy (Atwood) is a rubber stamp for Jay. If we followed the road plan like we should there wouldn’t be a 112th Street project this year. We would be doing 100th.”
Atwood said he is pleased by the election outcome in which he won against Schumacher. “Most of the people like the way things are going,” Atwood said. “They think I’ve been doing a good job. They feel there’s progress in Baldwin.”
One example is Baldwin in recent time extending the number of miles of Class A roads in Baldwin eight to 42 miles, Atwood said.
Looking ahead, Atwood said Baldwin “has a lot of irons in the fire,” naming the effort to draft a comprehensive plan as one. Baldwin’s planning commission has been working hard to lay the groundwork for that, he said. Atwood also talked about the work ahead at Young Park, and answering questions about the tension that has existed at times over the years between the city of Princeton and Baldwin regarding boundaries said this: The two entities have come to agreements on some basic things already and that is the approach to take, to work on one piece at a time, Atwood said. Princeton, for example, has concluded it will not annex into the township unless someone in the township petitions for it, nor will the city annex land that is not contiguous to the city’s boundary, Atwood said.
Atwood, responding to Schumacher’s remark that Atwood is a “rubber stamp” for Swanson, called that “good campaign fodder.” Atwood added that he, Atwood, has voted a number of times in opposition to Swanson’s votes on different things and that a person has to consider the rubber-stamp comment as coming from someone who lost the election. Schumacher saw some “divisiveness” in the tie vote on the board before Swanson broke it in the 112th Street project vote and tried to capitalize on that, Atwood said. Atwood also charged back at Schumacher’s comments on Atwood’s work for Baldwin by saying he hasn’t seen Schumacher around Baldwin town hall much other than about when it is time to file for election.