Westland 2021 mayor candidates talk issues, business, new ideas

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The four candidates for Westland mayor have four different visions to lead the city forward. 

Voters will choose between Daniel Beier, Councilwoman Tasha Green, Edward Pruett and Mayor Bill Wild in the Aug. 3 primary election. The top two vote-getters will move on to the November general election. 

Westland’s mayor serves a four-year term in a non-partisan position. The mayor makes $121,574 annually.

William Asper also filed to run for mayor, but was removed from ballots because the city determined he isn’t a Westland resident. 

Hometown Life sent candidates questionnaires seeking information on the candidates’ backgrounds and platforms. Each question was given a word limit, and answers exceeding that limit were cut short.

Here’s where the candidates stand on the issues:

What do you see as the most pressing issue facing Westland? What will you do about it?

Beier: The most pressing issue for Westland is that of attracting young families to the area. From businesses moving to schools closing. To combat this I will advocate and pursue incentives that will entice business owners to come to our city as to entice young families to our area.

Green: The failure of accountability by the mayor and several within his administration.  While the mayor falsely states that he’s had “15 balanced budgets,” the city blew the budget every year and never stayed within budget terms. Bloated contracts for campaign donors, ongoing nepotism and continual lawsuit settlements plague our city.

Pruett: The most pressing issue: including the community. For too long, the brilliance of the community has been excluded and disregarded, leading to all Westland community issues. We must intentionally include the community (panels, legitimate commissions, face-to-face conversations, other innovative, community-connecting mechanisms), even if we disagree, to see true success everywhere.

Wild: The lack of a modern recreational center and recreational opportunities for our children and seniors. I will use federal ARP funds to transform the vacant Marshall School to create a first class recreation center, possibly in partnership with the YMCA, that could serve residents of all ages. 

What should Westland do, if anything, to better support the existing business community and attract new business?

Tasha Green.

Green: Establish an incentive program to occupy commercial space. This will fill empty space and provide much needed tax revenue. There are large companies willing to move their headquarters from other states. I’m currently in discussion.

Pruett: We must retain, and re-engage with, current businesses and create an environment that attracts new businesses. Our community often has to go outside of Westland to enjoy life within Westland. Why?! “The Revive, Revitalize, and Re-engage Development Plan” (a welcoming economic and community plan) is the crucial first step needed.

Wild: First priority will be to help our local businesses rebound from the pandemic by continuing to utilize federal recovery funds. A major focus will be to continue to fill and redevelop vacant commercial buildings and storefronts. Reimaging Westland Mall property as a future city center will play a major role.

Beier: To ensure that businesses don’t leave our community we must be proactive in their needs. This includes not charging property tax interest when a government mandated shutdown must incur (etc.). For new businesses we should offer property tax incentives to help them get their feet off the ground.

What is one issue that is not on the current administration’s agenda you would champion if elected?

Edward Pruett

Pruett: True transparency and accountability hasn’t been a demonstrated agenda item for this current administration, leading to unnecessary lawsuits, redundancies in paid positions, etc. The community has had to bear the financial burden of these continued failed decisions. True transparency and accountability will create an atmosphere of expected success and trust.

Wild: A new focus will be on diversity, equity and inclusion. I recently seated the city’s first DEI commission and will hire a full time director of DEI. As we continue to reinvest in our community it will be through the lens of community wealth building, meaning investments that benefit everybody.

Schools:Schools expect to bounce back following pandemic-induced enrollment drops

Urban farming:Blue Line urban farm in Livonia brings the country to the suburbs

Cutting costs:Lower internet prices, new providers expected with Farmington/Hills fiber optic network

Beier: Double-dipping is the issue in which I would address if elected. I do not believe it is fair for current members of the administration to receive a government pension whilst also working towards another government pension. Especially whilst pensions in the private sector are sparse.

Green: I will remove mayoral authority to appoint a city prosecutor and allow Westland residents to elect their own prosecutor. We pay the city prosecutor nearly one million dollars annually for the dual role of city attorney and city prosecutor. Lucrative appointments of that magnitude encourage loyalty to who’s signing the…

Anything else to share?

Bill Wild.

Wild: To voters, results matter. As mayor I have delivered financial stability, solved our unfunded pension debt, built a new city hall & fire station, remediated central city park and created the farmers market, H20 Zone & Play Planet. We also created the Jefferson Barns community center and reinvested in every…

Beier: I’m asking you all for your support to return Westland to its former glory!

Green: Since joining city council, I have never voted against the interest of my residents or covered for actions of my colleagues that I believed placed our residents in a position of disadvantage. My loyalty has always been with the residents of Westland and that’s where it always will be.

Pruett: The community gets their government back- Implementing programs, like “The Heart of Westland” (connecting resources), “The Value Add Plan” (adding value and investing back) and “The RRR Development Plan,” we begin rebuilding trust and a path to success. Modernizing the safety departments begins transforming Westland into a community-focused, supported community.

Contact reporter Shelby Tankersley at stankersle@hometownlife.com or 248-305-0448. Follow her on Twitter @shelby_tankk. 

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