Wayne: O'Reilly re-elected Dearborn mayor

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Dearborn residents re-elected Mayor John O’Reilly, giving him a solid victory in a contentious race against Councilman Tom Tafelski.

With all precincts reporting, O’Reilly won with 57 percent of the vote.

Jean Taraskiewicz said she almost voted for neither candidate, but ultimately chose O'Reilly.

"There's been a lot of development here with the deal with Ford," she said. "Downtown is looking pretty good, so I figured I would stay that course."

Taraskiewicz said she had questions about O’Reilly, who faced criticism after it came to light that he had bought a 2008 Ford Escape for his son from a family friend who was involved in a failed development deal to build a Noodles & Co. restaurant.

O’Reilly said he had no involvement in the approval of the deal — which occurred months earlier — but said that in hindsight, he shouldn’t have purchased the vehicle.

Taraskiewicz also had concerns about Tafelski, who has faced allegations of impersonating a police officer.

"Just some shenanigans by both," she said. "The stuff about impersonating a cop was a bit much for me."

Resident David Anthony said he voted for Tafelski because he was looking for a change in leadership.  Despite not voting for the mayor, Anthony said he had no issues with O'Reilly.

"It's time to shake things up," Anthony said after voting at Dearborn High School. "Give the new guy a chance to see what he can do."

O’Reilly, 69, who has been mayor for 10 years, said he hoped to continue the work he’s done, including rebuilding some of the city’s business districts.

But Tafelski, first elected to the city council in 2001, said the city needed fresh ideas and leadership, especially in the mayor’s office, which O’Reilly has occupied since 2007.

Tafelski, 47, said the city needs to become more business-friendly with a streamlined processes at the housing and the economic and community development departments.

In another hotly contested race in Wayne County, Dearborn Heights Mayor Daniel Paletko defeated Lisa Hicks-Clayton, a city councilwoman. Paletko won with 55 percent of the vote.

Taxes were a key issue in the race between Hicks-Clayton and Paletko.

Hicks-Clayton said she wanted to roll back the Headlee override voters approved in 2011 that allowed the city to collect an additional 2.95 mills. She also wants City Hall to be open more than four days a week.

Paletko contended that the Headlee override and the change to City Hall hours were among measures needed to avoid an emergency manager as the city dealt with falling property tax revenues in the recession.

In other mayoral races:

The City of Grosse Pointe will have a new mayor after Councilman Christopher Boettcher ousted incumbent Dale Scrace in Tuesday's election.

With all precincts reporting, Boettcher had 55.7 percent of the vote to 44.2 percent for Scrace.

Hamtramck Mayor Karen Majewski retained her seat with 61 percent of the vote. She was challenged by Councilman Mohammed Hassan.

In Westland, Mayor William Wild beat his challenger, Councilman Kevin Coleman, with 57.9 percent of the vote.

Gibraltar Mayor Jim Gorris easily defeated Mayor Pro Tem Denis Boismier with 65 percent of the vote.

Grosse Pointe Farms Councilman Louis Theros won the mayor’s seat with 67 percent of the vote. He ran against Councilman Joe Ricci. 

Several communities also have contested city council races.

In Grosse Ile, 68 percent of voters supported a five-year, .9983-mill renewal for police operations.

A city charter amendment in Southgate passed with 59 percent of the vote. The amendment will allow the city to collect an additional 1 mill for five years for improvements to parks and recreation facilities.

In Garden City, voters rejected by a little more than 50 percent of the vote a $50 million, 15-year bond issue for street improvements.

Garden City residents, however, approved with 67 percent of the vote a request to renew an 18-mill school operating millage for five years, starting in 2019.

In other school proposals:

Romulus Community Schools won its request for a 2.5-mill, 10-year operating renewal with 54 percent of voters approving the measure. However, voters rejected by 51 percent a 3-mill, 10-year sinking fund for building improvements.

Voters approved by 58 percent a 18-mill, 10-year operating renewal for Taylor Public Schools.

The Gibraltar School District won approval for a $24.4 million bond issue for building improvements.

Northville Public Schools voters passed a $104.8 million bond issue for facility improvements.

Lincoln Consolidated Schools passed an 18-mill operating millage renewal and a 0.0986-mill levy for recreation and playground facilities.


Twitter: CWilliams_DN

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