Oakland communities pass pot proposals

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Marijuana-related ballot proposals in three Oakland County communities won Tuesday.

A Pleasant Ridge measure to make some marijuana-related crimes a low priority for police won by a nearly 3-to-1 margin, according to unofficial results.

Voters in Berkley and Huntington Woods approved proposals to decriminalize marijuana for personal use. Both proposals are similar to those passed in Detroit, Oak Park and Ferndale.

In Berkley, the measure passed with 62.25 percent of the vote and it won with 69.8 percent of the vote in Huntington Woods.

Meanwhile, an embattled Novi district court judge lost his re-election bid. Challenger Travis Reeds defeated incumbent 52-1 District Court judge Brian MacKenzie, 50.02 percent to 49.57 percent.

MacKenzie, a veteran district court judge, was criticized earlier this year for allegedly dismissing dozens of cases without a prosecutor present. In August, a circuit court judge also dismissed contempt charges against him for allegedly failing to disclose all domestic-violence-related cases he handled.

Despite the controversy, MacKenzie picked up endorsements from Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, County Treasurer Andrew Meisner and County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash.

Reeds, an attorney who beat MacKenzie by 279 votes in the August primary, was endorsed by retired judge Gerald McNally as well as several local newspapers.

Reeds said he was elated about the win and "ready to get to work."

"I'm proud we ran a positive campaign that focused on my qualifications and experience," he said. "I think that resonated with voters."

MacKenzie said he "appreciates all of his supporters' efforts and congrats to Travis Reeds."

Elsewhere, a Royal Oak district court judge, who The Detroit News reported said he plans to retire in January if re-elected, won with 90 percent of the vote. The News reported 44th District Judge Terrance Brennan will leave the bench rather than face possible disciplinary action for alleged intimate relations with a court employee.

He was unopposed, but faced a write-in challenge.

A $99 million bond proposal in Southfield to fund street improvements was approved with 65 percent of the vote, according to early results. Officials say the measure will cost the owner of a $84,000 home an additional $108 a year.

Chilly, damp weather didn't deter Bill Gold from campaigning for incumbent Democratic County Commissioner Marcia Gershenson outside St. Toma Syriac Church in Farmington Hills Tuesday. Gershenson won with 61 percent of the vote.

Gold, of Beverly Hills, said Gershenson is a friend and voting is crucial.

"You have to keep going and things have a way of coming around," he said. "That is how you make things better."


(313) 222-2058