Waterman, Holland win Pontiac mayor slots
Pontiac — With Pontiac out of state fiscal oversight after nearly a decade, Mayor Deirdre Waterman and Councilman Mark Holland will compete this fall to lead the city.
Voters Tuesday also narrowed down fields of candidates in three seats on Pontiac City Council.
With all 21 precincts counted, Waterman was first with 36.7 percent of the vote and Holland was second with 15.1 percent.
Trailing in the eight-person field were Alfred Patrick, with 12.9 percent; Alexandria Riley, with 11.2 percent; former councilman Kone Bowman, with 9.6 percent; Craig Jefferson, with 8.2 percent; Rosie Richardson, with 4.5 percent and Kerry Tolbert, with 1.5 percent.
Just a few years ago, Pontiac was bleeding red ink and had a succession of state-appointed emergency managers who laid off city employees and sold off tax-draining, city-owned properties, including the Pontiac Silverdome.
The city emerged from emergency management in 2013 and last week, the Michigan Department of Treasury removed Pontiac from receivership, returning full financial control to the elected mayor and council.
Waterman, mayor since 2014, has based her campaign on the city's financial turnaround, noting that Pontiac has a $15 million budget surplus and “virtually no operating debt.” The city has welcomed new businesses and jobs and $840 million in economic development in the past three years, the mayor said.
A blight elimination campaign has bulldozed more than 700 dilapidated houses, helping to reduce arsons and related crime and raising property values 10 percent in the past two years.
“This is just the first leg but we were elated at the vote totals, especially considering it was such a large field of candidates,” Waterman said Tuesday night. "It’s very gratifying and the result of a good (campaign) team effort. I think this reflects the voters' appreciation of what we have done over the past three years.”
Holland, who has nearly 18 years experience in banking, is an associate minister and on the board of directors for the city’s Tax Increment Finance Authority. He has served on various committees and organizations, and is the nephew of the late Mayor Wallace Holland.
“I’m ecstatic but now the real work begins,” Holland said. “ I want to unite the other candidates and build a coalition for the future of Pontiac. That is one of my priorities now and working towards November.”
The city council races are for four-year terms in three districts.
Eleven candidates competed for the right to run for three seats and four-year terms on the Pontiac City Council.
In the city’s 1st District, incumbent Patrice Waterman finished first with 45.1 percent of the vote and will face Chris Jackson, who captured 26.9 percent. Trailing were Marc Seay with 12.5 percent, Robert L. Bass with 9.6 percent and Janiece Gage with 5.4 percent.
In the 4th District, incumbent Randy Carter was first with 55.7 percent of the vote. He will face Sherman Williams II, who captured 25.2 percent, in November. Ashleigh Altemann trailed with 18.7 percent.
In the 5th District, Gloria Miller came in first with 55.9 percent. According to unofficial results, just four votes separated Joseph Sinclair, who had 22.2 percent, and Linda Kay Hasson, who had 21.7 percent. The top two finishers will compete in November to replace Holland.
About 11.5 percent of Pontiac’s 43,707 registered voters turned out for Tuesday’s primary.