Editorial: Our choices in Wayne County

The Detroit News

It is unfortunate that of the 15 Wayne County commissioners, only four face an opponent in the Nov. 8 election. This is the worst elective body in Metro Detroit and the only way to make it better is through the ballot box.

It’s also too bad that of those four competitive districts, two feature the only two Republicans on the commission.

But here are our choices for Wayne County Commission:

Both Terry Marecki of Livonia in the 9th District and Joe Barone of Plymouth in the 10th District should be returned, as they have worked against the odds to bring fiscal discipline to a gluttonous commission.

The commission would be much improved if voters picked John Steininger over incumbent Tim Killeen in the 1st District. Steininger is chief executive of Grosse Pointe Moving and Storage in Detroit and a former chairman of the Grosse Pointe school board. He understands municipal finances and would bring a strong ethic of fiscal responsibility to the board.

In the 15th District, we choose Patrick O’Connell over incumbent Joe Palamara, who works full-time as a Lansing lobbyist while also holding down what is supposed to be a full-time commissioner position. O’Connell is an insurance agent and former small businessman who serves on the Ecorse planning commission.

Wayne County Circuit Court

Eight candidates are running for four positions on the 3rd Circuit Court.

Our choices are Matt Evans of Livonia, Regina Thomas of Harper Woods, Brian Morrow of Northville and Melissa Anne Cox of Livonia.

Evans runs his own law firm representing indigent criminal defendants. That experience should add perspective to a court with such a high percentage of defendants who require court-appointed representation. Evans recognizes that too many cases are being settled in Wayne County due to expediency, which does not serve well the cause of justice.

Thomas has deep experience representing juveniles in both criminal and civil cases, and has served as an assistant county prosecutor. She’s a supporter of specialty courts to handle drug crimes, juvenile offenses and the needs of veterans. She, too, is concerned that expediency is driving the operation of the court.

Morrow is an experienced attorney handling both civil and criminal cases and has served for the past 12 years as deputy chief of the juvenile division for the Wayne County prosecutor. He developed the Teen Court, a juvenile diversion program. He also has taught criminal law.

Cox is a private practice attorney who works mainly in Wayne Circuit Court. She has both civil and criminal experience. Cox has worked to establish both drug abuse and mental health specialty courts. She also is the assistant city attorney for Westland.