Our Editorial: Our picks for council, clerk

The Detroit News

Detroit voters picked a solid City Council in the last election, and improved it in the August primary.

On Nov. 7, voters face a ballot featuring six incumbents who should be returned, one who should be replaced and an open seat with a promising contender.

For the at-large seats, we endorse incumbents Janee Ayers and Brenda Jones. The pair have struck reasonable positions on the key issues facing the city. And Jones, as council president, has been an effective leader.

We also recommend incumbents James Tate in District 1, Scott Benson in District 3, Andre Spivey in District 4, Mary Sheffield in District 5, and Raquel Castaneda-Lopez in District 6.

Tate and Spivey, in particular, have emerged as powerful voices for the citizens of Detroit.

Sheffield, who faces Wayne County Commissioner Jewell Ware, is a far better choice than her opponent, who has been a member of the most self-serving elected body in Michigan.

We did not back incumbent Gabe Leland in the District 7 primary. He’s been on the periphery of the city’s towing contract scandal, and so we still feel challenger Regina Ross, who has a doctorate in education, should replace him.

In District 2, George Cushingberry lost his bid for reelection in the primary. That was addition by subtraction for the council.

But it is essential voters not undo their good work.

Former State Sen. Virgil Smith is on the District 2 ballot thanks to a state Supreme Court ruling that set aside a provision of his felony conviction barring him from running for office.

Voters should end his political career once and for all. Smith is a convicted felon who fired a rifle at his ex-wife. He has no business anywhere near elected office.

We supported Roy McCalister Jr. in the primary and do so again in the general election.

McCalister is a former homicide detective for the Detroit Police Department and his crime fighting experience will serve well a city that must bring down its violent crime rate.

When faced with a choice between a cop and a convict, voters should always choose the cop.

Detroit City Clerk

The clerk’s race is one of the most critical choices voters will make.

Detroit’s handling of elections has been a national embarrassment under incumbent Janice Winfrey’s leadership.

Garlin Gilchrist II could be expected to do much better at protecting the voting rights of Detroiters.

He’s young, but has experience in ballot technology, holds degrees in computer engineering and computer science from the University of Michigan, and is currently director of innovation and emerging technology for the city.

Gilchrist offers the hope of at last bringing competency to the Detroit City Clerk’s Office.

Polls will be open on election day from 7 a.m to 8 p.m.