Veteran Politicians Run For Center Line Mayor

Monday, November 4, 2013

It’s election season in Michigan and mayoral candidates across the state are gearing up for the final days of campaigning. While most people are paying attention to the mayor’s race in Detroit, a small city in Macomb County has its own battle brewing. WDET's Martina Guzman reports.

Many Metro Detroiters may not be to locate Center Line on a map. But to the candidates, it may as well be the most important city in America.

“I’m David W. Hanselman and I’m the Mayor of the great city of Center line. I’ve been the mayor for 4 years but I was on the city council for 28 years prior to that. I love this community; I was born and raised here.”

That’s current Mayor David Hanselman. Back in 2009… he beat long time Mayor Mary Ann Zielinski. The two candidates are facing off again this year. Zielinski says she’s back in the race because she doesn’t like the direction of where the city is going.

“I just simply cannot stand by and see what’s going on and not try to do something about it. And in addition people have encouraged me. They’ve urged’ve gotta come back.”

The candidates have fundamentally different ideas about how the city should grow. A few years ago the city of Warren wanted to combine and share city services with Center Line. Hanselman was against it.

“We had other communities that wanted to take over our public safety….police fire and EMS … police fire and ems are superior to most communities and they want to keep it here.”

But Zielinkski thinks there are benefits in a potential partnership.

“Warren proposed that they take over our services for parks and recreation. I saw there was there was a lot of merit and benefit to our community because we would have the use their community center where they have a swimming pool and other activities that we cannot and have not been able to provide.”

Another contentious issue is the development of the business corridor on Van Dyke between 10 and 11 Mile Roads. Hanselman was a businessman for 40 years. He sees commercial development as an important part of Center Line’s plans for the future.

"We’ve got two of them putting multi-millions of dollars in the reverberation of their business… you would see that if they thought things were not going to be fine for the next many years….their building towards the next generation."

Zielinsky says she’s got nothing against business growth… but she wants transparency in the process.

“One weekend, I noticed that these building were being torn down…On Monday morning I go to city hall and say, 'What's going on, was there a permit for demolition pulled?' Nobody knew anything about it. When you tear the building down and turn them into parking lots, it’s being assessed on an empty lot as opposed to a building. So, we took a tremendous tax loss.”

The candidates disagree on many issues. But while Zielinsky and Hanselman are busy battling it out for the Mayor’s seat, the voters I spoke to don’t seem that interested or informed about Center Line politics. I knocked on door that had a Zielinsky sign in the front yard.

MG: “My name is Martina Guzman I’m a reporter doing a story on the mayors race… I just let them put the sign up, I don’t even know... MG: You don’t know anything about who your voting for?
No..he knocked on the door, we were the first house on the corner… we haven’t been here a year…I was just being nice

A few blocks away, Paul Dominic was just finishing lunch at a restaurant.

MG: Do you live in Center Line? Do you know who you are voting for? PD: Angelman. I think. I’m doing the neighbor a favor. She called and asked me to elect him. I don’t know the contender.

Zielinsky and Hanselman are getting in their last few days of campaigning before Tuesday’s election. Both candidates say they’re determined to win the highest elected office in their beloved city of Center Line.