Candidate for East Lansing City Council: George Brookover
East Lansing City Council candidate George Brookover is poised to give East Lansing some meaning.
“I don’t think there’s a good sense of direction in town,” said Brookover. “I think the city has not been very effective in addressing the needs of citizens and taxpayers in recent years.”
Brookover, born and raised in East Lansing, graduated from East Lansing High School and attended Cornell University, where he earned a degree in industrial relations. He then graduated from the University of Michigan with a law degree and worked for the Foster Swift Collins & Smith law firm until 1991 when he started his own law firm.
Brookover was a member of the East Lansing Housing Commission and the Planning Commission, among others. He also served on the East Lansing School Board for approximately eight years, including three years as President of the Board.
Brookover said his main reason for running for the city council was his dissatisfaction with the effectiveness of city government.
“I’m not critical, but I think we need to budget carefully to use the city’s funds effectively,” said Brookover.
He said he was concerned about protecting the neighborhoods and downtown areas of East Lansing through extensive planning rather than what Brookover called “random planning.” In addition, Brookover wants to protect and enhance the city’s diversity and eliminate pension debt as soon as possible.
One of Brookover’s primary concerns is litigation between the city and other parties.
“I think the city has a tendency to get involved in unnecessary legal disputes that, of course, cost some money,” he said.
These include litigation between the City of East Lansing and Country Mill Farms owner Steve Tennes. Tennes sued the city after being denied a farmer’s market vendor license based on a Facebook post Tennes said he would not hold same-sex weddings in his orchard.
“As a lawyer, I don’t quite understand why we’re still involved in a federal court battle over our farmers market,” he said.
Brookover also referred to litigation with the Board of Water and Light.
“An indictment has been brought against the Board of Water and Light Users in East Lansing … which has now been challenged in court for being an improper and illegal tax,” he said. “I don’t know the answer to that question, but I’m worried we got into this situation ourselves.”
Brookover said it was possible that this situation could not have been avoided, but it was regrettable that the city was now embroiled in the lawsuit.
Brookover also said that planning is very important and that, in his opinion, it is overlooked.
“I see the city as interconnected neighborhoods and areas, and planning is the means by which you are helping to maintain and improve these different geographic areas of the city,” said Brookover.
He said that according to state law, the city must draw up a comprehensive development plan every 10 years. Brookover said the city has deviated from this comprehensive planning in recent years and that he isn’t sure this is a good thing.
“We want to keep our neighborhoods strong, so we have good housing stock so we can keep our schools healthy … so people want to live here,” said Brookover.
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Brookover runs for a four year term.
The full list of candidates is available on the City of East Lansing website.
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