Political newcomer Latisha Johnson challenges incumbent Andre Spivey for city council member.
istrict 4 (Warren, Conner) hopeful Latisha Johnson challenges incumbent Andre Spivey. Spivey is a seasoned politician and Johnson has worked at Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau. BLAC chatted with both candidates to discuss the challenges facing Detroit and their district.
Education Background: Kettering High School; University of Michigan (Bachelor’s of Finance)
Bio: Johnson spent eight years as a senior sales manager at the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, where her primary role was to promote Detroit as a destination for conventions and events. She also worked at the Detroit Marriott in a similar capacity, but specifically touting the hotel, before pursuing a life as an entrepreneur and community worker.
On why voters should choose her…
I am a finance graduate from the University of Michigan and dedicated community servant. I worked 10 years in the hospitality and tourism industry, where my primary responsibility was promoting Detroit for conventions and events as a senior sales manager for the Detroit Convention Bureau. I have negotiated multi-million dollar contracts, generated millions in economic impact for Detroit and kept numerous people in the industry employed.
In 2007, I began my community service when I was elected to the Executive Board of East English Village neighborhood association. For seven years, my focus was organizing our block captains and later became holding financial institutions accountable for their properties to minimize blight and prevent our long-time residents from leaving the community because squatters were running them out of their homes.
I went on to start MECCA Development Corporation to bring residents together from Morningside, East English Village and Cornerstone Village to focus on various community issues including improvements to our blighted commercial corridor, East Warren Avenue. Today, I serve as the Chair of MECCA, Treasurer of the 5th Precinct Police Community Relations Council, and the Vice Chair for the Board of Zoning Appeals where we decide on appeals brought forth by residents or businesses in the community to determine what's in the best interest of our residents.
My community service hasn't stopped there. In March, I completed a two-year volunteer commitment with the Americorps Urban Safety Program based out of Wayne State University. Our primary focus was canvassing the community to encourage residents to start or get involved with their block club or radio patrol. I also serve on a ministry at Third New Hope Baptist Church and am involved on the Wayne Metro Regional Advisory Council (for the eastside of Detroit).
I continue to demonstrate my commitment to improving the community. Even the Detroit Free Press recognizes me as an impressive candidate with extensive experience in community organizations and a record of leadership.
On the most pressing issue facing the city of Detroit…
Blight. I will tackle blight by helping residents avoid foreclosure, secure grants for homeowners to maintain their homes, and identify solutions to maintain vacant lots and properties to improve the aesthetics of our community, all while holding property owners accountable for their property.
On an issue specific to her district and how she plans to address it…
Access. It's impossible to address an issue that you don't know exists. I will establish open lines of communication with residents immediately by hosting town hall meetings and monthly coffee chats and by attending community meetings to ensure residents have access to me. I will be your voice in decision-making and support initiatives that support our residents and communities.
Education Background: Cass Technical High School; Morehouse College (Bachelor of Arts); Colgate Rochester Divinity School (Master of Divinity)
Bio: Spivey is the current city councilman, elected in 2009 and then again in 2013. He serves as Chair of the International Operations Committee and is a member of numerous other committees and organizations, including the Neighborhood Services Committee. Spivey is ordained and is an Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church as well as the pastor of St. Paul A.M.E. Church.
On why voters should choose him…
I am seeking my third term on the Detroit City Council to continue serving the citizens who have entrusted me to represent them for the last eight years. I believe I have brought professionalism, integrity, work ethic, vision and a passion for serving. My leadership, business acumen and community involvement has aided in serving during one of Detroit’s most difficult times. Going through and now on the other side of bankruptcy has honed my skills as a civic leadership. I fully understand the role and responsibilities of a city legislator, and I have gone above and beyond to make sure the residents of this city have good, fair and honest representation.
On the most pressing issue facing the city of Detroit…
The main issue facing the city of Detroit is balancing the economic development of downtown and midtown with the unanswered economic development needs of the neighborhoods. The majority of the city lives outside of the 7.2 square miles that is downtown and midtown. The city will not complete its turnaround and continued progress until we address the needs of the neighborhoods.
On an issue specific to his district and how he plans to address it…
An issue specific to District 4 is not having a recreation center, while there are some districts with as many as three recreation centers. When the Mayor presents the budget in 2018 and the council deliberates, I am prepared to make a case at the council table about appropriating funds to build a new recreation center and/or renovating the closed centers that sit in our district. I am also exploring the option of public-private partnership to engage the corporate and foundation community to provide capacity building along with human and financial resources.
Want to read what the candidates in the other districts had to say? Head back to the main election page.