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Wednesday, October 31,2012

Sludge match

Divisive politics in Delhi Township

by Sam Inglot
The election battle lines in Delhi Township were drawn in sludge. 

The sides call each other a trio of tea partiers and devotees of a township good old boys’ club. The teams were set last spring when Delhi Township Supervisor Stuart Goodrich supported a proposed $5.1 million sludge dryer. That’s when it really hit the fan. 

Jeff Hall, 43, organized a petition drive to beat the sludge dryer project and used that wave of support and success to beat Goodrich for the Republican nomination for supervisor in the August primary. Hall says Goodrich established a “good old boys’ club” on the board through appointments and “back room deals.”

Hall won the primary with more votes than both Democratic candidates combined. He’s running as a team with fellow conservatives Steve Dougan, 62, who’s running for treasurer, and Derek Bajema, 35, an incumbent trustee. 

The election has been more partisan and divisive compared to recent years, say people in the township. The claim is coming from both sides and has people jumping ship from supporting their parties in some cases. Goodrich and fellow Republicans in the area — like former township Supervisor Richard Bacon and radio host Tim Barron — are not standing behind Hall. They’re opposed to him because of how Goodrich was treated in the primary. Bacon said the sludge dryer campaign was a way to “discredit” Goodrich. 

“I donīt have much use for any of that crowd,” Bacon said. “Too many lies.”

Barron said he’s sticking to his party guns for the other township positions.

Jerry Ketchum, a Democratic trustee whose term is expiring, says the Democrats who are opposing the trio are coming out with “lies” of their own, claiming that Hall wants to shut down the senior center, which Hall denies. Ketchum is supporting the Hall team. 

Goodrich and area Democrats have been calling Hall a Tea Partier since the primary. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero recently appeared in a campaign mailer with Goodrich for Davis, 46, the Democratic supervisor candidate. Bernero said he believes Hall has Tea Party beliefs and that “we don’t need extremists in local government.” 

Ingham County Republian Party Chairman Norm Shinkle says to be labeled Tea Party isn’t a bad thing. “I like the Tea Party,” he said. “I say great.”


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For coverage and endorsements of races in Meridian Township, and for coverage of the 54B District Court race, visit www.lansingcitypulse.com

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