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Oakland County Commission District 12

Choose one candidate. Oakland County commissioners serve two-year terms and receive an annual salary of $33,717.

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  • Candidate picture

    Charles Gaba
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Shelley Goodman Taub
    (Rep)

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Biographical Information

What do you think county’s three most pressing problems are, and where would you start to solve them?

Do you support the proposed millage to fund a regional transit system? Why or why not?

What, in your view, should be the county and the region’s transportation priorities?

What is your position on outfitting the county sheriff’s department with body cameras?

Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?

Has the county taken appropriate steps to prevent gun violence?

With reports showing Michigan behind on education, what role if any do you see the county taking to improve education?

What should Oakland County do to fix its aging infrastructure?

What is the county’s role in assisting financially struggling cities?

Which county-provided services need the most improvement, and what suggestions can you offer for making them better?

What are the county's biggest budgetary concerns, and how would you address them?

Where do you stand on settling refugees in Michigan, and Oakland County in particular?

What will you do to improve the lives of low-income residents in Oakland County?

What would you do to improve the county’s workforce development efforts?

Do you support and will you appear at campaign events with your party’s presidential nominee?

Have you ever filed for personal bankruptcy? If so, explain.

Have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor? If so, explain.

City of residence Bloomfield Township
Age 46
Family Spouse: Elisabeth Garbeil Son: Lionel
Education Bachelor of Science, Lyman Briggs School, College of Natural Science, Michigan State University 1992
Vehicles owned I currently own a 2005 Hyundai Elantra...but my previous cars were a Dodge Colt, Ford Escort and Chevy Prizm in that order and I expect my next car to be a Chevy Volt or Bolt.
Professional Experience Small business owner, 17 years Nationally-recognized Affordable Care Act analyst/blogger, 3 years
Political Experience Core Member of Citizens for Religious Freedom (Berkley, MI 2007) Core Member of One Bloomfield United (Bloomfield Hills, 2012)
Race/ethnicity Caucasian (Jewish)
Campaign Website http://charlesgaba.com
1. Repairing the roads: I'd attempt to push for more state/federal funding to repair and improve the LOCAL roads...but we also need to consider local funding as well. The Tri-Party & Bi-Party Programs are a good place to start; I'd try to expand on these.

2. Water supply/sewer infrastructure: I support the Democratic caucus's push to help school districts test their water, but in general we need to make sure ALL of our water/sewer infrastructure is properly maintained.

3. Fighting climate change: I'd push for expansion of renewable energy to move us off of fossil fuels as quickly as possible, including county projects as well as reducing red tape/regulatory issues for residents.
Yes, I fully support the RTA Master Plan. SMART, DDOT, AAATA, etc, are patchwork systems which don't currently work together. Southeast Michigan has among the nation's worst major metropolitan area transit systems, and plan after plan has failed over the years. This is our best opportunity to finally bring a rapid, reliable transit system to the area. This would help millions of people get to and from work; help students get to and from school; help seniors and those w/disabilities maintain some independence, and help EVERYONE get to and from the airport. Just the ability to get to & from the DIA or Comerica Park w/out having to drive or find a parking spot downtown makes it worth it to me!
In addition to fully supporting the RTA Master Plan as outlined above, we should be prioritizing repair and improvement of LOCAL roads over interstate highways, and should also focus on improving walkability and bikeability by increasing the construction/use of safety paths, sidewalks and bike paths/bike lanes. We should also focus as much as possible on electric car infrastructure (charging stations, etc) and on increasing the use of renewable energy for charging street/traffic lights, electric signs, etc.
Most law enforcement officers do a great job. However, there seems to have been a national increase in tragic incidents in which people--disproportionately African-American--end up being arrested, assaulted or killed with little or no justification. Cameras may not tell the whole story, but they at least provide more of it than we'd otherwise have. With great power comes great responsibility: Officers are given the power to kill people, so recording the decisions they make seems reasonable given the circumstances.

Therefore, yes, I support outfitting the county sheriff's dept. with body cameras AND requiring their mandatory use/proper maintenance, with penalties for failing to do so.
Yes. We should join Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, Washington State and DC in either legalizing or at least decriminalizing marijuana.
The Oakland County Commission currently has a bipartisan Gun Safety committee which meets regularly to discuss ways to reduce gun violence, including gun lock giveaways, PSAs to encourage gun safety and responsible gun ownership, meetings with school superintendents, mental health professionals and advocacy groups from both sides of the issue. In the absence of legislation at the state level, I'd like to see additional steps taken along these lines.
Do whatever is feasible to return local control to traditional public school districts, reduce and STRICTLY regulate charter and cyberschools and increase funding of public schools. Stop pushing the privatization of public school services such as bus drivers, cafeteria workers, janitorial services, etc. except within very strict guidelines and circumstances. Demand full transparency and accountability. Stop the mad rush towards standardized testing and "teaching to the test" as the end-all, be-all measure of performance. There's a place for testing, but it should be a much smaller part of the overall curriculum and school day. I also support having high school start later in the morning.
Everyone knows what poor shape many of our local roads are in. In addition to their normal operations, RCOC also needs $30 million just to upgrade old, obsolete, broken/outdated equipment, including cars, trucks and specialized construction equipment.

The Road Commission's budget has dropped from $143 million in 2005 to just $100 million this year. Almost all of this is from federal/state funding, so I'd pressure the state to see what can be done to increase that...but we also need to consider local funding as well. The Tri-Party and Bi-Party Programs are a good place to start. as they allows the County to contribute funding in partnership with the RCOC & local communities.
I'd like to see greater outreach efforts by the county to let struggling communities know that financial/budgetary management services and assistance is available...but that they need to approach the county in order for the county do so.
Health Department: I've been informed that there's some sort of "gag order" preventing County Health Dept. nurses/other personnel from discussing abortion options with pregnant women. If so, this is unacceptable. In addition, the Zika Virus is expected to be a major issue in the near future; I support providing whatever resources are necessary to educate the public and assist healthcare professionals in dealing with it.

I'd also like to see more information and assistance with residents wishing to install solar arrays, wind turbines and other renewable energy sources--streamlining paperwork, reducing zoning barriers and so on.
Oakland County has a AAA bond rating and a budget surplus. I'd like to see these funds put back into the community via things like improved mental health services, fee reductions for low-income residents and especially road repair via the new Bi-Party Program, in which road improvement funds are split 50/50 between the county and local city governments.
Of the 784,000 refugees who have settled in the U.S. since 2001, only 3--or 0.0004%--have been charged with terrorism. Meanwhile, U.S. citizens have committed 80% of the 330 terrorist attacks here since 2001. Our screening system can certainly use a review, with improvements where necessary, but there are nearly a million Syrian refugees, the vast majority of whom are fleeing the threat of torture, rape or death in their home countries, desperately seeking a safe haven. As a Jewish American, the story of the the MS St. Louis, in which 900 Jewish refugees from Germany were turned away from U.S. shores, weighs heavily on my mind. We have a moral obligation to help as much as we reasonably can.
I support earned paid sick days, increased investment in job training programs, the county prevailing wage and especially mandatory "clawbacks" of corporate tax subsidies in cases where the number and types of jobs promised in order to receive the subsidies come up short.

I also support continuing the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act up to 138% of the federal poverty line, and would also like to see increased private policy subsidies for families in the 138% - 400% FPL range under the ACA, as well as a cap on deductibles & co-pays.
The Oakland County Workforce Development program is an excellent resource for talent recruitment, training support, labor market information, small business assistance, business loan options and so on...but not enough people seem to know about it. I'd push for increased outreach/education efforts via social media, webinars and so forth.
YES! I fully support Hillary Clinton and would be honored to appear at campaign events with her if invited to do so.
No.
No.
City of residence Bloomfield Township
Family Dr. Steve Taub, Husband; Three grown, married children and five grandchildren
Education University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; BA Ed; University of Kansas and University of Missouri (KC) post-grad work in Education; Business Management
Vehicles owned 2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Professional Experience Elementary School Teacher, Medical Management
Political Experience County Commissioner, fmr. State Representative
Race/ethnicity White
Incumbent? yes
Roads: The real problem is that the Road Commission of Oakland County ( RCOC) has the second most miles to oversee in Michigan, second only to MDOT, yet RCOC must depend on an ancient state formula instituted under Public Act 51 written in 1951 when there were more cows than cars in Oakland County. PA 51 must be rewritten. Unpaid Water Debt: Should Oakland County residents pay Highland Park's water debt because they failed to bill their residents? I sent the bill to Lansing. Economic Development: We will soon reach less that 3% unemployment from 13% during the Great Recession. OC Workforce Development and Education ( I am a member.) is working to retrain and re-educate our workers.
According to the proposed mileage and the proposed plan, Oakland County residents will give $ 63 million totalling $ 630 million over ten years to the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). For $ 63 million annually, we will get one bus line on Woodward. (We already have one bus line on Woodward.) For $63 million annually, RTA will tear up the beautiful islands on Woodward from Ferndale to Pontiac, cutting down hundreds of trees to make RTA bus stops for the commuters who will ride on the rapid transit bus. Commuters? Where will they park? Regional? There are no other plans to service any other part of the county. RTA, go back to the drawing board and plan services for the entire region.
Get the roads fixed first and then have a sensible regional transportation plan for the entire region.
Body cameras will certainly provide assurance that law enforcement is doing its job to protect the public. The problem I do foresee is that some situations might infringe on personal privacy rights. And, the cost to review endless tape looking for FOIA requests or court cases could prove to be very time consuming and costly.
We finally have reached the point of lessening the use of tobacco / cigarettes and now we are looking to legalize another substance to be smoked? We know that juveniles develop problems in the areas of brain development from smoking marijuana and we want to legalize it? It is difficult for me to support legalization when I have fought drug dependency forever. I chair the Substance Use Advisory Board. We are supplying Narcan to prevent Heroin overdoses. I have seen how narcotics have ruined not only the life of the user, but the entire family and often entire communities.
Yes. Several years ago we empaneled experts to learn about gun violence, Then the Public Services Committee on which I sat, formed a bi-partisan committee which addressed the problem. We distribute hundreds of free trigger locks and fund public announcements. In 2014, Oakland BOC received an award based on our program to prevent gun violence.
Oakland County Government does not “do” education. However, the ISD does play a large role in issues in which we do have a role. As founder and co-chair of the Human Trafficking Task Force, one of my co-chairs is an ISD Director. The BOC for the past two years has funded bullying seminars for teachers. The Oakland County Sheriff provides training for school personnel on Active Shooter strategies. Each year we invite all high schools to the “Youth in Government Day.”
In Oakland County we celebrate our AAA Bond rating. This is the tool that can be used by all of our local municipalities to assist them with bond rates for infrastructure improvements.
We have economic development programs such as the Main Street Program. (We are the only county to participate.) Ferndale is an example of what can be done to an older community to revitalize its downtown area. Through the Community and Home Improvement Committee, which I chair, we tear down abandoned house and buildings as well as providing low cost loans for needy people in need of new furnaces or roofs and we have formed a partnership with Habitat for Humanity to build homes.
I think that the clerk’s website could be a bit more user friendly.
Oakland County has been a fiscally conservative county and has been recognized nationally for our three year rolling balanced budget and our two year beyond outlook. We maintained our AAA Bond rating during the Great Recession while keeping our entire staff. And what am terrific group they are! Nobody took raises giving back part of their salaries including the elected officials to prevent lay-offs. Concerns? None what so ever with our current leadership.
I get it! I understand the concerns of Oakland County residents with the terrorist occurrences in Europe and the Middle East. Of course people are scared! Yet, we are a nation of immigrants. We have always welcomed immigrants. However, in the past, most immigrants had local sponsors. Someone or some family or some church or religious organization vouched for the family and provided them with housing and counseling and jobs. They were “vetted.” I think most people would be very accepting of immigrants if they had confidence that the federal government was able to assure them that the immigrant did not pose a threat to the community.
I am a member of the Workforce and Education Committee. We are working to retrain and educate the Oakland County workforce to enable low-income residents to pursue better paying jobs. The ECHO plan to improve the health and well-being of low income individuals has been finalized and we are in the process of implementation. We also have low cost loans for those in need of new roofs or furnaces.And seniors in need receive coupons for fresh fruits and vegetable at our Farmer's Market.
Every kid does not have to go to college! That has been and continues to be the mantra of the Workforce Development and Education Committee on which I sit. We need plumbers and carpenters and electricians and welders. We are slowly making headway in the schools and Oakland Community College is also part of the plan to train and retrain skilled laborers.
As of today, the convention has yet to take place. As a Republican, I appear on the ballot below the picture of Abraham Lincoln, our greatest president. I will be supporting the Republican nominee.
No
No

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