The four candidates vying to fill three seats on the Royal Oak City Commission— Sharlan Douglas, Diane Hargan, Jeremy Mahrle and David Poulton — agreed to answer five questions submitted by Patch readers, with Royal Oak Patch choosing the questions.
The City Election is Nov. 5.
Below are the answers to a question from Alex Rucinski, who asked:
"How are you going to address the problems with rats throughout the city?"
Sharlan Douglas: I have campaigned in precincts all around Royal Oak and have not heard that there are rat problems throughout the city: It’s in a few areas. The city has a system to address it; however the solution is incremental and requires cooperation by residents and businesses, who sometimes do not remove the habitat and food sources that encourage the rats. As the commission prepares the city’s budget, I’ll review the data and make sure we allocate appropriate funds to address the problem effectively.
Diane Hargan: Our City Commission will not solve the rat problem. The bottom line is that decreasing the rat population begins and depends on home and business owners. I don't think you can completely eradicate rats in the city anymore than you can get rid of all the mosquitoes or cockroaches.
We need to work with our neighbors to insure that we are not providing an environment that makes them feel welcome. That means food, water, and a cozy area to live and breed. If residents focus on those things, the rat population will diminish. Once diminished, exterminators can further decrease the population by targeting specific locations.
Jeremy Mahrle: First, I think it is important to point out that a rat population is a problem that is not unique to Royal Oak – many surrounding cities have this issue as well. What you see, however, that it is largely not a citywide issue and is actually isolated to a few neighborhoods. I think that the best way to combat rat issues is to have a strong code enforcement department. Not only will allow us to remove the habitat and food sources for the rats, ultimately leading to the end of the issue – it will help to make our neighborhoods more attractive to potential home buyers and subsequently raise the values of our home.
David Poulton: We currently share this problem with most cities in Oakland County. We need to assess the situation and take a multiple layered approach. It would do no good for us to simply focus on our city if surrounding communities cannot also have a concise plan for control.
We need to coordinate with Oakland County and share in developing a plan to eradicate or greatly reduce the population as best we can. Deciding the most effective and efficient way will need to be determined by the areas of greatest concern. Identifying areas of concern and notifying and educating businesses and residents to act proactively would be a good place to begin.
Come back tomorrow when candidates answer this question from Keith Wissman: Some citizens, myself included, are concerned that in recent years the City Commission has been majoring in the minors. The dog ordinance, the human rights ordinance, the fence ordinance for examples. What is your opinion on this? Regarding your opinion how does that get implemented in the coming years?
- As our city's demographics continue to change with a smaller and older population (many young families move to outer ring suburbs when the kids show up) what is your 10 year vision for the city? With that vision what are your strategies and tactical ideas to get us there? Click here for answers.
- Royal Oak still has a half dozen outdated and dangerous motels that are havens for parole absconders. Do you have a plan on disposing the remaining? Click here for answers.