Tri-County Voters Pass DIA Millage; Conyers and Peters Coast To Victories
Voters in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties on Tuesday passed a small millage that officials promise will do big things for the Detroit Institute of Arts, one of southeast Michigan's true cultural gems.
The millage sailed to victory in Wayne and Oakland but squeaked through in Macomb by fewer than 1,500 votes.
The tax will direct up to $23 million to the DIA, which will use the money to stabilize its finances, plan for the future and build its endowment so one day it no longer will have to depend on taxes for operating expenses.
"This is fantastic," said DIA director Graham Beal, who has led the museum since 1999. "This is the best we could have hoped for."
Beal said one positive effect of the vote will be to give the museum the ability to do long-range planning for exhibits with other institutions.
"They won't be wondering if the DIA will still be around three years from now," he said.
In other elections of widespread interest, U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, defeated U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke, D-Detroit, and three other candidates in the new 14th District, which meanders from southwest Detroit to Grosse Pointe, then along 8 Mile Road in Detroit to Oak Park, where it turns north to Pontiac.
In the new 13th District, U.S. Rep. John Conyers, who is 83 and has served in Congress since 1965, coasted to the Democratic nomination for U.S. House of Representatives, besting state Sen. Glenn Anderson and three other candidates.
Former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra easily defeated Republican challenger Clark Durant, and Hoekstra now will face two-term incumbent U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow in the November general election. Hoekstra spent 18 years in Congress representing a western Michigan district.
In Western Wayne and Oakland counties, Tea Party backer Kerry Bentivolio claimed victory over write-in candidate Nancy Cassis in the race for the Republican nomination for the 11th Congressional District, where five-term Congressman Thaddeus McCotter shocked observers by failing to qualify for the ballot. Bentivolio is a former teacher and reindeer farmer. Cassis is a former state senator who enjoyed the support of most establishment Republicans, who found Bentivolio's views too extreme.
Bentivolio, who has never won public office, will face Syed Taj, a Canton Township trustee and physician, who beat Bill Roberts, a supporter of lunatic-fringe figure Lyndon LaRouche.
"You know that freedom leads to prosperity," Bentivolio told supporters at his victory celebration.
In a closely watched state House contest, State Rep. Rashida Tlaib had a lead over fellow a Detroit Democrat, Rep. Maureen Stapleton.
It was a bitter race, with the candidates accusing each other of lying about their respective records. UAW officials initially endorsed Stapleton but changed their mind Friday and threw their suport to Tlaib.
In the region-wide millage vote, the DIA sought an 0.2-mill property tax for 10 years in the three counties, the equivalent of $20 a year on a home with a market value of $200,000 and taxable value of $100,000. Passage in all three counties means $10 million in from Oakland, $8 million from Wayne and $5 million from Macomb.
The museum and its priceless art is owned by the city, but administered by a private organization.
DIA backers said the tax will stabilize the museum’s budget and they warned that a rejection could lead to huge cuts and possible closure.
Critics claimed those who use the museum should pay for it and said taxes already are too high.