We continue our conversations with Lansing city council candidates today with James McClurken. He’s running against incumbent Jessica Yorko, who is expected to run for re-election in the fourth ward.
A resident of the ward for many years, McClurken says he chose to run at the ward level against Yorko as opposed to city-wide as an at-large candidate because “I don’t believe that the fourth ward has been well represented on our city council. I don’t believe that our interests are at the forefront of city government, and I wish to put it on the front burner for a while.”
Lansing, he says, has a strong mayor form of government. Virg Bernero has served three terms, and McClurken says during Bernero's first term, one was a during a deep recession, and he thinks Bernero’s strong personality helped. Over his next two terms, though, McClurken says "it’s gotten to be tiresome. It’s divided our city government into factions, and too often, the factions are all pointed at getting themselves through the next election cycle. I believe that has left the interests of the neighborhoods completely vulnerable. I don’t want to be a part of any faction.”
Another issue he points to is the lack of a grocery store in ward four. He thinks the city council has to be “the place where everything starts.”
A member of the Lansing Park Board, McClurken has been critical of the process used in choosing Scott Park as the site of a new Lansing Board of Water and Light facility. “The way this project was done, was done badly," McClurken states, "and highlighted all the weaknesses in a system of a top-down, bully form of government.”