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November 01, 1985 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-11-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

14

Friday, November 1, 1985

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

B ATT LE OF

Continued from Page 1

Donald Fracassi looks at the
positive aspects of Southfield
— its growth and mix of
residential and commercial
features — and feels
Southfield's residents are happy.

member of the City Council, Vicki
Goldbaum.
In the municipal primary elec-
tions on Sept. 10, Fracassi took 64
percent of the votes, scoring a nearly
2-1 victory over Goldbaum. A third
candidate, William Blake, as lowest
vote-getter, was eliminated from the
race.
Fracassi admits he was sur-
prised by the size of his majority.
He'd expected a closer count because
his chief opponent is a highly-
visible, two-term Southfield Council-
person.
The two opponents view the
position of Southfield's mayor very
differently. Fracassi looks at the pos-
itive aspects of Southfield — its
growth and its mix of residential
and commercial features — and feels
if its residents are happy with the
lifestyle in Southfield, then his ad-
ministration has been a success.
In contrast, Goldbaum says
there's runaway commercial growth
in Southfield which has added to
traffic snarls, and there's an increase
in street crime. She thinks a mayor-
should be able to do something about
these problems.
Both mayoral candidates are
aware of the Jewish community's
presence in the city, but approach its
residents differently. Goldbaum, who
describes herself as a forceful person,
feels she did not get as much of the
"Jewish vote" as she expected in the
primary election.
Fracassi views everyone as
Southfielders and does not believe in
addressing any particular group over
another in order to gain votes. He
says he's always been strongly sup-
ported by the Jewish community,
and is the type of person who is com-
fortable among all kinds of people.
Fracassi and Goldbaum took dif-
fering stands on the coming eruv for
the Orthodox Jewish community. An
eruv is a symbolic boundary around
the community that allows tradi-
tional Jews to carry items or push
baby buggies, within its boundary on
the Sabbath.
At the start of discussions with
Southfield elected officials, concern
was expressed about separation of
church and state. According to at-
torney Mark Schlussel, a member of
the Orthodox community and a sup-
porter of Fracassi, as soon as it be-
came evident to the mayor that this
was not a real problem, "he acted in
a manner to support the eruv, and in
particular, as of a recent date, when
it became clear a problem had ari-
sen, Don Fracassi moved expediti-
ously with department heads and
with the appropriate rabbinic
authorities to make sure the eruv
was supported."
But on this score the mayor

pointed out the eruv is not politics,
and should be kept out of politics. "It
has to do with the (Orthodox) people
living in the community, and if
there's one thing needed — religious
or a way of life — that we can pro-
vide to make their living in South-
field easier, that's my responsibil-
ity," Fracassi said.
The city has passed a resolution
granting the right to construct the
eruv.
Goldbaum said she supports the
eruv, and is upset over the Orthodox
community's reaction to her because
of it. She feels she did not under-
stand the significance of an eruv at
the outset, and was afraid it would
mean the development of a Jewish
ghetto. She added that once she
knew more about it, she became a
strong supporter.
She is concerned that ill feelings
over the issue will detract from her
record of helping the Jewish com-
munity with such problems as the
building of the 1-696 expressway.
The incumbent mayor and his
opponent have very different ap-
proaches to getting things done.
Fracassi, according to Schlussel, is
"a very positive and upbeat person.
He's honest and hard working, and
is very fair and equitable about his
dealings with the various groups in
our community." He has been dub-
bed "the shirt-sleeved mayor" and is
willing to sit down with anybody
and talk over an issue.
Goldbaum says of herself,
"When I ask a question, I want a di-
rect answer. If I don't get a direct
answer I'm going to find that an-
swer."
A longtime Goldbaum supporter,
schoolteacher Herbert Pont, corn-
ments that "Goldbaum is tenacious,
she's a fighter. You give her an as,
signment and she will follow •
through with it, whatever the prob-
lem is."
Both candidates are very con-
cerned with Southfield's growth, but
Goldbaum feels it needs to be con-
trolled. She suggests the growth has
gone wild in recent years. Her cam-
paign platform revolves around this
issue and the problems she says are
caused by it.--
Fracassi looks at the growth as
a good sign, because with more
commercial enterprise in the city,
Southfield has a healthy tax base.
He cites the major resource South-
field has in its parks and recreation
system and the excellent libraries
for its residents. He answers his op-
ponent's claim of unbridled commer-
cial growth by pointing out that as a
member of the City Council since
1977, she must have had some part
in accepting the zoning and planning
boards' recommendations.

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