Why I’m Running

20638840_658074654389227_6923446905126123916_nHi! I’m a writer, editor,  historian, and long-term Farmington resident. I’ve lived in Farmington since 1999 and currently reside in a lovely 1920s apartment called Collinwood, a mere 100 steps from the heart of downtown.

I ran for city council in 2017 and was the top vote-getter in the Nov. 7 election, winning a 4-year term as Farmington’s youngest female city councilmember. My mission was simple: to give our city a 21st-century boost while enhancing the historic downtown we know and love.

My term expires in November 2021, and I am planning to run again.

I grew up with a sense and a love of history. And I think that’s one big reason why so many people love this city as I do. The old-fashioned, small-town feel. The close-knit feeling of knowing your neighbors. Walking downtown to the library, the Civic, the farmers market. It’s a big part of what makes Farmington … Farmington.

Farmington has a reputation as a family community — a historic community — a city with a heart. And as the downtown continues to grow and develop, I believe it’s important that we embrace that reputation, because it’s what sets us apart from other similar cities in the Metro Detroit area.

We need to preserve and build around our historic roots. At the same time, there’s plenty we can do to bring Farmington up to speed in the 21st century.

With more millennials and young families in Farmington, it’s important to have new voices in local government who’ll represent our views and concerns. Times are changing, and we owe it to our community to keep up with our wants and needs, be it new condos and townhouses in Farmington or food truck rallies or community forums for the digital age.

We owe it to ourselves, too, to make sure that when we talk of progress and investment in Farmington, everyone’s included.

When I was running for election in 2017, I spent the summer in the neighborhoods, knocking on doors and listening to people’s ideas and issues. And while there’s widespread love for our historic downtown all across Farmington, many folks in the outlying neighborhoods feel like they’ve been forgotten in the rush to bring in mega-developments.

That doesn’t sit well with me. And it’s because I’m thinking with a different mindset than many city leaders. Instead of pouring money into building new supersized housing complexes downtown, I’d rather invest in improving our neighborhoods.

It’s a bottom-up, not top-down, approach. It means going out and talking to people about what the city could do better for them. It means asking for feedback about the kinds of development that people do want to see. Maybe forming a new committee that would lead to (for example) better walkability.

61870434_2043747235734741_2141628074272227328_nThese are things everyone in the city can benefit from. And I’m dedicated to speaking out for things that matter most to our community. My term expires in November 2021, and I will be busy knocking doors, fundraising, and running for re-election the summer of 2021. Join me!

If you’re on Facebook, please  “like” my Council page. I post meeting previews, recaps, Farmington news, and my views on various goings-on in Farmington.

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About Me

3I’m a writer, editor, and historian. I was born and raised in southeast Michigan, and I’ve lived in downtown Farmington since 1999.

I work as managing editor at The ACHR NEWS (a B2B magazine published by BNP Media in Troy) and freelance for The ‘Ville in Northville. In the past, I’ve worked as an editor at a research nonprofit, as assistant editor at Michigan History magazine, and as a journalist for the Observer & Eccentric in Farmington, Northville, Plymouth/Canton, Westland, and Novi.

With more millennials and young families in Farmington, it’s important to have new voices in local government who’ll represent our views and concerns. Times are changing, and we owe it to our community to keep up with our wants and needs, be it new condos and townhouses or food truck rallies or community forums for the digital age … as well as staples like regular leaf pickup and safe streets for kids and families and seniors alike.

At the same time, I don’t believe that newer is always better. In Farmington’s case, I think millennials *and* long-time residents would agree that our historic small-town feel plays a big part in creating the sense of place we associate with our city.

Appreciating our heritage is something I live and breathe. I served on the Farmington Historical Commission in 2014-2015, then co-founded Preservation Farmington and led an effort to save a row of Victorian homes on Grand River, across from the Sundquist Pavilion. I’ve twirled an umbrella with the Warnerettes Parasol Drill Team since its founding.

I’ve volunteered at the Warner Mansion museum since 2009, where I pored over so many old photos that if I squint just so, I can almost see the outline of old Farmington as I walk through downtown. Balancing that authentic, historic feel with a 21st-century vibe will always be one of my top priorities as a city councilmember.

If you’re one of those people who votes in every election, you might also have seen me at the polls. I’ve worked behind the desk at Farmington elections for the past 10 years.

I’ve helped folks vote. I’ve reported on the issues and spoken at council meetings and hearings. But when you’re trying to get things done, sometimes you have to take it to the next level. That’s why I put my name on the ballot in 2017.

As an editor, my job is to combine the ideas of different people to make the best possible product. To get things done even when folks disagree. As a journalist, I know that solving problems often takes researching an issue and hearing what people of differing backgrounds have to contribute. That’s what I strive to do on Farmington city council.

I will continue to pour all my energy into making our community a true reflection of Farmington citizens, both downtown and across the neighborhoods that make up the city we love.

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In the News

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I’m working hard to bring about the change that Farmington residents voted for in November 2017.

Follow my votes and my progress on City Council in the local news coverage below.

Founders Festival

My colleagues on City Council are leading the charge to keep the Founders Festival alive — and bring it back downtown where it belongs, starting summer 2021.

Farmington Community Library

I never thought I’d be calling on an appointed board member to resign, but I also never imagined the damage that this board member would do to the community resource that is the Farmington Community Library.

Farmington council member Maria Taylor in a Friday social media post said “turning a blind eye” to Largent’s behavior “is simply enabling it to continue. Farmington deserves better.” –Farmington Voice, 8/2020

Supporting good governance sometimes means a good fact check, as I did in this editorial called “Stop Micromanaging the Library Board.”

“It’s time for this little crusade — this attempt to micromanage the actions of the Library Board when there’s clearly no legal basis to do so — come to an end so the people we entrusted with leading our library can focus on their job.”

Farmington Road Streetscape

I voted to apply for a TAP grant, which we have since received, that will allow us to invest in the Farmington Road streetscape that is 10 years overdue. Expect work to begin in 2022.

“To me, the Farmington Road streetscape is the single most powerful project that we, as Farmington leaders, can carry out to ensure a brighter future for the downtown we all want to see grow and thrive.”

FUNDING FARMINGTON’S FUTURE: THE 2018 MILLAGE

We asked voters to invest in Farmington’s future, and Farmington said “yes!” I championed the millage, designed mailers, put up yard signs, and wrote editorials including this Readers’ Digest version of municipal financing.

“The millage is to compensate for what the state won’t do to help. It’s taking action to close the gap, fund what we love, and start investing in our future again.”

Marijuana

In November 2019, Farmington voted nearly 2-to-1 in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana via Prop. 1. Although Council passed an ordinance banning pot shops in Farmington, I made sure we included language stating that we intend to revisit the issue once the state finalizes its laws regarding regulation of the marijuana business. Ultimately, I’d like to put the question to Farmington voters.

Food trucks

I want to change the rules and allow more food trucks in Farmington, so I got an ordinance update added to our Council work plan.

Taylor said … she’s talked to people in a variety of age groups, from seniors to families and millennials, and many of them wish to see more food trucks downtown, especially at events like the city’s Friday night concert series, Rhythms in Riley Park. –Farmington Press, 8/2019

Mayfield Reconstruction

When I saw a video of someone paddling down Mayfield in a canoe, I grabbed an umbrella and walked through the flood to see how deep it was. (The water came up to my thighs — and that was on the sidewalk.) I posted the photos on social media, then worked to get funding for repairing the Mayfield drainage system in the 2019-2020 City budget. The project was completed in late 2020, and “Mayfield Lake” is now once again a normal residential street.

Historic Preservation

I am a huge proponent of adaptive reuse: a type of historic preservation renovates old buildings for cool new uses. I approved two adaptive reuse projects in Farmington: the Masonic Temple, being upcycled into Blue Hat Coffee, and The Village Mall, our iconic 1920s bank building being transformed into glass-walled offices by new owner GLP Financial.

“I am absolutely thrilled to see new owners GLP Financial Group bringing this Farmington icon back to life. This entire redevelopment is historic preservation done right.”

I also saved a historic barn by posting about it on Facebook.

Farmington City Council Member Maria Taylor, who describes herself as a “pretty outspoken historic preservationist,” created the Preservation Farmington post on Facebook. She said it has been shared more than 600 times and viewed by nearly 94,000 people. –Detroit Free Press, 1/2018

The barn, located behind the former Ginger’s Tea House, was taken to the Oakland County Pioneer & Historical Society in Pontiac. Regrettably, the house was demolished for redevelopment (which I voted against).

VAPE SHOP

I called for a ordinance change to zone smoke/vape shops out of downtown, which Council and the Planning Commission ultimately approved. The vape shop across from the Civic Theatre had been repeatedly cited for selling to minors. It is no longer there, and smoke/vape shops will no longer be allowed to move in downtown.

TIME Magazine Cover

That’s me on the cover of TIME.

I’ll admit: When I got an email from TIME asking if I’d like to submit a headshot for a cover on women running for office, I almost hit “mark as spam.” And I really didn’t expect it would be used. But a month and a half later, my phone started buzzing with texts from friends saying “OMG you’re on the cover!”

I’m just below the “S,” on the right side of the page. The photo was taken at a fall 2017 candidate forum at Farmington City Hall. How cool is that?