Supervisor Seeks Reelection and to Repair Relationships in Armada
John Paterek wants to see Armada Prepare for what is Ahead so it is not Left Behind
Incumbent Armada Township Supervisor John Paterek has seen a lot in his twelve years leading the board. In recent years he’s seen a growing divide that has been an impediment to the type of progress he’d like to see for Armada, “On any level, if you don’t have a common goal and shared support, you’re going to struggle.” Despite his success in politics, winning election to three terms and seeking a fourth, Paterek does not consider politics to be his strength. Instead he points to his love for the community he’s lived in for more than thirty years as well as his business experience and management skills. In the past “I’ve put items on the table and people were willing to listen to my reasoning,” he told us, “lately, that hasn’t been the case.” Paterek cites the recent sewer contract which the board approved despite his opposition. “I knew the sewer contract was such a burden financially to our industrial corridor that it would literally bankrupt the township...there are only five or six businesses that would have to split the cost of nearly $1.7 million of infrastructure plus sewer and user fees.” Paterek says after the board passed the contract and the figures were presented to the businesses, they balked, saying they could not afford the cost of the new system, an outcome Paterek says he foresaw and tried to relate to the board, “The lack of trust in business sense has been very frustrating...To be on a board that doesn’t believe you simply because they don’t want to is very frustrating.” Furthering that frustration is that without a viable sewer plan going forward, it will be difficult if not impossible for Armada to expand it’s industrial tax base, “I’ve been working with water and sewer since 2009...it’s the key to industrial and commercial expansion and even to higher (population) density.” Another source of frustration for Paterek is the stubborn resistance of some to follow health and safety guidelines relating to Covid-19. “I feel incredibly strong about the respect and protection of others,” the Supervisor continued, “What frustrates me the most is people who continually say I don’t have to or I don’t want to.” Paterek says people should be free to make their own choices in their homes and with their family or at a business they own, but thinks in a public setting such as the township hall, everyone should put the health and safety of others first and that, “If you choose not to wear a mask, you should choose to stay outside.” Paterek says public safety always has to be job one for elected officials in a pandemic or even in “normal” times.
John remembered the “shock” of adjusting to rural living that he and his family had when they moved to Armada and acknowledges that for all the wonderful advantages of living in the country in a community with renown schools and a rich tradition, there are challenges that come with it as well. One of those that has been highlighted by the Covid-19 situation is access to broadband internet. “The thing that puts a bigger light on it (the internet issue) is the fact that (during a pandemic) we need to communicate with our doctors, with our office staff and with our schools electronically now.” Paterek wants to promote alternative internet options such as wireless hotspots and put an emphasis on getting tablets into the senior center to help the citizens learn to use zoom meeting, facetime and other communication technologies. “I don’t care if we teach them to play bingo. Once they get started using it they learn to use it and it removes the fear and intimidation.”
For Paterek, there is no question what makes Armada great, “I say it all the time, we are Family strong. I believe Armada Township is the Pearl of Northern Macomb County.” Paterek takes great pride in the ability of the community to support each other, especially during hard times. “Whenever anyone falls on hard times, even when we are in conflict, the whole community comes together for that family. It’s a nice feeling to live in a community that truly has compassion.” And Supervisor Paterek is grateful not only for how the community supports each other, but for what it has done for him. He has fond memories of sharing his life in Armada with old friends who grew up, like him, in more urban areas and spent a lot more time moving around rather than settling down. “How cool is this?” he wonders to himself, “We’ve had chickens, lambs, goats, pot belly pigs,, we did the whole thing and we got to share it with other people we cared about. Armada is more than just a home for John Paterek, it’s why he feels at home, “I insist that Armada, (it) gave me a place to have a life.”
Article by Joe Malburg