State Representative Candidate VanRaaphorst Responds to Rochester Hills Moratorium

Please Note: The content in this post was received via email from Joanna VanRaaphorst’s, (candidate for State Representative – 45th District) campaign manager. It is posted solely as Ms. VanRaaphorst’s opinion. No compensation was received by Rochester Media for posting it, nor should it be perceived as an endorsement of Ms. VanRaaphorst’s campaign.

Even though Rochester Hills residents were only given 18-hours notice, it was standing room only at the City of Rochester Hills Emergency meeting held Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.   The Mayor and City Council, of which Mike Webber is a member, have been under fire for selling the leasing rights to two city parks and one cemetery for potential oil and gas drilling without the vote of the residents. These Rochester Hills elected officials have two law suits filed against them by the grass roots group, Don’t Drill The Hills, and another resident, for violating the city charter and not allowing the resident to vote on this important matter.

A six-month moratorium to halt drilling was issued at the meeting. However, the city does not plan to rescind their lease agreement with Jordan Oil, despite the hundreds of residents who have requested this action over the past nine months. State Rep candidate Joanna VanRaaphorst attended the meeting and spoke out against the leasing of city property for oil and gas drilling.  She has supported the efforts of the Don’t Drill The Hills group since its inception.

Van Raaphorst, a resident of Oakland Township, co-owns a dental practice with her husband in Rochester Hills. VanRaaphorst, who has worked in the private sector for over 34 years, stated in her remarks to Barnett and City Council “Your inept decision-making skills would definitely not cut it in the private sector,” and “Your customer service skills to handling your customers, the residents of Rochester Hills, have been appalling.”

Don’t Drill the Hills requested and was promised by Mayor Barnett a comprehensive community forum nine months ago. Finally in May, the city offered a poorly planned open house/ tabletop display event at a local college and invited only select residents.   DDTH again requested that the entire city be notified that the parks and cemetery had been leased out and they requested a true community forum to discuss the pros and cons of such drilling.

After the Republican state convention this past weekend, Barnett and City Council hastily threw together this meeting giving constituents little advance notice. With Barnett investigating a run as a write in candidate for Mayor of Rochester Hills in 2015 (due to term limits) and Michael Webber running against VanRaaphorst in November, VanRaaphorst asked  “Did the viability of your future political careers have to come into play before you take action?”

Numerous area residents spoke about the lack of leadership the Mayor, Mike Webber and the rest of city council have demonstrated. Many stated they would not be voting for them in the upcoming elections. Our community needs leadership, not showmanship both locally and in Lansing.

About Sarah Hovis

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  1. Bruce Fealk says

    Here is City Council member Michael Webber, Ms. Van Raaphorsts’s opponent, in his own words, stating that he is comfortable moving ahead with drilling for oil in Rochester Hills.


    ONE lawsuit was filed against the City by Don’t Drill the Hills alleging a City Charter violation over an oil lease signed for park property without a prior public vote.

    The second lawsuit was filed by an individual not affiliated with any group or organization. Some issues appear to be similar, but other allegations are included.

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