Election survey results are in! Learn more about our community-focused coverage

Public Media Network is continuing to model our election coverage after community input. Take a look at our 2021 survey results to learn more. 

Social change starts with electing leaders that reflect our community goals. That's why Public Media Network is providing election coverage that will help you choose the best local candidates this November. The Public Media Network is doing this by letting community input guide what we cover.


The first step of this process was to get community input by sending out our 2021 Election Survey. We sent the survey to all of our email subscribers, posted it on social media, promoted it on our page and sent it to community leaders. Below, we have included the results to each survey questions, and have responded with some ways which we plan on meeting your requests. 


Stay tuned for the release of our 2021 Community Voter Guide, which will feature local races in the City of Kalamazoo, and City of Parchment. 


In the interest of full transparency, and to encourage the community to engage in important conversations, Public Media Network has also published every written survey response below. PMN does not inherently support any ideas published below. PMN does actively support the public's right to free speech. 

Question #1: Which local issues are the most important for candidates to discuss?

Question 1 Graph

Kalamazoo residents overwhelmingly said they want to know their future leader's stance on housing, the environment and transparency in government. Public Media Network will meet this need by including questions about these three topics in the interviews we we conduct with city government candidates. These interviews will be included in full, in our 2021 Community Voter Guide. 

Question #2: What changes would you like to see in the Kalamazoo City Commission going forward?

Below, we have included all written responses submitted for this question, with the intent to help foster community discussion surrounding this topic. Public Media Network does not inherently support the views below, but we support the right to free speech. 

  1. Accountability to their constituents. They are there to represent their constituents interests, not their own.
  2. An equity lens being used for all programming/discussion.
  3. I would like to see city commissioners spend more time on the things they control, rather than focus on things they don't have power and control over. I wish they would use the considerable power and control they do have to make change.
  4. Continued transparency.
  5. I would like to see hybrid meetings - in person but with remote access. Continue the Committee of the Whole meetings. Both of these contribute to transparency in local government.
  6. To stop building apartments and calling them "affordable" when they really aren't. They need to create a complex of tiny homes with a central building to help the homeless. They can hire therapist to work on mental health, hire people to teach them how to create a resume, and get them jobs. The homeless would be required to hold a job and pay a small percentage of their income in rent (10%) to stay in the tiny homes until they are ready to move on. This is just a quick and broad explanation.
  7. More focus on environmental issues: trash in city parks and trash in, and along the river.
  8. Commissioners who express opinions rather than just rubber-stamping every issue. We need a ward/district system so commissioners are accountable to an identifiable constituency. Our current commission is only accountable to the wealthy and powerful.
  9. A complete replacement of every current commissioner and mayor. Making city elections a ward-based system.
  10. Commissioners should be required to sponsor and attend regular public forums outside of official meetings so that the public’s voice can be heard.
  11. Transparency. Really listening to the community. That is not currently happening. We have a growing gun violence problem but at the same time folks do not trust KDPS. Many environmental issues need to be addressed including climate change (we currently have no climate plan), preserving land from over development, planting lot and lot of native trees, shrubs and plants and removing invasive non natives. Addressing environmental racism (Graphic Packaging in particular). Making sure trash is cleaned up around the entire city constantly and making sure that trash does not end up in the river.
  12. I would like to see the city implement funding to support local organizations working to solve issues.
  13. I would like to see real people on the board who actually involve the real people of Kalamazoo, not just the rich. Not do anything and everything the rich businesses want, but talk to the poor as well. I would also like to see people on the board who speak their own opinion on things, not just all say yes or no because they were told to by the mayor and other board members. I would like to see something done about the flooding in poor neighborhoods fix the infrastructure in the flooding areas. I would love to see people who care about green spaces and really saving them in poor neighborhoods too, especially flooding areas we like green spaces too. I would like the city to stop cramming apartments in already crime-filled areas, or flooding areas. I would like to see people who are not scared to say no.
  14. Conservative representation. Disability Inclusion equal to race and gender in all departments: Imagine Kalamazoo 2025, and DEI departments. 
  15. Fewer wealthy commissioners and more renters. The problems aren't personal for most of them.
  16. Diversity in age, gender, income, sexual orientation and other realms of identification.
  17. Transparency, in person meetings, listening to constituents.
  18. Less spin and more transparency. More holding management accountable.

Question #3: Is there anything else that you would like to know about candidates for Kalamazoo City Commission? 

Below, we have included all written responses submitted for this question, with the intent to help foster community discussion surrounding this topic. Public Media Network does not inherently support the views below, but we support the right to free speech. 

  1. Basic platform and areas of priority.
  2. What are your plans to slow down car drivers in the city and make walking/biking routes that are accessible to ages 8-80.
  3. Criminal records & civil judgements.
  4. Now that I'll be voting in Kalamazoo, I'd like to know more about the City Commissioners' platforms, goals, ideas, etc. It would also be interesting to know where they volunteer, or which organizations they donate their money, talents, etc. to. That tells me more about a person than anything.
  5. It is not about them, it is NEVER about them, it is about the PEOPLE.
  6. How do they plan to earn back the trust of city residents?
  7. What are you going to do to shift the focus from local millionaire business owners to the needs of regular people who actually need help?
  8. What are their ideas and plans for moving the city forward? We have a lot of distrust and transparency issues...how will they solve those issues?
  9. Yes would like to see more of who they are before the vote. We need real people not just someone who is in this to line there pocket or give the rich businesses what ever they want. We need real people to care about the environment and we need no more who want to destroy it. We need some new faces. Will they speak up or do what everyone else wants? How do they feel about the flooding the crime in Kalamazoo?
  10. I would like to ask each candidate, "Do you support disability inclusion equal to race and gender for all city initiatives?"
  11. Will they make any firm commitments on any topic?
  12. Their stances on the issues: environment, infrastructure, transparency.
  13. Do they know what the role of a City Commissioner is, and how would they be successful in that role?

Question #4: What kind of coverage would you like to see from PMN? 


Question 4 Graph

Our survey shows that Kalamazoo residents value hearing directly from their candidates through interviews. We are meeting this need by reaching out to candidates in upcoming local elections for individual candidate statements and interviews. Our interview questions will be modeled after questions put forth by the community, and the issues they find most important. 


Candidates in each race will be asked the same questions, giving voters a side-by-side comparison, similar to what would take place in a panel discussion. 


PMN also creates original news content through our staff and Neighborhood Voices Network program. In the upcoming months, election stories will be a priority. 


All of our election coverage will be available on our website, cable broadcast channels, and on demand. Keep an eye out for our 2021 Election Voter Guide, coming soon, which will include candidate bios and interviews, as well as reporting done on election topics. 


Check out the 2020 Community Voter Guide


For more information about our election coverage, contact Raine Kuch at rkuch@publicmedianet.org.