Face time: East Lansing City Council candidate Ruth Beier
Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a semi-weekly series profiling East Lansing City Council candidates prior to the Nov. 5 election.
The East Lansing City Council will have new faces come the Nov. 5 election, and MSU alumna Ruth Beier thinks her economics background and financial know-how make her a good fit for the job.
Beier, an economist for the Michigan Education Association and member of the city’s Downtown Development Authority, is running for one of two available four-year city council terms soon to be vacated by incumbents Kevin Beard and Vic Loomis.
Beier sat down with The State News and answered questions about her candidacy.SN: What are your plans for the Park District project downtown?
RB: “One of the reasons I decided to run is because of City Center II, which never got built. I’m very interested in this project. it can make or break downtown. I think we have to do it. … What I see going in there is mixed use, very dense, maybe on the corner, a tall building with a hotel and some office space and retail, restaurants and some smaller buildings that can be residential. … Whatever it is, it is going to be way better than what we have now.”SN: What do you envision for the bar scene downtown?
RB: “From an economic perspective, we’re probably satiated on the bar scene. I don’t think if you built another big bar, there would be enough demand for it. At the same time, I don’t like just a broad rule without thinking about it. I would rather have the city council say ‘Oh, here’s a project. We don’t want to do that, because we don’t want another bar, or we want to do that because it even though it serves alcohol it may have fine dining or something like that.”SN: What are some problems you have noticed with East Lansing?
RB: “I think for students, a really important issue that no one wants to talk about is off-campus housing that is near campus. With a college next door, there is going to be huge demand right up against the neighborhoods. There (are) going to be students, graduate students, young professors — but once a row of houses are all students, it really crowds out everyone else.”SN: How do you hope to bridge the gap between the city of East Lansing and MSU students?
RB: “I think the entire city of East Lansing is a little schizophrenic about students. They know that East Lansing would not exist without the students. Everybody knows that MSU is our lifeblood. At the same time, we want to live here. Most people aren’t students and want to be able to appreciate all of the things that a big campus has without all the headaches, which is just not going to happen.”