Saturday, October 23, 2021

East Lansing City Council Candidates: George Brookover

October 8, 2021
<p>East Lansing City Council Candidate George Brookover.</p>

East Lansing City Council Candidate George Brookover.

Photo by Chloe Trofatter | The State News

East Lansing City Council Candidate George Brookover is ready to bring a sense of purpose to East Lansing. 

“My sense of things is that there’s not a great sense of direction with the city,” Brookover said. “I think that the city has not been very effective at being responsive to the needs of citizens and taxpayers the last few years.”


Brookover, born and raised in East Lansing, graduated from East Lansing High School and attended Cornell University, where he obtained a degree in industrial labor relations. He then got his law degree at the University of Michigan and worked at the law firm Foster Swift Collins & Smith until 1991, when he started his own law firm.

Among other things, Brookover has served on the East Lansing Housing Commission and the Planning Commission. He also was a member of the East Lansing School Board for around eight years, serving as the president of the board for three of those years.

Main Issues

Brookover said that his primary reason for running for city council is his dissatisfaction with the effectiveness of city government.

“I’m not being critical, but I think that we need to carefully budget for effective use of city fiscal resources,” Brookover said.

He said that he is concerned about protecting East Lansing’s neighborhoods and downtown areas by using comprehensive planning, rather than what Brookover called “haphazard planning.” Additionally, Brookover said he would like to protect and enhance the city’s diversity, and to eradicate pension debt as quickly as possible.

One of Brookover’s main concerns is litigation between the city and other parties.

“I think there’s been a tendency for the city to involve itself in unnecessary litigation, which, of course, costs some money,” he said.

This includes litigation between the City of East Lansing and Country Mill Farms owner Steve Tennes. Tennes sued the city after being denied a vendor's license for the farmer’s market due to a Facebook post in which Tennes said that he would not hold same-sex weddings at his orchard.

“Being a lawyer, I don't quite understand why we're still involved in litigation concerning our farmers market in federal court,” he said.

Brookover also referenced litigation involving the Board of Water and Light. 

“There was a charge instituted against the Board of Water and Light users in East Lansing ... that’s now been challenged in court on the basis that that’s an improper and illegal tax,” he said. “I don't know the answer to that question, but I'm concerned that we got ourselves into that situation.”

Brookover said that it’s possible that this situation couldn’t have been avoided, but that it is unfortunate that the city is now involved in the litigation.

Brookover also said that planning is very important and that he thinks it gets overlooked.

“I look at the city as interrelated neighborhoods and areas, and planning is the device you use to help preserve and also enhance those different geographic areas of the city,” Brookover said.

He said that under state statute, the city must develop a comprehensive plan for development every 10 years. Brookover said that over the last several years, the city has been departing from that comprehensive planning and that he’s not sure that is a good thing.

“We want to keep our neighborhoods strong, so we have good residential housing stock, so that we keep our schools healthy ... so people want to live here.” Brookover said.

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Brookover is running for a four-year term.

The full candidate listing can be found on the City of East Lansing website.


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