mandated prayer in ypsilanti?

I’m not sure what the reasoning is behind it, but I see from the agenda for tonight’s Ypsi City Council meeting that our elected officials will be discussing the possibility of an Ypsi Day of Prayer. While I’d be a bit dubious of such blatant mixing of church and state otherwise, I concede that the Water Street situation might warrant it… Seriously, is it really the place of our elected officials to dictate days of prayer? I can see how a Day of Reflection or a Day of Introspection might be nice, but “prayer,” at least in my mind, implies religion. And, I was brought up to think that the spheres of politics and religion didn’t overlap in the big Venn diagram of American life.

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  1. Cousins Vinyl
    Posted April 17, 2007 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, Mark, that definitly seems strange, prayer being the key word. Day of Peace, Day of Reflection, yes, good, but prayer for sure implies religion, which always causes problems and should be avoided if possible. But a good idea.

    Speaking of Water Street, I have been running with my dogs in the park behind it – on Catherine street – You can do a loop right by the river around it entering on Grove and Spring and then follow the river right through the empty fenced in lot behind Water Street project, and if you cross the street you’re in Riverside park, which makes for a nice long run with almost all trails. The park and trails behind the Water Street project have been neglected for years, but if a little time was spent it could actually be a very nice park. It’s actually the best trail I have found to run in the city. You can tell it used to be nice because behind it by Grove there is an abandoned baseball field and a few benches. I have heard talk about a disc golf course, and I have seen them doing some kind of construction near the parking lot, but they seem to have stopped and I’m not sure what exactly they are doing. My wife is scared to come with me to this area because we have only seen homeless people walking around, although it doesn’t bother me.

    What IS the situation with Water Street? I’ve heard so many different things….But with that park behind it, the area has even more potential, as a path could be made leading to it from behind whatever they build (condos?). I’m personally hoping the disc golf course works out, I’ve heard talking about funding it. I just want SOMETHING to happen. But if nothing else, I’ll still have my secret running spot.

  2. brian r
    Posted April 18, 2007 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Nero is fiddling.

  3. Dr. Cherry
    Posted April 18, 2007 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    What IS the situation with Water Street?

    I’m pretty sure the city has either started making payments on the bonds, or will be very shortly.

    These will come up when they announce cuts in services.

  4. brian r
    Posted April 18, 2007 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    The first bond payment is not due until November of 2009. This is the result of the bond refinancing that was done in April of 2006 by a previous Council.

  5. K
    Posted April 18, 2007 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I find it incredibly odd (and disconcerting) that there is a prayer at the beginning of council meetings. If people really need to call on their god before a meeting, could they either do it by themselves or at their place of worship? At the very least, some place where it is remotely appropriate.

  6. Hillary
    Posted April 18, 2007 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    This is why it’s so important that an income tax is passed. (One of our council people says that Hamtramck officials advised the mayor and officials from Ypsilanti “as they move forward on an income tax for their city”.)

    Didn’t the development plan called for demolishing everything at Gilbert park for housing?

  7. ol' e cross
    Posted April 18, 2007 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    It’s a good question. Why should the city be able to dictate days of anything?

  8. ol' e cross
    Posted April 18, 2007 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    I should clarify. As I’ve probably said, I’m a friend of the slippery slope. Maybe this is one.

    But, I take “days of” as shout-outs for community involvement, not mandates. (I.e., all you who care about litter, lets pick up on this day.) Ypsi’s had the “day of the wild mustang.”

    Prayer, at its best, is introspection. If all those who believe in any sort of prayer, to any sort of god, spent the day introspecting about Ypsi, I see it as a good thing.

    And, if the non-prayers spend the day downing pints at the Corner Brewery, all the better. (I, like the Belgians, will be doing both.)

    There may be a fine line between endorsing and recognizing religion. School prayer, which forces a religious moment on all students, crosses it for me. A token “day of,” which just recognizes the belief some in the community hold without dictating what those who don’t share prayer do or don’t do, doesn’t.

    I may need alternate perspectives. I’m going to go pray I receive them.

  9. Posted April 19, 2007 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    The most recent City Council video is posted up on I thought it was interesting when one council member some how made the jump that mentioning God becomes a Judeo-Christian endorsement. I guess Jews and Muslims believe in a different God. [sigh]

    Council proposed business at the end of the meeting was interesting when the mayor proposed a code of conduct for council members.

    The Police Chief was dumped into the fryer over the 2008 Triumph car show. Council made him responsible for approving the show after they passed a resolution approving the show two weeks ago. Yet if the Chief says yes, it violates the moratorium against any new events which was passed by the council last year.

    Oh by the way, to make it even tougher for the Chief, apparently the former assistant city manager told the head of the Convention and Visitors bureau that the Triumph event was OK. Council put the Chief in an impossible position and then after the meeting, they piled on when the Mayor told the ‘SNUZ he would ask for a letter from the Chief to make him commit in writing.

    The new city planner said at the Water Street meeting back on February 13th that the city had two months to get a new developer or the city would lose a $500,00 grant and $500,000 loan from the State. (BTW the loan/grant requires an additional $500,000 match from the city)

    Well it has been two months and there has been no updates to the Council or community on the status of Water Street. I heard on the grapevine the Planning department talked to two developers. I forgot to tell the planner that I submitted a grant application for $37 million this week, I should know around 11:05 on Friday evening if I got the grant.

    The City needs to have $30 million of assessed value meaning buildings built and occupiable by midnight Dec 31, 2008. That is less than 20 months away. If they don’t, the city will need to dip into the general fund to make the $900,000 payment due in 2009. In 2010 the payment goes over $1 million a year.

    Without another $30 to $50 million of additional development by 2012 (this is above the $30 million they need by 2008) the payment jumps to $1.6 million a year and the city has no way to pay this without an Income Tax or wiping out most of the police department. The city manager in Feb. did suggest that a special millage of 3 to 5 mills could be used to pay the Water Street Bonds.

    [sigh, again]

    – Steve

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