ypsi real estate finger pointing

I haven’t been following the local news too closely these past few days. I haven’t been feeling all that well, and, to be quite honest, thinking about the current state of our community doesn’t really do much to improve my spirits. But, a reader by the name of Curt kindly asked me to check out a story in the “Ann Arbor News” about the Hudaya Muslim Community Association’s bid to acquire Ypsi Township’s vacant Ardis Elementary school, and I got sucked in. Anyway, here’s the gist of it:

…Most Ypsilanti Board of Education members say they are not opposed to the sale, but one board member wants to see the district aggressively market the building before considering the association’s $3.9 million offer…

The district should market the building just as aggressively as the school district marketed itself in billboard campaigns to attract students, board member Andy Fanta said Monday.

“We owe it to our community to see if anyone (else) is interested (in Ardis) … I’m not for dismissing this offer, but let’s put some energy into seeing what else is out there,” Fanta said…

As I understand it, the price being offered by the Muslim Association is fair. The building has been sitting vacant since 2005, and, as far as I’m aware, there has only been one other serious offer in that time, and that was when the Salvation Army agreed, over a year ago, to buy the property for less money -$3.85 million. (The Salvation Army eventually pulled out of the deal.)

I suppose that some could see the unwillingness to accept the bid as subtle racism, but I’d be inclined to give the folks who are presently unwilling to sell the benefit of the doubt. It could just be that they’d like to see a for-profit entity in the space, that would pay taxes, etc. Given the fact that much of Ypsi (CIty and Township) is already off the tax rolls, I don’t think that’s necessarily unreasonable. I do think, however, that we’d be smart not to drag our feet too long on this. It’s not as though developers are knocking down doors, looking for opportunities to invest here. And this isn’t to say that Fanta isn’t right. It might very well be true that we didn’t do enough to market the property. I suspect we didn’t. That doesn’t, however, mean that we should start now. In my opinion, we should just learn from it and move on. Right now, with the school district in the red, I think it would be irresponsible on our part to turn down the offer of $3.9 million. We cannot afford to hold onto this property for another three years, in hopes that a better offer will come along. Knowing Ypsi, we’d invest $20,000 in advertising, only to ultimately accept less for the property. (It’s not as though the recession in Michigan is going to end anytime soon.)

While we’re on the subject of poorly handled local real estate matters, it also came to my attention today that a fellow named Gary Lillie is accusing the City of being unreceptive to potential developers interested in pursuing the commercialization of the property known as Water Street. Here, courtesy of our friend Mark Higbee, is the link to that article. And here’s a clip:

…Lillie also said he approached the city last year to obtain information on the project for a California developer, who was looking for a brownfield project, and administrators told him that the city has not decided what to do with the project yet…

I guess it’s troubling that the city “ignored” Mr. Lillie, who claims to have represented developers interested in the project, if it’s true, but I’m more concerned by the fact that, after all of these years, our City leaders still don’t seem quite sure what they want to do with the project. I’ve heard that there has been some recent interest by experienced brownfield development firms, and that’s great, but I’m not convinced that we have a plan going forward, should these recent leads not bear fruit. Would it be asking too much to know where the city stands on the proposal by real estate firm CB Richard Ellis to market the property? As I understand it, the last time the project was open for bids, they were the only group to come forward with a plan. I wonder what we’re waiting for. It seems to me that we should probably accept their offer, or re-open the bid, as Mr. Lillie is suggesting.

[This post has been edited to reflect more clearly that the school in question is in the Township, and that the Water Street proposal by CB Richard Ellis was just recently made.]

This entry was posted in Ypsilanti. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

38 Comments

  1. egpenet
    Posted February 28, 2008 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    What’s all this “We” stuff? It’s School Board property. Let them do with it what they will.

    As to the Water Streeeet issue … I must defer to our elaborate planning department apparatus.

  2. mark
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 1:36 am | Permalink

    So, you’re saying that we, the people of Ypsilanti, have no say as to what the School Board does? Aren’t they elected officials, Ed?

  3. Andy
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 3:08 am | Permalink

    I don’t like that Gary Lillie character. He always used to put these ads (for lack of a better word) in the Michigan Daily about how we could have won in Vietnam if only public opinion/protest hadn’t led us to pussy out.
    Looks like he was still at it for Iraq:
    http://www.inactivex.net/musings/openletter.html
    This is pretty charming, too:

    Gary Lillie reports that Ann Arbor, Michigan, Chapter 310 president John Kinzinger thought the chapter should have a pig roast as a fund raiser. Lillie purchased a pig at the local 4H club and donated it to the chapter. Lillie named the pig after his favorite Hollywood actress/activist. The event raised money for packages for the troops, parties for veterans at local VA hospitals, and many other chapter projects. Lillie reports that the pig roast served 300 people and raised over $3,000.

    http://archive.vva.org/TheVeteran/2003_12/mem_notes.htm
    I’ve heard of celebrity roasts before, but poor “Jane Fonda”!

    Here’s a profile of him in the A2News:
    http://blog.mlive.com/ann_arbor_business_review/2007/10/gary_lillie_managing_director.html#more
    “Word that best describes you: Empathetic.”
    Uh huh.
    “Pet peeve: People that seem to dislike our country. We have flaws, but this is the best and most generous country in the world.”
    Achtung, baby!

  4. egpenet
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    In the context of your comment, it read as if the City government/Planning Department would tell the school district to sell or not. Simply the way I read it, dear friend.

    Our schools are OUR schools … local control and all that … at least for now … unless and until the State or the Feds take over … to whip them back into shape.

  5. Rob
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    I heard a muted shoot of “Racism!” in the back of my mind as well, Mark– I’m sure there’s nothing to that, but I fear I’ve been conditioned by the current socio-political climate then I’d care to admit.
    As to searching for maybe a commercial tax paying entity purchasing the place– I’m not aware of any offers having been put out there– ‘Sides the property Ardis sits on is fully within the Township, not the city, so we more ‘Urbane’ dwellers won’t benefit on that end anyway, other than the monies directly obtained from the sale– For at least the whole school district gains (thus us?) some much needed cash.

  6. Posted February 29, 2008 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Mark,

    The proposal from CB Richard Ellis was submitted February 12, 2008, in response to this RFP. So, two weeks ago, not 6 months ago.

  7. Ingrid
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Ardis is not in the City but in the Township.

  8. Mr. Crabtree
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the background on Lillie. When I read the story, my guess was that he was an ax grinder.

    Two weeks, six months, what’s the difference? the point is that the community hasn’t been kept in the loop. Would it be too much to ask that the city provide a quarterly update? I realize that some of the information can be found in Councilo minutes, but that’s not so user friendly.

  9. Bob Doyle
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    When we discredit a person because of a particular view on an issue, and disregard their relevant complaint and specific professional expertise because we don’t agree with them, we marginalize people who are trying to make a contribution, and limit the democratic debate. Ypsilanti is very adept as a community at this approach, despite it’s professed openness.

    If you interpret these statements as a thinly veiled rant based on personal experience, you win the prize!

    I’ve met Gary Lillie on several occasions and though I do not agree with him politically, I found him to be generous, warm and smart. Just because I believe him to be in error about the wars referenced, doesn’t mean I think he’s a complete idiot incapable of sound professional judgement regarding real estate issues. We will likely never know the real specifics about this situation, but both the City and Mr. Lillie deserve the benefit of the doubt until we do.

    Bob

  10. Posted February 29, 2008 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    City officials ignoring Water Street ideas? Say it ain’t so . . .

    With regard to Ardis, I don’t think the problem is bias against the Muslim Community Association. When I was on the district’s Finance Committee, we all had varying degrees of reservations about selling the property to the Salvation Army mainly because we wanted to be sure that we were acting in a financially sound manner. Our desire to be diligent didn’t make us anti-Salvation Army or anti-Christian.

    The problem, as I see it, is that there are four options for the property. One, re-open it as a school. Two, sell it now at the price offered. Three, market it to see if the district can do better than the current offer (or generate a bidding war). Four, hold the property until the real estate market stabilizes and then sell it. In evaluating these options, it’s hard to compare the property’s current cash value with speculative considerations like future value or with intangibles like the potential contribution to the community that the Muslim Community Center could make. Consequently, it’s hard to make a principled decision about what’s best for the district or what’s best for the community when the decision involves weighing intangibles and speculation against cold, hard cash.

    If Water Street has taught our elected officials anything, it’s that they need to exercise great care and considerable diligence with the capital assets they exercise control over. No doubt the BOE is concerned about the possibility of selling the property now only to see it flipped in a few years for twice the price.

  11. Respect
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Ah, yes, respect – like that time the man in question named a little pig “Jane Fonda” and slit its throat.

  12. John on Forest
    Posted February 29, 2008 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Bob Doyle. Whether the man is politically astute or not does not mean he’s not professionally competent. But, his complaint about the city overlooking his previous proposal in accepting new bids on Water Street did sound a bit like whining. As was pointed out in the A2 News article, the RFP was public, even published in the A2 News. Mr. Lillie could have responded to the RFP again. Besides that fact the city is seriously considering re-opening the bidding specifically in response to Mr. Lillie’s inquiry (and not because of the subsequent press).

    Out of thoroughness, I think the city should re-open the bids and see if they can attract more than one bidder and potentially, a better bid than they have in their pocket currently.

    If the city was “not sure what they wanted to do with the property” eighteen months ago, and therefore unable to accept Mr. Lillie’s proposal at that time, that is hardly evidence they would now reject a proposal if Lillie submitted one.

    If I have my timeline half right, back then was about when we lost our second developer. I’m sure there was considerable confusion surrounding that situation and rethinking of how to next proceed should have been the proper response.

  13. Dirtgrain
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    What else did he do to the pig?

  14. Gary
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Greetings. I am Gary Lillie and have read the previous comments. I even went to the link that leads to “An Open Letter to Gary Lillie.”
    First, I would like to address the “letter” and then the “Water Street bid process.”
    When a person writes an “open letter” and puts it on the Internet, one would think that the writer would have the courtesy to let the subject of the letter know about it and solicit a response; or better yet, ask that person for his/her opinion before writing about it. In the case of the two “open letters” that person wrote he first made statements and then addressed his letter as if it were I who had made the statements.
    The fact that I am against protesting during war time is definitely not that I believe protesters are anti-American or unpatriotic. My point is, if you want to save lives, do your protesting at the ballot box and before the war starts, not after it starts.
    As to “anti-war,” no one is more anti-war than those who have been there.
    By the way, the statement, “If you are not for us, you are against us,” was not made by the president in the context in which it is used by those who don’t like him (I am definitely not one of his fans), so that is not something I have ever said.
    The point I have always made is regardless of whether you agree with the war or not, protests drag out war and cost lives. Without going into specifics, this opinion comes from reading everything I can that comes out of Vietnam. In other words, I listen to what the other side has to say, not what someone on this side of the pond says. If you can define “The three heads of the dragon,” then you know what I’m talking about.
    Further, my “adopted sister” Yung Krall is the daughter of Senator Dang Quang Minh, who was their (NLF/VC) ambassador to the Soviet Union (Google Yung Krall). Yung wrote a book about her life, but there’s a lot that’s not in the book that she has told me in conversation.
    As to the story in the Ann Arbor News about my strong suggestions that the city reopen the bidding process, as is not uncommon, while the story contained many facts, it did not accurately reflect what I have been saying. I have had many contacts with the city, going back to the previous mayor, and have indeed talked to them about listing the property. But, what was not written I believe to be of importance. Just after the last developer walked I offered advice on how, as a municipality, the City of Ypsilanti could put the property on the Michigan Commercial Board of Realtors CIE, which is the equivelant of a commercial multiple listing system (go to http://www.cpix.net). The city would not have had to list the property with any particular broker to do it. City officials did not do that, even though there was nothing to lose and much to gain.
    My motive in making that suggestion was definitely not out of selfishness; I hope people can figure that out. My reason for doing it was because of the warm place I have in my heart for Ypsilanti, whose residents showed me respect as a Vietnam Veteran when I first came to this area in 1969; which was the opposite of what I received in the university city where I lived, just a couple of miles to the west of Ypsilanti.
    When I heard, the day after the request for proposals closed, that the city of Ypsilanti had put out such a request, I began to ask other commercial brokers, the executive director of the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and the executive director of the Michigan Commercial Board of Realtors if they had heard of the request. No one had. That, even though I had previously given officials the contact information for the latter.
    I have made the point from the beginning that the process was flawed and that the city has no way of knowing whether or not they got the best proposal. I have also said that the agent who made the proposal is a good person and that C. B. Richard Ellis is a good company; and if they were to be awarded the contract in open and competitive bidding then good for them. But, there are a lot of good commercial firms out there that may have a better way of marketing the property, given the opportunity to make a proposal.
    Putting the request on the city web site only attracts someone who monitors the City of Ypsilanti web site – and there are hundreds of municipal web sites that would require monitoring it that were the standard to be used by all bodies of government.
    Placing an ad in the Ann Arbor News only attracts those who read the Ann Arbor News – I do not.
    As to the pig – if you are a vegetarian you can understandably state your distaste for a pig roast. If you are familiar with the actions of the celebrity the pig is named after, which few are, you can appreciate the humor in saying, “Help Vietnam Veterans roast Jane Fonda.” It’s free publicity, as shown by the fact that it was brought up in this blog.

  15. Mark H.
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    what Gary Lillie has stated here, to my mind, is even more damning about the quality of decision making in City govt. than what was reported in the AA NEWS. He asserts that there is a free means of advertising the Water Street property, a venue frequented by commercial real estate brokers, and he further asserts, if I read him right, that City leaders have opted NOT to use that method. This, if true, is utterly strange — and a further demonstration that the City leaders are inept capitalists at best. The city has an asset that the city wants to sell to a developer, but, if Mr. Lillie’s claims are correct, has declined to publicize the existence of that asset to the community of commercial real estate brokers. Unbelievable, if true.

    On the Jane Fonda thing — I totally disagree with Mr Lillie’s tactics there, but hey, it’s a free country and free speech prevails. As it should.

    And Mr. Lillie, a personal note to you: Welcome home.

  16. egpenet
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Yum!

  17. mark
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for taking the time to read through the thread and leave a comment, Gary. I appreciate it. And I invite you to come back and leave comments in the future. I may not agree with you politics, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t respect your opinion. For what it’s worth, I also think it’s likely that, in spite of your political orientation, you might be right on occasion. So, if you can stand the occasional pinko tirade on occasion, I think you’ll come to see that I’m usually fair, and pretty level headed. Like you, I just want the best thing for the city.

    And, for what it’s worth, I’m going to be roasting the remains of William F. Buckley at my place on Tuesday night, if anyone’s interested.

  18. egpenet
    Posted March 1, 2008 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Yummie!

  19. Dirtgrain
    Posted March 2, 2008 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Did you slit the pig’s throat?

  20. Gary Lillie
    Posted March 2, 2008 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Did I slit the pig’s throat?
    I have been telling people for years I am a self-confessed hypocrite. I’ve tried to go vegetarian, but after about 3-4 days I feel like I’m climbing the walls and have to rush out and get a hamburger (preferrably from the Sidetrack). So, I’m a meat-eater who can’t even watch nature films where animals are killing and eating each other.
    I feed the wildlife on the ten acres where I live. During the winter I feed up to 200-pounds of corn a day to every free-loading deer, duck, rabbit, pheasant and bird that lives in Scio Township. Just before dusk I will have as many as 25 deer in my yard that get scared away when 250 to as many as 700 ducks drop out of the sky to feed. I buy shell corn from farmers by the gravity-wagon load, a couple of tons at a time.
    I still have bird feeders all over the place and duck nesting boxes around my ponds.
    I get rid of stress by planting trees and shrubs that produce feed for the critters.
    Did I slit the pig’s throat? No, I buy my meat from a market and pretend that it’s not an animal I’m eating.

  21. ytown
    Posted March 2, 2008 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Dirtgrain you’re an idiot

  22. ytown
    Posted March 2, 2008 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I have never met Mr. Lillie, but he seems like a good person whom I can relate to. If this liberal blog has such open-minded readers and contributors how is it that they are so judgemental? It is my understanding that this is to be an open forum to discuss Ypsi and it future, then why such distaste towards people you don’t know?

    Re: dirtgrain, I am not criticizing you, just your idiotic comments.

    Re: Andy, open your mind to people you haven’t met.
    “I don’t like that Gary Lillie character.”

  23. Dirtgrain
    Posted March 2, 2008 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Hey, somebody wrote that he slit the throat of a pig named Jane Fonda. I just wanted clarification, asking questions–not making a comment. How is it idiotic to set the record straight on that one? Apparently that throat slitting comment was an ad hominem attack, meant to discredit Lillie by questioning his character (had it been true, it would still have been an ad hominem attack, but it might have been a reason why the planners didn’t listen to him).

  24. ytown
    Posted March 2, 2008 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Dirtgrain,
    if all you wanted was clarification then I apologize. Yes, obviously it was an ad hominem attack made by “Respect” who probably has never met Mr. Lillie.
    Andy he sure seems dangerous:
    First choice for a new career: School teacher – I love teaching kids about what the possibilities are in life.

  25. Gary Lillie
    Posted March 2, 2008 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    I came back to this blog to clarify my answer on that throat slitting.
    First, I did not take the question on it as an attack, merely a clarification, and I appreciated the opportunity to do that.
    When I was a teenager I was an apprentice meat cutter in a meat market, hence, I know how to carve up an animal. So I do carve up the three pigs while another guy slices the meat from the sections I carve. Perhaps that is where the original comment came from.
    I’m not squeamish when there is a job to be done, I just don’t like to kill animals, or see them killed. Because of that I stopped hunting about 20 years ago.
    I do belong to several hunting organizations such as Ducks Unlimited and Waterfowl USA, because they are major protectors of waterfowl habitat. DU is the largest non-government land owner in Canada and also owns a lot of land in Mexico. They protect the land from development, poaching, etc.
    Waterfowl USA is made up of guys that broke away from DU because they want to do habitat work in the United States. Their slogan is “American bucks for American ducks.” In Michigan it is WUSA that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and restored the 2,700-acre St Johns Marsh. They also put up half the money to purchase 80 acres in the middle of that marsh to save it from a condo development. WUSA is now restoring the marshes on Harsen’s Island.
    I do indeed cut up those pigs, but people eat meat and we raise money for projects, so I do the job.
    The projects my Vietnam Veterans of America chapter does include sending packages to the troops (about 1,200 so far at a cost of about $30,000) and giving comfort items to the hospitalized vets; among other projects. Not a dime of the money we raise is spent on us. We even pay for the fund-raising postage out of our own pockets.
    By the way – thank you for the Welcome Home. It’s always nice to hear. Don’t forget to say it to the troops coming home today.

  26. Andy
    Posted March 5, 2008 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    ytown: “Re: Andy, open your mind to people you haven’t met.”
    Before googling him, all I knew about him was his irritating Michigan Daily ads in which he harshes on political dissent. He put himself out there in a way that I’m sure he knew would be inflammatory, so I’m bringing the flames. He didn’t complain about my post itself, only you. It’s chivalrous of you to defend his honor, but, as he shows, he is perfectly capable of handling himself.

    Gary: “The point I have always made is regardless of whether you agree with the war or not, protests drag out war and cost lives.”
    I think that’s highly debatable , and I would especially ask you to show us how it has manifested in this Iraq war. You seem to have made your anti-protest career on a single quote by a single man (Krall’s father). The Commander-in-Chief always bears ultimate responsibility for how long wars get drawn out. He/she can take citizens’ opinions into account or not. He/she ought not be surprised by protest. Anti-war protests are largely for the morale of the people involved in them, as they bear no official weight. I’m sorry you got trashed by a few longhairs after you got back from Vietnam, but protest should not be discouraged because of it. There are much worse things than protest, such as actual violence.

    Thank you for standing up here and for your input. I hope you will chime in regularly about ways to help Ypsi.

  27. Andy
    Posted March 5, 2008 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    Gary: “When a person writes an “open letter” and puts it on the Internet, one would think that the writer would have the courtesy to let the subject of the letter know about it and solicit a response; or better yet, ask that person for his/her opinion before writing about it. In the case of the two “open letters” that person wrote he first made statements and then addressed his letter as if it were I who had made the statements.”
    As the writer explains at the bottom of the page, he emailed this to you directly, in response to an email directly from you, which in its turn was a response to an initial email to you from him.

  28. Dirtgrain
    Posted March 5, 2008 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    It is interesting that we send soldiers to kill, and then we worry about their feelings. That seems a bit backward.

  29. Gary
    Posted March 6, 2008 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    Protest Movement: The research I have done to arrive at my position that protest movements prolong war is quite extensive and does not “hang on a single quote by one man (Yung Krall’s father).” I have used many quotes, from many sources, all of them being on their side, not ours.
    Quotes that I don’t think I ever use are those that come from our side, although I have talked to a lot of people on our side who have great knowledge and experience in studying the protest movement. Yung Krall is one of them, having been a spy for both the CIA and the FBI and breaking up a large spy ring in this country that went to a level 14 in the State Department.
    The points I make about the protest movement come from years of reading many sources and the biographies of those involved in it, talking to people in intelligence positions.
    In fact, my first exposure to the protest movement came nearly a year prior to me leaving for Vietnam when three of my college age friends were asked by the FBI to sit in on the first sit-in against the war, staged at UM.
    They wrote to me about it, telling what happened. They all wrote later and told me that a shadowy person they observed, always in the background, but obviously directing that particular meeting,somehow “made” them, which scared the hell out of all three. They later wrote to tell me the FBI let them know that the guy was actually a KGB agent.
    Many people, amazingly, do not know that the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong received a great deal of economic aid and nearly all of their arms and ammunition from the Soviet Union. What very few know, and this comes from the highest ranking KGB agent to ever defect to the west, is that the Soviet budget for the protest movement exceeded the economic and military aid combined that they supplied to the enemy.
    Much of what is reported, discussed and even taught in schools is propaganda put out by the Soviets and repeated by the protestors.
    As to me “being trashed by a few long hairs,” there is not enough memory on this web server to handle all that could be said about that.
    Keep in mind that it is the former protestors who avoided serving by staying in school long enough to get their Ph.Ds that are teaching about the war, so they are not likely to tell younger people the true story of what they did back then.
    The number of Vietnam Vet suicides brought on by those people is sad.
    I have had some training in suicide prevention and four occassions with which to use it. I’m 3 out of 4; guess which one I think of almost exclusively?
    I didn’t recognize what bad shape my dear friend was in the night he indicated he was finally ready to talk. I myself couldn’t talk that night because of my own stress level. Instead I said, “Hey, let’s get together for lunch tomorrow – I’ll buy.” Four hours later he was dead. Guess what the common thread was with all four of those guys? I hope you guessed the protestors.
    When a gentle man, an African-American by the name of George Duggins who was a grunt in country and years later president of Vietnam Veterans of America, tells of how eight years after his divorce from his first wife he finally went out on a date, which was with the woman he married two years later. However, he carried a dark secret that he could not expose to her for fear she would leave him in revulsion.
    They were married for two years and he could not carry it inside any longer, so one day when he arrived home after work he asked her to sit down on the sofa – he had somethig he had to tell her. Duggins then told this woman he had loved for four years a dark secret that he had kept from her for all of that time. He said he couldn’t carry it inside any longer – he was a Vietnam Veteran.
    To think that we could not tell anyone of the proudest and most honorable thing we had ever done in our lives, with the utmost of commitment and sacrifice, is not a shame on us – it is a shame on the American people, most notably the protestors. They definitely did not practice the “Random acts of kindness” they preached.
    The Open Letter:
    I discovered the first letter that guy wrote while doing a Google search on my own name to try to determine why I was getting calls on property that had closed years earlier.
    I don’t remember the exact details, but the writer had originally sent me a very long email calling me a jack-booted thug or Nazi, among other things.
    I did what I always do and sent him a long reply, much like this one, discussing his attacks and stating my points of view. I received a nice email back from him with the tone of gentleman can disagree. Much later I discovered his “open letter.” The things he put in his open letter are things that I never said; they are things that he said, as if I had said them, and then gave his dissertation on why I was wrong (for the things I never said).
    I sometimes wondered if he had pulled the letter off of the Internet, but find through the early string on this blog that not only did he not, but he added another long letter addressing things I never said.
    By the way, why do people always say that my points about the protest movement are “political?” They have nothing to do with politics; they have everything to do with saving lives.
    And why do people who have never read a paragraph about it attack my positions on the protest movement, which I spent years researching before arriving at my positons? I would once like someone who disagrees with me to back up their position with facts, not rhetoric.
    And don’t quote the information put out by the protest movement, because there is a high probability you will be quoting some KGB writer of the 1960s and 70s.

  30. Mark H.
    Posted March 6, 2008 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    As a fellow citizen, Gary, I respect your passionate interest in the events of the 1960s in this country. I share that passsion. But as an historian, I must say that I believe that there is no credible evidence that the KGB was behind any of the important events in the USA during the 1960s. No evidence. The USSR was an evil state, to be sure, but the USA had plenty of its own problems and our chaos was not created by Soviet agents. But then, the Soviets liked to say that all dissent in the USSR was due to American agents. That too was false. Easy explanations rarely work when it comes to the past….just as easy explanations rarey work in the present! Peace, brother.

  31. Gary
    Posted March 6, 2008 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Protests: to Mark H. Actually, the discussion of the protests does not belong on this blog, but I would be interested in carrying it on with you. I want to learn what you know as an historian. My personal email address for this purpose is (gulp) gary.lillie@gmail.com

  32. schutzman
    Posted March 6, 2008 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Breaking News: Capitalists and Communists don’t like each other very much.

    Film at 11.

  33. Ypsi Mama
    Posted March 6, 2008 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    The Courier has something on it today.

    http://www.ypsilanticourier.com/stories/030608/loc_20080306004.shtml

    Here’s part of it:

    Hawkins added that the district can include a prohibition against the building of a mosque on the property as part of the sales agreement. The district can also add clauses such as getting first right of refusal, should the Center want to sell the property in the future.
    In addition, Hawkins cautioned that the property must be sold before September, because the sale has been built into the budget for the past two years. If the building is not sold before then, he warned, the district will face a $2 million deficit and resulting layoff of faculty.
    Fanta said no fault or blame was to be placed on the local Salvation Army in the negotiations that had gone on so long. But, he insisted, the building should now be marketed aggressively to “see what else it out there.
    “We owe it to the community to put it on the tax rolls if possible. I’ve spoken with Ruth Ann Jamnick and the township will work with us on that,” he said. The property is located on Ellsworth Road, just east of Hewitt Road, in Ypsilanti Township.
    Horne said she was concerned about what happens if the district does not get another bid. Fanta countered, saying the district could aggressively market for six months and, if it didn’t sell, could borrow money based on the value of the building.

    Lots and lots of finger pointing too.

  34. Andy
    Posted March 7, 2008 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    That’s all very interesting, Gary, but in all your verbiage you neglected to say how protest prolongs war, especially as regards Iraq.

    As to whether a few protest leaders had tenuous links to Moscow, I would say that that is completely and utterly irrelevant to the honest outpouring of sentiment by hundreds of thousands of Americans against the carnage wrought by US involvement in Vietnam. They didn’t want to see more of our kids (such as yourself) get killed, period. They were not into it for ideological reasons.
    http://www.banningandlow.com/EN/vintage-Another-KGB-Dupe-For-Peace-Scarce-vietnam-War-Protest-Pinback.html

  35. Andy
    Posted March 7, 2008 at 2:32 am | Permalink

    Gary: “Guess what the common thread was with all four of those guys? I hope you guessed the protestors.”

    Couldn’t have been PTSD, naw, no way.

  36. Edwards Fan
    Posted March 7, 2008 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    By PTSD, do you mean post-traumatic stress disorder, or is that an acronym for some shadowy political group?

  37. Paw
    Posted March 7, 2008 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    I thought it stood for Pussy Tit Shit Dick. They were a band in the 1940’s.

  38. Swing Kid
    Posted March 26, 2008 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    My father was conceived backstage at a Pussy Tit Shit Dick show at the Harlem Ballroom in October, 1945. At least that’s the story. I’m looking for photos taken that night.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect

Sidetrack ad Aubree’s ad BUY LOCAL... or shop at Amazon through this link Banner Initiative Manchurian Candidate Banner