murdock vs. johnson: round three

OK, here’s my third question to the candidates running for Ypsilanti City Council. I’m addressing it to Pete and Rod, as I know that they read this site, but it’s open to anyone running, or, for that matter, anyone who has an idea as to how to improve the dynamic between the City and the Township… Here’s the question:

Regionalization. It’s something that most of us in the City seem to think is a good idea. We want to combine resources with the Township in order to improve service, reduce redundancy, and drive down costs. It seems, however, that many in the Township are unwilling to consider it as an option, especially when it comes to Fire and Police protection. I’d like to know what you would personally do as a member of City Council to change this dynamic, improve relations with the Township, and, ultimately, bring about regionalized services (assuming, of course, that you feel regionalization is good thing).

And I apologize if this question was asked at Tuesday night’s debate… For what it’s worth, I would have been there, but someone in City government, who shall remain nameless, told me it was taking place somewhere else. So, while the rest of you were enjoying the debate, I was sitting in an empty room, waiting for a debate to materialize. The good news is, there was beer where I was. So all was not lost.

[And, if it doesn’t make the comments section too confusing, I’d also appreciate your thoughts on the race for Sheriff.]

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46 Comments

  1. Posted August 1, 2008 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Mayor Schreiber has said on several occasions that Regionalization is not cost savings but cost avoidance.

    – Steve

  2. Glen S.
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm… I wasn’t aware that Schreiber was running for a Ward 3 City Council seat, or that you were his spokesperson. Thanks for the info, though.

  3. elviscostello
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Mark,
    As you know, I favor consolidation, with the name of the new community being “Woodruff’s Grove” (Sorry about the Ypsipanties). City taxpayers carry any debt they have incurred, township taxpayers do the same. Start with public safety (Police/Fire) and work a new budget from zero, with all other services getting in line.
    Barring that bit of psychodelia-fueled utopia, a good start would be with police and fire. You create a new “Ypsilanti Area” Public Safety Department, with the Township providing most of the fire services and the city providing police (at a lower or even cost than the sheriff, god please!). You look at national standards and determine size, personnel numbers, etc…You also use the fact that the community is now 80,000 to squeeze the State for the dollars they should provide for the fire services that are “given” to EMU.
    You allow all of the current personnel to continue on their own retirement, seniority, etc..but all new hires fall under the new department. Eventually (as both departments have lots who are close to retirement or able to retire within the next 5 years) you will wind up with employees who belong only to the Area Fire Department.
    Of course, with the leaving of the most progressive Fire Chief we’ve seen in the area (Morabito from Ypsi Twp), who had regionalization experience, you won’t see this anytime soon. Also, with the “Township 5” running an anti-Ypsilanti City plank in their campaign literature, everything is based on what happens next Tuesday.

  4. nammeroo
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Glen, I suspect that it would be a very interesting experience to get to know you when you’re not in campaign mode.

  5. Posted August 1, 2008 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    _For what it’s worth, I would have been there, but someone in City government, who shall remain nameless, told me it was taking place somewhere else._

    For what it’s worth, I never told you a time or a place for the debate. I just asked if you were going, and told you to check the e-mail for details, ’cause I didn’t remember them. So there.

  6. amused1
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Steve, comments like that do not reflect well upon you. Seriously, your constant stone throwing is looking more and more childish, rather like your plowing through the crowd on the sidewalk in Depot Town during the 4th of July Parade on your Segway. Most adults of my acquaintance would have looked at the crowd, parked their vehicle and continued on foot.

    I no longer ready Ypsinews because I got tired of your always going for the negative spin. I can accept there being problems but really, even the A2 News can find something good to say about Ypsi every 11 months or so.

    It’s a shame too, because I think you have some decent ideas. Unfortunately, so much of what you say screams personal vendetta/agenda that, in my mind at least, you nullify yourself as a creditable source.

    Cheers

  7. rodneyn
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    amused1,

    I don’t get what is so awful or embarrassing to Mayor Schreiber in what he said (as quoted by Steve). I would agree that regionalization does mean that the cooperating government entities (including the city) are likely to be able to eliminate unnecessary expenses through sharing or consolidation of services. If the city can “avoid costs” to the General Fund through regional cooperation, go for it!

  8. Derek Foreal
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Ypsinews sucks

  9. Posted August 1, 2008 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    What is the Ypsinews??

  10. egpenet
    Posted August 2, 2008 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    BTW … I had no trouble finding the place for the forum.

    So, I repeat …

    What’s the vision? What do we see Ypsilanti and the eastern side of the county to be like in 3-5 years? Pictures. what do I see when I’m downtown? For real? What’s different? Show me.

    What’s the plan? How do we get to fulfill that vision? (I’ve read the “plans” and it’s the same stuff. Good. But the same.) None of the plans get us out of the circular debate we are in within town and with the township. So we stuck? (Answer is: we are NOT stuck. We are in a circular debate becuasee there is no vision behind the plans. There is no strategy. But everybody has tactics. I read the field manual, too.)

    Where do we go from here? Step 1, 2, 3 … ? (I am reminded of Kerry, saluting the convention, saying “I am here to serve.” Pretty silly, when it was supposedf to be him as a potential President who was supposed to LEAD US! He’s reporting for duty! Sheesh! Someone never told he HE was supposed to be the boss.) We want a leader in every seat on council not a lieutenant or even a seargent major. This isn’t Hogan’s Heroes. Looking back several administrations is NOT a good idea. It’s 2008-1/2 and we neeeeeed to more forward.

    I see plans … generalities … good ideas … ideas that could fit into a whole cloth … but nothing crystalized that can be visualized, communicated to create a picture in the mind’s eye, nothing you can put a number on, nothing you can count or measure or gauge for progress or success. (No candidate running anwhere in the city measures up, in my opinion, to what I am asking. None.)

    May I suggest we simplify … either by letting things deteriorate over the next few years (entropy) or by using planning in the city in conjunction with the county and township (quit using the word regionalization) to simply GET ON with thing … get the zoning and ordinances and policies in order so we the citizens can get on with it to make things happen … get the eastern leaders stuff working … get spark in place … get the 20-20 to DO something … ALL OF IT so business can prosper … so our community can grow. Bottom line: the simpler the rules and regs the better. The cleaner the zoning the better.

    The current growing levels of activity in the city are a direct result of the activity of local citizens, neighborhoods, investors, smart property owners, entrepreneurs, risk-takers and the other creative class members in the city doing what we do best.

    Thankfully the Police have done a great job using street work, data gathering, good old fashioned hot-footing and … bingo … our streets have never been cleaner of crime or more free of meddlesome people. More people are downtown. More activity is downtown.

    Fire safety is tops. EMS service is tops. HVAC service is tops.

    I’d like to see candidates simply admit that they plan to do in chambers what needs to be done in chambers and leave the rest to the community.

    In addition, I’d like to see … as I always say … council go out into the community and jawbone, pound on recalcitrant landlords and property owners and get some action going.

    For instance … now that the City is cleaning up its vacant buildings in the area … perhaps we can start again enforcing the demolition by neglect ordinance with downtown and neighborhood landlords, AND the Housing Commission. If the neighbors need to go into the streets we can and will. If newspaper editorials, letters and boycots on Michigan of certain buildings-businesses need to happen … they can. Those tactics need not happen, if we enforce our own ordinances. That’s a for instance.

    I don’t really know … maybe the conversation comes up in a foresome at the club. That would be the polite way. But somebody better start talking to those folks NOW about re-investing, cleaning up, painting, installing a dozen or so sash paks and keeping their sidewalks clean.

    Or perhaps maybe a good outright offer would do the trick. If not … we go to step two. Just so their day on the greens isn’t totally ruined, be sure to bring it up early, maybe on the second tee, that they probably won’t like step two.

    As for all the other negativity and scrapping on these threads … it’s awful. Keep it moving forward, not ad hominem and make contributions of ideas … not this constant negativity. It’s tiring, puny-minded and a total waste.

  11. Posted August 2, 2008 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Comment from: Glen S. [Visitor]
    Hmmm… I wasn’t aware that Schreiber was running for a Ward 3 City Council seat, or that you were his spokesperson. Thanks for the info, though.

    As much time as Mayor Schreiber has been spending over on the Eastside in Ward 3 over the past 6 weeks, the folks in Ward 3 thought the Mayor was running for City Council.

    Cheers!

    – Steve

  12. elviscostello
    Posted August 2, 2008 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    On the Sheriff’s Race….
    I went to a couple of forums and found Jerry Clayton to be knowledgeable, committed, and with a clear direction. Natch, Minzey didn’t show up. Iva Bielac and the Republican (Johnson, I think) are clueless. I’d like Minzey to be asked about why he has not put the Automatic Defibrillators that were purchased for his department years ago, in service. There is minimal to no training necessary, and there are pictures on the “box” showing what to do. I remember a few years ago when the paper reported that Ypsilanti Township Firefighters had saved a Dep in Cardiac Arrest. His partner drove him to the HQ station, where he was zapped and saved. If they had been farther away, he wouldn’t have made it without an AED, and that’s just sad. A tool available to save lives, and they just collect dust…

  13. EoS
    Posted August 2, 2008 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    “What’s the vision? What do we see Ypsilanti and the eastern side of the county to be like in 3-5 years? Pictures. what do I see when I’m downtown? For real? What’s different? Show me.”

    In 3-5 years, there will still be small groups of city residents typing on their keyboards or hanging around the Corner Brewery discussing how to convince the township to pay the costs of city services. No one is yet working on the financial problems, they’re all pointing the finger of blame at their neighbors. The City budget will be cash strapped due to the loss of ACH, the payments for the still vacant Water Street, and the pullout of many small businesses who were forced to leave due to the high taxes and inadequate police and fire services. AATA buses will run every 10 minutes, because hardly anyone can afford a car, and they’ll be equipped with TV’s and snack bars and bathrooms for the 60 minute ride to Ann Arbor.

    Egpenet will still be asking , “What’s the plan, what’s the vision?” but no candidate or office holder will have yet responded with anything but generalities or the need for more committees to study the issues. JoF will have typed up a new City Master Plan and will claim he is uniquely qualified to know what is best for everyone in the City. Glen S. will be secretly involved with a small group of persons who will be delivering packets of materials to township residents, trying to convince them that the township is run by unethical incompetents and the township should merge with the city. Steve will still be spending enormous amounts of time to get information to city residents, to broadcast council meetings, and to expose the financial consequences of poor decisions but will be attacked because those in power feel publicizing their mistakes is “too negative”. John Gawlas will be hard wired so that his head nods up and down in agreement with anything said by any Mayor, but his jaw will be wired shut so that he can continue to add nothing meaningful to any budget discussion. Murph will be one of the few remaining employees of the city, and because he wants to keep his job, still won’t admit he knows how much recycling costs the city. The mayor will release 500 page budgets that contain absolutely no details. The City manager’s salary will approach $200K for the administration of 3.5 sq. miles. Dirtgrain will still claim that there’s absolutely no waste in the current budget and nothing that could possibly be cut to reduce costs. And the City residents will still show up in mass for the Elvis Fest wearing their “I heart Ypsi” buttons.

    Meanwhile, the eastern part of the county will be booming. The low taxes in the township will continue to attract industry and retail along with their associated jobs. The downtown corridor off 94 will be enhanced by the location of a new county recreation center with an indoor pool, track, and the latest in fitness equipment. The new coffee shop in the Whittaker Rd library branch will be a place of congregation. Willow Run airport will be expanded to accommodate the Lear jets of Hollywood stars arriving to shoot on location. And several new mega churches in the township will attract tens of thousands of new believers from outlying areas who will have incredible impact on the community due to their extreme fanaticism and will start a revival across the nation.

    And before anyone asks, I will not be sharing my stash of hallucinogens with anyone. :-)

  14. Dirtgrain
    Posted August 2, 2008 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    What waste?

  15. Posted August 2, 2008 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    What recycling?

  16. egpenet
    Posted August 2, 2008 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    What’s Willow Run?

  17. Posted August 2, 2008 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    amused1,

    I think you may have missed my point and that is my fault for not being clearer. I am very sorry, please let me try again.

    Let’s look at what Mark wrote in he premise for the start of the post.

    Mark wrote:

    Regionalization. It’s something that most of us in the City seem to think is a good idea. We want to combine resources with the Township in order to improve service, reduce redundancy, and drive down costs.

    Mark was saying regionalization is good because it can drive down costs. I absolutely agree with Mark, and the evidence for Regionalization shows it can save money and improve services.

    However, the current administration and the Mayor have repeatedly said that Regionalization will not save money for the City nor help balance budgets by reducing the deficit. The Mayor has said Regionalization is only “cost avoidance” not “cost savings”. These are his words, not mine.

    So the premise of Marks post runs counter to what the Mayor has said in the past.

    The current administration is approaching Regionalization in a vastly different way from what has been done in other communities, so it is not a wonder that early attempts have been failures or seen few benefits.

    As far as positive stories on YpsiNews.com, they are there. For example, YpsiNews was the first to report on the one year anniversary of Dos Hermanos.

    We also were the first to break the story on the sale of the Ave Maria property.

    We also reported recently on Materials Unlimited helping to raise money for a no-kill animal shelter program. A story you won’t read about anywhere else.

    YpsiNews also posted the first extended broadcasts from a recent concert at the Friday Downtown Music event, Crossroads. This features local band the Martindales which is headlined by Brian Brickley, who along with Lisa Brickley, are the owners of the TapRoom.

    We have had numerous positive stories about adventures with Ypsi school kids working on projects or traveling. And much more.

    Are there tough stories about waste and abuse on YpsiNews? Yes, and those stories are the ones that folks often times remember. We do write the positive stories and all of the stories are up there. We don’t charge to read the archives like some other news outlets.

    We have tried to do a good job of covering the good news that is going on in Ypsilanti. If you go back and look at our story archive, I think you will see a number of good news stories.

    We can always cover more good news stories but please remember, not a lot of paid staff around here. You can help us cover even more good news stories.

    If you have a good news story or an event you want us to cover, get it to us and we will do our best to get it posted on the site.

    Cheers!

    – Steve

  18. Dirtgrain
    Posted August 2, 2008 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    “The current administration is approaching Regionalization in a vastly different way from what has been done in other communities, so it is not a wonder that early attempts have been failures or seen few benefits.”
    Did you blog on this? I’d love to read about it.

    “. . . the first to report on. . .”
    “. . . the first to break the story on. . .”
    “A story you won’t read about anywhere else”
    “. . . posted the first extended broadcasts from. . .”

    I see you are defending your blog, but that sounds weird, like an ad for a TV news broadcast.

    Steve, to whom is “we” referring in your post? Do others write articles for Ypsinews? Just wondering.

  19. Posted August 2, 2008 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Dirtgrain,

    Yes there are a number of folks that are all working to help grow YpsiNews.com. Want to join? I am sure we can put you to work. Let me know if you are interested.

    Cheers!

    – Steve

  20. elviscostello
    Posted August 2, 2008 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    You know, It’s a real shame that a few of the posters would rather flame each other and rebut, than address the questions laid out in the premise Mark set up. It was a good question and topic. Maybe that’s why nothing gets done around these parts (with exceptions, Mark, I enjoyed the Shadow Art Fair)…too much pissing into each other’s tents…

  21. mark
    Posted August 2, 2008 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I’m not sure why the candidates haven’t responded. Maybe I’ll send them both emails tonight.

  22. me
    Posted August 3, 2008 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    Mark for mayor??

  23. Rod Johnson
    Posted August 3, 2008 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    “Regionalization. It’s something that most of us in the City seem to think is a good idea. We want to combine resources with the Township in order to improve service, reduce redundancy, and drive down costs. It seems, however, that many in the Township are unwilling to consider it as an option, especially when it comes to Fire and Police protection. I’d like to know what you would personally do as a member of City Council to change this dynamic, improve relations with the Township, and, ultimately, bring about regionalized services (assuming, of course, that you feel regionalization is good thing).”

    First off I’ll list item “5” of my “Positive Plan” :

    Regional and Public-Private Partnerships must be encouraged. We can stretch our resources by collaborating with our neighboring townships, as our wonderful Ypsilanti District Library demonstrates, and by working with private groups such as those who are helping keep Rutherford Pool open working to raise money to reopen our Freighthouse in Depot Town. I will work hard to make the City of Ypsilanti a good-faith partner in these efforts.”

    The key is making sure that Ypsilanti is seen as a good-faith partner. Whatever shared endeavor Ypsilanti is involved, I’d make sure we keep our end of the agreement. I would also nurture current shared situations such as The Eastern Leaders Group where the City and surrounding townships as well as EMU talk and plan. It is during these situations, where the climate is better suited for fruitful discussions about shared goals and opportunities, that better relationships can be cemented. Finally, yes, the police plan did not meet with support. . . yet. But, it might be the ground work of a future situation should conditions change. Therefore we must not abandon it, just let it simmer for a while. I hear slow-cooking is the coming thing.

    Now I’ve got to get back out on the road. Precious little time remains.

    Rod

  24. Posted August 3, 2008 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Helmets and Flak Jackets in the Third Ward – Here’s the post and back to the streets

    One only has to look at the City bashing campaign ads running in the newspapers to realize what a difficult task working on any City-Township relationship is going to be. Having said that. I know all of the current members of the township Board and many of those seeking office. In recent conversations with elected officials from both camps, I detect – in spite of the campaign rhetoric – a desire to explore joint city-township opportunities especially in the two most costly areas of Police and Fire. Financial pressures on all governments are going to force doors open that may not have been closed a few years ago. The recent announcement of a pending vacancy in the township fire chief position could be an opportunity to further explore the possibilities of a joint service or fire districts, automatic response, joint dispatch, shared fire marshal, etc. After the dust settles from the primary, some discussions should be initiated on this topic. It needs to be done, not on the blogs or in the newspapers, but with decision makers of good will, meeting and attempting to reach agreement that is mutually beneficial. One can not expect either City or Township officials of doing anything that they feel is not in the interest of their respective communities.

    Although Ypsilanti Township is the most logical for some sort of cooperation and regionalization, there are other entities that are also possibilities. EMU is or should be an integral part of the City of Ypsilanti. Far more cooperation could be explored with them whether it is police services, purchasing, planning and finances etc. The City also needs to have EMU incorporate its activities into the community and focus on becoming a part of Ypsilanti instead of focusing inward and northward.

    Washtenaw County is an area where the City already does much in the cooperative realm – with IT services, Brownfield Development, the Spark incubator, for example. The City and some other communities have recently completed a study on the formation of a regional police force. Although there are no other partners willing to jump on board at this time, future financial restraints and realities may make this study the basis for future discussions.

    Lastly, the public transportation system begs for a regional solution. Two years ago, the Mayor and City Council voted to eliminate funding to AATA for this service. They opposed any temporary solutions proposed by the grass roots organization Keep Ypsi’ Rolling. Instead they professed that regionalization was the solution to public transportation funding. But instead of working on regionalization, they cynically used the imminent elimination of funding to promote the City Income Tax as the solution while doing nothing to promote regionalization or to find other funding partners such as EMU, WCC or St Joe’s Hospital. It was only after the crushing defeat of the City Income Tax and the upcoming City Council elections that they reversed themselves and funded AATA. Two years were wasted. This effort to create a regional system must be accelerated in a serious manner and public transportation should not be used as a political football.

    As far as what I would do personally, I’m convinced that my relationships with elected officials at the Township and County levels will be of value. I know all of the elected Township officials and have served with some of them on the Board of YCUA. I know all of the eastern Washtenaw County commissioners and many of the other county commissioners. I have been involved in developing cooperative efforts in the past, like the Ypsilanti District Library and the partnership to develop the EMU Corporate Training Center and Hotel complex on Whittaker Rd and the College of Business in Downtown. I have a broad range of experience that makes me knowledgeable with public transportation, police and fire issues that will be invaluable as we proceed to discuss cooperation on these topics.

  25. EoS
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Go ahead Pete-

    Promise them everything – you’re in the campaign cycle. You can always blame it on the uncooperative township officials after the election. Please don’t bring up the fact that the city spent a lot of money to determine that a combined police force with the townships would save the city millions, but double or triple the costs to almost all the participating townships. The regional police force is the county sheriff. That’s the only merger that the city could get involved with that would reduce redundancy.

    I would really appreciate it if you could post on this blog which township officials you spoke with who would support a merger of police and fire services. It would be very helpful to have that information before I went to the polls on Tuesday. Thanks.

  26. Posted August 4, 2008 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    EOS –

    Don’t misquote me. I didn’t say that township elected officials supported a merger or anything specific. I only said that they expressed an interest in exploring possibilities of cooperation with the City that were in the best interest of their constituents – Township residents. A perfectly rational idea.

  27. nammeroo
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    EoS,

    I take it from your comment that you haven’t read the city-twp. police study? …or even the summary in the news coverage? The study did show a savings to the city, and it showed a modest savings to some townships. There was also potentially a more substantial savings in one case, and a modest increase for one of the outlying townships, if I recall correctly.

    The participating communities made decisions not to pursue things further at this point, for a variety of reasons.

  28. EoS
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    I read the study itself. I’m not just trying to recall how the Ann Arbor News spun it. You should follow your own advice and read it as well. There was slight cost savings to one township, substantial increases to many.

  29. Dirtgrain
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    I can see EoS holding the township over his head with one hand, saying, “Out of my cold, dead hands.”

  30. amused1
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Steve,

    I thought you were quite clear the first time. Unless the English language has changed significantly since I was in school (which is possible given the elapsed time involved)your statement didn’t address the question. It was not from one of the candidates, nor did it offer ways to improve the situation. Maybe if you had said, “We can improve relations by getting rid of Mayor S because…” it would have been more to the point. Also, the statement you mentioned had no context so it’s difficult to know if it was a general belief or something that may have been specific (and perhaps appropriate) to a given situation.

    As I said, I haven’t read your blog in some time. And yes, you did have some “good news” posts. And yes, “bad news” needs to be reported. The thing is, the amount of space and zeal committed to the bad news seemed to far outstrip the good news reports. If that has changed and you are giving “good news” reports they same kind of space and zeal as “bad news” reports, then cheers indeed.

  31. Posted August 4, 2008 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Amused1,

    Thanks for your kind response. I am always looking for more good news stories, so if you or anyone else here has a good news story, get it to me and we will work to get it on-line.

    There are lots of cool things going on in Ypsi and I want to report about those good news stories on YpsiNews. So please send me your story ideas and story write-ups.

    Cheers!

    – Steve

  32. Glen S.
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Steve,

    One of the primary foundations of journalism is objectivity, and an attempt to be as neutral as possible in order to provide all sides of any given story accurately, completely, and fairly. Doing so, naturally, requires an element of distance from the subjects a reporter intends to cover.

    Meanwhile, you are a former (and, perhaps, future?) candidate for public office in Ypsilanti, and you have actively supported (and opposed) a wide variety of City issues and candidates — even recently going so far as to host a fundraiser, at your home, for candidates Bodary, Murdock and Richardson.

    As a resident and citizen, you certainly have the right to support or oppose any candidate or issue you like. You are likewise free to blog about the things that are going on around town, and to publicly post your opinions about those happenings.

    But given your obvious bias(es), can you really continue pretending that you are a “journalist,” or that what you are doing is “News” in any traditional sense of the word?

  33. egpenet
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    I see that everybody tuned into Round Three. Same old, same old.

  34. elviscostello
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    EoS, the major players in the “Automatic Mutual Aid” and future “Fire Districting” were Trustee Stan Eldridge and Councilmember Brian Robb. When the Chiefs and Unions quit meeting, they continued and put together their own plan.

  35. BrianR
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Declan McManus is mistaken on this one.

    I’ve explained this to him before and I’ll explain it for the group. The joint fire response proposal was written by outgoing Ypsilanti Fire Chief Larry Morabito.

  36. John Gawlas
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    EoS –

    While I did not include the actual net difference figures for each municipality, there were multiple cost share scenarios considered that offered savings to the majority. This was based on their current cost of police services compared to the net cost share of the proposed Regional Police Authority structure. So, for all of the townships the comparison is to the existing contracted Sheriff’s deputies.

    Ann Arbor Township – 4 deputies
    Augusta Township – 2 deputies
    Salem Township – 1 deputy
    Scio Township – 5 deputies
    Superior Township – 9 deputies
    York Township – 3 deputies
    Ypsilanti City – 30 officers


    Proportionate Cost Share based on Taxable Value

    Superior Twp and Ypsilanti City save; Ann Arbor Twp, Augusta Twp, Salem Twp, Scio Twp, York Twp see net increases. (2 net reduction, 5 net increase)


    Proportionate Cost Share based on Population

    Ann Arbor Twp, Superior Twp and Ypsilanti City save; Augusta Twp, Salem Twp, Scio Twp, York Twp see net increases. (3 net reduction, 4 net increase)


    Proportionate Cost Share based on Calls for Service

    Ann Arbor Twp, Superior Twp, York Twp and Ypsilanti City save; Augusta Twp, Salem Twp, Scio Twp see net increases. (4 net reduction, 3 net increase)


    Proportionate Cost Share based on Index Offenses

    Ann Arbor Twp, Superior Twp, York Twp and Ypsilanti City save; Augusta Twp, Salem Twp, Scio Twp see net increases. (4 net reduction, 3 net increase)


    Proportionate Share of Allocation Options – 12.5% Taxable Value, 75% Calls for Service, 12.5% Population

    Ann Arbor Twp, Superior Twp, York Twp and Ypsilanti City save; Augusta Twp, Salem Twp, Scio Twp see net increases. (4 net reduction, 3 net increase)

  37. EoS
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    John,
    Could you give me the link to the study? I wanted to refresh my memory of the specific details of each scenario. Isn’t it true that the only substantial reduction of costs was to the City of Ypsi under any of the scenarios?

  38. elviscostello
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Robb,
    That’s Outgoing Ypsilanti Township Fire Chief Larry Morabito. BTW, After the initial meeting or two, how many times did you and Stan meet with the Union and Chiefs?

  39. BrianR
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Declan,

    There were two meetings of the Chiefs and elected officials prior to the formation of the group to determine if this was worth investigating. In addition, there was a City-only meeting with the Chief, a Capt, a Lt, the Mayor, and an acting City Manager.

    There were three meetings of the study group. Without my notes, I can’t remember if Keith made it to one or two meetings (He missed the kick-off meeting at the Twp hall. Supervisor Jamnick attended briefly.)

    Chief Morabito sent out drafts of the agreement on 5/4, 5/18, and 5/24. It is my recollection that all parties agreed to the language of the proposal on Friday, May 16th. That was the policy. At that point, it was a matter of crunching the numbers to determine if the proposal made financial sense. Since everyone agreed to the proposal, there wasn’t a need for more meetings by the group since the policy framework had been agreed upon.

    I’ve regularly met with various Twp elected officials since to discuss different partnerships, but I cut off all contact with them once primary election season started in May. I have no desire to get involved in Twp politics and have steered clear of everyone save the few parades and such.

    When the smoke settles, maybe we’ll all go to the Wolverine for breakfast. You should join us one day.

  40. John Gawlas
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    EoS –
    The document is on the City website. Go the the Mayor & City Council page and look at the bottom of the right hand menu for the direct link to the Regional Police Study.

    There is also a link in the July 07 posting on my site.
    http: // councilmember . spaces . live . com

  41. elviscostello
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Brian,
    My position on merger of fire has been clear. I am in favor. It doesn’t make sense to have the Ypsilanti area be a donut and hole, with crazy geographic boundaries. That said, before you look at these types of agreements, it would be nice to talk about HOW MANY PERSONNEL SHOULD BE RESPONDING. Both departments need more manpower, on scene, on arrival. I believe that how it is done should be determined by the personnel and leadership of the departments first, and then brought to the council and board, not the other way around. As you know, after Stan presented, there was opposition to the plan from the Union. You are talking May of 08? What happened between early of 07 and May of 08? How involved were all the members of the committee during that time?

  42. Reclusion
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    I have decide I will vote for Rod. I have too many reasons to list.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-F62B6BX0xs

  43. EoS
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Mr. Gawlas,

    The link was helpful and very informative. Here’s a summary of the data, the current cost and the proposed % increase or decrease for each individual community under each of the 5 proposed payment plans.

    CURRENT POP CALLS EQTAXVALl INDEX A INDEX B
    AAT 600K -41% -60% 160% -32% -52%
    AUG 300K 188% 128% 151% 168% 153%
    SAL 150K 364% 208% 481% 311% 259%
    SCIO 660K 208% 127% 362% 188% 147%
    SUP 1350K -22% -38% -11% -18% -27%
    YORK 450K 157% -38% 169% -7% -26%
    CITY 5270K -56% -24% -92% -35% -34%

    Here’s a list of each community, the number of officers they would contract for,the current cost, and the minimum and maximum they would pay from the selected plans. Note: Augusta, Salem, and Scio would increase their costs under each of the 5 proposed payment plans and Ypsilanti City would decrease their costs under each of the 5 proposed plans.

    OfficersCURRENT MIN MAX
    AAT 4 600 241 959 4 DEC, 1 INCR
    AUG 2 300 383 564 5 INCR
    SAL 1 150 312 721 5 INCR
    SCIO 5 660 835 2390 5 INCR
    SUP 9 1350 850 1202 5 DEC
    YORK 3 450 277 760 3 DEC, 2 INCR
    CITY 30 5270 430 4020 5 DEC

    Finally, here’s the cost per officer for each community when they select the least expensive or most expensive option available to them.

    Min cost/officer Max cost/officer
    AAT 60.3 239.8
    AUG 191.5 282.0
    SAL 312.0 721.0
    SCIO 167.0 478.0
    SUP 94.4 133.6
    YORK 92.3 253.3
    CITY 14.3 134.0

    Do these scenarios look equitable to anyone? If the City of Ypsi could convince these communities to vote the same millage rate for a regional police force, the City would see a 92% reduction in the cost of police services. They would pay 33 times less than the cost per officer in Scio Township. The only other community that would benefit would be Superior Township. Is it any wonder that the six other communities have decided not to pursue further studies concerning a City operated regional police service? Can you see by the numbers that sharing costs with the City of Ypsilanti is not a mutually beneficial experience?

    I apologize that I couldn’t get the table format to post in a more legible manner, but the data are in the order listed with a space between each. All numbers without units are thousands.

  44. Posted August 4, 2008 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Glen S asked Steve Pierce:
    But given your obvious bias(es), can you really continue pretending that you are a “journalist,” or that what you are doing is “News” in any traditional sense of the word?

    Glen, you ask a great question. You are right, YpsiNews.com is not the traditional News Journal. But the idea is to up-end traditional journalism by changing how reporting is done. Yet there is a bright line between editorial and observer and reporter of fact. YpsiNews has an extraordinary corrections policy and our readers will make sure we get the facts correct.

    If we don’t, we also allow direct posting by our readers on our stories and outside of libel, hate speech, and foul language we don’t restrict postings.

    So yes this is a new breed of journalism. There are a number of schools and scholars that are closely studying this new type of citizen journalism. I was invited to join a panel at a journalism and the new media conference up in Minneapolis several months ago but couldn’t go because of a scheduling conflict. I was really bummed, it looked to be a great conference

    Bill Gaines, a two time Pulitizer Prize winning journalist and holder of the Knight Chair in Journalism at the University of Illinois wrote about YpsiNews in his new book on Investigative Journalism.

    : The Internet audience and bloggers.

    Nigel Jaquiss, of Willamette Week, in Oregon, for his Pulitzer Prize winning story in 2005, made use of the Internet in still another way. He had authored the story, which was about an ex-governor’s sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl, but the story got little attention from the big media. But Internet bloggers picked it up and made it an issue and then other newspapers ran with the story. Jaquiss said he believes that the Internet gave him the break he needed to circulate his story.

    Jaquiss’ experience illustrates the power of the new journalism of the Internet. Many voices can be heard that otherwise would not. Independent websites are programmed to be received by geographically separated persons with similar interests or to be specifically designed for the home folk in the smallest of communities. Just as the local radio stations have for many years reported the births and deaths and public affairs of communities of as few as10,000 residents, a local website and or e-mail news letter can provide a needed news source in a town. The costs to operate are low compared to a newspaper or radio station and it can receive some support from advertisers. Unlike the local broadcast station, which is limited by the lack of air time and the newspaper which is limited by space, the flow of information on the Internet local website need not be cut short. Everyone is invited to air their views in an exercise in independent journalism.The news letter is not delivered to the door, it is delivered beyond the door because an interested person can have each issue e-mailed to the home or office computer.

    A typical expanded news letter with all those facets is produced in Ypsilanti, Michigan, a city of 22,000 between Ann Arbor and Detroit. (Pronounced IP-suh-LAN-tee.) Some of the content could be considered investigative because it would not have been known if it were not for the enterprise and knowledge of the reporter-editor Steve Pierce who has run the website called, All Things Ypsilanti since 2002. When a third attempt by the city to get a developer for a public project failed, Pierce wrote in December, 2006:
    The current financing plan, which now includes over $40 million in taxpayer funding, depended on the project being completed in five (5) years in order to pay back the money already borrowed. The City had already refinanced the city’s Water Street bond debt of $13.1 million. The refinance, completed earlier this year, jumped the interest rate by almost 2% more than the original rate. Worse, because the Water Street project was stalled with no units being built, Council had to roll three years worth of payments into the new debt to give the project time to be built. In effect, the Council refinanced the credit card, and negotiated a deal whereby there would be no payments for three years, but at a cost. The refinance scheme added $2.1 million in new debt. Add in the payments to developer the city fired in 2004 and the money owed by Ypsilanti City taxpayers was over $16 million.

    The facts are there. If not convinced, the visitor to the website can see and hear the video tape of the city council meeting.

    This is a snippet of the galley proofs. Mr. Gaines goes on to talk about the demographics and impact YpsiNews has had in the community. I haven’t yet received the publication date.

    We also understand that Ypsilanti’s own City Attorney has referenced YpsiNews.com in not one but two different court filings citing stories and videos produced by YpsiNews.com.

    So Glen, while you might not consider Ypsinews to be journalism, we know from our own data that every major newspaper in the area checks our site for stories on a regular basis, CBS News used us to cover part of the EMU Murder Scandal, and we had a nice write-up by a fellow who has two Pulitzer’s in journalism.

    Glen, great question, glad you asked.

    Cheers!

    – Steve

  45. Posted August 5, 2008 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Enough of all this talk and stuff – Let’s vote!! and let the best gray beard win.

  46. pJ
    Posted October 13, 2008 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    …so I’m enjoying a fall evening’s pass around town last week when I ride past ex-Mayor Farmer and a friend enjoying the evening going door-to-door in ward 3. Curious, I watch for a bit, but nothing exciting happens and off I go again..

    Imagine my surprise a few days later when, passing through the same area, I find “Eller for City Council” signs have sprouted like dandelions. New sign after new sign, in neat and orderly rows. Now I hear from others more knowledgeable than I that Cheryl’s friends are actually out in ward 3 campaigning AGAINST their party’s candidate for City Council!

    This takes being a sore loser to a whole new level….

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