what to cut in ypsi’s budget: johnson vs. murdock round two

The conversation we began with our two Ward 3 candidates for Ypsi City Council the other day on the subject of Water Street has evolved, in the comments section, into a discussion on waste in the current City budget. I thought that it probably deserved it’s own thread. Here, in hopes that it’ll get everyone caught up, are some of the highlights thus far in chronological order.

Assuming both Rod and Pete are still with us, I was thinking that it would be interesting to have their thoughts on this. With that in mind, here’s my second question to the candidates: Is there waste in the City’s budget? If so, what is it? Please be specific.

OK, now here are the highlights that I promised.

WONDERING (to Mayor Paul Schreiber): Why are police and fire always the first items you suggest will be cut? Why don’t you consider cutting less essential services that wouldn’t have such an immediate impact on residential lives?

PAUL SCHREIBER: …I didn’t mean to imply that police and fire should be cut first. I listed the services that the city provides in the order of spending. Police protection accounts for about $5 million and fire protection accounts for about $3 million out of a $14 million budget.

City council went through a very long and deliberative process to determine the budget priorities and cuts. The budget process started with city council goal-setting sessions on 12/8/2007, 12/15/2007, 1/12/2008, and 1/26/2008. The city council goals and objectives were passed by city council on February 5, 2008 (see pages 5 through 11). These directions to the city manager created the FYE2009/2010 budget that was passed on June 3, 2008 (pages 5 through 7).

WONDERING: You say you didn’t mean to imply that police and fire should be cut first. So I looked at the links to see what city council goals and objectives actually are. The action strategy to reduce costs is itemized in your link. Number one – cut police services. Number two – cut fire services. Council vote was six yes, zero no, 1 absent. Feb. 5, 2008. I don’t think you really want to cut the budget. Your actions show that you really want to increase taxes another 10% so that you aren’t “forced” to cut police and fire. But what’s not on the table is cutting the waste out of the budget. Too bad for the taxpayers.

DIRTGRAIN: “But what’s not on the table is cutting the waste out of the budget.”

With such accusations should come specifics. Please show us the waste, as I’m not quite sure to what you are referring.

Why does the Mayor want to maintain the waste in the budget? Corruption? Inside deals? What? That might also help us understand your accusation.

WONDERING: City hall is a bureaucracy and everybody wants to keep their piece of the pie. Employees want their salary to increase faster than the rate of inflation, departments spend every dime that is budgeted so that they can claim they need more next year, etc. A good city council/mayor looks at each line item and determines what is essential and what can be reduced to maintain essential services and limit the effects of budget cuts so that they have as small as impact as possible.

The current council wants more money than they currently have. Hence, they advocated for an income tax. Since that failed, they have determined to make the necessary budget cuts in the most necessary and visible services: police and fire. If the cuts have a negative impact on city residents, people will complain, and they will say “I told you so”. Then, they will schedule another millage or income tax vote. If the residents are suffering from the decrease in services, they will be more likely to vote an increase in the taxes. The goal is to increase revenue rather than reduce the cost of doing city business.

I’ve not made any suggestion of corruption or inside deals. But I do think the city council/mayor/city manager show a lack of concern for the financial struggles of many residents, especially those with young children. Most family incomes do not rise as fast as city taxes and fees. Other costs, such as gas and food bills, are also rising at a faster rate than family incomes.

What is very apparent to anyone who looks at the overall budget, is that the City spends more money to provide services than other municipalities of similar size and population. How is it that other communities can provide services at far lower costs? How are they able to control costs to a far greater degree than Ypsi? What are they doing that Ypsi could emulate? Why doesn’t the city’s action plan set clear goals to seek alternative, less costly ways to operate city government?

Instead, residents are told there is no waste, the budget is bare to the bones, and Water Street payments are no problem because it’s only an additional 10% of the entire city budget. Let’s cut police and fire and see how quickly the residents change their minds about higher taxes. It was reported that their intention is to make the cuts as visible as possible.

Ol’ E CROSS: Wondering. Sorry to get involved, but that was just silly. Dirtgrain asked for specifics, you offer more ambiguous assertions? What would you cut? Specifically.

STEVE PIERCE: …You say that all that is left to cut is police and fire. I am not advocating any cuts, but I think it bears noting: Police and Fire service costs about $7.5 million a year. The overall budget for the City is right around $16 million. So there is $8.5 million in annual spending not related to police and fire…

DIRTGRAIN (with what I perceive to be a bit of sarcasm): …So, $8.5 million in waste. It helps when we get more specific. Let’s cut that $8.5 million then..

BRACKACHE: Why on earth CAN’T somebody just post such a list? Everyone’s been asking for it. Just go down the list of expenditures, write down some preliminary ideas of what to cut (doesn’t have to be exhaustive yet), grow a pair, and post the damn thing…

I’d welcome anyone’s thoughts on this, but I’m particularly interested to know what Pete and Rod think about it… Is there waste in the City’s budget? And, if so, what is it? Please be specific.

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

126 Comments

  1. Wondering
    Posted July 20, 2008 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    It’s not possible to be specific without having more information about the city budget shared with the public. Even though 185 pages are posted on the web, the real details are withheld from the taxpayers. Earlier posts on other threads discussed this and the Mayor failed to respond with more specifics. What is the cost of recycling in the city? What do the DDA’s do with the millions that they divert from the general fund? What is the specific breakdown of policing costs in the city that leads the mayor to state that contracting sheriff patrols would be more expensive. Why can’t city residents get specific answers to specific questions about the budget? How can taxpayers suggest specifics when the specific information is handled as if you need a security clearance to gain access?

  2. Ol' E Cross
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    Wondering. Before I respond more, I think it’d be helpful to ask, is there anyone on city council you more or less trust?

  3. elviscostello
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Once again, I advocate for fire (that of which I have knowledge). You are now down to 5 on duty, minimum. Try pulling up to a structure fire and making a rescue or fire attack safely with 3 people going inside. Doesn’t meet any standard I know of…Even IF there is no waste in the budget, you can not continue to cut fire services…

  4. nearby
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    If true, the lack of disclosure of regular expenses in the budget is both disappointing and counterproductive.

    However I see no candidates saying “we will show you the numbers”. (No council members, either).

    I don’t see any reason to believe that any of the potential replacements will do anything any differently. They sure are not talking any differently (no details, no line-item goals, nothing).

    But hey, this blog got the police to do their job a little more effectively and pay attention to the bus depot (IMO) so perhaps it can get some real dialogue out of the council, too- present and potential members both.

    Else, we will just have to FOIA it out of them and a couple years from now we’ll be having this same discussion with some numbers in it.

    And I’m ready to work on filing that paperwork if things don’t change a lot.

  5. Posted July 21, 2008 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Mark –

    This is the third time you have spelled my name wrong. I’m really feeling dissed. Still waiting for you to respond to my repeated invitations to sit down and discuss issues, the City, the blogosphere or whatever – going into the third month with no response.

    Pete

  6. Phil Genz
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    So, will you not be answering the question, Pete?

  7. Shadowy Mister Shadow
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Pete, wasn’t it you that I saw talking with Mark on Saturday at the art fair? It looked like you and the guy had on a red “Vote Murdock” tshirt. You were for a long time. Maybe you didn’t realize it was Mark.

  8. Brackache
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    It’s better to do it online so people aren’t so easily cowed by a more forceful personality, there are plenty of witnesses, and you’re more likely to have SOMEBODY in the audience who knows that any untrue statements are not true and call bs on it. Also so no one can get away with saying one thing to one audience and another thing to another. And there’s a record of it when it’s posted on a blog.

  9. Posted July 21, 2008 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Geez! Gimme a break Mr. Genz. This just got posted less than 24 hours ago.

    All the long knives are out. What do we cut? What do we cut? List the waste. Cut the waste. Much of what I hear about waste is in the eye of the beholder. Mr. Eller thinks that everything the City does, but police and fire is waste. Some of the more libertarian out there even go beyond that to say we can just arm ourselves and even eliminate the police. But that’s not me.

    The City Council just adopted a two year budget plan without cuts and even the restoration of full funding of the bus service. If elected the budget that I will have any meaningful input into is the two year cycle of FY 2010-12. My goals, if elected, is do my best to pursue and adopt policies that would prevent us from having to reduce services by increasing the tax base and reducing the costs of services.

    They would include:

    1.An aggressive approach to marketing Water Street with an open framework of possibilities to create tax base and jobs that would pay or partially pay the Water Street debt thus preventing further cuts due to this debt.(As I have described in a earlier post.)

    2. Aggressive marketing for adaptive reuse of the old Ford Plant and other under
    utilized industrial sites (Motor Wheel, Exemplar among others) in partnership with the owners and local and statewide economic development agencies.

    3. Transformation of the downtown into a more walkable community as well as destination point centered on arts and entertainment per the Blue Prints plan.

    4. Active involvement in getting the Amtrak to stop in Ypsilanti

    5. More City involvement, if necessary, to get the Freight House opened

    6. Creative partnerships with organizations to pursue projects such as the Deconstruction Demonstration Project I proposed with Recycle Ann Arbor.

    7. Neighborhood summits to discuss the situation with DPW and park maintenance
    issues that began a month ago. For example, there are four neighborhood groups and Adams School that abut and use Prospect Park. A meeting should be called with representatives of all those groups and the DPW to outline what the status of park maintenance is and what the actual impact is and how can we help This should have been done before the changes took place, not after.

    8. Real progress on creating a regional public transportation system.

    9. Pursue partnerships with EMU, the County and surrounding Townships that would provide better services and/or reduce costs.

    10. Reduce the staggering increases in pension, medical and energy costs.

    11. Position the City to take advantage of the future “green” initiatives and funding

    I’m not looking to bring a meat ax to the City Budget, if there is real waste or what I feel is an unwise expenditure I will oppose it, I am interested in doing those things that will increase tax base and streamline services.

    Shadowy Mr. Shadow and Brachache – Yes it was I talking to MM at the Shadow Art Fair. Still trying to get the sit down – as much to get Mark’s take on things as to answer any questions from him. Believe me, I can’t imagine Mark letting me get away with telling him one thing and you another. Somehow I think it would be all over the blogosphere in a nanosecond.

  10. Wondering?
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    OEC,

    If I had to choose among current council members, I would be more likely to trust Mr. Robb than any other. While he is in lockstep with the others more often than hoped for, he does think about the issues and speaks his mind quite well at times. Unfortunately, he is not my representative. I don’t know him personally, have never spoken to him, and I apologize in advance if he is offended by my endorsement in any way. So OEC, I’m waiting for your advice.

  11. Glen S.
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Pete,

    Regarding #2, I’m sure the folks at GW Kent (http://gwkent.com/) would be very surprised to learn that their company’s home – the former Exemplar site – is an “under utilized industrial site.”

    Regarding #10 – “Reducing the staggering increases in pension, medical and energy costs” seems to be a worthy goal. However, since neither our national nor state leaders seem able to do this, how – specifically – would you go about doing this, on a local level?

  12. Posted July 21, 2008 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Glen,

    The city has said on several occasions that the jobs that were promised for Exemplar never came to be and it was the City that said the property was under utilized. The utilization and tax revenue of Exemplar has been a nearly annual discussion at the City planning and visioning meetings for at least the last 5 years. At least as long as I have been going to the meetings. It was even discussed after GW Kent moved in so it is on the minds of the folks at City Hall.

    Didn’t the city have experts come to the City several years ago with with ways to save energy including a program to replace light bulbs over a 5 year period that would cut by 25% (and they were saying it could be as much as a third) of our annual consumption for street and outdoor lighting.

    – Steve

  13. BrianR
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Exemplar was a minority-supplier for the auto industry. They manufactured bolts and screws. With a manufacturer, they had a lot of expensive equipment that we collected personal property taxes on. While it’s great that GW Kent bought the building, it’s basically a warehouse now. While we do collect personal property tax from them, it’s on racks and shelves rather than on expensive thread-rolling equipment. Their summer tax bill last summer was a little over $1600. If you want a similar comparison, Marsh Plating paid $56,202.41 last summer.

    Ypsilanti used to be the “City that works.” People either forget or don’t realize that industry is the most efficient way to create tax revenue because it consumes fewer resources than it provides.

    As far as reducing health care and pension costs go, Council approved a batch of union contracts this year that began to close that gap and created significant savings. It’s important that we continue to make further strides when these contracts are up for renewal next summer.

    I realize this thread is for Pete and Rod, but Council so often takes it on the chin, I think it’s important that we try and take credit for the good we do once in a while.

  14. Glen S.
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Steve, I’m guessing that Pete simply mis-spoke, perhaps not knowing that there has been a new business actively occupying one of the City’s largest (and most visible) industrial sites for at least the past few years. Especially so – because I can’t imagine that any City Council candidate would publicly criticize an active local business’s facility as being “under utilized.”

    Regarding the proposal to replace outdoor lighting – I remember this presentation as well, and can’t remember exactly why it wasn’t adopted – although I suspect the City determined it not to be cost-effective at the time. In any case, since (as you point out) this concept was raised several years ago – it hardly qualifies as a new or original idea.

  15. Brackache
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Mr. Murdock. While others might need more specifics on exactly how you plan to do those things and how much money you want to put towards making them happen, I am satisfied to know your basic philosophy of governance and appreciate your honesty.

  16. BrianR
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Now I feel stupid and I’m sure Glen S. will too.

    Pete was probably referring to the old Exemplar site on Lowell Street. That’s definitely under utilized.

  17. Posted July 21, 2008 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Glen –

    My reference to Exemplar was to the old location on Lowell St. But the newer Huron St Exemplar facility could also be classified as undertilized compared to what it’s potential could be. I am aware of the new tenant. No knock on Kent, I’m sure it is a great company and it did occupy a vacant building which is a plus. But it is essentially a warehouse operation that employs 15 persons (news account)and pays less than $ 1,000 to the City in Personel Property Taxes. Compared to other uses that is underutilization for an indstrial site. Some places we tore down in Water Street probably paid more PP taxes than that. Motor Wheel also has some kind of operation in it, but certainly it is not up what it could be. That’s all I meant.

    It looks like I’m a little late with this. Others have chimed in while I was writing this. Don’t you folks have better things to do?

  18. Posted July 21, 2008 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Glen,

    The mistake many people make is to only look to new ideas to solve problems.

    It is the old ideas, what really should be called the good ideas, that are dismissed out of hand simply because they are not new. Yet it is these good ideas, the ones we all know, that many times will have the greatest positive impact on our community.

    What it takes is a leader with a proven track record of seeing these good ideas, old and new, and acting on them.

    Nothing said here will likely change anyone’s mind. This is like the great debate society where people profess they are open to hearing all sides in a discussion, but in reality they have already made up their mind and would really rather people didn’t try to muddy things up with facts.

    That said, carry on.

    Cheers!

    – Steve

  19. Dirtgrain
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    I would like to hear from Michael Bodary and John Gawlas as to their plans–and on this topic of waste and cuts. My mind might change.

  20. Brackache
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Nothing said here will likely change anyone’s mind. This is like the great debate society where people profess they are open to hearing all sides in a discussion, but in reality they have already made up their mind and would really rather people didn’t try to muddy things up with facts.

    Not me. I’ve changed my mind on who I’m voting for three times in 2 weeks. Two of the candidates haven’t even come over to my house and dropped off literature yet. Work it, people. You gotta earn that little fiefdom.

  21. mark
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Pete,

    First off, I’m sorry about misspelling your name. I know it’s not a great excuse, but I have dyslexia. I’m obsessive about spellchecking stuff, but misspelled names don’t get caught. As for wanting to talk with me, I’m not sure if you remember, but we talked for about 20 minutes at the Shadow Art Fair on Saturday. And, as you’ll recall, we did have plans to meet a few weeks ago, but, unfortunately, I had to cancel due to my having to attend the funeral of a murdered friend. You make it sound as though I’m adverse to the idea of talking with you. And that’s not the case. For what it’s worth though – and this goes for all political folks in Ypsi – I’d much rather correspond through the site, and by way of email. After having been misquoted on few occasions, I’ve reluctantly accepted the fact that it’s good to have documentation of what I say. And, in general, I think the community could use a few less private meetings, and a few more public forums. With all that said, however, I’d be happy to talk with you. If you’re up for it, I’d even suggest that we do it in front of some folks at the Brewery. We could even invite Rob. (That was a purposeful misspelling of the other candidate’s name, in hopes that it evens things out a bit.)

  22. mark
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    And, Pete, for what it’s worth, I really like your ideas. Water Street, a rail stop, and an open Freighthouse are right at the top of my list as well… As for waste, though, is it safe to say, since you didn’t mention anything, that you don’t believe there’s waste in the current budget?

    And, Rod, I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that we’d like to hear from you on this as well.

  23. Posted July 21, 2008 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Not speaking for or against any candidate, I personally don’t think much or any “waste” exists in the current budget. I’d characterize some of the line items as less important than others but not wasteful, per se. If I was running I’d compile a list of priorities for those line items.

    I do think that the ~$100k budget category for City Council could be reduced substantially, perhaps as much as 80%. But that’s just my opinion.

  24. egpenet
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm … I was thinking …

    A plan to cut waste?

    Is there a plan to INCREASE city revenues without raising taxes? Like … increasing the number of new businesses in the city to help share the burdens? Silly, eh?

    Or … like nominal increases for licenses, fees, permits, penalties, and traffic violations, maybe 5%-10%? Dumb idea, huh?

    Well … How about naming fees for area parks … or would Mr. Frog’s estate be upset if Mr. Frog ceased to have an island named after him? Are there still Water Works in Water Works Park? (No.)

    No wonder some are confused. There has to be a better name … for a price. Stupid idea … I know.

    I still think that a creative effort to fill apartments and populate the empty homes in the city would help increase city revenues, which would also likely increase the number of children in our schools, which would increase the school budget. Is there a way to use some proportion of anticipated revenue from those targeted increases to leverage a marketing effort to encourage home sales and rental unit occupancies?

    What I like about these goals is that they are measurable … we can count the homes and rental units and track our successes as they either fill or do not fill.

    G’night.

  25. Ol' E Cross
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    Wondering. I appreciate your dilemma, but we may agree that any answer from someone we fully don’t trust isn’t ever all that satisfying. We can always suspect something hidden lurking in the background. I disagree with BrianR on a lot of issues, but still trust him to be upfront on many things. Even if you’re not in his ward, it might be worth a query.

    That said, I offer another perspective, although there’s no reason you should trust mine. I found myself working for a gov agency for a few years. Things I took away were:

    -a guarded mis/trust of politicians and activists with their agendas
    -a trust and respect for professional public servants who were basically engineer types just doing what made the most sense
    -an appreciation of how immensely complex public policy/spending issues are.

    In short, ask the questions to someone who you will trust the answers from. Otherwise, there’s not much point.

    In other news:

    Pete: Nice points. I would like to here from Rod again, as well.
    JoF: Yes. I said it a while back, but it’s hard for me to watch a council cut the jobs of hard working folks without cutting their own paychecks. I’d be interested to know if any candidate or current member is willing to cut council pay.
    Brackache: Triple flip flopper.
    Steve: How about that video?

    Finally, Steve, how about that video?

  26. Ol' E Cross
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    Oh. And kudos to Brian Robb and the rest of council when they get it right rather than on the chin.

    To Wondering, I’d suggest that on those rare moments when Brian and all the others lock step, it might actually be because they are doing something that makes common sense.

  27. Brackache
    Posted July 22, 2008 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    Hey man, I’m an American voter, I’m not running for Jesus.

    I only switched to Eller once I realized he’s the only one without a beard.

    A trifolded piece of literature or a personal canvassing visit might change my mind, though… I don’t bite.

  28. freeman
    Posted July 22, 2008 at 2:00 am | Permalink

    Hey man, I’m an American voter, I’m not running for Jesus.

    I’d say that belongs on a tee-shirt or something.

    Oh, and I don’t know who this Eller guy is, but not having a beard seems to be strategic suicide to me. Doesn’t he care about securing the anarchist votes?!?

  29. Posted July 22, 2008 at 4:03 am | Permalink

    Brachache –

    If you are in Ward Three, I have most likely been at your door. Probably not home at the time. Contact me at VoteMurdock@gmail.com or call me at home 485-7799 to arrange a personal visit or delivery of an autographed copy of piece of literature.

  30. Paul Schreiber
    Posted July 22, 2008 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    Wondering,

    Please consider dropping by the fourth floor at city hall on Thursday (7/24/2008) at 4:45 p.m. to discuss your questions with me. I look forward to talking with you.

    Paul Schreiber
    mayor@cityofypsilanti.com
    734-277-5446

  31. Brackache
    Posted July 22, 2008 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Spelt my name wrong, Pete! But as you’re the one candidate who’s dropped literature off at my house already, I forgive you.

  32. Brackache
    Posted July 22, 2008 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    So is it official now that no one thinks there’s any waste in the city budget?

    And what’s this video OEC is asking about?

  33. Posted July 22, 2008 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Brackache wrote:
    >> So is it official now that no one thinks there’s
    >> any waste in the city budget?

    Oh I don’t know, paying $400 a month to rent the fence at Water Street for the past 5 years seems a little excessive. That is over $20,000 out of the general fund. The City could have bought the same fence twice over. Worse, when the city returns it, they will have to pay for any damage and repairs the company has to make so it is just like buying the fence a third time.

    Oh wait, I shouldn’t say these things,. The next thing you know, the mayor will be sending out emails to everyone on council about a blog posting, then there will be an email being sent to the City Manager for research by the finance department, an investigation by the City attorney and a write-up in the Council Information Letter (CIL).

    I really gotta quit posting to blogs, we can’t afford the city time and money spent each time I do.

    Cheers!

    – Steve

  34. nammeroo
    Posted July 22, 2008 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Comment from: egpenet: “Is there a plan to INCREASE city revenues without raising taxes? Like … increasing the number of new businesses in the city to help share the burdens? Silly, eh? Or … like nominal increases for licenses, fees, permits, penalties, and traffic violations, maybe 5%-10%? Dumb idea, huh? Well … How about naming fees for area parks … or would Mr. Frog’s estate be upset if Mr. Frog ceased to have an island named after him? Are there still Water Works in Water Works Park? (No.)”

    First, some very important components of the YCUA wter system are most certainly still located in (under) Waterworks Park.

    Second, by law the City’s fee schedule for various permits and approvals should be set up to reimburse the cost of providing the desired service – however, these fees should NOT be used as a profit center for the City. Other communities in Washtenaw County (including Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Twp.) have paid large fines for charging too much for permits, etc. in the past.

    Third, the vast majority of the civil infraction fines go directly to the courts – only a small percentage make it into the City treasury.

    These are the reasons why focusing on ways to make City Hall more efficient is so important.

    I like the idea of naming rights, though. How much could we make for naming rights to the cannon in Prospect Park?

    I have another revenue-raising idea: City leaders have said for years now that they’ve cut and cut and cut City Hall staff. The building must be nearly empty by now. Why not consolidate the few remaining City Hall employees into part of the building, and rent out the rest. Small office spaces (especially if the City offered use of its voice mail system and copier) are attractive, and the whole operation would provide both new rent revenue AND a great new economic development opportunity.

    Heck, we could probably clear out at least one whole floor for this project! – maybe more….

  35. Dirtgrain
    Posted July 22, 2008 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    City council meeting, I think.

  36. Posted July 22, 2008 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    As I said before, waste is in the eyes of the beholder. One person’s bridge to nowhere is another’s key to economic development.

    Any way let’s do a little exercise.

    John on Forest says he thinks the Council Budget can be reduced by 80% – so let’s go take a look and see what you folks think can go and what can stay.

    No fair eliminating the entire budget because you think the whole gang are worthless SOBs

    Here is the Council Budget

    703-001 Salaries and Wages Elected $ 40,695

    Stipends for Mayor(+/-$ 9,000), Mayor Pro-Tem
    (+/- $ 6,000) and Five Council Members($ 5,151 each)

    Has not been raised since new Charter adopted in 1994

    714-00 Fringe Benefits $ 3,113

    Employer’s Share of Social Security

    728-00 Office Supplies $ 500

    Stationary and Envelopes, business cards, etc

    818.00 Contractual Services $ 34,800

    Governmental Consultant Services Lobbyist Firm –
    reduced from $43,345

    864-00 Conferences and Workshops $ 7,500

    I’m told this is rarely spent, the last year of
    actual data only $355 was spent

    900-00 Printing and Publishing $ 2,000

    Public notices for ordinances and other Council
    meetings and other printing

    958-00 Memberships and Dues $ 20,182

    Michigan Municipal League, Suburban Alliance, Smart,
    etc.

    So get the knives out and have at it.

  37. publius
    Posted July 22, 2008 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Just wondering, Wondering, have ever been to one of the numerous budget meetings that the Mayor scheduled around the city over the past year? Or is it easier to accuse people of hiding things after they beg you for your imput? Just Wondering.

  38. nearby
    Posted July 22, 2008 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    RE: the comments from someone who knows about Fire:

    If we drop below some minimum # of responders, do we lose access to matching funds or other consequences of not meeting minimum safety requirements?

  39. elviscostello
    Posted July 22, 2008 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Your ISO rating could drop, and home insurance rates would rise…also, you put the firefighters in a position to decide whether to go into a fire (violating standards, and possibly MIOSHA rules resulting in fines), or wait until enough help arrives, letting the fire double in size every 60 seconds…

  40. Mark H.
    Posted July 23, 2008 at 1:45 am | Permalink

    Pete,

    Thanks for your posting with facts on the actual budget of Council. I think the biggest item there is the $43K spent on a lobbying firm. What does the city get for that fee, and who runs the lobbying firm the city of Ypsi spends this money on?

    Any answers on this with anyone with a factually based opinion would be much appreciated by me.

  41. not one of the cool kids
    Posted July 23, 2008 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    ha
    I had to read Mr. Mayor’s comment to “Mr/Ms. Wondering” twice…
    the first time I could have sworn I read …”meet me BEHIND city hall on Thursday (7/24/2008) at 4:45 p.m. to discuss your questions with me.”
    I really laughed out loud…I sat looking at the screen imagining Mr/Ms Wondering waiting behind city hall and being struck from behind on the head by The water street files wheeled by April McGrath, while Frank McDaniels hits Mr/Ms. Wondering behind the knee with a clipboard. Then the mayor steps from behind a city vehicle and says…”Now, I heard you had some questions for me…”

  42. Posted July 23, 2008 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    If the number of responders drop, and our ISO rating is in jeopardy, I volunteer for any ad hoc bucket brigade that may be needed. Just shoot me an email on my BlackBerry, and I’ll zip over there, even if I don’t have time to finish my latte.

    Didn’t that falsehood get used up last time around?

  43. Rod Johnson
    Posted July 23, 2008 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    “Is there waste in the City’s budget? And, if so, what is it? Please be specific.”

    Sure there is but the devil is in the details. I don’t have access to the inner workings of the city so it is difficult to get specific. I kinda agree with Pete on this. Concepts and goals will have to suffice till one of us is on board and has first hand knowledge. My idea is to treat budget waste like crime – be ever vigilant and report all instances. This should start with the mayor, go the Council, the City manager, Departments heads and all city workers. This should be an active campaign for every one involved in city work, volunteers included. Many ideas can come about if one were only to ask.

    Past that I say Water St. remains number one. It

  44. Wondering
    Posted July 23, 2008 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    Not one of the cool kids,

    Yeah, I had some visions along those lines myself. He could answer the questions on line, but I would need to show up in person for him to verbally assault me. Then again, maybe I should be more concerned about all the people on this blog I may have pissed off. “No more taxes” is not the mantra of most progressives I’ve met.

    But in reality, I can’t afford to take time off work and have no desire to badger the mayor in person. So I’m extending an invitation to anyone on this blog who is also wondering. Feel free to step in as “Wondering” and take my appointment at 4:45P tomorrow. See if you can get answers to specifics on the budget: What is the cost of recycling in the city? What do the DDA’s do with the millions that they divert from the general fund? etc… All I ask is if you do get answers, kindly share them with all of us on this blog. But be forewarned and prepared – I’ve also heard that April is one tough cookie and if she has Ed and Paul backing her up it could get ugly.

  45. Ol' E Cross
    Posted July 23, 2008 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Hey friends. So, since I continue to treat this blog like a cocktail party, I figure I’ll tell the regulars who I’m voting for and why. My vote may not be the best testimonial for who I’m voting for, as much as against, but it’s what you get.

    I’ve had, I believe, more minutes in actual face-to-face conversation with candidate Pete Murdock than Rod Johnson. I like talking with Pete, and hope, win or lose, he’ll still stop by. But, I’m ready for my Rod Johnson lawn sign. This ain’t personal. If I was electing a friend to council, I’d vote for Brackache. But regular readers will know that I wouldn’t vote for dear friend Brackache to drain commissioner. I think the feeling’s mutual.

    I realize this is more “against” voting than “for,” but here’s my reasons:

    One: Keep Ypsi Rolling. I very much appreciate the motives of folks involved with this campaign. I deeply want to keep transit service in Ypsi. It’s a major reason we moved here. But, the language of the old proposed amendment was, by my assessment, terribly ill-conceived. I was willing to forgive some passionate bloggers for developing it, but the fact the Pete is taking credit for it makes me seriously question his ability to craft policy.

    Two: The tax thing. It’s a done deal, yes. And voters rejected it, soundly. That’s fine. We can move on, but I can still lick the wounds. I still can’t get over the tactics of the SCIT folks who wouldn’t respond on this blog to fair questions. And, it comes from folks who claim to want more openness. As Pete takes credit for SCIT, I still question the “no answer is the best answer policy” that seemed to be the SCIT strategy. I also question the “Sue the city” method to keep something off the ballot.

    Three: Guilt by association. Steve may be a great guy and stand for good stuff, but I’ve had recurring issues with Steve’s tactics since my first e-mail with him (before I had any idea who he was) on the old downzoning issue. If you’ve noticed, Steve’s continued avoidance of answering why he won’t post city council minutes is just the latest. The extent that which Pete is reported to be in Steve’s camp triggers my knee to jerk.

    Four: I wasn’t going to mention this, but since the Ann Arbor News broke the silence today, I got one of those secret packets of old news and court documents about Pete setting himself up, reportedly, for a city department head job while on city council. Whatever the backstory, the fact that he would sue the city for a job deemed unethical by the courts makes me question either his ethics or understanding of public policy and law. It doesn’t seem like something the fellow who stops by my house would do, but the records just don’t inspire confidence.

    So, that’s it. I still haven’t voted so I suppose there’s time for folk to persuade me otherwise, although my cement is drying.

    But, I figure I at least owe it to Pete to explain why a green sign may soon sprout in my front yard. And, if nothing else, this is an opportunity for him to respond to the hesitation of myself and others might have in the voting booth.

    I like a lot of what Pete’s said and sincerely enjoy talking with him. I’m just being candid on what gives me pause. I’m sure others knees jerk differently but hopefully, in the end, we all jerk towards a better Ypsi, whomever sits on the council bench.

    Best of luck to both candidates.

  46. Dirtgrain
    Posted July 24, 2008 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    In my neighborhood, somebody put up an anti CIT sign. Then they put a piece of paper with Michael Bodary’s name on it over part of the sign. It now reads, “Michael Bodary City Income Tax.”–not the message they were trying to send, surely.

    OEC, did you see what the Ann Arbor News said about Minzy (I couldn’t find a link–it was in the editorial section of the paper on Monday or Tuesday, I think)? They pretty much called him incompetent, endorsing Jerry Clayton. Not that one should follow the Ann Arbor News’s recommendations, but it is the only information I’ve seen about the election for sheriff. Sorry to stray off topic.

  47. nammeroo
    Posted July 24, 2008 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Ol’ E,

    I hope your soon-to-be green Rod Johnson yard sign works as well for you on August 5th as the green pro-income-tax yard sign did last November.

    As for me, I’m heartened to hear that Mayor Murdock’s competition is reduced to delivering “secret packets” of old news about Pete – it says that the City Hall crowd has nothing more substantive to offer. Keep stealing those yard signs and delivering secret packets folks – I’m sure that there will be plenty of beer to commiserate over at the “what happened (again)?” gripe session after the polls close.

  48. Brackache
    Posted July 24, 2008 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Oh snap.

  49. rodneyn
    Posted July 24, 2008 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Dirtgrain: “OEC, did you see what the Ann Arbor News said about Minzy…. They pretty much called him incompetent, endorsing Jerry Clayton. Not that one should follow the Ann Arbor News’s recommendations, but it is the only information I’ve seen about the election for sheriff.”

    Dirtgrain, last week’s Ypsilanti Courier had an excellent set of articles on the race for Washtenaw Co. Sheriff – including detailed profiles on both Sheriff Minzey and Mr. Clayton. Before I read the articles I was leaning towards voting for Minzey, but after reading about both candidates I must admit I’m undecided. Mr. Clayton is a strong candidate too.

    If you’re getting your Ypsilanti news and opinion only from the Ann Arbor News, you are missing out. Say what you will about the loss of our downtown Courier office, but no one can deny that the Ypsilanti Courier Editor Austen Smith and his crew are putting out a really good local weekly newspaper these days. If you haven’t read the Courier in a while, I would encourage you to pick one up. The quality of the writing tends to far exceed what the News is putting out about Ypsilanti.

  50. Ol' E Cross
    Posted July 24, 2008 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    Dirtgrain, yup saw it. It was a reminder of everything I’d read in A2 News (I know, rodneyn) that made me not like Minzey. Clayton seems qualified, and I’m going for him. The tie breaker was the plane towing the “vote Minzey” banner in the parade. I’m a little scared of any Sheriff who can afford an airforce…

    nammeroo. Pete was good enough to stop by my place this morning to answer the issues I raised, above. We didn’t get to talk very long as family members were rapping on the window reminding me they had their shoes on and we had to go. I know other Rod Johnson supporters may disagree, but I don’t think the world will end if Pete wins. Like I said, those are my reasons, for better or worse. I’m sure others will jerk otherwise.

    On the “secret packets,” I was actually glad to get one. It just had old news articles and a court decision. Since I’m not an old, old timer here, I’m glad for whatever back story I can get on the town. (If anyone has Rod Johnson’s high school yearbook pictures, I’d like to see those, as well.) To me, it wasn’t swift boating, i.e., made up shit. It was A2 News and Ypsi Courier articles that I wasn’t around to read.

    Voting ain’t be easy. We can never really know what kind of public official any candidate will be. Hell, I’m not even sure what kind of official I would really be. We go with what we got. I’ve gotta go with RJ on this one.

    Oh. And, reason number five, the real reason … green is my favorite color, and the sign matches my lawn (parts, anyway).

  51. John Delcamp
    Posted July 25, 2008 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    Of late, AA News endorsements seem to be a death knell for Ypsi candidates and referendums. Are they again out of touch, or still smarting over the pro-income tax endorsement which was followed by a stiff scolding after it lost? Have yet to figure out how the CIT was bad for AA but good for Ypsi.
    Murdock brings a long list of accomplishments and expertise to the table. The other guy, well, a fine fellow no doubt, but would only rubber stamp everything, just as his predecessor did.

    JD

  52. elviscostello
    Posted July 26, 2008 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Cam, Not a falsehood. Check with ISO if you don’t believe me. Also, the bucket brigade line was funny, but when a structure is on fire in the city, what do you want those guys to do? If they don’t run right in, will they be sued? If they run right in and violate MIOSHA, will you pay the fine for the city? It’s not a joke to me, bud… You can go to the ISO website and look at the guidelines…

  53. Mark H.
    Posted July 26, 2008 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    OEC –
    thanks for your posts on these candidates. I appreciate them, they are thoughtful.

    I’m for Pete in this election – experience and the ability to ask hard questions. A record of fiscal integrity.

    Rod is a very nice man, and I voted for him two years ago. But Rod is, in my view, naive: on the zoning commission he asked no tough questions on Water Street (and yeah, that’s a fault he shares with many, but it is not a positive record for him). And on the ill advised and very controversial plan by EMU officials (who are all now gone, by the way) who wanted to close College Place and build a pedestrian mall there, Rod naively allowed the previously apolitical forum, COPAC, to sponsor one EMU offiicial, Jim Vick, who gave a totally one sided account of the plan. Mr. Vick depicted it to COPAC as a matter without controversy, and so COPAC, under Rod’s leadership, urged neigbhorhood associations to vote to endorse the closing of a public street. All this was about a year and a half ago. A month or more latter, COPAC allowed opponents of the closing of College Place to speak. By that time, some neigborhood associations had voted for the project.

    This is relevant, in my view, to this election because he shows a lack of independence on Rod’s part and shows also his allowing the COPAC forum to be used by one side of a sharply controversial issue. Rod told me then and more recently he had had no idea that closing Colllege Place was controversial. I’m sure he did not know that. But gosh, if you look at Ward 3 and where people drive, you’d realize College Place is for lots of us a many route to the west side of town….Our former mayor Cheryl Farmer and the city manager and the current mayor too, by his inaction, were advocates of closing College Place: Rod as head of COPAC just went along with the crowd.

    Wisely, COPAC has since that time affirmed that it has no role in non safety, non police matters. And the state of Michigan said “no way” to the insane grant application of EMU and the city to use public funds to decrease the ease of transporation in the city.

    Sorry for the long lecture. But think of this next time you drive on College Pothole Place. Pete Murdock was among the many people who opposed this plan 7 or 8 years ago, when it was brought to Council.

  54. Mark H.
    Posted July 26, 2008 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    “many route” above should be ‘main route’.

    please pardon my rushed, error prone typing.

  55. Posted July 27, 2008 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Elvis: The only real risk is from our current Council majority, who appears to be walking in lockstep with Mayor Schreiber on cuts to public safety. If you will recall, it was Mayor Schreiber who showed up at a meeting to announce that the AATA subsidy would be fully funded, even if it meant cutting public safety, despite the fairly obvious fact that we were well-postured at that point to negotiate a discount on the subsidy, and that the one thing that EVERYONE agrees should not be cut is public safety.

    So, while I understand that you may have some concerns, Council would have be unbelievably stupid to actually go in that direction, and they would do so at their political peril. Hopefully, with this election, we will see a concerted move away from the status quo and toward a more prudent stewardship of the resources we have available to us.

  56. Posted July 27, 2008 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Getto,

    Didn’t you argue with me a month ago, saying that no cuts had been made to police or fire??? Didn’t you in fact argue that two half time police positions had been ADDED???

    What is it? Cuts or Adds?

  57. Posted July 27, 2008 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    OEC,

    While I agree with your reasons for not voting for Pete, I have to point out to you that there are lots of good reasons to vote for Rod.

    Rod Johnson is a careful and deliberate thinker. I’ve always known him to make prudent and sound decisions. Rod Johnson is in fact a very strong candidate for city council. He has the experience to move the city forward on economic development, public safety, and city budget.

    Rod is adamantly opposed to bringing back a vote on income tax. Instead, he will diligently scour the city’s budget to make it work within the existing revenues. Where waste exists, Rod will be able to find it. Where efficiencies can be found, he will find them. For example, he will work hard to find ways to cooperate with neighboring governments in ways that are mutually beneficial to all concerned.

    Rod is strongly committed to a strong and effective police force. Rod’s experience on CoPAC makes him the uniquely qualified candidate to know what needs to be done to make Ypsilanti a safe city to live in. Rod is passionate about reducing crime and improving the quality of life in Ypsilanti.

    Rod is THE candidate to push the city forward economically. Rod’s experience on the Planning Commission gives him the knowledge and tools to make a difference to make Ypsilanti a business friendly city. With Rod’s guidance on council, we can make Water Street the most attractive it can be to developers. Rod’s track record on bringing new businesses to Ypsilanti will only grow. He will work hard to make all of Ypsilanti a vibrant business community with new jobs.

    Rod has the positive vision that Ypsilanti needs.

  58. Glen S.
    Posted July 27, 2008 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Trusty: AATA officials have been very clear about the fact that, because of state and federal cuts, and rapidly-rising fuel costs, they are unable to continue providing service at current levels, based on our reduced level of payment.

    So, how exactly do you figure we “were well-postured at that point to negotiate a discount on the subsidy?”

    This idea that if we had only dug in our heels, AATA (and, indirectly, other local governments) would have happily continued to “carry” us — without any kind of comprehensive regional transit-funding strategy — is nothing short of a pipe-dream.

    As I’ve said here many times, if we in Ypsilanti want to have services — police, fire, transit, etc. — we’ve got to figure out how we’re (individually or collectively) going to pay for them.

    While you and others are eagerly awaiting a change in the “status quo,” the fact is that (regardless of who ends up being elected to City Council) Ypsilanti will continue to face shrinking revenues. While taking a “get tough” stance toward AATA may play well voters right now, it is ultimately counter-productive to building the kind of political consensus that will be necessary to build a longer-term strategy for regional funding of public transit.

  59. Posted July 27, 2008 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    JoF: I tried to explain it twice, as did others, but you didn’t get it. One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I decline your invitation to do it over again. Good luck at figuring it out, though.

    Glen: I likewise refuse to dignify your ridiculously disingenuous comment with a reply. If you really are interested in my view, then see my post on the issue here.

  60. rodneyn
    Posted July 27, 2008 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Rod Johnson is a nice guy who has made several very publicly unsound and imprudent decisions that have impacted Ypsilanti for the worse:

    1. Rod is a born-again anti-income-tax guy because when he supported it and vigorously campaigned to pass it last year his view got trounced. That does reflect well on his ability to learn from his mistakes, but we don’t need more people in Ypsilanti City government who have to learn on the job. We need someone with experience to represent Ward 3.

    2. While on the Planning Commission, Rod pushed forward an agenda that included a flawed and horribly executed Water Street redevelopment scheme, and a punative downzoning proposal for Midtown that took nearly three years of rancorous public meetings and an overwhelming protest petition from Midtown residents to finally turn his mind to even consider the merits of the neighborhood association’s proposed alternative.

    3. There has been much talk about Rod’s economic development credentials, but as Planning Commission Chair he allowed our (now former) City Planner to toy with a national retailer looking to come into our city for months, until the retailer’s representatives finally said in frustration (and after a two-hour public meeting on their site plan) that if the city wanted so badly for them not to build, just say so and they would look elsewhere. Only then did Rod step up to rein things in and begin guiding a divided and nitpicking Commission to a positive decision.

    4. Rod also presides over a Planning Commission that has not prepared a comprehensive master plan update for the city in a decade, despite a state law requiring a review of the city’s long-range plans every five years. This outdated plan was the primary source of the problems the south side faced in fighting off a mini-storage facility proposed to be built at the southern gateway to the city. Neighborhood leaders and elected officials found themselves fighting against the City’s adopted but outdated future land use plan! Worse yet, the city’s Zoning Ordinance is also outdated, cumbersome, and not business-friendly. Keeping the City’s Zoning Ordinance and Master Plan up-to-date is the Planning Commission’s most important task, and Rod Johnson has failed to accomplish that after eight years as an appointed city official. How much longer does he need to be successful?… …and can we afford to wait any longer?

    We just can’t afford Rod Johnson’s vision anymore. Please vote for Pete Murdock for the Ward 3 City Council seat on August 5th.

  61. Ol' E Cross
    Posted July 28, 2008 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    (I know there’s been other alluring comments, but, I want most interested in Mark H’s response to my comment.)

    Mark H. We’ve been on different sides of a couple issues, but I always appreciate your restraint and thoughtfulness. I remember the College Place demolition discussions. I saw pros and cons. (In my mind, it was also linked with some internal stuff at EMU and I struggled to determine what of the opposition was EMU based and what was Ypsi based.)

    That aside, this seems to be not only an election about individual qualifications, but about whose team you’re on.

    My perception is that one team has been very good at courting anyone who was opposed to something done by City Hall. And, anyone fighting city hall is always happy to have a powerful friend. Strange bedfellows, and all, I know.

    And, I’ve been recently reminded that holding together a coalition of folks with deeply opposed agendas requires a special skill set. But, it’s not the skill set I automatically admire most as it requires that you are quite specific in a few things you’re against, and fairly vague in what you’re for, I.e., if asked what should be cut: “Everything is on the table.” or “I’m not advocating any cuts.”

    Or silence.

    I can appreciate the delicate balance needed to be maintained to hold together an opposition party, but the question remains … We know what the opposition is against, but what are they for?

    Put another way, if City Hall were in opposition to College Place, and a group of EMU folk and locals were opposed, who’s side would the opposition have taken? Did they really agree with you, or just knock on your door after they heard mumblings? (Thinking back, did Pete lead you to oppose College Place or join you in opposition?)

    The status quo may not be perfect, but it isn’t ever a given that its replacement will be better. Not long ago, Pete Murdock was the status quo, after all.

    Anyway, I understand that one team is against every error in judgment City Hall has made. I’m just not sure what they’re for.

    For me, everything is not on the table.

  62. Posted July 28, 2008 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Of course, I’ll be voting in the second ward not the third, but I had to tell somebody how APPALLED I was with Michael Bodary’s campaign stop at my house on Saturday. With OEC, I consider him part of the SCIT camp whose response to requests for their plans is always a resounding silence. I asked Bodary about his plans, but his only response was to slam John Gawlas, make insinuations about conspiracies on City Council, and indulge in “Culture of Fear” tactics.

    Can you believe — he actually said that the city has a secret surplus of money which they are “not being honest about.” What a crock! If there was such a secret surplus, how would HE know about it? I told him that I believe that John is honest. I said it’s easy to criticize, but I believe the council was courageous and visionary and in neither case was the pullout of the Water Street developer council’s fault. You can always find missteps in anyone’s record of actions, but Monday morning quarterbacking is unfair.

    Bodary started to trot out a bunch of suspicious details about decisions made on council. I trust John due to his inate integrity (which I said). John has had to make hard choices and I appreciate his long experience on council. I sure wouldn’t want a newcomer trying to make decisions on the difficult issues facing Ypsi and ALL aging cities in Michigan.

    He also said that those who spoke up against Water Street were “let go” by the city — I demanded he justify that, “Were they fired?” He backpedaled — “Well, they would say they were driven out.” I said people don’t like it when council makes decisions different from what they think is best — if they chose to leave and feel bitter, please, they have to take some responsibility for their own choices. (He called his own informants who were against Water Street “naysayers” — what an endorsement.)

    He ALSO implied that I was appointed to the 2020 Task Force because I’m a friend of John Gawlas, saying, “Well, I understand that you have personal friendships, and connections, and appointments… in common,” after I disagreed with something he said. I live a block away and I’m active in Growing Hope, etc., it’s hard to avoid having some kind of relationship with those on city council if you’re active at all in this small town!

    At that point, I gave up. I’m appalled and disgusted with this kind of fear-mongering campaign. Real experience vs no plan — I’ll take the former, thanks.

  63. nammeroo
    Posted July 28, 2008 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Nice try, Lisele.

    As a Friend of Gawlas, you must be pretty worried by now. Don’t worry, with the election only a week away, it will all be over soon and you can move on….

  64. Posted July 28, 2008 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Nice try on Bodary’s part — I’m simply quoting what was said to me. All are free to evaluate its worth for themselves.

  65. John on Forest
    Posted July 28, 2008 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Getto,

    I wasn’t asking you to explain it to me again. I get it.

    I was calling you on your BS.

  66. Glen S.
    Posted July 28, 2008 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Nameroo’s condescension aside … I think Liesle (as well as OES) makes a valid point: The “anti-status quo” slate seems to be awfully l-o-n-g on grievances, but woefully short on ideas and solutions. At this point in the campaign, we are well aware of everything they’re against but, it seems, we’re all still waiting to hear what exactly they are FOR.

    Case in point: Last year, when Pete Murdock was asked to propose an alternative to the CIT proposal, he said on more than one occasion: “It’s not my job to come up with solutions.” In fact, throughout that campaign, Pete and the SCIT crowd steadfastly refused to offer any kind of concrete (alternative) plan. In fact, they even went so far as to forfeit an invitation to participate in a “virtual debate” on this very blog … quite simply, it seems, to keep from having to answer some difficult questions.

    And, that, to me, sums up their whole philosophy — offer little or nothing concrete in the way of solutions — while, at the same time, stirring up voters’ anxiety about the very real challenges facing the City in order to encourage us all to be AGAINST the “status quo,” AGAINST City Hall, AGAINST Water Street, and now, ironically, even AGAINST fully-funding public transit (something I recall many of them USED to support …). In short, AGAINST pretty much anybody and anything, as long as it suits their political aims.

    Differences of opinion and criticism are natural (and fair) in politics… but the fact is that all of this anger and cynicism being generated by the “Anti” side isn’t going to do a damn thing to solve any of the City’s problems.

    What we now, more than ever, are leaders with some hope, and some vision, and who are less interested finger-pointing and blame-laying — and more interested in bringing people from all the various “sides” together to actually solve some problems and get things done.

  67. Glen S.
    Posted July 28, 2008 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    I meant Old East Cross (OEC), not “OES”

  68. Posted July 28, 2008 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    JoF: If you think it’s BS, you still don’t get it.

  69. Dirtgrain
    Posted July 28, 2008 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Bodary was similarly vague with me. No plans given–no plans in his pamphlet–no plans on his website. The Ann Arbor News’ Voter Guide has some goals for him listed. I don’t know what I should expect. I thought a door-to-door visit from a candidate would reveal some knowledge about how the city works. Gawlas was willing to talk about every issue I could bring up.

    I’d be open to considering Bodary as a candidate if he had some specifics–and if he wasn’t simply saying, “Vote for me because I’m not Gawlas, the guy behind Water Street and the CIT proposal.”

    Is there another reason to vote for Bodary? Why should I vote for him?

  70. John on Forest
    Posted July 28, 2008 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    rodneyn,

    I doubt that half of your accusations against Rod are even factual; but, I’ll leave that to the candidate to dispute if need be. The fact is that people are going to make mistakes. You hardly levy anything damning against Rod, even if more than half of what you say is accurate.

    Mr Murdock has made mistakes in his life too. One of those mistakes was perhaps unethical and an abuse of his political power. Oh, but Pete’s past shouldn’t be relevant? All Pete has to offer us is his past! He has no current accomplishments. Oh, Wait! I forgot, he’s really good at campaigning against a tax proposal that, based on the numbers, probably would have been defeated even if SCIT had never been formed. He’s also pretty good at loosing litigation against the city.

    I’m sorry folks for getting so negative in this campaign; but, what else can someone say about a candidate who professes to have no solutions?

    By the way, I think it’s interesting that Pete now has a line item on his website about marketing ACH and other non-utilized properties. He should have credited me for this idea since I brought it up to him in face to face conversation about three weeks ago.

    Paraphrasing:

    John: What are your ideas for Water Street?

    Pete: [some good comments about making the property attractive to as many ideas as possible, but without thoughtful restrictions] “and we could even try to get a windmill (or other green) manufacturing company into WS.”

    John: “Why make WS into a manufacturing site when we have two manufacturing sites already that are vacant or soon to be vacant: ACH and Motor Wheel”

    Pete: “We don’t own those two properties so we can’t influence what the owners do with those properties.”

    I can give Pete credit for listening to me and deciding that strong marketing of ACH is a good thing for him to do; but, don’t pass it off as your own idea, Pete.

    Pete still professes that Water Street would be a great manufacturing site. Maybe his idea is a good one. I don’t think so, though, given that other manufacturing sites in the city are idle.

  71. John on Forest
    Posted July 28, 2008 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Getto,

    I’ll say it again. I get it.

    You are willing to say anything that supports your current argument, whether is is a half truth, a fabrication, or only one side of the equation. You will even use one side of the equation to support one of your arguments and the other side of the equation to support another argument.

    You are fully interested in winning the argument, regardless of all the facts.

    You’d probably make a good criminal defense lawyer.

  72. Posted July 28, 2008 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    JoF: Oh, I get it now, everyone who disagrees with you is a liar. Good luck with that approach.

  73. nammeroo
    Posted July 28, 2008 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    John on Forest,

    I did preface my comment about Rod Johnson’s qualifications with ‘ (he) is a nice guy.’ Every example of Rod’s unsound or imprudent decision-making as an appointed City official is in the public record. What these examples add up to is a nice guy who should not be given further opportunity to make public decisions that affect the future of Ypsilanti.

  74. Mark H.
    Posted July 28, 2008 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    OEC,

    I respect and enjoy your posts to MM.com a lot, and I am glad to be in dialog with you, thru MM.com. Someday we should meet in person and have a beer.

    I agree that those who are against the status quo in one era may be part of the status quo in another. The bible says, loosely, ‘the bottom rail is now on top,’ if i recall correctly, and makes the same good point. Pete once was mayor; Rod is now close to the current and previous mayors, who have been at odds with Pete for ages. So there’s history there, to be sure.

    But to me, it’s the issues and questions of judgment. On the College Place issue, Pete contacted me by email once I was publicly involved in opposing EMU officials’ plans. Pete gave me information on what the city’s plans were that i could not get at the time by calling the city manager’s office or other city officials. That was in 2006, i think. A previous effort to close College Place was made around 2003, and i was involved in little of that, but Pete and his allies, like Steve Pierce and many others, opposed it at Council. Decades before that, EMU officials had proposed the hair brained plan of closing College Place, but only under the Kirkpatrick administraiton (2000-04) did they start really pushing the city to close down this much used street that connects the city to the campus.

    Why did I oppose the College Place closure? Because it made no sense for my university or my town. Because it made no sense from a city planning / transportation perspective. Because it was ill thought out (they never even counted the traffic that uses College Place). Because it was a waste of money. And from the first talks I had with Pete Murdock about this issue, it was clear to me that he “got” all these reasons, usually more thoroughly than me. He knew the history of the issue, and also what funds were designated for such vital but mundane issues as repaving streets and redoing water lines and rebuilding sidewalks….Pete is an expert on Ysilanti government.

    And in 2006, I voted for Rod Johnson and was sorry he lost to Brian Robb. I meet both in the campaign, made my decision privately, and thought Rod was the better candidate. (Brian Robb has been, I must say, an outstanding council rep, and I am proud he’s from my Ward). Then not long after Rod lost the primary in 2006, the College Place issue arose, and became a big controversy, and Rod said he knew nothing about it (despite it having been on Council’s agenda in Nov. 2006), and then he as CoPAC chair pushed closing College Place on to the CoPAC agenda and gave the floor over to the EMU officials who were doing all they could to avoid a public debate of the issue. Rod was out of the loop on this. He trusted officials to represent the full case to him, and he was thus misled seriously, and thereby harmed the credibilty of COPAC and some neigbhorhood associations. Mayor Paul, in the meantime, echoed the position of EMU officials, saying to me that closing College Place was an ok idea but the details would have to be worked out “by staff”. Needless to say, all those EMU officials were soon thereafter fired or forced to resign for various reasons of dishonesty or incompetence.

    Rod is honest, but naive. Pete in contrast is hard headed, analytical, well informed, and a fighter.

    And as for the midtown rezoning issue — yeah, it’s true: the zoning commission botched that one up big time, and if the financial stakes were substantial, the city’s failure to have an up to date master plan could create real liability issues for the city. That’s on the doorstep of the zoning commission and it’s leaders. So too is at least a share of the water street failures.

    So what, OEC, are the “critics” for, those who are against the group that’s controlled city hall for the last decade or more? Accountability first and foremost. Everyone makes mistakes but the mistake of not listening to all points of view in our small town when vital issues come up is not a minor one, it arises from a habit of mind that has to go.

    In American political history, one thing is clear to me: The best way to ensure quality municipal services and accountable government is a regular rotation in office of those with power. The current group has been there too long, with too much inward looking…. The failures of the zoning commission are legend, yet the leaders of it are not held accountable by the mayor! We need a new team in place.

    And then, in a decade, throw those rascals out too if they haven’t measured up. The city’s fiscal problems are not self-inflicted by the leaders of the city, but the FISCAL CRISIS facing us is.

    Sorry to rush and not edit, OEC. i gotta run some family errands. Both candidates – all candidates – in this Ypsi election are nice folks. Honest too. But who has the record of being sufficiently skeptical? That to me is the question.

  75. Mark H.
    Posted July 28, 2008 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    JoF — you fault Pete for saying Water Street would be a great manufacturing site, on the grounds that other manufacturing sites in the city are ‘idle.’ So true about what’s idle in the city. But I think Pete’s point is that if a developer wants to buy the Water Street land, and build a manufacturing facility on it that meets public safety/health standards, that’d be great for the city. After all, that would be an ADDITION TO THE TAX roles, and that’s not yet happened in the decade long Water Street project. It has SUBTRACTED properties from the tax role.

    Pete understands that we can’t be wedded to some idealized notion of what we want on Water Street – we gotta be realistic. The project is a huge drain on city finances, and it’s not likely to ever even pay for itself, let alone solve the city’s revenue problems, as was first promised a decade ago by city officials.

    So Pete means what he says: Let’s be open to ALL kinds of possible development on Water Street. Let’s not close any off in the abstract. Let’s get some serious offer on the table before we rule it out.

    And JoF, all that idle manufacturing property in the city, isn’t it privately owned land whose owners have to pay taxes on it, at whatever it’s taxable rate may be? That’s not true for one bit of the 38 acres of the Water Street lands. Getting any revenue out of it would be a plus, even if it was a small manufacturing facility on 1.5 acres. That’d be more economic development than is presently on the table. I’d go with something real like that over the fantasy of mixed residential/business development on all 38 acres.

    The mayoral machine is still in denial about what a badly executed venture into municipal capitalism Water Street was, and that limits their ability to think afresh about it all.

  76. Ol' E Cross
    Posted July 28, 2008 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    Mark H.

    Thanks for the unedited response. I’m sure we’ll have a beer someday. (Be warned, though, I just met the Delcamps at the beer fest, and I’m not as old as folks generally presume.)

    You said, “Pete in contrast is hard headed, analytical, well informed, and a fighter.”

    I believe it. But, all those things are true about Cheney. (Pete is no Cheney, please understand, it’s just an easy example.) But, I don’t want any of those characteristics unless I know they’re working for my interests.

    For a similar cheap, self-serving example … Bush, Clinton, Bush… I don’t like the two party system. Frankly, I’m uncomfortable that small town Ypsi is being divided up in a two-party system. And, you have to admit, it’s a little bizarre that instead of bringing a fresh perspective to city gov we’re just bringing back Pete (no offense to Pete personally, but is this just gonna be Murdock/Farmer/Murdock/Farmer?) It’s not like Pete is something new, i.e., forward rather than backward change.

    That said, I know Pete is savvy, I’m just not sure his savvy will represent my values or even the assorted, contradictory values of folks Team Pierce is collecting. I’m kinda hearing from you, that you’re not voting for Pete as much as voting for change?

    People aren’t afraid of change. They’re afraid of the unknown. I’d like to know, how will Pete change things? Which direction will he go? What is on the table?

  77. Mark H.
    Posted July 29, 2008 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    OEC,
    I’ve made no assumptions about your age – but now I wanna know!

    As for my vote: I’m for Pete with confidence, because I know he will represent change and common sense. And hey, he is good representative of what i think are the values of most east side folks: hard work, frugal, honest, community-minded, and concerned with sustainability.

    As for what Pete or any candidate would do – well, that’d be up to however a majority is constituted on the council right? Politics ain’t pretty, it’s deal making and priority setting, always constrained by the choices and obligations previously made. To me, what’s least impressive about the “mayoral machine” is how unimaginative they are, as a group, when facing the real problems of the city: They are passive, and wait for things to happen to the city instead of taking care of business. Like finishing the master plan. Like making a deal that lands all the $ from the electronic billboard in city coffers instead of a fraction.

    I admire the civic dedication of ALL the candidates in Ypsi this year, bar none. Going door to door is hard work, esp. when you find someone like me or Leslee who is ready to argue and you might be tired and thirsty and maybe not as articulate as you were two houses earlier.

    As for “Team Pierce” – i don’t believe there is any such thing. Pete’s been around and more deeply involved far more than Steve. And Pete doesn’t march in lockstep with anyone. He’s not taking orders from anyone. He’s the real thing, and he’s far more analytical and detail oriented, in my observations, than nearly anyone on Council today…

  78. nammeroo
    Posted July 29, 2008 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Ol’ E Cross: “…instead of bringing a fresh perspective to city gov we’re just bringing back Pete (no offense to Pete personally, but is this just gonna be Murdock/Farmer/Murdock/Farmer?)…”

    Ol’ E,

    I’m not sure which of our (past or current) mayors should be more annoyed with this comment. There were a couple of elected mayors between Murdock and Farmer, after all. Worse yet, your statement appears to say that Mayor Schreiber = Mayor Farmer. While Paul ran on Mayor Farmer’s coattails, he has chosen to use the office of Mayor in a very different way from his predecessor. Although I disagree with some of his priorities, I commend him for actively listening to all views, and for showing basic respect to all residents. That did not happen during the latter years of Mayor Farmer’s tenure.

  79. DR
    Posted July 29, 2008 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    I was right there with you Mark H until you said there was no Team Pierce. Either you truly don’t see it, in which case I have to wonder about your powers of comprehension, or you are pulling our legs. Anyone with eyes can see that Steve is the ring leader of the Hate Your City gang.

  80. Posted July 29, 2008 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    DR,

    I’d really like some clarity on this. I’m sure Glen or JoF or OEC might oblige, as well.

    Is it your belief that we are in a situation where “if you are not with us you are against us” to quote our President?

    The idea is that the pro-tax crowd that is supporting Rod is doing so because they love the city so much, but that folks who don’t have the exclusive secret handshake for this group are actually all in the “other” camp?

    FWIW, I believe Ypsilanti is a community that actually can support a diversity of opinions without narrowly trying to shut down those who are not in a certain fashionable minority. I also believe that the strength of our city’s Democracy is based on a sharing of these beliefs from a wide community.

  81. Glen S.
    Posted July 29, 2008 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Teaspout: “with us or against us” … “exclusive secret handshake” … “certain fashionable minority” …

    I think it is exactly these kinds of comments (and this kind of thinking) that is dividing the community and preventing people from working together to solve the City’s problems.

    And that, really, is the point I was trying to make in my earlier post. Rather than offering a fresh perspective or new ideas, all “Team Murdock/Bodary/Richardson” seem to be able to offer is a constant stream of negativity and antipathy toward City Council, City staff, boards and commissions, etc. This goes way beyond objective criticism or normal “poltics,” and is ultimately counter-productive and damaging to the long-term best interests of Ypsilanti.

  82. Posted July 29, 2008 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    JOF –

    I’m sorry you feel slighted that you think I took one of your ideas and ran with it. The idea of aggressively marketing ACH and other industrial properties in the City is a good one no matter whose idea it is. It has been widely discussed long before our conversation by me and others but if it makes you feel better, I’ll refer to it as the JOF marketing plan. My intention was to take a policy position (not credit) that I believe is in the best interest of the City. And obviously you do too.

    My concern here, John, is that we have an area of agreement and you want to fight about it. I’m much more interested in building a consensus around things we agree on and moving forward than creating disagreement where none exists just for its own sake. That’s how I approached things in the past and will, if elected, approach them in the future.

  83. nammeroo
    Posted July 29, 2008 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Go Glen!

    Way to turn a discussion of the relative merits of various candidates and their histories of public decision-making into personal attacks! Nice job. I’m glad we can count on you for this each and every election season.

  84. Dirtgrain
    Posted July 29, 2008 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Oh dang, Nammeroo. I thought somebody (uh, you) earlier turned this into a trash talking thread.

    DR and Teaspout, you have revealed the key to defeating Team Pierce. You just need a word like patriotism–but that links directly to Ypsilanti. Ypsilantiotism, Ypsilantiast, Ypsilantiotic, Ypsiotic, Ypsian/Ypsianism. Whatever word, you just have to use it repeatedly in referring to Pierce et al. Those unypsian bastards! Where is their sense of Ypsianism!?! Oh, and you can make all sorts of rumors: ______ spends all his time in Ann Arbor massage parlors. ______ eats at Zingerman’s. _______ and _______ are in cahoots with the Township–they have a secret plan to steal Depot Town and relocate it at Whitaker and Stony Creek.

    Seriously, Ypsianism is the last refuge of scoundrels. We better not use it as a political tool, as the abyss will surely taint us.

    I thought the whole point of this thread was to call some people on their shit flinging and vague Ypsi Government bashing, as they were saying the current Ypsi government was wasteful and spend-happy. I believe those claims have been dismissed, as nobody showed evidence of glaringly obvious waste in our local government (unless I did a terrible job of reading and missed it–which happens to me now and then).

  85. Glen S.
    Posted July 29, 2008 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Dirtgrain: I vote for “Ypsiotic!”

  86. nammeroo
    Posted July 29, 2008 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Glen, you should run for Mayor next time around. “I vote for Ypsiotic!” is a great tag line…

  87. Posted July 29, 2008 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    All I really want is for candidates/campaigns to give me a reason to vote FOR them. What is your vision? What is your plan? How will you get us there.

    Teaspout: I’d probably be in what ever group that is that has secret handshakes and passwords. But, I don’t know what those handshakes and words are any more than you do. I do know that the people I talk with are very open and receptive to ideas.

    At the same time I for one, and many others I know, are not open or receptive to continual barrages of negative monday morning quarterbacking, when that backward looking quarterbacking doesn’t know what play they would call. For once, let someone criticize and at the same time offer a better suggestion.

  88. Posted July 29, 2008 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Pete,

    I respect you for accepting new ideas. It’s always best though to give credit to those ideas, no matter who they come from.

    Mark H. My point is that we already have two (or more) sites that are manufacturing sites. If a new manufacturing company wants to come to Ypsilanti, we should steer them toward those sites and preserve Water Street for something else, not because I don’t oppose manufacturing at Water Street, per se, but because if Water Street become manufacturing too, then we have three (or more manufacturing sites in the city and not all are used. Could we possibly have a mixed use of the Motor Wheel or ACH site?

    Get it? Motor Wheel and ACH will never be anything except manufacturing sites. We should fill them FIRST with any manufacturing companies before we make Water Street into a nothing-but-manufacturing site too.

    Yes those private properties pay tax, but only on their “empty” value, not on a “live company” value. Yes it is imperative to get Water Street onto the tax roles; but, we need to balance all the options and leave as many options open to us as possible.

  89. Posted July 29, 2008 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    JoF,

    Thanks for the good natured response.

    I actually am sad that you don’t know the handshake because I bet it could be fun.

    I suppose the point I was trying to make is that when you are discussing Monday-morning quarterbacking and “this group,” (the one that hates Ypsilanti) that you are not casting too wide a net [to mix the metaphor badly].

    I think you can see that many ideas are being presented from many camps–those with and without handshakes or knowledge of football.

    Of course perhaps that is already what you mean by “the people I talk with are very open and receptive to ideas.”

  90. target is #1
    Posted July 29, 2008 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Actually, with its high visibility freeway frontage and proximity to high density residential neighborhoods (lots of rooftops), the ACH site has fairly strong potential as a commercial redevelopment.

    The problem with industrial “brownfield” redevelopments is with the cleanup process. It is far easier (if counter-intuitive) to succeed with redevelopment of an industrial brownfield to commercial or another use (anything other than another industrial activity). The problem that can arise with an industrial to industrial redevelopment is with determining whether future pollutants found on the site are “new” (that is put there after the redevelopment) or “old (pre-redevelopment). For this reason, regulators will require a more stringent cleanup for an industrial end-user than they might for a commercial end-user.

  91. Ol' E Cross
    Posted July 30, 2008 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    Mark H.,

    I hope you’re right and 102.

    nameroo,

    Both should act offended, but it sure seems like most comments from the past few years fall into two predictably distinct camps (other than a very, very recent one where Pete finally tears Steve a new one.

    And, with that, dear friends, I may soon depart. I might have time to post tomorrow, not sure, but then I’m AWOL for a good long stint. I’ll miss all the hot steamy election fun but will be back in time for the yellow duck run.

    Thanks to everyone who cares enough to comment, even you sickly twisted wicked monsters. (You know who you are.)

    -OEC

    P.S. Will some good neighbor yank my lawn sign for me after Aug. 5? I don’t want to look like I’m a poor loser or gloating (depending on the outcome) … even if both are likely true.

  92. rodneyn
    Posted July 30, 2008 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    I thought that both Rod Johnson and Pete Murdock presented themselves well under the awkward (and noisy) outdoor circumstances of last evening’s “debate” in Frog Island Park. Taking into account the train, the motorcycles, the cars, and the kids’ soccer practice, I would say they did a great job, actually.

    In my opinion, however, the edge has to go to Pete Murdock for his informed response to the question about where our water comes from. Rod, “I don’t know but we have a great system” was a good try, but you were outdone by the facts.

    As for the questions, I don’t know who were the sources for the questions testing the candidates knowledge of the open meetings act, the location of water pipes, and similar junior high school queries, but they really missed the point of the meeting. A Q&A session with candidates is not the time to test their intimate knowledge of city facilities, but rather to find out more about what they believe, their priorities, and their plans for our fair city.

    When I want to know how many connections we have to the Detroit water system, I’ll ask Stan Kirton.

    I was pleased to hear from Rod Johnson that he now believes it is important to update the city’s Zoning Ordinance and Master Plan to streamline approval processes and make them more business-friendly. If I could’ve asked a follow up question at that moment, I would’ve asked Rod to justify why it has taken eight years on the Planning Commission for him to come to this conclusion.

    So, Rod: Why has it taken eight years on the Planning Commission for you to decide it’s time to update city ordinances and plans?

  93. Rod Johnson
    Posted July 30, 2008 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    The Planning Commission has had many conversations with Staff over a general Master Plan update over the recent years has has been met with a “We’ll see if it can be put in the budget.” response. That day has yet to come. Meanwhile we are doing an “as you go” approach until we can get budgeting to do an overall update. Right now, however, the crunch is on for Water St. The Master Plan for it, the resultant zoning and accompanying language is the highest priority.

    Rod

  94. Mark H.
    Posted July 31, 2008 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    Rod,

    I appreciate your attempt to answer rodneyn’s question to you, but I don’t think you answered the actual question: “Why has it taken eight years on the planning commission for you to decide it’s time to undate city ordinances and plans?” Saying you’ve had conversations with staff about updating the master plan makes it sound like it’s not the commission’s duty, but the city staff’s duty. Who is leading whom here? And if the masterplan is relevant to the hopes of Water Street, shouldn’t it have been made “the highest priority” some time ago? I am sorry if I seem too argumentative here, but in trying to figure out the source of the Water Street fiasco, the shortcomings of the zoning commission seem to me to have planned more than a minor part. In other cities that I am familiar with the zoning process & history of, zoning bodies do address the feasibility of grand plans (even minor plans!) presented to them. In contrast, Rod, your explanation seems to verge on saying that it was someone else’s job and that you on the zoning commission were not responsible for the master plan. Are you saying, Rod, that city staff and city leaders totally failed to do the necessary work for the master plan in a timely way that would support the Water Street project? Or are you saying that only in “recent years” did the need for an updated master plan come to the attention of the commission, and that in these recent years the city was incapable of making it happen? Where, in other words, is the responsibility? And what are the consequences? Thanks for reading….

  95. Rod Johnson
    Posted July 31, 2008 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    Mark H. I did indeed answer the original question. The Planning Commission did attempt to initiate a general Master Plan update but budget constraints continue to hold this back. We do what we can. Right now we are concentrating on the Master Plan as it pertains to Water St. A general Master Plan update will still have to wait.

  96. rodneyn
    Posted July 31, 2008 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Rod,

    Your answer was incomplete, and to lay off the delay in updating plans and ordinances on staff and budget constraints does show a lack of leadership. The first time I heard the leader of the Planning Commission (and two-time candidate for Council) say that the city needs to have an up-to-date Zoning Ordinance and master plan to be business-friendly was on Tuesday night in Frog Island Park. If this has been an issue for eight years, where have you been?

    How many times have you (as Planning Commission Chair) made a presentation before Council to educate them on the problem and ask them to make it a budget priority. This is not a task to delegate to staff – if you really thought it was important, you would’ve been camped out in the Council chambers. How many times have you written an “Other Voices” column for the newspaper or even a letter to the editor to get word out about the consequences of an out-of-date Zoning Ordinance to the public?

    Like Mark H., it has been my impression that the Planning Commission is a passive body looking to staff to bring them tidbits to chew on occasionally. That’s not leadership.

    It is not easy, but I have witnessed first-hand other communities going through the process of preparing an up-to-date master plan with limited technical assistance from professional planning consultants or staff planners. The City has access to computer mapping resources, and the county planning office and SEMCOG for other data. It’s not because you can’t do it yourselves, it is because you listened to naysayers and chose not to try.

    Ypsilanti has another unique planning resource most communities don’t have: A built-in mechanism for inexpensive public input on the future of our city – CoPAC. Almost every neighborhood is represented by an association, so rather than host expensive charettes or flashy visioning sessions, take the Planning Commission out to the neighborhoods to hear what residents, business owners, and property owners really want to see happen in their community.

    This isn’t rocket science – the best community planners in a neighborhood are often third graders, after all. This work could be accomplished well within the city’s planning and zoning budget constraints (even today), with a little creativity and a proactive Commission. It most certainly could’ve been accomplished back when you had 4 or 5 professional planners at your disposal!

    Rod, if you have chosen to passively accept staff’s budget lament for all these years, then I would question whether you have the leadership abilities to push through your priorities in an even tougher City Council environment. We can’t afford to elect more passive people to Council. That’s how we got into this mess in the first place.

  97. Glen S.
    Posted July 31, 2008 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    So, now some of the very same folks who in recent years have been relentless in their calls for “Cuts!, Cuts!, Cuts!” at City Hall are upset because the City no longer has the staff & budget resources necessary to undertake a comprehensive master-plan update. Fascinating …

    Anyone paying attention knows that the City’s shrinking budget has caused a steep decline in administrative staff and and budget resources. Consequently, as Rod points out, the Planning Commission has decided to ask City staff to concentrate their remaining resources on site-specific updates necessary to facilitate new development, such as American Photo and Walgreen’s, and, of course — on simplifying the zoning at Water Street to make the site more attractive to a wider variety of developers.

    Given limited resources, concentrating on the most critical needs (like Water Street), and on the sites most likely to generate new development and tax revenue seems to be a wise and prudent course of action.

    Frankly, it is quite obvious to me that this whole “controversy” is nothing more than a red herring designed to draw attention away from Pete’s less-than-stellar performance at Tuesday evening’s Frog Island debate.

  98. rodneyn
    Posted July 31, 2008 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Nice try, Glen.

    Rod Johnson (and the Planning Commission he leads) failed to muster up the initiative and creativity to use the resources available to get the job done. Rather than be a leader, Rod failed to go beyond the budget lament to look for other ways to accomplish these important tasks. When faced with even more draconian budget constraints, other citizen-leaders stepped up to keep Rutherford Pool operating, keep the Senior Center open and thriving, keep Parkridge Center running, etc., etc., etc. All Rod did until Tuesday evening was lament what he didn’t have. What kind of leadership is that?

  99. Glen S.
    Posted July 31, 2008 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Nice try, indeed, Rodney.

    Those who serve on boards and commissions, such as the Planning Commission, are unpaid volunteers. Their role is to provide citizen-involvement, guidance, and oversight for important areas of City government. They are not meant to take the place of, nor do the work of, City staff or other paid professionals who are expected to have skills and experience beyond the reach of ordinary citizens.

    Therefore, your contention that, somehow, Rod has not done enough, or worked hard enough to serve this community is absurd. Over the past decade, Rod has spent countless hours providing leadership on the Planning Commission, as well as the Community Policing Action Council, the Historic East Side Neighborhood Association, and the Ypsilanti Recreation Commission, etc. In fact, there are likely few residents who have devoted as much time and energy to serving this community.

    At Tuesday’s debate, it was very evident that it was exactly that experience that has made Rod so well-prepared to serve on Council. His answers to the questions were thoughtful and knowledgeable. He was willing to acknowledge past mistakes, and to express dissatisfaction with past City decisions. Most importantly, he demonstrated a real desire to work to bring people together to help solve Ypsilanti’s problems.

    Pete, by contrast, seemed remarkably unprepared. Frankly, I was shocked to see someone who has served multiple terms as both a City Council member and mayor struggle to answer what I thought were some very basic questions. I was even more shocked, when, at least three or four times, he answered questions by saying: “Well, basically, I agree with Rod …”

    I know that you and many others are very committed to Pete, so I don’t expect you to change your mind. But, let’s get real … even you must admit that, when it came to their performances at Tuesday’s debate, there was really no comparison.

    My only regret is that there weren’t many more Ward 3 residents there to see it.

  100. rodneyn
    Posted July 31, 2008 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Glen, there is a huge difference between chairing a meeting and being a leader. No matter how much effort you make to turn the attention away from Rod’s three years of failure as Planning Commission Chair to ensure that Ypsilanti has an up-to-date Zoning Ordinance and Master Plan, the fact remains that this is a serious failure of leadership.

    In today’s Courier, Rod Johnson touts Walgreens as an example of his success in bringing businesses into ward 3. Unfortunately, the facts show otherwise. I attended the Planning Commission meeting where the Walgreens site plan was reviewed. The City Planner presented a 16+ page staff report which recommended denial of the site plan. The Planning Commission nitpicked the plan and the applicants for two hours before Rod Johnson finally stepped up to put a stop to it. In the end, the Planning Commission approved Walgreens subject to 24 conditions, including the need for a dozen waivers or variances from unworkable Zoning Ordinance requirements!

    To businesses looking at Ypsilanti, these facts are huge red flags. Mr. Johnson’s Commission did just about everything possible to discourage Walgreens from pursuing their project.

  101. Glen S.
    Posted July 31, 2008 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Rodney, what you’re saying is that when the former City planner found 16 pages of reasons to deny the Walgreen’s project, Rod Johnson led the planning commission in working out a set of sensible compromises that allowed the project to go forward — which resulted in turning a mostly-vacant and non-taxable property into a fully-developed and tax-paying one.

    So how, exactly, was that a BAD thing?

    Furthermore — if, as you suggest, the Walgreen’s folks found the City’s planning process so onerous, why in the world did they decide to open a SECOND location (within the City limits) only a few years after their first? Same thing with the new CVS on Grove Road, which, like both Walgreen’s locations, was built inside the City limits, but only steps from the township border?

    Sorry, but in trying to keep this “argument” going, you really seem to be grasping at straws, here, Rodney.

  102. rodneyn
    Posted July 31, 2008 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Glen, City Planner who wrote the monsterous staff report recommending denial of the Walgreens site plan was simply following what the Zoning Ordinance and Master Plan required him to do. The point is that the City’s ordinances and plans are so business-unfriendly and unnecessarily cumbersome that it took 16+ pages for the City Planner to explain them.

    The two plus hours of nitpicking by the Planning Commission is of a different character entirely. Rod Johnson had to be shamed into stepping up and putting a stop to it. In the end, the Commission only approved Walgreens by essentially doing an end run around unworkable Zoning Ordinance regulations.

    This is the legacy of Rod Johnson’s eight years on the Commission and three years as Chair of that body.

  103. Glen S.
    Posted July 31, 2008 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Rodney, I highly doubt any business expects to present a site plan and have it approved “no questions asked.” There are, obviously, many interests that come into play, and many factors that need to be considered. I’m sure no community has a “perfect” planning process, and I’m not saying that ours couldn’t be improved … in fact, Rod said as much at Tuesday’s debate.

    Still, I remember not long ago listening to the Corner Brewery’s Rene Greff explain how, after doing business in Ann Arbor, she and Matt found working with the City of Ypsilanti, and in particular, the Ypsilanti Planning Commission, to be a “breath of fresh air.” I think that’s one of the main reasons they have been such ardent supporters of Rod’s ever since.

    Rod understands that, in order to move Ypsilanti forward, we need to do more to attract business. He already has a strong track-record of doing just that — and would be even more effective in doing so on City Council.

    Meanwhile your attempt to frame the many recent business-development successes under Rod’s leadership on the Planning Commission (Standard Printing, Corner Brewery, American Photo, Walgreen’s, CVS, etc.) as “failures of leadership” simply defies credibility … and simply deflects from the fact that the candidate you support has done little in recent memory to serve the community, nor has he any recent achievements to show in terms of promoting or encouraging new businesses to locate in Ypsilanti.

  104. amused1
    Posted July 31, 2008 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Rodney, from what you’ve said it appears to me that you believe the leadership of the city, the citizens who volunteer for the Planning Commission and several members of city staff pretty much suck. Given your obvious passion and strong opinions I’m surprised you’re not on the Planning Commission.

    I’m sure you could convince one of those sheep-like passive members of the current commission to give up a seat. Then again, after a long day of work perhaps they find hours of nitpicking over details such a fascinating pastime that they can’t imagine giving up such fun. That’s when you break out the oh so wise and winsome 3rd graders who will lead the city to success.

    Yours in hyperbole
    Amused1

  105. Posted July 31, 2008 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    It seems pretty apparent to me that Rod Johnson is now running for City Council because he knows he can more easily accomplish things there that he struggled to accomplish on the Planning Commission. Rod knows what needs to be done, regarding the Master Plan and zoning. City council is where he can get it done.

    This is not to say that Rod didn’t do very well for the city while on the Planning Commission. Rod stepped up and made things happen even when the Master Plan and/or zoning was making it difficult for things to happen. Because Rod was willing to spearhead efforts to make our city receptive to new businesses, we now have Walgreens, American Photo, Corner Brewery, and Standard Printing, all in Ward 3.

    Rod is now keen on spearheading an effort to make the Master Plan/zoning better to attract developers to Water Street.

    Rodneyn, et al., you can try to put the blame for the problems at Water Street at the feet of the Planning Commission and Rod; but, you misplace that blame. The Planning Commission did nothing (nor failed to do something needed) that caused the contamination issues at Water Street to shut the project down. The Planning Commission did nothing that caused Freed to pull out.

    I haven’t seen Pete Murdock doing anything in the last five or eight years to get our Master Plan updated. Maybe the current condition of the Water Street project is all Pete’s fault.

  106. nammeroo
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    JoF, amused1, my head is awhirl from trying to read your spin. Will the real Rod Johnson please “step up?”

  107. Mark H.
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Glen, you say that the question of what Rod did or did not do on the zoning comission regarding the masterplan is a mere ‘red herring’ to hide what you say is Pete Murdock’s less than stellar performance at the Frog Island debate. That’s lame, neighbor, a baseless accusation.

    The issue of what the zoning commission has done, or has not done, is one I’ve been concerned about for sometime, and I have privately communicated to both Rod and Pete about it. They each graciously answered my queries. These dialogs go way back before the Frog Island debate.

    I’d also say that the whole midtown rezoning project has been a failure, and i think the Peninsular apts. project wasn’t so great either: students cross the RR tracks and the wide road dangerously, there’s parking problem, there were elements of corruption with the developer’s ties to EMU administrators who were originally going to administer this new apt. complex, and it’s helping to bleed midtown landlords of student renters, and much of that neighborhood is one the verge of abandonment, I am told.
    Good zoning anticipates adverse results in one area from a decision made for another area. We seem to lack that.

    And hey, if Water St needs a new master plan, wasn’t that need also in existence when the city started buying those properties? Why wait 8 years? That delay isn’t explained to my satisfaction and it causes me to doubt what Rod, who is a nice and honest man, would be capable of forcing thru on council.

    The Frog Island debate was no Lincoln-Douglas redo, and I’d give the debate to Rod on technical points (projecting his voice, eye contact, soundbites), but to Pete on content and depth of knowledge of the issues. Not that this matters – i don’t think any undecided voters were in the audience, and people on both sides said as much to me Tuesday.

    Peace, neighbors. And who likes herring anway, Glen?

  108. rodneyn
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    In his campaign literature, Rod Johnson takes credit for “help(ing) many businesses locate in the City,” including Standard Printing, The Corner Brewery, Walgreens, and American Photo Studios. He has also spoken in the past about his part in other projects like the Kresge Building loft redevelopment (as I recall, the former Planning Director also took credit for this project, which probably was quite a surprise to Eric and Karen Maurer – the actual developers).

    If he truly was so instrumental in securing these businesses and development projects for Ypsilanti, then he was equally instrumental in bringing about the damage done as a result of poor decision-making on his part (after all, being a leader means being responsible for both the successes and the failures of his organization!).

    Rod Johnson needs to own up to his responsibility as Planning Commission Chair for:

    1. the collateral damage done to Midtown’s rental housing community by the ill-considered Peninsular Place apartments project;

    2. the idiotic proposal to close off College Place (he is on record in favor of it and promoted the idea with EMU officials as Chair of CoPAC);

    3. the proposed Midtown downzoning scheme (he voted for it, pushed for it for three years over the reasonable objections of Midtown residents and property owners, and tried to block efforts by the Midtown neighborhood association to present a neighborhood-led alternative plan); and

    4. the massive damage done to the financial future of this community by the Water Street fiasco.

    After Rod’s eight years as a Planning Commissioner and three years as Chair, Water Street is nothing more than a financial sinkhole threatening to take the who city down with it – this is the most egregious of Rod’s failures of leadership.

    Now he says that if we elect him to Council he will push for updates to city plans and ordinances to help Water Street be more “business-friendly” and attractive to developers. Where has he been for eight years?… …and why didn’t he accomplish this a long time ago? We can’t afford to give Rod Johnson more time to try and be successful. Please vote for Pete Murdock on Tuesday!

  109. rodneyn
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    (“whole city”, not the ‘whoville’ like “who city”)

  110. amused1
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Nammeroo,

    I intended irony. I’d accept parody. I’d embrace fun poking. But spin? Naw, not my style.

    I merely pointed out the silliness of basically saying a 3rd grader is capable of city planning. And I don’t really think it’s spin to say that Rodney pretty much feels the city is run by incompetents. I mean, well, you have read his posts haven’t you?

    And Rodneyn, if I have misunderstood your previous posts and you feel the city is being properly managed please let me know so I may apologize.

    Anyway, seems to me that terms like “monstrous”, “passive”, “shamed”, “nitpicking”, etc. fall more in the spin category. Someone with a different perspective (or agenda) could easily replace those terms with “necessary”, “patient”, “considered” and “thorough”. Tomay-to Tomah-to

    And please keep in mind, I did say that I was being over the top in my post by closing with “Yours in hyperbole”.
    Amused1

  111. rodneyn
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    I’ve worked with kids of various ages as a professional planner, and I’ve found third graders to early-teens (8-13 ears old or so) to be the best ages to work with on planning projects. They know their neighborhood, and often can offer a unique and valuable perspective. I would invite Murph to chime in on this as well…. In the meantime, here’s a link to one planning project focusing on third-graders in particular: http://www.planning.org/resourceszine/articleview.htm?ArticleID=9302

    amused1, don’t put words in my mouth – I never used the i-word to describe any elected official in Ypsilanti. To boil down my comments to two sentences, it would be this: “City officials who have a record of poor decision-making should be politely but firmly shown the door by the voters. We cannot afford four more years of more-of-the-same from Mr. Gawlas and Mr. Johnson.”

  112. Mark H.
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    A wise and intelligent person who knows zillions more than I ever will about planning issues, has privately pointed out to me that my statement above that “hey, if Water St needs a new master plan, wasn’t that need also in existence when the city started buying those properties? Why wait 8 years? ” is less than complete. The master plan, as I understand my friend’s comment, was not in conflict with the original plan for Water Street to be a purely residential development — but it is in conflict with the aim for mixed development, which has been the city’s newly modfied goal for Water St for about two years.

    My friend also points out to me that in the last 6 months, there’s been much movement in the right direction in this area. Until the developer Freed dropped its short lived courtship of the city, the master plan was OK since the only development that the city would consider was a residential only plan, with some businesses along Michigan.

    I know enough not to argue with this individual, who is honest and capable and well informed. So I accept this additions, and regret my hasty post before was less than complete. many thanks for the criticism!

    But I’d add this: The original idea that a 38 acre residential development in downtown Ypsi, on brownfield land that would have to be cleared of current users, ever paying for itself was sheer idiocy. In Ann Arbor, Boston, or San Francisco, it’d have been very viable. But this is Ypsi, and that little stretch of the Huron that’s next to the Water St properties is just not ever going to be that attractive to private investors: The risks & expenses greatly outstrip any feasible return on the investment.

    I further submit that it is highly likely that both developers who showed a willingness to seriously consider possibly at some future date investing money on the properties were mostly going thru the motions in order to check out the possibility of getting sufficient subsidies from public funds that they would profit, despite the objectively dismal market potential for the Water Street properties.

    And in my opinion, every city official who was involved in NOT challenging this bone headed scheme that transformed our long term municipal fiscal problems into a near term firscal crisis is unworthy of holding office — elected or appointed.

    Call me a radical, but the idea is simple: accountability.

    And here’s a prediction: Water Street will never produce enough revenue to equal its costs to the city. The current Mayor still defends Water St as a plan that will, long term, add much to Ypsilanti, but he bases this on sheer dreams, not on a real analysis.

    If someone developed Water St to the point it had a $100 million taxable value, it’d maybe be able to earn enough in revenue for the city to pay off the debts.

    Anyone think, seriously, that Water St is ever gonna attract that kind of investment? If so, I have a wonderful bridge to sell you, and it has terrific views of the water fronts of both lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Heights. Those water fronts do attract capital. The Huron around Water St? Oh, the capital that was invested there in small businesses as of 10 years ago was run out of town by the city.

    A word of praise for Rod’s supporters: On Hemphill St, there’s a Rod Johnson sign in a front yard, happily keeping company with a dragon. Yes, i’m not kidding. Very nice looking dragon too.

  113. Posted August 1, 2008 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Well, while the mud is flying, I’d rather have Rod, who has had some recent successes with bring business to Ypsilanti, on my City Council than someone who is anti-business and unethical.

  114. nammeroo
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    JoF, you shouldn’t say such things about Mr. Eller. I’m sure that he doesn’t feel that way. In fact, the one consistent comment from each and every ward 3 Council candidate has been that they would make it a high priority to be more business-friendly (Pete Murdock was not the only candidate to say that, after all).

    Tuesday’s coming folks… it will all be over soon. Don’t worry, though. Rod still has plenty of time left on his Planning Commission appointment, so we’ll keep him busy anyway.

  115. Posted August 2, 2008 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    I would invite Murph to chime in on this as well…

    Rodney, from my perch in the frying pan, I’m generally trying not to feed the flames.

    I will note, however, that my entree into urban planning was in 5th grade, when my class mapped out a bike-walk path connecting Chelsea’s schools, hospital, downtown, and neighborhoods, and advocated for this plan to the school board, village council, chamber, etc.

    IIRC, this was actually my second choice of projects. The one I had pitched to the class was more about comparing the new housing and commercial developments going up at the edge of town at that time to Chelsea’s more compact historical downtown and neighborhoods, and advocating for making new development look more like the latter. (Not to say I was a well-versed New Urbanist at age 10 – I was mostly interested in open space preservation at the time. Blame my parents.) But the bike path project ended up the more popular.

  116. Mark H.
    Posted August 2, 2008 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    JoF, I find your statement that Pete is anti-business very strange: his opposition to the income tax certainly wasn’t seen as anti-business by any business owners i know of. Same for your claim that he’s unethical – you may be confusing being accused of something unethical with being guilty of it. Pete is honest. Ypsi politics are hardball. People throw mud. Reframe from doing so is my advice. Focus on actual issues.

    In this election some anonymous person or person are distributing anti-Pete propaganda; this is illegal under state election laws. Who is doing it, I don’t know. I am sure Rod would not encourage such a thing. The tactic is illegal and unethical, but may be having some affect, as the charges are being repeated, without evidence.

  117. mark
    Posted August 2, 2008 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    There may be various packets of information being secretly distributed around town. I don’t know. All I know is that one was mailed to me. It was clearly sent by someone who doesn’t want Pete to be Mayor. There was no third-party commentary, no pro-Johnson stuff, just a number of photocopied stories from the “Ann Arbor News” about his lawsuit against the City several years ago. As I didn’t think it was terribly relevant, I didn’t mention it here on this site. I don’t know, however, as my friend Mr. Higbee states, that it rises to the level of being “illegal and unethical.” Is it illegal or unethical to send complete, unedited news articles around? Perhaps there are other packets going around that I don’t know about though… As for me, I’m much more interested in their answers to my questions. That’s what I’ll be basing my decision on.

  118. Mark H.
    Posted August 2, 2008 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Mark, your basis for deciding how to vote is absolutely correct. But yes, as I understand Michigan’s election laws, it is illegal to anonymously circulate information designed to influence an election. In the packet I saw, which was not sent to me, there was a letter expressly denouncing Pete and urging people to vote against him. I am sure Rod had nothing to do with this but someone who supports him is behind it. I mentioned this only to point out that in elections all kinds of ethical questions are raised, and to me to blandly say one candidate is unethical or dishonest without a sustained argument, without evidence, is bad for the community. We have two honorable candidates running in Ward 3 — and i’m with you Mark, let’s vote on the issues not on the mud that is slung.

  119. pickled1
    Posted August 2, 2008 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    It’s all the Mayors’ fault! …now if I could just figure out which one… …after all there are so many! (Farmer/Schreiber/Farmer/Schreiber/Maynard/…:)

  120. amused1
    Posted August 2, 2008 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Rodney, I apologize if I implied that you used the i-word itself. I was condensing your thoughts along the lines of Merriam-Webster’s third definition of the i-word: “lacking the qualities needed for effective action”.

    And now that I’ve been corrected about the 3rd graders, I apologize for not giving 3rd graders, and the source of the statement, more credit. Shame on me.

    Murph, looks like you’re safe until we can get rid of those pesky child labor laws. ;^)

  121. Dirtgrain
    Posted August 2, 2008 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    I got a photocopied “letter” stuck in my door this evening. It has the feel of one of those bogus chain emails. It starts out, “Hello, I live three blocks from City Councilmember, John Gawlas. . . Last year my home was broken into twice in two days. Then, I was attacked and robbed in my yard, leaving me with $3,000 in medical bills! This is why I’m tired of hearing from John Gawlas and his friends on City Council how good our city is and how much our City Council is doing for us.” That last line is in bold and underlined.

    The letter goes on with a bunch of Gawlas bashing. The last line says, “Please vote on August 5th for Michael Bodary. . .” The letter is not signed.

    It also has two pieces of clipart-looking things in the margins: one of a devious looking guy holding money bags, and one of a crook with a mask fishing in a piggy bank that says Ypsi on it.

    Ugly campaign.

  122. Glen S.
    Posted August 2, 2008 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Mark,

    Like many other people (it now seems) I also received a packet containing old news clippings, etc., related to Pete’s attempt to illegally secure a paid city job, in violation of the City Charter and ethics laws. The details of this scandal have since been reported in an “Ann Arbor News” story about the Ward 3 race, and cited in their editorial endorsing Rod Johnson.

    So, I’m curious to know why you think this information is not “terribly relevant” to the race between Pete and Rod.

    This is not, as some have categorized it, an “allegation,” but rather — a matter of fact, and of the public record. It occurred while Pete was an elected official, and it ultimately put him into a direct, and self-serving, legal conflict with the City of Ypsilanti (i.e. the taxpayers).

    Since Pete is asking Ward 3 voters to once again elect him to position of leadership on City Council, isn’t his conduct as a former elected official “relevant” for voters to consider?

  123. nammeroo
    Posted August 3, 2008 at 2:02 am | Permalink

    I’m grateful to know how desperate the situation has become for Rod Johnson’s friends… The last, bold-printed line in their well-thumbed campaign playbook reads, “This is what you do when you no longer have anything intelligent to offer.”

    Don’t worry, Glen. This will (almost entirely) be over on Tuesday.

  124. Posted August 3, 2008 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Here’s the way I see it. Pete has proposed a few good ideas. Rod has proposed more good ideas than Pete. Pete is knowledgeable about a lot of things in the City, so is Rod. By and large I’m not sure Pete’s and Rod’s knowledge overlaps much; each has their own strengths in the area of city knowledge.

    Based on the issues and the candidates proposals to address them, I think Rod has a slight edge over Pete. Pete’s supporters will argue the opposite.

    For myself, I have a problem trusting Pete. Rod on the other hand is wholly trustworthy in my experience with him.

    On the issues, could I live with Pete as my representative? Yes, but I’d prefer Rod. On trust, Rod is my only choice.

  125. Posted August 3, 2008 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t mean to use the word, “slight”. I think Rod has a definite edge over Pete.

  126. egpenet
    Posted August 3, 2008 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    (Psst. Guys … we’re on Round Three … over HERE!)

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Connect

BUY LOCAL... or shop at Amazon through this link Banner Initiative Cherewick 2